Friday, April 23, 2010

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

I consider myself to be a happy person. This year I've worked to become happier (more on that later) but overall, I'm optimistic and positive in life. Sometimes it annoys people, but mostly I like to think its an asset.

Tonight that positivity was challenged. Challenged beyond what I thought I could handle. Around lunch my work computer got a virus. I brought it to IT where they would wipe it and reload my harddrive. No biggie, its happened many times since I started at Berger. Unfortunately, today something went wrong and by 5pm my entire harddrive was deleted. That included the two in-progress final papers I'd been working on and hadn't saved anywhere else.

I know, I know. That is mistake number one. I didn't back up. Once again I felt like Carrie in that episode of Sex and the City where she talks about how everyone goes around backing up every night but never talking about it.

I had a break down. Two, actually. One in the locker room in my building while on the phone with my mom. I sobbed uncontrollably as I explained the situation, mostly just mad at myself. I pulled myself together and went to the gym in my building while IT tried to restore my files. At around 6:30, I went back upstairs. I explored the restored files, found the one I needed, let out a shriek of glee, and then my computer froze and lost everything. again. What a dirty little virus-laden computer. I tried restoring it again (while using the hour and a half to start my next paper on a different computer) but alas, my papers were gone. One paper was not a big deal, it was mainly a revision of a previous paper. But the paper I had written 90% of (12 pages, single-spaced) was gone.

I called my mom again. Breakdown number 2 was on its way. I bawled, almost to the point of wanting to throw up. But, as I realized that my papers were, in fact, gone, I wiped my tears and pulled myself together.

Begrudgingly, I spent the next two hours putting my paper back together. I'm lucky, really. I know the topic fairly well and had just written the last portions of my analysis on Sunday, so it was fairly fresh in my mind. I also had nearly all of the reference documents at hand and didn't have to go searching for them again. After those two hours, I was forced to give it a rest for the night and go home. I had rewritten 11 of my original 12 pages. I have half sentence notes waiting for me to go back and flush out. I feel ok.

I didn't have the relaxing night that I had planned, but I'm fortunate that this happened when it did. If this had happened next wednesday, I would have been on work travel, without another computer to use, and without the time available to rewrite the paper. I have nearly all of tomorrow to write, including getting my econ paper back up to speed. My weekend won't be as stress free as I had planned, but everything still has plenty of time to get done. My third paper may not be as fully drafted as I was anticipating, but I still have two weekends to write it before its due.

I could have crumbled into a ball and cried myself to sleep tonight. I nearly did. I could be cursing myself, perpetually angry at my stupidity to only keep one copy and, to an extent, I am. But that anger reaps no benefit. I can only learn and move forward.

In a situation where I could have cried "woe is me", I have managed to appreciate the good aspects of the situation and move forward with a positive outlook. Instead of going to bed angry and upset, I'm having a glass of wine, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and sneaking in a bit of that relaxation I was looking for.

I'm proud of what I accomplished tonight. Tomorrow will be a long day, but with a good nights sleep and a little bit of caffeine, it's nothing I can't handle.

Booya, negativity. Optimism wins again.

Dear Orange Line (An Open Letter to WMATA)

Dear Orange Line -

I have something to tell you. I think it's only fair I tell you now. I'm leaving you, Orange Line.

We've had our good times and our bad. Remember all of those drunken rides home from Dupont Circle at 2am? Yeah, neither do I. Orange line, you helped me grapple with my issue of personal space. Being pressed up against strangers at 8 am before I've had coffee, well, it's taught me patience (and the importance of breath mints).

But what about those times I was forced to walk home from work, Orange Line? Are you trying to tell me I need to lose a few pounds? Just tell me to my face, Orange Line. Don't hide behind your "train malfunction" and "sick person" delays. Remember that time someone farted in a crowded train car while we were trapped between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom? While I can't blame you for the flatulence, it was because of you that we were unable to escape the stench for nearly 5 minutes. I'm pretty sure one woman passed out, Orange Line.

I have tried to leave you many times before, spending an increasing amount of time with Custis Trail and Bicycle. But you knew that inclement weather and late work nights would force me back into your open doors. I know you are jealous of Bicycle, but that is no reason to ban him during rush hour while you callously allow strollers and tourists to block the doors.

But I'm serious this time. Your fare increases, crowded trains, lack of air conditioning and the resulting body odor; I'm done with them, Orange Line.

It's not me, it's you.

I hope we can still be friends,


Thursday, April 22, 2010

8 feet

Eight Feet. Eight feet of space. This is the amount of linear feet I have reserved in my moving trailer. I have to fit all of my belongings into this space which is 8 by 8 by 9 feet. That's not a lot, but I'm determined not to exceed it and thus be force to pay an extra hundred or so dollars. I'm Scottish and, with God as my witness, I will fit everything into 8 feet.

Knowing how much space I have has changed how I look at my possessions. Instead of sitting on my wonderfully oversized couches and enjoying them, I am now consistently thinking how I can efficiently pack all of my things. Its like the inside of my brain has turned into one giant game of tetris.

I have several items on the "cut if I don't have room" list. Free toaster oven I pulled out of the trash at Meadowood? Your time is coming near. I already donated my microwave to Berger (and have been happily heating up my lunch daily). Clothing has been hauled to the Salvation Army by the Echo-load. How do I still have so much left??

Since college, I haven't moved more than approximately 100 yards. I literally walked some loads over. Until everything is packed up and on it's way to Denver, I'm pretty sure I will be one big ball of stress. Tell Aunt Trudy to have tequila waiting in South Carolina (our first stop on the road trip) - I'll need it!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Denver - Fun Facts!

I've done a lot of research on my new city. Much more than I ever did when I was, say, researching which colleges to apply to (Thanks mom! I'm not a degenerate all because of you!!)

Anyhow. I've come across a lot of fun little facts. Since its 4:30 and I had yet to post today, I figured I would share them:

Local boosters named the frontier mining camp on the South Platte River “Denver” after Kansas Territorial Governor James Denver in hopes of gaining political favor. Unfortunately, Denver had retired by the time they named the town.

There were originally three separate towns, with three separate names, where Denver now stands. In 1859, the other names were dropped in return for a barrel of whiskey to be shared by all. (I'm liking this city already!)

Fittingly enough, the first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon.

Despite being warned by Indians not to build there, early settlers didn’t listen. In its first few years, Denver was destroyed twice, once by fire and once by flood.

Denver is one of the few cities in history that was not built on a road, railroad, lake, navigable river or body of water when it was founded. It just happened to be where the first few flakes of gold were found in 1858.

According to the U.S. Census (2007), Colorado is the 8th fastest growing state in the nation. Denver’s population grew to 588,349 in July 2007, which made it the 26th largest city in the U.S. In addition, Denver has the 10th largest downtown area in the U.S.

Denver boasts 85 miles of off-road trails for bikers and runners and is Bicycle Magazine's top city for bicyclists. Bike paths link the city's 205 parks and many streets have bike lanes. More than 130 miles of designated bike paths and lanes. (woo hoo!!)

Colorado has the lowest obesity rate of the 50 states, and is the only state where the obesity rate is below 25%

Colorado's sunny, temperate climate makes year-round outdoor recreation possible. With 40 state parks and 3 national parks in metro Denver's back yard, prime recreation opportunities abound for biking, hiking, camping, fishing, or skiing.

More than 75 public and private golf courses are located in Metro Denver. 25 world-class ski resorts are within 100 miles of the metro Denver area.

The city and County of Denver has the largest city park system in the nation with 205 parks within the Denver city limits. Over 20,000 acres of parks are located in the nearby mountains. counties throughout metro Denver have preserved over 100,000 acres as open space for future generations to enjoy.

The stegosaurus was designated as the official state fossil on April 28, 1982 by executive order of Governor Richard D. Lamm. (Its a good thing I remember the "Stegosaurus song! - myyyy name is stegosaurus, I'm a funny looking din-o-saur. For on my back are many bony plates and on my head are more!)

The invention of the world's first "cheeseburger" belongs to Louis Ballast, who, in 1935, grilled a slice of cheese onto a hamburger at his Denver Humpty Dumpty drive-in. (mmmm nom nom nom)

The Mile High City really is a mile high. Denver's State Capitol building has a spot on the west steps (the 13th step) that is 5,280 feet above sea level. If sea levels rise, it may have to become the 14th step.

Denver receives 300 days of sunshine a year! That's more sun than San Diego or Miami Beach.

Colorado earns its nickname "Mother of Rivers" because more major rivers have their source in Colorado than in any other state.

Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America. (I've also heard it can be quite dodgy)

With an average elevation of about 6800 feet, Colorado is the highest of all the states.

Denver's 16th Street Mall was designed by I.M. Pei, the architect who was also responsible for the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris.

And now you know!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bucket List

Once I got the go-ahead to relocate to the Denver office, I started thinking of all the touristy things I hadn't yet done in DC. I start accumulating my DC Bucket List, which I have been working on completing. The list started out as a modest amount of things to do, but after asking co-workers and Tommy, it ballooned into a monstrosity.

Some events were time sensitive and needed to get done right away. As such, the first item checked off of my list was ice skating at the sculpture garden. Beth and Marisa along with our photographer Paul, Marisa's boyfriend, went along on a Friday night and it was a blast! As soon as we stepped onto the ice, Paul asked us how long it had been since we'd been ice skating - after flailing about on the ice, we realized it had been quite a long time. Our skating adventure happened to coincide with the olympics, so we enjoyed pretending to do triple toe loops and speed skate like Apollo Ohno.

Only a few more items have been crossed of the list (doing a White House tour, going to a Nats/Phillies game, hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain, and trying out a few restaurants) but a lot more have been scheduled, planned, or tickets bought. With the prospect of now traveling for work for the next two weeks and multiple weekends already booked through June, I'm worried I might not get everything done and I'm ready to kick things into high gear once the icy death grip of my second to last semester releases me into the freedom of summer. I can't wait!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Update

As was expected, I forgot not one but three items for my weekend trip to Lancaster. Even after employing my mom's packing strategy of laying out each day's clothes in piles on my bed, I managed to forget the tee shirt I was planning on wearing on Saturday. Luckily I had thrown in an extra shirt 'just in case', so I didn't have to stroll around Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, and Paradise in just a bra and cardigan. I also forgot my hairbrush (seems to be a common item I forget - makes sense because I don't often brush my hair) and my facewash.

Next week I'll be going on a week-long work trip down to Cape Hatteras for a tour of public meetings, then straight up to Worcester for a weekend wedding - I'm a bit concerned at how many outfits and events I need to account for in one suitcase.

Other than that, the weekend was great. It was so nice to visit Emily and Dave. At dinner Saturday night, we realized that I had probably only seen them once since their wedding in October 2006. I learned a little bit about Amish culture as well. Did you know that unmarried couples have a different buggy than married couples? The single folk cannot ride in an enclosed buggy. Those poor couples who begin dating in January!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pack it up, Pack it in. Let me begin

No, I have not yet begun packing up my entire house in preparation for Denver. I'm not that crazy (ok, I am, but I don't have any moving boxes yet). But as I packed for my weekend excursion (up to Lancaster to visit one of my best childhood friends who I haven't seen in entirely too long), I thought: I will surely forget to pack something.

I don't have a good track record, you see. The things I forget can range from minor to vital, but I will, without fail, inevitably forget something.

It has been this way for as long as I can remember. There was the time I was allowed to pack by myself for our annual Memorial Day trip. I think my mom had just had surgery, so Dad left me to my own devices. I ended up packing clothes that would have been appropriate for August at the beach - not May in the mountains. I wore other peoples clothes the entire weekend. I was 8 (ish).

This packing-related disability did not improve as I got older. Once in college, I managed to only pack one shoe for a trip home. Not one pair of shoes. One singular shoe. To be fair, 50 cent rail drinks, a malfunctioning alarm clock, and the world's worst hangover also played their part in that fiasco.

As I started traveling for work, the responsibility to represent my company did not force me to improve my packing skills. Once I forgot a hairbrush. In a now infamous work trip to Middletown, CT, I forgot to bring pants. I had taken the (extra early morning) Acela wearing my black fleece comfy pants and had packed nice work pants for our meeting. The meeting turned out to be a mucky site visit and my jeans had managed to miss my suitcase (I later found them laying on my windowsill, adjacent to where I had been packing). I ended up having to wear my client's (who was 4 ft tall and quite round) stretchy waistband pants and have been mocked by my coworkers ever since.

my officemate was so kind as to document the hottness:

Even packing for trips I make on a regular basis, I'm sure to have forgotten something. When I ride to work, I wear my workout clothes and then change in the locker room. Every day it is an adventure to see what I have forgotten. Monday, I forgot my cardigan (a crucial part of my outfit). Thursday, I forgot my make up bag (I looked in the mirror, sighed, and thought "well, this is as good as it's going to get today"). Last year, I forgot to pack a bra. I have also mispacked - once wearing green underwear but packing white pants. Not infrequently I'll pack a gym bag for after work, only to arrive at the gym without workout pants (it's a bit awkward to discover this after I've already started undressing). Pants are my nemesis.

My mom keeps telling me to create a standard list I can go through each time I have to pack. I think that takes the fun out of it. So, while I think I have surely remembered to pack everything for this weekend (even though, despite my plans to pack last night, I was shoving clothes into my 'weenie roller' at 6:45 this morning), I am certain to arrive in Lancaster missing some item of importance. Who knows what it will be!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Brain Farts

I've written and deleted the opener to this post 3 or 4 times now. I'm feeling uncreative and boring this morning. Should I write about seeing Fiddler on the Roof? How about my progress on my DC Bucket List? Or maybe that yesterday I finally booked my moving company (big committing step for me). But none of these things are interesting me this morning. This blog is turning out to be a lot of pressure!

How about an anecdote about middle aged men who bike to work and don't like being passed by me on the bike trails in the morning. In lifeguarding class, we learned that the hardest age group to control are middle aged men. I fully believe this fact. This morning on my commute to work, I passed by quite a few other bikers (which is always pretty exciting for me. Last year I actually got passed on a hill by someone that I was sure was already collecting social security checks - so for me to pass anyone is always a big feat).

There is a certain etiquette with bike commuters in DC. The bike path I take is fairly uncrowded until you get into the Rosslyn section of Arlington. By then, there are a slew of pedestrians and stoplights start to factor in. At the first stop light, there was a solid queue of bikers (we all go in a line, much like make way for ducklings - especially at the second light, where we are effectively preventing cars from making a righthand turn to cross over the key bridge. Always a bit dicey, I like the strength in numbers). But middle aged man # 1 comes scooting along past the line (um, esscuze me, are you too good for the line?) and cuts all other bikers off. Fine, no worries, he heads on down the Mt Vernon trail and out of my life. Then comes middle aged man #2. As those of us heading towards the Key Bridge make our way across various lanes of traffic, he comes flying along, zipping through pedestrians, and cutting me off (insert expletives here). I followed him until he screwed up his gears on the bridge (tee hee, I enjoyed this) and promptly slows the entire line behind him, braking/breaking in the dead middle of the path. Faux Pas part deux.

The point of the entire tirade (as I passed by him a second time, disgruntled and without having yet had coffee) is this: middle aged men, get over yourself.

That anecdote seemed more interesting before I started. Even I am bored by this blog post, but have nothing less boring to write about. My apologies, blog readers (both of you), tomorrow I'll come up with something better.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Booty Bump!

Last night I tried out a new gym class with my officemate. She goes to "body jam" quite often and loves it, so I figured I would give it a try. I think it is safe to say that I did not miss my calling of being a professional back-up dancer.

The class had two 30 minute "routines" which you slowly learned the steps to, leading up to a final combination. The footwork seemed easy enough when we did each part slowly, but as soon as we had to do it to the beat, I was hopelessly lost. I ended up just kind of jumping up and down, moving my feet in the right general direction, while flailing my arms not unlike a chicken. But its ok, I had a blast! The second routine was hip hop and involved a lot of "booty bumps" which were fun and my abs are feeling it! It was a class full of 25 white girls dancing, well, like white girls.

I only burned about 300 calories in the hour but I'd definitely go back again! I love to dance, even though I know I am quite terrible at it. If nothing else, the class made me more appreciative of the fact that dance floors out in DC are usually shrouded in darkness!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Denver? Sure, why not.

So a lot of people have been asking me "Why Denver?" I'll tell you. I don't know. I have no actual valid reason for moving to Denver. Heck, I've never even been there. As my childhood friend Jake so eloquently put it "You're moving across the country? By yourself? To a place you've never been?" Why yes, yes I am.

The idea of Denver sprouted in 2006, right when I was about to graduate from UMD. My company announced that they were opening an office in Denver and my direct supervisor was moving out there to head it up. I thought, well heck, that would be neat and promptly volunteered to move, too. But the big bosses said "um, well lets see if this office is a success before we start moving people." Well, as it turns out, the Denver office is one big giant success and within a year, they asked if I wanted to go out there. Unfortunately, I was newly settled in Arlington and was set to begin grad school. Fast forward four years and I'm ready to go! Put me in coach, I'm ready to play.

It is scary, though. While most of the time I'm thinking "Yay, I'm moving to Denver!" every so often I think "holy hanna, I'm moving to Denver?? Yikes. And honestly, I really like Arlington. I can bike to work, I know my way around, I rent a sweet, sweet townhouse (full of more stuff than could possibly ever fit back into a 1 bedroom apartment, but more on that later). But it goes back to that whole comfort zone thing. Moving to Denver will most certainly put me outside of my comfort zone. I've never lived more than 200 miles from where I grew up (or anywhere off the east coast) and I'm ready for a change. This move could be one big giant mistake, but at least I won't be left wondering "what if..." Its seldom in life that one can just pick up and go without any consideration for others (ie, no sig other, no babies) so why not?

It also helps a ton that my family will be helping me move. Mama B and Alliy Al are going to road trip out with me (through the south. in the summer) and we will all be in Denver in time to celebrate my birthday. I'm not big into birthdays, but it will be nice to spend this one with family and not all alone in a big new city without any friends!

So, my three faithful blog readers, that is why Denver.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goals for 2010

Instead of doing a resolution this year, I created a list of mini goals I wanted to accomplish. Some are bigger than others, but I was pretty happy with my list.

Start a Roth IRA
Increase/Fix my 401K
Get a faster time at the Philly Tri
Take vitamins more regularly
Log every day in January
Floss twice a week
eat slower
Run a 5K in under 30 minutes
Grocery shop more regularly
Pay off FCU credit card
Keep a list of books read

Unfortunately, I won't be able to do the Philly Tri this year, so that goal has fallen by the wayside. But as of last friday, I officially, for the first time ever, ran a 5k in under 30 minutes - 29:12, to be exact. I was so happy (and exhausted). I am not a runner. I run with my running buddy for hours, but without her, I would have never run more than 3 miles.

The credit card is about to be paid off and I logged every day in january (a food diary that my sister and I both keep. It tracks nutrition, of which I apparently get none. Hence the vitamins, which I also don't take as often as I should). Overall, my goals are coming along nicely. Its been really easy to track the books I've read thus far this year: 1. Full time grad school and full time work doesn't leave much time for reading.

No real purpose to this post beyond keeping myself accountable. A quarter way through the year, some goals are still harder than others.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Annnd GO!

Ok. A blog. I've tried this before (oh long-lost LiveJournal account, I've forgotten your log in info). I never really had much to say. And even if I did, who would want to read it? Aren't blogs so very egocentric? Is this too self indulgent? Really, who cares what I'm thinking? If I post this link in facebook, would it be followed by random kids I went to high school with but never actually talk to anymore (much like a guy from HS's blog that I love to read - Ryan, if you're reading this - Have Jenna post more often. And your kid is adorable!).

But really. A blog. What if I'm not funny enough to read? What if the only person who ends up reading this are Allison (sister) and my mom? Anything I'd write, they would be hearing about anyhow. So really, why bother?

Writing blogs make me feel uncomfortable (see aforementioned issues, above). Over the past two years, I've tried to set more goals and force myself outside of my comfort zone. So, in the spirit of Julie Powell and Gretchen Rubin, I'm starting a blog.

So after 4 long years in DC, working full time and slogging through my graduate program, life is rapidly changing. I'm graduating (soonish) and moving to Denver (eee!) and starting a whole new life in a new city without knowing anyone (yikes!). So, thats got to be something to write about, right? Here's hoping.

So. Welcome to my blog. Here's hoping I don't bore you to tears!