Friday!

GENDER ROLES

I came home from a business dinner last night and noticed our front lawn was in dire need of a cut.  I traded my dress pants for a pair of cut-offs shorts, donned my cowboy boots as to not get itchy grass cuttings on my feet and went to town with the weed wacker, pearl necklace and all.  R sat on the front porch drinking a beer.  It’s a shame we didn’t conclude the evening with a photo shoot.

SPEAK OF

R survived our annual family gathering at my mother’s cabin.  Just me, R and 55 of my closest relatives.  Everyone told me how much they liked him and then had a couple of beers and just told him directly.  Having your family like your new boyfriend is like winning the boyfriend lottery, I’m pretty sure.

The cabin was just as wonderful as it tends to be.  The weather was perfect, the water warm (by Minnesota standards) and the brats filled with wild rice, as the Emily, Minnesota butcher and God intended.  I’m fairly certain my mother wins the awards of all awards for churning out so many waffles and blueberry pancakes.

I water skied one morning and epically crashed – out of the ski, face first into the water with one of my favorite stud earrings finding its final resting place at the bottom of lake Ruth.  My muscles were so sore from the lap around the lake that I gave up after I fell and hauled myself into the boat with my shaking muscles.  I then proceeded to complain about my sore body for the next 48 hours because my mom loves the opportunity to coddle and provide comforting, sympathetic comments to her eldest child because she’s out of shape.  Seriously, guys, she loves it.

AND FRIDAY THANK GOODNESS

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  R and I are going to the zoo and out for ramen noodles.  And then I’m going to strongly consider doing my homework.  Remember when I had a 4.0?  Yeah, me too.

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Some Things on Thursday

THE DISTRICT OF CARA

My friend Cara has a solo show in this year’s D.C. Fringe Festival and I suggest you snap up tickets immediately and mentally prepare for some vigorous clapping.

Cara’s sister Bree was my boss long ago when I first moved to D.C.  As the story goes, Bree and her boyfriend broke up and the two of us spent the next several months bouncing around D.C. together – typically with alcohol and tacos, sometimes with Cara.  Since then, I have been informally adopted into their sisterly tribe, complete with matching monogrammed beach towels to make it super official.

I’ve never once wished for a sister.  But I am glad I’ve got these two.  Especially since Bree makes the turkey for Thanksgiving and Cara bakes the pie.

The District of Cara runs through July at the Tree House Lounge on Florida Avenue.  Tickets are $17 plus the cost of a Fringe Festival button ($5 at the ticket office, $7 at the door).  I really hope I don’t have to wear the button.

More details here or on the D.C. Fringe Festival website.  The show starts Saturday.

MINNESOOOTA

I had the most marvelous time in Minnesota last week.  Such a wonderful time in fact that I bought tickets for R and I to go back next weekend for our annual family day.  I may have failed to mention exactly how many people show up for family day, but he says he’s excited.  And if he’s lying about that – what a smart boy.  I think my mom has more sisters than R has relatives, so this should be fun for everyone!  I told him – quoting the wise advice my cousin Mina gave to her now-husband at his first family day – that when he gets overwhelmed, he should grab a beer, grab a floatie and take a break.

IN OTHER NEWS

  • I am getting my ass kicked at Words with Friends by numerous members of my family.  I don’t know why I’m surprised.
  • I’ve only got three weeks left of summer school.
  • I have to go to happy hour in Falls Church tonight.  That is WAY outside of the zone, as it is way way in the Virginia suburbs.  I told R that I would go, since you’re supposed to compromise in relationships and shit, but I was doing so under protest.  And that I would probably need snacks and bottled water, lest I get hungry or dehydrated during the 900 minute metro trip.
  • This is hilarious:

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USA!

I hated D.C. when I first moved here 6 1/2 years ago.  All of my favorite people were still living and drinking together in Chicago.  I wasn’t sure about my new job.  I knew a grand total of like 6 people on the Eastern seaboard either of non-drinking age or the age of my parents.  And while my mom and dad’s friend John has proved to be an excellent happy hour companion, it took what felt like mostly forever to adjust.  To find my grove.  And my people.  And most importantly, my footing.

But days like this – while long gone in the newscycle – days like this make me so happy to be here.  For during my time in D.C., I was on the National Mall during President Obama’s first inauguration, heard countless Members of Congress speak and walked through the White House gardens.  I was a guest at wedding with a cabinet secretary as the officiant and worried that I gave Helen Thomas strep throat*.  And two weeks ago, I stood in front of the Supreme Court with hundreds of others, as the interns ran and word spread that gay marriage was now the law of our land.  I hugged my friend and chanted with strangers, “USA!  USA!”

*My goodness, has my grasp of proper grammar and punctuation improved since then.

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Brave

A couple years ago, I walked into a large church near my house one Sunday morning.  I was feeling lonely and alone and wanted feel part of a community, if only for an hour.  Sneaking in and sitting in a back pew, conspicuously dressed in jeans and a sweater, carrying a to-go cup of coffee, I watched as the mostly black congregation in their Sunday best greeted each other warmly before sitting down.  The priest, a round white man – who in his sermon used the word “amen” like a comma – walked around the church saying good morning.  He found me in the back and shook my hand to introduce himself, noticing that I was a new face.  Before services started, he asked all of the people new to the church to stand so everyone could welcome us.

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My boss said Thursday morning, thinking aloud, “How did they not notice him, didn’t he look out of place?”

“It’s a church,” I said.  “Everyone is welcome in a church.”

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A Politico artlce I read this morning said, “[Dylann] Roof told police that he ‘almost didn’t go through’ with the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, ‘because everyone was so nice to him.’”

Well, doesn’t that just break your heart.

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It was also reported that some of the family members of the victims said to Roof at the bond hearing, “I forgive you.”

The woman who spotted his car, the police that arrested him, the community that rallied, they are all commendable in so many ways.  But the families that forgave someone who did something unforgivable – they are the real heroes in this story.  And that is something I certainly admire in the face of such a devastating event.  Because I don’t think I could ever be so merciful.  And so brave.

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How to: Have stressful meetings with the boss like a professional

1.  Schedule Super Important Meeting with boss to discuss general feelings of discontent.

2.  Remain totally cool when meeting gets pushed two hours.

3.  Sit down with boss and try to convey all feelings with wild hand gestures in effort not to cry.

4.  Start to cry.

5.  Talk about feelings while wiping tears off face and chugging water out of Bubbles Hair Salon water bottle.

6.  Use all of boss’ Kleenex.  Remark that it is actually not Kleenex brand, so should be referred to as tissue and isn’t it weird that we call all tissue Kleenex?

7.  Sit in boss’ glass-walled office with back to the door for one half-hour past business hours so no one sees proof of super unprofessional red, blotchy face.  Talk to boss about the awesomeness of the play Newsies.

8.  Run out of office with sunglasses on.

9.  Vow to only correspond with boss via email until the shame of crying dissipates.

10.  Feel much better.  Mentally high-five boss for being a calm, cool and supportive mentor and woman.

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10 on Thursday

1.  Cabin in three weeks!  Iceland and Copenhagen in two months!  Special to Josephine, do we have a place to stay in Iceland yet?  Anyone got any grand suggestions?

2.  As for popular in the news this week, Caitlyn Jenner, all I’ve got to say is more power to you.

3.  Books you should read this summer:  Big Little Lies, The Boston Girl, The Slap, The Round House, to name a few.

4.  Things you should eat: steak tacos with cilantro and radish salsa.  I’ve made these no less than four times in the last five days, both with steak and rotisserie chicken.  If you cut up the radishes, cilantro and green onions in larger batches, it is a five-minute meal that doesn’t involve turning on your oven in the summer.  And at my sweet house without central air, we will not be during on our oven until the end of September.

5.  Congrats to my dear friend Spano on her baby boy.  It is remarkable to me that we’re now considered old enough and responsible enough to care for another human being, a tiny one at that.  I realized in my mid-20s that I was officially a grown up, as if I were to get pregnant people would congratulate me, as opposed to saying something along the lines of, “Her poor mother, she had such promise.  She got into such a good college, too.”

6.  With that said, I would like to confess I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  And it was 100% delicious.

7.  We found a new roommate!  Wait, did I tell you we needed a new roommate?  Our basement dweller, K, who will forever and ever complete the tripod of the most peaceful household in which I have ever lived (the frat house was lovely, but I would not necessarily call it peaceful with Roommate A’s very vocal sports fandom and the general debauchery), got a job near Dulles and for some reason selfishly choose to move closer to work than to commit to a roughly three-hour roundtrip commute every day if she were to stay with us.

I am trying real hard to not hold it against her but am unable to restrain myself as introducing her as “the roommate that is selfishly leaving me.”

Anyway, we interviewed one person, a dude in his late twenties named J, and he agreed to move in.  He seems nice and normal and like it’s too good to be true.  Because our other option was a Hill staffer that, according to a quick google search, liked to take family portraits with AK-47s.  Yep, husband (potential roommate), wife, three children, all posing with gigantic guns.

8.  Everyone on Facebook thinks I’m over reacting to this article – Snakes in walls: Realtor accused of selling infested home – but holy fuck, I’m OK living without a snake SUPER HIGHWAY in my home.  And I’m a pretty tough girl, I pulled a gigantic bug out of the shower this morning.  But snakes, raccoons…no fucking thank you.  This house should be burned down immediately.

9.  This made me laugh and laugh: Leaked Republic Campaign Emails, Re: White House Toddler Temper-Tantrum

10.  This song is doing it for me right now, don’t know why, don’t care:

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Tidbit

R is such a better dresser than I am – in a southern gentleman-esque type of way.  He’s always so coordinated and put together and I’m always so wrinkly.

“Why is that?” my dad asked.

“They don’t make a lot of wrinkle-free clothes for women,” I said.  “I think society wants to make sure we don’t forget how to iron.”

I also have a lot of holes in the toes of my tights.

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Five on Friday

1. My company’s website and social media manager very selfishly got married and is currently honeymooning in Mexico with his new bride.  Which means I am stuck doing all of the social media for my organization.  And you know what I hate?  Social media.  My boss likes to joke that I would make a much better 42-year-old than 27-year-old.  Which is true.

Yesterday I managed to code and get our newsletter out all by myself and set my mind to doing a little Twitter outreach to Members of Congress that we currently think are the jam.  I spelled cosponsoring wrong* in ELEVEN Tweets that went out last night.  Just as I was starting to think I was softening towards Twitter, I’ve rightfully returned to hating it now.  It’s for the best.

Luckily, I could delete that shit because it was a harmless mistake and not say, oh, a communications director trying to cover up a blunder.

My two favorite example here and here.  (Although that isn’t the worst thing in former-Rep. Schock’s office that’s going on lately, being that the congressman decorated his D.C. office with a Downton Abbey theme and has since resigned due to ethics violations.  I do adore a good gossipy political scandal.

2.  I was walking into work a couple of weeks ago, standing on the corner at a red light with one of the very conservative, religious older admin ladies from my office when a homeless woman stopped, pointed at me and said, “You look like you’ve got a tight pussy, get on your back and put your legs in the air.”

My co-worker burst out laughing, I stood there in stunned silence waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the light to change so I could walk away.  Livin’ in the city.  Always a dream.

3.  If you need a new blog to add to your list, head over to Camp Patton.  I kind of want to take this woman’s eldest daughter with me everywhere to provide colorful commentary, in the most non-kidnapping way possible.

I nannied for a 4-year-old when I first got to D.C. who looked at me one afternoon and said, dead serious, “Rachel, A-Rock-O-Bama [Barack Obama] is so handsome, no one can stop him.”

I think I also accidentally taught this little one a slight bit of road rage when, stuck in traffic on the way to preschool, she banged on her car seat and said, “Oh, come on!”

4.  Both my little brothers had birthdays this week – turning the grown-ass ages of 23 and 25.  My, how we’ve all grown up.  Joining me in wishing these boys a belated happy birthday.

5.  And a jam to get you through your Friday.  How happy are we that Missy Elliot is back?  Answer: Super stoked.

*Because I noticed the squiggly line and thought it was because spell check wanted me to hyphenate or put a space between “co” and “sponsor” which is not how we roll in D.C.

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That list could go on forever

R is in Europe for two weeks with his friends. Before he left I was doing some standard whining about his extended absence and said:  Who is going to spoon me while you’re gone?

R: Um, hopefully no one.

Good call.

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And by his friends, I mean that he is traveling with six – SIX! – other people for two whole weeks.  I got second-hand anxiety every time he mentioned the stress of planning a trip with so many people.  I’ve accepted I’m a crotchety old bitch that is set in my ways, which also means there are certain things I will never enjoy doing, such as:

  • Traveling with a grip of people that I am not related to and/or not being paid to travel with for business purposes;
  • dining out at a restaurant with more than three other people;
  • loud, crowded concerts;
  • loud, crowded bars;
  • bars that have lines to get in (never ever);
  • restaurants that involve waiting in line (thanks again, New York Times, for ruining my chances at eating at Rose’s Luxury)
  • WMATA metro delays that involve offloading the train and being stuck on the platform with 10,000 tourists that have no idea what the fuck is going on;
  • ticketed attendance of a president inauguration (crowds, lines and no place to pee, although I’m glad I did that once);
  • shopping at Whole Foods before a weather-related incident;
  • shopping at Whole Foods period;
  • not doing exactly what I want exactly when I want to do it.

Are we sensing a theme here?  I dislike mass quantities of strangers and not being the keeper of my own destiny.  And that’s just specifics I can think of on the fly.  Think of that list if I really dedicated time and energy to it.

Anyways, so R said, I assume in an attempt to be sweet and thoughtful, that he wished I was coming with him.  To which I responded, “Oh, no you don’t, I would ruin our relationship and your friendships within three days traveling with that many people.”

“Well,” he said, “I wish just you and I were going…?”

“Yes, that sounds nice.”

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5 on Thursday

NOON

1.  I am sitting at my desk shoveling Maruchan instant ramen – the good kind out a styrofoam cup – into my mouth before a conference call.  A poor college student-esque choice, but a nostalgic one on this rainy day, as it instantly brings me back to my maternal grandmother’s kitchen table.

My grandmother used to buy cups of ramen in bulk from Sam’s Club and serve it to me for breakfast – filling the styrofoam cup with boiling water from a tap on the kitchen sink, a kitchen standard partial to Duluth, Minnesota, as I’ve yet to see it anywhere else – with a side of bacon and Skittles candy.  She was a good grandmother like that.

My mother, of course, was appalled.  And not by the poor breakfast choices made by her young daughter, but the flexibility and accommodations of her once-strict mother.  “I can’t believe you’re letting her eat that for breakfast!” she say.  My grandmother would just smile and ask if I wanted seconds.

I can see this already happening in the way my mother dotes on my brother Tim’s dog, Mila, that she will strike the same cord as a grandmother.  For my mother, as no-nonsense as she is, shooed me out of a chair at her kitchen table last Christmas – “That’s Mila’s chair” – retrieved the blanket I had spread on my lap, and used it to tuck Mila in after she laid down.

Brothers, our future children are going to eat so many Skittles for breakfast in our mother’s care.

2.  I had my second class last night, and will say that my professor seems very excited and engaging and promised to bring us snacks.  Although it certainly wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time on such a lovely evening.  There was a slight breeze, the temperature cool by D.C. late May standards, perfect for a long bike ride.  It’s really too bad how much a higher education messes with your ability to do whatever you want now, isn’t it?

3.  Read this article – Judy Bloom Knows All Your Secrets – in the NY Times.  Judy Bloom was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid and I think I’ve read Summer Sisters no less than 1,000 times.  I keep a hard laying around and open to a random spot on occasion to read a couple pages.

4.  It’s almost Memorial Day weekend!  I celebrated by wearing khakis and a button down denim to work today.  My boss joked that I jumped the gun a bit on the business casual attire that we enjoy Memorial – Labor Day each summer.  I didn’t realize she was joking and launched into a full blown explanation of why I was dressed down (no clean clothes, no clean dry cleaning, the boss is gone, it’s cold, didn’t care), to which she responded, “I didn’t actually care, I was just giving you shit.  If you were dressed inappropriately, I’d just save it for your performance review [in December]!”

Needless to say, my boss doesn’t truly understand my life-long anxiety of dressing correctly.  I once forgot my nude bra at my mom’s cabin, which she then forgot to bring to Duluth, which we didn’t realize until 10 minutes before we were supposed to be out the door for my cousin Megan’s wedding.  So I showed up in a lovely white dress shirt, black skirt, black wedge heels and…a lime green bra.  My mother consoled me that it was very “Sex and the City.”  I fear I looked ridiculous.

4PM

5. It is possible to stress-eat a whole bag of popcorn in under five minutes, just FYI.

5PM

I’m blowing this popsicle stand – but 5 on Thursday is A-OK with me at this very moment.  And my sincere apologies if I did a crap job editing this thing.

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