Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Randoms

(Sidenote: I had and still have lots of emotions and feelins' about the election. Most of what I would say has already been said, and in person/via text/via phone/via GIF exchanges with my nearest and dearest. Some feelings and thoughts may sneak in here occasionally, but for the most part, I don't plan on addressing it in a public place. Now, back to a regularly scheduled programming).

I've had so many random thoughts that I've thought I need to share. so here's a round-up post of them:

1. There's a part of my commute where people treat a stop sign as a yield sign. A lane merges from a curve onto a parkway (where cars are going approx. 45 mph if the light ahead isn't red). The safest way for these cars to enter is to WAIT for a break in traffic or when the light is red, but they often pause oh-so-briefly at the stop sign and try to force their way in. Yesterday, I slowed down and waved a car in. And y'all, I felt like I deserved a MF-ing MEDAL for that. #littlethings

2. Turns out I hadn't been to Target since AUGUST (what?!?!). I popped in yesterday with a strict list (that I didn't stray from!). I feel like the things I buy are NEVER on the Cartwheel app, but this time, almost everything was, and I saved $5 (Spent $35 total--the cheapest trip to the Tarj EVER). I felt like I was winning all the things.

3. The Joe Biden-Obama memes are everything to me right now. I've always loved Uncle Joe (and his wife, Sassy Jill--my nickname for her, I like to think we're friends). These memes make me laugh and cry at the same time.

4. I haven't really watched much TV over the past few weeks, I've been listening to podcasts and reading. As a result, I'm woefully behind on what shows the kids are watching these days. I tried out a few new shows (This is Us, Designated Survivor, Speechless, The Good Place) and none were really for me. Anything out there I'm really missing out on?

5. Though, one show I have been watching is The Crown. I am impressed with people who can binge it, as each episode seems to cover so much that I need to take a break. I will say, I was gutted at the reaction of everyone to George VI's death (not a spoiler, he's Queen Elizabeth's dad. She starts the series as Princess Elizabeth, so you see it coming). It must be so weird to be alive and have a TV show made about your life.

6. Our office Thanksgiving was this week, and I have never made more friends at work than when I brought this pie and this red pepper dip. More people asked for the recipe for these and stopped me/emailed me etc. to tell me how much they liked both than anything I've ever made (and, if you look at the recipes, you'll see that they are not fancy, I'm almost embarrassed by the red pepper dip ingredients). I won first place in the dessert category! And, I got to leave work the day before with the farewell of "Bye, y'all, off to buy bourbon!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

The 2012 election came at a tumultuous time in my life. When I graduated from college in 2007, I'd always said I would move to DC within a few years. I loved this city and felt such a pull here. However, I got a great internship in Texas right after I graduated, which led to another internship where I was ultimately hired on full-time. The company was fantastic, I loved the work I was doing (I was that obnoxious friend who "loved her job"--my FIRST job, mind you). Then the recession hit, and we were all grateful to just have a job (and my company went through salary freezes and layoffs, so I felt doubly grateful to still have a spot).

At that point, it seemed crazy to upend my life and move across the country in such an era of uncertainty. I was too junior at my company to make a transfer to their DC office really seem valuable, and honestly the thought of moving probably scared me. I had wonderful friends in Dallas, family close by, and the dog I'd grown up with was 15/16 and still his delightful self. I started dating someone. Why would I leave?

My five-year college reunion occurred in October 2012. This made me literally screech to a halt. It had been FIVE years since college, and I wasn't living in DC? What was I doing? What happened to my "be there in few years" plan?

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't regret the time I spent in Texas over those five years (well, I may regret a few instances). I think that the happiness and contentment I felt during those five years helped distract me from the pull I felt towards DC.

So, around the time of my college reunion, I realized I was in a now-or-never situation. I wasn't getting any younger, but I also had very little baggage. I wasn't married, didn't have kids, didn't own a house, didn't even own a PET. So I started my job search in DC, talked to a few close friends who lived here about it, and took a tentative step into seeing if this new life I'd dreamed about was possible.

I remember waking up on election day in 2012, having early voted the week before. I dressed in red white and blue (and still have that outfit, ha!), stopped at 7-11 to buy coffee in an Obama cup, took a selfie in my car (oh to still have that photo, it's on a now defunct phone haha) and spent the whole day feeling very jittery. Feeling like this was not just a new presidency (even though the same president would win), but like it was a turning point for me. I'd taken enough steps to move to DC at this point that I was actually thinking about what it would look like.

And the rest, as they say, is history. So I take solace in knowing that while I'm viewing today's election with a lot of trepidation, none of it stems from my personal life. Let's do this, America.

(And now, one of my favorite West Wing scenes. Fun fact: this scene was supposed to have taken place at the library closest to me, but it shut down a few years ago to be rebuilt. And looked NOTHING like this haha)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Dream is Just a Dream

Last night I had another recurring dream. The specifics are always slightly different, but the gist is this: I have lost a ring. Sometimes it's an engagement ring (that I don't own IRL), a family heirloom ring (that doesn't exist), a ring I was holding for a friend (which I've done once?), or last night, some sort of ring with an engraved message. More than once (last night included) I have half-woken, gotten out bed, and stumbled over to my jewelry and moved rings around to see if the ring was there (spoiler: it never is because I DON'T OWN THE RING).

Of course, I turned to the interwebs to tell me what this dream means. And Dream Cloud told me this:

  • Losing a Ring meaning

    A lost ring may represent insecurity and fear about a relationship.
  • May suggest losing interest, trust or respect for the one who gave it to you.

I think we can cut the second meaning, because it's not a ring I actually own, thus there's not a giver to lose interest, trust, or respect in. 

So we're back at looking at insecurity and fear about a relationship. Thanks, Dream Cloud, now I feel insecure and fearful about ALL my relationships (what does my mailman think of me after I somehow was subscribed to both Better Homes & Gardens and InStyle?).

My other recurring dream, that has recurred for YEARS (and I'd really like it to stop, ok?) is this: I'm back in college and find out that it's finals/midterms/a good chunk of the way through a semester and I haven't been to a specific class once. Often, it's a class I didn't know I was enrolled in, once it was a class in a building I could never find (I know my alma mater has built lots of new buildings since I left, but it shouldn't be THAT hard to find a class), but the fear and panic I feel at knowing I've blown it, will fail an exam, etc. is REAL. 

Apparently these types of dreams are pretty common, and can mean lots of things. One of the reasons they can be so prevalent is that the memories we have from school age and adolescence can be some of the strongest memories we have, and this time is also crucial to the forming of self-identity, so it's very deep-rooted in our psyche. 

So, tell me I'm not crazy and other people have weird recurring dreams too. 

And, because I love this song:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Lucky #5

On October 15, I ran my fifth half marathon. My last one was over a year and a half ago, and honestly, the two races couldn't have been any different.

This was the first time I ran a "destination" race--it was part of the Baltimore Running Festival which includes a marathon, 5k, and marathon relay. My friend and I went to Baltimore the night before and stayed at a hotel super convenient to the expo and start line.

Most races require you to get up at zero dark thirty--the city wants to open up streets again at a reasonable hour and the organizers want to take everything down at some point too. So most races I've run have started at 7 or 8 a.m., so marathoners can finish by noon and the half folks finish by 10 or 11 a.m.

Well, this race started at 9:45 a.m. The half marathon start line is at Mile 13 of the marathon. So the marathoners got started at 8 a.m. and merged with us when our race started. Since we were staying about 6 blocks from the start line, we had the most leisurely morning, which included eating about 3 mini-breakfasts (when you wake up at 7 but aren't running for three hours, you're not sure how to fuel yourself!).

The race itself was packed and had a great crowd cheering--just the way I like it. However, I did not see ANY part of Baltimore that stuck with me, other than a cool bell tower thing at the top of the WORST hill of the race. I feel like the DC halfs (and even the Dallas ones I've run) take you by landmarks and cool things, but the only thing I remember in Baltimore is the Giant supermarket I ran by. Scenic.

Mentally, this race was different from all the others. I never lost my mind (or had a desperation mile), but the miles didn't fly by either. I feel like I just systematically ticked them off as they went by.

The people of Baltimore are swell, though. Volunteers were dressed as crabs, passing out pretzels, beer, bananas, gummy bears. Families out with their kids, playing music, cheering for complete strangers.

For this race, I listened to podcasts most of the time. The West Wing Weekly, specifically, they had two episodes covering the beginning of season 2 (In the Shadow of Two Gunman, Part 1 & 2, for fans) and good interviews along with them. That kept me occupied until mile 10 when I suddenly needed all the music, and switched to my Spotify running list.

Finish line song

I continued my trend of wanting nothing to do with the "Celebration Village" at the end. The last thing I want to do is hang out with people who also just ran many miles. I want to leave and get brunch. I also was a bit woozy and off balance at the end of the race. I grabbed about 18 different snacks they were offering, had a bite of each and threw them away.

My friend and I walked to Federal Hill and had a cute (and cheap!) brunch at a cafe where I had no fewer than three beverages (mimosa, beer, hot water with lemon--I was cold). We then realized how bad we smelled, and decided it was time to head back to DC. I ended the day at 3 a.m. (!) after a party at a friend's house (sidenote: am too old to stay out until 3 a.m. And too old to take shots, but that's another blog post).

And, I'm now done with half marathons for a long time. I had set a goal to run a half marathon a year, then took 2012 and 2013 off because of injuries. I've run one the last three years, and honestly, I hate the training now. I used to love training--yes, it took over my life, but running was fun, and I would lose myself in the miles. That hasn't happened lately. And it's really stressed me out. This training was among the worst--my longest run was 8 miles (I try to run 10 as my longest), and recovery took a LONG time for even shorter distances. Still, I managed to PR on this race, and we're going to call that good for a few years. Maybe 10. Maybe forever. Who knows?

So for now, I'm creating a shadowbox with my five medals and giving my running shoes a break.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Five

It's been a hot minute, but I'm trying to get back into updating this a bit more, if anything for the time capsule aspect (I do get a kick out of reading my previous entries, no matter how mundane).

Here are five things I'm loving this unseasonably warm week in DC (OH, is this what Indian Summer is?!)

1. These pants from Old Navy. After loving a pair of straight-leg jeans I bought there last March (when I forgot to bring a single pair of pants on a trip to Houston, Hail Mary purchase FTW!), I decided I wanted some straight-leg black pants for work and play in the fall and winter. After trying pairs on from BR, Ann Taylor Loft, and J Crew, who'd a thunk that I'd LOVE the pair from Old Navy? They continue to surprise me. I haven't washed them yet, but have high hopes. I wear them with long-ish tops and cute flats. I might also pair them with my newly-purchased-but-yet-to-arrive booties.

2. Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe's. I was never one for spice blends, preferring my garlic salt and black pepper for everything. I don't recall when I first bought this, but guys, I put it on ANYTHING I'm cooking on the stove or in the oven. It has that perfect blend of all the flavors.

And, don't start talking to me about 21 Seasoning Salute. It has Celery Seed or Salt in it and it's all I taste. Gross.

3. Season 3 of Younger. Guys, it's back. And while I can tell they're trying to string out several storylines for no reason, I love the show too much to complain. Are you watching yet?!

4. Texting with friends about TV shows. I have such fun conversations with far-flung friends over the TV shows we both watch (Younger included). The best is when I'm significantly behind on a show and they're like "oh yeah, I remember when that happened a few years ago"

5. Booking 2017 travel. It's started. (At least the wedding save-the-dates have) 

Happy weekend!

Monday, October 3, 2016

My Favorite Podcasts, Pt 2

Getting to Know You

Fresh Air: If you think of the soothing NPR voice, you're probably thinking of Terry Gross who hosts this podcast. Roughly 45 minute interviews with actors, artists, newsmakers, authors, academics. Gross is famous for her prep and being able to get right to the root of something with her guests. And the interview subjects are usually starstruck that they're talking to THE Terry Gross. I recommend listening to Amy Poehler's interview with her.

Dear Sugar: We all remember the book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed (yes, the one with the boot on the cover). This advice podcast is hosted by Strayed and Steve Almond where they answer letters they receive from listeners. Talk about soothing voices, their voices will calm any anxiety you have. It's often letters about love that they answer, but they sprinkle in a good amount of inter-personal issues.

Dear Prudence: Another advice podcast, this time from Slate. Dear Prudence has been written by several different people, but typically covers all type of inter-personal and personal problems.

Working: There are a few Slate podcasts on this list, and this is one of them. I wrote about this previously, when the first season had ended (didn't know podcasts had seasons?) but it's back! And has a heavy focus on DC and The White House at the moment.

News and Other Serious Things (warning: I get real wonky on this)

NPR Politics Podcast: I found this podcast during the conventions, when they were posting daily updates. And man, am I glad I did. A variety of NPR political reporters, from campaign to White House to Congress to general political, talk about the week's news in politics. It's especially entertaining during campaign season, but I look forward to what they do when it's just a humdrum March week.

More Perfect: Have you ever heard about a Supreme Court ruling and thought "wow, that's really specific and I don't see what this has to do with me?" This podcast goes super in-depth in an interesting way to some cases, interviewing the people involved, and basically showing why you should care about a case. (NPR podcast)

Amicus: A Slate podcast ALSO about the Supreme Court. The new season just started with an episode about RBG, so clearly I was hooked.

Double X: Yet another Slate podcast, which talks about different issues affecting women. Recent episodes have talked about burkinis, trigger warnings, and men trying to talk to women wearing headphones. Three women are on the "panel" one of whom is Australian (or British) and a lesbian, so she brings an interesting perspective to many of the topics.

Death, Sex, and Money: A podcast that talks about the three things people don't talk about. I happen to have listened to more of the ones about death, but I assume they cover more than that!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Favorite Podcasts, Pt. 1

I've been a podcast fan ever since my drive to DC back in 2013--nothing passes 22 hours on the road like listening to other people talk.

Lately, I've been stepping up my podcast game and have some recommendations, some from friends, and some that I've found on my own. This will be a few posts long, so come back for Part 2.

Fun and Entertainment:

My Dad Wrote a Porno: Imagine your dad, in retirement, writes an erotic novel which he self-publishes. So what do you do? Gather two friends and make a podcast where you read each chapter aloud and comment on it. Did I mention they're British?

The Baby-Sitters Club Club: I'm only a few episodes in on this one, but given my love of these slow recap podcasts (see The West Wing Weekly and Gilmore Guys), and the fact that this is one of my favorite book series, I'm predicting a good thing.

Sleep with Me: Ironic that I put this under Fun and Entertainment. Because the point of this podcast is to put you to sleep. It is neither fun nor entertaining. Read more here.

People I want to Be Friends With

Still Buffering: This is my new favorite podcast. Three sisters, two in their 30s and one age 16, discuss common topics about teen life--everything from food to shopping to body image, with the older sisters talking about their experience and the younger one talking about hers. Their rapport is delightful and, being in the same age group as the older sisters, it brings a heavy dose of nostalgia. Also, they're friends with Lin-Manuel Miranda!

Call Your Girlfriend: Billed as "a podcast for long distance besties everywhere", two friends who live across the country from each other cover current events and whatever else they want to talk about. It can be a bit preachy at times, and they can be self-involved, but always good for a few laughs or "I know that's right!" exclamations.

Happier: I think I've written about this before? Author Gretchen Ruben (The Happiness Project) and her sister Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer, talk about happiness tips and ways to find happiness in your life. I find their rapport so refreshing and their topics genuinely interesting (noticing a theme? I like podcasts with sisters, haha)

I Want it That Way: Perhaps the most risque podcast I listen to (and I listen to a porno on tape, basically), this is Bustle's sex and relationship podcast. It answers questions you're afraid to ask, and questions you didn't know you had, and is just a refreshingly honest and frank look at dating, sex, marriage, etc. by some cool ladies.

Adulthood Made Easy: So, I love Real Simple. Like a lot. And they came out with a whole suite of podcasts a year or two ago. Some were about cooking, relationships, romance, but this one is the only one I stuck with. Sam Zabell, a RS staffer and quasi-recent college grad, hosts this podcast that covers everything someone needs to know for being in the real world for the first time. It started out talking about how to find an apartment and navigating your first holidays at home as a "real adult", but has expanded to some more niche topics, like how to know when feeling down is really depression, how to use credit cards responsibly, dos and don'ts of moving in with a significant other, being a bridesmaid, etc. I don't listen to every episode, but I usually enjoy the ones I do make time for.

So there's a start as to the podcasts I'm listening to right now. What podcast are you obsessed with at the moment?