Archive for November, 2008

I was tagged the other week, by the lovely Grammarphile at RED PEN, INC, to list six random things about myself. I’ve been meaning to write it, I have, I’m just such an awesome procrastinator that I never got around to it.

Until now:

1) Let’s start with the nerd alert: I do, at least, one crossword puzzle (and one sudoku) every day. Before I was gainfully employed, I used to do three or four every morning. I like to think it helps build my vocabulary, but I don’t often talk about things like osiers (some willows) or acetylene (welding gas). Maybe that’s just me.

2) My uncle gave me a 22-pound tool kit from Black & Decker for my high school graduation, and I’ll use any excuse to get it out. (I’m the only girl I know who has her own power drill.) Part of the reason I don’t like buying furniture from Ikea is that it’s a) too easy to put together, and b) they provide you with the tools. Where’s the fun in that?

3) I’ve always wanted to ride on the back of a motorcycle. I don’t want to drive one, I just want to ride.

4) Trashy romance novels are my guilty pleasure. Not only are they entertaining in their ridiculousness (every plot, and I use that term loosely, is essentially the same – and each couple gets married in the end), but I get a little dork thrill when I spot typos and other such errors (which is often).

5) I feel naked when I’m not wearing my watch and my necklace.

6) You know the expression, “one fell swoop”? When I was growing up, my parents used to say “one swell foop,” just for kicks. I didn’t know that was wrong until high school, and I still have to check myself any time I say it, lest I embarrass myself. (Stay tuned for more fun “lies” my parents told me, later this week.)

**On another note, now that baseball season’s over (again, yay Phillies!!), I can focus on my Eagles. Although, to be honest, it looks like they could use a little help…

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We had a fire drill at work yesterday. The second one in four days. Before this week, it had been at least five years since I’d had to participate in one. (There was an instance when I thought we had a drill in college, but it turned out to be a real fire. Some girl in the dorm had a slight kitchen disaster. Yikes!)

I noticed, while  trekking down the seven flights of stairs from my office to the street (twice!), that fire drills in the work place are a little different than they were back in school:

1) You can take your time getting out of the building.

In high school, when the fire alarm rang, you were immediately ushered out of the classroom and ordered to leave everything where it was. Nothing was more important than your safety. (That, of course, didn’t stop us from grabbing our phones, bags, etc. before being herded out the door.)

At work, however, the primary goal is NOT to get out the door. The number one priority, as listed in the last weekly update email, is to “log off your computer.” Number two is to “collect personal items if you’re in your office [or cubicle, I suppose].” And then, finally, number three: “go to the nearest emergency exit and descend to the ground floor.” Save yourself – as long as you log off your computer first.

2) No order necessary.

I distinctly remember being told, “Stay in line! If you’re not in line we can’t take attendance and we won’t know who’s here!” We marched (sometimes silently, depending on the teacher) out of the building and stayed in our lines. No talking to friends in other classes. No asking the teacher when it was time to go back in. No shivering because it was winter and you weren’t allowed to stop at your locker before evacuating.

Yesterday? Not only was there no order, but no one cared. Apparently, we’re all adults now (who knew?), which means no more lines and much more chaos. However, we do have one person in the office designated as the fire marshal. She’s supposed to keep track of everyone, make sure we’re all outside and safe, and wear a hideously bright neon vest so that we can find her in a crowd. She did NOT wear the vest.

3) You can actually go back inside, while the fire trucks are still there.

Fire drills in the winter were the worst because, like I said, there were no locker stops on the way out the door. And it always felt like the firemen took their sweet time examining the building and pronouncing it “all clear.” Seriously? We know it’s a drill. You know it’s a drill. It’s not that I want to get back in and take my test, but I’m freezing my ass off out here.

Lucky for us, yesterday wasn’t too bad weather-wise, but with the fire trucks sitting outside, we still weren’t sure when we could go back in the building. Fire Marshal #1 called Fire Marshal #2, as we all stood midway between the potentially burning building and the meeting point we were actually supposed to evacuate to (can you tell how seriously we took the whole thing?), and asked about the status. “Oh, I’m already back in the office – you guys can come back.” Communication is awesome.

One of the similarities between fire drills then and now? When you come back in from one, your productivity is shot to hell.

And don’t worry, with the time it took to log off the computer, I had plenty of time to get my iPod. Gotta have priorities.

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I didn’t intend to post on the election. I don’t know that I can add much to what’s already been said and felt – the pride, the (happy) tears, the elation. On a personal level, this is only the second presidential election I’ve been able to vote in and I was overwhelmed by the intensity and energy that existed in this campaign, right up until the very end (and even still, as people revel in their win). And even though I know that my vote was one of many, and that in the grand scheme of things it may not have made much of a difference, I still feel like it counted. Like Diddy said, “I felt like my vote was the vote that put him into office. It was down to one vote, and that was going to be my vote. And that may not be true, but that’s how much power it felt like I had.”*

But, to be honest, this morning, after the initial, oh-my-god-history-was-made-last-night feeling, I started thinking, Okay, what’s next? What now? And it’s not that I need instant gratification – I don’t. I can be patient (most of the time), and I’m curious to see how Obama follows through on his promises in the long run. But this election has been so long coming that it’s like finishing a marathon, being on a runner’s high, and wondering when you’ll race again.

So I’ve decided to think of these next two months as training. Obama is gearing up for his own personal ultra-marathon – a four year stint (at least) in the White House, with the entire world looking at him to, ultimately, play Mr. Fix-it. No pressure.

And we’re in training, too. We, who helped him get elected, will continue to play a role in this change we’re so eagerly anticipating. That’s what’s next. That’s what’s now. This January 20th will be the sixth Inauguration Day in my lifetime, the third that I’ll actually be paying attention to, and the only one, thus far, that makes me so proud to have voted – and so excited to see what happens next.

*I know, I know – don’t judge me for quoting Diddy.

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All together now!

If you live in a city long enough, and take enough cabs, you’re bound to have some memorable rides. While, thankfully, I’ve never had any horror stories, I have had the drivers who refused to take me home (when home was Arlington), and the drivers who argued with me about the fastest route to a given place.

I’ve also had some more interesting rides. On one trip, I was offered dating and relationship advice from my cabbie. He told me about his wife and child and how lucky he was to have both of them. And then he proceeded to tell me not to settle, and to wait for someone who I’d fall head over heels for.

But the best part? When he dropped me off in front of my apartment, he actually GOT OUT of the car and stood with me, finishing the conversation. And told me to call him with an update once I got my relationships figured out! (I still have him in my phone as “Phil Taxi DC,” but, no, I never called.)

As much as I loved that dating advice from Phil, I had a driver the other night who just edged him out of the number one spot on my “best cab rides” list. On Halloween, my cab driver initiated a sing-along. That’s right.  My friend, Bad News Bear, and I had been talking about photography (I don’t remember why exactly…), and the conversation segued into other creative outlets. “You know what I really like to do?” our cabbie asked us. “I love to sing!

What do you like to sing?” BNB asked him. He thought for a minute, then burst into “American Pie.” It was fantastic. And because I can’t listen to someone singing without wanting to sing along a bit, I quietly joined in from the backseat for a chorus line or two. But he kept going. He went through at least three verses, and when he got to the last chorus, he motioned to BNB and me, “Come on! Sing!

So we joined in.

Bye bye Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
This’ll be the day that I die.”

Best cab ride ever – in the history of the world.

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The Halloween decision was made, and a third contender beat out Wonder Woman and the genie. I thought it was obvious…

…but apparently not (I got asked if I was from Clueless or was Drew Barrymore). Am I wrong here?

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