Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Not-So-Traditional Christmas

As I've mentioned in previous posts - and really any time I can find a reason to slip it into casual conversation - I love Christmastime. I love it like Santa loves cookies. I love it like ABC Family loves a screenplay in which a busy working woman falls in love with a man who makes her believe in Santa Claus. In fact, you may remember that I even bought my Christmas tree on November 19 - which may be why it died long before Christmas Day. 

This would be The National Tree, not my dead tree.
This year, I've loved getting to experience the season in DC - seeing the National Tree, attending holiday parties, shopping for gifts at new (to me) stores - but I was counting down the days to when I would wake up at the crack of dawn (which would be practice for Christmas morning), drive down to Charlotte and spend 9 amazing days soaking in Christmastime back in NC with my family and friends. I was ready. To that extent, I'd already eaten all of the chocolates out of my Advent calendar by December 18, symbolically and deliciously trying to speed up the passage of time.  

But on December 20, things changed. Plans were cancelled, suitcases unpacked, and priorities rearranged. 

My four-month-old nephew Charlie, the night before his first road trip to Charlotte, was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Inova Fairfax Hospital with a severe case of viral pneumonia and pneumothorax. Suddenly, nothing else mattered except our little buddy getting better. He was put on a respirator, given a feeding tube, administered sedatives, and doctors kept warning us that they may need to intubate him. It was unbearable to see the little guy in such pain. 

It would appear Christmas was cancelled. 

But I couldn't have been more wrong. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Day I Broke The Law....Allegedly

I was told that I wouldn't be an official Washingtonian until I got my first parking ticket.

Well, friends...

The time has come.

I present to you:

For the record...I OBJECT! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Post Is About A Grocery Store.

(I thought I'd spell that out to begin with in case there is something more exciting you want to do with your time. This post is solely 100% about grocery shopping. If you're into that kind of thing (and, let's be honest, who isnt?) then read on...)

When I moved to DC, I lost touch with someone I'd grown quite close to in Charlotte. 

Joe. Trader Joe.

To me, Trader Joe's is like the Target of grocery stores. You go in there for one thing and the next thing you know, you're basket is full and you've convinced yourself that you absolutely need veggie tortilla chips and coconut water popsicles. Clearly.

In Charlotte, there was a Trader Joe's five minutes from my house. In DC, it's not so convenient. Well, ok, it's like a 10 minute drive but I've now become conditioned to think anything that isn't walkable, or is farther than 1 metro stop away, is inconvenient. So, even though I've been here eight months (whaaaat?!), I still hadn't made the trip. 

Last week, a girl in the elevator was carrying Trader Joe's bags and I had been thinking about my long-lost friend ever since (Trader Joe's, not the girl. I don't even know that girl. That would be weird.) Any Trader Joe's shopper knows that the best time to visit Ol' Joe is during the holiday season. No one does affordable holiday fare like Trader Joe's.
Not pictured: gingerbread mix. Because I forgot and feel lame re-doing pictures of groceries. You get the point. 
Produce, now that's another story. Sorry, Joe, but your produce sucks. You know it's true. But, Joe, I don't love you because of your produce. I'm seeing Whole Foods and farmers' markets on the side for that. And, I don't love you for your everyday grocery or household items. My friend Harris Teeter fulfills those needs. Trader Joe's, you're in my life for four main reasons: Candy Cane Joe Joe cookies, delicious frozen snacks, cheese and cheap wine.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Read This If You Love World Peace

This post is overdue. One week overdue, in fact. For, just one week ago, we were all (hopefully) sitting down to a table filled with food, family and friends, thinking about what we are thankful for and about how many antacids we can take in a 24-hour period following our unnecessary overindulgence.

This, my friends, is my Thanksgiving post. It will be short, sweet and filled with pictures of Baby Charlie because, well, the only thing we did more of than eat and drink was take pictures of the baby. It was great to spend a weekend with my family, just hanging out, cracking jokes, eating food, and drinking all the wine. For that, I am thankful. 

Many of you participated (and are still participating) in "gratitude month" on Facebook and are posting what you are thankful for each day in November. At first, I didn't really know what was going on. I thought you guys were all spammed by some weirdo inspirational spammer. Instead of "Day #2: Lost 5 pounds without even trying -  find out how!" the posts read "Day #2: I love my family! They are always there for me when I need them!"

I wish spammers spammed like that.

I also wish those "lose five pounds without even trying" spams were accurate.

I didn't participate in "gratitude month" because, even though I'm on Facebook an alarmingly high number of times per day, I usually try to avoid Facebook trends, unless they involve posting pictures of hilarious animals. See Exhibit A:

Yes, "gratitude month" is totally different than a "Post this if you love Jesus!" trend and I enjoyed reading your grateful messages, but I just never came around to joining in.

Those Facebook trends are a slippery slope, you know. You click on one "Share this if you have a Mom and think she's the greatest" and suddenly you're locked in. "Umm...Lindsay proved she loved her mom but she didn't share the picture of the puppy to prove she wants all puppies to have food...LINDSAY HATES ANIMALS."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free Fallin'

Obligatory "fall leaves" picture. So pretty. 
After writing about politics and apartment fires, I thought I'd write a post that's a bit more simple: my simple loves of Fall.

Despite the fact that it always starts with a sinus infection and dozens of dollars spent on tissues and menthol cough drops, Fall is my most favorite season*. I believe it's called "Autumn" if you think you're better than me.

 *Fall is actually third behind The Christmas Season and Award Show Season. This is important to note as posts about these seasons will most likely show up in due time. But, I thought it would be dumb to write a post about my "Third Favorite Season" so just go with it.

In case you were hoping for an insightful post with clever, unexpected points, then I'm sorry. My reasons for loving this season are as cliche as they come. For example: pumpkins.

If it has pumpkin in it, then I'll probably be eating it. During the months of October and November, I eat pumpkin like it's going out of style. Because, guess what?? It is. You think you can get a pumpkin scone in March? Good luck with that.

Pictured to the left is a pumpkin scone from Starbucks. Now, in my expert-pumpkin-pastry opinion, Starbucks pumpkin scones can be hit-or-miss. This is due to the icing. There's too much of it. Sometimes it's delicious and sometimes it tastes like glue. (I think because maybe it is possibly glue). Personally, I'd rather have no icing at all, but sometimes you just get wrapped up in all their promotional pictures and the next you know, you've ordered it.

Unlike the rest of America, I don't actually obsess over Starbucks' pumpkin beverages. Pictured above is my tried and true "GrandeIcedGreenTeaUnsweetenedPlease." That's how I order it.

Even when your team is 2 and 74 or whatever the Panthers record is right now, football is still a great part of Fall. (For the record, I know the Panthers are 2-7. I believe in you, Cats. All Ws from here on out...)

Aside from a few irritating folks that I probably shouldn't be virtual friends with in the first place, I love that people get all crazy about their teams - college or professional. The Panthers may be having a JV season this year, but there's always that anticipation and hope that this will be the week.
Panther growl. Right before our VICTORY over the Redskins. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We didn't start the fire...

...No we didn't light it. But we tried to fight it.

Actually I didn't try to fight it. That's just a Billy Joel song.

And those are also the only words I know from that song aside from when I chime in on, "Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television." 

But back to the fire I didn't start or fight.

I was getting all ready to settle in for a rousing Friday evening of butternut squash soup and my Netflix queue  when things took a very surprising turn. In case you do more exciting activities on a Friday night, I should explain that "getting ready" for my evening meant that I would be taking a shower after a training session at the gym (more on that in the future.) and promptly putting on pajamas. This explanation is important to the story because it means I was still in a sweaty gym t-shirt. I tend to procrastinate on everything in life, including post-gym showers. This may be why it's good that I live alone. This may also be why I'm still single.

Nonetheless, I was sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table, starting my delicious bowl of soup and watching an episode of Alias when I heard a strange ringing sound which I only assumed was part of the show. But, even when the show switched scenes, the ringing continued. I thought, "These CIA people are morons, don't they realize they've set off some sort of alarm?" I muted the TV and the muffled ringing sound remained. Hmm...peculiar.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vote your heart out, America

But only vote once. Otherwise it's illegal. 

Before you stop reading, let me say that this post is not to tell you whom to vote for in this year's election. That's your decision. 

Besides, if you are reading this post, then there is a 99% chance you are a member of my family or a friend and so you probably already know whom I'm voting for anyways. I'm not very shy about that. In fact, it's reeeeally hard for me not to turn this into a partisan post but, after much deliberation, I've decided not to. Instead, let's stay positive. Voting is awesome, you guys. 

And, to make to sure I stay on task, I've enlisted the help of official NC Meets DC Voting Spokesperson, Baby Charlie.

One of the first things I did when I moved to DC was make sure I changed my voter registration. I did this in April because I wanted there to be no issues when election season rolled around. 

I suppose I can call myself a habitual voter as I make it a point to vote in every election - even in non-presidential years. I grew up in a family of voters and was excited to finally turn 18 and get to officially cast a ballot. (Although, the "kids voting" table always had crayons for coloring. I miss that.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

I'm writing this as I watch the 2nd Presidential Debate so I figure there is no better time to post about something I did that was very Presidential. 

This past weekend, my friend Claire and I went to the President's house. Well, actually, we went to the President's front yard. And driveway. 

It was a beautiful fall day and Claire had tickets to the White House Garden Tour which opens the grounds and gardens of the First Residence to nosy, patriotic folks like us. 

Now you should know that this was not my first time at The White House. In fact, I've been in The White House - in the Oval Office, no less! Perhaps you've heard of a man named President William Jefferson Clinton? Not to be a name dropper but...hey...oh wait, let me pick that up off the floor because I definitely dropped it. 

I would like to tell you that I had the opportunity to shake President Bill Clinton's hand. 

I'd like to...but I can't.

Because I didn't.

Because he had pink eye. 

Seriously. How's that for presidential? Not quite what you expect.

My family and I had the honor of meeting President Clinton in the Oval Office when I was about 8 years old.  We got to take a picture with him - pink eye and all. I wish I had the picture to prove it but they never sent it to us. I find that especially surprising because I specifically told President Clinton that I needed that picture within a few weeks because I had to write a report in order to get an "educational absence" from school. I made sure he knew I was on a deadline.  

I could kick myself now because I don't remember much about that visit other than the pink eye. That's the kind of stuff an eight-year-old remembers. 

Cut back to the present. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Card Collection (and a few tangents)

Well, there's no turning back now. I'm officially a card carrying DC resident. I'm not referring to my DC drivers license or my voter registration card*. I'm talking the cards that really matter. The cards that show you are not only a "resident" of a city but that you live there, like, really live there. 

Cards like these:

*Tangent alert: If you aren't registered to vote. Then, DO IT. A voter registration card is one of the MOST important cards. Seriously. You can register here.  

As a DC resident, I've acquired a very special card that means I'm now trusted to borrow (and return) books. In fact, I've already racked up a fine. How about that for fully committing to residency - I'm an official monetary donor to the DC Public Library system! You're welcome. 

The first books checked out on my new card? The Litigators by John Grisham and South of Broad by Pat Conroy (Only because I've already read all the books by Mark de Castrique and Melissa de Castrique Thomson)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer Scrapbook

Last Monday was Labor Day which apparently is supposed to symbolize the end of Summer. I, for one, think the first day of Fall should signify the end of Summer but, what do I know? I still wear white after Labor Day so I'm clearly not trustworthy. I'm an anarchist. Until I no longer melt my face off on the Metro, I'm going to go ahead and say that it is still summer. 

Sadly, summer doesn't really mean as much when you aren't in school. It took me a while to catch on to the fact that summer is just another - albeit hotter- season when you have a job. I remember, in my first year out of school, suddenly coming to the realization that, not only do I have to work all summer, but I can take vacations any time during the year. That was hard to wrap my head around. 

Nonetheless, we all still have an affinity for summer, probably because we spent the first 21 years of our lives thinking it was a big deal. Or, maybe you have a beach house? I think a beach house would add more meaning to summer. If you want to invite me to your beach house, I'd be willing to test out that theory for the sake of this blog. 

I wish I could go back to the days when we went to the pool all day and my biggest concern was how much more time we had to do underwater handstands before they blew the whistle for the dreaded, awful, every-kids-nemesis adult swim. Such an ageist ritual. Those 15 minutes always felt like an hour. I used to get mad because the adults would get in there and just walk around or swim super slowly - what a waste! I would be forced to go to the concession stand and kill time eating a microwaveable pizza and a popsicle. I guess the chewy pizza crust and sugary water were the consolation  prizes of adult swim. 

Those were the days. 

Despite my nostalgic rant on ageist swim club practices, I have to admit that the present summer has been pretty awesome. In honor of this so-called "end of Summer" I thought I'd take a pictorial look back on my first summer in DC. Some of these photos you've already seen. Some of them you haven't. Mainly this post is just a reason to use the PicFrame app that Catty told me would be well worth the 99 cent charge to buy it. Who doesn't love a photo collage? If you answered that rhetorical question with, "me" then I suggest you read no further. (And possibly, re-evaluate our friendship. I just don't know how this can work out.) 

Happy Post-Summer, Pre-Fall! 

Baby Charlie 

Clearly the highlight of the summer. I'm pretty obsessed with that little monkey butt. And, I use that term endearingly. My favorite photo is the one in the bottom left corner where he looks adoringly at my sister with his hands tucked under his chin. I think he's actually just begging for milk. Already working that cuteness to his advantage. We're all in big trouble. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"I'll Just Buy A Bunch of Nipples!"

That's a phrase that's normal for me now. In fact, my Mom yelled it in the middle of a public space. Along with, "Lindsay, I'm over in the nipples!" 

Maybe I should back up and start at the beginning.

I was planning on writing about the Olympics. I told you in my last post that I LOVE the Olympics. I decided to write about them after the official Closing Ceremonies, partly because I wanted to recap the full two weeks in all their glory and partly because I wouldn't have time to write about it before I danced my ass off at Caroline and Will's wedding. 

The Wedding. (Photo courtesy of Catty Amos. Photographer unknown, but definitely not whoever Catty and Sarah think the photographer may be.)
So, I was all ready for the Olympics post. I was going to talk about how awesome Missy Franklin is, how horrible the poolside interview questions were, how I think I could've been the greatest rhythmic gymnast of all time, and, of course, the Spice Girls reunion.

That was the plan for Monday. I was going to catch up on sleep Sunday night, and write a rivoting gold-medal-worthy post after work on Monday evening. 

Then, this happened:

That's right, y'all. Good thing we already had the Jell-O shot baby shower, because Charles Sawyer Sullivan Thomson decided he was ready to make his entrance into the world. Actually, it wasn't his decision, his placenta decided to fight back against my sister (or something like that. Pretty sure that's the first and hopefully only time I'll use the term placenta on my blog). 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Imaginary Friends

I've now been doing my daily commute long enough that I'm starting to see some of the same familiar faces each day. Most of them friendly. Some of them not. And some of them....well....they are the unsolved mysteries of my daily travels. It's those fine folks I'd like to tell you about today.

Note: This is not a profound post. I'm watching the Olympics while I write this. I'm obsessed with the Olympics. OBSESSED. I think writing this post will help me from screaming at the television and pretending like I know things about beach volleyball or gymnastics or rowing. Don't even get me started on swimming. An Olympics post will probably be happening soon. Until then...
If you've ever played that game where you make up back-stories for people, then you would love the characters on my commute. If you've never played that game, then you've clearly not waited in an airport for any extended period of time. That's the best place to play. I typically like to give people troubled back stories with futures full of perseverance and hope. Or, if I'm feeling creatively lazy, then I like to guess what they just ate.

My morning commute is no Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, but there are certainly some interesting people. Here are a select few of my favorite characters from my daily commute. 

1. Couple Who's Always Late

For the last week or so, every time I get off the Metro train and begin my walk to the office, I'm almost plowed down by a couple holding hands and running as fast as they can. They are always dressed in work clothes and have frantic looks on their faces. The first time it happened I thought, "They're being chased by bad guys!" (Because that's the logical option). But I saw no one running after them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baby Shower Cocktail

As promised, here's the follow up to the crazy baby post. Rather than just tell you about the baby shower I co-hosted for Melissa, Pete, and Baby Thomson, I thought I'd share some of my new-found baby shower knowledge. You see, this was my first time hosting a baby shower. In fact, this was only the 3rd baby shower I've ever attended. Do they all have Jell-O shots or was that just ours? I'm hoping that's the norm. 

This post is for you people who have ever thought, "Dang, I'm never going to be able to throw a fun baby shower." Fear not, my friends! I have the recipe for a successful shower that will make even Martha Stewart proud (or at least a little tipsy). It's really quite simple. If your dream is to throw a baby shower, then find yourself a pregnant lady (and probably also a hobby) and read on...

Baby Shower Cocktail: Key Ingredients for a Successful Shower

1. A Pregnant Woman

This is key, you guys. Fortunately, we had a great one. Not only was she great because, you know, miracle of life and all that stuff. She was also great because she said, "For my baby shower, I just want people to have fun. Can it be co-ed? And at night? And can people drink? Just because I can't drink doesn't mean other people shouldn't. Is that ok?"  Um....yeah, that's ok. We can work with that. 
Dear Baby, I'm sorry your Mom and I have demon eyes. The "red eye corrector" wasn't much better.
 Don't worry, you'll understand soon. I'm sure it's genetic. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Does That Baby Toupee Come In Blonde?

As you all know, I will be an Aunt very soon. In September, to be exact. In preparation, I'm co-hosting a baby shower next weekend for Melissa and Pete (and the baby too, I guess.). When I say baby shower, I'm not talking your typical middle-of-the-day, name-that-baby, no-boys-allowed baby showers. Ours is co-ed, at night, and the theme is mocktails and cocktails. As the name suggests, this shower will feature signature cocktails, mocktails, and two types of beer home-brewed by the father-to-be himself. In other words, this ain't yo mama's baby shower. It's better.* 

*For those of you traditionalists who are skeptical at our shower turned partaaaay, know that there will be some baby-related gifts, decor, etc. 

That said, I've spent much time researching baby gifts and decorations. And, by "researching" I pretty much mean "aimlessly searching Pinterest." As typically happens when you search the Internet, I came across some crazy stuff. Naturally, I feel the need to share it with you because, hey, it's Friday night and I have no plans. Brace yourself. It gets a bit crazy from this point on.

1. Baby Bangs
I couldn't make this up, you guys. It's a hairpiece for your baby. In case your baby doesn't have hair. Geez, talk about some premature balding. Who wants to go out in public with a four-month-old who doesn't have hair? I can't tell you how many times I've been out shopping, seen a little baby and thought, "That baby sure is cute but would be a lot cuter in a toupee." 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Twenty Very Important Questions

This is my Dad, you guys. 
....with my Dad, Mark de Castrique. My Dad's new book, The 13th Target is out tomorrow, July 3. In honor of that, I decided to channel my inner Oprah and conduct a super important, life-changing interview. While other blogs have been interviewing him about literary elements and his career, I asked the hard-hitting questions that other blogs were afraid ask.  Some people would be scared to inquire about fountain pens or fictitious dinners, but not me.  

So, following the lead of those other - some may say "more legitimate" - blogs, I came up with twenty questions for my Dad about his writing and miscellaneous other important topics. 

(Well, it's more like twenty-eight questions. I crafted a few multi-part questions. Or, maybe I'm just really bad at counting.)

In all seriousness, my Dad's new thriller is really good. Like, crazy awesome good. (I think that's what the other blogs said - give or take a few more adjectives and examples.) In case you're somehow under the impression that I'm biased, here's a review from an unbiased professional at Booklist who describes The 13th Target as "a fine action-packed thriller with a very timely theme...readers will trust no one - not even the reporters - and keep turning the pages."

You'll find more information at the end (although, what else could you need to know?). And, if you think he's rad, you can LIKE him on his new Facebook page or Follow Him on Twitter. 

With that, here are TWENTY(ish) questions with my favorite author, Mark de Castrique

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Tourist Life

Since moving here and starting this blog, I've made it a goal to really explore this new city of mine. That means I'm perpetually in the "tourist state of mind."

You know when you're on vacation and you cram so much into a day that you're completely exhausted by the end of it. Museums start to run together, your feet are throbbing, and your glass of wine is empty before you even realize you've been drinking it? (Or, maybe that latter one was just me in France.) All tourist adventures don't have to be like that. 

I've tried to do at least one "touristy" activity each weekend, when possible. Sometimes that means just hopping on the Metro and getting off at a new stop to explore. Last Saturday, I had an afternoon free and thought, "Hey, why not go see some art?" The "art" of HGTV's House Hunters was getting a bit tedious. (Yes, you want an open floor plan and granite counter tops - we get it!) Admission to The Corcoran - one of my favorite galleries - is free on Saturdays in the summer. The Corcoran is also the perfect sized gallery because it doesn't take all day to see. In fact, it took me exactly one hour (including time to peruse the gift shop).  Aaaand, since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to take a slight detour and continue my touristy adventure....

Sadly, the term "tourist" has developed quite a bad connotation. Tourists are often viewed as annoying and inconvenient. And - truth be told - they often are. I blame midwestern accents and fanny packs for that - I mean, that's how "tourists" are portrayed in movies, right? I'm sure I'll grow tired and annoyed of the loud and confused visitors crowding the Metro all summer long. So, go ahead and call me a hypocrite. But, I think they've got the right idea. (Except when they block both sides of the escalators. That is not the right idea). 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Dad's Day!

The last time I wrote a poem it was for Mother’s Day
Well, today is for Fathers and I've got something to say.

Now a lot of people say they have the world’s best Dad,
But you people are crazy, you’re totally mad.

Because MY Dad is the best one that ever there is
If Fatherhood is a job, he’s CEO of the biz.

I certainly can’t fit all the reasons on here
But I’ll do what I can - at least til I finish my beer.

You may know my Dad as a writer or director,
But to me he’s a car mechanic, and a computer corrector.

He’s a smoke alarm fixer and a killer of bugs
He’s a teller of cheesy jokes and a giver of hugs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This past weekend, NC Meets DC met NC again. (Did you follow that?)

I was back in NC for my five year Davidson College reunion. And it...was...glorious.  

Last year, Davidson changed it's reunion schedule so that reunions occur over the summer when students aren't on campus. At first I was skeptical. But then I remembered being a student and finding it alarming to partake in Spring Frolic festivities and see people 3 decades my senior at the fraternities. Still, I worried it would take away from the experience of coming back to see "Davidson in action." Once again, Davidson College proved to me that I'm not always right. As I overheard an alumna in the bookstore say to her husband, 'Now we can act like college kids without having actual college kids knock us back in our places. We're young and fun for a weekend." True that, sister. And, also, I apologize if, five years ago, I gave a look that "knocked you back in your place." I didn't know. Apparently I'm an ageist. 

There's the cliche "reunion" idea that everyone should try to go back and be new and improved - ten pounds lighter with a trophy husband on her arm. (That's actually my 10 year goal. Just kidding. Well, sort of). Who didn't see Romy & Michele's High School reunion when they claimed to have invented Post-its? That's what reunions are right?  

I love my classmates because that's not the case at all. Sure, we're only five years out - mere freshmen in the reunion world -  but we could have easily tried to compete with each other. Yet that's not how it was at Davidson and that's not how it is after Davidson. One of the greatest lessons Davidson taught us was humility. (If you don't believe me, look at my grades on the first few papers I turned in.) At reunion, no one was trying to prove anything or "one-up" anyone else. We were all just there to have fun and re-live our time on that fine campus, even if only for 48 hours. No one bragged about their big salary (couldn't if I wanted to) or their travels to Indonesia or their solution for world peace. 

Although, I would like to mention that I have discovered the solution for world peace and it involves watching episodes of the Real Housewives series. But, that's for another post. I don't want to share it too early for people to steal and risk my shot at the Nobel Prize.

It was a laid-back, fun weekend for catching up and reminiscing. And also eating, drinking, and Lake Campusing. If I had to pick a theme for the weekend, it would just be, "We love Davidson." Plain and simple. 

(If there was a secondary theme, it would have to be: "We also drink better beer now. RIP Milwaukee's Best.")

Monday, June 4, 2012

An Open my GPS

Dear GPS, 

Where do I begin? I can honestly say, I'd be lost without you. You, with your helpful blue dot and options of routes - you help me navigate to work, to restaurants, to parks - we do everything together! Whether I'm walking, driving, or taking public transit - you know it all. 

In that moment when I emerge from the metro underground, arriving at the top of the too-steep-for-comfort escalator, squinting as the sun shines in my eyes and people bustle about around me, you are there for me. Your blue dot - after a few blocks, mind you - lets me know that I've gone the wrong direction and should turn around. I like to think the delay is for my own good. You have faith that I will figure it out on my own - you give me that opportunity. Like a good friend, you give me more credit than I deserve. However, you quickly realize when I need your help because I don't always catch on that N Street should be after L Street. You don't judge me. You just turn me around. God bless you, GPS. 

We even joke around, like best buddies. Like, when you steer me into a tunnel and then say, "Signal lost. Find signal. Signal lost." Oh, you jokester. YOU are the one who lost the damn signal. I wasn't trying to be in this tunnel!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Tuna.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I love three day weekends. In fact, I excel at three day weekends. I say we make this a regular thing. Who's with me? 

Speaking of excelling, let me tell you about my dear friend Jay Pharoah. He excels at being funny and doing impressions of pretty much everyone in the whole world. He's my dear friend because we go way back. We go all the way back to the Arlington Drafthouse parking lot last night. That's when we first met. And by "met" I mean "waved." He probably won't admit to remembering it but I'm sure that wave was pretty special to him too. 

Now, let me back up. I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Virginia's own Jay Pharoah, from Saturday Night Live fame, was in town all weekend doing stand-up comedy at The Arlington Drafthouse. Melissa, Pete, and I decided to check it out. 

*Side note: My sister, excelled in her own improv comedy show the night before at Artomatic in Crystal City. It was a very funny weekend. If you've never been to Artomatic, then you should go. It was really cool. A total "art takeover" of a boring office building.*
As we drove around Arlington Drafthouse looking for a parking spot, we cruised back behind the building. We had to stop because someone was getting out of a Nissan Altima in front of us. I can't confirm that that was the exact car, but it was that kind of car. It was not the kind of car you think a TV star would get out of. It was more the type of car that you get out of when your mom or dad has just dropped you off at the movies to meet your buddies. 

So, we were really excited to see that the person getting out of the car was, in fact, Jay Pharoah himself. "Hey mom, just drop me off by the stage door. I'll call you when I'm done." 

He didn't actually say that. As far as I know.

However, here is a real-life conversation from our end about that moment. 

"Is that him?"
"That is him."
"It is!"
"I'm going to wave!"
"I'm going to wave too!"
"Does he see us?"
"He did see us! He gave us a peace sign. Would you say that's a 'what's up' face?"
"I guess so. He wasn't smiling as big as we were. Or, at all."
"We looked crazy."
"I think he thinks we're crazy."
"Pete, did you wave too?"
"Yeah, I think I did."
"Oh Lord, we all waved?"

Later, we got to re-do a greeting with Jay. I wish I could say we were smoother but I'm not sure that would be true.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wine, Tiaras, & Giant Chess

Have you ever gone on a day trip with a famous person? Well I have and that person was Catherine "Catty" Amos.This past Saturday, my high school friend, Catty and I ventured to Culpeper, Virginia. Culpeper was her one-time home but apparently it, and she, left a lasting impression. I was excited to see this town for myself. Little did I know that I was there with one of Culpeper's most popular former residents.

(I should clarify that Catty and I went to high school together. She is not in high school. I need to make that known since the words "wine tasting" will appear multiple times in this post. I don't want you to think I contributed to the delinquency of a minor.)

Now, Catty only lived in Culpeper about a year and a half but we weren't out of the car 15 minutes when she saw people she knows. It was great because I got to learn all of the town gossip. Sure, I don't know any of those people, but I now know all of their business. I don't like to spread gossip. But, I'm certainly not opposed to knowing gossip. Especially when it involves....oh, I shouldn't tell you.
Getting the 4-1-1 from Miss Minerva
(And, in Catty's defense, she wasn't even the one spilling all the gossip. Those Culpeper folks liked to chat. Even to strangers, like me. I guess I was trustworthy by association.)

This is where I should tell you the story of my wallet. Basically, I went to Culpeper and my wallet stayed in DC. Of course, I didn't know that until I was in Raven's Nest Coffeehouse and had ordered myself an acai green tea and a super delicious almond scone. That was the moment when Catty officially became my sugar mama for the day. God bless her. No wonder this town loves her.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lessons Learned (and Not Learned)

It's been two months since I moved to DC. So, I think it's time for a 2 month check-in.

Don't worry, I won't make you read "check-ins" for every random monthly anniversary (like those couples who want you to congratulate them for their four-and-a-half month anniversaries and every half anniversary in between.)

In just eight weeks, I've learned quite a few important DC life lessons. I will now share these words of wisdom with you fine folks. 

Things I've Learned in DC

1. My alphabet 
Ok, so I always knew my alphabet but, due to the alphabetically named streets in DC, I know it much better. I no longer have to sing the song to myself in order to determine if I'm walking in the right direction towards my destination. If I'm trying to get to S and I'm on P then I know, if I look up and I'm on M, then I have been walking in the wrong direction. (Yeah, sometimes it takes me a few letters to realize it. Or, sometimes I'm too busy window shopping to notice until I'm a few letters down.)

2. Pace yourself
When walking up the Metro escalator, you need to pace yourself, especially if it's Dupont Circle. No one is impressed that you can juggle a tote bag and an umbrella while also sprinting up the steepest escalators you've ever seen. And, they certainly aren't impressed when you're wheezing and close to death at the top. I insist on walking up the escalators instead of just standing and riding because I think of it as a bonus work-out. I like the way my muscles burn. I don't like the way my lungs burn. And, I'm pretty sure the people around me don't like the gasping sounds.

This is a picture I tried to take while walking up the escalator. I should add that to the list. Don't try to do that. 
3. It is possible to surreptitiously hold on to strangers for balance on the Metro
But, you have to be very stealth. (Which is probably redundant with "surreptitiously." But I want to really drive this point home. I also wanted to show my knowledge of SAT vocabulary.) Really, my encroachment on the stranger's personal space is his own damn fault. Hey, gentlemen who are 6 ft+, how about you hold on to the railing on the ceiling instead of blocking the poles for the shorter folks? I was hoping you would notice as I,  all 5 foot 2 (and a half!) of me,  stood on my tip-toes to try to hold on above my head. But, you didn't. Even when I timidly said, "Excuse me. Excuse me." So, instead I held on to your brief case. I'm the reason you were inexplicably jerked backwards whenever there was a sudden stop. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Poem for Mom

An Illustrated Poem for My Mom

Today is the day we celebrate you,
But I think we should celebrate every other day too.

There are so many reasons and I think you should know 'em,
So I thought I'd list a few of them in this amateur poem.

When it comes to Moms, I'd say you're better than great.
When it comes to cooking, your food is first-rate.

You say you'll "just make a casserole" with whatever you feel
Then the next thing I know, we have a four course meal.

Unfortunately, those dinner skills didn't fully transfer to me
I just had wine and tortillas because I overcooked broccoli. 

You put up with my tantrums when I was young, day and night. 
I was such a know-it-all. Good thing I grew out of that....right??

You told me I was pretty when I had acne and braces, 
Apparently being a Mom means you lie to kids' faces.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My North Carolina

Siers cartoon: Marriage Amendment Wins
(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

I had a blog post all planned out about things I've learned since being in DC. They were things like, "Pace yourself if you're trying to walk up the escalator at Dupont Circle" and "Learn your alphabet so you know how to find L Street" but then Amendment One passed and well, I don't want to talk about those things just yet.

I don't want to talk about it because I am sad. My heart is sad for the families in North Carolina who are affected by this. My heart is sad because I - someone who is not even close to being married - could be married next week but those who have been in loving, committed relationships for years, are farther from that dream tonight than they were this morning.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Drinking Beer Alone in An Elevator

This past week my apartment building had a pre-Cinco de Mayo fiesta. It was really fun. Unless you were me or people I tried to talk to while I was there. Not only was I painfully awkward but I was so awkward that I made other people uncomfortable too. Good job, me.

Let me start from the beginning.

Last week, flyers went up in the elevators advertising a Cinco de Mayo party. Guacamole, sangria, margaritas - what's not to love? Normally, I steer clear of situations in which I don't know anyone. I'm a very unsocial, social person. I like meeting new people but I tend to stress about it. All that small talk? It's exhausting. And then, when does the small talk become just normal talk? And then when are you friends? It's so much easier just to hang out with you people online.

However, I decided that, since I have this new DC life that, as part of my new DC persona, I would become one of those people who is totally smooth in social situations. I'll be the one who can just walk up to strangers and make instant friends and then introduce other people and coordinate the social landscape.

Um, yeah, not so much.

I decided to check out the party on my way upstairs from the laundry room. (If this doesn't set it up as a exciting evening, then I don't know what will.) I was especially intrigued because, earlier there was an elderly gentleman, on a walker, dressed in his finest clothes, heading into the party.

I should explain that my fellow tenants fall into age ranges of around 25 - 35 and then 80+. There is no in the middle. The social psychology student in me is fascinated by this. Throw margaritas in there? Sign. me. up.

So I wander into the club room only to find hundreds of people. It was quite a boisterous crowd. This was it. My time to shine in the social scene. Hmm..where to start? There's no better place to bond than in the line for booze.

But, the margaritas were gone. (And, I later learned they bought machines to make 400 margaritas. FOUR HUNDRED.)

I turned to the sangria table. Gone. (I'm thinking we may need to reserve the Club Room for an AA meeting in the future).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One Score and Seven Years Ago

One score and seven years ago, I was born. And today I celebrated my first DC birthday at Lincoln. But, we'll get to that.  

I started my birthday by waking up to a boat-load of well-wishes on Facebook. I don't mean this to sound like I think I'm important. I bring it up for two reasons:
  1. Don't you people sleep? 
  2.  If you ever think, "hmm..should I say happy birthday to this person? I haven't seen him/her in a long long time," then, the answer should always be YES. It feels good to have people wish you a happy birthday. 
I continued the birthday cheerfulness by treating myself to a large iced green tea at Caribou Coffee. (I know, dream big.)

As exciting as iced green tea is, I was most looking forward to going out with friends after work.

Thanks to my sister for organizing the soiree. I feel bad that she had to do it a bit last minute but I literally forgot it was the week of my birthday. I was so preoccupied with figuring out all my stuff with the DMV that I hadn't noticed the calendar. (Ugh, I must be a grown-up or something.) So, despite her requests, I didn't email her names of my friends until Monday. Fortunately (in this case), I only know about 5 people in this city. 

Per the suggestion of social guru, Jessica, we met at Lincoln

Now, if there's anything I love, it's a theme. And the thematic decor at Lincoln was awesome. Who would've thunk it? "Lincoln" is not what readily comes to mind when brainstorming themes. I don't remember a Lincoln Party in college. Although, that would've been pretty cool. Instead of party t-shirts, we could've gotten tall hats. Take note, college kids. 80s parties are out.