Thursday, August 28, 2008

we need you, johnny mac

watching the obamas/bidens leave the stage, i can't help but wonder:

aren't they wealthy? arent they attractive? arent they well to do? they may have come from nothing, but. pretty much the same story as the mccains/most republicans out there. for every kennedy and bush there is a selfmade politician too.

the difference between the michelles and the cindys, the baracks and the johnny macs is that one supports strong, heavy handed government with "benefits" for all. the other supports strong, hard working people with benefits for those willing to earn them.

change change change. i know hes sincere about chanting it, but how can really bring it about? he can't. because hes just like the rest of em.

i'll tell you who i love. jill biden. shes gorgeous, seems down to earth. sincere. cries real tears. loves her husband for who he is, not for where he can take her.

i can tell you i will cry real tears if b.o. is elected. because i will pay more taxes, american borders will be insecure, and russia will possibly nuke our asses. because gays will be married in all states that ratify such ammendments, abortion will be legal, and our supreme court bench will be filled with people who are crazy. not to mention that health care will become even more frustrating, with situations like canada where you drive yourself to the next big city if your city's hospitals are full. because lobbyists will rule dc, schools will be even more focused on "teaching to the test," and we'll fill afghanistan with troops currently stationed in iraq and call it a draw-down. because a god-fearing, america loving, eager to serve man like george w. bush will be bashed and trashed for the next four years.

we need you john mccain. step. it. up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tour de Mount Vernon

Me: "If I called my mom right now, I would say, hey mem, its me. I'm with Caitlin. Well I guess that goes without saying."
Caitlin: "Yeah, that's like saying, "I live in DC."
Well, we had another adventure again this weekend. Full of lots of pain in our muscles, silliness coming out of our mouths, and a little bit of George and Martha Washington.
I've been planning in my head of biking to Mount Vernon since last January - just waiting for a warm weather and good company. Found. So, Caitlin and I met at the Memorial Bridge that links Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial. According to guide books, the Mount Vernon trail is a wide, smoothly paved, flat 18-mile stretch that takes riders from Georgetown through Alexandria, Virginia out to the gates of Mount Vernon. We rode 17 miles together outbound to the mansion, and if we had been filmed, it surely would be the next great reality show.
We stopped after the first 45 minutes or so, making it roughly 12:45. We had already passed Reagan National Airport and were near a marina with sailboats, where we watched a solo sailor trying to right his sunfish boat after it had capsized. (it took several attempts, which was perfect entertainment while we ate crackers, guzzled water, and talked about how we were going to be sore when we got to our destination.
Little did we know. The next 12 miles or so were full of me laughing alot about how difficult it was for me to make it up a hill, which didn't help because then i would be more out of breath from the laughing. My dad left me a voicemail after hearing of our endeavor saying "well, i'm sure y'all had fun but your's just not meant for riding more than a few miles in a neighborhood. Not that i don't like your bike, i know it was a great find, but the way the handle bars and seat and peddles are aligned, i don't know how you would ride up a slight incline for a litte ways, let alone miles..."
In short, it was hilarious. We passed some pretty houses and a marsh and LOTS of interesting characters out on the packed trail. I had my handy bell that reads "I heart my mom!" on the top to warn anyone that we were coming. Once, I fell behind due to a traffic jam on a bridge near the airport, and a biker passed Caitlin ringing his bell. She thought it was me, and so she turned and said "ding ding!" he looked at her like she was crazy and said "ding ding" right back.
We made, it finally, to Mount Vernon. Soaked in sweat and starving. But it was great to see the mansion that our first president had built. He was definitely a more noble man than me, (partly because I'm not a man) - in the museum it talks about how he was offered the position of King on multiple occasions, but he always declined. He clearly loved Martha immensely, and they talked of how no one was allowed in his library without specific permission - except for Martha, who could go in whenever she wanted. We saw the last set of teeth that he used, and the very bed where he died.
Oh, I'm leaving out a few things. On our way out there, I was behind hodge podge and thought my chain had come off. So I stopped, looked at it, then sloooowly was trying to catch up. I shouted "Hodge PODGE!" so she would know where I was, and this racer dude passing me just heard me yelling but didn't know I was talking to anyone so he was like "c'mon, you can DO IT!!" i wanted to punch him. And, Caitlin told me several stories of bike crashes she's been in during our third mile or so. Like, when she rode into a ditch off a bridge. And how she still has a scar from one time she flipped over the handle bars. And then five minutes later she almost crashed into a bridge...
My chain came over at approximately mile 36. But, he-women that we are, we got it on in no time. Greasy blackened hands to prove it, too. When we got to mount vernon, prior to food and fro-yo and water and caffinated beverages, we were contemplating how to get back to this district - ferry? hitchhike? metro in the last 10 or so miles? pay some kids to ride in for us and we'll ride in the car with their parents? but WE MADE IT all FORTY miles door to door. and today i'm not quite as exhausted as i thought. but, in the guidebook, we're going to put "prepare to have a sore hiney and some curse words along the way to the symbol of American freedom and prosperity that is Mount Vernon."
To sum up, I'll leave with two final short stories. One - as we sat on the back porch of the mansion overlooking the Potomac thinking of colonial days, a six or seven year old boy asked his dad, "Daddy, were the dinosaurs around when this house was being built?" Yep, you betcha. So were those cows in that field over there, said Caitlin.
And today, leaving church in Chinatown, my wonderful roommate Katherine said to me:
"Who has been kicking Caitlin in the calves?"
"What?" I said, as I looked over at Caitlin crossing to the opposite street with our friend Joe.
"Those bruises! Who's been kicking Caitlin in the back of the legs?"
"Oh," I said. "No one. Those are from her bike pedals smacking her whenever we get off our bikes and walk."
gig em & god bless ya!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I Learned from the Commonwealth of Virginia

Last Thursday I came home from work, grabbed my bags, climbed onto my scooter, (which i have named Merriweather Lewis, because he was awesome for a number of reasons. He was the personal secretary of Thomas Jefferson, he got to live in the East Room of the White House for a few months with his laundry spread everywhere, and he explored the American Frontier with his buddy Clark.) Anyways, Merriweather and I rode across the Key Bridge -at sunset, it was beatiful, into Virginia.

When you ride the metro in VA, the driver always says, "next stop ___ blah blah, final stop in the commonwealth of virginia" or "next stop, "pentagon station, first stop in the commonwealth of virginia." i don't know why its not a state, probably because of thomas jefferson's handiwork, but anyways, i was dog/house sitting for a lady from our office who was going to texas. I kept her two fun, big dogs from Thursday through Tuesday morning. Five days. Long time. She lives in a cute townhousey neighborhood out in Virginia. It takes 10 minutes to get there in no traffic from the USDA/downtown DC, but not on Merriweather. So it was annoying being that far out there but all the money I made is going straight to the Europa Fund, which erases the annoying part. Plus, as i told the infamous caitlin hodges, its adventures like this that give me more material for my book. (hitting newstands, TBD)

Anyways, I won't bore you with alot of the details. But I'd like to share some of the wisdom I acquired while out in the green suburbaness that is Alexandria/Arlington, Virginia.

a) i learned that homesickness is right at the edge of life in dc, waiting to suck me in.

Scootering out to my weekend home, it was great to see all the cute houses with their steps up to the door, and the fun-colored front doors and shutters, and all the trees and yards bigger than a sandbox, but. I was hit with the feeling (along with a few bugs in my teeth) that living in a real city would be hard. DC is so unique, and my purpose is so clear. Its the capitol, I'm here because what I'm doing can't happen in any other city and because I'm learning and experiencing things vastly different from Houston/home. I think that if I lived in a house with a regular sized room and a queen bed, in a city with no metro transportation, with no smithsonians and weird things to do on every corner, i'd be sad and wonder WHY AM I HERE when i could be in houston/not thousands of miles from most of my friends and family. (don't worry though, i'm back in the district and all is well.)

b) that houston isn't the only large city with mexico built right in.
so i took a wrong turn on my scooter on saturday, while i was making my way into the city to watch the olympics with dear friend/roomie katherine & holly. and all of a sudden, two blocks off the route i had google-mapped, i am in mexico. seriously. people speaking spanish on every corner, soccer being played in parking lots, mexican import food market, guys whistling at any blonde they see, regardless of if she's actually attractive. it was like i was driving down longpoint in the 77057. i'm not trying to judge or be degrading, i'm just saying - apparently immigrants make it further than houston and create their own version of home right here, not 10 miles from el capital.

c) that my moped is probably the best tangible thing my parents have ever given me, and if i die on it it will so be worth it.
I LOVE MY MOPED. it is ssssoooo fun. (in case you don't know the details of merriweather, he is a ghetto version of a moped. as in, the rearview mirrors don't work because they aren't located in a position that a person taller than 3 feet 5 inches can see out of. except for the left one, but the bolt is loose so it spins forward when you hit a bump. so people from the front of merriweather can see their reflection, great. he also is currently getting 85 miles per gallon. i'm totally getting one in the next city i live. i'm not very gracious at accepting gifts nor do i like to spend money when unnecessary, and this was not necessary, but it is so convenient and fun. and i promise i'm safe, because the last thing my dad said to me about merriweather was "if you die on that thing, that i suggested we get and that i paid for, i will never forgive myself." thanks for the uplifting message dad. now i never veer through traffic or speed through the tunnel on K street. okay, only rarely. but seriously, thanks mom & dad!!

d) i wish there was a soundtrack to my life. (good morning, baltimore!!)
friday morning i made the bus from the virginia house right on time - literally walked up the hill and there was the bus, pulling up for me to jump on. it dropped me off at the pentagon - yes, the one in the movies. i've been there! i told myself - and i metroed over the potomac river. then, i came up out of the escalator on the national mall with blue skies overhead, a light breeze, marine one flying straight over my head over to the white house to pick up the POTUS. perfect timing or what?

e) dogs are a lot of work. especially dogs that shed.
whew, the dog hair. i sure miss pookies/sam and if i could have him back for just one day i would NOT complain about his dog hair or fish breath, but. these dogs aren't pookies. and they had a lot of hair. just like babysitting is good birth control, dog sitting is good don't-run-down-to-the-humane-society-just-to-rack-up-a-five-hundred-dollar-vet-bill-unless-you're-really-really-serious-about-getting-a-dog control.

f) i like trees and art museums and living in the capitol.
the trees in virginia and the winding long streets with cute houses were AWESOME. i miss fresh air and no crowded streets with alleys hiding trash cans. but being in the national gallery of art museum with hodge podge was awesomer. capitol, you win for now.
g) people in the commonwealth like to GET IT ON.
seriously, i went running three days in a row out there, and on sunday night i probably saw five VERY pregnant women out walking with their hubbies. or couples with two kids in a stroller and another two or three on bikes with training wheels. (not a lot of cars on these streets.)
cute, but seriously. babies don't grow on trees. these people are busy.

h) dc, if i hadn't officially told you already, i've fallen for you. good thing we have least 5 months left to continue our relationship.
dear readers, if you've made it this far - sorry this post has turned into a novel. i can't believe its the end of August already!! i say that at the end of every month, i know it's annoying. well, life is great up here. if i keep coming back to texas i may just stay here for a little while longer. (shh, don't tell caitlin. or my mom. i don't want to get either of their hopes up. plus, they'll both be fine without me, they just talk a big game to make me feel loved.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm Leavin'...On a Jet Plane! (but i know when i'll be back again)

texas, our texas, all hail the mighty state!

well, in less than 24 hours i will have touched down in the great city of HOUSTON! little known fact : 88% city of Houstonians recently surveyed would list their city as the best city to live in in the nation.
if i were the POTUS, or a cabinet secretary, on my schedule next to arrival in Houston it would say RON. (not a code name for my attractive boyfriend. nor is it my code name for my security agents. it stands for Remaining OverNight) REMAINING OVER NIGHT IN TEXAS!!

on sunday i realized it was actually this week that i was leaving for tejas - and i thought, it's about time. but then i realized i'd been in town at the end of june, so its only been 6 weeks. seems like forever though.

anyways, understatement that i'm excited to be going, excited to see the fam, and pretty pumped to walk across the stage at TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY. it really really doesn't feel like its over. i still feel like i'm on an internship and someday soon i'll be back to sleeping in late, staying up til 2 or 3, and the number 1 thing on my to-do list for the weekend is a football game. i only spent 4 semesters in college station: because i had a year and a half in fort worth, a half year interning at the white house. somedays i feel like my days at aggieland sprinted by, other days i forgot that i was even a transfer.

all i know is if you would have told me 5 years ago i'd be graduating from texas A&M i'd have laughed in your FACE. yet i can't imagine it any other way. its what my mom and i like to call "a god thing." totally planned by God. Maybe i'm another way to point to the existence of God - "well, see, God has to be real. there is no other power that could have moved c.robinson from a burnt-orange bleeding, longhorn t-shirt wearing, major applewhite lovin high school student to a member of the twelfth man fightin texas aggie!!!

i learned its not always just about the school though in terms of faculty or curriculum - or the colors, ew maroon? really? - its about the people. i won't ramble on forever, but the people at texas A&M are why i loved it - the feeling of standing in the football stands, with people who really care about who you are, who care about what's happenin on the field, people that stand for loyalty and hard work and are genuine and laid back. sure, some of them are rude. some of them have one life goal: get drunk, and look ridiculous doing it. some of them cheat on tests. but in general, the 40,000 strong that make up texas A&M today are fun, down-to-earth, salt of the earth people.

i'm still happy with life in DC. more than happy. laid by the pool this weekend (the public pool in georgetown. sign said, and i cannot make this up: "all rashes must be inspected by physician before entering water." it was GREAT to go swimming!! i also cooked veggies from the USDA farmers market. shopped. did a bible study with caitlin. hiked in the woods. rode my bicycle to teddy roosevelt island. (we have woods here!) slept.

oh! and last night was screen on the green. nothing like shirley maclain and jack lemmon projected on a giant screen with the capitol glowing in the background. only in this city!

this has been a rambling of thoughts. i'll report back after family time, graduation, a fun wedding, and LOTS more family time on the lake. i'm sure i'll cry to board the plane in houston and jump for joy when i land in the district. its only a year and i'm going to make the most of it. this week, i won't quote billy knox. i'll quote davy crockett:

"You may all go to hell, and i will go to TEXAS!"