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Archive for July, 2010

I haven’t written here in over a week, for various reasons, and I miss it. But I’ll have to miss it for just a little while longer, because this is the time of year where I head off to camp for a week. It’s always been my favorite week of the summer, and it’s never disappointed. High standards, to be sure.

But this year, even though I’m still looking forward to it, I’m also a little bit scared. Or maybe nervous is more accurate. Because this year we’re missing one of our most valuable players. This year we’re missing D.

We had a team meeting about a month and a half ago, to plan out the week and get everything in order, and it was so strange without him there. I think we all wanted to believe that he just couldn’t make it that weekend, even though we knew otherwise.

There’s a part of me that feels like the rest of our group has come to terms with his death better than I have, if that’s possible. I feel like because they’re all still together, all still living in the same general area and seeing each other on a regular basis, they’ve just been better equipped to deal. I don’t know if that’s true or not. And it’s probably not that easy to judge. But it’s still been on my mind.

Each time that I think I’ve accepted the loss and, not moved on, but moved forward, something happens to send me back. It’s a good thing you can’t see tear stains on a blog.

I’ve been trying to prepare myself, as we get closer and closer to the start of camp, for the inevitable questions. D was such a big part of these campers’ lives – they know him; they love him; they look forward to seeing him every year, and seeing which character he’ll be playing in the running skit of the week. It will be glaringly obvious that he’s not there this year, and I’m dreading the question: why?

I don’t want to discount a middle schooler’s ability to deal with death. I know firsthand that it’s possible. But to lose someone who was so young, to a disease that is so completely degenerative (and whose cause still isn’t completely understood) is a near impossible thing to wrap your head around. For any of us. And, selfishly, I don’t want to have to be the one to say it out loud. It’s hard enough to type it.

We leave tomorrow and I haven’t told any of the rest of the team yet how nervous I am. Though, considering they can read me like an open book, maybe I won’t have to.

In any case, please send good thoughts this way. It will be a fun week, but it will undoubtedly be a rough one, as well.

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Unsurprisingly, the story of the Russian spies has been dominating the recent news. It’s the kind of item that draws attention because, well, who really thinks about Russian spies anymore? We live in a post-Cold War era. Terrorism is a bigger threat than the former Soviet Union.

And, to boot, everyone seems so shocked that one of the spies was attractive! And she took naked photos! Gasp! But maybe her idol is Mata Hari, and then it isn’t so unusual. Think about that.

Aside from people googling Anna Chapman to see just what her ex-husband put out there, and Joe Biden’s, “Let me be clear, it wasn’t my idea to send her back,” comment, I’m betting that we’ll see a few other unexpected results from this bust.

1) I’d guess that D.C.’s International Spy Museum has seen an uptick, however slight, in ticket sales.

It’s always busy in the summer (as well it should be – it’s awesome), but just being reminded that spies are still relevant makes me want to go – and I’ve been twice already. The second time I went, we participated in Operation Spy, where you choose a code name and have to go on missions. Don’t laugh – everyone in the group was late 20s and early 30s and so into it. And now it’s even more appropriate than before. You know, as training, just in case the government contacts you and asks you to go to Russia. Or North Korea or something.

Operation Spy - I didn't get a cool hat when I did it. Guess I'll just have to go back...

2) And speaking of the government sending you places, I have to wonder if there’s been an increase in applications to the FBI and CIA.

It’s not that being a spy, based on this ring, seems so glamorous – especially when you consider that several lived in the Jersey suburbs, had kids (which I have a HUGE problem with, by the way, bringing children into the world just to keep your cover), and lived “normal” lives. But, on the other hand, it also makes it seem like anyone could do it. So why not you? Want to travel? Lie for a living? Live on the edge? Then this is the job for you!

(Side note: I very seriously considered going into an intelligence field. I was deterred by the reminders that I a) am a terrible liar, and b) wouldn’t be able to tell anyone [my mom…or a significant other] about my job. Sigh.)

3) I truly think that more people will go see Salt than would have before.

They probably won’t do it consciously, but based on all the previews I’ve seen there are some pretty big similarities. Hot chick accused of being a Russian spy. Okay, maybe only two similarities (that we [I] know of), but I think that the fact that this spy ring bust was in the news just a month before the movie’s release will affect ticket sales. I doubt I’ll be able to prove that I’m right, so to save time, let’s just assume I am.

What are your thoughts on the story overall? Think it’ll be out of the news as quickly as it appeared? Or are you already thinking, hmm, I could be a spy…?

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I don’t generally comment on men’s fashions. It’s not my area of expertise, and as long as your pants are above your butt, I’m usually okay with whatever you’ve picked out. (As a side note – I’ve seen guys who wear their pants below the butt and without a belt! How do they stay up?! Seriously. I’m intrigued.)

Anyway, I’m not here to critique. I’m here with a simple request, to bring something back into the mainstream that I don’t see nearly enough of nowadays.

Suspenders.

Now, hold on. I know this isn’t at the top of everyone’s shopping list. And there’s always the fear of wearing them and having it look like this:

I get that. But there’s also the chance that you could pull them off and add a certain je ne sais quoi to your style.

For instance, I’m not particularly attracted to Chuck Bass (what? that’s not his real name?), but I think he looks pretty good here:

(I’m not sure if he gets plus or minus points, though, for matching his suspenders to his socks.)

And then there’s this guy, from a Van Heusen ad:

No idea who he is, but she seems to be on board my suspenders boat.

And, apparently, suspenders really are on their way back – at least, if you believe GQ.

So, give it some thought, gentlemen. I’d love to see more men in suspenders – there’s something almost dashing about it. (Ladies? Is it just me?)

Unless, of course, all you can talk about is TPS reports:

Then, don’t even bother.

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Today’s the day.

Today marks the start of Marine Corps Marathon training. And, consequently, the beginning of the end of my social life. For the next 16 weeks, my weekends are down to one day (not necessarily a bad thing), so I can run anywhere from 10 to 22 miles on the other. My week nights will be dominated by easy runs, brutal hills, and speed workouts. And my free time…well, we’ll see what kind of energy is left.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m not. Not really. I voluntarily signed up for this, and I’m excited to have a goal and a plan again. Not shockingly, I like structure.

But, that said, I’m also very much aware of how this is supposed to be my super fun summer – kind of a preemptive strike at grad school, which will shortly be dominating my life. I have a list, actually (I like lists – especially the checking off part), of all the fun things I want to do in and around DC and the day trips I want to take.

And you know how many things I’ve checked off so far? One. Soon to be two, but still. That’s kind of pathetic.

So, with summer just about half over (what?!), and training starting up, I’m feeling the time crunch. But I’m hoping that the procrastination law will come into effect – the longer I put things off, the more motivated I’ll become, and therefore I’ll accomplish more things in a shorter amount of time.

That’s how it works, right?

In any case, I can guarantee you that I’ll be making the most out of this next month-plus.

Unless, of course, training wipes me out – which is a distinct possibility.

What about you? Any big plans for the rest of the summer? Or am I the only one who keeps a summer fun list?

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…Alice, of Alice’s Wonderland!

Out of everyone who answered all the questions, she answered the most correctly. So she gets to be Ms. Smarty Pants (but only if she wants).

And, if you’re curious, the truths are (almost all based on pseudo-extensive internet research)…

1. The Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903 was 1 foot shorter than the length of the cargo bay of a C-5 Galaxy cargo plane.

(This one was courtesy of Foggy Dew, and, to be honest, I had no idea which one was true. But following the Bug‘s logic, because the second one was false, this one had to be true.)

2. The majority of polar bears are left-handed (or, left-pawed).

3. The body doesn’t absorb cold water as well as it does “luke-warm”/hot water (closer to the body’s natural temperature, 98.6).

(From Heather, our resident RD.)

4. Though many people think that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, it’s actually more accurate to say that the jaw muscle is the strongest.

5. In certain countries there are specific laws when it comes to naming your children – in Germany and Iceland you can’t name your child anything that doesn’t indicate the child’s gender.

6. In local elections in Iceland, the campaign promises of one candidate included building a Disneyland. He won.

7. The term “Ivy League” used to refer only to the sports programs of those schools, because they were Division I.

8. President Harry Truman’s middle name is just S. Therefore, it’s incorrect when it’s written out with a period after the letter, like so: Harry S. Truman.

(Update: It’s been brought to my attention that, according to AP style, it’s technically not incorrect to place the period after the S – even though it’s not an initial. [And I disagree with this, but it’s not the first time I’ve disagreed with AP style.] But the other option for 8 was still entirely untrue. So, this doesn’t actually change the winner, it’s just good to know.)

And just think, now, with all this trivia under your belt, you can wow and amaze people at your next gathering. Or leave them talking about how odd you are for knowing it. Either way.

Happy Friday!

And Happy (early) 4th of July!

P.S. Alice – I’ll be in touch about getting you your gift certificate – congrats!

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Do you want to win $70 to spend on anything here? Are you super smart OR a really good guesser? Have you Truth or Failed yet? Do it, to it! You have until midnight tonight – answers and winner tomorrow!

Every so often I’ll use this little blog to look back and see where I was a year ago. And I pray to God that I’ve made at least some progress since then. It’s often hit or miss. But this time, looking back, it was obvious.

One year ago today, I was taking the GRE. I was stuck in a room with about 10 other people, at any given time, slowly plodding away at questions that were going to decide where (or, whether or not) I went to grad school. I’d been studying for the previous four months; I was nervous as hell; I, of course, had a bit of a head cold and wasn’t allowed to bring my own tissues in (what was I going to do, write the answers on them?); and I was still thrown off by the fact that at one point during my studying I’d forgotten how many degrees were in a triangle.

Now, as of this July 1st (and, speaking of, how is it July already?) not only have I gotten into the program I’d been dreaming about, but I’ll be starting this fall. I’ve already signed up for my classes, and been in touch with one of my future professors. And I’m excited.

I realize, of course, that this makes me sound like a huge dork. And that, perhaps, I won’t be quite as excited when I’m working on a paper all weekend while my friends are out having fun, or when the boyfriend has to come visit me in the library, because that’s the only time we’ll see each other that week. (I’ve already apologized to him in advance for this.)

But it is still exciting to be taking that next step. And to see something I’ve worked so hard for come to fruition.

And that’s enough to make my soon-to-be lack of a social life almost completely worth it.

Wait, what?

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