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"Ugh, the foul stench of youth."

Aug. 15th, 2016 | 11:32 pm

Not all weekends can be Nonstop Geriatric Fun.

Aside from having wine slushies, there was a fair amount packed into last weekend. I did a full (and somewhat miserable, the other guy in the studio room probably thought I was dying) shoulder workout Saturday morning, then returned home and had an amazing breakfast burrito, cleaned the kitchen, and napped. Having a twinge of lower back pain that I surely exaggerated plus B needing to fill in for someone's shift meant I was in bed early that evening. On Sunday I went back to the gym for a lower-impact workout, then was at Pret trying to stop sweating* when Blake texted asking about my location. I marched up to Duplex again to have brunch with he, Mattie, Joe, Peter, and Peter's current person interest, Trey. Not a bad time, and lovely pancakes! Most of us regrouped at JR's for a drink after that, though it wasn't super populated and the music kept skipping.

Another productive thing that came of my weekend: I revived my long-dormant planning blog! I reclaimed the URL and put in some recent content with photos. While I don't yet have any particularly deep or insightful recent posts, there are good starting points and I have more drafts in process. Having had something nutty like 13 blogs over my adult life, I'm not pressuring myself to make that one perfect. As long as it includes somewhat current content and it contributes to my professional presence**, I am satisfied.

*Literally. It was 99 degrees, and after cardio I conveniently continue sweating for a while.

**Though it feels a little artificial, this truly does help keep me in a secure place career-wise within DC's planning world.

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Breaking the ice with a Friday Five about food

Aug. 13th, 2016 | 06:27 pm

Food is the best.

I've been a terribly neglectful LJer of late! I feel sort of bad about it, so let's get back into the swing of things.

1. Do you like ketchup or tomatoes or both?
Both, though as a young kid I refused to eat ketchup. No idea why.

2. Do you like grape jelly/jam or purple grapes or both?
Both. Grape jelly on a hot Bojangles biscuit is amazing. But I also like grapes and when I (rarely) remember to buy them, it's excellent to freeze them and have as a snack.

3. Do you like cider or apples or both?
Both. And it's almost cider season (which is also college football season)!

4. Do you like cream or milk or both?
Both, though I have been having very little of either recently. At work (where I drink almost 100% of my coffee) we have those gross little shelf-stable half-and-half cups that come in a giant box of 800, and I am not organized enough to always have fresh cream there. So all summer I have been going to either Starbucks or Pret, both of whom have soy milk. And I eat my granola with nonfat yogurt.

5. Do you like zucchini bread or zucchini or both?
Both are good, though zucchini bread can be really dry. Fresh zucchini are amazing, because you can roast them or grill them or prepare them a whole bunch of ways that are all delicious.

On that note, there has been a lot of great cooking in our household recently.


Roasted vegetables with bigger eggplant slices, shrimp with cocktail sauce


And it is crazy hot this week, as is expected in DC in August. So last night while at Duplex, I finally tried frosé. I was skeptical this would be for me, but their version is strawberry-flavored and I loved it.


Yes, it is rosé from a slushie machine and it is glorious.


More updates are forthcoming, as I have no plans for the rest of this weekend other than a gym trip tomorrow morning.

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Everyone's visiting DC, and we are out of sidewalk space.

Jul. 16th, 2016 | 08:54 pm

Please float if possible.

Work finally slowed down to an extent on Friday, allowing me to actually eat lunch with Laura (other planner coworker) and Anna (the third of three new additions to the team) instead of frantically shoveling in food at my desk. We talked at length about DC neighborhoods and where we might move and summer vacation plans. Though there weren't any ridiculous late nights, for most of the week I was unexpectedly the most senior person in the office, so I had precious little time to complete my own mountain of tasks while solving other problems that came up. I can add the following to my accomplishments as a result: spoke on the phone with our access card vendor and can confirm they are terrible, invented a triage system for our backlogged subcontracts, mollified several Big Federal Agency staff, and vowed to talk about setting up actual delegation of authority next week.


Lunch was this green curry noodle bowl with chicken, corn, and squash. I know you were curious.


I also managed to pay my credit cards and reassess our household finances before I left. Sooooo close to paying off these buggers (as well as Navient, the student loan bugger extraordinaire).

After work it was disgustingly hot, and for the first time in at least two weeks I opted to take the Circulator. It took a maddeningly long time to arrive, making me wish I had taken the train or at least changed into shorts for the trip. But I made it to Kevin L.'s house as planned for some beers with Adam W., who is in town from Pretoria for a couple of weeks. We had some college nostalgia and met other folks gathered there, then I moved on to DC9 to meet Ian and company while he was in town from Atlanta. He was with B, Lajuan, and Jen and we caught up some at Sheena's bar. For some reason we also got into a playful argument about what fruit garnishes go with which drinks, and Ian insisted that vodka sodas come with limes. All service staff present vehemently disagreed, that lemon wedges were the correct answer but customers repeatedly demand otherwise.


And this is what losing an argument with a bartender looks like.


Then we walked Ian back down to his hotel, which had had no electricity since mid-afternoon. There was a random spotty Pepco outage yesterday, and it appeared that he would be in the clear because all the blocks leading up to the hotel had lights. But no such luck. So he crawled up to his sixth-floor room and we came home to look at the Emmy nominations (which please me greatly!).

Today we have been pretty lazy. I insisted on going running since I have a 5K next weekend. Despite the continued disgusting heat, I managed 4.25 miles by toting around extra water. That puts me over 20 miles for July, a monthly milestone I rarely reach! Now B has dinner about ready so I'm off. Happy weekend, LJ.

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Late Friday Five.

Jul. 9th, 2016 | 05:56 pm

I have to do something while I wait for the laundry.

While I agree with spacefem that this version is technically cheating because there are multiple questions in each prompt, they're still somewhat fun. So off we go!

1. Would you ever go "under the knife" (or laser, or dental pick) for cosmetic purposes? What and why, and would it really be worth it?
Sure. I don't particularly see any reason not to pursue procedures that I know are relatively safe. And my one friend that has had Botox in his face actually looks younger than me now despite actually being 37. :P

2. Describe your dream home, including location, design, and who/what’s in there with you.
First a bit of a tangent: two of my coworkers have "lake houses," basically vacation cabins a couple of hours from the city, and the stream of complaints about keeping up two homes makes me visibly roll my eyes. Like, I'm not going to feel bad for you because your family can afford your own personal vacation getaway.

With that in mind, my dream is to own one home. I don't need it to be big, but at least 1,300 square feet would be nice. The dream home is probably a Craftsman-style with an enormous wraparound porch. I would not like to live in a neighborhood where there aren't mature trees, or where I can't walk to places to get basic stuff like coffee and groceries. That still describes a whole bunch of the world, so who knows? This describes a good portion of DC, for sure, but absolutely ideal might be Palm Springs. I believe it's B and me in there. Maybe we'd get dogs with the space?

3. You have one month to travel the world, all expenses paid. Where do you go and what do you do once you arrive?
I've always wanted to do a jaunt around the coastlines of Europe, mostly the Mediterranean but also all the way up the northern side of France, the Benelux countries, and Scandinavia. With an entire month, I could probably even fit in Great Britain and Ireland! With all expenses paid, I would also come back significantly heavier from gorging on Parmagiano Reggiano and other local foods.

4. What scares the bloody heck out of you? Would you face it down if someone paid you? What’s your price?
I'm very very much not a fan of water. But if you want to teach me to swim in your pool, I'll do it for a mere $200/hour. If you insist on my doing it in a lake or ocean, probably $500/hour.

5. You’re stranded on an island. What five simple items do you have with you? How do you survive? Anyone in particular you’d like to be stranded with? What would they bring to the table?
A whole bunch of twine, eyeglasses, a Nalgene, a Swiss army knife, and a Fleshlight. I know what I need to get by. I would bring B because he was a Boy Scout and has particularly strong survival skills like butchering meat. No idea how well-equipped this island is, so it is hard to say exactly how we'd survive. Most likely he would do all the hunting and foraging while I tried to write a book about the experience on palm fronds to shop to publishing houses later. :)
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Not a great week for America.

Jul. 8th, 2016 | 12:06 am

It's only been 240 years so England will still take us back, right?

Our presidential elections are always complete shitshows that completely distract me from work and life for months, and this year is no different. This year's is probably marginally worse than 2008, which was the most intense I remember as an adult, and it does get pretty exhausting. I'm trying to selectively pay attention only in intervals rather than spending my whole day half-distracted by politics. Success is ... not yet total, but I will keep working at it.

Our police shooting rampage has not stopped and in fact isn't new at all, but the high-profile video'd recent incidents have made it a really hard week, as well. I will never ever actually watch live videos of shootings; can't handle it and will not pretend there is any righteous reason I should try to stomach them. So when they are being posted everywhere that helps give me an excuse to also avoid social media.

Tomorrow is another day, and we will still be around trying to make this nation work. As of last Monday we are 240 and maybe that's the equivalent of teenage years for constitutional republics?
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If there were no brunches I would be so fit.

Jun. 27th, 2016 | 11:39 pm

And if there were no gyms, I may have died by now.

Let's see, pretty boss weekend. I met Blake at Duplex immediately after he had finished a giant filing on Friday night and was a little frazzled. Uber was also offering free rides to or from gay bars and LGBT centers as a post-Orlando promotion so I partook to get there on time. We had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the start of the Breakfast Club party before it got too loud/annoying, then went off to DIK Bar and then JR's.

We were pretty lazy and useless on Saturday other than me going to the office for a couple of hours and attempting unsuccessfully to fix my broken trunk latch. Then that evening Elliott texted us to come to Duplex (again) to celebrate his birthday. I misunderstood and thought he was bartending, which when done on one's birthday can actually be fun. But he was serving, so B and I sat with him and watched Zoolander and some post-Orlando LGBT awards show on Logo in between him tending to his section. Finally he and Sara wrapped up there, by which time Brett, Stu, Will S., and other characters had materialized and we all moved over to Larry's. And like prior visits to the Larry's basement, we played the random category guessing game where you hold a Smartphone to your forehead and your friends yell out clues to you, with the goal of guessing as many of the nouns as possible in 60 seconds. I'm a terrible guesser but am actually a decent describer of clues to others, so there's my utility to the Mad Max world after the apocalypse. :)

Sunday wasn't bad either. Even though it's hot, we certainly haven't reached the heights of 2010 or 2011, and it's fine to be outside with sunscreen. I walked to the nearly deserted gym around noon, then showered and on my way out one of the only other locker room denizens complimented my (admittedly very short) shorts in a rather cruisey way. I think I'm flattered? From there I met Tyler for brunch and we wandered for a bit before settling on Duke's Grocery. We even sat on the patio since there was a shady spot available, and there was so much bacon in my sandwich that I should probably have gone directly back to the gym. We caught up and had an excellent leisurely conversation; Tyler had some great insights on politics and the role of Big Federal Agencies like those that direct our work.


For real, that's a lot of bacon.


Work today wasn't particularly notable, except that Boss Man for some reason decided to open our staff meeting by asking us to share our feelings about the Brexit vote and consequences. That burned at least 10 minutes but maybe we all feel better now? No idea.

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More Friday Fives.

Jun. 26th, 2016 | 10:31 pm

I work better when prompted.

1) When you travel to a new city, what kind of points of interest do you research to check out?
I tend to enjoy deliberately getting lost, assuming I feel safe. So really I'm researching neighborhoods and figuring out what is easily navigable on foot and by transit. I also try to find food I can't get elsewhere, but this is somewhat challenging. I'm not particularly interested in the low-hanging touristy get-cheesesteaks-in-Philadelphia-and-Voodoo-Donuts-in-Portland scene, so I try to separate that chaff out and focus on high-quality food.

2) What's the last attraction/museum/landmark you visited?
While we were in Chicago, work held a dinner for us at the Art Institute. And afterward we got access to a couple of the galleries with just us! Pretty sweet deal.

3) Ever been to a cool off-the-beaten-path landmark you'd like to talk about?
The Very Large Array has to qualify. :) By necessity it was sited in a very remote location, so you really need to be dedicated to visit. But dedicated many folks are, as B and I weren't the only tourists there even on a cold evening in December!

4) If someone were to visit the city where you live, what's the coolest thing to go see?
DC has tons of monuments and museums, but honestly the coolest thing I've seen is the Basilica of the National Shrine. While it doesn't have the tie to American history like the more popular attractions in DC, this thing is mind-bogglingly enormous and elaborately decorated, which can keep you busy for hours even if you aren't Catholic (which I am not). It also has dueling gift shops in the basement! And it's way cooler than the National Cathedral, which far more tourists go to see.


Catholics don't build small.



5) Is there any place you've visited that you'd love to go back to?
Tons! I spent far too little time in a few places, notably Seattle. But there are also so many other places I have on my bucket list for first time visits, so return trips may have to wait a couple of years. Also, check my travel tag for more than you ever wanted to know about my travels.
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I was young enough.

Jun. 16th, 2016 | 08:35 pm

Or maybe the aging is only visible on the inside.

Without any hitches, I successfully completed the last week. Chicago was actually pretty great, because I got to run along the lake and then spend 1.5 days meaningfully connecting with coworkers, then spent a few hours in the SkyClub at ORD and then went home. Perfect amount of everything. :)

And I completed the 5K with decent results. I was especially not enamored of the hot, humid weather, but I still did ok all things considered.



:: dance dance ::


The rest of Pride was pretty nice, though clearly Sunday was tempered by the horrific Orlando shootings. I ran into Josh B. while queuing up for the race and we talked briefly. He and Brett moved again, and are now back right near where they used to live, in Atlantic Plumbing this time. After the run we milled around having beer and watermelon slices, then I met Blake at Declaration for a little pizza. On Saturday I got a haircut right at 11, then bought champagne and Andrew and I headed to Chris and Josh's brunch. That was over two hours of standing around eating bacon slices and yakking, then we went back to the city to watch the parade.



My sorority squat could use some work.


Sunday was relatively low-key; B had to go work the Dew Drop anniversary party so was out of pocket. I puttered around at home most of the day and then went back to Nellie's for more fun around 5; the Pride crowds were still a mess, but it was mostly fun. Jack had come in for the weekend but we hadn't seen him yet, plus as we all arrived the Nats game got interesting. Jayson Werth is my fifth (?) boyfriend now.

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The next week.

Jun. 5th, 2016 | 12:25 pm

Am I young enough to still do this?


  • Today: Eat brunch with the bf, clean the bathroom, various errands.
  • Tomorrow: Fit most of a week's work into one day. Pack.
  • Tuesday: Fly to Chicago, triage work, training run.
  • Wednesday and Thursday: Meetings in Chicago all day*. If I could fit in a Thu training run, that would be lovely.
  • Friday: Sit at work and attempt to be productive, at 7 pm run the Pride 5K. Then Pride Opening Party.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Pride.


* This is the "retreat" for our portion of the company. I may bring pre-printed Dilbert strips.
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Spreading mysef thin on social media.

Jun. 2nd, 2016 | 10:27 pm

I need more life peanut butter.

I've gotten three new people using Snapchat in the last week. So between that, Tumblr, Twitter x2, here, and an occasional pop into Facebook, my social media presence is in far more places than I expected to be. Instagram has already fallen by the wayside. And I think more of the apps will probably follow, but after 14 (!) years I'm pretty sure LJ will not be one of them.

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