An Addition to the Family

I became an aunt yesterday. My sister had her baby girl around 6 last night. I am so happy for my sister and her husband and the rest of our family.

The child already has so many folks, (great) grandmothers, great aunts/uncles, (play) aunts/uncles, etc that are looking forward to helping and watching her grow. It is truly amazing how much love a child automatically comes into the world with.

I hope to go home in a few weeks to see her and also see my sister and the rest of my family. It will be awkward but awesome to hold my niece.


Another election, on the Hill

A big announcement will be given tonight as to the new officers of a Hill staff association. This year's cycle has been less aggressive and cut-throat than those of the past (so I've heard). But still, I feel that there has been a solid amount of campaigning, at least for the top/contested positions.

Things started quiet enough. A few weeks ago when the candidates were introduced, everything was chill except for lots of "Fyi, I'm running" emails and Facebook "vote for me" group invitations. Fast-forward to a few days before election day and things started to heat up.

I got two calls in one hour on Monday from folks that I'd consider to be my Hill friends. They encouraged me to vote for their candidate. But I was voting for the other side. It was a bit awkward.

It makes sense that a Hill staff association election would be intense. The same people who work everyday to message for their bosses – in the ultimate/underlying purpose of ensuring reelection – have to be anxious to run their staff association campaigns just as aggressively and smartly.

I decided, rather late, to get more involved. I feel very strongly about this staff association. It has been one of the few networks that I was able to readily tap into when I arrived on the Hill last spring. That is why it was so important for me to campaign a bit for the individuals that I feel would be best. Yesterday, I posted a statement of support on Facebook and sent out a few emails to folks who might be on the fence.

I'm sure that no matter who wins, the association will continue to be an important resource and community for me. And, of course, I will continue to be involved regardless of who is in charge.

But, yes, I want my gal to win.


So over it

I am ready to move out of my shared house. I'm glad that I lasted this long, but the time has come for me to find a new place. My goals for moving into the house were to save money and to prepare me for the transition to living in a hut or tiny flat somewhere in Latin America. Now that I've decided to postpone the Peace Corps, I no longer see a need to continue to live in house with five other people nor to share a bathroom with two guys.

So, once again, I have to look for an apartment or shared house. I hate the search in DC.

The good news is that I've decided that I will stay in DC for at least 4 more years—though problably 8 (the full two terms of Obama's presidency…). I am hopeful that I will be able to work for the administration and even more hopeful of future Hill opportunities. I want to gain as much political experience as possible so that when the time comes to pursue a career in academia, I have a lot of real world experience to bring to my studies and to the classroom.

Given that midterm timeline, I've decided that I want to buy a house. It's crazy to think of all the shocking rent that I've paid over the years that could have been used to offset a mortgage payment. But back then, I had no reason to believe that I would still be in DC after 9.5 years. I always wanted to live abroad, go to school in Cali, or settle in NYC. Every year, I made plans to leave DC (grad school, Peace Corps, teaching english abroad, etc). But my desire to see how far I can get with a Hill/Administration career, trumps everything else right now.

And I can't see myself living anywhere else than DC for the long term. Sure, I'd love to live in NYC, SoCali, Europe or Latin America for a few years. But no other place provides the academic and professional (environmental policy), cultural and social stimulation and opportunity for growth that I feel I can get from DC for the rest of my life. Plus living in DC, NYC and Europe are always a short bus/plane ride away.

Floyd is very happy to hear of my decision to settle down in DC and buy a house. As he noted, I'm a modern, independent woman.

I secretly long to be buying a house with a husband. But I don't have a husband, or a boyfriend for that matter. So, I need to provide for myself and stay to the path that will make me the most happy. That means that I will buy a house and adopt children when the time is right—regardless of if a significant other is or isn't in my life. That's what being a modern woman is all about. I reluctantly, yet respectfully, accept such opportunities provided to women today.

I have a 2-3 year plan to get myself in a house in DC. I have a lot of research to do and a lot of money to save. And I definitely need to talk to my family and friends for advice. I'll be 30 in two years. So, for me, the time has come for me to take charge of my life and establish the sort of life I want. I no longer want to wait around for a man to change the trajectory of my life. I will set it for myself and hope that one day I will meet him along the way.


Best Vday (as a single girl) eva

Yesterday, started sorta lame. I ran some errands and bought myself chinese food and some ingredients for a mexican themed night. With a stack of newly-checked out books and movies, I was all set for single girl night in.

I wasn't feeling too sorry for myself because I already had a Valentine. Floyd offered to play that role earlier in the week. Yes, I did want to take a dart gun to all the heart-shaped balloons I saw. But I wasn't feeling totally bitter and alone (wow, that is melodramatic).

That night, I headed out with friends for a VDay chick-date. It was perfect! I got the juicy burger I'd been craving for weeks and I got to watch an awesome chick flick.

I had low expectations for "He's not that into you," so I was pleasantly surprised with a funny, engaging movie that hit home to my love problems and to many of my friend's love problems.

I am totally Jennifer Anniston's character. But I know that unlike her, I will never get the happy (i.e., married) ending that I want. And that is okay--or at least becoming more and more okay everyday. Sure, I'm not yet ready for a clean break from Floyd. But I realize that I have to find my happily married with kids ending elsewhere--with some who actually believes in marriage and wants kids.

The night was a great ending to a day that started just so-so. And I'd say that it was the most perfect Valentine's that I've ever had as a single girl.


Saying Goodbye to Peanut Butter

Until yesterday, I ignored all the media hype and government warnings about contaminated peanut products. I am a longtime, rather obsessed consumer of peanut butter and peanut butter products. Ask anyone who has eaten lunch with me during the past 5 years and they will attest that I eat a PB & Jelly/Honey sandwich for lunch almost everyday. That sandwich is usually followed by at least one peanut butter granola bar towards the end of the day as a desert.

I attended a hearing on the PB-salmonella outbreak yesterday. Listening to the testimony of the families who lost their loved ones got to me. I don't think I've ever been so moved at a hearing. A woman who fought two bouts of cancer, lost her life because of peanut butter. A veteran, who managed to survive the Korean War, lost his life due to consuming contaminated peanut butter. A little boy who got sick and whose own doctor recommended contaminated peanut crackers. Unknowingly, he prescribed the parents to give their little boy the one thing that was making him sick.

I, too, got sick from consuming half of a peanut butter Clif Bar. I thought I was feeling nauseous and uncomfortable because of all of the stress of the day. But, it was probably salmonella as I later found out that certain Clif Bars were put on the FDA list. Thankfully, my sickness from eating the bar was limited because I didn't eat all of it—I started feeling sick almost immediately. That was nothing like the 3-plus days of agony after a work retreat a few years ago. Several people at work got sick.

I decided to limit my peanut butter consumption. At least for now. I only consume organic peanut butter but I don't know if I can trust the FDA inspection system or the everyday business folks (like Parnell!) who make the products I consume. I want to avoid becoming a victim of a serious salmonella illness in the future.

But then, just about everything I consume (and come into contact with) presents a threat. Maybe I should just stop leaving my room altogether and only eat food that I grown hydroponically and drink water that has been filtered 1,000 times. Maybe I should live in a room with only sanitized metal surfaces that don't off-gas anything lethal.

Seriously, my only concern is that I don't know with what to replace my PB sandwich. Are there other quick, cheap, and satisfying vegetarian items that I can eat in its place? Nothing comes to mind.


Bberry Back Again

I got a new blackberry at work yesterday, which is good news for this blog. I write most of my blog entries while on the Metro going to or from work, and it has been torture to not have access to my emails, blog, and tv program listings during the past week that I have been without it. It's crazy that I felt so resentful about getting one when I first started on the Hill last spring. Now I can't see how one can be effective in the fast-paced, information-rich climate that is the Hill without it. Plus, it's essential for someone like me who refuses to replace her faulty cellphone (env. reasons) or upgrade her cellphone plan (econ. reasons).

For me, it's been a life-saver in getting live info about an important Hill event ("Wait, what am I supposed to be doing with this VIP guest?") and in updating my boss about where I am and how I can be helpful ("Sure, I can come in today, a Sunday. I have no life"). Unfortunately. I find myself checking and responding to messages during time that is supposed my free time--weekends and week nights that should be devoid of work, especially for someone as lowly as me. It's become a sickness, I think. And as long as I am on the Hill, it will continue unchecked.


First Week at the New Job

I apologize for the break in postings. I have been so busy adjusting to my new office and new work schedule. So far, I really like my new job. It's a big adjustment but a welcome change from my old office's dynamic. I feel that this is a supreme opportunity for me to learn and grow. It will be an exciting, busy session and I will be right in the middle of so many important legislative happenings.

It is odd that I will be in DC and on the Hill for at least another year--though probably two. I was ready to swear off DC during my road trip out West. While in San Diego, I started to fantasize about having a fresh start in a new city - in San Diego, in New York, abroad. But then, I returned from vacation and was offered and accepted a position that would keep me around until the 112th.

Yes, that means I got sucked into the possibility that the Hill and DC provide for making a difference--especially now. It doesn't hurt that I remain hopeful of one day working for the Obama Administration. As I witness former coworkers and Hill friends transition to the Administration and other jobs on and off the Hill, I become even more determined to work hard and network to be sure that I, too, can move to the next level in my career.

Two former co-workers, A-M & GFA, and I went to Luigi's to celebrate my first week at work on Friday. It was great to hang out with them, but it made me miss the old days when I had good friends and confidants at work. On the Hill, I can only claim a very small group of true friends. The rest are professional contacts that I haven't quite figured out if I can totally trust. That is unfortunate, and it makes my Hill life a bit more lonely--despite the fact that I am meeting more and more people every day.