Tuesday, September 26, 2006

3 l's: leaves, lattes, & loans

Well, the morning's off to a good start. I didn't get to bed as early as I'd planned last night, but shortly thereafter - and that seems to have recharged my batteries a bit from the active sightseeing weekend with Julia! We had a blast, by the way. I totally recommend doing the Bike the Sites... it's so much better than walking the monuments. I finally even got to see the FDR Memorial. Beautiful! There were TWO weddings doing photographs at the FDR & Jefferson Memorials. Ironically, they both had bridesmaids with the exact color of maroonish red dresses. No cat fights though

The leaves are starting to change colors, which is so exciting. I felt robbed by my first season-ful year last year. With so little rain last year, I only got to see multiple shades of crunchy. Here's to hoping this year's a step up from that. Seems like there would be nowhere to go but up!

So, gulp, I'm calling today to check insurance rates so I can see about possibly test driving a car this upcoming weekend. This is a big step... potentially moving from the car-free to the crazed city driving masses is a whole change in lifestyle! Haha. Not that I won't still walk to work and all that, but I've actually gotten to a place where it's reasonable to park a car and also where I see that I have a need to justify the expense. I've never done this whole process though, so I'm hoping it's pretty smooth. I'm thinking of getting a
Honda Fit. I finally actually saw one on the road yesterday. So cute. To be continued...

I still haven't really commented adequately on my trip to Austin. It's just been too busy. Things are full-speed ahead at work (I came in early -- am giving myself a momentary breather here...). They finally did hire a Compensation Manager, who starts early October, so I'm soon not to be a solo show anymore. She's arriving just in time for merit process madness! Well, I'm off to set out the calendar, budget, etc. Exciting stuff! Hope you're all having a good week so far...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

honoring ann richards

I just returned back to DC tonight... but wanted to post this quickly amidst downloading all my ACL pics (more will be coming shortly as will a separate blog... I think the below is much more important though...)

Upon landing into Austin, TX Dem quickly caught me up on a significant part of history in my opinion I'd missed out on. I'll be the first to admit that I am not as knowledgeable as I would like to be on politics, which is definitely noticeable in a city like DC. Until Thursday, I wasn't familiar with Ann Richards... but now I am.

As is true for many people, Ann Richards was someone who was really instrumental and important in TX's life... serving as her inspiration in many ways... part of what drew her further into an interest in politics... part of what led her to go to Baylor... at the airport, TX Dem purchased a paper so we could read the feature article detailing her life, her accomplishments, her story. It didn't take long at all for me to understand what it was that made her so special ... her important role in history, the far-reaching impact her life had, and why she was such an inspiration to many.

It's amazing how someone so charistmatic and determined can easily fall off the radar of others. I feel blessed to have learned so much about her in such a short period of time.

The viewing was at the Capitol building on Saturday and Sunday, with the memorial ceremony being held today. TX, Laura, Katherine, and I went before going to the ACL concerts. Having only just become familiar with Richards and her inspirational life, it was an honor to be able to be part of something so important in Texas history and to be able to join in by paying my respects as well.

While at the casket, a photographer with the UT press snapped a photo of TX with me in the background. I think it summarizes the reach her life had... and I know it means the world to TX to have been able to be in Texas to be able to be there in person. Click here to read the full article about Richards' life. She truly was an amazing lady.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

dancing in the green, green grass...

What a fun first day to ACL today. I am absolutely exhausted and won't make it through much longer, but just had to say well worth the trip. I had a fabulous birthday yesterday. Ms. TX really treated me to some pampering in style... we got in to Austin and went over to the Arboretum area. We had a nice leisurely lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and then she treated me to a pedicure. So fun...

We went over to Beck's to hear a friend of a friend play and then went to see a friend of a friend's band play -- That's Mister to You. Very fun... we didn't stay out too too late in order to get up this morning bright and early for day 1 of our 3 days of musical bliss... but it was truly the culmination of the best birthday celebration ever... thanks to everyone who helped to make the big 2-7 such a fantastic one!

Yeah so today was fabulous... I'm about to topple over from exhaustion... the sun gets you for sure! We saw so many great acts today though. We wanted to see Asleep at the Wheel, but it was just too darn early to work out. Guster was so good... I definitely want to get one of their albums. Stars was good and Nickel Creek was amazing! So talented. The best part hands down had to be their version of Britney Spears' "Toxic". Absolutely hysterical!I was pleasantly surprised by Cat Powers... having never heard of her, I was surprised how much I liked her music. Sort of a cross between Fionna Apple, Nora Jones, and maybe even a bit of dear dear Tori... good stuff. I loved how much she got into her music. There's something magical about an artist truly into their music... she had that for sure, along with some amazing back-up singers.

Los Lonely Boys were so much fun. So much energy! And there's just something fasicnating about a musical act that's family like that. So good. After waiting in a forever long line for dinner, we finally headed over to catch Van Morrison. So good! There were so many people around at the close of the festival to catch the final act. I hated that it conflicted with John Mayer, but oh well... I must admit, the whole Jessica Simpson thing doesn't make me want to see him quite as much as before. Hope that doesn't sound too shallow.

Well, we'd wanted to hit a post-concert show, but nixed that after we were super-zonked. We were so filthy that you could see my Birkenstock lines and they weren't tan lines... now, a foot bath and clothes change later, I'm just ready to snuggle up on the couch and catch some zzzzzzzs... I think we're planning on heading to the visitation for Ann Richardson tomorrow AM prior to the show, so we have a full schedule ahead. G'night!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

texas bound duffle bag diva

I have to say, three cheers for week+ long birthday celebrations. Can anyone truly complain about that? I mean, c'mon! Today it was cake at work to celebrate. Well, I say cake but I actually opted for a fruit tart. And let me say it was mighty tasty, so excellent opting if I do say so myself! Tonight the Local and I went to Sonoma -- great dinner and excellent company! I just wish I didn't have to drag myself back to pack (and I'm soooo procrastinating here, but indulge me if you will). I tell you, I don't know though that I've had such a lavish birthday since I hit the big 2-1. Who knew 2-7 could be such a magic number as well? For those of you who are reading this who've contributed to the festivities, I just want to take a chance to say thank you again. It definitely hasn't been effort wasted on one who's not noticed. Believe you me, I've noticed. Thank you

So tomorrow the big day's here... the big 2-7. Somehow, I know I'll seem just as old. So random how one day gets so much attention, right? Oh well, it's still nice to have "your day". Nice that my day doesn't coincide directly but rather adjoins to the wonderful Austin City Limits Festival that I just caaaaaaan't wait for!

Those of you who live in DC or who talk to me regularly have surely heard this already, but I just love it... 3 Days... 8 Stages... 130 Bands... and 1 extremely happy born and bread Alabamian who'll be newly 2-7! I'm looking forward to having my native Texan tour guide, TX Dem, and the Hostess to show me the ropes of Austin. Rest assured I have my most appropriate Austin attire in tow, ready to see what fun awaits!

So there's so many musicans to check out, many of which I don't know (yet at least!). The ones I'm particularly pumped about seeing are:

Matt Nathanson
Thievery Corporation
John Mayer
Van Morrison

The Shins
Aimee Mann
String Cheese Incident
Iron and Wine
Willie Nelson

Benn Harper & the Innocent Criminals
G. Love & Special Sauce
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

We have a direct flight from BWI into Austin. This time tomorrow the actual "day of" birthday celebrations will be in full gear. Definitely looking forward to that and getting to celebrate with TXDem in Texan style!

Monday, September 11, 2006

a toast to friends... especially girlfriends

I have the best girlfriends around - period. I had so much fun last night... we went to a wine bar here on the Hill and I couldn't have asked for a better birthday dinner. We started off with some cheese and crackers... a bottle of red... a bottle of white... some lovely pasta dishes... and finished off with some dark chocolate pudding. Just about perfect. So many times you meet up with friends and rush through dinner. It was so nice just to sit and catch up and not be in a hurry. I couldn't have asked for more... thanks gals for the best birthday present

The big birthday bash on Saturday night was so much fun. So many of our friends came out to help us celebrate at Ozio... and, of course, we have quite a few pics to prove it. Just check my slideshow on my profile page This was our second time to hold our celebration at Ozio and it definitely went well again. After a lovely dinner with the Tour Guide and some of her closest friends at Merkado Kitchen, we headed over to Ozio to get our evening started. Our servers were great, which was key for the evening. They were super helpful on serving our cake (marble - yum!). We stayed until around midnight, when the crowd started to shift and the natives were restless and in need of a change of venue. We then headed over to Science Club for a bit until we closed out around 2AM. We definitely enjoyed ourselves!

So it's back to the daily grind here in a few... off to work... it's still drizzling a bit outside. I'm definitely hoping that's on it's way out. Don't they know that's illegal for a Monday morning?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

cabbies, big sleep, & birthday festivities galore

What a long week it's been. Sadly, little if any time has been available for the fun and neverending post-move cleaning & organizing. It's coming together though... I picked up a shower curtain to go in front of the inset that has our washer and dryer. That will make our kitchen area look much nicer. We got rid of TONS of trash on Friday when the trash was picked up, with the exception of the boxes they opted NOT to pick up (we're not bitter though, really...)

I had my first JLW meeting this week. I know my Advisor from before and she's really cool. She had us all over for a nice dinner, which was really great of her. Seems like there will be lots of work on the horizon there with that committment, but I'm looking forward to it.

I think I've officially made my peace with DC's cab system. Or at least mighty close... I've been a vocal opponent of DC's system and their funky zone system, which I still think has as its goal to confuse all city-goers into paying way too much way too easily for a cab ride. But I digress... I've learned that the pretty long ride from Dupont to my new Eastern Market pad is only two zones... or $8.80. For the zone system, that's a pretty sweet deal. So... after my JLW dinner, I found myself, Miss Anti-Cab, crawling into the cab as quickly as can be. Hmmmm... think it's a new era! Or, more likely, a consequence of being a former spoiled Dupont dweller!

Finally saw Talladega Nights with the Local this week. Soooo funny (of course in a silly Will Ferrell kind of way - but nothing wrong with that). Still gotta say I'm proud to have never been to the Talladega Speedway! Hah. Funny movie though - shake & bake!

Last night I felt like a rockstar, let me tell you... I joined Sarah and her co-workers for Happy Hour at 14K at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza. Pretty nice place. We sat out on the patio and it was definitely a perfect night for that. It wasn't even 7pm when I wanted to just crawl under the table and take a nap. The week's totally taken it's toll on me. So, no surprise that at 9:30pm (seriously, I kid you not) I crawled into bed and went to sleep. I just got up about half an hour ago. I feel soooo much better.

So, yeah I might not have been a rockstar last night, but I've got some energy to get going for the marathon of birthday festivities that lie on the horizon. Sassy, I'm pretty much pumped... I'm off in a bit to get my hair done (why not, right?) to get ready for our big birthday bash tonight. I need to start packing soon too for Austin City Limits -- I'm so excited!

Hope you're all having a good Saturday! I'm heading back to laundry now... I hope to have some pics of the place posted shortly as well...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

i ♥ capitol hill

Well it's official... we're up in our new place on the Hill. This morning I let myself sleep in... still so tired from the whole moving process. I start unpacking at night and just cannot stop. I don't know if you'd be able to tell if you were to come into our place, but I promise we've really been going at it non-stop (almost).

So the actual move on Friday could have basically been a disaster. Ernesto was such a thorn in our side. Our movers were just about the biggest wimps ... we definitely weren't prepared with a plan B there. My roommates called me around ten o'clock to let me know that the movers weren't going to move us due to the weather. Now, note here that although some places might have been hit hard with heavy wind and rain, we might have had our spurts but definitely not until later that evening and DEFINITELY not enough to justify a cancellation. Note to all reading: DO NOT move with Moving USA!

Anyhow, determined not to let this derail our original plan, we frantically hit the phones and called all of the other moving services we could find listed online (thank you whoever's random wireless connection I hopped on at Hampshire House - much appreciated ). Ironically, we all ended up rescheduling with the same movers -- Gulliver's. We really are big fans ... three cheers for the "Gentle Giants", as their slogan goes. I ended up moving on Friday afternoon and Sassy and the Domestic Goddess moved on Saturday.

Last night was our first night in the place. It was such a great change for me to have so many people around like that. Very cool! We ordered pizza together (Today's Pizza... as opposed to yesterday's...) and cleaned and all that good stuff.

This morning, I missed Sassy and the DG's run to Eastern Market. I didn't set an alarm -- ahhh what a beautiful change. I finally got up a bit before 11 and then wandered over to Dunkin' Donuts to get me some coffee -- the iced latte sure did hit the spot. I then headed over to CVS and then up to Eastern Market.

It was such a beautiful day to be out. I just took my time walking up and down the streets. There were so many people out... families pushing strollers with their young ones in tow... people picking up fresh produce at the market... young professionals walking their dogs... all willing to stop and take time to say hello. It was refreshing... nice to see the change in scenery was what I was hoping for. As much as I loved you dear dear Dupont, I think my new love's Capitol Hill

Friday, September 01, 2006

ernesto + moving - sleep = anxiety

Well, I'm sitting here in my echo-ey condo waiting patiently for our wonderful (hopefully) team from Moving USA to finally show their faces... I'm stop numero dos on our route to Capital Hill. Arlington to Dupont Circle to Capital Hill... we can do it girls! We won't let this crazy process turn us loca!

So I stopped packing at 3AM... which might explain why I'm a bit groggy/cranky and just plain ready to get this show on the road! All this dust is killing my allergies. Achooooo! I think I just made it though as far as packing supplies go. I went through all of my donated boxes (gracias to the Native!) and "recycled" boxes courtesy of my employer's services department (I think I know lots of them now --- we've bonded over the course of the last week or so!).

Oh yes... so back to Moving USA... they were supposed to arrive at Sassy and the DG's place between 8-9... still no appearance by them. We're not freaking out... yet, anyhow. I'm about to try to track down the caretaker here. I scheduled my move out and am a little bit anxious that the pads aren't hanging in our elevator. (Side note... it'll be bittersweet to say adios to the elevator. On one hand, the concept of an elevator is a wonderful thing and something not present in our 100 yr old + gem, but the elevator's bouncy stopping quality is something I won't be sad to see go). I hate to go rush them though to hang them up since it seems like it won't be anytime soon that they will need to be up. Ok... not that bad. But we were really wanting to get hopping on the move process, especially with Senor Ernesto nipping at our heels...

I have gotten the rare opportunity to watch some fine weekday AM TV. I can't remember the last time I watched GMA or Regis & Kelly. Gotta find that silver lining somehow, somewhere!

Ok, well I'm going to try to submit this in before I lose my totally secure wireless connection courtesy of some random neighbor. I might not surface again for a bit. I'm so internet dependent... I can already sense the twitches coming on. Stay dry all (and do some powerful anti-rain dances for our sake!)

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