Monday, October 31, 2011

Insight into being an Evangelical at a Catholic Wedding

Me to the girl beside me: "Am I allowed to take communion here, or no?"
Her: "Not if you aren't Catholic, no."
Me: "Ah, I'm never sure what to do since I'd normally take communion...."
Her: "You can go ask for a blessing. If you cross your arms like this."
Me: "I can do that if I'm not Catholic?"
Her: "God will still bless you! .....I think."
Me: "Ha! ...Oh." *Slinks down in Pew*

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Funny, I don't remember asking for patience....

Often people in Christian circles joke that you never ask God for more patience because it seems like God answers prayer by giving you an opportunity to practice something, rather than just, like, cosmically Zapping! you with some characteristic.

This week, I was given opportunities for patience about 127 times too many.

Let's just discuss Thursday.

I get up and pick out clothes, ever careful not to lay down anything that might trigger an "incident" from my cat Chloe.

Back story: I was fortunate enough to work from home quite a bit this year before starting my current project. When I went back to a regular schedule of being out of my house the majority of time, Chloe expressed her displeasure by peeing on anything I left on the floor. Or, back of the chair for that matter. Dramatic and passive-agressive: she and I are meant for each other.

So then, I forget to grab my badge for work and didn't realize that until I was already in gridlock traffic. The badge grants me access in and out of my office so I knew I'd need to rely on the girl that sits at the front desk to continually open the door for me all day. I get to the door -

and she's not at the desk.

And there is a visitor inside the door waiting on the couch so I knock and peer through the window, but he is clearly a Rules-Following type of guy and he looks at me sheepishly and gives me a "I am not allowed to move from my spot, ma'am" apologetic look and peers anxiously around for a staffer to open the door.


So I finally get in and get settled in my desk --

and our internet goes down. No email, no access to our shared file folders, no access to the world wide web. Basically paralyzing us work-wise. So I try to at least print a document for a meeting I have later. And I hit print, walk the quarter mile to the printer (seriously, I'm getting shin splints in this building, it's so spread out), and I get to the room where the printer is

WHICH, by the way, is labelled: REPRODUCTION. Not copy room.  Not Document Mass Production Room - simply: Reproduction. Which instantly conjures up images of those charts of the female and male bodies when your teachers tried to explain sex education without turning red when you were 11....
Anyway, I walk in to the room where babies are made the copy room and see that the printer not only isn't printing - but it's sitting there with it's DOORS OPEN looking like a complete mess with no one around that appears to be fixing it. I attempt to just close the door - and it won't even close.

Lovely! No computer, no print outs. Fine. I'll just go to my meeting. Then go get lunch.

So I get down to the Potbelly's that I typically eat at - and the line is longer than I've ever seen it. Ugh.

I finally get my sandwich and pass the McDonald's on my hike back to my office (mind you, this is all in the same building as my office. Seriously, I need a segway or roller blades or something to survive here) and I think - I deserve a mocha. So I wait in ANOTHER line, order my drink, and take my place against the wall while I wait for my order to by yelled out amongst all the others.

And I wait.

And I wait......

For. A. DRINK.

So finally I get the cashier's attention like, um, ...--Mocha much? And she goes:

"Oh, you get THOSE over at that OTHER counter"

Ah. I should've just known that I suppose! Or maybe I need to start asking at every register I'm at, "I'm sorry, do you want me to wait here for the food I just paid you for or is there some satellite location where my particular order might be arriving at?"

So I walk over to the other counter - and no one is there. And I see a lady refilling napkin holders nearby so I ask her where this special place is at which Only The Mochas are to be picked up. And she lazily glances up at a screen - WHICH HAS HAD MY ORDER ON IT THE WHOLE TIME - and she mumbles, "Here".


So here's where I definitely am not so much learning patience as I become Exhibit A for How NOT To Handle Patience-Testing Situations. So there is some eye-rolling, I may have even complained aloud a little. And it takes her forever to finally walk around the counter, but I finally get my drink and head back up to my office.

And the girl isn't at the front desk again.


So now I'm left sadly clutching my food and mocha, until another person gets off the elevator and feels sorry for me and lets me in.

Then I have a "challenging situation" with someone who reports to me and I end up leaving work earlier than I intended, just so I can go run off stress. And it's raining, which makes my chosen path so full of puddles I keep having to stop and prance around them, breaking up my destressing therapy.

I'm seriously scared to ever see the day I actually DO pray for patience.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One Of My Best/Worst Stories Ever

I've debated whether or not to share this one here because it involves some TMI, but, having recently shared this with friends and laughing hysterically all over again about it, I figured - what the heck. Enjoy, Internet!

My old Couch Dweller (described here) Brian was in town last week (he now lives in NYC - I will hide my jealousy) so we had brunch with other friends and Brian described an event he had with a gym locker that morning. Which led to me coming clean about my own gym locker incident in college-an incident I wouldn't even speak of for awhile afterwards because I was so mortified. (I now think it's hilarious and hope the details don't turn anyone against me).

They built a gorgeous new YMCA near my college in Small Town, Tennessee and they gave us college students a discounted membership - so everyone went there. I had just arrived one afternoon and gotten changed in the locker room, when I went to use the restroom.

Here's where the TMI kicks in.

So, since girls can't "point and shoot" like boys, and since toilet seats are germy, we sometimes have to ...hover. And something went terribly wrong that day with the mechanics of that undertaking and I stood up to realized - the back of my pants were wet. And not just a little bit.

So I'm embarrassed that I've basically proven that I need a diaper IN A BATHROOM STALL and plan to rush right back to my locker, change back into my school clothes, and go home. And I get back to my locker -


In the TWO MINUTES I was in a stall, someone had managed to get confused and think my locker was theirs and put their lock on it. And walk away.

I was dumbfounded. HOW ON EARTH could this possibly happen and why couldn't I find anyone around to help me?

And this was so traumatic that I've blocked out the details of what I did next - which was likely hop around in a panic or back up under a hand dryer - in any case, I remember being alone in the locker room for a while before finally making a run for it to the front desk and having the maintenance guy come charging back with a large pair of bolt cutters.

I grabbed my clothes, changed, and ran to my car, horrified.

(Then, a couple years later at another gym, I got back to my locker after a workout and, once again, saw a lock on it that wasn't mine. Without hesitation I went and asked the front desk to cut it off. Then, after they opened the locker -- it had someone else's clothes inside. I had gotten confused and had actually put my clothes in a different locker. HA! I blamed it on my traumatic incident years before....)

In any case, this story is now one of my favorites and also the reason why when so many, many unbelievable things occur in my daily life, I can simply nod and think - of course that just happened to me. Why wouldn't it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dana Summit-Plannernicola

I met my friend Ryan years ago when I was a political appointee in the Department of Homeland Security and he was an intern there. We got along right away when Ryan was tasked to collect staffers' photos, and then began emailing me my OWN photo with word bubbles, as if I was actually saying whatever stupid thing he wrote in the email. We also bonded over the fact that we both had a deep appreciation for the name of the intern coordinator:

Jane* Internicola.

(*Jane is not her actual first name, but that WAS her actual last name)

The INTERN coordinator had INTERN - in her last name.

Ryan and I loved this and quickly began using everyone's titles as their new last name. "Joe Special Assistanticola", "Mary Advisoricola",... you get the idea.  I became Dana Policy Analysticola.

Fast forward to my current project where I'm managing the planning for a summit early next year- hence, my new name. But that's not half as bad as some of the other names I've had the privilege of being associated with:

(And I apologize in advance if anyone reading this has any of these names or knows these people. I'm sure these people are very pleasant and there are plenty of things they can make fun of me for in return if they'd like -- just read this blog for several examples...)
1. Dick Beard: this was someone's name associated with a job I had years ago and because I may have giggled a bit the first time I heard it, EVERY TIME he was mentioned in a meeting after that, EVERY HEAD around the boardroom table would swivel expectantly towards me, at which I'd giggle and turn red all over again.

2. Neil McNeal: I participated in a government exercise with this guy and could not hide my amusement at his name tag. He explained that, sadly, that really was his name. Then he shook his head and said something about his parents....

3. Dick Cashdollar. I'm not kidding.

and the latest:

4. Jane* Poos. Yep.

Now, I'm all about a last name that is descriptive (such as Summit-Plannernicola for example) so perhaps if you are a painter, you could be: Mary Paints. Or if you are a singer: John Sings.

But Jane ....Poos? That's just too much information I think.

.....at least add a 'nicola on the end.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I Love Races

Thankfully, I finished the Army 10-Miler on Sunday without falling. And I was reminded once again why I love races --here's just a few reasons:

-I was passed by a man singing loudly along to his ipod, "DON'T you...forget about me...."

-I was passed by people wearing shirts saying things like - "Does this shirt make my butt look fast?...."

-I was handed water by soldiers announcing they have "Sam Adams here!"'and balancing cups of gatorade on the bill of each other's caps

-I passed a volunteer yelling "I'd go to the next set of port-a-potties, these ones are nasty!"

-I had people around me cheer for the one female who headed into the trees to pee with all the men (lucky men ...the world is your bathroom!!)

-I continally passed perfect strangers cheering me on

-I slapped hands with an amputee also completing the race

-I passed a father and his little girl standing out on the street, handing out marshmellows to fuel tired runners

-I saw two different couples in front of me during the last mile join hands to spur each other to finish

-I followed a man the whole time and the back of his shirt said "Death waits in the darkness" ...which is nice and motivating when you are trying not to pass out....

-I heard a race official at the finish line yelling "There's water in the hoo-hah!"

Excuse me??
(I finally realized there were bottles of water in the "Hooah" ...which is an Army battle cry, and also the name of a race tent. Ah.)
-And finally, I realized several feet after the finish -- that I was still running. So now there is yet another funny official race photo of me out there. (There's even video this time, which shows everyone else slowing to a walk after the finish (like normal people), and me continuing to trot along, completely oblivious. Classic.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

THIS week....

More Murphy's Law time!

I don't have much time to post lately, but this week - particularly today - has held many more of those "what's with today, today?" moments that I thought I'd share.

1. A week ago, I was offered someone's race slot in the annual Army 10-Miler race in D.C.
-The person I'm "being" in the race...is a male Army captain. Pretty sure he will be horrified by "his" finish time.
-I wasn't exactly "training" for a 10-miler lately. The race is tomorrow.
So I tried to cram in some "training" this week where I could, which ended up being me trying to squeeze in a quick run after work before a friend event on Wednesday night. About half a mile from my house --

I fell.

Thankfully, it was already dark out but I fell right beside traffic so I'm SURE I made someone's day with that hilarity. I'd love to blame it on the darkness, or the sidewalk, but I literally just didn't pick my foot up enough, hit the end of my shoe, and pitched forward. I took at LEAST two more steps, no joke, trying to slow down enough to lessen impact -- but it wasn't enough. After I finally hit the pavement, I jumped back up and looked at my hand -- Bleeding. Everywhere. I skinned my other hand a tiny bit, and my leg was stinging but I didn't even LOOK at it until I got to my place. I just started running again, smiling when I came across another runner like "don't mind me! Just running...and bleeding..."


Later, I had my skinned leg propped up and ice under my...bruise (which wasn't so much on my leg as..right under my butt/on my hip.) while I was watching Sex and The City and eating Junior Mints and when I got up later -- I realized a stray Junior Mint had become trapped under my ice pack (aka -- the bag of frozen edemame I found in my freezer) and was flattened on my chair.

Now I was in pain, had a frozen rear-end, and chocolate-covered furniture. Sigh. Sigh.

2. TODAY. So besides being sore from my fall, I also came down with either a cold or allergies - either way, I feel like crap a little. So I was trying to get more sleep and was excited to sleep in today - when my phone rings.


it is Saturday. I am sick. And I keep rolling over on some part of my body that is either scraped or bruised. Who!? Is It?!!

It was the guy who's race bib I'm taking. The plan was for him to pick the race packet up and give it to me. The plan had changed. I now needed to pick it up with a copy of his ID. So I'm like - no problem, the pickup place is super close to my house at a hotel in Arlington.


It used to be there. Now it's in DC. Ah, great.

So now I'm running out of time, because after the phone call, I ended up being awake for a while, but then falling back asleep later --

until 1pm.

And I'm meeting friends at 3:30 to go see a Mixed Martial Arts fight (don't ask).

And I have homework due by 6pm.

So I ended up rushing around to everything, get my packet, barely get my homework in, but all is well. Until I go check on a friend's house for her and decide that's a perfect time to get the thai food I've been craving all week.


I call in an order to the thai place by my friend's house, and I get down there - and there's a STREET. FESTIVAL. I can't even get near the Thai place. But I've already ordered. So I attempt to park in a nearby garage --


There are so many cars from the street festival, that I get stuck IN the garage and can't even get turned around just to get back out, I end up having to wait forever, and I finally call the thai place in a panic like "ABORT MY ORDER! I REPEAT! ABORT!!"

So now I'm tired, annoyed, and still Pad Thai-less. So I call to see if that place delivers.

They don't.

I call another place. They deliver --but not to my apartment.

I call another. They deliver, to my apartment -- but I have to order $20 or more.

Somewhere there is a voodoo doll of me and the person is only sticking pins into my stomach. Particularly, the part of my stomach that is craving Pad Thai.

I call FIVE DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS and finally settle for a chinese place - who happen to have Pad Thai on their menu anyway - and now I'm about to go to bed so I can hopefully wake up and get to my race on time.

Hopefully, Tomorrow will be nicer to me.


Friday, October 7, 2011

A Little Insight Into My Family

Me: I'm getting Lebanese for dinner, you wouldn't like it.
My Mom: Why not? I like Japanese and stuff.
Me: it's not like Japenese at all.
Mom: What's it like?
Me: Well, I'm getting an eggplant dish...
Mom: EW.
Me: ...with yogurt, and pomegranite seeds, and pieces of pita chips...
Mom: I'm about to throw up my popcorn.
Me: I told you so.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Office Fun

So, besides grad school, being a mentor, working with a charity, nearly running over bible study members and trying to have some sort of social life, I’ve also been working simultaneously for TWO clients. This is one of the joys of consulting – the fine balance of staying 100% “billable” on projects. The problem is, it’s tough to make the stars align so that when one project ends, the next one starts. So you end up in the situation I was in recently where you try to work for two at the same time for a few days. It’s real fun and not confusing at all, especially when the subject matter of both projects are completely different….sigh.

So yes, I’m a little discombobulated. To the point where someone on my new client site handed me the almighty Key To The Ladies’ Bathroom – and I promptly lost it. This is a problem of mine - if I’m distracted and there’s something in my hand – I’ll just drop it. Leave it somewhere. Throw it away – whatever. It’s like I’m only marginally aware something’s in my hand, my brain just knows something is annoying me so it makes my hands get rid of it. This makes me very nervous for whenever I have kids….

So obviously changing projects/clients/ job sites all the time involves learning curves around  little things, like – where do I park? What new security access restrictions are there? Can I use the stairs?

THAT question is important. Let me know tell you why.

I have a fear of elevators. I do. I know it’s silly and irrational but I can just picture myself getting trapped in one all weekend or falling to my death in one. So I’ll go out of my way to take the stairs.


In many government buildings, they have stairs – but you aren’t supposed to use them. Something to do with security, who knows, but it’s not consistent so you never know if you can or can not use them.

So at a project last year, I went out for coffee. (little fact about me- Starbucks is like my Siren Song. I've actually gotten in trouble numerous times because I feel unavoidably drawn to Starbucks. I’ve nearly missed planes, been late to countless meetings, and got yelled at on an Advance job for the Secretary of Homeland Security because I refused to NOT have Starbucks in hand. Clearly, I need some sort of espresso patch or something...). And to leave the building, I took the stairs, and I get down like 5 flights...

And the door won’t open.


And I realize that the stairs are only supposed to be used in emergencies and while you can get IN the doors to the stairwell, you can’t actually get OUT of any of them normally. So I try calling my coworker from my cell.

She doesn’t answer.

So I’m trying not to panic (also – this has SO happened to me BEFORE in a mall somewhere in middle America while on a work trip. I ended up having to bang on the door and yell until some bewildered passerby opened the door to find me rushing out panicked, blinking in a daze trying to figure out where the heck I was. In other words – I should know better) and I finally see –

An emergency exit.

So I now have a choice. Live forever in a stairwell. Hope for a fire that will cause security to unlock the doors for people to escape... then hope I don't get trampled in said escape. Or, barrel my way through the emergency exit, likely setting off an embarrassing alarm alerting everyone that *I* am the idiot who can’t just take the elevator like a normal person.

I choose that. So I brace myself, hit the door, and run as quickly as I can, wating for an alarm. But nothing sounds. I’m saved! But wait – Where am I?!

Apparently, the exit dumps you literally into a back alley behind our building – incidentally, the ally that the window from my cube looks drearily down on. So I stumble my way onto the main street into the sunlight – and head to Starbucks. (priorities!)

By the time I got back to my cube, I had a fun story to reenact for my coworker who felt guilty that she hadn’t answered my call in my time of need. But the BEST part was, weeks later I was sitting in my cube – by the window that looks down on the alley – and I hear this man yell “YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!” in the alley.

Which made me laugh and nod my head knowingly -- clearly, he too had just escaped the stairwell....

Anyway, so lately, while I’ve been trying to juggle several things at once and figure out things like stairwell protocol, I've also had to squat in one of the office buildings that my company has while also zipping back and forth between the two client sites.

So I've looked like a pack mule constantly, carrying my entire office around with me and constantly hunting out free desks every day. And then whenever I'd find one and spread all my stuff out, someone would inevitably walk in and say I'm in their desk. That happened THREE times this past Monday alone...

And then I’ve had fun things to get used to like when someone I'd never seen before popped her head in the door to whatever office I was hovering in at the time, and asked "Do you like devilled eggs?"

Um -- I'm Dana... nice to meet you too?

Then I walked by another office and instead of a desk chair, a girl was perched at her computer, in her suit:

on a Stability Ball. Yes, like the ones at the gym.

Office people are strange.

And my week only got stranger, but I’ll tell more about that next time. For now, I'm going to enjoy being at my apartment where all my stuff can stay put and I'm allowed to take the stairs....