I called in sick to work today because I am plagued with sinus headaches. Yuck. I’ve been waiting for the headache to go away since 6:30 a.m. but am still not there. Hopefully soon.
This is my very first sick day, and it is kind of awesome. I mean, I’d be enjoying it a lot more if I could, you know, walk around without feeling nauseous, but otherwise things are great. During law school and especially during bar study this summer, I never got to take a break and just do what I wanted to do when I was sick. Sure, I would watch terrible television and stay inside my apartment, but I would never have a clear conscience. Today, I’ve checked my work email twice anticipating some sort of emergency, just to remember that I’m not really that “essential” to the federal government and, in all honesty, if I’m not in the office one day no one is going to be worse for the wear. It feels weird.
And, it feels awesome. So far today, I’ve caught up on two episodes of Sister Wives [I cannot look away from that show -- like, seriously, whoa] as well as Private Practice, Parenthood, and all of those shows I forget to watch on a regular basis. I’m currently watching TLC’s’ What Not to Wear and watching Leo (my cat) guard our apartment from squirrels and birds from the living room window sill. Cute.
Food-wise, I’m definitely not on track with my typical healthy lunches [Lean Cuisine + Fruit Cup], but I don’t care! I scarfed down leftover barbecue chicken and broccoli, but I was still hungry so I made . . . a cup of Easy Mac. Whoa buddy. I only used a tiny bit of cheese powder so hopefully it isn’t quite the 220 calories it says on the label, but it is super delicious and comforting. And I added freshly ground black pepper so it is totally classy.
I’m debating baking cookies, or a cake, or cooking a pot roast for the rest of my day. But maybe I’ll still keep doing nothing, just because I can.
1. Thursday night: started attending a women’s Bible study/small group with a handful of pretty fantastic women. We are reading Charles Bridges’ antiquated commentary on Proverbs. I love the outdated phrasing. And Proverbs are very helpful in the workplace.
2. Friday: Had a great work-week finale and was pumped to get sushi and cocktails when H wanted … Dogs and Fries. I think that is literally the name of the “restaurant” we attended. Yuck-o. And, not healthy or delicious (except for the fries, which were at least par and probably good).
3. Saturday: Official Visit with my girls at Alpha Rho, lunch (Chick-fil-a, but I had fruit cup instead of fries!) and Ides of March with my special favorite friend, and then the TN-Bama game with H and a crock-pot full of short ribs. I fell asleep at halftime when we were tied with the #2 team in the nation and I refuse to acknowledge the way we fell down and died in the second half. Oh wait, there it is. Tennessee you fell down and died in the second half.
3. Sunday: missed church, but got a lot done. Bethesda Bagels + farm market, dropped our old table and chairs at Goodwill, 3.5 mile hike in Rock Creek Park, 7 loads of laundry and grocery shopping. Oh, and I ironed a huge pile of work clothes and squeezed in a little Mad Men. I am falling in love with Don Draper even though I also hate his rich-fake-cheating-lying self. And Peggy is still on my heart due to my love and respect for President Bartlet.
In case you aren’t aware, I love food. H and I spend a lot of time perusing top DC restaurant food lists, and I get my daily news on beautiful food blogs instead of CNN.com.
Today was a good food day. Instead of the expected “happy hour” with $4 beer and chicken wings, my friend M took me to the cutest little wine place in her neighborhood: Room 11. We had specialty wines (mine was a rose’ and hers was an Italian white), Marcona almonds (salty and flavored with olive oil), and a meat and cheese plate with heirloom prosciutto, cheddar, and a triple cream. It was kind of awesome. And M was so sweet to not even blink at my prosciutto even though she is a vegetable-tarian.
It was a great time. I love having cultured female friends, because being from Tennessee and spending most of my “going out” time watching football with my man and his buddies, I sometimes miss out on those special moments. A girl-appropriate classy wine night was just perfect.
- Dear Mark: Marcona Almonds, Olives, Grass-Fed Whey, and Carbquik (marksdailyapple.com)
- Grilled Cheese at LAFW! (my-imperfect-kitchen.com)
- Oozy and Delicious….Baked Mozzarella Wrapped in Prosciutto (cliftonkitchen.wordpress.com)
- So-Called Marcona Almonds (markbittman.com)
- Grilled Squash Ribbons and Prosciutto with Mint Dressing (thebittenword.com)
Warning: stream of consciousness unedited metro typing ahead.
Thanks everyone for commiserating with me last night — from FB to blog views, apparently I am much more popular when things are going bad. (Just kidding!!).
But, I’m over feeling frustrated and have accepted a simple truth: when you job is to check the work of other people/offices, it’s not always going to be rosebuds and champagne. It’s human nature to want to be right — and I can certainly identify with those feelings. So I’m just chalking this one up to the learning curve of life. When I have more experience knowing which “problems” are real and which are tedious and unproductive, it will be easier. Until then, it is just going to be a bumpy road sometimes.
But, I’m tired of worrying about work when I’m not working — I mean that’s why I’m not trying to get a firm job somewhere! This week H has finals and projects and it is altogether pretty stressful for him – so I’m leaving my work issues at work (and here on the blog, of course) and going to lunch with a friend and then HAPPY HOUR with another friend! Hopefully this rain will slack off by the time work ends so the walk will be pleasant.
In more important news, we got a new dining table and chairs, I roasted a chicken for dinner Monday night, and the heat came on in our apartment.
Have a fantastic hump day!
I’m working on my eighth week at my agency, and learning a lot about how the government really works, but also a lot about myself.
Over the last year I’ve been consistently challenging my own ideas about myself. When I left Tennessee and moved to DC for school, I was under-confident. I thought I was just a sweet shy Southern girl whom no one would take seriously. And really, the only person not taking me seriously was me. I’m not sweet, not shy, and not someone you want to mess with.
In my final year of school, my clinic advisor took the time to help me see my strengths — that I could see problems in words quicker than most, that I wasn’t afraid to hit the nail on the head, and that people could see my abilities and trusted me with their business.. These are the qualities of a counselor, the lawyering tasks I find most compelling. Any smart kid can read something and figure out what it means if they try hard enough; discerning what realistic options are available for a person and giving that person the tools to examine those options carefully without overriding their right to self-determination is much more challenging.
And that is what I love about my “job,” but also what drives me crazy about my current position. I love the issues I’m working on, but I miss the people they impact. Instead of helping someone learn to navigate the system, I am the system. Six months or a year from now I will be knowledgeable enough to try making changes to the system, thus fulfilling my goals and the very reason I took this job. But right now, I’m not really able to make a deep impact. Instead, I’m fighting tiny battles of slight consequence with other offices that think I am their enemy instead of their partner.
People are hard to work with. No matter how careful you try to be with your words or conversations, when your job is to review others’ work for policy issues and consistency, people may not appreciate your feedback. And the worst of those people may try to push you off the real issues by fighting back. And sometimes, you have to stand up to professional bullies to get your job done. Even if you end up in pretty much the same place you started. And that was today.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
I am the kind of person that comes up with extravagant plans, thinks over every single detail of those plans, and then never follows through on them. When other people depend on me, or my work/resume requires the activity, there are always results — and usually, those results are kind of awesome. But when I get ready to do something just for me, it usually slips through the cracks.
I’ve decided to do things differently this week, starting with one tiny change: waking up with fewer snoozes. The ideal, perfect MB would wake up before the alarm, bounce out of bed, cuddle the kitty, jog to the gym, lift weights/run for 20 minutes, shower, cook H breakfast, and read the paper before leaving for work. Holy cow — that is a lot more than what I currently do before leaving for work, which includes barely getting out of bed, dressing as quickly as possible, and thanking H for packing me breakfast and lunch to go while I run around the apartment. BUT, if I could take that hour I spend snoozing and apply it to things I enjoy, I could make a slow and steady change to my life without feeling deprived or giving up any of my evening events. That hour I spend snoozing could be 30 minutes of gym time and 30 minutes of me time. And that would be awesome.
Typical MB would try to fit all of her goals into the first morning, be incredibly exhausted by 10 AM, and then never wake up on time again. And to be honest, there is still a 95% chance I will not wake up on time tomorrow. But I’m going to try. I’m going to set my clothes out for work and for the gym — just in case I feel like going — before I go to sleep. And I’ll see how it goes, without putting too much pressure on myself or feeling guilty if I don’t make it happen tomorrow morning. Because the one thing that stops me from changing my daily habits time again is that I give up altogether if I don’t do things perfectly on the first try. And that is what I really want to change this week.
After taking the bar exam in July, I put it out of my mind. I haven’t been fretting about whether or not I passed, or really even thinking about it at all. When people ask, I just say that you never know, and I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed so I’m not worrying about what I can’t control. But, I still worry. I think everyone worries. As I see my friends pass their bars (CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!!!) I worry that I might be the only one who is “left behind.”
To be honest, before this week I was more concerned about my personal recommendations all getting in and being a-o-kay than I was about my test scores. I have a weird calm in testing situations: I walk into the room, do what I do, and then leave without giving it a second thought. You can’t go back in time — you can’t study more or change your answers after the test is over — so why worry?
But, I finished my character assessment as of Tuesday this week [THANK YOU TO ALL OF MY RECOMMENDERS WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE FOLLOWING MY BLOG!] and now I’m just waiting for another month or so for results. I still don’t really worry about it, since my awesome federal policy job will not be affected by my bar status in the short-term. But, my potential OGC rotation will change, as will my ability to feel awesome about myself, at least for a month or two. I mean, some pretty fantastic people have had to re-take the bar exam in their respective states, but here’s the thing about that: they weren’t really that awesome at the time they failed the bar. Instead, they were awesome later on in life, after they recovered from the embarrassment and unpleasantness of failure and usually on the dime of their super rich preppy families. So, having the potential to be awesome in the future really won’t lessen the impact of not being awesome in the moment, will it? No, not at all.
And also, I am not a Kennedy. My parents do not have a home in Cape Cod where I can hole up and study over the holidays.
And still, I honestly feel pretty confident about my exam answers [except for this one problem that is still driving me crazy if I let myself think about it]. I just feel guilty about feeling confident, and then tell myself that if I feel confident and then fail it will be worse than if I am nervous and insecure and fail. Perhaps my biggest fear is being overly confident? Either way, I’m unsure about how to handle unknowns. So I just ignore it. I don’t even remember what day the results are going to be posted, although I’m pretty sure the State of Maryland will send me multiple emails with ALL CAPS SUBJECT LINES so I think that something has gone terribly wrong to remind me of the upcoming dooms-day.
This week I had a dream where I passed the bar, but only by five points, and that it made me really sad. But I was dreaming and not being all that logical, so I probably missed the part where passing by one point is the same as passing by a million points. So, America, let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Well, I’m still only at about 75% (if that), but I am currently feeling awesome and I’m about to share a new-found home remedy for the cold that will not give: slicing onions.
Seriously, onions are my hero [heroes? heroines?]. I just finished chopping six beautiful sweet white onions for my first go at French Onion Soup, and whoa. I think I cried away my cold. Perhaps my eyes, nose, and throat are just so overwhelmed by onionyness that they can’t feel sick right now? Even if this is a temporary fix, I am elated. I feel awesome. There is a 95% chance that this is a predominately drug-induced euphoria.
My onion healing magic reminds me of onion poultices, which were the key healant in my Little House on the Prairie/Christy-filled childhood. Did anyone out there read books about old-timey life for, I don’t know, their entire childhood? I think the lives of 10 or so fictional characters central to my identity as an 11-year-old may have been saved by onion poultices. And certainly I was saved numerous times by them while traveling the Oregon Trail. Now, I’m thinking that onions may be the cure for all things terrible.
In other news, I am currently trying my hand at mixing online recipes to create a simple French onion soup that is delicious but does not require me walking outside or going to the grocery store. That means no beer, no brandy/cognac, no wine is involved… Also, only dried herbs. We’ll see how it goes. It smells good.
September flew by so quickly, and the fall weather has rolled into our drafty little apartment a few weeks ahead of our heat. I’m not sure if it is the lack of warmth, the rainy hike I took last weekend, or germs from the metro, but I am sick as a dog. You know, that sickness where you are totally fine except you have this tiny cold that makes everyday activities miserable, and you can’t really justify a sick day.
H and I are doing well. We have settled into our new routine pretty well, and I have become the morning person I always wanted to be. Not by this method, however; by simple paycheck-earning necessity. Apparently, this is an even more effective way to adjust your sleeping schedule.
My work is pretty interesting, too. I don’t have controversial issues cross my desk every day, but even simple and non-controversial tasks can be stimulating in the federal government because people are crazy. Like, seriously out there. Luckily, my officemates are generally supportive and my two bosses are smart and effective. I’m starting my seventh week of work on Tuesday, after a federal holiday (yay Columbus day!!).
I’ve made a few new friends in the office/at my agency, but I really miss my DC bestie. Changing from school to work has drastically altered my life, and I hate that it is so much harder to connect with my law school friends. It is amazing what a huge percentage of your life is filled with work — even during my cushy 8-hour days — and I hate how much of my life is controlled by my work!
I was lucky enough to make it to TN for Labor Day, and it was fantastic awesome amazing wonderful to be with my girls and to see the fam. It is so nice to be loved, and to have people to love. I discovered a place called Talbots and also stocked up on some blazers at Goodwill. What to wear to work is kind of a mystery to me, but I’m working on developing a “government style”. I think I’m going to call it frumpy professional.
Well blog, you are now officially updated and then some. Please blame the sentimentality of this novelish post on DayQuil, my current enabling drug of choice. And please stick around this month — I’m going to try to renew my blogging dedication.
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