Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m headed to Atlanta tomorrow. I am looking forward to spending the next 1.5 weeks home. I can’t wait to see my friends and my family, sleep in my old bed, and take a bubble bath in my own bathroom. I hope that I’m not too bored, but it will be a major adjustment from being independent in the city to being car-dependent in the suburbs. I’ll have my novel to edit, some books to read, and a bicycle waiting for me--which should be plenty. Beside working on my novel, I am committed to getting a bit of exercise in before the big reveal in Mexico. Oh, to have my toes in white sand and to feel a salty breeze in my face.

Isla de Mujeres – the destination of my first trip in 2010 – looks like paradise from all the pictures. I’m packing a little light reading, Pride and Prejudice (!), but my real goals are to get a massage on the beach, do some sunset yoga, eat lots of Mexican food, and daydream. I'm going for my friend's 30th birthday. Perhaps, I should also celebrate my 30th in a big way (thankfully, I still have 1.5 years).

Although I’ve had a fair break during the past month due to all the vacation days I’ve been using, I still crave quality time away from the hustle and bustle of DC and the near-constant buzzing of my blackberry. And, it’ll be nice to get away from my roommates (especially the subltetter and the infamous mouse family). I will miss Gray Cat, and I hope s/he hangs on until I return.


A Pat on the Back

I started working on a chick-lit novel during the fall of 2007. I am happy to say that tonight I finished the first draft. It's almost 34,000 words--about half of which were added during the past month.

I don't know how I feel about the story at this point. It is silly, simple, and purposeless in many ways. But that is how I feel about most chick-lit. If you are lucky, you come across a book that gives you a gem of wisdom about life. But mostly, it is a marvelous, often mindless, diversion from the everyday.

Regardless of how meaningful or meaningless my story is, I am proud that I followed through and finally finished it. That is something I can celebrate, even if it languishes on my thumbdrive for eternity.

I have two more weeks to add at least another 60,000 words of descriptions, backstory, and dialogue. And I want to strengthen the hook. That is certainly a "heavy lift" but I'm thinking that it will be a fun and rewarding challenge.


Vampire Romance

I'm pretty good at making excuses. I've been too busy this year to write frequent posts, too lazy to work on my bye-bye arms, and too poor to travel beyond ATL. But I think my excuse for not being on track for finishing a draft of my novel by the end of the year is valid.

As I was swept away by the Twilight saga, I have be taken in by the Sookie Stackhouse series. Once skeptical and condescending, I am now a convert and undeniably hooked. The series is just so fun. It is entertaining with a fine mix of mystery, the supernatural, comedy, and romance. I tell myself that I am doing research for my book. While it true that I am getting ideas from the author--especially from how she has developed the characters and her style during the series, that is no excuse for choosing (most nights) to read instead of write.

I must write. I have about 3 weeks to finish the final two scenes before going back and to add fluff and fill out the back story. I guess that is the fun part but right now, nothing is more fun than finding out if Sookie ends up with Eric, Bill, Quinn, or someone else. I can only hope to develop my story and style so that readers can have an escape and an expression that is just as satisfying.

I simply must finish because my new year's creative resolution of acting awaits. I just hope that I don't get sidetracked by the other series I've heard about, Anita Blake. I love that I'm slightly branching out in terms of genres but I realize that at some point I will have to return to the classics, my home.

A shout-out to Organica for reminding me I have readers who enjoy the distraction that is my blog as much as I do.


Subletters Suck

My roommate, who will be out of town for work and vacation all of December, decided to get a subletter for her room. I was fine with her getting a subletter and very hands-off during her search process. I figured that it would only be for one month and as long as the person didn’t steal our stuff or trash the house, I could live with whoever she chose. Boy, was I wrong.

It’s only been a few days, but I am itching for our subletter to leave. I don’t know why he irks me so much. It’s probably the fact that he’s interrupted the house’s routine—my routine. No longer can I come home from work to a quiet house before my other roommates make it home around 730. He’s always there. No longer can I sit in front of the cable TV and eat my dinner. He’s always there watching basketball. Tuesday and yesterday, I asked for his help in picking up the mouse traps. He declined. I’m proud that I was able successfully got rid of the smashed critter on my own but I was furiously puzzled that he wasn’t helpful. Isn’t that what males do for squeamish females like me?

I also find him weird. On the first two nights, I tried to make small talk. It was so awkward that I eventually gave up. I’m not the most sociable person out there, so I won’t talk just for the sake of making you feel comfortable and welcome if you are not taking the bait.

He and my other male roommate seem to get along fine. So it’s just me with the problem (per usual…).

I am a creature of habit and familiarity. Anything or anyone that diverges from my sense of normalcy tends to be instantly disliked, distrusted, and even hated (I’ll comment my reaction to my new workmates some other time). I’ve already started counting down the days until he departs and my old roommate returns. I hope that I am able to keep my cool and my distance until them.


"Take a chance you stupid…"

I’m going to take control in 2010 and start following my dreams. That’s my resolution. For the past year, I’ve been safe, preparing and being inspired. Now, it’s time to gamble a bit.

The less risky form that my resolution will take is to travel more. I already have a short trip to Mexico scheduled for early January, and I am committed to visiting two friends on their own turf in MA and NC. And of course, there is the trip to London and beyond that I keep talking about.

The potentially riskier dream that has only recently entered my crazy head is acting. As you know, I’ve been looking for a creative outlet and I think that acting is the right fit for me. On a side note, I’ve decided that I will finish a first draft of my novel by the end of the year, so that I can wholly commit creatively to acting.

I’ve already check out a book from the library (!) and talked to a coworker who is an experienced actor. I want to give it a serious try so I’m going to divert some of my savings to getting headshots and to taking a few acting classes (starting with the Actor's Center). I’ve always wanted to be an extra and I think that I should give actual acting a try as well. It will be a diverting hobby that, with a lot of hard work and a little luck, could lead to something even more fulfilling than I could ever imagine.

I know that it is a pipe dream to even begin to think that I could be a real actress. I don’t know if I have any real talent. And I know that thousands of people enroll in classes or move to LA and NYC every year in hopes of becoming the next big thing. What makes me any different? Perhaps, nothing. But why not throw my hat in the ring—or at least train as if I would? Now, I don’t plan on quitting my day job and moving to LA. But I think that this new path will lead to a lot of interesting experiences and stories that I’ll be able to share when I’m a content soccer mom.

I look forward to telling my mom over the holidays that I want to be an actress after months of appearing set on my current career track. The conversation should be sort of like when I said I was going to quit my secure nonprofit job to join the Peace Corps. I know that she will ultimately be supportive but it will be interesting to see how she reacts to yet another of my revelations. It’s crazy that I’ve become increasingly flighty with age. I was always the dependable, straight-laced daughter who had everything planned out. Now that I’m older and recognize that life is a bit more random, I want to take advantage of my youth and freedom to be selfish and pursue a few of my child-hood/ish dreams.



I saw New Moon today, and I can't help but feel happy. I enjoyed the movie as did my friend--probably the only person out there who hasn't read the books but L-O-V-E loves the movies.

The audience was mainly comprised of teenage girls but there were a few 20-something couples and girlfriend pairs in the mix. The previews reflected the intended audience of the movie (a vampire flix, a robpat flix and a bunch about romance)--which made me squirm (gosh, I'm too old for this, right?). The twihards in the crowd were entertaining with their gasps, giggles, and groans. At times, like when Rob and shirt less Taylor first appeared, I wanted to join them.

Of course, there were moments when the movie was a little too forced and Rob's, Kristen's, Taylor's acting came up a bit short. But overall, the acting, script and direction was much better than in the first movie. I loved the actor who played Aro. He was great. It is so interesting how one can capture (or try to capture) the essence of a character that is limitedly written on paper.

This brings up my latest resolution. I want to try my hand at acting. I only took one acting class in high school and in college, but I guess I've always loved or at least was always fascinated by the performing arts. I can't sing or dance but maybe I can act.

If nothing else, it will push me out of my comfort zone and provide the creative outlet that I've been craving now that I've taken a vacation from writing a book. I just feel that I might have something to share.

We'll see how that goes. It is just a silly idea now but I hope that with the right knowledge, practice, and opportunities, my creative side will finally have a chance to be shared.


WaPost on Twihards

Ah, this WaPost article captures how I truly feel about the Twilight saga.

I'm almost done re-reading book three. Then, it is on to book four, rewatching Twilight the movie, and finally, watching the new movie, New Moon... Hopefully, at that point the obsession will subside--at least until the next movie comes out this summer.

On a side note, I am smitten with Rob Pattinson. I actually found myself giggling when he was on the Today show this morning. Goodness, this series really has made me revert into a teenage girl.

Of course, I realize that I'm way too old for such a silly celebrity crush. But, I find him fascinating and disarming. I guess I haven't felt that way about a celebrity since the days of Jared Leto as Jordan Catellano. It's a little refreshing.


Mouse Saga Sidebar

Last night was better in terms of the mouse situation because a) I was exhausted; b) all my roommates were home and making noise; and c) I've learned how to sleep with the lights and Univision on.

Here is something a friend sent me that made me laugh. Perhaps, this could be considered a humane mouse trap or at least a more respectful one.


Mouse update

I have officially lost my mind. I did not sleep last night. Whenever I would finally get settled, I would hear fidgetting in the corner of my room and jump up in alarm and grab something to throw. My mom told me to block the possible hole behind the radiator to bar the mouse's reentry. Unfortunately, that probably just trapped him in my room and made him freak out more.

By 3 am I gave up on sleep. I turned on all the lights (cfls, but still an inexcusable global warming impact) and the television. To distract myself, I did more mouse research followed by a quick kayak search of hotel rates. Unbelievably, I managed to stay up until 6 by watching univision and looking a clothes online (though I was derangedly jumping at every noise and shadow I sensed). Then, I finally calmed down and there was no more rustling. By 7, my roommate was up making noise and I was able to drift off to sleep before my alarm woke me up 30 minutes later.

As you can imagine, I'm tired and in a sour mood. I spent the morning inspecting the corners of my room and cleaning the kitchen (where mice definitely frequent). I am off to find traps for my room now and I am debating whether I will attempt another night of craziness (maybe I should buy ear plugs--though I guess that wouldn't curb my mouse dreams). Or I will request a corner in Shimmy-Shimmy house. Or I will break down and get a hotel room like my mother advised (she's even ready to come up and move me into a new place). I love my home but I am a wreck. That is unacceptable. I doubt sleeping on a friend's floor or a fluffy hotel bed will give me any peace of mind when I know that a mouse/mice are moving into my sanctuary.



Here I am sitting in my room afraid to turn off the lights, afraid of bedtime, afraid of quiet. I wish I was on my way to NC tonight (sorry A-M!).

I knew that it was only a matter of time. It's getting cooler outside and my housemates and I have been so busy that we've been less than careful about scrubbing down the counters and sweeping the floors. That is no excuse, but it is an explanation.

So, my house officially has a mouse problem. An exterminator came on Wednesday and noted that he found myriad holes near our house. He said that there was recently a major extermination a few houses down. I guess the whole family packed up and moved in. He said he didn't want to do anything until he talked to our landlady because it would be a major job ($$$). That made me worry but it wasn't unexpected.

For a while, I've heard scurrying between the walls. I thought that I was going crazy but it has woken me up on several occasions (horrid nightmares!). Finally, my roommate heard them as well. Now, I am certain of what I hear: a metal door (?) opening and closing, followed by scurrying in the walls in my room and in the ceiling. I can only imagine that one day the ceiling will fall, revealing a thousand beady eyes.

I saw a mouse in the kitchen earlier this week and now I fear that its cousin is in my bedroom. Although I cleaned my room earlier this week, I left a slightly exposed bar of chocolate out last night. I didn't wrap it as carefully as I should have given that our place is probably a multi-mouse family home. Today, I found my beautiful Ghirardelli Midnight Delight gnawed at the end. Gross. I believe that it came through the hole behind the radiator. Given all that I've read on the web about mice, it doesn't seem like much can deter them. They can squeeze into spaces a quarter of an inch wide, leap into the air, and crawl up vertical spaces. No wonder it was able to get at the delectable treat on my nightstand.

I am tempted to crash at a friend's house or check into a hotel tonight. If only Gray Cat wasn't the carrier of an unknown infection, he'd be sitting right next to me right now. I am utterly grossed out, afraid, and angry at myself. If only I had wrapped that chocolate bar last night. I've broken my no-food-in-the-bedroom rule over the past months and now I am facing the consequences. My roommates eat in their rooms, but they've never reported any problems. Just me.

At the same time, this problem is a whole house problem. We've had mice in the kitchen since I arrived and my landlady recalled an infestation years ago owing to the basement tenant's storage of many bags of dry dog food.

So why the fuck is our landlady taking so long about hiring someone to destroy every creature that has more than two legs in our house (especially now that the exterminator expects a major infestation)? I believe in humane killing but in this situation--where I know a successful extermination in our house will merely result in emigration to a neighbor's house--I say bring on the poison. Kill them all.

Okay, now back to making lots of noise and debating whether I should sleep on my futon or a friend's floor. The problem is that I can't sleep on someone's floor or in a hotel until my landlady finally decides to hire an exterminator and he is able to work his magic on them.




Today is the last day of my self-imposed house arrest. I have been so tired and overwhelmed about work and I figured that this recess week was a good time to take some deserved days off.

It has been a great vacation from work and worries. I caught up on sleep, did countless loads of laundry, cleaned my room, watched movies, danced to too loud music, finally made mexican food, and read a lot (mainly twilight again).

I am a bit restless to return to work and that routine. I really do like my job and the people I get to work with even if there is a tendency for burnout.

I think I will take more random days off in december. It is always good to recharge your batteries and take time off to just be yourself. It's something that I hadn't done in awhile, and that I hope to do more regularly now.



Last night, I finished the last book in the Twilight series. Reading the books has consumed my life during the past two weeks. I shunned outside activities, stayed up late and woke up early almost everyday just so that I could read a few more pages. I put aside the disturbing but equally captivating book that I had been reading, The Picture of Dorian Gray. As soon as I am able to move forward from my lingering thoughts and unresolved questions about the Twilight story, I shall return to Dorian Gray. I just wonder when and if my brain will be able to move from Twilight.

It is funny that just as I shunned Harry Potter for years, I was reluctant to read Twilight. But as I was doubtful that a "kids book about wizards" would be able to truly capture me, I was doubtful that a silly teeny-bopper, fantasy book would even come close to having the beauty and complexity of my favorite Austen and Hardy classics. But something—a combination of being hooked on the CW’s rather tame Vampire Diaries and the encouragement of friends—convinced me to start reading the books. I am so happy that I did.

I am in love with the story of Twilight. Sure, it may never be as close to my heart as Persuasion. But, something about the idea of love, true love, being the purpose for and quest of your life has filled me with joy. I was engaged by the love story, by the conflict, and by the supernatural world Stephenie Meyer created. Of course, like many, I cringed at the incomplete editing and other flaws that appeared in the book (It was interesting to watch how her writing and voice became stronger over the series). But after the first few chapters, it no longer mattered. The story had a way of sucking me in and making me anxious to discover the resolution of Bella’s story and in an odd way, it charged me to find resolution in my own life.

This means that it made me think a lot about Floyd. Wondering if Floyd is my Edward, my true love. But I’ll save that for anther day. As I will also think later about how the book and Meyer’s somewhat unplanned ascent to authorhood has inspired me to write again. I’m not so deranged to think that a beloved story of my own will come in a dream, but I am excited about the possibility that I, too, could create characters and a story as vivid and satisfying.

For now, I give two thumbs up for the Twilight saga. It is intoxicating, frightening, and enjoyable. I look forward to reading the books again, less anxiously, so that I can have an even greater appreciation and understanding of how the author was able to weave such a beautiful story. So though, I’m not quite a Twi-hard, I am deeply reverent of how her story has moved me.


Balvenie Tasting

I believe that I shared my experiences at Johnny Walker and Macallen tasting events on this blog, so it is only fitting that I report back on the Balvenie tasting I attended this week with G.F.A. (We miss you A-M!). The tasting was intended to celebrate the new 17-year Madeira. It was held at PS7, a hip restaurant in Chinatown that I vaguely remember going to for dinner a few months ago. But I’m thinking that the experience/food wasn’t that memorable as I only remember a good salad and an odd desert.

First of all, let me complain about the venue. I don’t know who planned the event but they definitely need some lessons on fire code. I felt like a cow in a pen as they didn’t seem to have a strict rsvp or guest policy and instead opted to pack as many people into the inadequate room that they reserved for the event.

The tasting itself was pleasurable. I got to taste many of the hors d’oeuvres (pumpkin soup and lobster torchon!) that were paired with the 4 types of Balvenie scotch that freely flow at the different stations. I actually didn’t enjoy the Madiera-17, preferring the 15-wooden cask that supposedly had a higher alcohol count. Regardless, I was pretty drunk by the end of the night so G.F.A. and I headed to Five Guys to absorb all the scotch we imbibed.

That night, I also stole for the first time. It is shameful, I know. But I was set on getting a token for A-M. At all the other events, a memento pin (Johnny Walker) or glass (Macallen) was provided to the participants. So, I lifted one of the Balvenie-inscribed glasses. Hopefully, all the good karma points I’ve racked up over the years will spare me from any repercussions.

I was a great experience. I am still not sold on whiskey but after attending three events (and hearing all about its glorious wonders and history), I finally do have a greater appreciation of the dark liquor.


Mellon Collie

It was a good weekend highlighted by the acceptance of my sense of melancholy. The approaching winter and its cold temperatures and shorter days always has a way of dampening my spirits but I sense that my melancholy is also due to my anxiety about my direction in life and more acutely, my work-life balance. I blame it on Floyd, of course.

I was sad but oddly euphoric this summer after being freed from our relationship rollercoaster. It was exhilarating to be single and a little selfish. That lasted until now. Now, I’m feeling lonely and a little lost. And the distraction of work—instead of adding to my sense of direction, meaning and worth (as it once did) has begun to slowly feel like another shackle I must break free.

Over the weekend, in chatting with a bubbly Organica, the reality of my outlook became apparent. The question now is if I am ready to do something about it or if I’ve entered yet another “dark” phase in my life—similar to the one I experienced during most of my college years of trying to find myself.

It is amazing that one can feel at the top of her career and personal life for months, only to have everything change in the next. More than ever, I need inspiration and an outlet. Writing no longer thrills me so I’m thinking about ballroom dancing or taking up an instrument.

Of course, I also need to reevaluate my life plans as they are the real culprit. It is a possibility that I will disregard my Administration hopes in favor of a radical change. That would mean no more DC but the fulfillment of my lifelong goal of living in NYC and abroad. Doing what, I have no idea but I at least have money saved (for a down payment…) that could be tapped for this venture. Leaving is probably the most foolish thing I could do right now given the economy and my career trajectory. But I can’t seem to ignore any longer the nagging feeling that now is the time to fulfill a few more of my personal dreams.

I must remember to breathe as I've done this before. Only last year I left the secure world of nonprofits for a low-paying, unknown Hill job just so that I could check it off my DC-list before heading to the Peace Corps. I've had an amazing year because of that decision and I'd imagine that pushing myself again to do something totally different will also reward me with new experiences, friends, knowledge, and memories.


Tengo Frio

So here is the prerequisite whiny blog about the changing weather. I feel that I’ve spent way too many entries over the years complaining—about the weather, my love life (or lack thereof), my annoying roommates, etc. But where else would I complain if not on my blog? So here goes:

It is so cold outside! Where did the fall and its gradual cooling go? I’ve added a new layer to my bed each night this week and I’m thinking about digging up my thermals for this weekend. My shared house is so drafty and I don’t think that we plan on activating the radiator just yet.

After years of complaining about the winter and promising that I wouldn’t spend another year in DC, here I am again. I should either stop complaining and accept that if I want to live and work in the land of federal policy opportunity, I have to deal with being cold. Or I can finally move to Miami. Then, I’d have beautifully warm/hot weather all year long. Hurricanes are nothing as long as I don’t have to face months of cold, windy and damp walks home from the metro in the dark (you know the sun sets by 5 pm around December).

So this marks the end of my social life until the spring. I rarely leave my house after sunset when it is cold. It was a good summer and spring and I look forward to peeling off the layers and applying only one, thin layer of lotion in a mere 6 months.

For all you Northerners and winter-lovers out there, say what you will. I am from the South and anything below 70-75 degrees is chilly.


Dandiya Raas

I had a delightful weekend—which might explain the blahs I’m feeling today. The highlight was definitely attending a Dandiya Raas dance at GW. I was a bit reluctant to accept my friend’s invitation to join her and her friends. I have begun to eschew public dancing (in the absence of liquor) as I have gotten more self-conscious with age. But her enthusiasm, along with her reiterated promise that a certain individual would be in attendance, changed my mind. It didn’t hurt that she promised each of us a tradition Indian dress to wear.

I wore an intricately beaded, red tunic that was paired with a floor length, full shirt. It was beautiful—and heavy. I think wearing the outfit put me in the mood because I danced most of the night. There were so many beautiful, colorful outfits. Everyone seemed to sparkle and shine. First, we danced the 5-step and 12-step with dandiya sticks (which my friend taught us with large kitchen spoons before we left her house). Then, there was about an hour of free-style dancing which was also fun.

It was definitely an experience that I will never forget, and I hope that I get to do it again soon.


A Mouse

I don’t recall if I’ve shared my experience with critters in my new place. My last shared house did not have many critter issues. My new place does. It’s an old house. Plus, it is probably our fault given that we like to keep certain windows open and the front and back door open to create an indoor breeze.

Regardless, this week, I got my first glimpse of the mini-mouse (No, not Minnie Mouse. That would be cool) that inhabits our kitchen. When I first moved in, my roommates warned me that there had been mouse sightings in the kitchen. So, I was prepared to keep things clean and make a lot of noise in the kitchen to keep it at bay. It worked until this week.

I was washing dishes at the sink—grooving along to Beyonce or whatever was playing on the radio, when a tiny mouse appeared at the sink. I screamed bloody murder and froze as it quickly scurried behind the faucet and made for the crack between the counter and the oven. I’ve seen street rats and dead mice before, but never a live mouse. It was cute, I guess. But it has to go. (The only exception to my “no critters in the house rule” is for spiders because they tend to keep everything else away.)

Last night, my roommate set a humane trap for the mouse and volunteered to release it whenever it is caught. I do believe in animal rights but I prefer the old-fashion trap. It’s cheap and allows for a quicker death—compared to awful glue traps or environmentally unsound poison. Plus, isn’t it less humane to release it into our neighborhood which is teaming with stray cats, fast cars, and unknown food supplies? And, I’m sure that there is a mouse family leaving there. So we’re basically kidnapping the breadwinner and leaving the babies to die from starvation. Or worse, a new family will move in. I’m tempted to invite gray cat into the house to take care of it as that seems like the most natural end. But first, I need to resolve gray cat’s unidentified health issues.


Dual Monitors

I almost feel like I belong on Wall Street. I got a second monitor added to my computer this week, after months of hesitation. I doubted that a slight increase in productivity was really worth less desk space.

Although it is taking me a while to get use to having documents open on two different screens, I love having my email inbox permanent displayed while I pursue tasks on the other monitor. Plus it’s great for when I’m editing multiple documents or accessing a remote computer.

I’ll report back on whether my productivity has actually increased. But as of Day 2, I’m totally sold.


The Cats

Monday evening was almost out of a Hitchcock film. I arrived home a little later than normal. I checked for Gray Cat but didn’t see him. So I decided to put out some food anyway, knowing that he’d always had a way of showing up a few minutes after I or my roommate came home.

Soon after pouring the normal serving of Iams (yes, after consulting with Celestyn, I was guilted into buying the “nicer” stuff), a white and brown cat that I’ve never seen before appeared on the porch. I shrugged and let him at the dish, figuring that enough would be left for the Gray Cat. An hour or so later, my roommate came home and commented that two cats (including Gray Cat) were on the porch looking for food. I told her that I already put food out and went to the door to check the situation for myself.

I found three cats at the front door looking in at me through the glass. At first, I was moved---they really are cute in a scraggly sort of way. But then, when I saw another cat walking onto the porch I started to freak out. It was a little too reminiscent of “The Birds.” A row of cats looking through the glass door while at least one other cat paced behind them.

I am heartless. Ignoring their expectant, hungry stares, I turned the lights out and went upstairs.

I couldn’t imagine filling a single bowl with food to be shared by four or more hungry cats. Plus, I don’t like the idea of feeding every stray in my ‘hood. I just don’t have the money to buy that much cat food. Plus, I don’t think that my neighbors or roommates would appreciate it if I turned our front porch into stray cat central.

So, I will continue to feed and take care of Gray Cat. I will probably even take him to the vet soon as he seems sick. But I can’t go out of my way to help out the others. It is sad that there are so many stray and feral cats in my area. I can only hope that the other houses in my neighborhood are continuing to feed them and that organizations like Alley Cat Allies continue to exist.


Four Eyes

This morning my glasses finally broke. The left arm fell off and it has nothing to do with the screw--which means I can't attempt a tape job as before. After consulting with my eyeglass place and a repair shop, it is certain that they can't be fixed without shelling out $70. That almost how much they cost with my insurance. I must purchase a new pair.

I hate shopping for glasses. It truly takes me multiple, repeat visits to various eye glass places until I find a pair that is similar to the old pair

It's an important purchase because it's the one thing (beside my hairstyle...) that I wear everyday. It is also my only regular accessory and fashion statement.

I want dark brown frames with a subtle 1950s cat-eye, basically a new version of the glasses I have now. But of course the brand/style I have is no longer carried and I am forced (as I am every two years) to try on a hundred pairs until I resign myself to the pair I sorta like and eventually come to love.

Please wish me luck and great speed with my search. My eyes and bridge are already unhappy with my super-old pair.


Back in D.C.

I am back to my routine in D.C. I had a really great time in Atlanta. I am very glad that I went home as I was reminded of the importance of putting family and friends first--something I haven't been doing much of lately.

The ride down to ATL was eventless but I enjoyed spending time with my high school buddy and his wife. I definitely plan to spend some time with them, especially as they live only a few blocks away from me.

As expected, my friend's mom's funeral service was heartbreaking. It was a little nontraditional as there weren't any religious references and the time was spent with folks sharing stories and memories. It was simple, moving, informal and classy. It was the sort of service that I want when it is my time.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with my friend and the rest of the gang. It was a lovely, unplanned reunion that reminded all of us of how much we love, care and support each other.

As a special bonus, I also got to see my grandmother--who is still recovering from a series of minor heart attacks this year. She'll be 91 next month.

Family and friends. It's something that an independent-antisocial Hippo tends to take for granted. I think that might finally change.


Unplanned Reunion

Tomorrow, I am going home to spend time with my friends and family. Last weekend, the mother of one of my best friends from high school died. Our little circle is making the pilgrimage to be there for her.

It is crazy how funerals can bring people together. Many of us haven't hung out together since college, or even high school. But we will all be there this weekend to support our friend. I guess it is a testament to the strength of the bonds we formed.

The death of my friend's mom reminds me of the death of my own father and the death of another of our friend's mother. It is natural for a child to bury a parent but it seems unscripted for a parent to die relatively young, i.e., before meeting their grandkids.

I can't wait to go home and give all my friends and family members a hug. I particularly want to embrace my friend and help her deal with her lost (by getting drunk and pigging out on greasy food). This is one of life's unavoidable milestones and I can only hope that my friend is able to move forward.



I can't believe the summer is nearly over. I am so amazed by how busy, stressful, productive and fun this summer has been. I think that I have made great progress in dealing with life post-Floyd (though I hope our conversation a few days ago hasn't set me back. He--or perhaps, we--has a way of planting seeds that find a way to haunt later.)

I am keen on finishing up this year the right way. I had dinner with Chatty-Chica a few days ago and she recommended that I create a year plan, a sort of bucket list, to ensure that I accomplish my short term goals--like riding to the top of the Washington Monument during the extended summer hours. It took me 9 years to take the elevator to the top (partly the fault of the renovation...) and I would hate to wait another 9 years before I got around to a trip at night.

My other, more significant goals include traveling. There is a January Mexico girls' trip in the works right now, and I think A-M and I are still aiming for Europe next summer. Other items include connecting with old friends, volunteering every month in my hood, working on my downward dog, seeing at least one show a season at the kennedy center or equivalent, and surpassing 20,000 words in my novel.

I plan on writing out my list this weekend, signing it and treating it like a contract. I am tired of putting off or not taking time for those certain things that I really enjoy but rarely have the time for. I feel that this is the perfect time for reevaluating the direction and wealth of my personal life and doing all I can to make it balanced and thereby, more fulfilling. Yes, this is possibly a part of the "almost 30 panic," but regardless it is still a Hippo Q. sort of thing to do.


Little Terrors

I guess it makes me an old fogy, but I don’t understand kids today.

Tonight, I sat on my front porch, enjoying the cool night air and waiting for “Gray Cat” to arrive. There were a trio of teenagers across the street playing/terrorizing a dog and eventually they started standing on one of the cars. At first, I figured the dog got lose and they wanted to get out the way. But when they kept jumping on and off the car's hood and roof and then, doing the same to my neighbor's car, I decided to step in and give them a piece of my mind.

I don’t know on what planet it is okay to jump on someone’s car. Again, I would totally understand it if you were being chased by a rabid dog, but seriously, wtf. I find myself saying that a lot when I stroll around my neighborhood. The teenage girls with their baby strollers drive me absolutely crazy. These kids need a reality check. I’d prefer it to come from a stern grandmother/older sibling/teacher, but instead it often comes from a brush with death, jail time or the reality of providing for a child when you are child.

First, let me say that the immaturity and delusionment extends beyond my DC hood. It is in suburban NoVA and MD, just in a different form.

I am tired of rolling my eyes at the ignorance and bad choices of the kids in my neighborhood and elsewhere. Seeing their excess, disregard and ignorance makes me wonder if the future as suggested by “Idiocracy” really is a possibility.

Of course, I blame the parents for indulging/ignoring their kids. But I recognize that "it takes a village" to ensure that a child stays on the right path. Tonight was a reminder that I simply must start volunteering with kids again. And it called to mind the old Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' line:

The world won't get no better if we just let it be
The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.



I’m feeling so blah today. I blame it on the weather and the fact that I haven’t had a real August recess. In fact, it’s been the worst August recess ever. Sure, things are slower than when we were in session but the fact that we are understaffed makes me feel that I am doing three jobs (my own and the jobs of the two folks who left last month). I am exhausted, anxious and stressed. Thankfully, a new staffer and an intern start in a week, which will alleviate a lot of my workload. Then again, once the excitement of the Hill begins anew the workload and stress will increase for everyone. That means no real break at all.

But I shouldn’t complain. We’ve been itching for an opportunity to make a real difference after 8 years of Bush. I truly hope that we accomplish all the things we need to before attention turns to the elections again.

So what's a staffer like me to do? Sleep is obvious. And I am determined to take the rest of my comp days before recess ends (I have 3.5 left but I'll settle for using 2). And I will clean and reorganize my bedroom. Cleaning always has a way of relieving my anxiety and making me hopeful again.


Happy Anniversary/Reunion

It’s amazing. This weekend marks my 10-year anniversary in D.C. I can still remember how excited, naïve, happy, and scared I was when I first arrived in Foggy Bottom. I never imagined that I’d still be here.

I never imagined many of the turns my life has taken. But all those turns have made me who I am. As I told a former co-worker this afternoon, I rate my life a 9.5 out of 10. The only reason I’m not a 10 is that I haven’t gotten into the shape I want and I don’t have a beau. Otherwise, I feel like I am finally in control of my destiny because I’m starting to truly know and accept myself. Time and experience have been a great teacher and healer for me.

I enjoyed showing off my 28-year-old self to my classmates at my 10th high school reunion. The reunion was very strange but I am glad I went. The folks I really wanted to see didn’t show but I got to catch up with at least two people from the lunch circle (my date and "Rubber/Eraser"). Mostly, the guys had more/less hair and were chubbier than I remember. Although some of the women were a bit worse for the wear (sunblock is key!), most of my female classmates looked the same—just a bit more stylish and taller from heels. Almost everyone is married and I got to fawn over two sets of baby pictures. There were several people I did not remember at all. Honestly, there is a lot of high school and even college that I don’t remember. No, it’s not the weed (unlike certain friends, I didn’t smoke) or selective amnesia. For some reason it’s just a blur. An enjoyable blur.

I felt out of place for most of the night as my lunch bunch and I huddled at a table snacking, drinking "reunion" cocktails (open bar!) and examining the new arrivals. Yes, many of the folks (including my group) did revert to the cliques and attitudes of high school. It seems like many of my classmates stayed in touch throughout college and beyond. It is odd that they are still close. Towards the end of the night, I decided to make the most of it and convinced my friend to join me in chatting with a few of the folks I couldn’t imagine not saying hi too, including the dork who didn’t want to be my date to the dance, my longtime crush, and the guy I used to joke with throughout junior and high school (there was a lot of alphabetical seating…).

So it was as they said. It was awkward at times but given that I kept my expectations low, I had a good time. It was also good that I went with my standby, a comfy dress and flats that allowed me to relax.

Class of 1999: It was interesting to see how far we’ve all come. I’ll be back in another 10. I can only pray that everyone is still alive and well in 2019.


Countdown to the Reunion

My high school reunion is just a few days away. I’m a bit nervous but also excited. After a month of browsing online and in countless stores, I’ve decided what I will wear: a basic black work dress that is comfortable and fits me well. Paired with everyday flats, I’ll be relaxed and able to focus on the reason I’m going to the reunion, to connect with old friends.

I think I have checked my expectations sufficiently. I realized that it is not about wowing folks with an awesomely expensive dress, or proving that I’ve bested the rest in terms of my career and education, or about telling the dork who rejected my invitation to prom that he can shove-it (well, maybe it's a little about that...). It is about reminiscencing with old friends how awful, fun, anxiety-ridden, and carefree high school was. I do expect to exchange business cards and career insight, but I don’t expect to find a love-match or to make any significant connections that last. It’s like a one night stand with my classmates of ’99. No regrets, not expectations, no strings attached.

But I am bummed. One of my best friends from high school decided that she didn’t want to attend, despite my best attempts to convince/bribe her. For most of junior high and high school, she, another friend and I were the core of the original lunch bunch. It’s unfortunate that she won’t be there, but I won’t let that spoil the fun. My other high school bff is actually looking forward to it and I know that together we'll have a memorable night.


Online dating

For some reason--perhaps a mixture of loneliness, boredom, and anxiety about my upcoming reunion--I created a profile at Match.com. I haven't taken the next step of subscribing, but I think it is only a matter of time.

I don't know what this says about my psychological-emotional state post-Floyd. What I do know is that I am ready to start looking and to start thinking about what I really want in a life partner. I won't ever settle again.

I'm skeptical about online dating. Sure, I have friends who have found great guys online, but I've heard about the undercurrent hookup culture on some sites as well.

Part of me feels that activating my profile signals laziness or fear in seeking guys the old fashion way--at mixers or through mutual friends and extracurriculars. I mean, I haven't even given manhunting an honest try before hiding behind my computer. Yet, for a closet wallflower/awkward-around-boys gal like me it seems like the best and perhaps, only real option.


Almost-30 Anxiety

I am so anxious these days. It is like I haven’t been able to relax in months. Even though it is recess, I am stressed at work. Plus, I have put so much pressure on myself to get my non-work life in line.

The trouble is that work consumes my life and the little precious, off-time I have is relegated to everyday errands, catching up on sleep and using the remaining time for personal pursuits like fitness and hobbies.

It is almost mid-August, and I feel that I haven’t been taking advantage of the city and the summer. I guess I feel that I’m in a rut but I don’t think that it is a rut.

Maybe, it’s the “OMG, I’m almost 30” blues. Which just means that I’m anxious about taking advantage of all that life offers before it’s “too late” and I get “too old.” I guesss I should blame it on my upcoming 10th high school reunion. It reminds me that there is so much that I want to do before I turn 30. But the fact that I’m so dead-set on pursuing my Hill and political career as far as it will go precludes me from pursuing two of my other major “in-my-20s” goals: living in NYC and abroad. So I guess I’m coming up to a turning point in life. In the next two years, I will have to decide if I truly want to settle down in D.C. (my decision back in February) or if I want to try something totally different and move to NYC or Europe to do what, I don’t know.

The bottom-line is that nothing and no one is holding me back but myself which is awesome and scary—and leaves me feeling anxious.


Glass half-full

I've been complaining all week about how I'm having to hold down the fort at work. My boss is off the grid for two weeks and despite the fact that it is recess, folks still need information. It has been unbelievably stressful and overwhelming.

Now that today's big event is over, I feel that I can relax enough to realize how much of an amazing and awesome opportunity holding down the fort actually is. If nothing else, my name is on the radar of a few key people and I am getting essential practice in dealing with staffers, the Member, and outside parties. Plus, I know now that I can step it up.

Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for my boss to return and release me from all of the sensitive and annoying requests and decisions which have led to sleepless nights and probably a gray hair or two. But I value what I've experienced in the last few days and all that I will learn and do during the final week that I'm virtually on my own.



Yay, for recess!

If I ever get out of work today, I will be the happiest person in D.C. The past month-summer-year has been so intense. Don't get me wrong, I've had a great time. But I am burned out. Work is the main culprit and I fear that things will only get worse once my two colleagues leave this month. I hope that I will be able to continue to perform well in my new role. It's more responsibility, which is both exciting and frightening.

I hope that things are slow in August for me. I have so much backlog to get through at work. But I've learned to keep my expectations low when it comes to how calm any given workday will be, even during recess. So I'm thinking that I will have packed days most of August—at least on the days that my boss is in the office.

This month, I'll be saying goodbye to two friends. A-M is moving down South for graduate school and NY4Eva, my work friend, is moving to London for graduate school. I will miss them both, but now I have a great excuse to travel during the next few years. Their absence will definitely impact my social life (A-M) and my work sanity (NY4Eva). The good thing is that both of them plan on returning to DC once school is over. I've lost so many friends over the years, and I would hate to lose two more. That's the unfortunate thing about sticking around in such a transient city as DC.

Alright, back to work. This was my obligatory end of August post. Keep your fingers crossed that I can leave work today while the sun is still up.



I never thought that I was the sort of girl who would be drawn to boys with tattoos. First of all, I go between indifference and abhorrence when it comes to tattoos. I understand that they are a means of self-expression and individuality. But, in addition to more philosophical reasons, I feel that skin is beautiful on it's own. Plus, I tend to go for the clean-cut type.

That's why it was so shocking that I was turned on by a boy and his tat. He was a cute server at Busboys and Poets, and had this dark band tattooed on his beautifully sculpted upper arm. I nearly jumped out of my seat in wanting to trace it with my tongue. Let me disclose that I have a thing about a guy's muscular upper arm. It's so sexy and having a tattoo there just enhances it.

Now, I don't plan on hanging outside of tattoo salons but I will make an exception to my clean-cut rule if the guy has that particular type of tat.


Mom Check-In

My mother is in town. It was nice to spend time with her, showing her where I live, work and play. There is a surreal disconnect between the life I lead in D.C. and the life I led under my mother's roof - between Hippo Q. as a child and Hippo Q. as an adult. We are trying to bridge that gap and built an adult, mother-daughter relationship. But there is so much of my life now that I choose to keep to myself. I prefer to share only what I feel inclined to share. I guess that means I'm selfish. I prefer to not show any emotion other than peace, joy or indifference. Maybe that means I'm repressed as well. But really, I think that I'm a private person. The lack of openness isn't limited to my mother. The key is that I'm aware of that tendency, and willing to become more open so that I can built stronger relationships.

Still, it was a good visit. We ate, laughed, shopped, and walked all over the city. The key for her was to see that I am doing fine – even great. I am.


Sunlight & Graffiti

Right now, I'm headed to Silver Spring to meet my mother. I haven't been there since I said goodbye over a year ago. Downtown Silver Spring definitely treated me well those 3 years, but I am much happier living a more urban life in CoHe. If nothing else, the long Red line commute no longer discourages me from visiting DC friends and experiencing the city.

But riding the metro now, I must say that I miss the commute--mainly watching the scenery change. And the graffiti. I like the random political messages that are interspersed among the gang tags. No, I don't want to deal with a red line commute ever again, but I do wish my metrorail commute from the Hill to CoHe included a bit of sunlight and graffiti.



I feel horrible for letting my blog languish. I used to post so regularly--and with relatively interesting posts. Now, days and weeks pass without much cleverness or insight from my life. Just the mundane because I rarely have the time or energy to write like I used to.

And it will only get worse. I found out last week that I'm getting a promotion as my superior in the office is leaving. This is amazing news, given that I've only been in the office for 5 months. Again, it shows how fast ascent can be on the Hill given office turnover and the election cycle.

I'm nervous about being able to sustain my A-game in the face of more responsibilities--and an feeling of burn-out already setting in. But if I want to work for Obama, I better get used to it because things are only more stressful and nonstop there.

So, apologies to my regular readers for being a slacker. Recess is only a few weeks away and that means more posts, right?


Gym Rat, eventually

I joined the gym in my neighborhood hoping to break a year long hiatus from physical activity. I joined on Saturday but still haven't convinced myself to return for a work out. I walk by the gym every morning and evening but have yet to go in. It's a mere 6 blocks from my house, but once home, anything beyond the front porch seems too far a trek. I've been telling myself that I will kick-off my new exercise routine this weekend, but I fear that I'll oversleep or find some other way to sabotage actually getting myself to the gym.

Basically I feel too lazy and too out of shape to start a fitness routine. Silly, huh? I just know that I don't have the stamina for a full hour-long workout, and I hate getting all sweaty and red in the face—ready to collapse at any moment.

I was so fit in high school, college, and grad school. I don't know what happened. These days you truly have to twist my arm to get me to take the stairs instead of the elevator and all my awesome Denise Austin and Lotte Berk Method videos are gathering dust.

I feel so sluggish, tense and wobbly these days and I know that exercise is the best way to get better. But, first I have to actually go to the gym. No more excuses. I want to transform my body into the youthful, efficient machine it was back when I played varsity soccer in high school. I'll even settle for my 4-times a week yoga-body. Or at least, I want to be able to run for the Metro bus or train without breaking a sweat.


Broken Mirror = Bad Luck?

This morning, I noticed that the hand mirror I tote around in my bag had shattered. I think that it broke last weekend when a friend stepped on my bag. It is sad to lose that particular mirror because it belonged to my father and also, Floyd said it was designed for cutting coke in the 1970s. I thought that was cool.

I am a bit spooked about breaking the mirror. I remember a hand mirror breaking when I was a child and not thinking anything of it. But these days anything affiliated with black magic and superstitions freak me out. As a result, I particularly feel the need to defend myself against the possibility of 7 years of back luck or whatever other ills that sites like this detail.

I believe that fiddling with the dark arts opens you up to the dark arts. The junior high sleep-over standards of Ouija, Bloody Mary, Stiff as a Board, etc shouldn’t be viewed as just games. I wish I didn’t take me until after high school to figure that out. That’s when I gave away the voodoo doll and other items my friend gave me after a trip to New Orleans, and when I regretted summoning my deceased father during a séance. I didn’t know better then. Now I do.

While I recognize that we are surrounded by supernatural entities on a regular basis, I prefer to not recognize or seek them out lest I end up beckoning something that would do me wrong.

So, tonight I will probably contemplate burying the crushed mirror shards in the moonlight to rid myself of the supposed curse. But, most likely, I will wrap them in newspaper, say a prayer and throw them away.


New Roommate

As I mentioned before, one of my roommates is leaving our house at the end of the month. Our new roommate will be a RPCV, Hill staffer. He seems really nice and laidback but you can never get the true sense of a person from a brief open house meeting. I guess the main thing is that I didn’t have a negative gut reaction to him. My only reservation was that he works in the office of a friend, and I like to keep my circles separate. Plus, my friend didn’t give him a glowing review.

He moves in next weekend, and I have my figures crossed that he doesn’t change the sense of our house too much. It is so hard to find affordable, safe housing in DC and even harder to find a roommates who mesh with your lifestyle or at least are respectful and responsible. I want my house to be a home but also a sanctuary.

Over the weekend, I plan on spending some quality time in my home-sanctuary. I want to dig up my novel draft and figure out how I want to proceed. I also plan on spending some quality time with friends, talking about life and love. I can never get enough girl talk.

Happy weekend, everyone!


Almost Recess

I have no idea where the month has gone but I am so happy that recess is almost here. I've been running full-force for awhile and I'm really feeling burned out.

The good thing is that I'm learning a lot and witnessing some great developments on the Hill. I feel so fortunate to be where I am and that keeps me humble and motivated to give my all everyday regardless of how annoying or tedious or overwhelming my tasks can be. Most of the time I feel like I'm running a marathon or barely keeping my head above the water. There is just so much to be done and I can only imagine that the big wigs are feeling it so much worse.

I hope that I can be productive during the break and take care of my backlog so that I'm ready for the big push in July. There is so much to achieve this year and we are starting to run out of time.

To all the Hill staffers (and lobbyists) out there, hang on. Recess is near and glorious August is on the way.


Chick-lit distracts and inspires

I've been reading a lot of chick-lit lately. It's a great distraction from the stress of work and the reality of Floyd.

One of the most memorable passages from a book I finished reading last week spoke to my current romantic reality. I'm sure that it will mean nothing to one who doesn't know the context of it but whatever. It is taken from the Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez. It is a book recommended by a friend that I truly enjoyed.

The narrator is talking about her ex-fiance, Ed, who she found in bed with another woman. My situation isn't as extreme but the sentiment is shared.

"I mean, why cry if you're ridding yourself of a drunk, ugly Texican like Ed before you've actually gotten hitched to him? For the same reason Cuban exiles talk about Cuba all the time. The Cuba they left doesn't exist anymore. You cry because you mourn the dream, not the real place or person. The loss of the person you thought he was, not the one he is. There is no Santa Claus. There is no Ed in my future, teaching our son to put the hose away."

This book has reminded me that I need to write again. As the end of Mr. Rebound two summers ago inspired my first attempt at creative writing, the demise of me and Floyd is bringing on a need to express myself through words. Apparently, writing is my choice creative outlet.

And I can tell you I need an outlet right now. I'd rather it be at the gym or writing than chasing a "Jim" (Beam or a Mr. Right Now). Which reminds me that I need to join a gym soon. I need to work on my mind, body and soul and leave romantic love for some other time.


Final Hippo-Floyd Saga Update

I feel the need to send out an update to my loyal readers after my last blog.

I am doing fine. I was obviously very emotional on Sunday and Monday, but now I am doing better. I am in the same state I was before Floyd visited, but now the reality that there is no us is a bit more vivid in my mind, which is good. The perk is that now whenever I think about him or am tempted to contact him, I remember the revelation he shared on Sunday. He is ready to date again, specifically a woman who lives in Fairfax. That keeps me from fantasizing about how I can get him back and reminds me that I can’t be his friend (someone who’s happy that he’s found someone new) until I get over him. He won the “breakup contest” and that adds a wound to my vanity as well as my heart. I need to start healing both now.

This is my last post about Floyd. There is nothing else to write about that I haven’t already shared. And he’s no longer in my life. Hopefully, one day we’ll be friends and he will read my blog again (with my blessing) and I will write about how great of friends we are. But until then, there is no need.

Instead, I want to write about the awesomeness of my work and social lives---things are really good. It’s crazy that as soon as I start excelling and find peace in the other parts of my life, my love life falls apart.

I look forward to when I can finally write about a happy and exciting dating/love life. I must admit that Organica’s excitement about being young and single is intoxicating. She is right that the time to get out, explore and have fun is now. I don’t want to regret not living it up more in my twenties. Now without Floyd, I have the ability to do whatever I want without having to worry about what Floyd would say or what it means in terms of a relationship with him. I can date/love/fool around with anyone. I can pack up and move across the country or world whenever I want. It is scary but exhilarating to be so free.

I think Organica’s youthful optimism about love and boys is just the perspective I need to hear this summer, as I work to finally move on and reestablish myself as Hippo + none.


Adios, Floyd (this time for good)

It's amazing. I had an awesome weekend. It was relaxing and fun. Yet instead of being able to relate the amazing scallops and mac and cheese I shared with GRU at Ben's Next Door or the weirdness that was house searching with a realtor(!), I am left with the need to share my feelings of numbness, sadness, anger and confusion today.

Floyd is in town and I saw him yesterday evening. What a way to end such a beautiful day. Speaking with him on my stoop then politely asking him to leave.

My lesson was that I still have deep feelings for him and cannot be his friend until that fades. First, I need to face our reality and stop mourning what was or what never was--mainly how things were at the beginning. So hopeful and fresh. I was so young and so in love, as was he. Now, I'm older, wiser and I realize how different we are. All those things I decided to overlook at 19, 23 and 25, turn out to be essential now that I'm 29 and know, more or less, who I am and what I want.

So the weekend ended in tears and this morning began with tears, but no more. I've done this before and I can do it again.

I sucks to lose a best friend but it sucks even more to have a friend whose presence hurts. It sucks to end a relationship but it would be worse to prolong 9 years of limbo any further. I hate the maybes and the fantasies that lurk in my head. I live in a Disney fairtale, romance novel fantasyland most of the life--another lesson and another thing I must change. I strongly doubt that we have a future together beyond a friendship, if that.

It's a lot to digest and discard but for my own sanity, I have to finally say, for now and the foreseeable future, goodbye Floyd. It was real and now it's done.



I am so in love with DTV. I finally set up the converter box on the tv in my bedroom. My new house isn't wired for cable upstairs so I had to get one or face static starting today.

The build-up to the dtv switch has been a long time coming. I've not only had to hear about it as a rabbit ears afficianado, but also because it has been a big issue at work.

My tv signal is so clear now! It is amazing. I love the channel guide and bonus network weather and pbs channels--it means more masterpiece, lydia and sandra brown reruns! I hope that I'll get a better telemundo reception soon cause you know how much I like telenovelas.

It doesn't hurt that it only cost me less than $13 with a government coupon to get more and clearer channels. I refuse to ever pay for cable (except when forced by roommates, of course) so I'll be sporting this converter box until my old tv dies or I'm forced to upgrade again.

Good luck to all the other rabbit ear folks out there. I hope the switch was just as painless for you!


Roommate Search

I've only been in my place for a month, and we're already looking for a new roommate. I wish I was told about this possibility before I moved in but I don't think it would have changed my feelings about the place. My roommate is moving out after living in the house for four years. It means a lot that she didn't want to leave unless she found an amazing new place to share with her boyfriend. In fact, she's been postponing moving-in with him until they found a place that would top our current house.

My house has character. I guess that means it is in need of an update. The floors and doors squeak and the windows are drafty. But I love it. We have a front porch and a newly created backyard garden. There are alley cats that visit and lots of neighbors who pass by every day
walking their dogs. It's quiet yet I know I'm just a few blocks from the madness of 14th and Irving. I hope that I can find a house just like it in DC when the time comes for me to buy.

I am really nervous about getting a new roommate. The balance in the house now is so perfect. Both of my roommates have boyfriends that spend the night frequently, but I never feel like I'm living with four people. The bonus is when my roommates spend the night or weekend at their boyfriends' place and I get the house myself. We are also all very active. On the rare day that we are home at the same time, I'll be on the front porch reading, one roommate will be gardening in the back and the other roommate will be reading in her room.

We haven't shared a meal or outing since I arrived. But I'm okay with that. I think group dinners are nice but I am just as happy eating alone on the front porch. I do want friendly, respectful roommates. I don't want (or need) a roommate-friend.

So we've posted our ad and we've receive a few promising replies so far. I hope that we'll find a least one special guy or girl who can fill the shoes of our departing roommate and most importantly, mesh well with our lifestyles.


Sunday Evening

I like it when I do something new and out of my normal routine. I find that it is then that I learn something new about DC or myself.

Tonight, I decided to take the long way back home from the Hill. The weather is just so nice and I'm wearing the perfect sun dress.

I realized how much I love and miss the sensation of the gravel crunching under my sandals. I haven't walked along the Mall in months and I haven't been to the Lincoln Memorial in years, probably not since I lived in Foggy Bottom. Tonight, I made a promise to myself to walk the Mall at least once this week after work to de-stress and to check out the Lincoln Memorial before the month is over.

The other thing that I learned new tonight is that there is tango in the square every Sunday evening (forgot it's name...Lafayette Square? It's across from the National Theatre). I just happened to notice at least 40 couples dancing with just as many watching. It was beautiful and sensual--magical in the twilight and with the Capitol looming in the background down Penn.

I wish I knew how tango. I need to pick up a hobby and volunteer again. Those are the two things missing in my otherwise full and fulfilling life. It's something for me to work on this summer.

On a side note, I've given up my crush. It's unhealthy and immature to live in fantasy land. If I'm not going to pursue him, I need to give up the distraction. I'm not in junior high anymore. So please disregard the musings of my last post. I need to move on and grow up.


Hump Day

OMG, today was unbelievable. I don't know what was going on with me, but I got my butt kicked.

I am normally so prepared for whatever comes my way at work so I have to blame it on the fact that it is the first week back from recess. Recess is an illusion as there is always a pile of work to do. But returning to the reality of this "Do Something" Congress has given me quite a shock this week. I can't wait for the weekend to catch my breath and to get mentality prepared for a packed June.

On a side note, I ran into my crush. It was the non-work, bright spot of my day (besides seeing Organica). Unfortunately, I didn't really have time to connect and chat but I am hopeful that I'll get another chance at this weekend's bbq. Last week, our mutual friend gave me a green light in terms of my crush being a good guy and not being a player. The fact that my friend, who I trust, didn't warn me or discourage me gives me new hope and a reason to reconsider pursuing him. I have nothing to lose and no other cutie to distract me, so why not?


Weekend Recap

I guess it’s springtime when I spend my whole weekend outside or out with friends. You can’t get me to leave the comfort of my bed and blankets when it is cold. Besides sitting on my front porch, watching the neighborhood and getting at least two dozen new mosquito bites (at this rate, I’m going to run out of unbitten skin in a month), I checked out two Chinatown restaurants/bars over the weekend.

La Tasca
Given the crazy downpour post-work on Friday, I was seriously debating blowing off this outing. But I am so glad I went because I had a blast. I was greeted by pitchers of delicious sangria and a huge, steaming container of free paella. It wasn’t the best paella I ever had but it was helpful in lining my stomach for the 5-6 glasses of sangria I gulped down that evening. The pitchers just kept coming and I kept drinking. I will be back.

Bar Louie
This place was a treat. Sure, it is a sports bar with tons of flat screen TVs. But the tap selection is solid and the food is great. I love it when I can get Woodchuck cider on draft—-it’s always my go-to drink on a lazy night out. Make it Strongbow on tap (does it exists in DC?) and I’m in heaven. The highlight of the night was the California burger I ordered. I wasn’t even that hungry but as soon as I saw the glistening bun and side of crispy tater tots, I knew it was going to be a gluttonous night. The California burger includes cheese, bacon, avocado, and crab. Yes, crab on a burger. It was an odd choice that was amazingly good. As a bonus, there was a fair amount of guys at the bar—-watching the finals. So, it would be a good spot to revisit, armed with a wing woman or two.


Neighborhood Watch

Over the weekend, I witness petty theft from my front porch. I watch a guy break into a car and grab a black bag from the front seat. I stood up and watched him. I let him see me and yelled, "You better start running, because I'm calling the cops. Good luck." I called 911 and reported the crime. The female operator seemed as confused as I felt incredulous by witness the brazen act.

About 5-10 minutes later, the cops showed up. They seemed less than enthusiastic about answering my call. I told them to keep an eye out on my house since the burglar might decide to come back to bother me. They gave me some bull about not being able to watch my house. That's fine; just watch my neighborhood so that random acts like that don't happen on what should have been a lazy day of sitting on my front porch.

Several hours later, the owner of the car showed up. It turns out that nothing of value was in the black bag that was stolen. Most troubling for me is that he refused to call the cops. If nothing else, his insurance company would need a police report before paying for a new window. He spoke in broken English with a very heavy accent. So maybe he was afraid of interacting with the police (no insurance, no green card, the car is stolen, etc). Who knows.

I've decided to sit on the front porch every evening to keep an eye on my neighborhood. I want those bastard thieves, murderers, rapists, and other hoodlums to know that I'm watching them and I don't have a problem calling the police if things get out of hand.

Now that I've scanned the DC police department crime statistic map, my guard will be up even more than before. Sure, the hoodlums can have the $10 in my wallet but they won't be harming me or my friends without a fight. Next up, self defense class and I've even starting to think about the benefits of a gun. [gasp!] I never thought I would ever think about the value of a gun but I'm a treehugging hippie who is pissed and itching to take back her street and her 'hood.


Happy Recess!

I think I earned this recess. This week, this month has been out of control. I've been swamped at work and in my personal life.

I hope to spend my weekend reading (I will finally and begrudgingly pay my $30 library fine…) and finalizing the front porch. I decided against planting an herb garden as I fear what the street cats will do to it. So I'm thinking marigolds or impatients—though I'd love to plant something fragrant (that's why basil was the plan).

I'm really looking forward to going to a Nationals Game on Saturday. I don't really like baseball but I love going to stadiums. I like the atmosphere, the wave (!), and all the people-watching opportunities. I hope it doesn't rain and that the Nat's win.

So, here's to a deserved recess.


Gray Cat

I have decided to accept the alley cats that frequent my house, especially gray cat. S/He used to scare me. I'd open the door in the morning and there he'd be staring at me, waiting for food and interaction. I'd come home from work to the same thing. The whole front porch staked-out used to freak me out but now I love it. I look forward to it. I no longer mind if gray cat rubs himself against my leg in the morning, shedding his fur all over my black dress slacks. It's endearing.

I can seek why single women become cat ladies. Cats are independent spirits that can be loving without being needy.

I guess a single girl like me can and should use gray cat as inspiration. To a lesser extent, I, too, should start - freely and without shame - "roaming the block" for love and nourishment. It just might lead to a permanent connection.


Taped Glasses

I feel like such a nerd today. I stepped on my glasses last night and despite all my attempts to bend/rescrew the left arm back into place, the frame's arm just won't return to normal.

I dug up an old pair that are still stylish and functional as back up but I am determined to wear my updated pair, lest the weaker prescription lead to eye strain.

This morning, I applied some clear packing tape to the left arm. It worked, sort of. So I applied some more. Now, I have a wad of clear tape on my glasses that I can't seem to take off without totally destroying whatever connection is barely keeping the frame arm attached.

Of course, I'm thankful that I didn't break the lens or crack the frame in half, but I feel so stupid walking around with tape on my glasses. I would place it under the "not attractive to boys" category.


A Birthday and A Move

Moving Sucks
I successfully moved my junk into my new space over the weekend. Everything fit—though I do have a far amount of things stacked in the living room that may never find a home.

The move was pretty painless. Unlike this summer, my movers showed up when promised and it took no longer than 2 hours to complete. Nothing broke and no one was injured. Perhaps, next time I will be frugal and move myself, but there is just so much more piece of mind when you are organized and you hire professional movers. Please pray that I don’t move again for at least 2 years—enough time to save for a down payment on a house.

I like my new space. I’m still getting used to the weird shape of my room, the window A/C unit and the cat that is always sitting on the porch, staring at me, when I leave and return each day. I love cats, but he freaks me out. My roommates informed me that there are at least three cats that frequent our stoop, since we usually put out food and water.

This weekend, I hope to tackle most of my boxes. I’ve been sick most of this week with a horrible cold. No, I don’t think that it is H1N1, but it has prevented me from doing anything but blowing my nose and sleeping during the past few evenings. I blame it on the all the stress I experienced over last week due to my move and my birthday party.

28 is Great!
My birthday party was awesome. I was pleased that so many of my friends showed up, though I was missing my grad school trio. I look forward to getting friends together again for a bar crawl this summer. Good times.

My crush didn’t show. He gave me some lame excuse on Monday, but I’m so over him. My friend warned me that he is seriously enjoying his "fresh meat" status on the Hill, and I don’t blame him for wanting to take advantage of all the girls who are trying to catch him. As A-M said, he’s just not that into me and I’d said the same thing, I’m just not that into him. I don’t care enough to be one of those silly girls chasing him. I’m too old for that and I feel that he should be coming to me instead.

So now, I wait to develop a crush on someone new. I’ll keep you posted on who the lucky guy is and how successful is my game.


White House Tour

What an amazing treat on the eve of my birthday. Today, I had the opportunity to take a White House tour. I totally lucked out on an extra ticket and I plan to get an thank card to the person who made it possible asap.

It was surreal to see the West Wing. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see the residence but we saw the blue room, the green room, navy mess, press room, oval office, rose garden, etc. It was truly awesome. I was both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the tour. I was overwhelmed by the furniture, portraits, artifacts and the slight views I could catch of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. I was underwhelmed by the size of some of the rooms (TV cameras can be so deceiving!) and the fact that it felt like a normal office space. I know that I'm not making sense. The bottom line is that it was an amazing experience and I can only hope to visit the WH again for another tour, a VIP meeting, or, perhaps one day, for my first day on the job.



Yesterday, I called Floyd. I guess I was feeling guilty about my musings to half-heartedly pursue CuBu, my campaign trail crush.

He assured me that we are officially, undeniably just friends now. Not the “just friends” we’ve been during the past two years---not a couple but going on 2-week long road trips and romantic Miami getaways. But “just friends” who are past lovers seeking to establish themselves as separate, single beings.

I’m so happy that he also wants to stay close friends. We both know that will take time, but I don’t know of anyone who knows me as completely and can make me laugh as easily as Floyd.

It is the end of an era. I’ve known Floyd for almost 9 years and beyond the Mr. Rebound foray, I have been emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically attached to him since I was 19. Now, I enter my 28th year as a single girl and I am scared.

I am scared of guys, of rejection, of heartbreak, of broken promises, and of becoming a bitter old lady who regrets this choice. So, I will take it very slow. If all else fails, I’ll just focus on climbing the career ladder and leave love to another day. I just hope that I don’t wait too long.


Struck Out

Tonight, I had several people cheering for me, coaching me, pushing me along. But despite their well-wishes and advice, I struck out.

I don't have game. I'm sure my readers are tired of my constant whining about this but I don't know how I will ever find a mate if I always revert to a pre-teen girl around guys I like.

I ran out of things to say, allowed him to be drawn away by others, didn't close the deal with future plans. Mostly, I allowed myself to be discouraged by the gaggle of girls that always seemed to be near him. I guess as a new guy on the Hill, he's bound to be fresh meat. But to me he's more. He's the crush that just won't go away. I guess that means I need to get out more cause I know that DC has many other cuties for me to meet and fall for. But I just can't shake him or figure out how to snag him.


Moving Sucks

Over the weekend, I moved some of my things into my new place—mainly my plants, clothes and smaller items. I made a few trips with my trusty shopping cart on Saturday, but relied on A-M, G.F.A., and Shimmy-Shimmy to make three trips with a fully loaded car on Sunday. Although I still wish I had a boyfriend to take care of everything for me, nothing beats true friends—those willing to move heavy boxes, tall plants, and endless trash bags full of pillows in the rain. Thank you!

I can’t wait to be moved-in my new place. I am so excited to share a house with only two girls. The noise level and untidiness factor will be nothing compared to now. I admit that I will miss all the windows in my bedroom, my large closet, and the southside of CoHe. But I am excited to get to know northern CoHe and my new roommates. Most of all, I can’t wait to sit on the front porch with lemonade and a book or to start an herb garden in the back yard.

With A.M.’s encouragement, I decided to not sell any of my common room furniture. I don’t know if my futon and all my other crap will fit in my new space, but I am going to try. I don’t really want to deal with posting and fielding responses to a Craigslist ad this week. It is time-consuming and I don’t like the idea of meeting up with a potentially crazy person. Plus, when the time comes for me to move into a place of my own, I will have random furnishings to fill the extra space.

So, I have another week to finish packing before the movers arrive on Sunday. Let’s hope that they arrive on time and ready to work hard. Lucky for them, I’ve already taken care of the annoying, little things that take so much time. They can just focus on about a dozen boxes and of course, the furniture.



Almost every young Hill staffer has the fear of being overheard divulging office secrets in the elevator or of being caught in the middle of a Member photo-op. For that reason, I always try to avoid Members, VIPs, and camera crews like the plague, and I am always tight-lipped around folks.

Last week, cameras were swarming the halls and I was unlucky enough to be caught in a published picture next to a few Members. It is a bad picture and I look obviously uncomfortable. I can clearly remember trying to scurry away from the scene, but was blocked by a gaggle of chatting Members. The look on my face is obviously that of distress--last week was nothing but stressful.

For the record, I officially hate my profile now.


Another Move

What an intense week. Work was out of control and I've been stressing out about my housing situation. I decided to go for a smaller shared house in Columbia Heights after much pressure (from myself) to get a new place. I'll be sharing a 3BR/2BA house with two girls. They seem very nice and most importantly, seem to be at a similar place in their lives as me. That means no reliving college and the ability to clean-up after themselves. I hope that I haven't made a rash decision but I have been itching to move out of where I live for months.

So the race is on to pack my stuff and organize movers. I hate to pay $300 to move basic furniture .5 miles down the street but I don't want the hassle of driving a U-haul truck. This is the one occasion (besides VDay) when I wish I had a boyfriend or at least a few, buff male friends who owe me favors. Thankfully, a few gal pals agreed to help, and I'm thinking that we'll manage. Of course, this is all scheduled during a crazy-busy legislative period, but I think that if I devote a few hours every day during the next two weekends to packing, I should be all ready for the moving men on May 10.


Fine Lines

I see them.

A few around my eyes and a growing collection on my forehead. They say that "black don't crack" but I am seeing evidence of major, future wrinkles.

Since I turn 28 in a few weeks, I guess it is okay for me to start using wrinkle creams but I don't know if I will ever opt for Botox, skin rejuvenation, a face lift, or whatever else will be on the market when I hit 40.

I like to think that I am a low-maintenance, natural woman who embraces her imperfections, but the impact of aging on a woman's body is too much for me. I don't want saggy boobs, a flabby neck, a hunchback, frown lines, or sunspotted skin. But I know that it is on the way and there is little that I can do.

I don't want to be the weird lady who has clearly had work done--who can't smile or whose hands/neck/belly belies her plumped, radiant face. I want to love my wrinkles and see them as beautiful signs of maturity. But I don't know how to get out of our society’s youth-obsessed mentality so that I can embrace and love my aging/decaying body.


Birthday Party Planning

I want to do something different for my birthday this year. Right now, I’m thinking about a picnic on the Mall or a Ledo’s pizza party.

Picnic on the Mall
I love picnics and I love the Mall. That’s why it would be perfect to spend a warm spring day under the shade of the trees in front of the National Gallery. I’d ask friends to bring fruit, veggies, hummus, sandwiches, salad, etc to leisurely eat while sipping on contraband wine. We could play Frisbee, fly kites, or throw around a random beach ball. It would be very low-keyed and focused mostly on celebrating the warm weather. The main problems would be transporting everything to the Mall, the fact that pollen isn't my friend, and the threat of spring showers.

Ledo’s Pizza Party
I love Ledo’s, and I think it woud be the perfect location for an old-fashioned pizza party, with hats, horns, goody bags, and ice cream cake. It would bring out the kid in all of us and give me an excuse to pig out on pizza and beer. The ultimate party would be to bring a few Ledo's pizza pies and a cake into Rocket Bar. Although the place isn’t great for chatting (too loud), we could easily spend hours playing all the board games and other games offered. The only problem is that I don't know if the Ledo's Chinatown location will be open in time.

So those are my option. I still have time to figure out the logistics, and most importantly, which option would be best for bring together my different groups of friends.


Missed Connection

Two blog entries in one day are a big no-no for Hippo Q., but...

OMG. I sat next to the dreamiest guy on the plane. He started talking to me as soon as I sat down. At first, I was antisocial, favoring to do some reading for work (will I ever catch-up?!). But when I was done, we started chatting again. Mainly about work and DC.

He's a military officer/lawyer and in town for only a few days, which means that he would be good for a short fling. A ONS isn't my style, but I would give anything to makeout with him. He was just so tall, tan, and strong with perfectly kissable lips.

No, I didn't ask for his number. Not when we were getting off the plane or when I said goodbye to him again near baggage claim. I am such an inexperienced flirt, relegated to relieving such exchanges over the blogosphere.

Any normal woman would have closed the deal. But I feared rejection and didn't know how to say, "hey sweetcakes, I'll give you a tour of the city you will never forget" without sounding cheesy.

So unfair. Why can't I get over my wallflower, traditional approach to guys? I fear that my lack of game will result in me becoming a crazy catlady that no one visits.

So here is my game plan. I'm going to try my luck with an ad on Craiglist and in the City Paper. Then, I'm going to burn in my memory this experience so that when the next Mr. Right(now) is presented to me, I won't fuck it all up.

Airport Musings

After a few days in Atlanta, I am ready to return to my reality. It was a nice trip home. Although I didn't get to see my grandmother, I did see my niece (so tiny and squishy!) and I spent some quality time with my mom. I always get restless at home. The suburbs are so quiet and calm and I don't have easy, walkable access to stores for browsing or parks for people watching. I honestly can't see myself living in ATL for a long while. I like the energy of DC too much. But the real deal breaker is that I refuse to be reliant on a car to get to work, run errands or visit friends and family. ATL is definitely a car dominated city, and that's uncool.

I won't miss the pollen that has made my eyes burn, my nose run and my skin itchy. But I will miss having a backyard. I planted marigold seeds and impatients for my mother, and it was really nice to get my hands dirty in GA red clay.


Going Home

My flight leaves tomorrow for Atlanta. I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends and family. I haven’t been home in over a year—so my visit is very much overdue.

There are a bunch of things I want to do while I am home, including see my grandmother and niece, hang out with my high school buddies, and plant new flowers for my mom. I also want to take at least one bubble bath, ride my bike around the ‘hood, and eat Chick-fil-a, the Varsity, and Waffle House. It’s a lot to fit into a 3 day vacation but I will do what I can.

I am so happy that it is recess. I feel unbelievably relaxed and calm—quite a change from the stressed and anxious feeling that plagued me during the past two months. I love my job but it can be really intense. So this two week break is exactly what I need before the next round of madness. Plus, it is always nice to get away from the city and out of the bubble.

On a side note, my roommates and I bonded last night over a few hours of card games. It was a very fun night and I am glad that I ventured downstairs for the impromptu game. Yes, I still want and need to move but given that I've blown off most house functions since I arrived, it was time for me to be present.


Sunday Stroll in Old City (?)

Yesterday, I took a walking tour from Mt. Vernon/NoMa to Logan Circle. I fell in love with the 400th block of Ridge Street NW, among others with, when I checked out a few rental units in that neighborhood a month ago. It is such a quiet area that has a lot of potential. I also like the area between Logan Circle and the Convention Center. Sure, some of the streets are still undergoing transition but I think that it is a good location for me in the long term. And that's what I want, a place that will fit my lifestyle now and for the next 10-15+ years. I may party in Adam's Morgan and on U Street now, but will I still want to have easy access to that area later? So barring a lottery win that would enable me to buy a house in Foggy Bottom or Dupont, I'm thinking that an area a short bus ride from Chinatown/Penn Quarter is more my style.

Yes, I am still interested in purchasing a home in D.C. I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a condo, but now I am quite sure that I would be the most happy with a house and a small yard. This means that I will need to save even more money.

I've decided to go for a place with 2-3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms—to ensure rental income and easier resale. I want a place that has been updated but not renovated. I want a structurally sound house with new appliances, updated bathrooms and revitalized floors. But I don't like renovations that strip an old house of its character. I've seen many places like that and in fact, I live in that sort of house. It is modern and comfortable but it lacks the charm and workmanship that an updated, old house can have.

A yard is a must. Nothing huge that I can't manage, but something that will allow me to "play in the dirt again."

I don't think that I'm asking too much. But houses are so expensive in D.C., even in transitioning areas I like. Can I really save and raise five figures during the next few years to manage at least a 5 percent down payment? Given housing prices, that means at least $30k, not to mention the money I'll need for closing costs, an emergency fund, etc. That's where government grants and family gifts will have to come in. I hesitate to ask my mother for help, and I've heard that many of the HUD, etc programs are tailored to low-income families, not underpaid single Hill staffers. Where does that leave me?

When I go home this weekend, I hope to talk to my mother about my plans and get her advice about how to properly proceed. I still have at least two years to save and research but I want to be fully prepared before I start seriously looking and sign my life away.

**I am quite confused about the proper name(s) of the areas where I was walking. The real estate listings say Old City 1 and 2, the street signs said Mt. Vernon/Naylor Court/Blagden Alley, and wiki calls part of the area NoMa. I apologize to the locals who are offended by my ignorance, but where was I?


Donde Estan Hopper Cakes?

I am having the hardest time finding hopper cakes this year. They are my favorite seasonal snack and I look forward to them every spring.

I can remember buying five boxes of the sweet little cakes a few years ago. I don't know what came over me as I'm not the sort to get swept up by "limited time offers," but hopper cakes are hard to find. They are only sold around Easter and only at select stores that tend to have only a few boxes or individual packs. You go back the next week, and they are all gone. That's probably why I go crazy and buy so many whenever I see them. They are just so rare.

Of course, I can and should live without them. No one needs to ingest such an artificial, sugar-packed snack. Yet, I love them and can't imagine the beginning of spring without them. Keep your fingers crossed that I find some before it's too late.


A Mentor

Today, I had a brief meeting with my new mentor, a senior staffer in my field. He is supposed to show me the ropes and help me feel a little less overwhelmed with the new trajectory that I seem to be taking on the Hill. My new job has opened my eyes to a whole world of possibility on the Hill and I haven’t quite figured out how/if it fits into my career and life plans.

I’ve been itching for a mentor since I first arrived on the Hill. I have had pseudo-mentors, established Hill contacts that have given me insight on how to get and keep a job on the Hill. But I've never had a mentor who could give advice specific to my job and tasks. I’m hopeful that my mentor will help me feel a bit more confident about my capability to excel in this field.

I will continue to seek other mentors on the Hill, specifically a minority female mentor. I am meeting many young female, minority staffers and we are all thirsty for a role model. Some one to support us as we seek to break the ranks in a White male-dominated Hill (unfortunately, that is still the case for both Members and staff). A role model who can relate to our concerns about pursuing a demanding career while also seeking to settle down and start a family. That’s the sort of role model I am looking for and I hope, eventually, I will find.


Something Old, Something New

Eek.  If only my work life would calm down, I could post more regularly. I apologize to my loyal readers, but my free time is limited these days. I'm hopeful that the upcoming 2-week recess will give me time to create a bunch of great posts. But I'm not making any promises.
Over the weekend, G.F.A., A-M and I went to one of my favorite DC restaurants, Busboys and Poets.  No, not the U Street location that is mere blocks from my animal house. We ventured to the spanking-new location north of Chinatown.  The food was perfection as always—one day I'll venture to order something other than the immaculate veggie lasagna.  But something was missing. The vibe seemed cold and less urban than the hip and always-bumping U Street location. Perhaps, it's just that "NoMa" (WaPost coined?) hasn't finished gentrifying so there are still many abandoned buildings and lots next to towering, unfinished/uninhabited condos.  Of course, I didn't let that interfere with my meal, but I don't think that I will return to that location any time soon.
Afterwards, we headed to Rocket Bar. I love Rocket Bar. From the moment I entered the bar, I was greeted by all the late 80s and 90s songs that I grew up with. It was crowded but we managed to score a table in the back between two pool tables. As an added bonus, I spotted several cute guys in the crowd that night---definitely a place I will return to with my single gal friends.
Chinatown is rarely an area where I choose to hang-out. It is always swarming with annoying high schoolers, Verizon Center junkies and movie-goers.  But the young, chill vibe at Rocket Bar makes me at least reconsider it as a weekend destination.
Speaking of Chinatown and NoMa, I have decided that I want to have a pizza party at Ledo's for my birthday. I love, love, love Ledo's, and I am so excited that a downtown location is in the works.  If only, they would build a Sparkles skating rink right next door. Then I could really go old-school.


Business Cards

After 11-months on the Hill, I finally have business cards. When I
first arrived, I didn't care if I had cards. I was only a staff
assistant and I didn't plan on staying. But as it became more and
more apparent that I would be sticking around, I started to want
business cards. My supervisor told me that cards should have been
ordered for me, but never really told me how to go about securing
them. I decided to let it go, betting that I would be out of the
office by the time my cards were delivered anyway. So for the past 11
months, I've been sheepishly telling folks that I don't have a card. I
guess it hasn't really affecting my ability to network, but it is
something essential when it counts.

So now I have a set of about 200 cards. I look forward to finally
exchanging, not just receiving, cards at the receptions. It would have
been awesome to have had a card from my first Hill job, but I'm
thinking that my signed farewell shot more than suffices as a memento.

I will mail a small stack of my business cards to my mother. She's
always asking for my cards as she likes giving them out to her
friends. I also plan on giving her my inauguration ceremony and ball
tickets, programs, and ID badge. I think she'll be even more excited
to see that. I think my small collection of memorabilia would look
nice framed, along with a signed pic of the President.