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.