C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, August 31, 2007

    "Take your daughter to work" day

    As most of you know, SM works on Capitol Hill for a member of Congress. Well, Congress is in recess, so SM decided to take our daughter to work today. Apparently, it is quite common for folks who work on the Hill -- and not just the electeds, but their staffers too -- to bring pets (dogs) of all sizes in with them for the day.

    I can't imagine any other federal office where that would be okay, but it sounds like it's a relatively common occurrence when Congress is out. No one blinked when SM brought her through security.

    So here for your amusement, may I present Gidget, sporting a jersey from her favorite football team!

    Awwww, ain't she cute? And if it looks like she's getting tubby, that's because she is. As are her parents.


    A first

    I have a gray hair on my arm.

    Oh my. I don't even want to think about what's next.

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    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    Guess who this is?

    And guess what medium this piece of art was made in...

    Pretty clever. Pretty cool.

    For answers to these questions and more, check out the story here.


    Wednesday, August 29, 2007


    So far for work, I've been to an EEO mediation (pre-hearing) and a settlement conference (hopefully in lieu of a hearing). Now all I need to do is actually attend an actual hearing.

    I'm sure it will come soon enough.

    But for a newbie attorney, I've done some interesting stuff. More than I probably would have done at a firm. I've handled a document production and am the lead attorney handling an EEO complaint (assuming it goes anywhere).

    Decent experience for not even a year on the job.

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    Proud to be an American but ashamed of some fellow Americans

    When I was channel surfing earlier this evening, I saw a bit on the local news (and then saw it on other channels too) about a group of high school students who, while waiting for their school bus at the bus stop, were robbed. At gunpoint.

    That makes me so angry. So angry. And ashamed.

    How did we as a society let things devolve to this? What parents raised their kids without any morals or integrity such that they would consider it acceptable to make a few bucks by terrorizing anyone at gunpoint, let alone kids on their way to school? Not that this is relevant, but what could they have possible gotten from these kids? A few iPods or cell phones? I can't imagine that they had much cash, especially given where this took place. And now these kids will forever have the memory of being threatened with a gun. Pointed at them. Good god.

    And I also saw a piece on the news this morning about someone who dropped a bowling ball from a bridge onto a truck passing underneath.

    What the fuck???

    The only reason someone does something like that is to hurt, maim or murder someone. This cannot be an accident. What kind of person does this? How do people get so mean?

    I am completely at a loss. It makes me angry. And sad. And frustrated. How did we get to this place?

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    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Call me a geek...

    But I totally want to get this... as a gift for my li'l bro. So I could check it out too.

    Yes, ladies and gents, it's The Star Wars® Battleship® Game.


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    Yo, fellow feds!

    Big brother may be watching you.

    Here is another reminder for federal employees (any employees actually, but we in the fed have fewer liberties with our federal equipment) that our internet activities are tracked.

    And for the record, yes, I know that our IT folks can pull up the history of every single website I've visited while logged onto the network. And yes, I know that blogger is one that will come up and raise some eyebrowns. And yes, I know it's a bad idea to blog at work. I guess I just like living dangerously.

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    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Job hunters: some tips for your resume

    Not from me, but someone with lots more resume-reading experience than I have (although I have plenty of resume-sending experience).

    Read this article. It includes a discussion of this HR professional's top 11 most common and egregious resume mistakes. I admit that I've made some of them -- some out of inexperience and some from bad advice. This is worth a read, even if you don't plan on changing jobs anytime soon. The article is geared for federal sector job seekers, but the advice applies broadly.

    Here are the bullet-points.
    1. Listing responsibilities rather than skills and results.
    2. Not being specific enough as to what you have accomplished.
    3. Not including keywords.
    4. Ignoring soft skills.
    5. Omitting required information.
    6. Using an objective, rather than a career summary.
    7. Including outdated or irrelevant information.
    8. Being overly modest.
    9. Exaggerating or lying.
    10. Assuming the reader will make connections.
    11. Using a format that makes it difficult for the hiring official to identify your skills, results and responsibilities.
    And read the full article when you have a few extra minutes.

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    Gonzo is gone-zo

    'Sbout time.

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    Monday morning haiku

    And so it begins.
    Five days here for two away.
    Chronic Monday blahs.

    Except this is a long weekend coming up, so I'll get three away. And for the first time in more than a month, I have nothing, sweet nothing, planned for the weekend. Yay! Not that I'm complaining about last weekend, but there is something to be said for days unscheduled.

    I love those.

    I don't get enough these days.

    But I'm back at the grind. The job is still okay, but only okay. It increasingly has me wondering how long I'm willing to put in here. Or how much I'm willing to put up with?

    Some significant structural changes will take place next month, however, so I'm hanging on to see if the net effect is positive or negative.

    Stay tuned.


    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Antsy, antsy!

    So we're off to the Eastern Shore of MD this afternoon, and all I have to do is get through the morning. I'm scramming at 1:30.

    Work is so-so right now. I have a bunch of things pending, but they are pending because I am waiting to hear back from other folks -- ya' know, get that other piece of information that I need before I can move ahead. When I get all of that, the dams will burst, and I'll have plenty to do.

    Until then... um, I am just farting around (although not like Scooter; think more metaphorically for me). But because it's August, productivity is generally down. The office is ridiculously quiet, which I cannot bear. I need some noise! There are a few not-so-cool stories of things that have happened here this past month, and maybe I'll share some of the shit that was dumped on me. Later.

    Hard to believe I've been here more than 8 months. In some ways, that time has flown, and I feel like I've worked with these folks for ever. I'm fairly comfortable here, and I think I fit in. In other ways, the time is just crawling along. I still have 4 months until my annual review to determine if I will get my grade increase (I f^cking better -- or this blog will revert to complaining about a job search... again!). Many of my retirement benefits don't kick in until this December either. So, yeah, sometimes the time just drags. It also drags when work is slow.

    But in 3 hours and 11 eleven minutes -- and clock-watching -- I'll be outta here for the weekend. A mini-break. Yay!

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    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    Current conundrum, pressing problem... what to do?

    What to get for lunch?

    Bueller, Bueller? Anyone, anyone?


    For the record

    Cosi's scones are icky. They are mouth-parchingly dry and devoid of flavor.

    I have to say it's a bummer to have eager anticipation smashed and destroyed so early in the morning, thinking you're going to start out the day with some yumminess, only to end up with a mouthful of sand.

    But that's just my opinion.

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    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Excuses, excuses

    So here's a snippet from my social calendar of engagements for the month of August... my excuses, excuses for not blogging.

    We jammed at the beginning of the month to get the house ready to have folks over for a birthday/housewarming over the first weekend. No slacking off for us. We really busted our butts to clean -- and then hide -- stuff to make the place presentable. We had friends over on Saturday for a BBQ, and then we had my family over on Sunday to take advantage of the fact that the house would probably never be that clean again. It was fun but exhausting.

    And that's the weekend that SM gave me his cold. The one that I still haven't fully recovered from. Thanks SM. The gift that keeps on giving.

    So, cold, cough and congestion firmly lodged in my head and lungs, I worked through the week. The next weekend, I ended up being trapped all weekend for a meeting of the organization on whose (which?) board I now serve. I even had to take off work to participate in the meetings. Take off work for more work? No fair! Oh well, but that's what I had to do. I miss the days when I was the boss of me, and I could just cut out during the day for this kind of thing and make up the time later. But nope, thems days are long gone. I now have a boss who practically hovers -- and even admits that she's a time hawk. It's definitely... confining.

    Anyway, I managed to get through that weekend, coughing and hacking away. Whatever SM gave me had affected my lungs by that point, so I sounded horrible and couldn't breathe well. So I got tired really easily and slept fitfully. But, despite the fatigue and need for rest, I didn't get to sleep in -- and sleeping into double digits on the weekend is how I recover. So, perhaps needless to say, I didn't recover that weekend.

    I went into the next workweek overtired and still sick. Oh-what-fun!

    It actually got pretty bad at one point during the week. Everyone was very aware that I wasn't doing well. They couldn't miss the raspy, froggy voice and the major bags under my eyes. On Wednesday, it got to the point where I woke up with a headache -- which just plain sucks -- so rather than kill myself, I called work and told them I'd be late. My boss had seen and heard my condition, so I don't think too much explaining was required. When I did make it in later that morning, she told me it would have been fine for me to just stay home and try and kick whatever was kicking my ass. But I made it in and generally felt better than I had the day before. That was Wednesday. Thursday was okay too.

    Then Friday, I had to get up at o-dark-hundred to catch a flight to San Francisco. Huh, you say? Yeah, remember that organization that wanted me to serve on its board? Well, I was off to a board (or more accurately, a B-O-R-E-D) meeting in SF for the weekend. Now, I love SF, but it's long way to fly for just a weekend. Well, slightly more than a weekend. Friday morning until Sunday afternoon. But getting up that freakin' early didn't help me recover from what was ailing me. Fortunately for me, SM drove me to the airport (rather than me driving myself), which saved me hassle and probably from a car crash since I wasn't all that awake at 5:00 am when we left.

    I'll save the details of the fun I had in SF for another post, but despite what may sound like sarcasm in this sentence, I did have some fun.

    Flew back and arrived at BWI (Baltimore-Washington-International) at 10:40 on Sunday night. SM, sweet man that he is -- that's what "SM" stand for, ya' know... "sweet man" (okay, stop your groaning at my overly dear nickname for him) -- picked me up from the airport rather than subjecting me to a Super Shuttle scavenger hunt. So we got home in decent time and decent condition.

    And this week so far hasn't been too too bad. My cold is largely gone, although I still have cough spams and other symptoms every once in a while. My mom and her sister (yes, my aunt) came over for dinner yesterday, and we served up a mean (and by "mean", I mean YUMMY) Peruvian carry-out chicken along with appropriate side dishes (fried yuca and mashed sweet potatoes). And guess what we both had for lunch today? And for dinner! El pollo peruviano! And I am NOT complaining at all. Oh, yum!

    So that brings us to today. I am taking off work early on Friday -- again -- this week. We're off to the Eastern shore of Maryland for a mini-break. My sister is lined up to Gidget-sit for us, so hopefully we'll have a low or no-stress weekend. We have to leave DC early to beat the bridge traffic (over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge), but if we manage that -- fingers crossed -- I think we'll have a nice time, assuming the weather cooperates.

    And that's pretty much what I've been up to this month. Lots of activities on the weekend, most of which were not for my own direct enjoyment. Not that I'm really complaining... not really, anyway. I am looking forward to having some time to just sleep and sleep and sleep. Maybe not this weekend because I'll want to do stuff on our mini-vacation (and by "stuff", I mean eat and shop and maybe go to the beach). But perhaps next weekend, Labor Day weekend.

    How is it possible that the summer is over already? E-gads.

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    Getting ready for football season

    SM participated in the draft for his fantasy football team last weekend. Overall, he was satisfied with his final team, but hopes to pick up a few other players later. He also participates in an office pool and another friend pool and something else. I think he has four football-related things going every season. Needless to say, that means he is completely AWOL on Sundays.

    But the most funnest thing is this... We just ordered it for Gidget.She's going to be one stylin' pooch this fall!

    (If you want one for your furry fan, go here for jerseys of all teams...)

    Go Pats!

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    Cutting up the pie

    Okay, so sharing this info with the three or four readers I have may result in more "takers" which will in turn reduce my "cut" of the pie, but eh, so what? As an attorney who has a greater debt load from law school than my annual income (that's my new benchmark of career success -- to actually make more than my law school loan load), why would I give anyone a tip that might go against my interests? Well, that's exactly what I'm doing here, so here's evidence that I am not driven entirely by pecuniary interests!

    Okay, the truth is that I expect very little monetary return from this situation, despite big numbers up front, so it doesn't really hurt me to share info. And frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone already knew this.

    So what the heck am I babbling about? What is this windfall that may befall me?

    The BARBRI class action settlement which is currently pending. Wahoo?

    Most of you probably already know about it. But while lawyers were all about broadcasting the law suit, they haven't been so vocal about the upcoming deadlines. Because, as we know, the more members who stake a claim, the smaller each claim will be.

    So folks, heads up! Deadlines are looming. It's already too late to drop out of the class, so the only options left, if you are eligible, are to (1) make a claim by the deadline to claim your piece of the pie, (2) make a claim and donate your piece of the pie or (3) not make a claim and have your piece of the pie go to others (ahem, including the class action lawyers). And the settlement amount is $49 million. I wonder how much will actually be left after administrative costs and legal fees? Who knows...?

    But, as the settlement website says, "If you purchased a bar review course from BAR/BRI in the United States anytime from August, 1997 through July 31, 2006, this settlement may affect your rights."

    Class Period: August 1, 1997 through July 31, 2006
    Proof of Claim: Postmarked no later than September 17, 2007

    The claim form for class members can be found here. But check out the class action settlement website for full details, if for no other reason than to understand exactly what the suit was about!

    I still wonder if anyone other than the lawyers who filed the suit will get anything more than a few highlighters (or their cash equivalent)? I guess I'll find out.

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    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    For the record

    This is about what my apartment cost when I first bought it.

    Wonder if mortgages are available to finance this purchase?

    Oh my.

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    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Monday morning haiku

    Yes, I am alive.
    Hard to tell from this blog, though.
    I swear, updates soon!


    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Say it ain't so!

    CNN says so: Middle age is really 39, not 50. (Um, ouch.)

    So I say: PPppllllbbbbt!

    (Is maturity level factored into age? If so, my attitude oughta take me down at least a decade.)

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    News from the weird

    and icky.

    I think this definitely qualifies.

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    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Monday morning haiku

    Took on a new "job"
    Because I have so much time?
    No, just gullible.

    Maybe not gullible so much as feeling the weight of "duty" and responsibility and the need to contribute back to my community. This weekend I joined the national board of the organization for which I used to work. This means I'll have to convene local/regional meetings and attend national functions and hopefully shape our policy agenda. It also means more travel and less personal time -- and more "charitable contributions" as I spend $$ doing the organization's work.

    When I was recruited to join the board, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it. I balked slightly and then thought about it. I had all of the usual excuses: no time, no money, other priorities. But I am also committed to this organization. I worked for it for years and always decried former staff who dropped outta sight after moving on to new jobs. Also, I figured that I would always be able to cite some excuse as to why I couldn't volunteer -- and in the future, those excuses might be even better -- so why let apathy get in the way? Why not now?

    So, I said I would, and now I am.

    In the immediate term, this translates to a trip next weekend to California for a board meeting. It also means getting up to speed on a number of issues. Fortunately for me (and not so fortunate for the organization), the work of the organization is kinda like a soap opera -- the same characters, the same issues and drawn out timelines for resolving them. You can stop following it and still be able to jump back in the middle of things, even after two years. Which is what I'm doing.

    But it also means I have again an official platform for speaking to issues of concern and a mechanism for effecting (!) change. Knowing how slow the organization is to change, however, it's more likely that I'll push for change and end up frustrated, which is what happened when I was on staff. I'll also get to reconnect with former colleagues and friends, and hopefully, make a difference of some kind. On the latter point, I know reality will fall short of my hopes and expectations -- and change will only be measured in terms of shaping views, not actual changes in how things are done -- but I'll try anyway.

    Have I ever mentioned that I'm generally an optimist? In fact, an idealist and an optimist? And I work in DC. Under this administration. So that means I'm an idealistic optimist with a thick skull (comes from repeated bashing against brick walls).

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    Wednesday, August 08, 2007


    This is why I'm melting. Metro rides and walks home are no fun when it's this hot out.


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    Bon Voyage Law-Rah!

    I am so freaking jealous, I can't stand it.

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    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Reason #4,356 why I am a complete idiot...

    So, this morning I had to get up uber early to get to a training downtown that started, well, uber early. Fortunately for me, SM had taken the day off, so he was able to save me 15 minutes of sweating by driving me to the metro station instead of me walking. Yay.

    After that, it all went downhill. As I hauled my sorry, sweaty, sleepy ass down the escalator and boarded the metro train, I thought to myself, "Self, you are going to a federal building, which means you'll need a photo ID to enter. Since you are indeed a federal employee, why not put on your federal badge to facilitate the process? Heck, why not put it on now to save the fumbling later?"

    And then I told myself that that was indeed a good idea. So, sitting on the metro, I opened my purse to grab my ID from the pocket where I usually keep it.

    No ID.

    My purse is rather small, so there weren't too many places it could go. I fumbled around my purse hoping to locate it. But alas, no. No ID. Not in the purse or the briefcase I was also carrying.


    Then I tried to remember if I could recall taking it off last night and putting it in my purse... and no, I had no distinct memory of doing that. So I wondered if the ID was still on my pants from yesterday? Maybe, but then again, I washed those pants last night, and I know the ID wasn't on them when I tossed them into the washer or dryer. So, no dice there.

    Then I wondered if perhaps I had left the ID in my office yesterday? I sometimes take it off (the ID, that is) at work when it's irritating me or I have no belt loop to which I can affix it. A possibility, but not likely. Hmmm, what the heck did I do with that stupid badge?

    And then I started to get really irritated at myself because I had left my cell phone at home, so I couldn't call SM to have him check the table where I had my purse or other possible places where the ID might have escaped to. And I was going to a training, so I couldn't call him first thing in the morning when I got into the office because I wasn't due into the office until first thing in the afternoon.

    Crap. I was getting really irritated by this point. I started having visions of having to get a temporary one issued and then a new one when I couldn't find it. And the office would make fun of me as the girl who lost her ID in less than a year when most had had theirs without incident since issuance. Every scenario of how my stupidity would come to light for all to mock ran through my head. Grrrr... it wasn't a pretty sight.

    And I got even more annoyed with myself.

    Great way to start the morning, eh? No ID and no cell phone to call anyone about it. And the hassle of getting a new ID issued. Ugh. I was working myself up into a mini-tizzy over this. All directed at myself, of course.

    Soon, however, we were pulling into the station where I needed to transfer, so I stood up and walked to the doors on the metrocar and waited there until the train stopped and the doors opened.

    And while waiting, I noticed my reflection in the glass of the doors. And I noticed that dangling from my belt loop, there hung my ID. The one I had previously thought would be good to put on in anticipation of going to the training. Apparently, the thought was such a good one that it ran through my head twice. Only I forgot that little detail -- and the part where I actually put it on.

    What an idiot. What a waste of energy.

    I guess it was a good thing after all that I didn't have my cell phone to call SM to get him looking for it. I only would have had to call him back later to tell him what an idiot I am. That the entire time I was looking for it to put it on, I was already wearing it.

    Idiot. Complete and total.

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    Monday, August 06, 2007

    Here's some 5th grade humor for ya'...

    (I admit, I was amused.)

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    Monday morning haiku

    A watermelon.
    That's just what my head feels like.
    Summer colds -- no fun.

    Sorry I've been somewhat AWOL lately. SM and I have been cranking to get our house ready for a housewarming/birthday fete over the weekend. SM turned 38 on Saturday, so we combined efforts to do a joint celebration -- warm and toasty in August! House warming and toasting his birthday.

    Okay, I know that's dorky, but the other line I was using was just as bad -- "SM is turning 38, our house is 58 so let's celebr8!". (Told ya' it was dorky.)

    So we busted our butts to get the house in decent shape for Saturday. I mean, we hauled ass and boxes and stuff everywhere. On Saturday morning, our dining room was cluttered with stuff on the floor but nothing on the walls. However, by 4:00 for the BBQ, it was all set up. Floor cleared and art/pictures hung. Ditto the living room and the bedrooms upstairs.

    But for a while it looked like SM was going to have to miss his own birthday party because Congress refused to finish their work. Not only late nights all last week to get business done for the August recess, but Saturday session too, with the specter of coming back on Monday if they didn't finish. As it turned out, Congress stayed in session until after midnight on Saturday and then adjourned until after Labor Day.

    So, as he was out on Saturday morning shopping for food for the party, SM got a call at 9:00 from his boss, telling him he'd probably have to come in to the office. On the Congressional calendar for the day was the agriculture appropriations bill, FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) and the defense spending bill. Because the Congressman had questions and SM's portfolio of legislative issues includes intelligence and defense, it looked like he would have to drop everything, put on a suit and head to work. And our entire day would be turned upside down.

    For a number of hours, we were in limbo. We didn't know if he was going to have to scram into the office. Talk about stress! We were both really bummed.

    It was touch and go for a while. At first, we thought he'd have to head in immediately. Fortunately, SM was able to prepare the info from home and email what the Congressman needed in to the office. Then, because it's standard protocol for staffers to be in the office and generally be immediately available when his/her legislative issues are on the floor, we thought SM would have to go in when FISA was being debated, which would have been around dinnertime. In the middle of the party. But at least he wouldn't completely miss his own birthday bash.

    Then his boss (the Chief of Staff) gave him a huge break. He told SM that he'd cover SM's issues and handle the Congressman's questions, etc. so long as SM was immediately available by phone/email. Between watching the House floor on C-SPAN, checking his email, staying wired all day with his Blackberry and cell phone -- and because his boss was so incredibly generous to stay in the office and handle the work for SM when he really should have been there -- SM was able to do his work work and the house work from home. And attend his own party.

    Thanks to the generosity of SM's boss who was in the office from 9:00 am to after midnight to cover the issues and allow SM to stay home. I am very grateful for that. We both are. It was a fantastic birthday present for SM. Thanks, COS.

    Sadly, however, about 10 friends who are also Hill staffers weren't able to attend the party because they too were at work. Including COS. But his wife came, which was nice.

    Although the day started out rocky, it ended up being very nice. I think SM enjoyed himself.

    And since we knew our house would be clean for the housewarming/birthday bash and that we'd have plenty of food, we invited my family over on Sunday. Grandma had wanted to see the place, so we had them all over too. It was a (much more) relaxing Sunday BBQ.

    Phew! Done with the showing, now we can devolve into our usual state of clutter.

    Actually, the house is still very neat -- it's only been a few hours since last night's BBQ -- but that state of tidy won't last too too long since we'll have to start pulling things out of their hiding spots as we need them (yes, we were hiding, stashing and doing whatever we could to clear the clutter). But it's all good. The hard push is over, and it was a successful effort.

    And to forestall the inevitable chaos, I've invited my mom over next Sunday, so we can't let things slide too much.

    It was a lot of work, an exhausting process. I'm tired just writing about it. But it was worth it. We needed a deadline to get our collective act -- and our house -- together. But to top it off, for his birthday, SM gave me his cold (see above haiku). It started getting bad yesterday and kicked in full force this morning. Congestion, sneezying, running nose, headache, puffy face... I've got it. Fun stuff.

    But, like I said, it was all worth it.

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    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Finally in DC

    Okonomiyaki! One of my favorite dishes from Japan, okonomiyaki (which literally means "your preference/things you like, fried") is the culinary equivalent of mom's meatloaf. It's just not a fancy-eating-out-kinda dish. Defintely comfort food. That's why it's hard to find. Some people call it a cabbage pancake or "Japanese pizza". I call it "yum" -- and have only found it in New York City (St. Mark's Place) and San Francisco (Japantown), neither of which deliver to DC.

    But now it's here! And I can't wait to try it out.


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