Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Very Virginia Weekend

So, it's already Wednesday evening, and for some reason when I have a Monday off, the workweek always seems to hit the ground running Tuesday morning and I don't fully get a grip on things until Thursday... Thus, my weekend update is coming today.

This weekend was a bundle of emotions and excitement for me.  Friday, the office was slow so I decided to work off-site from the National Archives.  They have a floating exhibit at the moment about JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Since it's been 50 years, a bunch of secret tape recordings and documents were recently declassified and showcased there.  And since my general workday includes some reference to nuclear something, I just had to go see it.  It did not disappoint.

Saturday brought about probably the most exciting new adventure I've had in a while... SHOOTING!  I'd never shot a gun before, and I got to learn the proper way to hold rifles and handguns and shoot things!  Well, by "things," I mean this target... Not too shabby, right?

I'm also now an official laminate-card-holder of the NRA Range in Virginia.  And I think I may have found my new favorite hobby...

On Sunday, in honor of Veteran's Day, I went to Arlington Cemetery for an incredibly somber and humbling experience.  It was incredibly emotional, but one of those experiences that really put my little life into perspective.

Although the setting is sad, it's an incredibly beautiful place, and the hill with Kennedy's eternal flame offers amazing views of the city.

And, finally, the official weekend was ended with some remembering and celebrating and alcohol in DuPont.  The bar was decorated in old newspaper headlines, so of course I had to pose with the ones about one of my favorite presidents: Richard Nixon.  

All in all, a well-rounded weekend.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Solutions for America and Food for Thought

Hello Tuesday!  Although, it feels a lot like Sunday, because work has been canceled yesterday and today due to Hurricane Sandy!  May I just remark that everyone in Virginia has been flipping out about this "hurricane," meanwhile I'm ensuring I have enough wine in my fridge and getting annoyed that the lines in Target are obnoxiously long as people buy up every shred of toilet paper and ounce of bottled water to prepare...

I feel like such an ass being so blase about the hurricane.  But you know what I will be freaking out about?  The snow flurry that is predicted to happen tonight.  EXCUSE ME, SNOW!? I'm thinking I was clinically insane when I decided to move "north."

Anyways, thanks to the ridiculousness that is Virginia's infrastructure, quite a lot of people lost power and had some tree damage, which really does suck.  I was lucky enough to keep power and stay safe, but 12 hours without internet or cable made me restless... so I started cooking... and I decided that I really need to incorporate more of my "recipes" and cooking adventures into my blog.  I contemplated making a separate blog for food-related posts, but since i don't generally use exact recipes, we'll try them out here, first.  Stay tuned for some mouth-watering iPhone photos...

And, while we're on the subject of the storm and the losing of power and the government being shut down, I might as well announce my running for the 2016 presidential election, since I've practically solved a bunch of America's issues with one simple solution.

Let's hire some construction workers to bulk up the infrastructure of the greater DC metro area.  Boom, more jobs.  Then, we will have a stronger infrastructure that will be able to better survive storms and snow.  Awesome, we're giving Americans a higher standard of living.  Also, this means that millions of people won't lose power and access to transportation just because of a little rain, meaning that Office of Personnel Management won't have to shut down federal offices.  And look who just made our government more efficient and effective at getting things done!?

And with my upcoming easy recipes, this country will be back to eating and living a healthy lifestyle in no time.

Vote Coffee and Dinosaurs, 2016!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Belated Fall!

So, now that I no longer live in the tropical paradise that is Florida, I get to enjoy the season of fall. Autumn.  A season that doesn't exist where gators swim and pools are open year-round.  And, I kind of like it.

In Florida, fall happened for, like, a week.  It was "fall" because all the hurricanes and tropical storms were named started with the ending letters of the alphabet, and because it was slightly less humid.  And then, almost overnight, trees would turn brown and shed and boom, it was "winter."

I never understood the appeal of jumping into a pile of leaves in Florida.  They are brown and ugly and dead and Palmetto roaches are probably nesting in them.  And then I moved to Northern Virginia, where autumn brings beautiful golden and red leaves and Palmetto bugs don't exist.  I could totally jump into a giant pile of leaves!

A few weekends ago (yes I'm sorry I've been slackingggg), the boyfriend was up here, and we tried to take advantage of the cool crisp weather and do some corny fall things.  We'd gone to a pumpkin path in Florida last year (in shorts, mind you) so we topped it with the most adorable corn maze.  It was a little cornfusing, by we accomplished it!


Riding some hay!

It was made out of real corn.  

Excuse all the lovely iPhone photos.  I have a camera somewhere, but the iPhone really does take pretty good photos, and it's ALWAYS with me.  Se la vie.  Anyways.  That weekend, we also went to Serendipity and tried the frozen hot chocolate!

looking all hipster-y in Gerogetown

I'll probably lose some readers by saying this but... I wasn't a huge fan of the frozen hot chocolate. It tasted watery.  Not rich and creamy like hot chocolate tastes.  Don't get me wrong, it was good... but it's definitely not something I will crave or offer to punch babies for.  

This post is not in chronological order, by the way.  Because the corn maze was on Monday and the hot chocolate was on Friday and now I'll bring you to Saturday, the Taste of DC fest!  

That's right, pinkies out with those huge manly beers!

It was a food and beer fest, where local restaurants and food trucks provided sample snacks, and Stella hosted a beer garden.  We befriending one of the beer-pouring volunteers and got a littttllllleeee tipsy at 2pm.  Someone famous also provided live entertainment, although I had no idea who he was.  Sean Paul?  Ron John?  Biggie Smalls? Some guy with two names like that...

Despite the photos, it wasn't the happiest weekend we've had together.  Long distance is rough, and it sucks even more when you get into an argument in the short time you have to spend together.  But, it was a reality check that I think we both needed in our situation.  It's so easy to treat time together like vacations or honeymoons, when, in fact, it's a real actual relationship, with ups and downs and everything in between.  

I'm not a fan of comparing situations, but I think that was a big contributing factor to why my last relationship failed... we were always honeymooning, and never actually dealt with real issues or situations.  And, let's be realistic... you can't play house your entire life... 

Anyways, to make a depressing story positive again, we clearly worked things out and made the most of the weekend.  So, all in all, a successful start to fall!  


Monday, October 15, 2012

Yellow Brick Road

Good Evening, Washingtonnnnnn!

No, am I the only person that's seen that Robin Williams gem?  Guess so...

Anyways, driving home today, I was on the phone (legally, with my hands-free device, A.K.A. iPhone headphones, which I could have sworn used to be illegal...) and I dropped the call approximately 6 bajillion times.  Why, you ask?  Do I drive through tunnels?  Was I in elevators?  Was a huge metal roof suddenly constructed above Interstate 395?

Nay, nay, nay.  It is simply because I live in the District of Colombia and the surrounding suburban areas.  And when Monsieur L'Enfant designed this city, he built the infrastructure out of Popsicle sticks, paper clips, and chewing gum.  You think I'm kidding.  Except I'm not.  I swear I saw some Velcro holding a speeding camera on a stoplight last week... So when it drizzles, everything goes to crap.

This city (and when I say city I'm including Northern Virginia and that unfortunate state of Maryland) has the most horrendous infrastructure I've ever witnessed.  For example, this summer, soon after I moved, a bad rain storm hit the area.  By "bad rain storm" I mean a lot of rain and thunder and some lightening and then it was over after a few hours.  And then everyone lost power for a week.  Like, are the power lines made out of licorice up here?

If this was Florida, and a category 5 hurricane was approaching, everyone would simply scotch tape some Xs on their windows and head to the nearest 7-11 for some beer.  And then, during the storm, everyone would watch TV and chug every time a weather alert beeps on the bottom of the screen.  And a tropical storm?  Pfftttt, that's just a heads up for everyone to grab their surf boards and head to Cocoa Beach.  Really, Virginia, you can't handle a rain storm?  More like Vir-gina.

Don't even get me started on how half the stop-lights are so faded and dimly lit that I can't tell if it's working at all.  And they're on the sides of the street, and oddly places when streets merge.  I've probably ran some red lights just because I have had no clue which of the 5 stop-light-poles corresponds with my lane/direction.

Anyways, I'm terrified for my birthday to come around... I'll probably topple the Monument right over blowing out the candles on my cake.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trapped by My Own Pet Peeve

Happy glorious Thursday morning!  There are a few reasons I've been sorta MIA from writing the past few weeks.  One of those reasons is that I want to hit on a few subjects running through my mind as of late, but I'm still working on how to relay them tactfully.  I know I rant often about things, but I try to keep my ramblings to an only slightly offensive level, not piss everyone off. 

I literally just wrote three paragraphs and erased them, because it was not pretty.  There is no tactful way to express my annoyances with certain things, so I will have to mull over that for a while and get back to you. 

In the meantime...

I hate passive-aggressive behavior. 

Grow some balls.  Please, do not send an email addressing a "reoccurring issue" when it's only one person doing the same damn thing.  And they probably have no idea they are doing it to correct it because no one confronted them and said "hey, bozo, please stop putting the trash can on my side of the curb, it ruins my grass."  Or whatever the situation may be.  Along those same lines, cut it out with the lame notes. 

That's right, females everywhere, living with other females!  Stop writing passive-aggressive notes that you cleaned the kitchen.  Your roommate can tell you cleaned the kitchen because her crap is no longer in the sink.  She may be dirty, but she isn't blind.  No need to scrawl your housewifery on a Post-It.  I've had one rule the past 3 years with every roommate I've lived with: we don't write notes.  I even hate texting that bills are due. 

A very wise woman once told me that no one can be pissed at a smiley-face in a note or a text.  While that logic saved my ass for a plethora of dramatic situations in college, it was ridiculously passive-aggressive and a really cheap way of covering your ass when you want to say something bitchy to someone.  We've all done it.  I'm just saying. 

Also, if you dislike the way my car is parked on the street where I am fully entitled to park, too bad.  Don't leave me a note.  I'm not parked too far from the curb, I'm not blocking traffic, I'm not on your grass (which isn't even your lawn, that little strip of foliage is owned by the county, jackhole.)  Oh, I'm sorry you had to park down the block because I was home before you and I didn't see your name on that spot of tar.  I'm sorry you have nothing better to do with your life than write me a dick-head note on a WalMart receipt. 

And, probably the most passive-aggressive move of our generation is the Facebook de-friending.  Oh, you're mad at me for some ridiculously stupid and petty reason, so you're going to block me form being your "friend" on social media?  Awesome, now I don't have to see your duck-faced photos pop up on my news feed.  It's not like you made any huge statement by banishing me from your circle of acquaintances online.  I figured you were no longer my friend when you told a bunch of other people you hated me because I lived with your big sister.  But, thanks for enlisting the help of Mark Zuckerburg, just to make it clear.  I'll go cry in a corner now... except not... because it's Facebook... and I got over being bumped off the friendship hierarchy when MySpace came out with their Top 8 feature.

And, before you can jump in, yes, I realize this blog post is very passive-aggressive.  Except no one who would read it would be referenced in this.  And, if by some miracle of web-linking they do... long hair don't care.  I'm not trying to accomplish anything here, besides telling you that females are annoying with their half-assed "I'll show her" tendencies. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Part of "I Have A Boyfriend" Do You Not Understand?

Alright.  I have a bone to pick with you guys.  And yes, I mean guys.  I may or may not have stumbled accross this peeve in prior posts, but it deserves to be revisited. 

What part of "I have a boyfriend" do you boys not understand? 

Let me put this into context for you all.  I just moved to a new city.  I know, like, a total of four people here.  I can be pretty introverted at times, but I also enjoy meeting people.  So, when I go out, that is usually what I end up doing.  And, let's just lay it all out on the table here: girls are catty bitches and usually don't go out to meet other girls.  So, that leaves humans of the male gender.  Now, let's get one thing clear.  I'm not going out flirting all over the place, batting my eye lashes to try and meet boys.  That is deinitely not what's happening.  It's more like, a friend of mine is talking to someone with a male friend. Or,there's a random guy in our "group".  Or, I'm getting a drink at the bar and the male next to me offers to buy it for me.  Or, they just come up to me and start talking to me.  I must have an inviting face or something.  The gist of it is, it's completely innocent and without poor or shady intentions that I end up in conversation with these guys. 

So then comes the typical-in-DC-introductory-conversation of what I do, who I work for, what my name is (yes, this question is not first), where I'm from, what I did for school, blah blah blah blah blah.  It's like sorority recruitment, except I don't have to stand there and talk to a potential new member for 20 minutes about what clubs she was involved with in high school.  (By the way, everyone was in Key Club, stop feeling so important.)  Oh, you want to buy me a beer?  Sure thing, buckaroo.  (That's another thing, sorority recruitment doesn't involve delicious beer.)  Somewhere in this conversation, I find the opportune time to mention my boyfriend.  My real and completely 100% existant boyfriend.  "Oh, yeah, my boyfriend is obsessed with Fantasy Football, too, it's practically all I ever hear about."  (And, let's just cover all bases... even if I didn't have a real boyfriend, shouldn't mentioning even a non-existant relationship be a red flag that I'm just not interested??)

I've always assumed the word "boyfriend" was like droping a conversational atomic bomb on the guy's Hiroshima parade.  In college, when I would slip in that I wasn't single-and-ready-to-mingle-in-your-frat-house-bunk-bed, guys would, (literally, I kid you not) do an about-face and peace the hell out of there.  Not in Washington, DC, folks! 

I always assumed that if I mentioned the whole I'm-in-a-faithful-relationship thing, guys would only continue to talk to me if they were just looking to make friends, too.  It doesn't seem to phase these guys, and I can't, for the life of me, tell if they're just really determined and inconsiderate, or actually well-intentioned and friendly.  I am horrendous at deciphering motivations lately.  I suppose I could just not even mess with it, but what am I supposed to do when I go out?  Sit in a corner and ignore everyone?  Trust me, even if I called a guy out and said "hey, I'm taken, don't waste your time," chances are he would come back with something like "that's not my objective, I'm just trying to be nice and buy you a drink, rude girl." 

In fact, I have called a guy out on being a little too nice to me.  I'm sorry, but mini golfing is not just "something new friends do," unless those friends are dating.  So, no, I will not go play mini golf with you.  (Also, I despise mini golfing.)  And I'm questioning your character considering I doubt you'd want your girlfriend going to play minigolf with some random new guy friend.  (In actuality, that is probably why you don't have said girlfriend... because you ask non-single girls on dates!). 

Okay, this has turned into quite a rant.  But, seriously, am I the most naive person in the entire world to think that guys can be friendly without shady intentions?  Is it incredibly childish of me to assume that telling someone I have a boyfriend should mean that they no longer pursue anything past a friendship with me?  Am I Anne Frank over here thinking people can really be good at heart?  (Did I just take it a little too far?) 

Help me out, guys.  I am pretty confused and clueless, and it's not making my meeting-new-friends efforts go any smoother. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Fifth-Life Crisis

To Fulbright, or not to Fulbright, that is the question.  No, but seriously, that has been the question mulling around in my mind for the past week.  And I think I've finally settled on an answer, going against every spontaneous keep-going-and-going bone in my body. 

What the hell am I talking about, you ask?  I'm sure you're scratching your head like a gorilla trying to figure out where this all came form, since I have never mentioned Fulbright before, and you haven't yet opened up a new tab and Googled it... Let me explain. 

So, I started work about 3 months ago at my incredibly fabulous job that I am somewhat mysterious about on social media.  And I started becoming friends with some of my coworkers.  This group of gals are all in their mid-late-twenties-early-thirties.  And they all have Masters degrees, or are currently in a Masters programs.  So here I am, 22 and in the "real world," struggling to fill out a Virginia tax form and be a "grown up" and suddenly I realize I'm behind the curve because I don't have my Masters and the most foreign travel I've done is go to Canada and the Bahamas, which are practically America anyways.  So, as you can imagine, the past week has been a scrambling fifth-life-crisis for me.  I had to get my game up.  I'm slacking with my life! 

After four feverish days of Googling grants, scholarships, fellowships, programs to travel and learn and be an apprentice, teaching English in foreign countries, contacting the Office of Prestigious Awards at my alma mater, and re-instating my goal to learn Arabic and Spanish and Swahili, last night resulted in my stuffing my face with chocolate and peanut butter cookies and rethinking the whole thing. 

Part of me wants to go and do everything.  I want to see the world, explore, teach, learn, change people's lives for the better, be a news reporter in the trenches of war, work for Cosmo magazine, work for the FBI, speak 16 languages, work in an embassy, travel, ride a camel, ride an elephant, zip line in Costa Rica, swim with sharks... you get the idea.  I want to do everything

So that's where this teaching-English-assistantship-Fulbright idea came along.  So I was all ready to gung-ho my At-Large application in 30 days and whip up some Spanish and get myself ready to move to Jordan in a year.  Except, I realized I had to write a proposal for the scholarship.  Not a will-you-marry-me-I-love-you-forever-and-want-to-grow-old-with-you-and-own-sixteen-cats proposal.  Like, a I-am-so-passionate-about-teaching-English-abroad-in-Jordan-because-of-this-reason proposal.  And I realized I just didn't have a competitive enough answer. 

Maybe I'm trying to make myself feel better, maybe I'm being logical (you can weigh in here if you'd like).  But I just moved to Washington, D.C. three months ago.  I work at an incredible job.  Yes, I'm on a contract and yes I could be job-less come next June, but I'm telling myself that's a slim possibility.  I work at an educational institution.  Not just any educational institution.  I work for a graduate-level military-based internationally-infused university.  Literally, everyone over the age of 40 in my office has a PhD.  I can walk down the hall and find an expert on terrorism, an expert on war and conflict, an expert on the terrorism-crime nexus, an expert on nuclear physics, an expert on FARC, a whole center full of experts on Central and South America... seriously, the list goes on.  I have access to language programs, and not only that, but should I learn Arabic, I can speak to the expert on Islam in Arabic

And here-in lies my dilemma.  If I rush to complete this application, I don't know what I want to do, exactly.  And my reason for choosing Jordan is because the program won't send fellows to Iran, or Afghanistan, or any of the cool and dangerous and exciting countries.  (I may or may not be slightly deranged and crazy.) 

So my alternative option is to take this next year, save up money, learn, take advantage of all the education and new-ness around me, actually learn Spanish, explore more options of what I want to study in the future, and apply next fall, for 2014.  Which would give me two years of experience in my current position, and a lot more time to explore my future options and direction.  Half of me feels like I'm going to fall behind if I don't keep pushing to the "next" level, but the other half of me feels like you can't keep a car running in the rain if you don't have windsheild wipers.  (Wow, that was probably the most horrible analogy I've every made.)  But, you get what I mean...