Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Time Apartment

Jeff and I had a mini-Christmas celebration today - decorating our apartment a bit, and then eating Chinese food and watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

Back in DC

I arrived back in DC two days ago (on Monday) and it's been a busy time ever since. When I got here on Monday, I came home and met up with Jeff and John Gardner, who was in town visiting. We went to 14 and U to get coffee and chat. John seems to be enjoying California and his job designing circuits there. Jeff had a fun time home at Thanksgiving.

At 5:30pm, I had class, but in this case it was extra exciting, because we had an important guest speaker. The administrator (head) of NASA, Mike Griffin, spoke to our class from 5:30pm until 7pm. Since my class only has about 40 people in it, it was a very unique venue to hear him speak. He talked about a wide variety of policy issues and was very straightforward about his ideas.

There are about two weeks before the end of the first semester, and I have four 10-page papers to complete before then. I also need to apply for the International Space University Summer Program as well as for funding to attend it. I need to investigate getting an internship for next semester. I also want to enjoy the city and the Christmas decorations before leaving for the rest of the month. And there's also my two part time jobs. So... it's going to be a busy time!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


My dad coaches a high school football team in Minnesota - De La Salle. The football team did really well, and made it all the way to state. Unfortunately, they didn't win in the finals, but they still came in 2nd! The game was at the Dome, and it was first football game I've ever seen there.

Thanksgiving in Minnesota!

I'm back in Minnesota for Thanksgiving. On Thursday we had dinner at my house, and then played games. It was a really nice holiday!

Eventful Week

The week of Nov. 11-18th was a really fun week - Jeff and I did exciting stuff each of the nights. Monday I went out with people from my program; Tuesday Jeff and I saw "Juno" and saw a Q&A with the screen-writer and main actress. On Wednesday we went to a talk on Space Policy hosted by the "Women in Aerospace" group. It was a really interesting talk, and the building had a beautiful view of the capital. Thursday, we had a Beaujolais nouveau party after class, to celebrate "Beaujolais Day" with this wine, which is released the third Thursday in November. (I'm still not clear exactly why this constitutes a holiday, but wikipedia confirms it's a real thing.) On Friday, we got together with friends for a Bollywood Movie night. We watched "Rang de Basanti", which is a good movie - about students in India and current politics juxtaposed with the story of Indian revolutionaries in the early 20th century. And it's got dancing! We also had Indian food for dinner and did some dancing ourselves. On Saturday, Jeff and I got up early in the morning (8:30am is early to me, at least) and got on the bus to New York. We spent the day walking around New York City with our friends Kamal and Stefania, who I met while I was living in England. It was really nice to see them; it's been two or three years since the last time we saw each other. We ended the evening by seeing a fun comedy show in a bar on Bleeker Street in the Village. Then we raced to the bus station to get back to DC. Sunday, Nov. 18th was Jeff's birthday, and we celebrated mostly by ordering pizza and watching football. It was a very nice, relaxing birthday. Then, on Monday, Rachel and Tim came into the city to visit and hang out, and Jeff's brother, Dave, was in town visiting, too. Tim and Rachel got Jeff a birthday fruit tart (substitute for cake). It was a busy string of days, and lots of fun!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Exams and Movies

Well, as of Monday, I have officially gotten at least some grades in all of my classes, and overall it looks like I'm doing really well. That's great, because it's difficult going into a new field. Especially going from engineering where you do problem sets and basically know before hand that you either got the right answer or you didn't, to policy where everything is essays and research papers, and there is no "right" answer (though there are still good and bad grades).

So Monday night after getting our midterms, a bunch of us from class went to "Mezza Luna", which is a restaurant/bar at 19th and L. It was a fun restaurant, and had a really good bread and dip, though I can't figure out what's in the dip, exactly.

Last night, Jeff and I went to a free screening of the movie "Juno". It's about a comedy about a teenage girl that gets pregnant (and it's set in Minnesota). Seems odd, but it was actually pretty funny (if you don't think too seriously about the moral issues involved...). Check out the trailor at: - under videos. One of the very cool things about the screening was that the screenplay writer, Diablo Cody, and the main actress, Ellen Page, were there and did a Q&A afterwards.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birthday Weekend

Well, I'm 24 years old now, as of Thursday. It's been a fun birthday weekend! On my actual birthday, I finished up the last paper that was due that week, went to work for a bit, and then class. It got more fun after that... After class a group of us went to see my friend Brian's play - "Lend Me a Tenor" - which was really fun. Then we went out for drinks.

On Friday, Jeff and I did a lot of lounging around, and then went for food at Thai Tanic - a restaurant just around the corner from us. It's got good food, but crazy interior decorating - the tables are all silver and sparkly and bright, and it sort of looks like a 50's diner mixed with a disco-style club. Then we went and saw "The Darjeeling Limited", which was really fun.

Saturday, in addition to some work and relaxing at home, we went for dinner at Indique - some friends from my program - Stephanie, Steph and Eric - had given me a home-made gift certificate to the restaurant. The food there was really great. We had Lamb Rogan Josh and Vegetable Biriyani, probably the best lamb I've ever had, and also the first time I've had biriyani in the U.S. After dinner we went to visit Tim and Rachel in Greenbelt, and had a movie night - we watched "Hot Fuzz" which is by the same people as "Sean of the Dead" and is just about as ridiculous and funny.

Today's been another relax-at-home day - we've been out of town the last few weekends, so I think we're taking it easy. Football and mac-n-cheese. I signed up for Grand Central, which is a service in its beta version from Google. It's pretty cool - it give you a local phone number for anywhere in the continental U.S. you want (except Maine for some reason) and then has all sorts of features. It screens your calls, and you can have individualized messages for different people or groups of people. It lets you listen to your voicemails online, and will email you when you have voicemails if you want. It also lets you record calls - so if you need a phone number or directions but have no pen, you just press four to have it record.

Ok, later on I'm going to a space-girls'-night-dinner in Dupont Circle with some other girls in my program... and that's about it for the weekend!

Monday, November 5, 2007


Jeff and I spent last weekend in Boston - it was a great trip! We decided to drive up, despite the bad omen of the car breaking down at the end of our previous weekend-trip. Also, since we were borrowing his mom's Prius for this trip, we were more confident in the car's ability to survive.

The driving part was fun - it's about 8 hours from DC to Boston, and that's plenty of time for Jeff and I to discuss everything from our childhood Halloween costumes to the merits of out-lawing all advertising. (In summary, I dressed up as a princess, a fairy, and a fairy princess, while Jeff dressed up as a "fat guy" three years in a row... and though we know it isn't practical, we're still deciding whether or not advertising in general should be legal, and if so, what rules it should have to follow.)

It was great to be back in the city - Jeff hasn't seen it since he left to come to DC, so he was really excited. We stayed at Theta Xi, and hung around with all of the people there. Since they change rooms and arrangements every semester, everything was surprisingly familiar - you get used to the house in general, not to specific furniture lay-outs or things like that. It was a cool experience to go back to the dorm-style living with lots of people for a few days. You see your friends so much more often when they're across the hall with the door open, and when you know they're over there trying to think of ways to procrastinate, too. When you move out to the city, you get the benefits of having your own cool apartment and all the freedom and privacy that comes along with it, but you miss out on a lot of the impromptu "hanging out" that happens in college.

It was cool to meet the new pledges at Jeff's house, too. After being around for 5 years of rush, it was strange to think there was a new class of students that you've never met. I also met a lot of freshmen who had been in FAP (Freshman Arts Preorientation Program). I was a counselor for the program for two years, and a coordinator my senior year - I wrote a number of the activities that they do during the program - but, of course, these freshman had no idea who I was or that I had ever been involved in FAP at all. Such a weird feeling to be around familiar places and talk about familiar programs, but have all the new stuff and people mixed in.

We were in town the weekend of the blacklight party at Jeff's fraternity. That turned out to be a great plan, because a lot of the people we might not have otherwise seen were over to the house on Saturday night. It was so fun to see everybody and hear what they're up to. I'm really hoping Jeff and I can manage to stay in touch with people.

We also saw some of the people from my year - specifically Janet, Liz, Jess and Sam. That was great since Janet moved to Boston right after I moved away and we never got to actually hang out. Janet, Liz, Jeff and I had dinner at a Brazilian BBQ place in Inman Square (which is getting to be a really cool area), and then went back to their apartment where we had great blueberry tea and saw Jess and Sam.

So lots more happened over the weekend and I'm sure I could write more about it, but this week is going to be a little crazy - I have four papers due by Thursday (two of which are due in 2.5 hours). If I enjoyed writing about the national system of innovation as much as I enjoy writing about my trip to Boston, I'd probably be fine, but since that's not the case, I better get back to work and make the most of the 2.5 hours I have left.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Savannah Plan!

I'm really excited at the moment, because Janet, Neera and I have succeeded in booking a fun weekend trip from January. Since graduation, the three of us have been geographically dispersed - last year Janet was in San Francisco, Neera was in Chicago, and I was in Boston. This year Janet is in Boston, Neera's still in Chicago, and I'm in DC. Since this is the case, we decided to try to get together and go on a 'girl's weekend' trip each year. Last year we went on a cruise to the Bahamas. This year we're staying in a Bed and Breakfast in Savannah, GA.

I'm really excited for this trip. I've never stayed in a B&B and never been to Savannah. I think it will be a relaxing, cute weekend. We're going the third weekend in January, so it will be a nice break from the cold. The bed and breakfast we're staying in is called the Dresser Palmer House: and we'll have the John Wesley room: - it's got a working fire place and opens onto the front veranda! They have a "hearty breakfast" and a social hour from 5:30-7pm with wine and cheese. Should be fun!