Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Paul Sirajuddin

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

90 Comment

  • REVEL: My husband and I have been matched with a birth mother. She is due in the beginning of October. Lots to prepare for… but I’m SO EXCITED!

    Rant: Nothing!

  • Rave: Might have the depression kicked. Still seeing my therapist but I now have less and less sad down time. In fact, when I have down time, I just go for a bike ride.
    Rave: Woke up this morning and no longer saw a fat face staring back at me.

    • That’s awesome! I’m not sure I understand your second rave, but your first one is fantastic!

    • What did you do? My girlfriend has really bad depression and anxiety. She thinks she has some disease that is causing her fatigue, headaches, and neurological problems. But she’s seen dozens of doctors and specialists over the past few years and no one’s found anything. I suspect it’s her depression and anxiety that are causing the symptoms, but she’s done a lot to attempt to treat these problems. She’s tried prescription medications, herbal supplements, taking a leave of absence from work, therapists, acupuncture, neurofeedback training, EFT tapping, and hypnosis. I’ve seen the neurofeedback charts and they show that her anxiety is through the roof. It’s been a very costly and frustrating journey and I feel like we’re running out of things to try.

      • Anonymous–I am sorry for your girlfriend. I am not a doctor or in the medical field. Has she investigated immunological diseases like Fybromyalgia? There was an article about them in one of the last several weeks of the New Yorker.

      • Well no two people are alike… and I’ll assume no two treatments are alike. But for myself, I was dealing with deep depression and anxiety. I managed to go to work but do no work and would go home and drink myself into a stupor pretty much every night. I thought about suicide, I thought about ways to handle it.

        So I recognized that I was in deep shit. First thing I did was find a therapist to talk to. That actually took some doing but I managed to find one that was covered by insurance AND gave a shit about me. I lapsed once and drank again and stayed out of touch with the world for like four days, including missed appts with my therapist, she called my brother (who I’m not that close with and lives in Denver) and told him what was up. He in turned called me and that really helped.

        I’m sure your gf is well down that path of therapy tho. Second thing I did was flush all my alcohol down the sink. I’ve attended a couple AA meetings but have not gone in a while admittedly.

        Third, I got back into social swing of things… meeting up with friends, going to free concerts and movies. Just getting the flock out of my apartment, even if it’s by myself.

        Fourth, I’ve taken up some meditation. I just tune out worldly pressures like money, social issues (I’m divorced), stuff like that. It’s just… stuff. Gotten pretty zen about it. I still have some money issues because of my lack of performance during my bad period but it’s just money really.

        And last, I found a physical activity I really love which surprised me. I really love biking right now. I can’t wait to leave work and hit the trails. One of my good friends who knew what I was going through gave me his first bike, no questions asked and I’ve really taken to it. I am dead tired at the end of the day but I feel really good with natural endorphins. And I’ve lost some weight since I’ve started.

        I will say in the beginning with my therapist, I was adamant about not going on medication. I really don’t want to be in a haze at all or dependent on pills. I still have some low days but they are far and few these days. I’m not out of the woods yet but do feel I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck to your gf, I mean it.

        • Yeah, I think the last three things are important. As you probably know, though, it’s hard for a depressed person to get out of the house and do stuff. The last time we went biking she got really dizzy and it was scary. Also, because of the Lyme scare she’s terrified of being out in nature now. She doesn’t mediate or exercise and doesn’t have hobbies (which I believe can put you in a meditative-like state if they’re engaging). She’s constantly comparing herself to other people, complaining that she’s not smart enough and wishing we had a bigger house. I think changing those negative thinking habits and reconnecting with the world would go a long way towards curing her, but I don’t know how to get her to do those things.

          • Is she currently in therapy? Does she find it helpful at all? If not, she should seek out a new therapist. I know it’s incredibly difficult to do a lot of the things that can help when you’re in the midst of deep depression and anxiety. If she’s open to help, you could do some research on therapists for her. Also, is she on any medication (not for depression and anxiety, just in general)? I was using a topical steroid for awhile that seemed to make my anxiety much, much worse. Good luck. I hope your girlfriend is able to get a diagnosis or find something that helps her.

          • She’s tried a few different therapists and didn’t believe any of them were helping. She’s not in therapy now. These days she’s taking a lot of prescribed supplements and recently finished treatment for H. Pylori, but she’s had the depression and anixety previously while not taking anything.

          • Original poster here… she should keep looking because it’s important to talk to someone. I went through a lot of therapist during my marriage (ex-wife had addiction issues). The last two were probably the most helpful during my marriage and subsequent divorce. I went to two of them dealing with this depression and I wasn’t feeling it. I got really lucky with my current therapist. When she called my brother in Denver worried that I might have committed suicide, that really hit home with me that she cared and was not someone who was just filling appointment slots.

            She should keep looking until she finds someone who she feels is helping. It’s a pain but once you find one that clicks, it makes a world of difference. This is coming from someone who was raised in a very closed, emotionless family and that “mental health” therapy was a weakness. I am not saying having a therapist will be the cure but it certainly helps with overall recovery. One thing I’ve learned in dealing with my recovery from depression, you cannot do it alone. Since my worst period, I’ve opened up to a lot of friends who I felt would have been burdened with my troubles and all have come through in spades in many different ways.

          • Allison

            Re: lack of hobbies. Have you suggested her taking up cooking? It’s a nice indoor hobby and it’s the only one that I find really engages me into that meditative state people seek out in a hobby. Searching for new recipes and anticipating making them provides something to me look forward to, which depressed people are often missing. Anyway, it’s certainly no cure for depression, but it really helps my own anxiety. Plus it’s hard to be sad when you’re nomming delicious food all the time.

          • Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, and I’ve invited her to come join me in the kitchen, but she sees cooking as a chore and has no interest in it. In her culture, women learn to cook so they can be subservient housewives, so I think that’s why she resents it so much. She also lacks the patience to spend 30 minutes preparing a meal.

      • For what it’s worth, along the lines of Lyme disease, I read a tidbit somewhere about toxoplasmosis infection manifesting as depression. I didn’t look further into it, but it might be something to check out.

        • Probably unlikely since she’s a vegetarian and allergic to cats, but I’ll ask her if she’s been tested for it yet. She’s had some infectious disease and parasite panels done but I’m not sure what they tested for exactly.

          • Apparently most people who have the toxoplasmosis parasite (and most don’t become sick from it) pick it up not from their own household cats’ waste, but from soil or from meat. (Has she always been a vegetarian?)

          • Not always, but she hasn’t eaten meat in over 30 years!

          • I am not being flip or ragging on vegetarians at all – but Temple Grandin (autistic “cattle whisperer” for lack of better description) wrote about how she needs to eat meat or her anxiety levels increase. And there is intriguing new research looking at the effect of gut bacteria on mental health.

      • GiantSquid

        Hyperthyroidism/Graves’ Disease? One of my friends was just diagnosed after over ten years of symptoms.

  • A question for the well-traveled peanut gallery:

    I need a gift for a colleague. Our company is partnering with theirs and they are visiting from China. Any idea what might be an appreciated/meaningful gift for a work partner from China? Maybe a framed photo or plaque or something? That’s what first comes to mind, but I was wondering if anyone might have any less obvious ideas…

    • A nice pen (fountain or otherwise) is a good gift for a business colleague, and the price range is wide enough to accomodate any budget. Farneys on F St. in Metro Center is a great place to buy a nice pen and nice notebooks.

    • binpetworth

      I’ve found that when giving gifts to foreign colleagues, nice Washington-themed items go over well, such as cherry blossom chocolates, a nice print/linen/stationery with Washington scenes on it, etc. that they cannot get in their own country. The pen idea is nice, too, and would go well with some stationery.

    • I do international travel for work. I generally appreciate things that are small and reflect the place I visited. Not pens. Pens are so impersonal. So something that reflects DC, but is easily packable. I second the thought about something from the Smithsonian gift shops.

    • austindc

      PoP teeshirt. Then make them send in a picture of them wearing it in China.

    • Take a picture together, print it, and frame it in a DCish frame. I work with many companies in Asia and they LOVE framed pictures. Plus, it helps them remember who you are, which is always a good thing when you only see each other every few years.

    • I would agree with the Washington themed gift. White House ornaments have been big hits with people I know. I’d check out the Smithsonian and White House gift shops.

    • Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone!

  • Rave: Signed up as an intermittent employee with former colleague – still working on one of my projects. All
    great opportunities and great people BUT…

    Rant: Running from one thing to the next, getting the house prepared to rent, getting my shit together to move across the atlantic, fielding questions from old job, and needing to work on current project…

    Rave: Who cares – I’m moving to London, starting grad school, and am so excited to take this step! This too shall pass. Less than two weeks and I’ll be on my way!

  • jack5

    Rave: People are being nice to me at work now that they know I’m going to head a new initiative. They forget the last year in which they constantly fought me while we struggled to success. This is life…

    Rave: 3 day weekend forthcoming.

    Rant: Who are the people who are constantly leaving mattresses and large furniture in DC alleys? Aren’t they aware of the DC dump at Fort Totten?!? Also, why is DPW so slow at picking up these dumped items?

    Rave: My dog is the greatest ever.

    • I second your rant on the dumping of furniture — I guess some people just can’t be bothered. Just put it in the alley and it becomes someone else’s problem. πŸ™
      What I don’t understand is when it’s (say) a group house, and the item just stays there for weeks on end (or until I notice it and make a 311 request). I can understand if the departing tenant doesn’t give a sh*t, but you’d think the remaining tenants would get tired of looking at the dumped item and ask their landlord to do something about it.

      • People need to get in the habit of calling 311 as soon as they see something needing attention; not wait for weeks to see if it magically is taken care of or someone else calls. Multiple calls tend to get faster results. “Oh, but I don’t want to bother them with this one little thing.” It’s their job to take calls and little things pile up.

        • epric002

          +1. or using the 311 app. no calls/”bothering someone” required. take a photo and submit it!

        • I do try to make 311 requests promptly, but sometimes it slips my mind.
          What’s discouraging is that it often seems like no one else on my block/alley is reporting ANYTHING. It gets exhausting to feel like I’m solely responsible for requesting any and all city services. (Last Thursday I was using the 311 app and submitted 10 of them!)

          • I put a sign on the light post in my alley to inform renters to call 311 when they dump their belongings. Sometimes the landlord might not have told tenants about illegal dumping. At least the tenants see the information next to their mattresses.

          • Anonymous 12:40 pm — Hmm, maybe I’ll give that a try. Ideally the renters should be calling 311 a good 2 weeks or so BEFORE moving, though, as that’s how long it takes to get a bulk trash pickup date.

            Some people’s behavior defies logic, though. Last month there were two different group houses where departing tenants had each left behind piles of clothing — not clothing put into trash bags, but piles of loose items.

            It can be hard enough to get the D.C. trash people to pick up trash properly even when it’s bagged and in the bin. Do these tenants really think the trash people are going to carefully scoop up all of their shirts, socks, etc. from the ground??

    • My experience is that you can’t just bring trash there if you are a renter. I tried to use the DC dump a few years back, and they said they would only accept large trash drop offs from homeowners. Apparently there is some arrangement where the apartment buildings have to pay private companies to have large trash dumped? It sounded like a racket to me. After packing up the truck and sitting in line for 45 minutes to dump my trash, I was not in the mood to be sneered at and sent away. Luckily, I managed to get a manager to take pity on me. But it was made very clear to me that they were making an exception. So I agree that the large trash in the alley is annoying, getting rid of it cheaply ought to be as much an option for renters as it is for owners.

      • That’s BS. If you’re renting in a big managed building then yes, they city is not responsible, but if you’re renting a rowhouse you are entitled to the same services as other rowhouse owners.

        • I was not in a rowhouse, I was renting in a small apartment building at the time. And totally agreed that it was BS.

          • jack5

            All you have to have is a DC ID, you can get one of them at the DMV without changing your driver’s license. It’s a good thing to have if you’re a temporary resident just here for school and it can be obtained with a utility bill with your name on it for the DC address you’re renting.

      • “Apparently there is some arrangement where the apartment buildings have to pay private companies to have large trash dumped?”
        Yes, this is the case. From http://dpw.dc.gov/node/418402 : “Apartment buildings with four or more units, condominiums, co-ops and other commercial properties must have their bulk items removed by a private, licensed hauler.”
        Such buildings aren’t entitled to city trash, city recycling, or city bulk trash pickup… but they also don’t have to pay the city for those services, whereas individual homeowners do.

  • Rave: Moving end of this week.
    Rant: Have to move.

  • pablo .raw

    Rave: one of my photos on a very important publication
    Rant: without my permission
    Rant: I know who gave it to them
    Rant: having to deal with this

  • Rant: RATS! I was out watering my yard, and one decided to dash within an inch or two of my feet. So gross. Called 311 – hopefully they can do something about it.

    Rave: Keeping busy, which I like.

    • Get your neighbors together and get the Department of Health to come out and do rat abatement on your entire block. It really helped with the rat problem on our block. We had about 2-3 people on our block collect signatures on the permission forms for the rat abatement people then meet them on the day they came out to do whatever they do. We’ve done it twice so far and it really, really helps.

    • you can fill out a rat abatement form. I did, and they showed up within the week for an abandoned lot/sketchy Chinese restaurant on the corner of our block. I don’t know if it’s helped, but they DID show up!

  • RAVE: that photo! It makes Metro look like something in Tomorrowland at DisneyWorld instead of the crummy old Metro.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rave: Almost done training all the new people at work.
    Rant: My cat’s internal clock is off. She usually makes sure I’m awake after my alarm goes off, but lately she’s started yelling at me to wake up 10-15 minutes before it goes off. I want those extra minutes!
    Rave: She’s a the best kitty, even if she does talk too much.

    • Ack – Mine does that too. Usually wakes me up my pawing at my phone until it falls off the nightstand. Or by pawing my face…..

    • epric002

      one of the dogs has figured out that my alarm goes off at 6:30 but i like to snooze til 6:45. so of course he shows up outside the bedroom door at like 6:37 every morning. the other one doesn’t get up until she hears the kibble hit the bowl, and then it sounds like a herd of elephants coming down for breakfast.

  • Rant: One of my dogs peed in the house last night (didn’t discover it until this morning) and the smell immediately triggered a migraine.
    Rave: Migraine is finally under control enough that I can think about starting to do work.

  • Rave: Unexpected orchid bloom. I put my orchids outside for the summer in a shaded spot – yesterday I discovered one was in bloom (and it looks like another will be blooming soon).
    Rave: Vegetables from my garden (that’s my garden haul a few posts below)
    Rant: Neighbor’s indoor/outdoor cat – twice I’ve seen the cat leaving my backyard with a bird in it’s mouth. I know the cat is being a cat – still it bothers me.

    • Nice! I used to have a couple dozen orchids, and that always made my day. Perhaps one day, when my house is less crammed with kid stuff, I’ll build a new orchid shelf and re-build the collection.

  • Rave: Met a very nice guy at a part on Sunday
    Rant: Was at said party with another guy, who I’ve been casually seeing – prompting the guy I came with to get all territorial
    Rave: Meeting up with new guy for drinks
    Rant: Have to wait until Thursday πŸ™‚

    • At a party, not a part — damn fingers…

      • is it that surprising? Even if you both are crystal clear it is casual, is it odd that he thought maybe there was a chance you all were gonna hook up after the party and that his chances were dashed now that nice guy showed up?

    • “Rave: Meeting up with new guy for drinks”
      Guess we can’t blame casual guy for getting all territorial then, can we?
      You appear to be too charming for your own good. πŸ˜‰
      Good luck!

  • RANT: I wish people would use the walkways rather than cutting through the grass and making ugly dirt paths in Franklin Square. The sidewalk is literally a couple steps away, why do people have to be so lazy?

    • epric002

      counter point: what if they waited to install sidewalks and did so where people had worn paths, so that the sidewalks were in useful places? just food for thought πŸ™‚

      • I understand that walking on the paths takes an extra 5 seconds and it is not the perfect straight-line walk across the park. My rant is more about having basic decency to respect the park’s beauty instead of trampling over it to save a couple steps. I would understand if it was way out of the way to avoid it, but I’m not kidding when it is literally a few steps from the existing walkways.

      • The Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland had existing sidewalks, but I liked how they bowed to reality and added a proper footpath where people had worn one in. πŸ™‚

    • My college had dozens of off-sidewalk paths on the engineering campus. I used to say it’s because engineers are just looking for the most efficient route possible. πŸ™‚

  • Rave: Just as I was wondering if and when I’d hear back about the dream job I applied for, I got an email from the recruiter! We obviously have an ESP connection so the interview should go well. πŸ˜‰

  • Rant: Working in government after working for 10 years in politics and issue campaigns. There is no perspective here with all these folks who have only worked here at this one place for their whole lives! I don’t understand why they place people in certain departments (congressional relations / PR) who have no experience in the field but just because they worked here for 35 years doing logistics. Yeah that sparks innovation….Oh and they way you are promoting your legislative asks on the Hill: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

    Rave: 1st date with an artist! First date in about 4 years (broke up with a long term GF in Dec.).

  • Rant: Impending military action in Syria.
    Rant: No way in hell this remains a “deterrent” operation.
    Rant: Sen John Cornyn has the temerity to say limited strikes will have negligible effects on the ground. Here’s to a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reading a fucking newspaper from the last 13 years.

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