Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Working" Hard in D.C.

I've been in Washington, D.C., since Monday afternoon, attending a training class for work. The training class is fine, but I've been *loving* my time outside of class.

My hotel is in downtown DC (about a 7 minute jog from the National Mall) and I've been walking to work every morning. Man, I could get used to this walking to work thing. Turn on the iPod. Listen to some good tunes. Don't have to worry about traffic. Or parking. Or gas mileage. Just me and my iPod. (For those that know I don't like to walk, are you shocked at this change in me?)

The second night I was here, I took the Metro to Pentagon City to visit a swimming friend who just moved here. Even though I've taken the subway lots of times in Chicago and foreign cities, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I figure out how to get where I'm going on it. It's the little things... Anyway, I met up with my friend in Pentagon City. She showed me around and then made a super yummy dinner for me and her hubby. We had a great time catching up!

The unexpected surprise of the week was getting to see my friend Rachel, who lives in Chicago. She used to live in D.C., so I had emailed her Monday night to get her reccommendations for what I should do here in my spare time, and what do you know, I woke up on Tuesday morning to a message from her saying she's actually going to be in D.C. this week! WOO-HOO-WOO!! So, we had breakfast together yesterday morning. It was so fun to catch up. I usually see her in Chicago in September when I do the Big Shoulders 5K swim, but I'm not doing that this year, so it worked out great to catch up this week!

Last night, I had dinner with my cousin Ashley and her boyfriend Mike. It's probably been 2 and a half years since I've seen her. We popped in to her cute walk-up near Dupont Circle before dinner. Great location and tons of character. It was so fun to get caught up on her life!

This morning, I went running along the National Mall. I discovered last fall that my aversion to running isn't nearly as bad with my iPod. Add in some great scenery and architecture along the Mall, and lo and behold, I actually like running! Today, I ran towards the Capitol building. Tomorrow, I'll head towards the Lincoln Memorial. What a great start to the day.

After work today, I'm heading to the National Air and Space Museum. Several people recommended it as a must see.

So, this has been a great week in D.C.! Thanks to my employer for sending me here!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Obsession

It's all Olympics, all the time at my house this week. Even my Build-a-Bear, Camille, got in to the act. (Since I don't have children, Camille is my "kid" that I get to dress up in patriotic clothing.) I've been clued to the TV every minute that I've been home. And, I'm staying up way past my bedtime. I usually go to bed before 10:00, but I just can't turn off the Olympics until all the swimming is over (and men's gymnastics last night...and probably women's gymnastics tonight...). I'll probably get more sleep next week, but for this week, I'm just drinking more caffeine to make up for it. The Olympics are so worth it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Learning a Lot

Tomorrow will be the end of week five at my new job. I have to confess that for the first couple of weeks, I felt a little overwhelmed. Since I worked at my old job for over six years, I guess I underestimated, or had forgotten, how much there is to learn when starting a new job. Not only was it semi-new technology for me, but it's also totally different types of systems. I even had a few moments where I thought to myself "I wonder if I should just go back to my old job?". But, in those moments, I also kept telling myself (yes, I talk to myself a lot), "It's okay. It's going to take time to learn everything. They don't expect you to know it all right now.". Last week, and this week even more so, I've begun to feel a little bit more comfortable with what I'm doing. And I actually think I know the ins and outs of a couple of different things! So, although I'm used to being the SME, and not the "new kid", I'm learning a ton, learning technology that's relevant in today's world, and am becoming more comfortable every day!


I've either been out of town (Olympic Trials, Vermont wedding, in Lawrence saying good-bye to Mark) or working on my dining room the past five weekends. So, this weekend was so pleasant because it didn't involve any of those things!! Don't get me wrong...I love traveling and it's fun working on the house, but I have to confess that I was totally ready for the dining room project to be done and to have a lazy weekend.

My previous post contains a couple of dining room photos...with and without wallpaper. This is the finished photo!!! (Except for the plantation shutters, which I'm hoping will be installed this week). After getting the wallpaper off, I wasn't making very much progress on the dining room until my mom volunteered to help. She is a trooper!!! She put in two long weekends of work with me. It was pretty time consuming to prep the walls and get them in good enough shape to paint. A friend helped me hang the chandelier (or rather, he installed it while I watched) this past week. Without them, I'd still be spackeling holes!

Even though it was hard work, I love the way it turned out!!