Archive for June, 2008

Getting sick (again), going out in D.C., and reading an amazing book

I’m in a fog. It’s nearly impossible to string words together to form coherent sentences. A bottle of Tylenol and a half-empty package of NyQuil clutter my desk next to my laptop. My trashcan is filled with balled up sheets of toilet paper because I haven’t been able to get to a store to buy tissues yet. It’s 5 minutes past 8, and I’m probably going to bed soon.

Getting a cold during the summer is still one of life’s greatest mysteries. I blame it on the rain because, well, it’s raining right now (again) and I’m sick of looking out my window to see black clouds looming over the Masonic temple every night.

It didn’t rain this weekend, which figures since I was sick and couldn’t really take advantage. On Saturday I felt semi-human so I went to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian with my friend Mike (we met through a mutual friend and he’s JUST a friend). Afterward, we went to his apartment near Catholic University and I got to see the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I loved the architecture on this church– beautiful blue-tiled, domed roofs that reminded me of a church I saw in Zaragosa, Spain last summer.

Anyway, we got to his place and after his yellow lab/German shepherd puppy showered me in slobber, we plopped down and used my handy Washington D.C. guidebook to map out our night so we could try new places.

On the list:

  • Rice, a Thai restaurant on 14th St. Fantastic food, reasonable prices (for food, not drinks), quick service, quiet atmosphere, dim lighting for an intimate setting, and modern decor
  • Lauriol Plaza, a Mexican restaurant on 18th St. Well, by the time we got here, it was pretty much closed. We wanted to check out the rooftop area and have some margaritas, but this is not a place to head to after 11pm. We’ll try again soon because the food and drinks looked delicious.
  • The Fox and the Hound For $4.95 you get a glass of liquor and a tiny bottle of mixer to add as you please– not bad. A domestic beer is $4.25, so if you’re not a liquor drinker you’ll just get pissed off at your friends who are and can get drunk way cheaper than you can.
  • Reef, Adams Morgan I had never been to Adams Morgan before, but I really liked what I saw– cheeky (I use this to mean cool names) bars with lots of young people. We got there really late so most of the places had long lines and expensive covers. Reef, however, NEVER has a cover and has a cool outdoor bar and a lower level with fish tanks. I spent a lot of my time finding Nemo and talking to some Australian guys who liked the dress I was wearing, saying it looked very “un-American.” I think it was supposed to be a compliment.

That was the summary of my night. I started to feel nasally and congested again, so I left my friends at the bar and took the metro back home. I spent Sunday reading this outstanding memoir of a mother and daughter called Come Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine. It’s one of the most poignant, heartbreaking pieces of writing I’ve ever read, and I encourage all of you to read it. Forget self-help books, this tale about two women’s ability to overcome sexual abuse, drug addiction, and severe depression has everything you need to learn to love the life (and parents) you have.

Rating: 5 stars, hands-down.

In the Drink by Kate Christensen Made Me Want to Drink…Heavily (and not in a good way)

I just finished one of the worst books I’ve ever read– Kate Christensen’s In the Drink. First of all, I hate when books slap a big quote saying “laugh out loud funny!” on the front cover. Don’t do that unless you’re funny. If you want to laugh out loud, don’t read this… go read The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

Besides being misleading, the plot is trite and already overdone. Girl in her twenties has a rich, overbearing boss and thinks she’s in love with her best friend, who may or may not be gay. Oh, and she drinks sometimes… not nearly enough to procure the title.

While the writing is good (better than most in the chick lit genre), the character development lacks all those elements that make a reader fall in love with a protagonist. Claudia Steiner was kind of this, maybe that, but nothing definitively. She whined, she begged, she droned on and on about roaches, she went into the details of constipation. I understand she was meant to be an anti-heroine, but still, she didn’t feel at all relateable.

The ending was the worst. Just when you thought the plot might actually go somewhere the author drops in a plot twist that was more of a plot sharp turn to the left and “see ya later.” At the point, the book lost all its integrity with me, but I only had 5 more pages so I forged on to the last page that left me thinking “thank God I didn’t spend my money on this book.”

Rating: * (for good measure)

I’m a Blog Tease and a Barnes & Noble Whore

I just completed a Barnes & Noble online purchase because in the week I finished two books. Refer to The Bookcase to see where $26.28 of my disposable income went.

Oh, and S. came to visit me this weekend…

Dating: A Post That Should Have Gone Up 10 Days Ago

Note: My beloved apartment has not had a good Internet connection, and I started writing this post on June 6… anyway, thought I’d add it now. Better late than never, right?

I had every intention of posting last night, but I got distracted with a 2 mile run, personal hygiene, and, um, a date.

I have a love-hate relationship with dating. There’s nothing romantic about a first date—it’s disconcerting. What to wear? What to talk about? Where to go? Should we meet or should he pick me up? It’s also exciting to get to know someone new, explore the city, and eat a meal that isn’t pasta.

Yesterday was a long day at work. The whole team is working on a pitch for a new client that could result in a $100-million contract. That’s a lot of money—it’s so much that it doesn’t seem like anything at all because my strapped-for-cash brain can’t even fathom that many zeros, unless there’s no number preceding them, in which case it resembles my own bank account.

Anyway…

The point is, that this proposal is draining. It’s in an industry I know—not even exaggerating here—nothing about. That means excessive research complements the actual work load and that equals my coming into the office at about 8:30am and not leaving until well after 6pm with a 10 minute lunch break in there somewhere. Needless to say, visions of down blankets, sweatpants, my bed, and junkfood danced in my head the whole metro ride home.

And then, my phone rang. It was my roommate (who I love, by the way) asking if I wanted to go for a run. The weather was beautiful and she tempted me with a slow jog down by the waterfront, so I agreed.

When we got back, I noticed my phone blinking– I had a missed call. Long story short, it was Boston Boy asking if I wanted to grab dinner. After a lot of pressure/support from the roomie, I decided to go.

Dating seems so obscure these days. Hanging out, meeting up, grabbing a drink– those are gerunds I understand and fully support, but dating?! Come on… who does that anymore?

So, he picked me up and we went to dinner and ate while watching the Celtics game. The conversation wasn’t mind blowing, but it was enjoyable enough. When he asked if I wanted to grab a drink after dinner, I politely told him it was past my bed time (I had work the next day) and he took me home.

I ran away before the potential awkwardness that surrounds the “do we hug, do we kiss” fiasco.

PS, I had pasta… so much for that pro in the pro/con of dating.

My Apartment Has Paperthin Ceilings That Add to My Insomnia

I love my new place, I really do. During the day, that is. At night, my feelings shift.

Last night I couldn’t fall asleep because I kept hearing the slightest creaks, which my overactive imagination had a field day with, coming up with vivid scenes that replayed in my mind forcing out any hope for falling asleep at a decent hour.

Tonight, I was explaining to my friend from back home how I don’t like to leave my room at night because I’m not used to it yet. (The noises scare me, okay?) As soon as I IM’d her that little tidbit, I hear my name.

“Are you awakeeee?”

After a momentary freak out, I realize it’s my roommate.

“Um, yeah?”

“I can hear the person above us peeing…”

That’s disgusting, but also pretty funny.

News Flash: Men Have Insufficient Communication Skills

It’s 6:58a.m. and I’m awake even though my alarm won’t go off until 7:16a.m. (I always set my alarms with obscure times, it’s one of my many OCD habits).

Why am I awake?

Because S. decided it was time to call me back. At 6:11 a.m. Normally, I wouldn’t have answered but considering he is on a cross-country adventure with little cash, I thought it might be an emergency.

I was wrong.

He met some drunk Irish guys and wanted me to talk to them. I talked to them for 10 minutes, and hung up. I tried to go back to sleep and was obviously not successful. So, being groggy from the absurd wake up call and bitter that he hadn’t called me back concerning my voice mail, I called him. And I yelled, well, whisper yelled. He got the point.

After my tirade, he said, “It’s good to hear your voice. I miss you. I’ve thought about you a lot on this trip.”

Really?

At 6 in the morning?

Talk to me when I’ve gotten my beauty sleep, bud.

Click.

But I didn’t hang up, because I think I’m still holding on…

photo cred: http://www.spybusters.com/blog/labels/Hack.html

Where I Save Your Time and Mine

‘ello, mates! Long time no blog, yeah?!

So, news flash, I moved to Australia instead of D.C.– or at least I picked up a half-assed Down Under accent in the week and a half I’ve been missing from the blogosphere. But you know what, I have excuses. Good ones. And excuses mean stories, so deal with the absence, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

You know what, scratch that. I’m going to make this easy for both you and me. I’m busy, you’re busy, there are not enough hours in the day for me to ramble on in a 1,287 word blog post explaining the whirlwind of a week I’ve just had, so I’m going to bullet important headlines and you can choose what you want to read or skip based on your allotted procrastination schedule (yeah, that’s right, I’m onto you and your procrastination, you Sneaky McWorksuckssons). This also gives me the excuse to include more of those adorable swirly bullets that I adore so much. (Those reading in a feeder, you’re missing out, I swear.)

  • The Move from Florida to D.C. – After an 11-hour car ride with my mom, stepdad, and two brothers, I made it to D.C. alive. There was a brief moment when I thought a cleaning woman would find my half-deteriorated corpse sometime in late August when she finally decided to return to her shitty job because her husband Earl got fired from the Santee, South Carolina textile mill, a thought that stems mainly from my grandparents’ debilitating desire to spend no more than $65 per night on a hotel room (and that’s including the AAA discount). Anyway, we escaped the Migrant Workers’ Budget Inn without a scrape and with all of my belongings still in our possession. Onward to DC!
  • The Apartment – My new home is a slew of adjectives that the Webster’s thesaurus would list next to the word “amazing.” Beautiful views of downtown Alexandria? Check. Balcony overlooking a courtyard? Check. Huge room with tons of storage space? Check. Running water and electricity? Check. Across the street from the metro? Check. I took tons of pictures to show you my new place, but unfortunately I left the cable cord to my digi camera back in Florida.
  • The Job – I’ve only been here five days, but so far I enjoy my work and my co-workers. I had to sign tons of paperwork promising I would respect the confidentiality of my clients since I’m working in government affairs, but so far the actual work has been very intriguing. Oh, and did I mention that I get paid to read newspapers and peruse my google reader? This job is perfect for a nerd like me.
  • Boys – I made out with a lawyer 10 years older than me with bad hair and a good body. I didn’t realize how much older than me he was until he accepted my facebook request. Facebook ruins my life. I called S., which was a huge mistake. I won’t go into the embarrassing details of the voice mail I left, but let’s just say that it makes me wince to think about. Needless to say, he never called me back. Last night, I signed onto the life ruiner a.k.a. facebook to see that S. had poked me. Poked me?! Why do guys think that is a substantial form of communication? Then today while at work, he IM’d me to tell me that he had a very good reason for not calling me back and that “good things that come to those who are patient, sweetheart.” I wanted to vomit. Sweetheart?! Patience?! Does he even know me? Anyway, on a better note, one of my really good friends from high school is now a marine stationed at Quantico, which is about 25 miles south of here. Let’s call him Marine Boy, MB for short MB and I actually dated off and on periodically, basically whenever I was home and we were both single, so that is a very interesting development. MB’s mom was my favorite teacher in high school, and she always tried to set us up. I’m not saying I’m romantically interested in him, but he is unique with an engaging perspective on the world. Great for deep conversations that completely blow my mind. Word on my voice mail is that we’re getting dinner tomorrow… we’ll see. Finally, there is a guy that I met while I was in D.C. over spring break. He is from Boston, so we will give him the code name “Boston Boy.” We bonded over our love for the BoSox, Samuel Adams, and writing. While I was back in Florida, he would periodically call me to check in and see how I was doing. Sweet, yeah? I thought so. Well, he called me this past weekend and wants to get together at some point. He’s going out of town the next two weekends, so I’m not holding my breath.
  • Entertainment – I finished Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. I love having time to read– the real world rocks in this regard. Now I’m onto Mansfield Park, but so far it’s not doing much for me. I’m only 96 pages in, so I’m holding out that it’ll get better. I haven’t gone out around D.C. much, but my roomie and I did try out Georgetown’s waterfront for happy hour one day last week. Highly enjoyable. I’m looking forward to finding new bars– I need something to replace my favorite places from back home. Lastly, I have developed a hearty addiction to Lost. I think this is where I picked up my awful Aussie accent (hell, yeah, alliteration). I’m actually about to go watch another episode…

Hope this sufficiently updates everyone on my life thus far. I promise my posts will be more interesting/thought provoking at some time in the near future.

Cheers, mates!