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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Lunchbox Saga: Updated

Ok, so it was never really a saga. I know.

BUT, it appears as though the lunch box that I sadly left on the bus yesterday has been turned in! When I turned my phone on after work I had a voice mail from a customer service rep who said he thought he had my lunch bag. And considering the level of detail I put into the description when I reported it, I'm pretty sure there is no possible way that my black and gray bag with the VH1 Best Cruise Ever logo with a rectangular pyrex, ice pack, and apple wrapped in a paper towel in it could be mistaken for someone else's.

I left the guy a voice mail back, but I think he was already gone for the day. But hopefully we can get it picked up tomorrow, hooray!!

Update: It's official, they have it! And the guy even said he's going to wash out the dish for me, which is super sweet and super unnecessary. Mad props to Mr. Turner at the Fairfax Connector, and hooray for the return of the lunch box, the Pyrex, the ice pack and the spoon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I hate mornings.

I am not a morning person.

This may be confusing. Yes, I spent 10 years in the military, which seems to be full of people who think it's perfectly acceptable to start the day at times that begin with 5 or sometimes even 4. (And I'm not talking about waking up at those times. I'm talking about requiring people to be somewhere at those times.) And then, even after leaving that life, I chose to go work for the military. Yup, same crowd. And then, when I was waiting to get my situation squared away for current job and was working at my company's headquarters building, where most people don't get in until at least 9:30, I had trouble with it. Which might imply that I am, in fact, a morning person. I disagree. I think that just makes me a creature of habit. And one of my favorite parts about this new job is that I can take mass transit to work (which, yes, I'm pretty sure is more expensive than the gas it would take to drive these days) so I don't have to be awake and coherent when I leave the house in the mornings.

This week of mornings so far has been less than stellar. Monday morning wasn't AWFUL. I woke up knowing my allergies were in full force, and I had a little bit of a squeak in the voice. But that's OK. Tuesday morning, I was moving slow, and then was so rushed to scarf down my breakfast that I left my lunch in the fridge.

Today, though, brings a whole new level of special to the week. First I woke up with an amazing post-nasal-drip-induced sore throat, which I'm hoping will be assisted by the 400mg of ibuprofen I took, but my hopes aren't high. Then I took for damn ever to get out of bed, which means my hair did not get done so, yet again, its up. This is why I do not have short hair. I was very proud of myself, because I got a smoothie made AND I got my lunch put together, AND I was out the door with plenty of time. There was a little more traffic than normal getting to the metro, but everything was good. I'm reading a book that I'm really enjoying, and the iPod was shuffling up a good mix.

Then I sat down on the train and realized I no longer had my lunch. Yup. My non-awake, non-coherent self had left my lunch sitting on the bus, right next to where my purse sat on the bus. I mean, I'm bummed about losing the food, but I'm even more bummed about the awesome Pyrex dish it was in, and the even awesomer VH1 Best Cruise Ever lunch box it was all in. Here's hoping the Fairfax Connector Lost and Found comes through.

Hopefully the mornings can only get better from here on out. 3 day weekend, you have no idea how excited I am for you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Ingram Hill Music!

Those of you that know me know that my music geneology, if you will, traces back to hearing Ingram Hill on the radio back in the fall of 2004, just after returning from deployment. I've been a huge fan ever since. Which is yet another reason why I'm super excited that they have a new album coming out tomorrow.

For those of you that can't wait until tomorrow to hear it (like me), it's streaming on AOL Music. Enjoy!

And make sure you check their website to see when they'll be near you. I'll be seeing them on September 6th :)


I first started working in the world of Pandemic planning in about 2007. The person that had been the Bird Flu point of contact left the Agency, and because I was already working Continuity issues, I sort of became the default for the Bird Flu stuff too. It all fits into the "planning for what to do and how to keep operating when bad things happen" folder, right? Sure...

Since that time, I've worked a lot in the realm of bird flu, general biological threats, some swine flu, then finally more general pandemic / bio combined.  I've worked these at an agency level all the way up to the global level. I've studied biological threats and hazards, and learned probably a significant amount more about the science of diseases than I ever wanted to or thought I would, as well as what would happen if certain diseases were weaponized, either via conventional-type weapons, human vectors, introduction into the food or water supplies, and many other possibilities. I've been involved in working groups tasked with looking at the worst case scenario and figuring out how to plan for it.

So I'm pretty sure that all of the above is why, when we decided to watch Contagion the other night, I sat through it and just kind of nodded and agreed with most of what was happening throughout the movie. It was kinda funny, because I pretty much knew what it was about before watching, and had heard that it was very well done and very believable, but boyfriend thought we were going to be watching some sort of horror-fantasy-zombie movie or something, not something that seemed so realistic. I'm not sure he felt much better when I told him that oh, it didn't just seem realistic, it really was pretty much how we planners saw it going for a worst-case scenario. Especially after the swine flu (and bird flu, for that matter) not being as bad as we originally thought it would be.

I think that anyone involved in the pandemic planning or preparedness worlds should absolutely see this movie, because every bit of it, from attribution to tracking to the reaction of the general public to the chaos that is inevitable in such a scenario is dead on, at least as far as what the experts have said would happen. Someone involved in this movie did their homework. If you haven't been around the topic before it might scare the crap out of you, but even so, I highly recommend this movie. And since I obviously spend a ton of time on this blog talking about movies, that should tell you something :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And... I'm officially sick of this election cycle.

I know, that's some sort of blasphemy for a politics wonk like me, but I seriously have had about enough. Both sides are making things up. Both sides are taking things out of context. Both sides are getting just a bit ridiculous. And then this dumba$$ from Missouri talking about women's bodies being able to "shut it down" and "put up defenses" against getting pregnant by a rapist if its a "legitimate rape" - seriously??? WTF??? Ugh....

The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation recently conducted a poll of Independent voters, and an article published in today's paper explained it. It made a lot of sense to me. Most people who identify as Independent are much closer to one party or the other. I am generally much closer to Republican than Democrat, although not on social issues. But what tends to separate them from the parties is the complete distaste for the horribleness that is going on between the two parties right now. I knew I wasn't the only one sick of all the attack ads, sick of all of the words taken out of context solely for the purpose of making a political point. Most say that all they really want is a political system that works, with two parties who would cooperate with each other instead of confront each other. ME TOO. But it seems like neither party is listening, all they seem to be concerned about is firing up the base. Um, hey guys, newsflash: your base is going to vote for you no matter what. You really should be focusing on those of us that either haven't made up our minds yet or are leaning towards leaving the "President" section of the ballot blank this year.

In the last 1/3 or so of the article, they talk about a tiny portion of the population that truly is in the middle, and how most of them are just sick of the whole thing and a lot aren't even registered to vote. (I am, for the record.)  The poll shows that most of them favor Republicans on the economy (I tend to as well) and Democrats on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage (as do I). But according to this and many other things I've read / heard recently, people like me make up, as my niece would say, an eensy weensy portion of the population. (She'd say eensy weensy, not the rest.) I thought there were more of us than that. I'm not sure if that should make me feel sad, or better.

Either way, I can't wait until November when all of this will finally stop. Of course, I'm not sure what all the pundits on TV will talk about. But then again, this election cycle started so early that maybe they'll just jump right in to 2016. Awesome...

Monday, August 13, 2012

3 weeks down...

A little update on the paleo transition... Three weeks in, and I'm down 5.5 pounds! Myclothes are fitting better, I have had zero stomach issues, I'm far less hungry, I snack less, and I feel overall really really good.

And best of all, the little switch that's supposed to tell you that you're full so stop eating now, which had been broken in me for a VERY long time, has started working again. And it even works before I'm uncomfortably full!!

I've had a little bit of trouble getting out of some old habits, but so far, I'm really liking this. I won't lie, I've thought about having a big bowl of pasta or a bagel with cream cheese in the morning, especially this weekend when I was staying with friends. Their kid thought I was super weird when I stopped for beef jerky, but I just told her I eat funny :) But then 2 nights ago I had a dream that I ate a big old slice of pepperoni pizza, and it was SO GOOD. But then I started feeling like general ass after eating it. I think that's a good sign!!

In reality, I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of anything. The old me, when I cut something out of my diet solely because it was supposed to be bad for me, or because it was too many WW points, or whatever, it was really really hard to keep away from it. Eventually, inevitably, I would cave and have way too much of it. With this, though, I'm realizing how good I feel, and understanding that chances are, if I try to eat that bowl of pasta or that bagel there's a really good chance that I will not feel very well afterwards. I'm going to try it eventually, just to see what happens, but I'm going to plan it out for a Friday night or Saturday morning, when there's nothing else going on, and where I will be able to spend however long it takes to feel better laid out on the bed or the couch in front of the TV. For now, though, I'm liking how I feel, so I see absolutely no reason to do that anytime soon.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


My little blog has had a HUGE 24 hours!

When I posted yesterday about The Rock Boat Family and how awesome it is, I had no idea how many people would see it and how many nice things people would have to say about it! Thanks to everyone who read and shared!! The over 300 views that post has received is a record for the nearly 8 years I've been blogging. There is something really cool about so many people, strangers and friends, reading my thoughts that way.

When I was a little girl, I always kept a diary. I started this blog because it just wasn't practical to keep a written diary anymore - I lose things, and I'm not trying to keep it a secret, and I tend to use written journals more for writing song ideas. Most blogs have some sort of a theme, or something in particular that the writers focus on. This one has never been like that for me - I stole borrowed the tag line "these words are my diary screaming out loud" from an Anna Nalick song because it absolutely describes what this is for me. Its just an added bonus when people actually read it and relate to it :)

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, within a couple of hours of things being set up, the Rock Boater in question's payment was made, thanks to a little here and a little there contributed by the community. A professional resume writer in the TRB community offered to help her with her resume free of charge. A LinkedIn group just for Rock Boaters was set up with the aim of Rock Boaters helping each other out in the business / job / professional world. And inquiries have been made into setting up a general Rock Boat Relief Fund for cases like this in the future - primarily by those who tried to call and contribute to the original cabin but by the time they called it was already paid. Did I mention how proud I am of my TRB Family?)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

If you don't get it, you don't get it; or Why the Rock Boat is amazing

Sometimes when I tell people about The Rock Boat, and why I love it, and why its my first choice for vacation every year, they look at me like I have 4 heads or something. I guess I'm not explaining it to them well enough, or they don't get it, or something. Maybe this will help.

Yesterday was the last day to cancel a Rock Boat reservation and get a full refund of payments made up to that point - they call it the lineup guarantee, because most people that cancel at that point are people that aren't happy with the lineup so far. Occasionally roommate issues and the like. But usually the people who take advantage are the "I booked on blind faith and I'm not happy with what you've given me to this point, so money back please" types.  But yesterday, on the Rock Boat facebook group, something awesome happened.

A longtime veteran of Rock Boats (she'd only missed the very first one) canceled her reservation because of finances resulting in having lost her job in the spring. A bunch of people were sad, then one person said they'd send out her resume, and by the way they'd be willing to chip in towards her payment. It all catapulted from there. As of this morning, her reservation has been reinstated, and who knows how many people have chipped in to make sure that she makes the payment. I haven't even met her, but we have enough mutual friends that I chipped in as well. I'm pretty sure that with the number of people who have chipped in plus those who haven't, she'll have little if any to pay on her own when all is said and done.

This isn't the first time the TRB family has come through for someone who needed help. One friend mentioned in passing that she was in financial trouble and a few days later had a check in her mailbox from a TRB friend for grocery money. When my teenage sister was having tax issues with her employer, a TRB friend got on the phone with my parents and helped them sort through it. Who could even begin to count the number of couches and guest rooms Rock Boaters have shared with other Rock Boaters when traveling. I can, off the top of my head, name several couples that have met on the Rock Boat and are either now married or engaged. And I'm sure there are many, many more examples out there.

The music is only one part of what keeps me coming back to the Rock Boat year after year. What really does it is the real, true sense of community and family that develops between the people that love the music as much as I do. I've made lifelong friends, have an extended network of support and understanding for my weight loss endeavors, always have a concert buddy, usually have a dinner buddy at least one night in almost any place I've traveled for work, and never have to worry about getting bored on my vacation.

But today's outpouring of support, even by people who aren't even going on this year's boat, just warms my heart. As cliche as it may sound, it honestly makes me feel better about people in general. There is no shortage of love and caring for others out there, but its true that sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it. The TRB family has it in abundance, and I'm privileged to be a part of what has become more and more of a family to me over the past few years.

And if you still don't get it, you're just never going to! :)