Working in D.C.

A while back, Groupon had a deal for the Washingtonian magazine.  Ben and I decided it would be a good opportunity to learn about what’s going on in the area.

Usually, I’m quick to scan the magazine when it appears in our mailbox.  But for one reason or another, I just got around to reading November’s issue tonight.  And omg did I laugh.

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The whole magazine was dedicated to careers in D.C., and the feature article was the top 50 places to work.  Inbetween the lists of companies and their benefits were some “best of” lists – best excuse for not coming to work, best bizarre work behavior and best way to quit a job.  Let me share some of my favorites:

Best excuses for being late/not coming into work:

  • “A former colleague called in because they couldn’t find any pants to wear.  An angry ex had taken all of them and hidden them.”
  • “My goldfish died”
  • “My cat sat on my alarm clock and turned it off”
  • “My cat died last night and I need to bury her at her place of birth – Maui”
  • “I’m feeling great, but I think I’ll stay home just to make sure I don’t get sick”
  • I had a colleague who would call in sick on Monday if he was sick over the weekend, because he felt cheated out of his weekend”
  • “I had a coworker tell our boss that she was having a ‘fat day’ and just wanted to stay home.  My boss applauded her honesty and gave her the day off”
  • “I don’t want to lose the parking spot in front of my house”
  • “I got a voicemail from a subordinate who said he was sick as a dog.  It was during the World Cup, and he was a big fan.  He went on and on coughing and telling me how sick he was.  He thought he hung up the phone, but he didn’t. THe next two minutes were him and his buddies cheering and laughing.”

Best bizarre work behavior:

  • “A friend spills paper clips on the floor and lies down for a nap with her feet at the door.  If a colleague were to walk in, the door would hit her feet and she would wake up, saying ‘Oh, sorry, I just spilled these paper clips and was trying to pick them up”
  • “At another company, an employee would set up a coffee cup and his open briefcase and leave Post-It notes on his PC each morning, leading people to believe he was constantly in meetings.  Turns out he had taken a job across the street with a competitor and was drawing two incomes.”

Best way to quit a job:

  • “A former employee wrote a resignation letter as a haiku”
  • “I know someone who found crime-scene tape and taped his office door on the day he left with the comment that it was the scene of a burglary – the firm had stolen his ‘life, soul and twenties”
  • “Many years ago at another company, a coworker faxed a two-word resignation letter which said “I quite” instead of “I quit”
  • “An employee came into the office in his pajamas and tendered his resignation.  He said he didn’t plan to lose much sleep over it”
  • “A woman took a picture of herself in front of her new employer’s office building and e-mailed it to her old boss with the caption ‘If you’re wondering where I am today'”
  • “The network administrator changed all the passwords and left”
  • “A gentleman e-mailed his department of about 20 people stating he was going to pick up lunch.  He asked if anyone wanted anything, and several people brought him cash for their orders.  After two hours the office started to wonder where he was.  Shortly thereafter, they all received an e-mail from him saying he wouldn’t be returning to the office at all and that he’d mail their money back.”

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#BeThankfulChallenge Number 4

I’ve been bad about posting the #BeThankfulChallenge both on the blog and on Twitter.  Ooops.  Here we go.

November 19 – Old Friends.  This weekend (as in the weekend of the 19th), my friend Molly was in town from Boston.  I spent a good part of Saturday sitting on the couch with Molly and Allie, just chatting and hanging out.  After Allie went home, Ben, Molly and I went to dinner.  Post coming soon, but it was great to just hang out with old friends and laugh.

November 20 – Taxis.  I’m happy I live in a place that has taxis – and it’s safe to use them.  Sure, D.C. has wicked expensive cabs, they charge by the person, and they never know where they are going (hello, D.C. is on a grid system), but they are just so darn convenient.  Whether its just been a long day and you can’t stand to wait for the post-rush-hour metro, the metro is broken, or you’re going out and no one wants to be DD, cabs are there for you.

November 21 – Indian Summers.  Despite living in Boston for four years, I actually hate the cold.  I’d much rather be in a warm location.  So I’m loving this fall.  I love this weather where you could be completely comfortable either with or without a coat.  And it is perfect running weather.  Speaking of running, I should be doing more of that.

November 22 – My apartment.  Sure, the “American Dream” is to own a home.  And I’m sure one day, Ben and I will own our own home.  But for the meantime, I love our apartment.  Its not too big (aka – it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to clean), but its big enough to hold all our stuff.  It’s got an awesome view (what girl wouldn’t love a view of Nordstroms).  When something breaks, we just call the front desk (and it doesn’t cost us anything).  We each have our own walk-in-closets.  Its quite perfect for this stage in our life, if you ask me!

November 23 – Photos.  I LOVE photos.  I could look through old photos for hours without getting bored.  They bring back such happy memories.  During most of my life, I’ve always been the one with the camera snapping away a ton of photos.  But I’ve been TERRIBLE at taking photos the past year or so.  I hope to get back into this habit, because I love having photos to look back on!

November 24 – Family.  I know I dedicated the first week to my family, but it would be terrible if I didn’t remember them again.  I love coming from a close knit family.  Growing up, my family lived a stones throw away.  Literally.  My grandparents lived next door.  But now that all the kids are grown up, I’m glad that we all make an effort to come together during the holidays.

November 25 – Sales.  Oh Black Friday.  My closet thanks you.  Well, maybe it’s my wallet that thanks you.  This year’s successes include new black pants for work, Jackie cardigans from J. Crew, and a navy wrap dress.

November 26 – My iPhone.  I love my iPhone.  I held out for way to long.  It let’s me have just about everything at the touch of my fingertips.  Emails, music, the Internet – it’s all there.  Hands down better than my old BlackBerry.

November 27 – Helpful people.  Today’s thank you goes out to the nice lady at the Amtrak ticket counter in Philly.  This morning, at entirely to early of a time, Ben and I boarded the train in A.C. for Philly.  Upon arriving in Philly, I realized I handed the conductor the wrong ticket!  Ben and I went up to the ticketing desk, and the nice woman was able to hand write me a new ticket.  I was so embarrassed.  I couldn’t believe I handed in the wrong ticket.  And I can’t believe the conductor didn’t notice!  I was just happy that I didn’t need to purchase a new ticket.  So thank you, Amtrak woman.  Thank you.

November 28 – Christmas music.  Nothing puts me in a good mood quite like Christmas music.  I would listen to it all year if it wasn’t frowned upon.  Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I’m thankful that I can blast my Christmas music judgement free.

November 29 – My apartment’s front desk staff.  They are all very friendly and helpful, even when the fire alarm is going off at 3 in the morning.  They email you when you have a package and have let me into my apartment more times than I care to admit.

Well…and one for tomorrow, since I’m so close…

November 30 – I can’t believe its taken this far to get here, but I dedicate November 30 to my friends.  To those people, near and far, who have been with me through thick and thin.  Whether we talk daily, weekly, monthly, or once-in-a-blue-moon-because-sometimes-life-gets-in-the-way, know that you all mean so much to me.  I’m thankful for the talents you all share and the laughs we’ve had over the years.  I’m thankful for the days we sat around and did nothing, and the nights that lead to great stories in the morning.  And to those of you that actually read this thing, THANK YOU!

#BeThankfulChallenge Number 3

So, I know it hasn’t been a full week since my last #bethankfulchallenge post.  Bonus post!  (And multiple posts in one week.  Go me!)

November 14 – Birthdays.  Against, this seems obvious.  But I’m thankful that every person has a day dedicated to them.  It doesn’t need to be over the top.  But don’t lie, you like checking Facebook on your birthday to see all the people who wished you well.  Happy birthday to everyone!

November 15 – Scarves.  Perhaps ‘ I lived in Boston for four years.  Or maybe it’s because my office likes to keep the temperature slightly lower than what I like (although, in their defense, I like being warm).  But scarves have become my favorite accessory.  I have one in almost every color.  I wear them at work.  I wear them running errands.  A couple weeks ago, Ben and I wondered into a store that had scarves on sale for $5 – I promptly turned around and asked him what was the maximum number of scarves I could buy.  Then I bought that number.

November 16 – Rainboots.  D.C. rains.  A lot.  (OK Val, perhaps not as much as where you live).  Last year for my birthday, my mom bought me black Kate Spade rainboots.  I love them.  They are shiny black on the outside, but pink on the inside.  They have a bow.  And a heel. And they keep my feet dry in the mucky D.C. weather.

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November 17 – Delivery Pizza.  Delivery Pizza combines my two favorite things for dinner: delivery and pizza.  I could eat pizza every day.  And not having to cook it, even better.  After a long day of work, when I’m stressed and tired, ordering takeout pizza is perfect.  And sometimes, I order it when I leave work so its delivered within moments of me getting home.

When often change where we order pizza from, but lately we’ve enjoyed Cafe Pizzaiolo.  They make really good pizza, have interesting flavor combos, and they deliver gelato and beer too.

November 18 – Bagel Friday.  Because showing up to work is always better when it involved a bagel.  When the economy tanked, our beloved Bagel Friday came close to getting the axe.  But it survived and boy and I glad.  In addition to bagels, my company also orders donuts.  After an especially long week, I love cutting a sliver of a chocolate glazed donut in addition to my bagel.

Veterans Day 10K Recap

On Sunday morning, Ben and I woke up very early to run the Veterans Day 10K in D.C.

You may remember that this was the run a bunch of us did last year and what started my running hobby.  This year, it was just Ben, Christen and me – and it was Ben’s first run.

I didn’t know what to expect from this year’s race.  I wanted to beat last year’s time, although I wasn’t entirely sure I would. Ben and I  talked about running together for the first half and then he would run ahead for the second while I did intervals of running/walking. I also I decided to set up A/B/C goals for myself.

GOAL A – 1 hour and 10 minutes

GOAL B – 1 hour and 15 minutes (aka, beating my time from last year)

GOAL C – 1 hour and 20 minutes (I needed something that I knew I could beat).

Race day started with a piece of toast with cinnamon peanut butter and half a cup of coffee.  Christen and Kevin picked us up and, luckily, we didn’t get lost this year.

Once race started, the three of us stayed together. About half a mile in, my ankle started to hurt.  I thought I was in for a long, painful run, but I just kept going and tried not to think about it.

Before I knew it, the pain in my ankle was gone and I was feeling great.  Then my Runkeeper chimed in “You’re current pace is 9:50.”  You’ve got to be kidding me.  9:50 shouldn’t feel this easy.  I chalked it up to faulty gps satellites and kept going.

As we approached the 5K mark, both Christen and Ben dropped off behind me.  I checked my time: 35 minutes.  Right then I knew that I was going to be able to do the 10K in 1 hour and 10 minutes.  I just had to keep my pace for the second half.  Since I didn’t really feel the need to walk, I decided to keep running until I felt like I needed a walking break.

My Runkeeper chimed in again: “You’re current pace is 9:50.”  I was shocked and I realized I could even beat the 1 hour and 10 minute goal.  I decided that walking was not an option and just kept running.  Mile four felt fantastic and I just picked people off one by one.  As I hit mile five, I started to slow down.  But walking was not an option.

Before I knew it, I was turning the corner back on to the home stretch.  The last .2 miles was tough, but I just kept thinking “run. run. run. run.” As I came into the last 10 yards, I sprinted with everything I had left.

Final Time: 1:06:42

PERSONAL RECORD!  I shaved 8 minutes off my time from last year and beat my A goal.  It felt amazing. It was great to see my training pay off.  I was so proud that I never stopped to walk and my average pace was fasted than I expected.

Splits ended up looking like this:

  • 10:43 – Mile 1
  • 10:49 – Mile 2
  • 10:42 – Mile 3
  • 10:21 – Mile 4
  • 10:19 – Mile 5
  • 10:28 – Mile 6
  • 9:52 (pace) – .2 miles

Its amazing that I felt like I was going so slow during mile 6, but it was actually faster than any of my first 3 miles.

I decided to walk back to the finish line to try and cheer on Ben and Christen.  But as I turned around, Ben was right behind me!  He finished in just over 1 hour and 7 minutes.  I was so proud of him.  He wasn’t sure what to expect from his first race, but he paced himself, gave his all, and did fantastic.

Overall, I was so so happy with the way the race went.  It felt amazing to crush  my goals.  Next up – a 15K in 3 weeks.

Birthday Weekend Recap

This was a fantastic weekend all around.  Although, per usual, I was terrible at getting photos.  Sorry.

Friday after work, Ben and I went over to Rustico for dinner.  It’s one of our favorite restaurants here in D.C., but I hadn’t been in forever.  We started with an order of sweet potato fries (amazing – they have a bit of a kick to them) and a beer flight.  Whenever we go, we let our waiter pick our first beer flight, and they have never steered us wrong.  Our first flight included: Hatachino Nest White Ale – a Belgium style beer from Japan – Southern Tier Imperial Oat,  Rogue Smoke Ale, and Hopback Amber Ale.  The waiter really did a good job, because these were four awesome beers.  Ben and I tried to create our second flight, but it was a major fail.  For dinner, we ordered their spinach pizza with caramelized onions and dessert was an apple pie sundae with cinnamon ice cream.  Once again, Rustico did not disappoint.

Saturday morning, we continued our favorite restaurant tour with brunch at Founding Farmers.  We started with an order of Beignets and I ordered Banana’s Foster Stuffed French Toast.  Very good, but very filling.

After brunch, Ben surprised me with a birthday mani/pedi.  He dropped me off at the salon and I was able to just sit back and relax.  I ended up going with a dark chocolate brown – Suzi says Da! – that I’m in love with.  It looks like it’s a couple seasons old, but I’d like to try and find a bottle of it for future use.  It could very easily become my new winter color.

Then, we headed over to Tortoise and Hare to meet up with Christen and Kevin who were in town for the Veteran Day 10K to watch the Penn State game.  After we all took a nap, they came back over to our apartment to carb up for the race – pasta and veggies to fuel us for the run.

All in all, it was a fantastic birthday weekend.  Ben went out of his way to make me feel special and really put thought into his gift.  I’m so lucky to have an awesome husband!!

 

#BeThankfulChallenge Week 2

This week I wasn’t great on getting everything on Twitter, but it was a really busy and hectic week.  But here is this week’s rundown of what I’m thankful for…

November 7 – Amtrak.  While the train isn’t always the best way to travel, it certainly has its benefits.  On Monday night, Ben and I were supposed to take the train home to New Jersey, but we ended up driving.  While hitting traffic at 11:00 at night, I definitely appreciated the train:  no traffic, you can plug in your laptop/iPhone or computer and multitask, or sleep.  Since I can’t drive Ben’s car (it’s stick), I don’t think its fair for me to sleep while he’s stuck behind the wheel.    While we didn’t take the train this time, I’m thankful that it’s an option for future trips.

November 8  – Freedom.  This was only appropriate for election day.  I’m thankful to live in a country that hold free and fair elections.  While I don’t always agree with the campaigning that happens (aka – dirty lies), I’m still thankful to live in a country that gives people an opportunity to choose our leaders.

November 9 – Coffee.  It’s dependable, tasty, and helps you feel like a human when you want to go back to sleep.  It comes in lots of flavors and can keep you warm on a cold day, or cool on a warm day.  And during this particularly crazy week, I lived off coffee. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Did you know that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer?  There are a lot of other health benefits of coffee (My favorite stat in that article is that Coffee drinkers are about twice as likely as non-coffee drinkers not to develop the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in their nostrils.  How specific is THAT?!).

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November 10 – Fall.  While Fall is not my favorite holiday (I’m more of a summer girl), I do love it.  The trees look so beautiful with their changing colors.  I love being able to break out my scarf collection and coordinate outfits around one.  As a bonus, it’s great weather for running – not too hot and not too cold – and the season of my birthday!

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November 11 – At risk of sounding cliche, I’m thankful for veterans and those currently serving our country.  I’m thankful for everyone who has put country before self and protected America home and abroad.  These brave citizens deserve to be honored for their commitment.  So thank you.

November 12 – Running.  There are so many things I love about running.

  • Running gives me an opportunity to clear my head and de-stress.  Sometimes I just zone out, other times I use it to plan out my life.  When I actually get up and run in the morning, I spent those two miles planning out everything I need to do at and after work.
  • When I do really well on a run, it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment like no other.  Maybe it’s because I was never a runner growing up.  But a runners high is like nothing else I can explain.
  • I also love that it can be an individual or group activity.  While you can run with people, you’re not competing with those people.  It’s about improving yourself.  And I love that Ben runs too.  Sometimes we head out together and stick together throughout the run.  Other days, we start off together and separate based on our running plan for the day.  And sometimes, I head on our my own.  Just me and the road.

November 13– Running buddies.  This is a bit of a rip-off of the last bullet from yesterday, but I do enjoy having running buddies, both near and far.  Today, it was great to have Ben and Christen by my side for the 10K.  We kept each other motivated and moving.  We stuck together (mostly) for the first half of the race before splitting up at paces comfortable to us.  But we all did our best (I’ll have a recap up soon) and it was a great experience.  But I’m also thankful for my running support system that isn’t local. Such as the “Pile on the Mile” challenge the Delta’s are doing.  While we can’t run together, it keeps us all motivated and makes us check in with each other to make sure we’re on track.  Plus, running 13.1 miles through Disney will be more fun with friends!

 

 

#BeThankfulChallenge

A lot of my friends are taking part in the #BeThankfulChallenge – see examples one, two and three.

Well, props to them.  They are blogging every day(ish) about things they are thankful for.  I can tell you right now that I will not blog every day in November.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful.  So I’ll do the daily #BeThankfulChallenge on Twitter.  And then once a week, if not more, I’ll give a recap here on the blog.

November 1 – I skipped the first.  Not so much skipped as I didn’t known about the challenge. If I were to go back in time, I’d pick my grandparents.  While none of them are with us anymore, they are amazing people.  Everytime I bake something and our kitchen fills with the warm smell of sweets, I like to think that my grandmother is looking down smiling.  And my passion in politics and community no doubt comes from my Nana and PopPop.

November 2 – Benjamin.  Every day I’m thankful for my loving husband.  He’s amazing.  He supports me in everything I do and pushes me to be the best I can be.  He values friends and family just like I do.  And when I’ve had a bad day, he makes me dinner or orders pizza.  He’s loving, spunky, passionate, and makes me smile every day.

November 3 – My mom.  She’s an amazing person and the rock of our family.  She’s always willing to do anything for family, even when its the last thing she wants to do.  She’s caring, compassionate and a great listener.  I’m so thankful for everything she’s done for me over the last 26 years.

November 4 – My dad.  (Have you caught on to a theme here?)  My father is one of the most hard-working, dedicated and compassionate people I know.  His work ethic and dedication to community is something that has definitely shaped the person I’ve become.  And, for better or worse, he made me the sarcastic, stubborn person I am today.

November 5 – My brother and sister.  These two really each deserve their own day, but I’m trying to keep family to a week.  These two have been great role models for me.  And because they were so much…wiser than me, they are always nice enough to share that wisdom with me.  I’m so thankful for everything they both have taught me and all the laughs we had growing up.

November 6 – My niece and nephew.  These two adorable redheads can do nothing but bring a smile to my face.  It’s amazing how many times I’ve said “it’s amazing how special ____ is until you see it through the eyes of a small child” during the past couple of years.  And the best part – when they get grumpy and start to scream and cry, I can give them back to my sister (love you Julie!!)

And I’ll give everyone a preview of tomorrow’s slection.

November 7 – Everyone else!  My family is too close to not include everyone here.  If you asked me to pick a favorite aunt/uncle, I wouldn’t be able to do it.  They are all special in their own way, and I’m extremely close to all of them.  I love being able to see them all when I’m home.  I’m lucky that most of us live so close and that seeing each other isn’t just reserved for holidays.  And the ones that don’t live close by, we see pretty often too.

What are you thankful for? Are you doing the #BeThankfulChallenge?

Running Away

Something I haven’t talked about a whole lot lately on the blog is running. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening behind the scenes.

This fall, I’ve got three races scheduled:

  • Veteran’s Day 10K.  The weekend of my birthday, Ben, Christen and I are all running the Veteran’s Day 10K.  Some of you may remember that a bunch of us ran the 10K last year.  I’m excited that Ben is running it with me this year, plus it gives me some company on my training runs.
  • Hot Chocolate 15K The race sounds fantastic, and the swag is awesome compared to the Veteran’s Day 10K.  Its sponsored by Ghirardelli, and the money goes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  You get a cool jacket for participating.  Jane is coming in town to run this with me, plus I have a lot of friends from work running it as well.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon.  This is the big one.  Jane+Christen+Anna+13.1 miles through Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.  I’m so beyond stoked for this, and I’m already planning my costume.  Any guesses as to which Disney princess I plan on being?

Part of the reason I signed up for the 10K and 15K is to make sure that I’m training properly for the Half Marathon.  These fall races will make sure I build the miles and base needed to carry me 13.1 miles.

I’m excited to have company for all my races.  I’m especially happy that Ben is joining for the 10K – it will be his first race ever.  I think we’re gonna stick together for the first half, and then I’m gonna let him go ahead and burn rubber.