21. Tomorrow.

8 November 2009 - One Response

So, I suck at updating this. Which is mostly just sad for me, versus for you, my readers–given that you probably don’t really exist. (Hey Chelcie! I think you probably read this….?)

So, in any case. Let’s start again. It’s November 8, 2009; the day before my 21st birthday. Tomorrow I will have all of the legal rights I will ever have. Tomorrow I will be able to do everything an adult can do. Does this make me an adult? I guess so. In some ways at least. But, it’s kind of scary. This is the last of the childhood milestones. The last “number” you look forward to as you grow older. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty more things to look forward to: graduating college, getting a job, marriage, babies, etc. But this is the last number. The next big number is 30–and it’s not because it’s fun, it’s because that’s when people try to stop counting. When you start joking that you’re 29…again. And again. And again.

I’m excited. I’m glad to go out to a bar tomorrow night here in this country where for some reason I can shoot a gun and join the military and choose the next President but where, at this moment, I can’t legally drink alcohol. Tomorrow is the day.

I choose to be excited. I’m dwelled upon the scary parts, the numbers and the future, enough. It’s time to be excited that I have all of my rights, not sad that there aren’t any more to get.

I’m going to try harder to update, just even short updates, more in the future. Even if I don’t have anything profound to say, this will be good practice for next semester when I’m off in Austria and actually might have people reading my blog to keep up with my life. I’m beyond excited for my semester abroad and it’s making it hard to be here now. But I’m trying.

Ok. Tomorrow I’m 21.

Let’s go!

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When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.

15 September 2009 - Leave a Response

Hey everyone. I’m pretty bad at keeping people updated, apparently. Things here have been busy-but not any busier than usual. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel bad for really not having any excuse for not posting regularly (as was my goal).

This entry is inspired by a conversation I had today with Eliza and Taylor over drinks at Starbees. To broach the subject, I will tell a fictitious, though common, story of a boy and a girl and what happens when one of them (the boy) gets it all wrong.

Jane was cute. She had long brown hair and a button nose (and two eyes made out of coal? No.). She didn’t stand out in any real way but guys tended to like her and find her attractive–at least attractive enough to hit on occasionally. So, when Jane started hanging out with Richard she was excited. It had been a while since she’d had a little sumthin-sumthin–if you know what I mean. Richard was smart, a little dorky, and a totally typical guy Jane learned when, after spending a few nights together, Richard freaked out, asserted Jane was in love with him, and went on his merry way. Jane was baffled. Where had this come from? She had been under the impression, and assumed Richard was under the same impression, that they were merely, well, fucking.

This, my friends, is classic tale of the ineptitude of males (at least straight males–I can’t vouch for the gay ones) ages 18-24 (or more?). New flash: Girls want some ass just like boys want some ass. We’re not always looking for a relationship–in fact, many of us are rarely looking for a relationship. Boys like sex. Girls like sex. And, just because women have reproductive systems does not, I repeat, does not mean we want your babies. Or anyone’s babies. But especially your babies.

Now, don’t read too much into this. I’m not in the middle of some ridiculous fiasco. Remember, if you will, that I said I would not share much about my personal life on the interwebs. The thing is, I’ve seen this happen to so many of my friends over the years, especially in college, that I felt I had to say something. I’m not sure if it’s just this place, or if the ineptitude runs deeper through all boys. And, honestly, I’m not sure I care.

One more thing. When men and women are in relationships, men freak out. Women freak out sometimes too, and I’m sure I’ll get to that, but right now we’re talking about men. They freak out because they think we want lifetime commitment. They think we want marriage. They think we want babies. Men: even if we’re in a relationship with you, don’t assume we want the white dress and the screaming munchkins, and the happily ever after. Sure, some women want that. Some women don’t. Some women do, but not with you.

That’s about it for now.

Ironically, my music of the moment is Taylor Swift’s Love Story. Irony of ironies.

Downtime.

31 August 2009 - Leave a Response

It’s been a while since I let you in on the inner workings of a 20 something’s life. Particularly her downtime. I left Washington D.C. about 3 weeks ago and went home to Minneapolis where I proceeded to do pretty much nothing but eat and sleep. My brothers were home for a few days so we spent our time making fun of our mom and eating at our favorite restaurants. I also reunited with some friends I hadn’t seen in many months. My bestie had been in Nigeria when I was home between school and D.C. so I hadn’t seen her in a long time. We participated in our usual rituals, including going to Maggie’s Family Restaurant multiple times and watching bad movies, much to our pleasure. I went to Chicago to see my grandparents last weekend, which was a nice break from home. I also hadn’t seen them since December.

So, what’s downtime like? It’s weird, for me, at least. Weird in a psychological way. I haven’t had much time to myself in the past year, what with school and my internship. So I found myself feeling restless and, not bored, but idle. It was certainly nice to sleep late and not have any unwanted commitments, save the obligatory trip to the dentist and the orthodontist (who informed me I don’t need to visit him anymore. YAY!). It was fun to sit around the house and enjoy having a television at my disposal. But it felt weird to have nothing I was working toward, no deadline to meet, no paper to procrastinate.

I’m not complaining. Time off was great. It was just different than I thought.

I also always forget how strange it is to be back in my parents’ house. I love them I and I love going home but when you’re away you forget what it’s like to be nagged or even just to have your mother ask you if you’re packing this and you’re packing that. I’m my own master for 11 months of the year, and really for 12. But the month or so at home produces different challenges and issues to deal with. Neither better or worse, nor easier or harder. Just different.

I’m at the Seattle airport as I write this. Which means I’ll be back at school by the time you all read it. There’s no way I’m paying 8 bucks for internet in order to tell you all stuff you probably don’t actually care that much about. That was self-deprecating. Such is life.

Oh, side note, I just watched the Twilight commentary at the urging and suggestion of Miss Liz and I have to say that Robert Pattinson is, himself, delightfully self-deprecating. To the degree that I found him charming in a backward way. It’s also just pretty funny so if you’re so inclined….

In music news, the following:

I’ve been listening to a lot of Elvis Costello recently. The song currently stuck in my head is No Dancing from My Aim is True. “He’s not insane. It’s just that everybody has to feel his pain.”

Starving Students’ “Guide” to D.C.

20 August 2009 - One Response

(The following is the product of two minds–my own, and dear Chelcie’s. It can also be read here, at Chelcie’s blog.)

Though this list by no means offers a comprehensive catalogue of all the awesome things we did in DC, it’s a fair sampling. For those of you considering a visit, short or long, we hope you may find our humble guide to be of some use. Enjoy.

Monuments at night: We had a special attachment to the monuments at night. Vishnu only knows why. No, that’s not true. We liked to go at night and sit at the back of the Lincoln Memorial and watch the cars drive across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. It was usually (read—very rarely) less crowded and we enjoyed having long in-depth chats about our ridiculously fabulous lives. For rizeal. (The only negative was that sometimes there were gross adolescents smoking cigars and spitting. Not apropos.) For us, a week in DC was incomplete without someone saying, “Hey, you wanna go visit Lincoln?”

Mo and Mimi at Lincoln.

E Street Cinema (bitches): Landmark Theatres are always better than the average AMC or huge multiplex. Always. And this one is never crowded but offers great food and good movies. They screen lesser-known new releases, like the Czech film The Country Teacher, where Melissa and Chelcie were not only the only women in the audience but also probably the only straight people. But you should also check out their weekend midnight screenings of cult classics. We saw The Princess Bride at midnight after 4th of July fireworks. Score. (Mimi also went to the other Landmark Theatre in the area—up in Bethesda—also good.) Bring your student ID for $2 off, although it won’t do you much good: in 11 weeks, Chelcie spent upwards of $100 on movies at the E Street.

 

Kramerbooks & Afterwords: Go. That’s pretty much the brunt of it. A bookstore with a café and bar, they have great, huge deserts, as well as an affordable brunch that comes with complimentary coffee, OJ, and yummy little cakes. Nice book selection, that, according to Chelcie makes people “want to read non-fiction.” We tried to persuade Melissa to pick up a copy of Team of Rivals for beach reading; she objected on the basis of weight in her luggage. (P’shaw.) They also have an enviable assortment of poetry, literary fiction, and classy magazines.

 

CVS & Starbucks: This is less of review of these places and more just a note to say that there are hundreds of CVS pharmacies and Starbucks cafés in the district. Example: Once, Mimi was trying to figure out what corner the Starbees closest to the apartment was on, so she searched locations on their website. There were 52 within a 2-mile radius. Good grief. How much coffee and medication can a city really ingest?

 

The National Building Museum: Boo. That sums up our opinion. The exhibits were poorly curated and poorly designed. The best part of the museum was the building in which it was housed: the architecture was beautiful. The second best thing was the gift shop. So, yeah. If you’re on the hunt for an underrated museum to visit in DC, try our places of work: the National Postal Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library. And if you want to walk from one to another, why not stop off for an espresso or a fruit smoothie at…

 

Ebenezers Coffeehouse: Firstly, hats off for good coffee; Ebenezers certainly accomplishes the primary goal of a coffeehouse. Late in the summer we began to meet there after work to slough off the day with a healthy dose of caffeine. That is, until one day the place was overrun with people who mysteriously all seemed to know one another. It slowly became clear to us (through unavoidable eavesdropping) that they were all members of the same church, in fact the church that owns Ebenezers. Bottom line: a great place to hang out if you’re young, hot, single, and Christian. Not a great place, on the other hand, to bring your militantly atheist or even mildly profane friends. (Mimi, upon seeing a girl hurrying across the room to meet up with an eligible male: “Jesus doesn’t rush.” Chelcie: “Jesus Christ, do you think she heard you?”)

 

Amsterdam Falafel: Great falafel! And cheap! The small is large enough for a meal. The regular is enormous. There’s a whole bar of toppings for the falafel—baba ghanoush, onions, cucumbers, etc. Get a small order of fries to share with the people you’re with. You’ll be stuffed by the end, but it’ll be worth it. Also, it’s located in Adams-Morgan, one of our favorite neighborhoods. While you’re up in that direction, you may as well make an evening of it and stop by Tryst, a coffeehouse turned bar after dark. Grab a seat on one of the many couches, if you can, and sit back and enjoy watching the bachelorette parties prance by outside on 18th Street.

 

Founding Farmers: THE place to go when your parents (or any other generous visitor) is in town. Chelcie was drawn in by Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for macaroni, which is stenciled on the glass windows that wrap around the restaurant, but it was the fried chicken and waffles (plus syrup! and mac & cheese! and kale!) that made her never want to leave. A must-do, if you can find someone else to foot the bill.

 

…And the category you’ve all been waiting for: Cupcakes!

  1.  Georgetown Cupcake: This establishment seated in the heart of Georgetown (—no kidding) has earned the title of our favorite cupcake establishment in the District. Some DC natives will scoff and tell you not to bother waiting in the sometimes lengthy lines. But after the first bite of a perfectly executed red velvet or lemon berry cupcake, if your taste buds aren’t deficient, you’ll come back for more. Like, a half dozen more at a time. I’d like to make an estimate and say I (Mimi) probably ate somewhere around 15 cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake…in 11 weeks.
  2. Cake Love: We are told Cake Love brought the trendy cupcake to this city and monopolized the market for quite some time. As a transient resident, however, Chelcie approached her chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting with none of an old timer’s nostalgia. Although the cake just wasn’t as moist as at Georgetown Cupcake, the strawberry frosting rivaled our winner’s in taste and texture, thanks to bits of strawberry pulp and pleasantly grainy strawberry seeds. 
  3. Red Velvet: Located in Chinatown, not far from the Portrait Gallery, Red Velvet was a pretty decent, though, in our opinion, unremarkable, little bakery. The frosting wasn’t as creamy as GC and, as at Cake Love, the cake was less moist. Nice try—some cool flavors—good if you live downtown. 
  4. Hello, Cupcake: If you saw a chocolate cupcake with almond butter cream icing, wouldn’t you want to order it? So did I (Chelcie). Biggest mistake of my life. With the first hearty bite I almost gagged with the sweetness of the icing—which by the way was so airy and insubstantial as to be nonexistent. My tasting partner was somewhat more pleased with her chocolate peanut butter cupcake, though not by much. My advice? There are enough cupcake venues on the DC scene that you may as well go somewhere else.

Hope that was enjoyable for you. It sure was for us! Going to Chicago this weekend–more later.

Washington Wrap-Up

9 August 2009 - Leave a Response

Failed alliteration.

This probably won’t be the last post about my summer in Washington, D.C. In fact, I know for sure that it will not be because C and I are planning on reviewing all of the things we did in a few pithy sentences each. We will be doubly posting this–on my blog and hers. But, since this is my last post from the “District”, I’m calling this the Washington Wrap-up.

I return to the topic of this blog, that the life of a young adult is not always what it seems. And that’s certainly true. But sometimes it’s not just that we goof off during our internships (see previous post) or that we aren’t all drunk all of the time (see the post prior to that) but it’s that we, actually, are assigned responsibilities that we gladly and successfully fulfill with happiness and grace. We are not all worthless young adults wasting our lives away. 

My internship ended on Friday. It was a great summer. And Friday was a great–though stressful day. The entire day was spent doing video interviews with groups of former RPO clerks. The evening was our reception in honor of them and their colleagues. What a great group of guys! I had a hand in planning the event and my whole project for the summer was researching these guys and their lives on the trains. I can’t say that I could have had a better internship–especially given this was my first one out of the gate. 

I felt very appreciated, which I don’t think interns always feel. My supervisor told me a did a great job. She thanked me during her remarks at the reception. Other members of the staff thanked me for my work and told me to keep in touch. This ultimately seems like I’m bragging–which wasn’t the intent of this, but instead, it was to show that not only do interns often do important work, they often do it well and are respected for it. 

I wish that every intern would be thanked by their supervisor, even just one time. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve done something right, that it wasn’t for nothing. Especially at a time in life, and in a job climate that is, to say the least, less than encouraging, it’s good to know your (entire) future won’t involve a fold-out sofa in your parents basement. 

So, ok–to really wrap up my time in Washington as a “young professional” I say this: It’s possible to get everything you want without being careerist. You can work hard and make connections and support your friends without stepping on other peoples’ feet. 

And, since I was in Washington for 3 months, and since we were talking about careerism…..

C.J. Cregg: [Talking about Ainsley Hayes] I’m going to tell you something, Toby. I don’t think it’s that she’s a Republican, I think it’s that she’s a Republican woman and she’s good-looking. 
Toby Ziegler: Well, those are three things, when in combination, usually spell ‘careerism’. 

I think that’s about it for me today. I’m going back to Minneapolis this evening for a few weeks of relaxation before junior year begins.

Coffee Breaks and Bathroom Pow-wows

4 August 2009 - Leave a Response

Half the fun of the workplace is commiserating with your colleagues. Everyone knows this. There have been countless portrayals of this in television. (Ahem–The Office, 30 Rock, The West Wing. Need I say more?) Co-workers can be the bane of your existence (Dwight) or the apple of your eye (Pam) or just a welcome respite from your work (Michael? Ryan? K–maybe not). But the point is, work just wouldn’t be as much fun (or as bearable) without those folks in the office or cube or computer next to you or down the hall.

I’m lucky to really like a lot of the people at the museum where I intern. I sit in my supervisor’s office which, much to the surprise of many, doesn’t suck. It’s actually really fun. She’s senior staff at the museum, which means she gets lots of traffic to and from her office. Also, there’s a big stash of candy in her office that is routinely taken advantage of by interns and staffers alike. It’s also great because there are times when neither she, nor I, nor the other intern in the room, even pretend to be doing work. These times are the great times–when you bond with your boss and co-workers over the fact that the other intern can recite the entirety of Forrest Gump. (I’m not kidding–her re-call is freakish.)

Half the fun of work is those moments when you get up to go to the bathroom or stretch your legs and you find all of the other interns doing the same thing at that very moment. It’s when you stop in to say Hi to someone and end up staying for 20 minutes talking about nothing work-related. And then, it’s when you return to your supervisor’s office and she doesn’t care that you just went MIA for half an hour. 

I guess the point I’m trying to make (am I trying to make a point?) is that the “real world” can be pretty fun. I like the work I do–but it’s a whole lot better because of the people I do it alongside. Maybe this 20-year-old has had a different experience than others, but I, for one, am not afraid of when the “real world” is my world. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Dear girls next to us at brunch today,

2 August 2009 - Leave a Response

I was judging you.

Today, C and I went to brunch at one of our favorite spots in Dupont. We were seated outside beside a group of 3 women who were discussing trashy television. At first I thought the sound of their shrill voices was going to prevent me from liking them. But, the topic of their conversation won me over. One of them mentioned that she was going to buy a television, because she hadn’t had one in a long time and felt left out whenever people talk about TV and she can’t contribute. The conversation turned to the fact that one of the other women has 3 TVs and how she acquired them, including loving jabs from her friends. Then they began discussing their guilty pleasure shows, including Gossip Girl. I, for one, identify with watching TV we’re not always proud we watch. And I appreciated these women.

The next group to sit down, however, I was disinclined to like. It was 4 young women who were all wearing some sort of clothing you might buy at American Apparel or Urban Outfitters, but it wasn’t a style thing–it was as if they were wearing uniforms. They all kept swinging their hair about and laughing really loud about the previous evening, which I gathered, as could anyone who had even a quarter of a brain, was quite drunken. 3 of the 4 continually mentioned silly things the 4th had done that she would subsequently claim she could not remember. Then she would put her head in her hands and make some sort of shrieking noise, presumably out of embarrassment though probably more because she was loving the attention and wanted a little bit more.

A message to these women–I was judging you. It’s not cool to sit down and act like the world is all yours. It’s also really not cool, and the absolute opposite of classy, to talk about how you blacked out at some club the night before. I’m not going to claim this doesn’t happen even to the best of us, but this is not something people should broadcast.

This is the type of thing, as a young adult that drives me up the wall. Perhaps I’m overreacting but the thought that people might presume all young women to be so careless and reckless makes me feel ill. It makes me feel dejected when adults remark that I seem mature for my age. I hope this is false and that the other early 20-somethings they know are just remarkably immature.  

However, when I get down with the state of the world (as I am prone to do), I begin to think that they’re probably right. That acting like a fool is natural for young people and it’s weird that I only occasionally act mindlessly (making no claims I am exempt). Then the sad thought passes through my head that perhaps it has nothing to do with maturity and this is, in fact, just the way some people are. 

I’m not saying people shouldn’t go out and have fun while they’re young and limber and equipped with strong livers and high libidos. What I am saying is, don’t go screaming your stories all over the world. Friends, watch out for your friends. Tell them the next day if they perhaps had a few too many. But do it in private. Laugh about it. Then face the world in a clean, put-together, respectable manner.

Summer 2009

31 July 2009 - Leave a Response

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know I’ve often treated it is a mini diary/forum in which I can express my disdain for certain things and love of others. I’ve decided to narrow the focus of this blog in order to a.) make it more accessible by making the reader feel like less of a voyeur, b.) get myself to more consistently post entries (hopefully) and c.) occupy the afternoon because it’s a rainy day and I needed something to do indoors. 

This post is going to be an introduction into my life, specifically over the last 3 months or so, leading into the next few years. I will briefly cover who I am and how I got here, but it’ll mostly just be a quick description of this summer. Hopefully, that will put you on the right page to understand what comes next, as I chronicle (to some degree) my life as a college student. Some of it might be mundane: what I’m working on in school, what movie watched last night, but I think I’m pretty interesting, I hope you’ll think so too. Let me be honest and frank by saying there are things I will not be writing about. I will not share anything about my personal life. This will not turn into a gossip column. I will not share anything particularly incriminating to myself or, more importantly, to others. I will likely not use real names, though those closest to me will have no trouble cracking the code. 

In other words, take what I give you. I hope it’ll make you laugh and also make you understand that not all college kids are the same. We are a diverse group of individuals, often in conflict with one another, whether or not we know it. Here goes nothing.

I have spent the past 2 and 1/2 months of the summer in Washington, D.C., where I have had an internship at a museum. No, I haven’t been working on “the hill” and I’m pretty glad about that. If you don’t already know, D.C. interns have a pretty bad reputation, which can be tied back almost exclusively to the summer “hillterns.” (Check out dcinterns.blogspot.com for some pretty hilarious stories about stupid people doing stupid things.) In any case, I have been living on the campus of one of the local universities in D.C. and many of the people in my building work on the hill. Now, it’s important to remember that not all hillterns are bad. Many, ok–some. are downright great. One of my roommates from this summer, we’ll call her M, was a hilltern and one of the best people I’ve ever met. And I don’t think I ever saw her do even one stupid thing in the entire time we lived together. 

As I was saying though, I’m an intern at a museum in Washington, working 4 days a week on a project that will be published on the museum’s website once we’re done and our web guru gets it published. Working 4 days a week means you get long weekends to explore this huge city where food is expensive but attractions are free. As a museum person, I’ve spent most of my off days in different galleries around the city. If you get out here anytime soon you should go to the Abraham Lincoln exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. There’s one at NMAH too, as this year was Lincoln’s bicentennial and everyone here is crazed. Another favorite was the Tsars of the East at the Sackler Gallery.  

I live in a neighborhood not far from the Monuments and Memorials. I started the summer with 2 roommates, M and C. The three of us became freakishly close and when M went home mid-summer, the world kind of came crashing down. C and I got a new roommate though, she’s perfectly nice and we all get along. 

I’ve got one more week in D.C. until I go home to Minneapolis. I’ll spend a few weeks there, hanging out with my family and friend. D and N both leave shortly. D to go back to school, and N to move to Nashville. I’ll get to see L and B–which will be really great. I’ll also spend some time with E and her family, as well as Doc and hers. After that, it’s back to school in the Pacific Northwest. That’ll be when the real blogging begins. Until then, I’ll be updating you on what working as a 20 something is like, and also on moving from place to place over and over again. Hope you enjoy. Wish me luck.