Jan 25, 2010

Good times with my Indian Friends

Recently, it was Restaurant Week here in DC. Accordingly, I made dinner plans with my two token Indian Friends D and P. The problem with making plans with Indian people, in my experience, is that we suck at it. Give us a date, time and place to show up and we'll be there - at least 30 minutes late, but we'll be there. Try to get us involved in the planning process is like herding cats (or, as I noted previously, like trying to eat Jell-o with a fork).

D's work schedule is crazy, so she wanted to meet at the ungodly hour of 5:30. I wanted to call every damn place on the list to try to make reservations, convinced that we'd never get a table. We were saved entirely by the fact that, against all odds, P actually has her shit together. She handled the reservations, and that Thursday found us supping at Notti Bianche (or as D called it, Naughty Bi-atch).

I had the bagna caoda, the organic baby lettuce salad, the apple and sausage stuffed porchetta, and we shared the three desserts. All were delicious but very rich. I feel like an old lady saying that ... like, as my palate matures so does my intestinal tract. Sorry - TMI? Anyway, the food is not the important part - we had lots of fun, chatting about all kinds of things that only an Indian Friend would understand. Our successful siblings, prideful papas, and marriage-minded moms all made for conversation more satisfying than even the torta di cioccolata.

So, thanks ladies! We will have to get together again soon :)


Feeling left out because you don't have an Indian Friend? Don't despair! (Warning: NSFW)

Jan 22, 2010

Security guards actually make me feel less secure

As many of you know, today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I was coming back from a meeting downtown around lunch time today, so I was present to witness the locust-storm of March for Life demonstrators filling Metro Center station. I should also mention that pro-choice groups gathered at the Supreme Court building around the same time. Many others have covered and will cover this fascinating application of free speech and the right to assemble. I would like, as I often do, to dwell on a tiny insignificant detail that may or may not have anything to do with the issue at hand.

There were security guards at the metro today. Tall men with badges and stern faces always pique my interest. So I went up to one of these gentlemen with a genial smile and a simple question,

"Excuse me... why are you all here?"

"Visibility," came the terse reply. Off my expression of pure huh?, he elaborated. "We're checking the track. That's all."

I looked at his cohort on the other side of the platform, who was staring unblinkingly at the gathering crowd of sign-wavers, and said, "Ah, okay. Thanks!"

Protests are a dime a dozen here in DC. Makes sense, being the nation's capital and all. But this particular issue is so contentious, and the current political environment so volatile, that apparently the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority doesn't think we can be trusted to behave ourselves.

That's a bit too far, I thought to myself as I walked away from the nice intimidating man. Then I saw a girl with a bumper sticker attached to her forehead that read "Abortion is NOT Healthcare." It was all I could do not to rip the damn thing off, eyebrows be damned. And suddenly I realized ... Oh, hell. We can't be trusted.

So good luck today, everyone (on both sides). While I may or may not share your views, I support your right to express them... calmly and, if at all possible, rationally. And to the WMATA security guards (and the DC police, and anyone else charged with keeping the peace) - I hope this event turns out to be entirely uneventful.

Jan 20, 2010

Erin & Eric, hail!

Last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of attending my freshman roommate's third wedding ceremony. Despite the disappointing fact that all three of her marriages have been to the same man (civil and church in California, where they reside, as well as this informal do in Virginia for her family and friends), a good time was had by all. And by 'all,' I mean me. Who cares about those other bitches?

First, I met up with my freshman hall mates, aka the Goochies, to decide what we were going to do for the talent show. Did I mention the word informal, yet? We had planned to do a skit and/or interpretive dance to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." Then we realized we didn't want to make total asses of ourselves (turns out we needn't have worried - there were two other dance numbers in the show, both with a distinct emphasis on cross-dressing). Rachel's husband Zak proposed we re-do the lyrics to "Our Alma Mater." Here's a taste of what we came up with:
Hark the Goochies' voices swelling,
Strong and true and clear.
Erin & Eric's love they're telling,
Ringing far and near!

Erin & Eric! Love so new,
Hark upon the gale.
Hear the thunder of our chorus,
Erin & Eric, hail!

Awe-inspiring, is it not? We even got the audience to join in on the last chorus, in the traditional W&M style (that is to say, they shouted the names and mumbled their way through the rest of the lyrics). After crafting this masterwork, we split up to get ready for the wedding. For Ashlea, Rachel, Kristy, Zak and Frank this meant donning their wedding frippery. As for Jojo, Kristin, Shawn and myself, we went out for ice cream.

Finally, time for the main event was nigh. Erin had asked me to bring props for a silly picture booth (informal), so I was lugging around a duffel bag full of junk. It amuses me that my old Halloween costumes and such will end up in Erin's wedding album. Once I had set up the props, I shimmied into my chudithar kurtha - so useful on such occasions, since it looks incredibly fancy but is actually as comfortable as a pair of pyjamas - and joined back up with J, K, & S.

The ceremony started with remarks from a couple minister friends of Erin's (she herself is a minister and Eric does something or another with humanitarian aid - they're both so wonderful, could you just vomit?), followed by traditional vows. Then, they invited their guests to participate in a variation of a Scottish (?) hand-fasting. Instead of the ministers tying their stoles around the couple's joined hands, each guest was invited to tie a small ribbon (informal). Most disagreeably, Erin would not allow me to tie their free hands together with my ribbon. I contented myself with a tricky knot that captured their thumbs. Eric later consoled me by saying that was quite the most difficult one to get off.

Me: Eric, I have something very important to tell you ... Tonight is your wedding night. And you have your duties.
Eric (without missing a beat): You know what they say about Greek women - they are lambs in the kitchen, but tigers in the bedroom!
Me: Well played, sir. Well played.

For dinner we enjoyed a simple, hearty meal of shepherd's pie (one vegetarian and the other filled with blasphemy ... I mean, beef). Erin & Eric came over to regale us with their difficulties getting their names changed - instead of her taking his name or vice versa, they decided on a portmanteau (informal ... no wait, just quirky). Long story short, they got the name they wanted but have been politely asked never to visit the county office again.

After dinner was the talent show, then the room was cleared and we danced the night away. At least, until about 10pm when the couple made their exit. I packed up my bag of props, grabbed my party favor (A bag of granola, Erin? Really?), and drove home. There is usually a big let-down following a wedding, but this one was just too delightful and odd to leave one with anything but amused bafflement and the final impression, they looked so happy.

Jan 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

As you can probably appreciate, December was not a good month for blog entries. My usual birthday-blues dovetailed nicely into holiday madness, with additional fellowship-related stress. Argh! Anyway, things have settled down a bit (or am I just resigned to my fate?), so here I am to ring in the new decade with a recap of 2009. Hold on to your keyboards, this ought to be good.

I started the year working in the same job I got right out of grad school. It had it's ups (my colleague FV and my awesome patients) and it's downs (pretty much everything else). I was definitely ready for a change, so I applied for and got my current fellowship in DC.

This has been a dream of mine since grad school, so I was super excited. But I was also nervous about the big transition. Happily, Gilda and I managed our move to DC with only a few minor disasters - going from a two-bedroom condo to a studio apartment took some serious downsizing. My family was amazing, helping me pack and taking a lot of my crap back to Castle Sri with them. Thanks Mom, Dad, and Monster - I couldn't have done it without you!

The fellowship so far has been good. I got to go to Hawaii for a work conference, so already it's been well worth the effort ;-) Right now I'm still working in public policy at an institute within the NIH, but my next move is to find a spot on Capitol Hill. Easier said than done, I assure you! But I am determined remain optimistic (because the alternative is curling up into a little ball under my desk and refusing to come out). Pray for me, friends!

On a more personal note, I love living in DC. So many of my friends from undergrad live in DC or NoVA, it's like being back at W&M again. I've gone native, exchanging my beloved Corolla, Sheldon, for a metro SmarTrip pass. This makes visiting home a bit more difficult, but my family has been great about visiting me in DC. We spent Xmas here - went to a museum, saw a movie, did some shopping, etc.

Those are the broad strokes, as I see them. It's been a good year - I'm definitely happier! Here's a little preview of what (I hope) will go down in 2010:
1. Finding a spot on Capitol Hill
2. Going to Atlantic City for Maggie's birthday
3. Finishing up my certificate program in NY
4. Refinancing my condo in C'ville
5. World peace (hey, a girl can dream)