Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring has Sprung

It has been a long time since I wrote anything on these pages. I guess I just got out of the habit, and really didn't feel like I had much to say. But with the new green leaves (and all that wonderful pollen) and the increasing sunlight as the days get longer, I felt an urge to say something.

It has been a good year so far. It is brilliant to be able to say that, as last year was a very difficult one for me.

I have started a new job at Winston & Strawn, a lawfirm here in DC as a Trade Analyst, and although the hours will be long (as expected), I am feeling like my work matters and that I am being productive. As an added perk, my first work trip to China is coming in about a week and a half. As was the case when I was at the Department of Commerce, it is on the trips that you really begin to understand the cases you are looking at, and are able to connect with people from far away. It will be a learning experience for me, and I look forward to doing something challenging and new.

These days I feel like I am in a dream-like version of my own life, as the fun and love I am surrounded with just keeps coming. Between jobs, we went to Kaua'i for a week, and had a remarkable week of fun and laughter and excitement (some of it scary, some of it really cool). Between the hiking on the edge of a 2000' drop, seeing a White Tip Shark while snorkeling, and sitting in our hot tub on the deck sipping wine while the wind blew through the trees and the crash of waves sounded in the distance, it really could not have been a more wonderful week.

In the midst of so much sadness and loss and worry happening in the world, I almost feel guilty for being so happy, but have decided to revel in these good times. I could not have gotten through the last year without the support of friends, and I hope all of those experiencing hard times right now have even half as many wonderful people around them as I do.

I am just coming to the realization that this post sounds nothing like my usual self! I am finding the transition from being the real downer at the party to a happy person a strange one, so bear with me folks!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2 Great Causes...

So I've apparently gotten into this whole doing good thing. Never thought I would, but I guess in trying times you re-evaluate what you want to do and what impact you want to have. I hope you will join me.

So here it goes.

As many of you know, in November, I rode in El Tour de Tucson, which was 109-miles in one day (9 hours to be exact). In doing so, thanks to the generosity of friends and family, I raised $4,000+ for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the process. I had such a rewarding experience with the whole process, that I'm doing it all over again, this time 100-miles in America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, in Tahoe. I know many of you donated last year to the cause, but please consider helping out again, as in the current economy families struggling with cancer are in ever more need of the services supplied by LLS. Read all about my training and experiences and find out where to donate here. I couldn't have done the last ride without the support of my friends, and I hope you'll all be with me again!

But I'm also going local. As pretty much the whole country knows, DC has some of the worst schools in the country. It is a rare instance when schools close for snow or anything else because a large percentage of kids get their only square meals in their school cafeterias. But it's not just that...the schools are crumbling. So the organization formerly known as DC for Obama is getting together to be involved in Servathon 2009. Our task is going to be spending the day May 2, 2009 painting classrooms, building playgrounds, landscaping, and I'm participating. If you can spare a dollar or two, please visit my page here to help out!

If you can't help out in either of these causes, get involved locally...PLEASE! Volunteer your time, your energy, your hearts to helping out those in need!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Amazing Weekend...

I was going to write something long and attempt to be eloquent about this weekend in Washington, DC for the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States, as my friend Ann over at Tragic Optimist did. But I realized nothing could possibly capture what it was like to be here, on the ground, as it was happening.

Beginning on Friday night the crowds began arriving, and the city was in full swing by Saturday night. Many of us residents were worried about the revised bar closing time of 5:00 AM, but our worries were for nothing. There was such a positive atmosphere, there were no incidents, no fights, no nothing! That feeling lasted all weekend, culminating in the explosion of excitement and joy when Barack took the oath of office.

Here are some of my favorite moments (in chronological order):

  • Standing opposite the Lincoln Memorial with 400,000 other people, listening to The Boss and U2, then laughing at the spectacle of Jack Black trying to be serious and reciting Lincoln
  • Rocking out to Moby spinning at a local club from 12am - 2am, then rocking that much harder after the power came back on again at 2:45am
  • Showing up at RFK Stadium as part of the Day of Service on MLK Day, and realizing that 10,000 other people listened to Barack's call to serve on Monday just at that location alone!
  • Waking up at 8am and realizing that the Mall was already 3/4 full of people, so having to book down to try and get as close to a jumbotron as possible
  • Standing in a sea of a little under 2 million people chatting, laughing, and talking while we waited for the ceremony to start
  • The roar of joy when each of the following showed up: Al Gore, Teddy Kennedy, Hillary & Bill Clinton, Michele Obama, Sasha & Malia Obama, and loudest of all, Barack Obama
  • The thunderous boos when each of the following showed up: Clarence Thomas, Dick Cheney (also accompanied by laughter though), and George W. Bush
  • The fact that 2 million people stopped and became perfectly silent for 10 minutes while a quartet including Itzak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma played Classical Music (Air and Simple Gifts, arranged by John Williams in this case)
  • Watching Barack Hussein Obama take the Oath of Office, and feeling the surge of joy and hearing the roar of the crowd.
And that was my experience....I will leave you with a picture, that I feel captures the mood of the whole weekend:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things to Do

So I read this fun post on The Tragic Optimist, and decided coming up with my answers to the meme would be a fun thing to do the night before I start a new job, so here it goes

The 100 Things to Do list…
Things in life I’ve done in underline
Things I’d like to do in red
I’ve added comments in parentheses
  1. Started your own blog (yep…which is why you’re reading this now!)
  2. Slept under the stars (in college…camping…etc…)
  3. Played in a band (I would never wish that on anyone – musical skills are nada)
  4. Visited Hawaii (favorite place on earth…especially Kauai!)
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity (since I never feel like I have given enough I don’t know what will be more than I can afford, but I would like to someday get up the courage really sacrifice for something more important than my own comfort…)
  7. Been to Disneyland (tons of times…one of the benefits of growing up in Southern California and having an aunt who lived 15minutes away from the happiest place on earth…my favorite time was when I was “Queen of the Morning” in Fantasy land!)
  8. Climbed a mountain (well…sort of – see this post)
  9. Held a praying mantis
  10. Sang a solo (hah! – see also #3)
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris (ah…Paris…)
  13. Watched a lightning storm
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (I would love to REALLY learn photography…)
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning (I’ve been to China a lot…’nuf said)
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown your own vegetables (does a couple of peppers and some tomatoes count?)
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (actually, I’ve been to the Louvre several times, but never thought fighting the hordes to see this one painting was worth it when there was so much incredible art everywhere around me…)
  20. Slept on an overnight train (Europe & China)
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked
  23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (hasn’t everyone?)
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping (I think I have a vague memory of doing this in High School, but I’m not sure)
  27. Run a Marathon (and never will…though I did just ride 109 miles over 9 hours on my bike – I think that counts right?)
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (oddly, though I was in Venice, I missed this…I’ll have to go back and try it)
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (almost every day in High School…I’d drive down to the beach and do my homework and watch the sun set…not a bad way to live)
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise (and have no desire to…unless it’s one of those ultra-riche Caribbean sailing cruises, which I’ll never be able to afford anyway)
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (who wouldn’t want to go to the Czech Republic?)
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language (I guess immersion doesn’t count…but does pig latin?)
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (see also #16)
  39. Gone rock climbing (while I’ve done it in the safety of REI, I’d love to really get into this and climb out west…)
  40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
  41. Sung karaoke (I tortured friends with the caterwauling on March to the Reub night in 1998)
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (who wouldn’t???)
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa (Egypt fascinates me…)
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (one of my favorite things in the world to do – everything in the world that is bad in your life seems so much less important walking in the dim light with the ocean crashing next to you…)
  46. Been transported in an ambulance
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (*sigh* only been half-way so I guess I’ll have to go back)
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (I’d like to do both someday, but for now I’ve only been snorkeling and adore it)
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business with a partner
  58. Taken a martial arts class (Aikido…loved it while it lasted…)
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen (see also #6)
  61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
  62. Gone whale watching (one more benefit of living in San Diego as a child…field trip every year to watch the Humpback Wales migrate)
  63. Got flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  67. Bounced a check (though it really wasn’t my fault – the check was 3 years old from a bank account in a state I no longer lived in and had closed 2 years prior - they modified the date to make it not stale-dated and tried to cash it…I almost sued them when they reported me to a credit agency, but it wasn’t worth the hassle for only $25)
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten Caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job (would anyone actually say they wanted to do this??? Hmmm...)
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
  77. Broken a bone
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  80. Published a book
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper (this one’s beyond cool…I was standing on stage behind Obama the day after he clinched the nomination…and the picture on the front page of the Washington Post was one with me in it, standing right behind and between Obama and Tim Kaine…)
  85. Read the entire Bible (close though...even though I've never been to Church, I always found the Bible itself fascinating...)
  86. Visited the White House (but I may try now since I like the fellow that’s going to take over!)
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  88. Had chickenpox
  89. Saved someone’s life (I guess I never want to be in a position of someone needing my saving if you know what I mean…)
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous (former VP Mondale and Nicholas Kristof were the coolest ones…)
  92. Joined a book club
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby (this one is a question still…so I’m not going to say I want to…YET…)
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a law suit
  98. Owned a cell phone
  99. Been stung by a bee
  100. Read an entire book in one day
I guess that's the list...and if you got through that you're quite a patient person!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things I Am Thankful For

After seeing a list on my friend's blog here, I thought I should make my own on this Thanksgiving Day. Note that this is in no particular order...
  • good wine
  • the best friends ever
  • a warm toasty home
  • that I am not in Mumbai
  • Pandora music on my iPhone
  • fire (cause without it we wouldn't have great food...or coffee...or warm crackling fireplaces)
  • coffee
  • that I reconnected with long-lost family
  • Doug
  • that I have some skill in the kitchen
  • beauty in all its forms
  • ...
Thank you to everyone who has made this last challenging year better for me, and for bearing with my uncertainties and insecurities. Your support (you know who you are...) has helped me make it through when I thought I'd never make it.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, let's take a moment to think about those who are hurting, hungry, or need us, and vow to help in the next year in any way we can....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It Never Rains But....

I had a plan. It was a good plan. It was organized and ready to go. First, I would finish the fundraising and the 109-mile bike ride. Then I would finish studying for the GMAT and finish my business school applications. Then I would find some causes to work for while I was waiting to find out what would happen with my applications, take a couple of classes (Chinese and Calculus), and work on a fall-back position for if I didn't get into business school. HAH!

Well, as often happens in life, a new twist entered the mix. Turns out after all this time I'm going to be gainfully employed again. It's very exciting and terrifying at the same time. However, I'm excited about the new job (even if it is in DC). And it gives me an excuse to go shopping (though I guess I won't be able to sit in my robe until 11am anymore....).

New job for a new year....guess it's fitting!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did

Last night's election was inspiring for many people, disappointing for many others. But for me, it was a moment I will remember forever.