Monday, April 30, 2007

pausing for eastern market

I am just in shock. As I made my way to the metro this morning, I saw police off in the distance. I didn't think anything of it though (and really, how sad is that?)

It wasn't until I saw a posting elsewhere online that I learned what it was all about. I can't believe the news of the fire at Eastern Market. The market. I hadn't been in months. I had stuff I did all day on Saturday and Sunday, so I had not had the chance to go over yet and enjoy it at it's prime... with the weather having finally become slightly warmer but yet just before the sweltering summer heat kicks into full gear.

I'm so sad I won't get to now. Man.

As much as I love brunch at Bread and Chocolate, no one can hold a candle to Tom's operation at the Lunch Market - be it the popular bluebucks ... chocolate chip pancakes ... or french toast (all of which are just plain and simple carb heaven).

I'm going to have to thumb through my photos at home and put up some of my favorites of Eastern Market up here. When I think of local things to see and do in DC that really captures the heart of the city, I've always thought of Eastern Market. I think that's why I've taken so many photos there.

Gosh, I just don't even know what more to say. I was totally planning a visit for sure when the Titan came to town. I'm just stunned that my favorite spot to bring guests is momentarily off of the map. Just can't fathom.

Ironically, the DG just cooked us a fantastic spread last night. It was the inaugural appearance of summer grilling, all of which included seafood she'd picked up solely at the market only shortly beforehand.

Please come back to us soon... we'll be waiting. :*(


Sunday, April 29, 2007

tootsie roll tango

I warned up front it would be an early night. It was the plan. Sticking to it. Period. Guess I am officially the girl who cried wolf. Perhaps that phrase ("early night") should be officially stricken from my dictionary.

It was a long day... dentist appointment (cavity-free dance from me) and a trip to the Ethiopian restaurant with the DG's visiting guest. It turned into the afternoon affair, as we spent well-over 2 hours at Zed's in Georgetown. Quite good, I must say. The DG and I were loving their "spongey" bread. Hah. Although, I wouldn't say that the food was all too different from Meskarem in Adam's Morgan. Definitely one up on the atmosphere though.

So I came home and opted for a quick power nap. I was tempted to stay in but stuck with the original plan to head out for a party in the neighborhood. Less than 45 minutes, and I was ready to head out with Sassy to the shin-dig. The theme was Mardi Gras. I have to sort of agree with Ms. MM who came to meet us there... there's just something fundamentally quasi-off about a post-Lenten Mardi Gras bash.

Just the same attend we did... and beads? Yes, we wore beads. The music for the evening was the perfect mix. A touch of the new, but the bulk being the classic frat rock tunes, complete with an almost catastrophic smashing of one of the speakers to the ground. Thankfully, Belinda Carlyle, Poison, and Bon Jovi were soon back alive and kicking. Along with us kicking it old school on the dance floor.

At one point, a pinata was brought onto the scene. Note to self, no party of ours shall ever include a pinata. Can you say sticky candy fiasco? The pinata was broken eventually right in the midst of the dance floor - because clearly that is the most logical place to smash a star-shaped pinata. After a few people picked up a handful of candy such as DOTS and Tootsie Roll Pops, the sugared litter soon become Tootsie pancakes. That has to be one royal mess this morning for their wood floors.

They had quite the turn out. Their large Hill pad was crammed with people, especially with the in-and-out rain storms of the evening. I ran into all sorts of people, quite a few who it seems had been to one of our parties at some point, knew who I was, and I hadn't the faintest clue as to who they were.

Speaking of clues, there were quite a few people at the party (including the host himself) who it seems our connection was the Clue party I attended with Sassy back in the Fall. I ended up talking the host's friend, E2, for a while at the end of the evening, who I did not realize at the time, but was also a familiar face from that prior party. DC continues to reinforce what a small, small world it can be at times. All of the sudden, seems those houses I walk by on a daily basis now have faces and names to associate. I was having a great time and honestly, would have loved to stay longer and taken E2 up on the dance offer to return to the dance floor - but I was seriously turning into a pumpkin.

After over two hours of dancing and one blister in process, I decided it was time to check out. Actually, more like well over time to check out if we're getting technical, but as always seems to be the case it's just next to impossible to voluntarily walk away from a good time with your friends. I still got up for my prayer pancake breakfast at church as planned, so I'd say successful weekend all-around.

And yet again, I find myself with a stash of additional Mardi Gras beads. Fashionista, we never fail to capitalize on that photo op, now do we?

One of the final humorous statements of the evening was:
Fashionista: "Look at all these different beads. Someone gave me this one. It's pretty cool. What is it?"

Belle: "Um, that's got Captain Morgan on it."
Fashionista: "Oh. Nice."


Saturday, April 28, 2007

step into the light

There's something a bit comforting in being able to sort of post one's thoughts, etc. without being super identifiable. When I started this blog, I didn't put up a lot of photos on here for that reason.

Slowly though, I've begun to let that go just a little (case and point, the pictures along the right side of the page). Last night's blogger happy hour was another level.

Yeah, so definitely wasn't comfortable with doing some karaoke. The Fashionista and I went together, although she was claiming (ehem) not to be a blogger. I66 put together a good one for his farewell to his HH coordination role.

It was interesting to see people in front of you, face-to-face, that you've been reading about for some time. Very interesting. I'll own up to not having been super-social, but it was good to meet the few I did get to meet.

I was pleasantly surprised that so many others were familiar with my blog here. Always great to hear these keyboard strokes are going somewhere beyond my monitor.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, April 27, 2007

subway serenades? claro que si!

I read in the online version of the Express that DC is going to be auditioning people to perform in the metro during commute hours from June to September (so just the summer months). I'm an avid WMATA-er and I've gotta say, I've said before that I love my iPod. I live by my iPod. But this makes me happy.

I must admit. I think our transit system is kinda flat sometimes. I've always loved it when in Boston, NYC, Prague, Madrid, etc. you happened upon someone who was performing in the subway system. It added a little character to the city.

I think that's why some people think DC's too uptight and stale. I remember Tam telling me that our subway was boring, from the lack of entertainment to the basically standard presentation inside the stations themselves. Only variation seems to be length of escalator as you descend and ascend (now that I think all stations have the time to arrival signs - even if they're now malfunctioning). In NYC, you'll see variation from station to station in the decor along the platform, matching (somewhat or at least typically) to the area of town in which you happen to be. We could use a little more of that.

Bring it on, I say. I'm looking forward to it!

Bring on the song and dance. I, for one, welcome the entertainment in my commute.

(It'll help to save the battery life on my iPod...)


Thursday, April 26, 2007

come sail away

My last boss in Miami was great. He was from Mexico and had a large family. He was surrounded by all females, from his daughters to the nanny... even the dog. He was very different from my prior boss. Still challenged me to push harder, but he took much more of a hands off approach. I think my time in Miami was the only time during my post-college working days that I had to deal with taking some direct challenges from co-workers that were unwarranted, and he was super supportive and helpful in standing on my side of the battle.

Our line of work, especially at my former big corporate employer, went in peaks and valleys. During the peaks, he would arrive early in the morning and stay long past the other employees. Before the others arrived or after the door had closed behind the last one to exit in the evening, he would crank up the music and Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, and the like would be cranking out of his office.

It was fun to watch him with his family - just in general. Somewhat comforting that even once you "grow up" you don't have to lose that sparkle of who you are. He would instantaneously shave off some 10 years in the look in his eye as he boasted he was off to Mexico to enjoy "tacos and tequila". But of course. He made me feel like less of a chicken as I ran time after time from the hurricanes. Whereas I was just jetting out to anywhere possible with myself and items in tow, he was off with his full team, down to the dog. I even remember getting an email from him after moving to DC where he told me jokingly he was going through his midlife crisis and had bought himself a Porche.

Since moving here, he's sent me job opportunities in NYC as well as the occasional job opening in Miami. He recently left my former employer as well so he could stay on in Miami. I guess some people love the Miami world, myself excluded from that club.

I hadn't heard from him and thought that was one connection lost. Last night though I got an email from El Senor. He's now working for a cruise line (now that has some amazing perks, I would have to imagine!).

And he mentioned opportunities in Miami.

Would I consider?

It's funny. I'm very career-oriented. I would rather have almost any sort of job within a larger corporation over shuffling files in the smaller HR realm of an organization in the South. But I'm not ready to give up my whole world now for the job.

There's a balance. Somewhere where the challenging work and the world I want to live in converge. Will it be DC for forever? Who knows. That's TBD. I'm always looking for that location. But what I know it's not is Miami...

The opportunity would be amazing, I'm sure. But I'm just not at that place anymore. Just not there. And I'm ok with that, but simultaneously pleased with the repeated offer and the fact that mentor's no longer MIA in MIA.

[cross posted on]

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

a big loan from the girl zone

Ok, almost the entire new Tori Amos album is online on MySpace. Seriously, between that, meetings, and training today - am I really going to get work done today? Slim chances there for sure.


Monday, April 23, 2007

hey baby - what's your sign?

Saturday it was up and out to meet up with the Fashionista and crew to prepare for the benefit event. The theme was all things mystical... so the task was to transform the room from barren generic white-walled party room into party-ready. F's been prepping for this for quite some time and had painted all sorts of fabulous canvas sheets to decorate the room. Educational too... according to her poster o' love compatibility, I was most compatible with Taurus and then Capricorn. Metallic stars soon were hanging from the ceiling, fortune cookies and glow sticks were strewn across each table, and even an electric disco ball was hanging over the dance floor for the evening.

The event was a blast. Seriously, how often do you get to dress up in sequins with long gloves? (This question is clearly for the ladies...) And, as promised, here you'll see my attire for the evening. Subtle, for sure. The entertainment started to show up as well, including the palm reader/hand writing analyst. Hands down fascinating. After the Fashionista gave us our assignments/timetable of activities (which didn't quite end up being followed, but nice to have an idea of a framework anyhow), I made a beeline back to the analyst. He said that I can hold my own in an argument - I could be effective as either the prosecutor or public defender. I'm very loyal and trusting of my friends, which he said probably got me in trouble when I was younger (remember that very well in preschool!). One thing I thought was really interesting was what he said about my ambition... he said that I am very ambitious and push myself, but that I'm capable of even more. Definitely struck me, as I've really been feeling that way as of late at work. He did tell me he thought I'd be a fun date - hah - but then he was quite a flirt with all the ladies throughout the course of the evening.

The photographer for the event, Margaret Allen, was great. Always nice to have the opportunity to meet other photographers in the area. The event was the first time I've really had my photos on display as well (they were included as a part of the raffle). Other entertainment included a magician, a bellydancer, and of course the DJ.

As things started to wind down a bit, we decided to head over to 4P's before heading home. Clearly (once again) dressed for an Irish bar. It wasn't too long before Sassy and I opted to close out for the evening and head home.

8AM yesterday came early... way too early. But as promised, I threw on my pants and comfy Dogfishead tee and tromped to the metro. I met a really nice girl who's here working as an intern at the White House. I rarely meet chatty folks on the metro. Sadly, wrong day to try to be conversational with me. I tried... I really tried. Finally she apologized from keeping me from my Washingtonian. After exiting the metro and one latte later, I was en route back to the scene of the crime to clean up. Slowly, streamers came down, stars were scattered across the floor, and the astrological-themed decor was piled neatly by the couch.

The repeated question of the morning:

Us: "F, do you want this ______?"
F: "No, when am I going to need this many stars and metallic decorations? And if I need them, what the heck am I going to do with them all in the meantime?"

Good point. Only 2.5 hours later of cleaning and over half a bottle of goo-be-gone, we all were heading out. What a beautiful day it was. Shame we were all too wiped out to care about life beyond our bed. Last night, it was ear plugs, eye mask, and Benadryl for me. More sleep to catch up today, but at least I closed the gap there a bit - even if only a bit.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

the ss bachelorette

In honor of SS's impending wedding, it was time for a quasi-low-key evening out in Georgetown for the ladies - which was perfect for me seeing as Saturday's all about the benefit. It was a nice size group of five - perfect for some location hopping and all. The plan was Mendocino Wine Bar for drinks, dinner at Paolo's, and then from there, TBD. I must admit, following this week's incident, I was a tad anxious about hopping on the Circulator to head over to Georgetown. Thankfully I was able to make it to Georgetown without any brushes with buildings. Always good to see.

Mendocino was nice -- obviously the sister restaurant to Sonoma. I like the variety of the food at Sonoma better than Mendocino, but it was a nice quaint spot so I'll give it the stamp of approval.

Service at Mendocino far trumps Paolo's, where it was like pulling teeth to get anywhere. I think we'd been there for some 40 minutes before we were served our drinks. Not off to a good start. The food was decent, after I sent mine (and the Cajun's) back to be re-heated. After having waited for as long as us, cold past wasn't going to cut it.

It was like a Georgetown check-list though... the third place we hit was also one I'd never been to - Daily Grill. We watched the place go from pretty dead and empty to a massive sea of faces. We opted out when it was clear that the Daily Grill had become pre-Smith Point, choosing to head back to the Hill.

SS was having a great time though -- we got to hear all the details about the wedding, stories about how they met, all that good stuff... things I never really knew. It was a lot of fun to catch up with her, seeing as she's one of my friends I just don't get to see too often. It was nice to celebrate with her. Funny story though... she revealed the rationale behind the wedding date. She said she didn't want it to fall in football season, as their anniversary would run the risk of conflicting with an important SEC game at some point. Love it.

Somehow my early evening turned into um not so early, but we were all together at the end of the evening. Our final neighborhood stop included an odd Native American man who kept telling me that I was not happy (really? news to me) and that I had great feet (?), SS making friends with Tim/Jim, and the Bostonian who told me I looked like Heather Graham. What a fun night.

And now... caffeine. Must have caffeine to get going on the prep work tonight. Oh yes, it's a long day ahead. A long (but fun) day ahead.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

arrival of overheard in dc

I've been a long-time fan of Overheard in NY. Sure, sometimes it is just plain inappropriate, but lots of times it is equally hilarious. I used to subscribe via Bloglines until it just got to be way too much, flooding my account, so had to nix that.

I was excited to see that DCist is taking the same approach here. I'm assuming this will be a weekly feature. Pretty cool. And since it's Friday afternoon and it's way too pretty outside (finally) for anyone to be stuck indoors working (just plain sad to be sitting here in front of the computer when the sun is seriously in full swing outside), just had to share their quotation of the week... which I found to be quite funny!

[On a metro train]
Drunk girl, looking at the map: "I only left here last May! Since when did they add a light blue line?

"Her friend: "You mean the river...?"

Ok, so perhaps only funny if you ride the metro in DC and are familiar with the metro map. But as an avid WMATA supporter, that's definitely me and amused I am!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

back in pink

Okay, I just picked up my dress for Saturday's benefit event. I walked into the alterations place, where the lady who was sewing proceeded to look at her co-worker and say "ahhhh pink!" and gesture outward, as the tulle projects from my dress. Her eyes took on a twinkle of amusement. I'm glad I can help to spice up their day. Someday, I will take them something normal to alter. (Someday.)

Last time, it was my pink costume for Halloween (I was Pebbles). There's my pink razr too... and now this. I think it's 365 days of pink. Perhaps I'm subconsciously living up my pinkness since I wasn't uber pinked as a child. Is that it? Or perhaps because I didn't do my time in ballet to get my fill of the tulle known as the tu-tu? I think I lasted two months before I asked my mom if I could stop because it was boring. My attention span as a child I do believe was fairly non-existent.

So tulle glory? This weekend, it will come to pass. There will be plenty of pictures to follow of the dress, I'm sure. I'll save those for the flip-side of the weekend. The pink on the dress is about as subtle as a brick wall, but it's fun - oh yes. It's quite fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

cyber tag

I got this over on MySpace to post on my blog there. Thought I'd plug it in here... why not? You're supposed to post 5 weird facts/things/habits about yourself. Here goes...
  1. Despite being from Alabama, I've never really used the word "y'all" on a regular basis. Hope you guys will still claim me ;-)
  2. Technically, my undergrad "career" included five universities in three different states and four different majors (three if you don't split international business into business and Spanish)
  3. I can touch my tongue to both my nose and chin.
  4. I usually put milk on my cereal, and then proceed to drain it off the side. I like my cereal "moist", but don't really care for the milk. Random, I know.
  5. At last count, I think I had some 70 Tori Amos CDs.

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turn your hip hop into wine

Yeah, so hip hop funk last night was a bust. I'd promised MsH that I was in this week, and I was - until it turned out that our teacher had a sprained ankle. Hip hop became kickboxing. Boo. And suddenly I was back in my work attire, bidding MsH adieu, and en route to meet up with the girls at Ella's.

That's the thing about plans. I'm a mega-planner, but those plans are always subject to change. Especially when there's multiple options on the horizon.

I ran into Rio at the metro as I was dashing down to the platform. He was headed home to study, but was luckily going onto the train as I was running down the escalator. I'd deleted the back and forth emailing and was drawing a blank as to where exactly I was headed.

"I'm not staying long," I said.

"Suuuuuuuure..." he said with a knowing smile.

Hmmmm. And, sure enough, he was right.

Mix was back in town for some contracting work this week, so we were getting together to catch up while she was in town these two weeks from Indy. It was us single girls catching up with our friend now newly on the married side of the divide. The numbers amongst my friends used to be slanted towards the single side, but slowly the gals seem to be defecting. Where am I going on Friday? Bachelorette party... need I say more?

We talked a lot about the adjustment from big city life to the slower pace of living in the 'burbs of a slightly smaller metro area. Mix is still trying to find the right job so as she's temping, shes definitely feeling the drastic change of speed.
"We just don't stop here," TxDem said.

"I don't do well with sitting still," I said. "If I'm doing something like watching a movie in my room, I'm doing something else at the same time."

Sometimes the speed is too much - and in thinking about it, I get it when people say the hustle and bustle of the city is too much for them. Some people find it draining - and others, energizing. I love the energy of city streets. The excitement of all of the things to see and do here. Perhaps that's why sometimes I think I'm ruined. I don't know that I can ever go back to a smaller town again. It's kind of like a battery sitting in a camera for years on end... I just might lose my charge.

Monday, April 16, 2007

chicken soup for the busy bee's soul

I've never worked in a soup kitchen or done any sort of work with the homeless. Living in DC, it's definitely something you see on a daily basis... it was something I saw in Miami as well, but it's not as ever-present in the way that you see it just walking through the streets downtown on a daily basis. So when EB asked if I would join her at her church with others in making sandwiches and then in riding on the van to distribute the food to the homeless, I welcomed the opportunity.

I'll admit to dragging my feet as I left home to head over. With the lingering cold weather and the continual rain yesterday, I was not wanting to leave the warm confines of home - but I finally made it out the door. We began by making lunch bags with a sandwich, mozarella string cheese, granola bar, and pudding. We would serve this along with soup and hot chocolate. Pretty nice meal.

Our route included a lot of the downtown area close to where I work. It's an area I don't typically see on the weekend, so it was sort of eerie to stop at these different points in the vicinity. It was haunting as one man walked up to get his soup and I found myself staring eye-to-eye with a gentleman I pass several times a week on the street. Typically I find him screaming obscenities or doing strange gestures, with a cup in front of him. Yesterday he calmly walked up and thanked me for the soup. It gave me goosebumps to come face-to-face with a familiar face like that.

One interaction really stuck with me. One man had come up, gotten his lunch bag, soup, and hot chocolate and returned back to his blankets on the sidewalk when the winds picked up. EB and I were still inside the van, waiting for the other volunteers to return from taking food over to those who weren't able to get up and come over on their own. The wind had picked up tremendously and, while the rain was not in full force, it was still sprinkling enough to make for a cold combination. He stood back up and walked over and began to shut our van doors. "It's getting cold out here," he said. "You should stay warm in there."

How could he look on from his place there on the pavement and perceive that as being significant? As we sat in the van, heat blasting, I felt really touched by the kindness in his heart, and a little guilty as I burrowed in my pea coat, sitting on a padded seat, indoors.

Homelessness is something I just don't know how to feel about. Last night, I was reminded that it's not always as black and white as people want to think it is. I still don't think the solution is to give money to every outstretched hand. We just can't. It's not realistic. Perhaps that's why I'm not always so vocal to take a stance on one side of the issue or another. I don't know it all, that's for sure, but I know enough to know it's one of those problems for which I just don't know the answer.

But I saw first-hand last night that there are some people who aren't choosing not to work... some of the people we served sell papers, help vendors set-up, etc. - and it's just not enough to afford a roof over their heads.

In discussions with our driver from the Salvation Army, I learned that many of those who are older are not willing to part with what little possessions they have in order to go into a shelter. To them, those bags are their home. Their most prized items. My heart broke as we had to look back at those hungry eyes at the end of our round at the long, snaking line at our last stop and tell them that we were sorry after their having waited, but that we had run out of all of the food for the day.

I saw kind eyes, thankful for every item we handed over. I saw cold eyes, harsh and chilling as the pavement on which they were huddled. I saw hopeful eyes, complemented in one case by a man repeating over and over that he was hanging on "by His grace".

I realized and acknowledged that I was lucky to be going home. To be able to snuggle up under my covers and stay warm and dry. To be able to crank up our radiators. As the wind picked up and I tossed and turned, I couldn't help but think of the man who'd helped close our van doors.

I wish I could return the favor.

[cross posted at]


Friday, April 13, 2007

kick some ice

What more does one need after a long week other than a nice relaxing and deliciously mindless 93 minutes with Will Ferrell? Nada. Will Farrell cracks me up. Some comedians poke fun at themselves or go on tirades cutting people down and in the end, solely succeed in irking me to no end. Not Will. Whether it's traipsing around NYC as an Elf, screaming he's to be feared ('cause he's the division manager AND he drives a Dodge Stratus), or embodying the motto of every proud Mississippi State fan (more cowbell, of course), he just cracks me up. Take that and combine it with ice skating, my favorite sport, and that's just about as good as it gets.

I was tired and wanting to get out. Rio's in the midst of finals for classes focused on a lot of heavy topics, so a little Blades of Glory seemed to be just what was in order. Now I did like Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, but I guess like
is being somewhat generous. Maybe I should say I thought it was okay. Anyhow, I was willing to see if this one could come through better than its predecessor. I had faith.

John Heder coming out in a swan costume and the way they followed them around like "a day in the life of" feature just made me laugh, after having watched skating for so many years. Skating was the closest I ever came to sports growing up -- I probably took lessons for some three years. I wasn't one of those people who was crazy into it... so no 6AM runs to the rink for me or ballet classes to maximize flexibility on the ice. I did do one competition and spent some quality time in the lovely harness to get more lift in my jumps. Haha. All-in-all though, great exercise!

Anyhow, the cameos were cracking me up as well. Definitely was just what I needed... my abs were hurting from laughing so much. It did make me want to get my skates back out though. I can't even remember the last time I went skating... maybe in Miami? Gosh, three years or so ago?

Afterwards it was off to Oyamel for some Mexican cuisine. I'd scoped out the place when they started remodeling after Andale folded. They specialize in aperitivos (appetizers), so it's a pretty direct challenge to Jaleo, located right around the corner. I'd really liked Andale, which had occupied the space beforehand. Apparently though not enough of DC did, since I believe that's why they closed.

The space was still arranged the same, although the decor was much more vibrant and there was an interesting second bar area in the front righ-hand corner of the restaurant. At first, I thought they were preparing the desserts there, but then it looked like they were doing other dishes there as well.

I can't compare Oyamel's food with their prior operation in Crystal City, but Rio and I were pretty pleased. The queso fundido con chorizo was excellent. It came with these mini-tortillas which were really good. The tacos were good as well. Some reviews I'd read mentioned them being small for their $3.50 price tag, but the ones we got did come with some great guac and honestly by that point, I don't know that I could have handled much more. We did try their pollo con mole, which I really liked - but I'm typically a mole fan. The chocolate cake (also with mole) was a great finale.

It was not a cheap meal, but it was good and a spot that I had been wanting to hit for a while. I'd say it's a good spot to grab something small at the bar or meet some friends after work. I probably won't be there weekly, but not half-bad.

So is it 5:30 yet?? Guess that answer would be no... [groan]

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

law & order: parking meter violation unit

As I've now just barely passed over that two year mark since my move to DC from Miami, I was just thinking the other day that I'd somehow managed to escape the clutches of DC's obsessive parking Nazis. I know it helps when the bulk of that time was spent with only my two feet as my means of transportation, but that's just a technicality... anyhow, although I now have a car, for the most part it looks pretty parked out on the street. I don't drive it to work and I rarely attempt to park it on the street in the city (that parallel parking resultion? yeah... still to come to fruition).

Last Friday I came home and saw what I thought was another flyer on my windshield. I was a little perplexed, since I did not know what on earth I could have done wrong. Only thing I could think was a violation of the "snow emergency route", but this was before the minute dusting of snow, so yeah - even in DC, that wouldn't be rationale behind the ticket.

I was almost laughing with Sassy when I saw that the ticket was for not displaying the zone sticker... the sticker clearly and appropriately already displayed in my window. I think perhaps instead of trying to get a measly $50 out of me, they should take the same out of their pocket and invest in a new set of spectacles for the individual in hot pursuit to find someone to ticket. The back provided info on contesting (which, duh, I will be doing) and mentioned to be sure to include any photos, descriptions, and/or diagrams with the ticket when submitting. Oh yeah - it's on.

One of the things I'm most proud of from my college days was my parking violation triumph versus the school. I should put it on my resume. Basically what happened was that the parking fines went up significantly at MSU and there was one place I had been parking for a year and half. I came back one day to a ticket. No sign had been posted making it a no parking zone and I thought it was convenient that they decided to pull this as soon as the increase went into effect. It's sort of like this video on You Tube... it's like you want to say, um no?

Photos, descriptions, and diagrams were definitely involved when I contested the ticket. It was a work of art. It was known that it was a waste of effort to fight the tickets since you just ultimately ended up paying the ticket fine plus the court fees, but I thought I had a shot - and I won.

So guess it's time for round two here in the District. Oh and if anyone wants to make a donation to buy the ticket officers some new glasses, I'm happy to include them in along with my masterpiece.

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almost rosey

Last night I stumbled across a posting of some live MP3s of Tori Amos' performance for RadioEins in Berlin. Those of you who aren't into Tori Amos are probably going to totally not relate and zone out at this point hah (but feel free to skip to the lyrics below -- really like them). You'd have thought I was completely out of music on my iPod (hah, nothing could be further from the truth) the way I voraciously scrambled to download the songs and transfer them over to my iPod.

I didn't listen to them until this morning as I was walking to the metro to head to my Pilates class. The short setlist of six included Velvet Revolution, Father's Son, Silent All These Years, Beauty of Speed, Leather (oh Tori - why, why, why?), and Almost Rosey. Almost Rosey really dug into me... I know I've said it before, but there are certain things that speak to people as almost a language in and of itself. For me, it's always been music.

I came here in the office to pull up the lyrics and found sadly that a lot of the places I'd been checking out the lyrics for the upcoming album opted to skip the lyrics to this one. From the reviews, sounds like this isn't most people's favorite on the album - but live... live, it's fabulous - in my opinion. After scouring for quite some time, finally found them. Once I got them, wasn't going to risk not finding them, so had to post them here. I've bolded the parts I really liked.

Almost Rosey

Uh uh uh hey hey hey
Uh uh uh hey hey hey

Just a minute of your time,
yes I’ve been known to delude myself
So let me put those rose colored glasses to the test

Now is this real enough for you ‘cause
Blondes here don’t jump out of cakes
If that never impressed you much
Come board this lunatic express

Why do they say
Have a nice day anyway
We both know they wouldn’t mind
If I just curled up and died
Oh, lets not give that one a try

Chin up, put on a pair of these roses raise those blinds
Chin up, a happy mask was never your best disguise
Chin up, put on a pair of these roses
In no time
You will feel almost fine
Almost rosey

Uh uh uh hey hey hey

Now some girls here will huddle with,
not footballers that are rich
But we’ll confide in small white sticks
He bounces the Viriginian Slim
Then I just tried once to comply with an authority
That will subsidize my wild side
But at this altar we're sacrificed
Yes you can laugh,
A femme fatale,
In a bride's dress
Now married to the effortless of the cracks
That lie now in between the facts

Why do they say
Have a nice day anyway
We both know they wouldn’t mind
If I just curled up and died
Oh, lets not give that one a try

Chin up, put on a pair of these roses raise those blinds
Chin up, a happy mask was never your best disguise
Chin up, put on a pair of these roses in no time
You will feel almost fine
Almost rosey

Uh uh uh hey hey hey

Now about when Violet died
The cause still unidentified
She thought her love would be enough
But you can’t seduce seduction
Her tentacles of endless want
Reach through my corridors
And tempt me to taste of her power
I sober with the witching hour
And when I hear of one more bomb
Yes we have all been robbed of song
And nightingales who throw their arms up
When is enough enough

Why do they say
Have a nice day anyway
We both know they wouldn’t mind
If I just curled up and died
Oh, lets not give that one a try

Chin up, put on a pair of these roses raise those blinds
Chin up, a happy mask was never your best disguise
Chin up, put on a pair of these roses in no time
You will feel almost fine
Almost rosey

Uh uh uh hey hey hey
Uh uh uh hey hey hey
Feeling almost rosey

I know I'm completely spoiling the album for myself. Come May 1st and then all of the shows to follow in the fall, these tracks may have lost their luster from being worn out on repeat. But I'll take that gamble. I don't know how many times I've replayed this one, but just one more... can't hurt too much...

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Monday, April 09, 2007

tell me 'bout it

I love the variety of in DC. The different flavors you can get by going from one neighborhood to another. Not wild about one area? Go several blocks in any direction and you're likely to find something with at least a slightly different vibe. I've only recently begun to dabble a bit in the musical offerings along the U-Street Corridor. I'd heard of the many locations with live jazz to add to that must-check-out list (that's ever growing and only very slowly being whittled down) along that strip. I did dinner once at Sala Thai in that area and was pleasantly surprised that the jazz ensemble which was performing was such a highlight, and the restaurant wasn't even a location I'd noted as a must-hit for live music.

Saturday I had plans to go to a friend's birthday, but when Rio texted to say that he and a couple of friends in from out of town were going to go to U-topia (one definitely on my list), I said I'd figure out a way to make it all work. U Street is such a fascinating area to me. I love all of the history there. I always forget that it has a longer standing history than NYC's Harlem. I wish that live music was as plentiful in DC as it is in say Austin.

Walking into the restaurant, I could tell it was going to be rich on many levels. The walls were a deep crimson and there were satin curtains framing the doorways between the different areas of the restaurant. There was a small bar area with some seating around it and then another room, which was primarily more tables with some couches and plush chairs in the back righthand corner. The walls were covered with vibrant paintings of all sorts, all for sale. I really love to see it when the work of local artists is put on display (and also for sale) like that. I didn't check out the price tags associated, but the combined effect with the surroundings made for a rich atmosphere.

The flavor carried through to the food as well. Their traditional gumbo was delicious. The blackened shrimp was good, although it could have used a bit more of the traditional blackening "umph". The sauce was really good though, even if not quite what I'd anticipated by the whole blackened label. Even menu items not touted as spicy came out with a little extra kick, as Rio found when his lamb chop arrived adorned by a big fat jalapeno pepper. Knowing his lack of affection for things mega-spicy, I made sure to point out the pepper before he dug in.

I was supposed to be at the party by then, but I drug my feet in leaving to be able to hear the ensemble kick off their set. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant. This proved to be a plus for saving us from that neverending draft you get by being close to the entrance, but not such prime real estate for enjoying the music. They set the performers up in an alcove torwards the front, so if you ever go to check out the scene there, keep that in mind. I only was able to stay through the first couple of songs. The clarinet had a rich, soulful sound that cut crisply through the room, but yet gelling perfectly with the percussionist and the others in the ensemble. Finally 15 or so minutes in, I had to excuse myself to head to stage two of the evening. But I was quite impressed with U-topia. It's a stop I'll definitely have to make again.

And speaking of soul, I picked up the new Joss Stone album on Friday during mine and Sassy's "suburban" shopping run. If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend it. It's R&B with sort of a dance/pop twist. Her first single is a catchy tune.

I figured I'd start my pre-concert prep-work now, having already picked up tickets to her upcoming show at Wolf Trap. I'm not a big fan of attending concerts and not knowing the music. I have her first album, but that's it. This third one though has definitely been on repeat in my office. I think my co-workers think I have a multiple personality disorder. Just a week ago, I was listening to this classical channel on streaming radio all day long. Now it's Joss. Sing it, girl.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

eggs - they're of the devil

Hippety, hoppety... I still say, there's something wrong to the core about it being cold on Easter. As Sassy and I got ready for church this morning, the challenge was how does one manage to look somewhat spring-ish when it is freeeeeezing outside? I think we managed to come out somewhere appropriate, although there were quite a few ladies at church this morning who seemed to have insisited upon that springtime dress they just had to have or even open-toed shoes (my toes are cringing now just at the memory, as they're roasting nicely inside their warm fuzzy slipper socks).

Me? Play Martha? 'Cause unbleached flour on the nose is so in...
Our brunch today went off without a hitch, even without the superb contribution of the DG in her element (in front of the stove). Perhaps that's what gave Sassy and I the chance to shine. It's been a weekend focused on today's event. Friday we made a serious run to the grocery store to stock up on supplies. Yes, we stayed in to prepare - that's how committed we were. Saturday we were both doing as much prep work in advance as possible. I kept on rolling, even making chicken paprikash for lunch. Way to put that Hungarian sweet paprika to use. I joke that I don't cook. That's exactly the truth... it's not that I can't cook, it's that I don't cook. Yes, there is a difference. Agreed?

Favorite quotation of the weekend though has to come from Sassy's mom. When she called to get some more of that mom wisdom about how to approach something related to cooking, her mom said something to the effect of most of cooking is just about using common sense. Haha. We thought that was funny. Did that mean we were lacking that when we were stumped from time to time? We knew that wasn't the intended meaning, but we were amused just the same.

We have a running joke though about having to serve deviled eggs. See, Sassy has this fabulous deviled egg dish. Who has a dish like this? I tell you, they must be an endangered species. I may have shared this before, but if so, it warrants a repeat. It has an interchangeable center, where you can opt for a turkey (Thanksgiving), bell (Christmas), chicken (hmmm lame catch-all?), or - you got it - a bunny. I am very anti-egg, which made planning brunch contributions interesting, seeing as eggs serve as quite the foundation for many a brunch dish. Sassy and I worked alongside one another, but I'll admit I didn't fight her when she offered to clean up the sink when it was covered with egg "guts". Ewwww. No thanks.

Bring on the brunch...
The line-up was quite impressive, if I do say so myself. We had Sassy's contributions: ham strada, potatoes (with sour cream, onions, and cheese), carrot cake, and of course those wooooonderful deviled eggs. I made baked pineapple, grape salad, cheese grits (don't diss 'em until you've tried 'em!), and fried up some turkey bacon. WT brought the OJ and champagne for mimosas. D brought a fabulous macaroni casserole and MsH brought a fabulous fruit salad with Cool Whip. It was enough food for an army! If you could only see our fridge. We had to clean house to make room for the prep process. We were so excited to get it back to normal, and now it's instead full of leftovers (only halfway complaining - it's quite good stuff). There's absolutely no way we're going to go through all the leftovers though. Anyone want some cheese grits? We can give you some, along with a bag of Funyuns and some Slim Jims left over from our White Trash party. You see, we're just such kind and giving folks.

The brunch though was great. We wanted to keep it much smaller than our recent soirees and it was nice to be able to really catch up with friends on Easter. We were saying that holidays make it more obvious to us (and most of our friends) who aren't from around here and that for us, times like this and many times in general our friends really are our surrogate family. It was great to get together and chat and even share some really funny stories... from MsH's family story (deli meat?) to DrP's white trash tutorial to my interesting story of meeting the guy my friends now refer to as "mugging guy"... never a dull moment with this crew. Good times with great friends. And from the reviews, sounds like we'll have some repeat attendees if we should make this a regular occurance. Perhaps next time around our third roomie will be in the District to lead the charge!

For now though, Sassy and I have totally vegged out for the rest of the day. We're wiped. We were chatting sitting on my bed and realized there were no lights on and the sun had completely set. Oooops. Desk lamp is now on, although it will be switched off soon and very soon.

Friday, April 06, 2007

cadbury? they be my peeps...

Easter is a daaaangerous holiday season for me. As a self-admitted chocoholic, there's nothing about Easter to discourage mass consumption of chocolate. It's the season of Cadbury. I'm sure I've already mentioned being dangerously addicted to the Cadbury mini-eggs (the one with the crisp shell). I bought my inaugural bag while in Chicago, where the Titan and I started the Easter season promptly in Februrary. As I sit in my office (clearly procrastinating from working on this fine cold Good Friday), I have a Lindt Gold Bunny taunting me, a much appreciated gesture from my boss. And then there's my lunch with Rio, where I am excited to again be getting that Brazillian traditional Easter egg. Somehow, perhaps all this chocolatey goodness does not jive with my recent gym kick. I like to think that somehow it all works out.

The Easter sweet item I've lost a fondness for has to be Peeps, although I find them strangely amusing... I was reading the Express this morning, and apparently they have a contest they'll be posting results from that involve Peeps. Hmmmm. Interesting.

Random useless Friday information that's somewhat in season (because why not?)... according to the recent online survey conducted over at, Will Farrell is the male celebrity most likely to represent what Peeps would be like if they were to come to life. Jessica Simpson was the #1 female celebrity (no comment - not a fan). The W was the male celebrity most in need of Peeps. This made me smile. A whole lot. Anyone want to catapult a mass quantity of Peeps at the White House? Somehow this mental image is giving me enormous amounts of amusement... Random comment -- did you know they now apparently have sugar-free Peeps? Considering I thought that was basically all that was in a Peep, I'm fascinated.

But it's interesting all of the different Easter/Passover traditions that people have. Last year's Easter-time celebrations were so varied. I think this year's will be more simplistic. But simple can be good. Church and then brunch with a few friends. It'll be a bit colder than desired, that's for sure, but we'll make the most of it.

Hope it's a Good Friday for you, wherever you may be and in whatever form your celebrations may be.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

sore to the core

Do you have any doubt as to where your "core muscles" are? I don't. I know darn well where they are. Between Tuesday night's Hip Hop Funk class and Pilates and today's 6:45AM Pilates class, I'm pretty certain I have an idea. It was mighty tempting to sleep in this morning, but nope - I got myself going, even with this morning's temps sliding back to the cooler side and with the threat of the crazy man on the lose on the Hill still looming (thankfully that situation has wrapped).

There's something serene about an early morning work-out, even when ones core is so sore that laughing becomes painful. The studio lights were out, with light only coming in from the main cardio floor area. No music. Just lying there on the floor.

I would be lying if I didn't own up to looking forward to an off day tomorrow... sleeping late (yessssss... 6:15AM has never seemed so incredibly late), hopefully heading out of the office early, and then some pre-brunch prep for Easter (road trip to the 'burbs for Sassy and I). I'm still sad our Cherry Blossom picnic on Saturday had to be nixed. Snow flurries tomorrow night? Thumbs down. This DC weather is getting old... pick a season. Any season. And preferably a warmer one...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

i'll be your saltine senorita

In the week's tradition of follow-through, today I became a card toting gym member (branded guest for 2 weeks, granted -- but it comes at a superb discount rate, so until I cast off those training wheels, I'll own my guest label). MsH and I had planned an advance date for hip hop funk class. How can anything go wrong with a fabulous name like that?

The music was fabulous and the class a blast. It was a bit oh funny to instead of seeing oneself in the mirror in something more hip to hit the town find a stylish pony tail at the crown of your head, sports bra, and Gator (heck yeah!) t-shirt. Hot. Nothing makes you feel like getting down to some R&B/Dance/Rap like that combo. Mega hotness.

Perhaps it was seeing that interesting ensemble looking back at me that held me back... that and the fact that it took me a bit to get the teacher's rhythm down. I'm all over it next class I go to... good stuff, and what a work-out. Yeah, but whereas I can remember getting down with my gals in South Florida or here from time to time and feeling like I could move to the tunes, tonight I was feeling mighty, well let's be blunt, white. Perhaps next go-'round I'll be able to cut it loose a bit more.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment and since I want to maximize my guest pass purchase to the fullest, I decided to stay on for pilates. This is why I was all about the gym membership... whereas I can just say ouch, done, give up at home, somehow I keep on plugging away when there are others watching me. It's like magic. I will admit at the end though as the muscles between my shoulder blades were making themselves known that I was unable to finish the final exercise of the class... but, not half-bad for the end of my second class at my first day in the gym. (I'll pat myself on my sore back now for you. Awww. Thanks.)

As I walked home, still styling in my gym attire, it felt like a good day. Sure, I still might not know that what I'm doing I want to do for the rest of my life. Do I have to know now? Nah. Maybe tomorrow. Things just feel balanced somehow... I'd had lunch with Rio, caught up with MsH over our funk diva session, and managed to work in some fabulous cardio. Don't get me wrong... I love meeting friends out for happy hour. Sometimes though it seems too easy for life to become just one massive series of happy hours. Perhaps that's the change I needed. More balance. A better blend. Whatever it is, I'm addicted.

(And about to pass out. I see some fabulous deep sleep in my future, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty pumped about it. Zzzzzzzz...)

Monday, April 02, 2007

shiny happy people

My alarm went off at 5:30AM today. Slightly tempting to snooze, but no, no... up and out. It was a bit chilly, but what a perfect spring day to start a new routing. April's a good time to finally start to hit that list of New Year's resolutions, right? Running in the morning? Been a long time list honoree. I've always heard the morning's when working out fits best, but I've never thought I could do it. I told my roommate's today was the day... idle promise it was not.

The sun was not out yet as I hit the street. The traffic was definitely picking up though. I watched as slowly I was not the lone sidewalk occupant. Gradually there were others running, a trio of older residents walking and chatting (one with her sweater knit cap, complete with the little yarn ball on top - fabulous), and eventually respresentatives from that Cap Hill contingency that's got a strong presence - the dog owners.

I've only watched the sun rise
once other time in DC. It was beautiful to watch the sky fade gradually from a deep blue into an intense turquoise, only the clouds remaining as dark blue remnants of the previous homogenous sea of navy. WETA was playing Hungarian Dances No. 3 by Brahams, which was only fitting. Last night, the DG cooked for Sassy and I using the Hungarian sweet paprika I brought her back from Hungary... I'm seeing a theme somehow!

My roommates couldn't believe I actually pulled myself out of bed so early this Monday morning. I told them if I ran my mouth to them saying I'd do it that I wouldn't back out! The DG told me as we were walking to the metro that I was a totally different me... she said she'd never seen me so alert and chipper in the morning. Haha - so beware... eerie side effects!

But yeah, I'm just truckin' along on those resolutions!

  • International trip? Check! (or Czech? Hah. Couldn't resist...)
  • Exercise? Check. And getting that gym membership today. Yeah!
  • Playing the flute? Check. I was a bit anxious last Monday when I pulled out my silver Haynes. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to plug my way successfully through my favorite, Doppler's Hungarian Pastorale Fantasy. There's hope for me yet.
  • Trip to California? In the works. Looking at prices today.

Here's to moving 2007 along in a new direction!

Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd
People people
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine


Sunday, April 01, 2007

stuck on repeat

Every now and then, I get in a DC funk. Perhaps that’s where I stand now. Job? Eh, it’s ok. Is it what I want to be doing forever? Current feeling is likely no. I’m antsy and darn it, I’m sad that I’m not jumping on a plane anytime soon to any far away location. I have a love/hate relationship with DC’s small town traits, and right now I’m not feeling the love. I’m feeling the need to change it up a bit.
And I don’t believe in mistakes, per se, but I do think there’s inevitably moments that aren’t your finest. And sometimes those moments repeat. I’m seeing too many of those lately. Ideally, you learn from those not so glistening moments, but other times the pattern seems to instead be to repeat. It’s like the line from the song. Feels like I’m running to stand still. It’s exhausting, draining, and I’m done.

I should be outside now, participating in the Cherry Blossom 5K. I figured it would be a nice way to see the area around the Tidal Basin all in it's full glory (although that Jan warm spell effectively nuked the likelihood that the cherry blossoms would really manage to last long). I was going to work my Tossed and Found shift yesterday (good cause), run a few errands, and turn in early so I could wake up fresh and ready to go early this AM. Did it play out like that? Not so much...

After checking the weather, looked like it would definitely be raining at the time of the race. As much as I wanted to get some exercise and get myself back to feeling "normal" post-Europe, rain and I are not friends so I figured the race was out. Not that it's super sunshiney outside now, but something about the crazy warbling bird that seems to have taken up residence outside my bedroom says that rain storm, yeah, didn't quite come to be.

Last night was KM's birthday so it was 5K? Or heading out on town? Last night, heading out on town was sounding like the better option. Today my body says maybe not so much. Seriously though, it was fun. Always fun celebrating with a friend on their actual birthday. And WT met us out as well, which was fun seeing as I hadn't seen her in quite a bit and we'd had a mix up on meeting out on Friday.

The Pea’s shared some of my portrait work with one of her clients, which I find to be pretty exciting. Perhaps there’s something in store there. Or maybe it’s time to consider a career change. All I know is that while I typically opt for routines and stability, I’m ready to bring on the change. I need it.

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