You’re Nobody ‘Till…..

Someone on the internets hates you enough to make a faux twitter account in honor of you…

My friends… I have made it.

Why was this started? Because I tweeted about a wedding gift that came in, that was a total surprise. Sorry, we’re 29 days out apparently when people care about you enough to send you something, it arrives unexpectedly at your door. Sorry I’m “materialistic” enough to tweet about this. (I am slightly materialistic, but I admit it, and…it’s not like I don’t care about other things too…)

And for the record? I didn’t come from a wealthy family so I didn’t get super awesome gifts when I was younger, they were heartfelt and wonderful but getting tons of them? Was never my family’s style. So there.

Apparently, I’m kind of a big deal. Trying not to take it personally…trying not to get upset…trying to focus on the task at hand…which at this moment? Is picking out a song for our bridal party to be introduced to…if anyone has suggestions? Feel free to leave them!

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Blog Made It Big Time

Today, there was an article about me in the Washington Post.

Not gonna lie, I feel kind of bad ass.

I’ve mentioned this interview once before, as I spent the last five months contemplating what the eff I wanted to do with my life, I was contacted by them to talk about my “quarter life crisis” and my job search and how I was figuring out that eternal question – what do I want to be when I grow up?

I had no idea. I thought I had an idea but two horrible jobs that left me with tear stained cheeks one too many evenings, left me not wanting to get out of bed wondering what the eff I ever found interesting in politics. I questioned where my “real” passion was, what I really wanted to do.

Anyone who knew me in college knew I loved being in the thick of things. Making a difference. Having a say. I – and probably a few others – considered myself one of the more outspoken members of the student senate. Some say that’s a bad thing, I say it was a passion. Being involved. Having a passion. Knowing where I wanted to go with my life.

I wanted to make a difference.

I was an idealist. I’m more pragmatic now, a trait I consider myself to have nursed since my early days in politics.

But my new job. The not so glamorous one that I just started yesterday, that I wrote about in all it’s fabulousness?

I’m excited. I found my passion.

I should have found this job 2 years ago and I would have been ecstatic. Yeah sure, being a scheduler/executive assistant is nothing glamorous, but the people are incredible. The job has potential, and all that I thought I wanted to do when I “grew up” when I had a career? Well? Here it is. For me to touch.

I’m here. I’ve figured it all out. Do I still want to write? Ummm yes. Most definitely. Would I still love to publish that novel? Oh sure! I will some day. I know it.

But for now? I’m fairly certain I’m right where I need to be. It only took me almost three and a half years to get here. I came here because I have/had a passion for public policy, for figuring out the who/what/why/how to policy-making. I’m finally lucky enough to have the opportunity to see it from a new perspective. I’m thrilled, I’m happy and I wake up in the morning excited about going to work, not because my job title itself is super badass, but rather because the people I work with and for are brilliant and there is so much I can learn from them.

But my passion, the reason I moved to DC, my passion for politics and policy and legislation and strategy and all that fun wonky crap….I’m happy to say…it’s back Jack.

Fret not my lost friends. You’ll find your way too. It just takes a lot of luck and a little bit of networking. Don’t say networking doesn’t count because even though I’m wretched about it, and most of us hate it, it does matter.

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Socially Awkward

Tomorrow night, I get to see some of my best pals from college.

College, better known as the years I grew into myself. Up until then, while I claimed “social butterfly” status, the truth is, I look back on myself and see more social awkwardness. Also known as, trying too hard. Like, really hard.

I never went to a party in high school, I didn’t date anyone at my high school, and my hair? Well. It never fell perfectly into place. At least, I wasn’t a cheerleader…they had skittles thrown at them at games.

Welcome to college. Post 9/11 in Boston. I immediately, fell into a relationship (bad), thinking, always thinking, that I needed a “man” (though I’d hardly classify the “guys” I dated in college as “men”). I was shy. Painfully shy. So shy I spent too many nights those first few months crying in my dark room out of loneliness in front of my computer screen.

As the years went on, I got more involved – RSA, SGA, College Dems, pep band, you name it.

I made friends. Genuine, actually-give-a-damn-about-you friends. Friends that I am so flippin’ excited to see tomorrow night as four of us (two of them weren’t really my pals but were roommates of one of my best gal pals) make our way back to Beantown for a weekend of debauchery I’m certain for very, very different reasons.

But, I realized, not only as I got the facebook invite about this weekend but also after blogher. At some point in my life, I need to stop questioning what people REALLY think of me, and wondering if they’re talking shit about me behind my back like so many so-called friends did as I grew up. At some point, we grow out of that gut wrenching paranoia and given that I’m 27 and about to get hitched and be a missus, I should grow out of it.

I didn’t do that once this weekend. I didn’t question the fabulous bloggers, because you know what? Thats the great thing about blogging, you don’t have to pretend to like someone. If I don’t like someone’s blog? I don’t have to read it. If you don’t give a crap about what I say here or about me? Unsubscribe by all means! But the bloggers that I met this past weekend were friends/readers who I genuinely gave a crap about. That I’ve emailed with and cried for, and rejoiced with and been ecstatic for. The events that have happened to all of us that have been shared here and around the blogosphere (sans that one blogger who faked everything…) is genuine and real and those people that I got absolutely wrecked with Saturday night? They were real too and I love them all like I had known them for years.

The BlogHer 09 crowd!

Some quality college pals. Including two of my bridesmaids on the right.

I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, as we get older, we start appreciating people who don’t give or tolerate bullshit. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m definitely one of those people. I learned that more so after BlogHer. No drama, no bullshit, no fighting, no anything that might make me want to throw things.

Tomorrow night, and Saturday night, as I party with some people who have seen me through my very best and definitely my very worst of times, I’ll have more appreciation for people who know you almost too well. People who don’t put up with your crap and vice versa. But most of all, low maintenance, there for you no matter what friends.

Even the most socially awkward gal – former or not – can appreciate that.

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Why I Blog

In 2006 through till September 2007, I felt loneliness that I hadn’t felt since my freshman year in college. A loneliness, that despite my loving relationship with now fiance, encompassed me to the core. Lacking people to share the ups and downs and tribulations of a post-graduate life.

Then I started blogging.

Then I started connecting to my “freaders.” Because to me, I don’t have an audience per se, I have readers. And friends. I’ve always written for myself. I’ve never written anything I wouldn’t otherwise share with my mother, and I would never post something I didn’t want my employer to read. Aside from previous posts about my unhappiness in my former job, I rarely, if ever, write about the workplace. Not worth the risk.

This weekend, I attended my first blogging convention, BlogHer 09 in Chicago. Breaking so many barriers for me. I connected with girls – nay, women – who I had been reading for the better part of two years. Women who shared the ups and downs – my engagement, wedding planning, the harsh reality of unemployment, and everything in between.

Their stories inspired me, they made me laugh, made me cry, and while I can argue about the tendency to err on the basic side of the forums/break out sessions, meeting the bloggers who have virtually held my hand when I needed it most, made every penny worth it all.

Would I go to blogher again? Absolutely.

Blogging for me, isn’t about getting the most numbers. It isn’t about getting sponsorship, or making money off ads. It’s about the community. The people you meet, that you read. The commraderie.

Sure sure, I do want to be published. I admit that. Am I using my blog to get there? Yes and no. I’m using my blog to make myself a better writer. Despite what some may say about my writing, I’ve found my voice. But my blog? Is my place. My little corner of the internets if you will.

Bloggy pals – the ones I met this weekend and the ones I have yet to meet – you all make blogging worth it. Putting myself out there to be judged, to be scrutinized but mostly, to be embraced for me.

This? Is my virtual thank you.

See you all at BlogHer 2010!!!

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Blogher Day 1

Alternatively titled…why I hate flying longer than an hour and a half.

You know it’s going to be an interesting travel day when you get to the airport two and a half hours early (unintentionally) and find out your flight is 40 minutes delayed.

Furthermore, you know that traveling is not going to be fun when you sit down in your seat, on a full (over-booked) flight mind you, and find out you’re sitting in front of a screaming kicking toddler who won’t (pardon my french) shut the fuck up.

I kind of question parents who don’t try to calm their kids down in such a public, intimate setting like an airplane, no one likes tykes that screech. Especially when they’re mearly 18″ from your head, and no one likes a tyke who kicks your seat. As a gal I met last night said “it’s like they don’t realize that the front of their seat is the back of yours.” True that.

So tyke starts in before the door is even closed, and then my seat buddy sits down. First it was me and an older guy, minding our own businesses, I had just pulled out my book for SDBBE since it hasn’t yet been started, which meant putting aside the current book I’m reading despite absolutely loving it. Lady McDrinksalot sits next to me. I don’t know this because she bought a drink – though she did buy one for the dudes in front of us who didn’t have a credit card on them – but rather because she smelled of stale, stale whiskey.

Awesome. I hate that smell. I hate it when Fiance and I spend a night out drinking a lot and I hate it on a middle aged woman who’s sitting mere inches from me. Wait no, not really sitting. She reclined her seat back all the way (poor mom who won’t shut up her screaming kid…or not…) rolled onto her side as much as she could and had her backfat rolling onto my arm rest.

Guh.

Upon cruising altitude, the guy in front of me proceeds to lay his seat back about as far as he could without hitting me – thanks man. You and your pals can just keep screaming at each other four rows apart. Aren’t plane rides supposed to be quiet?? No? Damn.

Upon our descent, my first thoughts? OH MY GOD, IT’S SO FLAT HERE!!!!!

!!!!

Remember kids, I come from Vermont. Sure we don’t have the Rocky Mountains but we do have the Appalachian mountains which are older and still mountains in comparison. What is the tallest peak in Illinois? I’m curious.

Got in, saw an awesome hot dog joint that I recently saw featured on the Food Network that I may need to try just because I’m here…but they don’t put ketchup on their dogs. I need ketchup. I don’t care if that’s “not how you eat a hot dog.” Maybe not in your weird midwestern way it’s not but there’s nothing better than a snapper dog with lots of ketchup. If you don’t know what snappers are? We can’t be friends anymore.

Decided, after getting my luggage, that I was NOT in any way, shape or form patient enough to deal with trying to get downtown on public transit – as much as I want to ride the Ell – so I shelled out the cash for a shuttle. $20 was way worth it.

Until, the horrors of my travel day came to a peak. If there’s one thing every DC driver loathes, it’s motorcade traffic.

Apparently, last night Obama decided to jaunt over to Chicago. Leaving me stuck for about 15 minutes under the Hyatt hotel in motorcade traffic. I was…literally…two blocks from my hotel.

@*&$)(&#^*$)!!!!!!!

Alas, I arrived. We went to dinner. Life was good. The girls I’ve adored for the past, nearly two years, are all fabulous. The parties…well….I think it can be summed up with this….

With that…onward to day 2!!!

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Do they have a class for that?

The vision of what I thought I was going to be  by the time I turned 26 came crumbling down this morning in the parking lot of my part time job at 8:30am.

I had spent two hours running around the gym trying to find ribbon to tie balloons for our open house today. It was there in the parking lot that I realized my $100k+ degree in political science has gotten me nowhere. No where but making $8/hour at an upscale gym tying balloons.

I could be a clown for more than that – so Fiance so kindly pointed out on our walk home after our workout. Unfortunately, I told him, I don’t know how to make balloon animals. Per the title of this post – I wonder if they have a class for that.

Seriously? I’m thinking of changing the byline of this blog from “I live, I laugh, and I wear a lot of pink…” to “the musings of a pink loving disgruntled twentysomething” thoughts?

I just…feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I haven’t had a hit from any of the dozens of resumes I’ve sent out in months, I’m trying to stay positive but with all these cries that DC has such a “booming job market” I’m really starting to want to punch anyone who says that.

I’ll tell you what this job market is like…it sucks. Plain and simple. Want to know why? Perfect example, a good friend of mine recently moved to the beltway after finishing her masters in health policy from a pretty decent program up near Boston. This gal, took her masters degree OFF of her resume, and suddenly she was making less than $30k being an executve assistant. Prior to that, she had had interviews but no bites, she was either “unexperienced” or “overqualified because of her two degrees.” That just makes me sad, especially since she’s smart and probably perfect for these jobs who are telling her “more experience plskthx.”

Let me tell you, people who spend $xk to get a higher degree, and then have to take it OFF of their resume to get a lowly $30k or less job are my heroes. IBecause that? Is not the sign of a “booming job market.” That is the sign of a competitive-if-you-don’t-want-to-do-my-grunt-work-for-less-than-a-livable-wage-Joe-Schmoe-down-the-street-will-for-$10k-less-than-I’m-offering-you-and-he-might-even-throw-in-a-smile-while-he-wipes-my-ass kind of market. Also known as by political science grads who think they’re too good for ass-wiping…as a crappy job market.

I am not anti-ass wiping per se. I’ve done my fair share of ass wiping, it’s what you gotta do to get your foot in the door. But, a part of me, is over that crap. No pun intended. I just want a job that I’m happy in, that pays a livable wage (and might even allow me to purchase full priced items at JCrew instead of having to wait till the sale when they just so happen to be sold out in my size for everything I like.) and sets me up for a few years with a company/job that I would be okay with. That I wouldn’t mind getting out of bed for. That I wouldn’t mind you know, staying late for or actually doing hard work for. I wouldn’t mind having a job that makes me use my brain, not just be a drone at a computer, I’d love to have a job that maybe, just maybe, challenges me.

More than all of that, at this point? I’d really just love a full time job…with benefits. I don’t need metro fare, just you know…health insurance would be nice.

If fiance hadn’t, you know, lost his job, I’d be writing the great American novel, sitting at home every day with a sleepy puppy (seriously, all Elliekins does is sleep. I wish I had her life.) reworking my life’s experiences into a 200 something page chick lit novel with a protagonist with an endless closet and an endless budget.

But for now..I’m going to bask in my disgruntledness. Harrumph.

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Facts of Life

Or the one where bad things happen to good people.

This, my friends, has been…dare I say it, the worst week ever. I won’t go so far to say that it could get worse, because we already said that and it did.

Saturday, I was blessed and showered with love at my bridal shower in Connecticut. We came back with a car full of “stuff” and left feeling excited and eagerly awaiting the arrival of response cards for our wedding.

Sunday, we drove home…seven hours. We picked up our darling puppy, and unloaded our car in about a gazillion trips.

Then. I walked into the bathroom. There was roughly an inch – maybe more, but not too much more – of standing water. Our toilet had been running all weekend. The lever that maintains the water level had malfunctioned and sprayed water out of the top all weekend. The carpet, leading into the bathroom was sopping wet. The carpet in the bathroom was sopping wet. As was the carpet half way into our living room.

We took the appropriate steps, calling our maintenance guy (who promptly told us that there was “nothing he could do about it.”), called our home owners insurance who dispatched a crew to take care of the sodden carpets. They arrived at 1:00am. They finished removing the carpets at 3:30am. They came back and installed high heat dehumidifiers causing our apartment to be 104 degrees (F) the next morning and aside from checking the mail, we haven’t been back since.

*sigh* We’re staying in a hotel till tomorrow when they take the dehumidifiers out.

But it gets better. And by better, I mean worse.

I feel like Jenn Lancaster in “Bitter is the New Black” when she loses her job and then a few weeks later her then boyfriend, now husband, loses his as well. They get evicted, she fights with unemployment and now a few years later, she’s a NY Times best selling author. What luck! Can I have some of that luck?? Please? Because the first part of that? Totally happened to us yesterday (and I wouldn’t mind being a NY Times best selling author either!!)

I don’t think I need to spell out the rest. But yes, a very unfortunate turn of events that I don’t have any desire to go into because I’m trying…to keep my blog as PG as I can and no one got any where by calling someone they barely know mean names. Those who know me, know how difficult this is. It makes it even more difficult knowing we invited his employers (and coworker) to the wedding. Invitations should have been received Saturday. And this is what we get? *sigh* I won’t even get started..

In other news, with this unfortunate turn of events, we’re contemplating all of our options, including a possible (though not decided definitely) move to Connecticut – if anyone has any job leads (any at all!) send them my way. (Gal pals in DC, no need to freak out yet, I’m not going anywhere as of today. Or tomorrow.)
Ideas I’m toying with…

*virtual assistant (a la a pal of mine..)
*teacher (seriously. I’ve had this urge to teach since I was in high school, I just never persued it. I’m kind of wondering if I should…)
*continue trying to freelance though I’m finding less and less that I’m enjoying it, I do enjoy writing but mostly on my own – I like to write what I want to write when I want to write it.
*Pursue a business of my own – not sure what yet. But I do have a website venture in the works. More details as it progresses.

Any other suggestions? I just…hate not knowing what I want to do with my life. I hate feeling in limbo, like a failure. I just have…zero confidence in my ability to “land a dream job!” as so many 20 somethings dream about. I don’t know where I lost it…I just…did. I want to be succesful, I just have no idea how to get there or where to start.

So in the words of Ben Folds….

“…Woke up way too late
Feeling hung over and old
And the sun was shining bright
And I walked barefoot
Down the road
Started thinking about
My old man
It seems that all men
Wanna get into a car and go
Anywhere
Here I stand – sad and free
I cant cry and I cant see
What Ive done
God. . .what have I done

Dont you know Im numb, man
No I cant feel a thing at all
cause its all smiles and business
These days
And Im indifferent to the loss
Ive faith that theres a soul somewhere
Whos leading me around
I wonder if she knows
Which way is down. . ….”
{Evaporated by Ben Folds Five}

Sorry to be all…dare I say emo…but life? Is tough. Wear a helmet.

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Not a Morning Person

I’ve never been a morning person.

Ever.

My mother used to fight with me to get me out of bed, and I was consistently *nearly* late for school. Fast forward to college – if I didn’t have my hour to get ready (check email, shower, check facebook, get dressed, dry hair, etc….) I would skip. This was…often the case. Mostly due to laziness. Generally, it was a rule of mine to not schedule classes before 10:30. Freshman year of college I had 8am courses all five days of the week – that my friends, was brutal.

Now a days, I wake up by 7:30 to be out the door by 8:30 to be “on time” for work.

However, I should be getting up earlier.

As I mentioned yesterday over on the fitness blog, marathon training starts this week. My sinus infection is gone, I’m off my antibiotics, and I’m feeling fully functional. I’m 14 weeks out, so I’m roughly 2 weeks behind myself but not due to laziness. Due to legitimate illness.

Last night, on schedule was 30 day Shred, yoga and some pushups. As well as finishing my save the dates for the wedding. Well, save the dates took priority, and working out was pushed off till this morning.

Until I couldn’t get out of bed that is. In my defense, I have to set my alarm for an HOUR before I want to get out of bed. The snooze button and I have that kind of relationship. It was set for 6:15a – fiancé had intended on getting up at 6:30. I finally rolled out into the shower at 7:32, 15 minutes AFTER the alarm turned itself off. Fiancé rolled out after my shower at the ripe hour of 7:50. Jerk.

It should be noted, that despite our best efforts, my fiancé is even less of a morning person than I am. So our efforts need to be tripled before the results are even visible.

I decided long ago that I need to become a morning runner/worker outer. I need to get up at 6am. Get in my run or strength training and then just be done. I get home far too late to keep doing this crap at night and by the time I do get home, I want to eat and then get into my sweatpants and relax which I’m prone to do regardless of my workout schedule. (Whoops?)

I’ve done it before. In fact when I was training for Marine Corps, until I stopped doing it (getting up early that is) I would regularly be up at 6:30 to run, and out the door by 8:15 or so to be to work by 9. This was of course before this job. Just before I was fired from the Evil Government Relations Firm. I’ve had a lot of bad jobs what can I say. Besides the point. I know I can do it, I just need…motivation. Perhaps not having a warm fiancé who smells good and a puppy on my legs warming them is bad for business…I mean it’s all well and good…until they make me not want to get out of bed.

So here’s where I ask y’all for suggestions. Are you an AM or PM workout person? What are your strategies (aside from the obvious which for me is not going to bed at midnight – fiancé and I are so nocturnal) to getting up early? What’s your motivation?

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A Date to Remember…

Fiancé and I are infamous for being the type of couple who says:

“What do you wanna do?”

“I dunno. What do you want to do?”

“I dunno…” etc…etc…

So it was pretty awesome when our Valentines Day plans fell into place quite flawlessly. Tonight we’re going to see Ben Folds and Jason Mraz at GWU, it’ll be at least my third time seeing the Ben Folds and I’m uber excited to see Jason Mraz as I’ve heard great things about him live and I love his music. It’s kind of nice to have plans since tomorrow we’re driving up to CT so my weekend – will be spent either in a car or with the future in-laws. Not exactly romantic central but it’s always nice to get out of town.

While we’re going to be on a bit of a time crunch as we’re both working right up till 6 (possibly later for him) and doors open at 7, I’m going to give a try on this new website that I recently found out about – Springpad.

The Springpad Date Planner helps you find concerts, restaurants, movie times and can help you make reservations! While fiancé and I know the Foggy Bottom area pretty well, and I already have an idea where we’re going to go for dinner/drinks probably after the show, it’s still a really neat idea and I’m excited to see what it does!

So go check it out, they also have other planners to help manage other aspects of your life from dates, to finances, to anything else that may need organizing. I’m going to give some of those other planners a looking at as well – my life is, as I mentioned, out of control and my ducks need to get back in the same pond. Maybe an online organizer can help that.

What are your valentines Day plans? (single or coupled up!)

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Book Review: “The Man of My Dreams” by Curtis Sittenfeld

Being raised in an unstable household makes you understand that the world doesn’t exist to accommodate you, which, in Hannah’s observation, is something a lot of people struggle to understand well into adulthood. It makes you realize how quickly a situation can shift, how danger really is everywhere. But crises, when they occur, do not catch you off guard; you have never believed you live under the shelter of some essential benevolence. And an unstable childhood makes you appreciate calmness and not crave excitement. To spend a Saturday afternoon mopping your kitchen floor while listening to the opera on the radio, and to go that night to an Indian restaurant with a friend and be home by nine o’clock – these are enough. They are gifts.” (p. 35)

I’m not sure what I expected from The Man of My Dreams – it is Curtis Sittenfeld’s second novel and from what I remember of Prep, I feel as if her writing style is drastically different in this novel from the other two (American Wife being her third) .

This book follows the protagonist Hannah and her relationship with various men in her life – her father, her various boyfriends and the man who she refers to as “The Love of my life.”

You can see her grow, however, her views seem to be stagnant through most of the book. Her relationships all seem superficial and aren’t quite relevant because you feel like something is missing – perhaps the fact that we never fully grasp how they ended which I feel could have been useful.

Overall I enjoyed it, the character is certainly relatable – everything from her estranged relationship to her father (check!), her shyness (check!), and her being in love with a man who dated her cousin to moving to a city for a man.

I do feel that the ending should have been different. Perhaps, happier for our protagonist, though it does prove that you should never move anywhere just for a man. Few authors can get away with a book without a *real* happy ending, but I think making her comfortable in her own skin and realizing she doesn’t need a man to be happy among other things…that works just as well.

Overall, a good, quick read. You’ll enjoy it if you enjoy Curtis Sittenfeld’s style. The one thing I felt, as I often feel with her novels, is that the ending felt rushed and that I was left with a “that’s it?” feeling. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 (I really need a better rating system – anyone have any suggestions??) – definitely pick it up, especially if you enjoyed her other books and have any lingering issues from your adolescence with men…you’ll be certain to relate!

(5/52)

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