Sunday, April 30, 2006

Homework, what homework?

It's been a crazy weekend, complete with full-on homework avoidance. Only two take home tests left - hooray - but my HMF just came back from Argentina and you can bet that I'm not interested in homework just this minute.

However, he's sleeping.

And the only thing on TV is Sheryl Crow. Ug.

Oh internet, how was boredom ever cured without you??

Friday I met up with some old co-workers (turns out we have more in common than hating our old jobs) for MORE bhangra dancing. I had to go this time with the HMF to prove that I could hang with the desi's without him. Why am I attracted to an entire race/subcontinent of people who will have nothing to do with me??


Anyway, we went to the Black Cat Club in my new favorite spot in town, the U Street corridor, to see DJ Rekha in town from NYC. Of course, she was amazing - but she didn't start until midnight and I needed to get going by about one am. I had to be in SouthEast early the next morning to take part in Hands on DC. Some of my other old co-workers and I had signed up before we lost the contract, and I wanted to go.

Volunteering normally helps me come out of myself and feel blessed about my own life - however, DJ Rekha had ruined it for me. I was tired, crabby and NOT in the mood to clean up a dingy old school office. I was exhausted, sniffly and arrive half an hour late. Never mind that half of our team didn't show up (look people, if you say you are going to BE somewhere then BE there. Is that so hard?) and our pizza lunch arrived two hours after it was ordered. But, it was fun to see Mary and Julia and get my final paycheck (score! money without

Then I had to run home and get ready for the barbeque my roommate volunteered our house for. I was so exhausted that I tried to lie down for a bit before our house was swarmed with people. Unfortunately, there was so much preparation work to do (all the other roomies had surprisingly disappeared) that I didn't get much chance to rest. I had to sweep the porch, clean the bathroom, put up signs to go around back instead of tromple through our house, put out garbage cans, fill and light the tiki torches, put up tables and chairs, yada yada yada.

I may sound like my fussy Aunt Meriel here, but I'm a firm believer of "If you throw a party, throw a party RIGHT." I just couldn't help feeling a little taken advantage of as people started showing up and hanging out in our kitchen to cook and never asked me if I needed help. Which is why, when the party began to wind down, I didn't feel at all guilty about not cleaning up much. Besides, Mary and Julia were there and we laughed and talked until midnight.

It was a great party - but it was such a long day that I was totally beat at the end of it. I'll post pictures later (seem to have forgotten where I put my camera...)

In the meantime, I guess I'd better start thinking about homework...



Post Script - here are some photos!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Madeleine Albright

I'm not a person with heroes. As a kid, if you asked me who my hero was, I would've probably given you a blank stare. I mean, Eleanor Roosevelt is a nice choice, as is Mahatma Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Victoria Woodhull and Emma Goldman. But who's really relavent to my life today?

Last night, I had the honor of seeing Madeleine Albright speak - for free! (ok just the price of tuition) - at my university. I read her biography in the tractor one summer, hauling grain for my dad (in between trips, of course). It inspired me to move to DC.

She's the closest thing I have to a hero.

Here is someone who was raised with the same kind of "women-should" attitude, yet managed to get her PhD, learn Russian, have two kids and oh, yeah, become the US representative to the UN.

She was awesome.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Excitement at Home

Check it - living in a house full of women, something interesting is always going on.

Take last night, for example, when Monica locked herself in the bathroom.

The door sticks in the first place, but last night at 11pm, the lock finally busted. In half. With Monica inside.

The photo on top is Monica in the bathroom window, planning her escape via our back porch. (Of course, in times of need we women don't call a locksmith (it was late, after all) but we DO remember to grab our cameras.

The photo at above is her butt, climbing through the window, through the keyhole (after we removed the doorhandle and panel).

I'll tell ya - it's never a dull moment around here.

Jelly Side Down

Ever had a piece of toast, buttered and jellied, in your hand on a collision course with your mouth - only to screw up at the end and have it fall jelly side down onto the dirty, crumby, nasty kitchen floor/counter/table/sink?

Yup. That's me.

That's my life in a nutshell.

Most reasonable people will tell you that this happens to everyone. it's a trick of physics - the jelly sde is heavier than the the non-jellied, they tell me. It's natural that this would happen.


I know better. I've lived my life long enough to recongize it when I see it:

My Dumb Luck!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Privatization of Government

Because I'm sure you're all wondering, here's what I have to say about Bush's newly unfurled Health Savings Plan: It's crap.

For further elucidation, keep reading. Being young and (relatively) healthy, I'd be lying if I said I thought about health care non-stop 24/7. However, in the few and far between times when I actually needed it, it was nice to have around. Forthose of you who don't know, getting sick is EXPENSIVE (ask my friend who got turned away from the student health office and was forced to go to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with mono). I mean really. I haven't had my teeth cleaned in a year. Soon I'll have to bribe my HMF (that's Handsome Man Friend, new readers) to kiss me. Yuck.

What disturbs me more than not having a national health plan, is this new movement towards privatization of services that adds up a retraction of government from the people. First it was Social Security (you can kiss that one goodbye, y'all), next it was Katrina (good luck on yer own, suckas!) and now this. You have to save the money, you have to make sure you have enough money (wait, isn't that like how it is NOW?)

My burning question of the day is this: Why is the Bush administration so adamantly foisting away it's responsibility to the American people? What happened to the Social Contract? Why on earth do we have a government if they're just going to tell us to do it ourselves anyway?

Look, I'm not one of those cry-to-yer-mommy-liberals -I believe in taking care of myself and my own- HOWEVER, I do believe there is utility in government, ESPECIALLY in times of NEED (see below) and when I need help. Why else pay taxes?

And this isn't just on a Federal level. This libertarian-run-amok philosophy has trickled down to the states as well. What really kills me was the September 2005 interview on NPR with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. (I know, it's a bit late, but the recent 100 year anniversary of the San Fran earthquake got me thinking. Plus, I'm slow). In it, he talks about the preparedness of his city for another earthquake. His recommendation? Everyone should be prepared to take care of themselves for 72 hours. (check out if you don't believe me)

That's right. Yer on yer own American public.

Does anyone else find this ludacrious? That the government is saying "whoops, we can't do anything so our best plan is that you take care of yourselves?"


I want my money back.

M. (

To check out the impetus for this entry, read the April 17 2006 issue of the New Yorker, under Talk of the Town, entitled "Consumption")

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Last Day

The funny thing about working is that, for an indeterminate amount of time, a random group of people are forced to interact 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.

Even if you end up hating those people (which, let's face it, there are some), you do end up learning alot about them, and about other stuff too. For example, I found out today that Liz is allergic to cinnamon. Other things I have gleaned along the way: Nate's favorite fruit is strawberries. Mary speaks Greek, Wolof and French fluently and bakes the best banana bread in the world. Oliva is a size nine. There is only one double-landlocked country in the world (eg surrounded by landlocked countries); it's Uzbekistan. And don't forget that Trinidad is waaay bigger than Tobago. :)

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get a group of people who actually enjoy each other's company and get along reasonably well (even if you have to tackle them with bubble wrap...). They make working kind of like hanging out - something you would chose to do even if you weren't getting paid. It makes doing actual work alot more palatable - hell, even, a good time.

And if you're even luckier, you get a boss who is the perfect balance of taskdriver, leader, mentor, friend and laugh riot.

Another funny thing about working is that, even if you promise to stay in touch, once you've been released from that cage, you no longer share a common, current reality with those people. The magic is gone. Unless you've been able to reach out and make true friendship, most of the colleagues will stay that way - someone to complain about work with. And, if one of the ingredients is missing, the relationships quickly go stale. Which is I guess what truly bums me out about today.

I have been so blessed to work in a job that applies to my degree; I have learned a ton here. I will miss the routine, the people, the jokes and the tasks. But (and I'm getting used to this feeling as I get older), I can recognize the right time to go.

It is, after all, just work.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Little Luxuries

I spent all of yesterday pissed. Not pissed in the British sense, pissed in the American "I'm going to kick you in the face" pissed. Well, not so much pissed, as perpetually, mind-numbling, just shoot-me-now irritated. Like that time I sat, wearing shorts, in my uncle's fiberglass-bottom boat and ended up with a fiberglass bottom of my own.

I knew from experience that this feeling would pass, still it was a tough day to get through.

While I had a few ideas regarding the source of my irritation (the fat bus lady who tries to squeeze into the space next to me and the pole, colleagues who insist on repeatedly throwing small stress-balls against the paper thin wall, roommates who don't flush the toilet (even though we got that one cleared up), group mates that leave a meeting early because it interferes with their tennis lesson, mothers who don't approve of blog-site language, jobs that are ending, security clearances that take three weeks to get, finals that must get researched and written)mostly it was myself.

And that's the worst. When you're irritating your own self? You KNOW something's got to give.

I realized that if I was going to get through the day without snapping everyone's heads off, I needed to pacify myself with little luxuries. This sounds ridiculous, but my little luxuries usual revolve around buying something that I wouldn't normally allow myself to buy. As a grad student, surprise surprise, most of my worries/miserableness extends from not having enough money to buy what I *really* want. I end up buying what I need and leaving those flashy gold ballet flats on the shelf.

I'm not usually a proponent of buying happiness, but in a life where spending $1.60 is a major investment, it turned out yesterday that splurging on some good groceries from Whole Foods (green things! good cheese! tapinade!) did the trick.

Oh yeah, and some coffee.

Can you believe I went a whole day with a cup?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Best Childhood Memory

Recently on, someone suggested that the posters should momentarily discontinue their cynicism about Bush/Cheney/the police/racism/sexism/Iraq/marriage rights/Hillary Duff and actually do something pleasant. Like recall your best childhood memory. Because I'm too cheap to pay for access to become a full-fledged Fark, I'm going to use my free space here.

Compared to most people I've met, my childhood was pretty idyllic. Lots of space, lots of green, lots of love. There were traumatizing bits (dropping my pet pheasant chick and breaking it's neck), mortifying moments (can anyone say menarche?), hurt, anger and frustration, too, but I've come to realize that growing up in itself is terrifying - and everything that I went through was pretty natural. At least, that's how I rationalize it. :)

There were two influential phases involving two influential groups in my childhood: my siblings and my friends (affectionately named Group Five, then renamed Group Six and now well, we're just a Group). Appropriately, my memories can be categorized around these two groups.

My older siblings were SO COOL growing up. Being four and six years behind them, I always felt like the butt end of everything. I was never as cool as my brother, never as smart as my sister (I later learned to cultivate what my mother calls a "smart mouth" to make up for this). So when they included me on things, I was elated.

Most of the playing I was allowed to do with my bro and sis was in our "back woods" - about ten acres behind our house. I remember playing war with my brother and being terrified (I hated being alone in the woods knowing that he could jump out at any moment and pelt me with sticks). I remember having a fort-building contest and rigging up logs into trees, while my brother burrowed underground into the only hill within ten miles and my sister created this amazing duck blind. My brother once decided to try fishing in our pond and only came up with a salamander, which he hung on a tree to dry. I remember finding a post-hole digger in our old garage and drilling three child size holes in the middle of my mother's flowerbed - then the next day they were filled with toads. Good times.

After 14, I was basically an only child as both my siblings had moved on to college and beyond. Luckily, oh so luckily in our tiny town, there were a group of girls with whom I actually go along and shared the same dorky interests. I dodged many years of loneliness, angst and depression by having those girls around.

Looking back, I honestly think that these women were more influential to me in my teenage years than anyone else. To this day, I give them credit for grounding me, keeping me strong, providing encouragement, information on becoming a woman and the occasional fake prom dress (ok so that was technically Kaydi's sister). In that awful year of 1997, when everybody was either dying or drowning, I still shake my head in wonder that we made the effort to gather at Kaydi's place for our annual pre-Prom bash. I'm kind of stunned at our insensitivity (I think Megan spent the day bailing out her house), but also our resiliency (we did a re-Prom later on that summer).

Occasionally, I dream of my high school boyfriend or my parents' farm, the sunset over the prairie or- when I'm feeling really homesick - large seemingly ancient machines moving across the horizon, kicking up dust and chaff in late August. But more often than not, when I dream of home, I dream of Kaydi, Roxie, Beth, Megan, Sarah and Kate.

Thanks, ladies.

For everything.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lists OR What's Wrong With Me Today

My friend Chadd and I used to make lists all the time. To this day, it seems to me to be the quickest and easiest way to give someone the lowdown. So, I'vedecided to continue the tradition.

As some of you may know, I am a certified hypochondriac. To prove it, here's a list of all the diseases I've had in the last month:
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tunnel vision
  • Cataracts
  • Astigmatism
  • Blepharitis
  • Barforitis
  • Diverticular Vasculitis
  • Psorisis
  • Conjuctivitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Gingevitis
  • Hordeolum
  • Hypertension
  • Hypotension
  • Time Suspension
  • Alien Invasion
  • Pinworm
  • Ringworm
  • Guinea Worm
  • Heart Burn
  • Stomach churn
  • Malaria
  • Hysteria
  • Menstruation
  • Mental breakdown
  • General Frustration
  • Lung cancer
  • tongue cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • mouth cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • uterine cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • lukemia
  • Crohn's disease
  • ALS
  • SSA
  • SPB
  • BFN
  • MS
  • MFA
  • OMG
  • BFF
  • TTFN
You can see, I'm not under any stress. :) I'm kind of impressed that I have less cancers than I thought. Also, it is evident that I need some sleep.

TaTa For Now;

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cherry Blossom Magic

It's the beautiful, dreaded time of year here in Washington DC : the National Cherry Blossom Festival. All along the tidal basin, thousands of trees are in full bloom (peak to be this monday or tuesday) and appropriately, thousands of tourists. These tourists are a well-documented source of frustration for those of us who call DC "home". They descend upon the city in their sneaker-and-fanny-pack outfits, wander through traffic, pester you for directions, clog the subways (stay AWAY from the Smithsonian stop if you have heart problems), stand on the left, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

Still, my handsome man-friend and I braved the tourists on Friday afternoon and headed down to the tidal basin. Such was the beginning of an awesome evening.

It was a gorgeous seventy degree day, and after a rough week at work, it was nice to sit on the basin, watch tourists and witness the sunset. We poked around the burgeoning tulip garden and then went to Les Halles, a french bistro across the street from the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Ave. Even though the service was less than desireable (we waited for over twenty-five minutes to get water and bread, let alone attention from our waiter), they did have amazing salmon. They also ended up comp'ing our kir.

After that, we headed back to my place to get ready for the real main event: Bhangra Blowout. Actually, the offical blowout competition is tonight at George Washinton, but my handsome man-friend and I met up with two of his Sikh friends last night at a U-street lounge for the kick off party. Fan. Tas. Tic!

We ended up falling asleep and not getting there until about midnight (which, for those of you who know me, is quite a coup for me to take a nap and then get up and go out afterwards!) but I was so glad that we forced ourselves to go.

Bhangra is a type of dance from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, with lots of shoulder shrugging and sultry hip movements. I was originally very self conscious - there were about three other whitey mc-whites there - but the night was not to be wasted. After the initial "pet-the-dog-screw-in-the-lightbulb" moves, I began to channel my inner bollywood star (not to mention copy the women around me).

I had a blast! It was amazing to watch people dance, spin, twirl, squat, wiggle, shimmy and shine. Of course, all the women were stunning. Apparently, I wasn't doing to shabby myself, as I wasn't hurting for dance partners. One of my friends teased me for being a "Sikh magnet" @:P

We ended up dancing until 2:30 am, about the time that my tummy began grumbling. We decide to head up the street to the DC institution, Ben's Chili Bowl, black owned since 1958 and home of chili that would revive your dead grandmother. Hoo-Haa! We had chili fries, chili dogs, chili chips and two tums (just me, not the guys).

I ended up getting home around 4:30 in the morning, which I haven't done since college. I slept until noon, sufficiently ignoring the paper I'm supposed to be working right now. However, right now, I must say - it was totally worth it :)

Back to reality;