Monday, May 31, 2010

Advice from a Dad: "Just Be Courageous"

When I was offered this new job, I wasn't sure who to call to talk it out. I'm closest to my mom & grandmother, to three or four good friends - but I didn't want to call any of them.

I wanted to call a dad.

Notice I didn't say I wanted to call my dad. My dad was a salesman who sold golf carts for a living, not just to golf courses but to universities & theme parks & airports, & I know he was a damn good one - the most charming ones are! - but I imagine the PR-&-communications realm would've felt a little foreign to him. And anyway, I didn't know my dad well enough to know what he would say to me in this situation; instead, I just had this nebulous, abstract idea that I wanted to be talking to a dad. To someone who could give me fatherly advice & a couple nuggets of dad-wisdom & send me on my way to ultimately make my own decision.

I have one "real" uncle. (The other three men who I sometimes call my uncles are really my dad's good friends, who I've told you about before.) My Uncle Jim is my mom's younger brother, who spent his entire career working for IBM, doing things way beyond my comprehension level, including being a salesman & a general corporate genius. He's one of the most Type A people I know, not like my mom & me at all; he's level-headed, all-business, forward-thinking. He recently retired from IBM & almost immediately began working a new job as a jack-of-all-trades at a country club in Southern Ohio, more fun but still a lot of work - not quite retired.

He was at his new job when I called him, so it was a short conversation, only about 10 minutes long. I told him he could call me back later, but I guess my voice was a little wobbly; he insisted that we talk then, even though it meant juggling requests from club guests & intermittently spouting off about tennis rackets & pool towels.

I told him I didn't know what I want to be doing in five years, that I'm not quite clear on what my career path or my dream job is. I told him I was scared to make a change when what I had was so darn comfortable, that I was afraid of making the wrong move or being miserable or being confused or not good enough.

"Kate, just be courageous," he told me. He said it three times throughout the course of our chat, which means he's either annoyingly repetitive or that I sounded like a big wuss who needed a bit of prodding. I'll give you one guess which was the case.

I did need a little prodding. I didn't need him to make the decision for me; the truth is that I'd already made it for myself. What I did need was a verbal push to just say yes, to take this step, to make the decision I'd known all along that I would ultimately make - in other words, to just grow a pair. And when I coupled my uncle's words with my own father's favorite quote, "Press on, regardless," it all made sense. It was simple advice, but it was just the right advice.

Sitting here now, I don't feel particularly courageous, because hey, people accept new jobs all the time. But it does feel like the right thing for me. And in just a few hours, it's about to begin!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yard Work Isn't Hard Work When You've Got... Reindeer & Flamingos?

The Midwest has a pretty uncanny ability to turn out lawn ornament-loving homeowners. Case in point is this photo, taken Christmas of 2007 a few miles from my house:


Heinous, I know. How do you think Jesus would feel knowing that his birth is celebrated with inflatable moose? On second thought, I'd be pretty jazzed if I learned someone was celebrating my birthday with inflatable moose, but I guess that's beside the point, which is this: The District has also proven itself home to some pretty admirable yard decor, too.

During Snowpocalypse, of course, there were snowmen galore. And let's be clear: There's nothing shameful about snowmen. I haven't built one since I was in high school, but I fully respect the ability of other snowgoers to create works of art out of everyone's least favorite precipitation. I have neither the patience nor the upper-arm strength to make these friends of Frosty happen myself, but will you just look at this snowman? It's behemoth. And I am clearly joyful, standing under its massive shadow on a cold winter's day following bottomless bellinis.


Now that it's almost summer, the snowmen are clearly a thing of the past. Now, we've moved on to topiaries. Yes, topiaries - bushes shaped like other things. Ever been to Disney World? Disney World is the king of topiaries, with Jiminey Cricket & the Cheshire Cat staring at you through leafy eyes at every turn. But while an amusement park - nay, the Most Magical Place on Earth - is a proper place for cartoon topiaries, D.C. lawns may not be. But that's not stopping a Dupont family from carving reindeer into their front-yard flora:


Wait, wait, there's another.


And yes, THEY HAVE ANTLERS. And Christmas lights. In June.

But lest you think the good crazies of Washington, D.C. only feature winter creatures on their lawn canvasses, I'm here to reassure you that signs of the season are all around us:


I hope it was someone's birthday, which is the only excuse for hot pink, plastic lawn birds. Also, I wish I had a yard.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

After my nearly three years of employment at my current office, my coworkers today threw me a going-away party that went above & beyond anything I could've hoped for. I like to think that we're (they're?!) renowned for throwing fabulous going-away parties - at the last one, for example, we did relay races in Snuggies with Jell-O shots:


My party was Jell-Oless but equally delicious, in part because our Legislative Director purchased an entire case of Hugs, the sugar "juice" in a plastic barrel that reminds me of childhood, for a mere $3.00. When she told me she experienced a new level of embarrassment while doing so because she was sure other shoppers were staring at her in disgust, I theorized, "It's because they think you're going to go home & feed all that sugar to your children. You felt like a bad mother, & you don't even have kids," which I thought felt very deep & also very funny, but you can be the judge. One of my friends made "We'll Miss You, Kate" cupcakes but luckily didn't forget the eggs, which she & I did once while baking brownies for an office birthday:


And then we made a group effort to pop a handful of popcorn kernels using the combined power of our cell phones after a few coworkers happened upon YouTube videos claiming it was doable.

In case you're curious, it did not, in fact, work, which is probably for the best, as I don't want to put next to my brain anything that has the power to make things explode. (PS: It's an urban legend, debunked using exactly this logic.)

There was Kate Trivia, for which my coworkers past & present were divided into five teams & given a two-sided sheet of questions about my life. Questions included doozies like identifying my favorite condiment, naming the concert that changed my life, & correctly spelling my full name (first & middle included), plus a special section titled "Allergy or Dislike?" The game even featured a Phone-A-Friend option, for which an old coworker was on standby to answer stumpers.


My direct supervisor wore a white suit (not out of the ordinary) & gave a touching & unexpected speech in which he referred to me as his "work spouse," a title I'll happily claim.


And there was a musical performance, as there so often are in our office. Our LD really topped herself by adapting the lyrics to "King of New York" from my favorite flick, Newsies, to include references to my penchant for Thai food, my delicate stomach, my Twitter obsession & more.


I videotaped it, but unfortunately can't post it here because I realized that in the footage, you can see the lyrics sheet in my hand, my full name emblazoned across the top. And because I don't want any of you stalking me down Michael David Barrett-style, I'll sadly forfeit sharing the gem of a performance they put on. Just know that it was glorious, & that I laughed so hard I cried. Or maybe I actually cried.

Did I mention that there was also a homemade collage card & a homemade cheesecake? Yeah, this office is full of crafty, musical, domestic folks.

At the end of the party, we'd consumed just enough cupcakes to spell out a new message that would make Barney Stinson quite proud, even if we had to fudge it a little bit, & even if that P is actually a sideways heart.


T-minus two days until the end.
New job, here I come.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dating is Weird. Or Maybe I'm Weird.

I have this problem: In the past, I have often dated people who are exponentially more attractive than I am.

"Why is this a problem?" you're asking, & "Kate, calm down your ego," you're saying. But I'm serious.* I would show you a photo montage or something if it weren't a tooootally creepy Internet move.

Anyway, this is a thing I sometimes do, & it's a problem. Mostly it's a problem because it means my standards are irrationally & disproportionately high from the get-go, & let's not even talk personalities, because I've had some winners in that department, too, which sounds sarcastic but actually isn't at all. The fact that I have, in the past, dated individuals who are notably better looking than the majority of the population (myself certainly included) has had nothing to do with anything but luck & a shocking presence of mutual interest & did I mention a lot of luck?

Facebook isn't very helpful to me as I try to overcome this problem. It's always there, taunting me with photos of aforementioned attractive individuals, reminding me that I used to be involved with people who are only becoming increasingly better looking. And, for the most part, increasingly less available, because that's another problem I have - the dreaded "Good Luck Chuck" problem. My last two "serious" boyfriends (but please bear in mind that these relationships ended in 2004 and 2006, hence the quotations) are both bordering on engagement (& of course I don't check their Facebook pages in anticipation) & the only two guys I've even kind of dated in D.C. promptly entered into serious relationships following their dalliances (that sounds inappropriately casual but I like the word) with me. Yes, it appears as though being temporarily linked to me is some sort of fortuitous omen, some signal that better things are on the horizon - for them, not for me.

I always thought youth was a dress rehearsal for life, that high school & college relationships were precursors to real relationships, but here I am, halfway through my twenties with not a "real" relationship to be found. As we've discussed in the past, I don't often particularly mind - I'm a little bit of a hermit, a lot set in my ways, & fairly confident that you can't hurry love. Or whatever. But I'm still utterly perplexed by the difficulty that adults (young & otherwise) have in dating. If you didn't meet your significant other in college? Well, good luck. Because how are you supposed to meet people in the real world? When life is all go-to-work-&-home-&-back-again, with no "There's such a cute guy in my math class this semester," how on earth are you supposed to branch out? It's difficult enough to make friends, let alone find dates, especially in a city not known for it's favorable guy-to-girl ratios. Oh, & with a personality not known for its willingness to go out & meet new people.

In a combination move of fascination & fleeting hope, I tried the online thing, but there's something inherently uncomfortable about meeting someone with the sole intent of determining whether you could want to be with them. That's not how meeting people in supposed to work, is it? When I talk to a stranger at a grocery store, I'm not thinking, "Could I someday share a flat with this person?" But that's what online dating is: judging your potential future with a total stranger over the inevitably awkward drinks or coffee. No, thanks. I'd rather spend those two hours with my DVR, which is consistently reliable & certainly has a place in my future.

I've tried the friends-of-friends thing, too, but that sort of hits a wall when you realize that you & your friends have all the same friends. There are only so many peripheral individuals available, & how many times can you bear your friends' excited squeals of "You would LOVE ____!" when ____ turns out to be a jerk/weirdo/cretin who you then still have to bump into at house parties & grudgingly-but-cordially engage?

"I don't date," I say, but of course that's not true. What single girl wouldn't like to date? But I'm not willing to waste my time on people I'm not interested in - & it seems there's no shortage of people I'm not interested in. Similarly, not giving my time to people who aren't interested in me - & there are a lot of them, too! So what does this mean? Am I forever destined to refresh the Facebook pages of the good-looking-&-now-totally-taken ones who came before? Or am I missing some key piece of intel about dating? About adulthood? About... um... something else vital?

And more importantly, is this somewhat revealing post going to feel totally embarrassing tomorrow, when I realize that about half the people I know in real life are reading it? I hope not. So tell me, & please imagine the following question presented in a very Seinfeldian voice: What's the deal with dating?

*Not that serious. I mean, I think it's true, but it's not a problem, per se, & I am not that self-important or looks-conscious. It just felt like a catchy pseudo-related opener, eh?
Photo credit: WeHeartIt

Friday, May 21, 2010

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Things)

Because Canon has yet to master the art of a point & shoot that points & shoots video both horizontally & vertically, I have this bad habit of accidentally taking videos sideways. This is annoying, I realize, particularly because I have a weird pinched nerve in my neck that makes craning it awkwardly to view these videos at a normal angle somewhat... well, awkward. Oh, also, painful. But this one is worth the neck pain.

Background: My visit home last week included some time at the local townie bar, where my college boyfriend bartends. My mom & I stopped by to watch my childhood best friend's dad's new rock band, The Jillettes, jam as only middle-aged rockers in a new band can. Half the bar was full of the parents of kids I grew up with; the other half was filled with people I went to high school with. [Small town, you're not givin' me many options here.]

When the show ended, the place cleared out & my friends & I found ourselves in charge of the bar music. Because it was entirely silent when I approached the jukebox, it was entirely obvious that I was the one who chose to play Whitesnake, TLC & Matt Nathanson. Not embarrassing at all...

I also played Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," & a friend played "Smooth Criminal." The band was good, but the bartender might've been better! If you've got only a short moment, play the first; if you've got time to appreciate some behind-the-bar dance moves, go with the second. Either way, enjoy.





Got a crick in your neck yet? And in case you tuned in to the commentary, yes. Some day I shall learn to Harlem Shake. And it shall be the crowning glory of my otherwise rhythmless life.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Renewing my Vows to the District

With apologies in advance for the foul language that I often use in real life but which rarely graces my blog, some jerk recently submitted the following comment on my Formspring: " You keep talking about the shithole that is Ohio. Fuck off back there if you love it so much." For starters, I want to kick that very rude, anonymous person in the teeth.

But that's only marginally related to this: Last weekend, I realized I'm not moving any time soon.

I know, I know, I already wrote about this, & by now you're like, "Kate, get over the freakin' Buckeye State, you're in DC now, just shut up & live it," & you're tempted to move along to the next bolded post in your Google Reader. And you're right. You're right!

But that doesn't mean it wasn't still kind of a shocker to travel home for a wedding (yes, another...) last weekend & be struck - like, really emo-to-the-max, blindsided struck - by the realization that I'll be in D.C. for at least two more years. I've lived the past three years thinking I was Midwest-bound sometime soon, any day now. But today, I'm preparing to start a new job (in 10 days!), which means I'll be in the District indefinitely, so this was the first trip home when I had to admit that I'm not going back anytime soon.

My high school pal Sean - who I used to refer to as Male-Me & probably still should because despite geographical challenges, we're wildly alike, though he is both wittier & angrier than I - sent me a text on Friday night that read, "Dude. Life happens. If you keep looking backward with a sense of longing like this, you won't really appreciate where you're at, homie." And yes, I appreciate the fact that it starts in surferspeak & ends in gangspeak; we Midwesterners keep our life advice really classy. But you know what? That life advice is really solid, too.

I appreciate D.C. & my life here, but perhaps I need to appreciate it even more. Someday, I want to be able to look back & say, "Yeah, I Tim Magraw'd/Kris Allen'd/Newsies'd that shiz & lived like I was dying/seized the day" instead of "Yeah, I was pretty mopey & I took a lot of naps." Because let's be real, no one ever ruminates on their past & thinks, "I sure did sit around & watch a lot of great episodes of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' back in my youth. Those were the days!"

So it's on. District of Columbia, I'm recommitting myself to you. Whaddaya want to do together? You want to go to all the places I wrote about & then never went to? Try out some of the stuff in the "DC" section of my 101 in 1,001 list? Take more more funny surreptitious photos around town? Try not to find a dead body on the Metro? Do some other crazy stuff I haven't even thought of yet?

And hey, how 'bout this for dedication? Inspired by a pitch from the director of Jews United for Justice, I may even sacrifice my beloved Buckeye State citizenship to become a resident of the District - taxation without representation & all!

But I'm not giving up my new necklace.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Change Would Do You Good

A funny thing happened today, & not funny ha-ha, because y'all know I love funny ha-ha. And you should also know that I never say "y'all" in person, so please let me retract that without actually deleting it.

There are two sets of escalators you have to take to get out of the Woodley Park Metro. Tonight, on the landing between them, I spotted a guy about my age sheepishly asking passersby for spare change. He was holding a SmarTrip card & looking a little embarrassed; sometimes this happens, that people just don't have enough, for whatever reason, so they ask kind strangers for help. It's happened to me before, actually, when I found myself sans wallet & 25 cents short.

I'd been trying on clothes at Macy's for the past two hours, annoyed every time I took off my jeans & my pocketful of changed rolled all over the dressing room floor. So as I got closer to the guy, I dug into my pocket, ready to rid myself of the offending coins, especially if it meant helping a stuck traveler. I handed them to him & we exchanged pleasantries; as I walked away, he told me to "have a blessed day."

As I hopped on the second escalator, I noticed that a 30-something woman a few steps ahead of me was walking down the up escalator, which is sort of a feat past the age of 12. And she was walking toward me! She approached me & said with determination, "Excuse me. You should know that that man is a con artist. He's always here, asking for money."

I didn't know what to say & didn't want to be rude, so I sort of put my head down & said, "Oh, thanks. I just gave him 35 cents." She repeated her warning - "He's here all the time" - & returned to her spot a few steps above me.

It wasn't a big deal, so I'm not sure why my initial reaction was one of such shock. But I was sort of offended, mostly. I mean, come on. A con artist? Who conned me out of 35 cents? I haven't been conned out of much in my life, but even I've been conned out of more than 35 cents. If this dude was a con artist, he sure wasn't a very good one, if all he's conning people out of is a fraction of a train fare.

"He's here all the time," she said. But so am I. I'm here all the time, & I've never seen him. And even if I had, so what? Does seeing someone more than once preclude them from being worthy of a few spare dimes? I've been known to give to the same homeless people - to Antonio in Cleveland Park, to James who sells newspapers, to the guy who holds the door at the Dupont CVS. They're there all the time, too, but if I can spend $4.50 on a frappucino, I can certainly put the leftover change in their cups if I so please. It's not like I gave him a tenspot.

I know the woman meant well, & that's why I thanked her. But I wasn't about to engage her any further. I don't know what my point is, really, except remember that post I wrote about the Mother Theresa quote? I think it applies here. "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." And who knows what sort of battles that mezzanine-level "con artist" is fighting? Maybe my 35 cents was just the weapon he needed to fight back, to hop on the train with a smile.

Or maybe he wasn't fighting any battles at all. Maybe he's just a cheapskate who didn't feel like paying his own way to the end of the redline. But even if that's the case, I feel confident knowing that my 35 cents went to bettering my karma.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fake It 'Til You Make It (Or the Ways in Which I'm Still Not an Adult)

Twenty-five is a weird age. It's smack between 20, which feels exciting & new & oh-my-gosh-I'm-an-adult, & 30, which feels exciting & old & oh-my-gosh-now-I'm-actually-an-adult. I find myself acting approximately 50% childish & 50% grown-up, with as much as a 25% deviation at any given time. In terms of feeling like a real-life adult, I give you the following:
  • I'm hankering to decorate my currently-bare apartment with art from Etsy & maybe some homemade crafty goodness based on things I've found on blogs like Birds of a Feather. Also, I'm in embarrassingly desperate want of a wicker hamper. At what point in your life do you start wanting to buy home furnishings & wicker hampers, of all things?
  • I actually (finally) started saving money, & I even committed to donating a portion of my salary to the One Percent Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to "next-generation philanthropy." It was started by some former employees of my current office, & it gives young adults - those of us who think "I'm too poor to make a donation that matters" - an opportunity to pool our resources with like-minded (& like-walleted) folks to fund projects that address global issues.

  • I've started eating Lean Cuisine meals. Because they're healthy, & I could use some health. And because they don't taste like cardboard at all. (OK, so maybe that was a liiiittle bit of sarcasm.) But I'm now so accustomed to Lean Cuisine pizza that the taste of real pizza tastes... well, just weird. The adult in me is proud; the child in me is appalled.
But then...
  • Lean Cuisines aside, my pantry contains the following (& not much else): two packets of Easy Mac, a singular peach fruit cup, a can of Campbell's tomato soup, a box of oatmeal, & a bag of Twizzlers. So, um, about being healthy...

  • I just used a Barnes & Noble gift card to buy "The Summer Before," the newly released prequel to the Baby-sitters Club series. I then proceeded to spend about 20 minutes searching for a boxed set of the entire series - all 131 young adult novels, plus 15 Super Specials, 36 mysteries...

  • I've spent every spare waking moment watching reruns of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on Netflix View Instantly. In two weeks, I've almost finished two seasons, even going so far as to rekindle my crush on Spike. It feels a lot like 1997 up in this piece, & I suppose I could use a legitimate hobby or two...
And no, the last three don't all end in ellipses because I'm embarrassed.

...

I assume it's normal to be perpetually stuck in a state of somewhere-in-between, not just when you're 25 but when you're 65, too. I assume it's normal to have some interests that aren't exactly "grown up," even when the other adult pieces begin to fall into place. And if it's not normal? Please don't tell me. And if you must tell me, please wait at least 2-6 business days for shipping plus however long it takes me to finish catching up with Kristy, Claudia, Mary Ann & the rest of the gang.* I'll be happy to talk life logistics once I'm done reliving age 10.

*That was a Baby-sitters Club reference, in case you didn't catch it. Which you shouldn't have.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Breasts for Breasts

Now that I've sufficiently intrigued you with the title of today's post, let me be direct: You will be disappointed to discover that this post has very little to do with breasts of the "nice rack" variety & has almost everything to do with chicken.

Maybe you've heard that Kentucky Fried Chicken - now going by KFC only, to nix the, er, misconception that they only sell artery-clogging meats - is donating proceeds of some of its chicken sales to fight breast cancer. The for-a-cause poultry even comes in a fancy pink bucket. And yes, this is weird on a few levels, not the least of which is that obesity is linked to an increased risk for breast cancer, & eating a bunch of fried chicken is invariably linked to becoming obese. BUT I DIGRESS. Well, only sort of.

KFC is donating 50 cents from every pink bucket of chicken to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, & the plan, however philanthropic, has more than a few critics. But my faaaaavorite favorite story is this one from FoodConsumer.com, discovered by my friend Lindsey, not for the story itself but for the most incredible typo of all time.

Sadly, the original copy has since been corrected (way to go, dutiful-if-delayed editors) - but fear not, as I was smart enough to take a screenshot of the first edition. Read carefully, & read it all the way through.



I laughed for about three minutes. No joke. Alone at my desk. And then I sent it to everyone in my office. And then I blogged about it so that you could enjoy it, too - just be sure to keep your kids safe!

Friday, May 7, 2010

This is the Start of Something New...

Please note that the title of this post is to be sung to the tune of the High School Musical ditty of the same name.

It's fitting, because when I began my job here in D.C., just three days after my college graduation, I started working with five other recent grads who became my best friends & my District family. High School Musical was our inside joke of choice, & its songs became our soundtrack. "We're All in This Together" was our anthem, sung during late nights & weekends spent burning the proverbial midnight oil. The mix CD I made for them at the end of our one-year fellowship concluded with the song "What I've Been Lookin' For" with the lyrics, "I've never had someone as good for me as you. So lonely before, I finally found what I've been looking for." Cheesy? Sure, but sometimes the best friendships are a little cheesy.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to stay at the office beyond our one year there. When my friends left, my job continued, & I carried on without much of the support system that had propped me up throughout year one. Convinced I could never find friendships to match the ones I'd just made, I was shocked to form ones just as strong with a new batch of coworkers - friends I now feel just as close to & love just as much, in different but equally meaningful ways. Together, these groups of coworkers-cum-friends comprise the smartest, most hard-working, most driven people I've ever met. They inspire me & challenge me & believe in me & all kinds of other good things.

Of course, it been about much more than the friends. I've spent three years here, longer than most people give to their first job right out of college. I've discovered skills I never knew I had, honed abilities I never expected to possess. I've had the opportunity to do things I never dreamed I'd do - lobbying lawmakers, writing op-eds, attending rallies, teaching high schoolers, becoming a social media "expert," working with publications like Newsweek and the Washington Post. I've traveled to New Orleans, Toronto, San Diego, New York City; I've met & learned from some of the most passionate activists DC has to offer; I've spoken on panels & attended conferences & just generally done a lot of really freaking cool stuff. And perhaps most importantly, I've been blessed with bosses who not only manage & direct but who also teach, listen, & care - bosses who I consider mentors & friends, too.

It's so easy to say "___ changed my life," & it's not such a powerful statement, when you think about it. Lots of things are life-changing. The simple truth is that life changes - every day, all the damn time, sometimes good & sometimes not, for better & for worse & for different. We get older, we move on, we learn new things, we meet new people. But this job changed my life in a million ways, almost entirely for the better, & though this is certainly not the route I planned on taking through life, I'm infinitely grateful to have stumbled upon it.

You know where this is going, right? Most of you have probably already heard the announcement by now: I have a new job! On May 28, I'll officially call it quits at my current office, & on June 1, I'll begin a position at a nearby communications firm. I'm wildly excited about this new job, even if I haven't necessarily processed that excitement yet as I try to manage the shock of leaving the office I've called both work & home for the past three years. But I'm absolutely looking forward to this next step in my life, to the challenges & opportunities that come with trying something scary & new.

I struggled with whether to accept this position, simply because I'm notoriously afraid - nay, terrified - of change. But then I remembered February 24, 2009, the night I saw Jimmy Eat World play the 9:30 Club. And I remembered this secret, personal moment that I've held onto since that night, a moment when I closed my eyes & started to cry, when I let the lyrics take me in: "Dancing in plastic shake-up snow, do you believe in what you want?" They don't mean that much. Or do they? That night, I promised myself that I wouldn't be afraid to move forward. That I wouldn't be afraid to live in a way that would better myself & my future, even if it seemed overwhelming. That if I did find myself afraid, I wouldn't let that fear become so pervasive that it kept me from action.

So this is action. This is me moving forward. This is what comes next, & I'm sure as hell scared, but not so scared that I can't do it.

This is the start of something new. I believe in what I want. And so it's time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"The Day I Almost Met ____"

DC is no LA or NYC, but famous people do make it here with fair regularity, & I creepily track their presence with the help of @DCCelebrity (Did you know that Nick Jonas lobbied Congress for juvenile diabetes research funding? Or that Justin Bieber has been here twice in one month? And why am I only interested in teen heartthrobs?)

I've had a couple of cool run-ins. In a now-infamous flub, for example, I once asked Senator-elect Mark Warner for directions to the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Nevermind that I'd just asked a Senator for directions inside the Senate: As the elevator doors closed, my brain screamed, "YOU DOLT, YOU CAMPAIGNED FOR THAT DUDE!" A quick Google Image search confirmed my idiocy, which I've yet to live down.

In the realm of Marginally More Famous Folks, Katie Couric once held the door for me as we waited to enter the U.S. Capitol Building. She held up security (for wearing lots of jewelry, not for being famous), & apologized repeatedly for the long wait. That same day, I sat behind once-upon-a-time "Lost" star Maggie Grace at a press conference where I also met actress/activist Maria Bello. Oh yeah, & there was the time Norman Lear came to my office to light Chanukah candles.

And then there are the folks I didn't meet. Namely? John Glenn. Little-known fact: I REALLY LOVE JOHN GLENN. Ohio's hometown boy not only orbited the Earth but also served the Buckeye State in Congress. And dotted the "i" during the OSU's Script Ohio marching band performance. And is awesome. Because really, what's more awesome than an astronaut-cum-politician? I once spotted him across the room at a memorial ceremony where he was chatting with my boss as I stood at a safe distance, paralyzed with awe & nerves. When I later told my boss of my deep-seated JGlenn love, he asked why I hadn't sought out an introduction. Um, what would I have said to John Glenn? "Hi. I like Ohio. And outer space. And you." Yeah, that would've gone over well. With much regret, that day will live on as The Day I Almost Met John Glenn.

My pal Jessie had a similar almost-run-in with then-Senator Hillary Clinton, shortly after the Power-Suited One bowed out of the 2008 presidential race. As they stood together waiting for an elevator, Jessie couldn't bring herself to say a word - because she was embarrassed that she hadn't yet changed out of her flip-flops. Indeed, the simple matter of summer footwear kept my friend from meeting one of the most powerful women in the country. So even though our boss is friends with her, too - meaning a simple, "I work for so-&-so" would actually have been a perfect conversation-starter here - that day became The Day Jessie Almost Met Hillary Clinton.

And this weekend, Rachel had hers. On a regulation Saturday trip to Rite-Aid, she happened upon Chris Matthews, the hard-nosed host of Hardball, & had the cajones to strike up a convo. In fact, he invited her to come to a taping of the show, though he provided no details on how, exactly, one does that. As he turned to leave, she made eye contact with his buddy... making it The Day Rachel Almost Met Ewan MacGregor.

Much to my dismay, I recognize that this post is disgustingly Beltway-centric. Let's recap: John Glenn? And Hillary Clinton? And who recognizes a political TV show host over Ewan MacGregor?! And more importantly, how did I become a part of this alternate celebrity universe?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blogging is a Learned Ability

Not everyone's got the skillz we've got. Just ask this dude:

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