Monday, February 1, 2010

When I was your age...





"...I walked nine miles through the snow to get to school..."


"...uphill both ways..."

Okay. So it's not quite nine miles from my apartment to work at the Capitol. But today, it was definitely a walk through the snow. And it's not quite uphill, but it's to the Hill. Which totally counts, in my opinion.

But days like these make me wonder why on Earth our Founding Fathers thought THIS would be the ideal place to set up shop and get to work on America. With freezing winters dumping snow drifts reminiscent of the arctic tundra and summers hot enough to melt your eyeballs, Washington, DC's weather leaves something to be desired. In fact, I venture to guess that the District can only boast of a few weeks between each season that are actually hospitable to human life.

Now sure, maybe I personally do not mind the frigid, below-freezing temperatures or the icy sidewalks or gusts of wind up to 20 mph. But I have all the benefits of 21st century living -- a wide array of scarves, hats, and gloves, two incredibly toasty, street-length coats, those nifty around-the-back-of-the-head earmuffs, several pairs of boots, a double-insulated Starbucks mug, and the promise of central heating at my office.

George Washington? Not so much. Today on my way to work, happily sipping my home-brewed coffee and enjoying the novelty of real, live snow, I tried to imagine George's commute around Washington. The cool part about living in such a historic place? I could almost see our poor frigid hero thundering down Pennsylvania on horseback, bound in furs and freezing cold, two hundred years to early for a drive-thru cup of coffee...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back.

So I'm back. After a long, long hiatus.

I originally intended just to take a break over the holidays -- relax, zen out, all that. After all, this blog is College Kate. And what on earth would she have to say about home for a month?

And then I got here.



Washington, DC.

Where, as I previously mentioned, I'm interning with a fairly notable member of Congress. Because of that, I've been trying to figure out the best way to continue this little blog without compromising my position there or the privacy of the office.

I considered a lot of alternatives over the last three weeks that I've been here -- from shutting this down completely (gasp!) to just making the blog about DC living. In the end, I decided I certainly didn't want to leave this blog behind over the next few months (it has been, and will be, a total ride!).

Here's the plan: I probably will discuss my internship, and my experiences at the Capitol. I absolutely will NOT disclose any information that could compromise the office. I will absolutely NOT be naming names.  I'll also talk a lot about my living arrangement here, in housing solely for young, conservative interns.

Yes, I said conservative. But no worries. This blog will not be about politics. In fact, I've been thrilled to discover that Washington, DC -- the people here -- no one gets upset or worked up about politics. People hardly even discuss politics. It's about policy, instead. No anger, just intelligent thought and conversation about issues.

And that's what this blog will be about. Minus the issues.

Stay tuned! And thanks for sticking around!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Feliz Cumpleanos/Happy Bday!

This is Jackie.



She stole the title of only-child from me seventeen years ago today. At the time, I was totally devastated. No little sisters here, please!! I was doing just fine with two doting parents all to myself, and as soon as said parents brought Jackie home, I immediately demanded to know when the little cretin was going back wherever it was she came from. Their answer - "Never." - didn't particularly satisfy my two-year-old self. That was the first -- but certainly not the last -- time my sister proved herself to be completely annoying.

Let's talk about some other annoying things about Jackie:

Jackie has no respect for my space, privacy, or property. She would waltz into my room and throw herself on my bed whenever the mood struck her. And then she actually took over my room, which is even worse. She also has a flat stomach, which is totally unacceptable. She has a 'q' in her name, which is extremely exotic. In fact, over all, she probably got the better name. And long, thick, hair, perfect for messy buns. I really can't do messy buns. 

When Jackie gets mad at you, she goes silent. It's a total boycott. She Just. Does. Not. Speak. To. You. EVER. It's basically the worst thing ever, because when I get mad, I'm the total opposite. It drives me completely insane. She does this intentionally, and I know it...


She got the better car too, which is just not cool. Same model, but hers has leather interior and heated seats, among other fabulous things. 


Speaking of fabulous, Jackie got the blond hair and the bubbly personality to go along with it. You really just can't help but like her, no matter how annoying she is at times. She also has this innate style and sense of fashion that utterly escapes me. Oh, and never tell her you want to know her "honest opinion" on anything you're wearing, because she's a little too honest, if you ask me. I really don't think younger sisters should be so patronizing...


But she kind of became my best friend my senior year (her freshman year) of high school. Which is something everyone told us would happen, and I always swore wouldn't. But I'm okay with that because even though she is still annoying (read: still my younger sister), Jackie is possibly the most annoyingly fabulous person I've ever met. 



Hey, Jackie? I'm really sorry I guilted you into giving me the bigger half of everything when we were little. And for dumping that liter of soda over your blond bob at Wild Waves. And for asking Mom and Dad to return you to the hospital, because I'm really glad they didn't.  
One more thing about Jackie. She has this weird habit of inserting random phrases of Spanish -- a language she doesn't actually speak fluently -- into every day conversation. I have no idea where that came from, but Feliz Cumpleanos, Jaque!!


And Happy 17th Bday, Jacquelyn!!
(You know what I'm sayin', girlfy...)

Monday, November 30, 2009

An Extremely Nerdy Revelation

So yesterday, before my flight home, my uncle and I sat over Starbucks coffee in the new-ish food court facility at the airport, and I made an extremely nerdy revelation.

I have academic nightmares. Like real, middle-of-the-night, unconscious dreams of a collegiate, academic nature that are completely horrifying.

Saturday night, for instance, I had this hellish dream that I had secretly enrolled in Accounting 250b (its prerequisite, 250a, officially ended my quest to become an accountant). In this dream, I hadn't gone to any of the classes in over a month, had a failing grade, and the final exam scheduled for this week. I actually woke up panicking that I wouldn't be able to drop the class, trying to figure out ways to get myself out of the mess before I realized a few moments later I wasn't actually registered for 250b (thank God!!) and hold high grades in all my classes.

My uncle says this dream is not entirely uncommon, that a lot of college grads -- even people who have been out for decades! -- still have it.

What about you -- ever have one of those? Or am I just crazy? (This is a possibility that I'm definitely willing to entertain...)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Family Affair

Thanksgiving is a family affair, full of tradition, and my aunt, uncle, and their three kids flew in from Chattanooga for it. We spent most of the week and all of the weekend together, so now that I'm sitting at the airport waiting for my flight back to LAX I can really post something substantial.


Of course we have to discuss the food. My Mom and Aunt got that going pretty early on Thursday morning. The turkey'd already been brining (that really is the secret) for 24 hours, but they had all the sides and desserts that still needed work.







That's the Southern hashbrowns in the red dish (more on that later!), the sweet potatoes under the lid, and of course the green bean casserole and the stuffing on the lower rack. Fortunately, we've got a double oven, so the turkey was baking in the one beneath.



Prepping the green bean casserole.


It all ended up being delicious. Rolls, mashed potatoes, the green beans, hashbrowns, stuffing (both bird, and non-bird), an amazing chocolate mousse, and pumpkin pie. 


And of course the turkey!







And didn't it turn out magnificently? It didn't just look beautiful -- it was actually delicious. The first time I ever actually enjoyed a Thanksgiving turkey. Moist and succulent, even the leftovers. A bird to be remembered. 


Anyway, every year we take a family photo with the fully cooked turkey, a tradition from my mom's side of the family, and this year was no exception. Only that picture wasn't on my camera, so here's one of my mom and aunt. They've got the whole identical-twin-thing going. That's my aunt on the left, my mom on the right.


While the food was cooking, the kids did a little art project, making crosses listing the things they're thankful for. Nicholas, my aunt's youngest, is working on his here. 







We always do these. My sister's from a few years ago is hilarious: "One Tree Hill." "Cell phones." And, my favorite, "My True Religions denim."  Certainly something to be thankful for, and you gotta love that kind of shameless honesty...


Nick's was a little more earnest. "God." "School." "Friends." "Cousins." And how cute is that handwriting?







Nick and Little J are about the same age, and they did the place cards, too. They weren't without some "typos," but that only added to the charm I think.







As always, my Dad carved the turkey.








He gets two pictures here, because he's so rarely in them, being the photographer himself most of the time.


My Mom is a fantastic decorator, and the table looked marvelous. 







Very festive. And look at the whole family together!! 


Then of course we tucked in to dinner...







...and after, while we were watching the dishes, we all broke into an impromptu dance party via iTunes. Some of us know all the choreography (NOT just the main sequence) from the  Village People's original "YMCA" music video. Some of us do not. 







Guess which kind of people we are?


I think this is where I sign off so you don't all think we're completely insane (which maybe wouldn't be too far off the mark, but whose family doesn't have a little crazy mixed up in there?). 


I hope all your Thanksgivings were as full of fun and family as mine was!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

So yesterday I did this post about what I really, really, wanted. Today, it's Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd let you know I'm not completely narcissistic and share what I'm truly thankful for, because it's a lot.

I'm thankful for my huge, crazy family that somehow puts up with me and my craziness. I'm thankful so many of them are here today.

I'm thankful for the butter-basted bird baking in the oven, and all of the rest of the food currently baking, cooling, and settling in various places throughout the kitchen (especially for the crispity, cheesy goodness that is the hashbrown dish -- more on that later!).

I'm thankful that come Monday, I will return a world-class educational institution for classes, and I'm thankful my parents value my education so much and have the means to send me there.

I'm thankful for my fabulous roommate, who shares her food, enjoys our experimental cooking sessions, tolerates my idiosyncrasies, and likes bad TV as much as I do.

I'm thankful for my parents' willingness to jump behind my dreams, and support my decision to take a semester off of school to intern in Washington, DC. I'm thankful for all the opportunities I've received, and the way they make the whole world seem to stretch out before me, in any way I want to experience it.

I'm thankful for the little things too -- the mulchy, clean smell of a Seattle day right after rains, the warmth of a California fall, the leaves that crunch, the winds that blow, the stars I appreciate even more now that the skyline of Los Angeles -- a totally different kind of beauty -- illuminates my sky instead.

Today, and always, I am thankful for all of it. And right now, as I type this, I'm thankful for this blog -- a place where I can pour out my day in writing, and share it with my family and the blogosphere -- and I'm thankful for you -- everyone who bothers reading it or commenting. You brighten my day.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Made for Walkin'

I am kind of in love with these boots.




I don't think they're on sale on Black Friday, but I'm okay with paying sticker for them, because they're slouchy and suede and heather gray, and even though they're not my usual style, I've been lusting after them for basically ever. I recently tried on a pair and loved them, but didn't have my wallet with me at the time.

But this time...ohhh, this time I'll be ready. Only I just realized that even though they probably won't be on sale at my nearest Nordstrom's, those other shoppers who rush the store for the deals might see them, fall in love, and take them away forever!!!

I don't often get this way about any item of clothing, but these are kind of symbolic now. They're different from what I usually wear -- I'm not certainly not terribly edgy or fashion-forward, but I love these and I'm kind of inspired by them. And now, with the upcoming move to DC (I've all but signed the lease agreement on an apartment!!), I'll need boots for just walking around the city in the winter.

So, really, I kind of need them in my life. And I'm willing to stake-out Nords with all the crazies at the crack of dawn to pay full-price for them if I have to...