Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user ianseanlivingston

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.

188 Comment

  • Rave: Finally got an interview after months of applications.
    Rant: I am SO nervous, I can hardly eat or sleep. I feel so rusty and unsure of what to expect.

    • Good luck, I’m sure you’ll kill it!

    • In my last interview they asked me where I see myself in 5 years. I didn’t think that people were still asking that question – especially at a mid/senior level.

      • Oh believe it. People are still asking all the completely useless questions, like what is your greatest weakness. And just so you know, nobody answers “Twinkies” anymore.

      • That’s one of the few “traditional” interview questions I’ve been getting. Really, most of my interviews are pretty rambling and unprofessional. Based on my recent experience (7 face-to-face interviews in a week), I’d suggest that OP be prepared [my suggestions added for free!] for “in five years” (be vague but ambitious); to walk through their resume (every job should offer a little epiphany that makes you look good — not just what you did, but what special learning experience that became a part of the beautiful mosaic that is you: “this is the first time my work was really front and center in a public way, and I learned to consider not just making the point such that insiders would understand, but making it in a way that the public would understand and be persuaded by); and be ready with lots of “have you got any questions for me?” since lots of interviewers run out of questions fast. Having one prepared that has nothing to do with the job itself, but makes it look like you’ve thought about the organizational mission will make you look smart and engaged (“just out of curiosity, when you’re bringing clean water to sun-Saharan Africa, how do you deal with tribal rivalries and local pork-barrel politics in making sure resources are deployed effectively”). Never lie unless you have to. πŸ˜‰
        I’ll let you know in two weeks whether any of this advice actually works. Good luck!

    • Congrats! Practice with a friend to hear yourself outloud and get the jitters out.

    • So, as a fellow recent interviewer who also gets crazy nervous, I wanted to pass along a resource that is semi-doofy, but that I found really useful – http://blog.ted.com/2012/10/11/amy-cuddy-talks-power-posing/.
      Good luck!

    • Emmaleigh504

      I always seem to surprise interviewers with how many questions I have for them (usually take a bunch just in case they answer some in the interview and actually ask 3-4). It flips the tables on them and gives me a wee bit of power (in my head).
      The question that interviewers in my field (libraries of all sorts, not just public) seem to be most surprised and delighted to answer is “What do you like most about working here?” The other one that surprises and stumps them is “If you could change anything (besides budge) what would your change? or What do you like least (besides budge) about working here?” (everyone always wants to say budget in my field, don’t let them take the easy way out!)
      Good luck!

      • I am a librarian looking for a job, thank you for this!!

        • Emmaleigh504

          oh hey, I have a whole list of library related questions I got off an email list. It’s got tons of questions for all sorts of different libraries. If you gmail me at Emmaleigh504 I can dig it up and send it to you.

    • Thanks for all the encouragement and advice, folks! Much appreciated. It’s also nice to hear I’m not the only one out there who gets nervous.

  • gotryit

    Rave: marble installation around the fireplace looks awesome!
    Rant or rave: I need a break from the useless back and forth between ridiculous bleeding hearts and not-so-thinly-veiled stupidity. Bye for a while or longer.

    • I’m in a gardening frame of mind, apparently, and thought you were rant/raving about growing/planting bleeding hearts in your garden. I was trying to figure out why they were ridiculous.

      • Emmaleigh504

        bleeding hearts, the flowers, are shade loving, right? I really want to grow some, but I get a lot of afternoon sun πŸ™

        • I think so- I’ve been toying at the idea of planting them in my front yard which is pretty shady.

          • Emmaleigh504

            I”m trying to figure out what I can plant in my window pots to shade my violets b/c I get too much sun for them. trial and error. My pots are probably too small for bleeding hearts and a shade plant. oh well.

          • How about a foliage plant like coleus or caladium? Bleeding heart can get really big!

      • Bleeding hearts LOVE shady spots and they are self-re-sowing. However, the foliage turns a kind of ugly floppy Adams family beigey yellow when it dies back in summer so be prepared to clear the foliage out

    • Taking a break sounds like a good idea – posts (and threads) that go somewhat predictably down a negative road quickly.

    • Bye

  • epric002

    rave: finally got the $80 for my transit benefits that had been held hostage for 2 months.
    rant: the woman in HR who was “helping” me with this must be about 95 and senile. i made one phone call and i had my money in an hour. she has allegedly been working furiously on this for weeks and had no idea why it couldn’t be resolved. the people at the transit company said they had never heard from her on this issue. wtf.
    rant: dog on leash got away from his person this morning. i know he just wanted to play, but my dog is not friendly. person acted surprisingly unconcerned about the whole thing.
    rave: no dog fight, just some raised hackles and growling.

    • HR. She never made the call.

      • epric002

        i suspect as much, despite her countless emails over the past weeks explaining how hard she was working it and how she’d reached out to so many people and still didn’t have an answer. i’m pretty sure she actually believes it too. methinks she needs to retire.

        • Unfortunately, after a series of unfortunate events that resulted in my retirement contributions being stopped, my leave messed with, among other things, I finally found the two people in my HR who can do any and everything. They are great. There is no polite word for the others in my work’s HR.

    • Unconcerned is the right reaction. I’ve got one of each type of dog, and the best reaction is a calm one. If the owners freak, the dogs are likely to do so as well.

      • epric002

        i wasn’t looking for a freakout, but something more than slowly moseying over to get your dog while i’m picking mine up to avoid a fight would have been nice. i don’t think he even apologized.

      • I feel your pain epric002. There is a HUGE difference between not freaking out and not being concerned. Case in point- last week someone had their teeny tiny 2lb yorkie off leash and the dog came running at my 40lb non-dog-friendly dog. The lady wasn’t even paying attention and didn’t realize what was going on until she saw me carrying my dog past her. Something is wrong with that picture.

        • epric002

          thanks @anon. lots of people with friendly dogs/who have never had an un-friendly/reactive dog do not seem to understand that it doesn’t matter how friendly YOUR dog is, MINE is not! i can work around you when your dog is leashed and under your control, but when they get loose, i usually have to pick mine (who is also ~40 lbs) up, which no one likes.

  • Rave: The wedding photos are ready!!!
    Rant: Guy on the metro this morning. Plenty of open seats around, sits right next to me, whips out his half-completed Express crossword puzzle. I’m working on the Express crossword puzzle. Either he’s oblivious (likely), wanted to show off that he had some things filled in (meh), or wanted to look at my crossword puzzle (not likely), but WTH guy? I don’t want to temptation of looking at your crossword, and I don’t want you looking at mine. Go sit somewhere else next to a non-crossword-puzzle-doer. Ruined my morning flow..
    Rant-ish: Tattoo I got on Saturday is healing somewhat nicely, but I have this slight fear that my skin is going to reject the red-inked shading I have. Probably won’t happen, but I worry.
    Rave: But the wedding photos are READY!!!!!

    • houseintherear

      I had the DC flag tattood on my inner wrist last year and it was totally rejected. πŸ™ Weird because other red ink on me hasn’t had an issue. It didn’t scar or flare up, just got all dotted and then faded away to just the outline. I’m getting it covered in gray next month. Hope you have better luck with yours! Red ink is the pits.

    • houseintherear

      Also, to nerd out for a minute, I teach art to little kids and basically can’t use anything red because it’s always toxic. No red ceramic glaze, no red acrylic paint, no red printing ink… there’s a metal in most red pigments that is dangerous. When I do have a material with “red” pigment, it’s usually more of a pink because they use a synthetic pigment that isn’t quite accurate. Fascinating stuff! πŸ™‚

      • Emmaleigh504

        That is fascinating. Red is my favorite color and I remember in high school art class where we did ceramic (slip casting mostly) for-freaking-ever (I hated it) I was always pissed b/c the red glaze was so easy to mess up. The teacher told us it was the hardest color to work with and she was so right. It always had weird silver streaking.

    • Emmaleigh504

      The guy that did my red tattoo in Georgetown (Jinx proof?) in 2008 picked a fab bright red that my skin didn’t reject at all. People still think it’s brand new. I didn’t even know that rejecting red ink was a thing.

      • Same for me. I got a DC flag (it seemed original at the time) at Jinx proof 4 years ago and it still looks brand new. No red ink rejection.

        Funniest response about the DC flag tattoo: Some drunk woman on the Metro asked me if it was the Russian flag. I was afraid we were going to have some sort of Rocky v Drago moment but she calmed down when she found it was DC.

        • houseintherear

          lol nice
          Originality isn’t my concern anymore. I’m too old for that jazz. πŸ™‚ It was an anniversary present to myself for having been a district resident for a while. I’m proud of it!

  • Rave: Visited the Uprising Muffin Company on 7th & R this morning and the pumpkin muffin was to die for! It was light and fluffy, tasted like real pumpkin not some artificial substitute, and had a perfect crust on the top. I will be back!

  • binpetworth

    Rant: People who believe that nice weather = perfect opportunity to park outside blasting the bass on the car stereo at odd hours of the day and night.
    Rave: WMATA got back to me promptly after I reported my SmartCard was lost and I’m getting a new card with the previous amount loaded on it this week; I truly didn’t expect quick progress on this (or anything from them)

    • Where are you? I have some friends on Rock Creek Church Road who have this problem but are afraid to do anything because they don’t want vindictive car vandalism.

      • Are they on the first block east of the Georgia Ave Metro stop – heading towards the Old Soldiers Home? I don’t live on that block but I walk through it on the way home and there are a couple of houses where the residents (and guests) believe in playing music on their car stereos for the neighborhood when the weather is warm.
        I’m not against playing your music outside. But you can do it at a volume level that doesn’t reach the entire block.

      • binpetworth

        I’m several blocks northwest (close to Powell school). Our challenge is that it seems to be a rotating group of stereo-blasters who linger in the alleys and aren’t specifically connected to a single residence, so it’s hard to report where it’s happening.

      • What kind of scary ass friends do you have? Jesus…LOVE how people complain but never take mature, responsible action on how to resolve issues. I live on this same block, know EXACTLY who you are talking about and know for a fact that don’t play it THAT loud nor at unreasonable hours either. Are your friends afraid to politely ask someone to turn down their music b/c those folks are Black? You think we all retaliate to requests with violence? Effing pansies.

        • Ha! Do you hear yourself? You sound exactly like the kind of person who would play their music too loud and then react rudely when someone asks you to turn it down. That’s exactly what you sound like, read your response again and then try to get some self-awareness and courtesy. I’ll bet they don’t want to ask these folks because they’re afraid of a rude response (like yours!), not because they’re black.

  • Rave: That photo! Somehow between work and class I missed catching sight of the rainbow(s) though my Instagram kept me well informed πŸ˜‰
    Rave: Books! I had forgotten how much I love to read. Read two chapters before getting out of bed this morning and I really loved it – only downside is that I struggle with reading only two chapters at a time, its impossible to put a good book down!
    Rave: My hair has gotten so long! I’m loving it but I need to find a way to keep it all hydrated..
    Rave: Exchanging emails with an old friend yesterday has definitely contributed to my rave-y outlook today πŸ™‚
    Question: Do we have any idea how long will next Wednesday’s informal happy hour will go? I really want to make it but I have a hair appointment that is proving a pain to reschedule

    • I’m not sure – I had to leave the last one fairly early for another event. Anyone else have thoughts?

      PS I use V05 hot oil (so old school!) a few times a year and it’s great for moisturizing.

    • I think I was at the last one until 7:30 or so.

    • Neutrogena has this triple moisture conditioner that rocks. It says daily use but I use it once a week and it is incredible. You leave it in for a few minutes before you rinse.

    • I have 2 moisturizing tactics. The first is a coconut oil mask. Slather that stuff on thick, all over- roots to tips. Rub it in like you’re dyeing your hair. Leave it for 30 minutes (sometimes when I was running in the morning, like early enough that no one would see me, I would put it on before a run) then wash your hair twice to get it all out, and condition as usual. This makes my hair shiner, smoother, more moisturized, and strangely it also makes it darker for a few days.
      My other recommendation is to put a few drops of oil- marcuja or whatever fancy stuff (I get all sorts in my birchbox)- in your palms after towel drying and rub it your damp hair, but only from your ears down.
      Just generally, I wash my hair every other day. It took a while for my scalp to produce less oil, but the fewer washes and blow dries have helped my hair get healthier. I only ever put conditioner in from my ears down, natural oils do the rest.

    • justinbc

      Last time quite a few people stayed until at least 9PM.

    • Emmaleigh504

      What kind of hair do you have? Mine is curly and dry so I can get away with using conditioner as shampoo when it’s really dry. Coconut oil and V05 hot oil are both great, too. Aveda used to have this great pre shampoo stuff that made my hair so soft, but I can’t remember what it’s called.

  • Rant: Leprechauns pooping in my yard on Macomb Street.

    • leprechauns on the tony Macomb street of all places? Had no idea they had such a taste for beautiful victorian homes.

  • Rave: I have THREE orchids about to bloom and one that may be moving towards blooming. Orchid happiness! Also an amaryllis opening up.
    And rave: Finished the WPost Sunday crossword without using any outside resources : ) I used to do the crossword puzzle on the bus to work and Sudoko on the way home. Now I mostly ride my bike – not conducive towards puzzle solving (but good for overall well-being)

    • Orchids! This reminded me that I went to the orchid exhibit at the botanical gardens last weekend and got some awesome photos. They are so beautiful.

    • justinbc

      I’m jealous. I’m pretty adept with just about any type of plant, but I never once was able to get an orchid to rebloom after I purchased it. They all just stayed alive forever and kept growing without flowering.

      • Benign neglect is the trick – I learned this from my mother who was a gifted gardener. I haven’t repotted them and only just started feeding them this year.
        There are two orchids at the farm that have been blooming almost non-stop for at least three years. There is maybe a month between when the last bud falls off and new buds start growing. These orchids are really amazing – and they came from either Lowes or Ikea.

  • Rant – Feeling very blah and stuck in a rut lately. For the past ten years or so my life has been hectic with school, work, then back to school, then back to work. I’ve moved so many times to different cities in different states. Everything in my life felt temporary. Now I’m “settled down” with an OK job and I’ve renewed a lease for an apartment for the first time ever (!) but I’m starting to feel restless. Like I should be gearing up for my next move. Maybe I just need a more exciting job.
    Rave – Exploring the positives of being settled down: volunteering, joining a book club, planning an actual vacation, investing in real furniture and making my space look nice. Trying to figure out how to put down some roots and become part of a community. Maybe I’ll go to the PoPville happy hour thing that’s happening next week? I need friends!

    • i like how you found the raves in your rant. one of the things i like about participating in rants/raves is trying to figure out the upside in whatever I put in my rants.
      I’m more of a naturally-inclined nester, so I think your raves are great.

    • I was in the same place about a year ago. We were finally settled, so I took advantage of it all: joined a book club, got a dog, played for a basketball league – it’s awesome and totally beats moving again.

  • Rant: The ever-present banner ad with the jellyfish looking creature on the palm of a hand makes me nauseous.

  • skj84

    Rant: Allergies. Mine are going crazy. Normally I take Zyrtec but it makes me so drowsy I can’t function. Any recommendations for good non drowsy allergy meds?

    Rave: Picturesque flight home last night. I picked the window seat for my flight from Chicago to BWI and it was a stunning view. First of Chicago and Lake Michigan and then watched the sunset way above. I don’t particularly like flying but I found looking out the window to be pretty calming.

    Rave: Transportation luck. I was worried I’d have to wait for my luggage, then for the super shuttle, and be the last to be dropped off. Nope! My luggage came up in the first go round, I only had to wait about 10 minutes for the Super Shuttle and my house was the first on the drop off list! That never happens! I was home an hour after we landed.

    • I always pick the window seat. I get a little claustrophobic on planes so I like looking out the window and seeing all the open space around me. It is so relaxing and the views are amazing.

    • I hate Zyrtec. I prefer Allegra over Claritin.

    • I’ve been taking Claritin for a few years — and I like it because it doesn’t make me sleepy. It’s definitely worth a try!

    • I take the CVS non-drowsy loratadine tablets (usually in the morning). They seem to work and don’t make me drowsy at all.

    • epric002

      you may just have to try a bunch and see how they work for you. allegra and claritin never worked for me, but zyrtec does, and i’m taking a TON of it for this stupid itchy scalp that won’t go away (i think i need to go see my derm again) but it doesn’t make me drowsy at all. it’s weird how drugs react so differently with different people.

      • skj84

        Yeah Zyrtec usually works well for me, but I’m sensitive to drowsy elements in meds. If there is a chance it causes drowsiness I have to be careful because it will knock me out. Zrytec, Nyquil, anxiety meds, I usually take at night and only when I can devote at least 8 hours of sleep. Otherwise I’m too groggy to function. I was on Ambien in high school and it would knock me out to the point it was like a blackout. One minute I was awake and the next think I knew it was morning.

    • justinbc

      I use Zyrtec, and when I’m really flaring up I’ll do Nasacort as well.

  • Rant: Looking for a relatively inexpensive way to spruce up my living room and add some much needed color, so thought throw pillow might be a nice addition to the gray couch. Holy mother of crap when did silly little pillows get so expensive!?! Why would anyone pay $100+ for a pillow?

    • pillows are the best way to spice up a bland living room! Try World Market, CB2 and West Elm. And if you have a sense of colors or pattern you’re looking for, do a search on Etsy, too – soooo many fabric options!!

    • skj84

      Have you been to Homegoods? It’s the home furnishing version of TJ Maxx. Actually owned by the same company. Really nice stuff for great prices.There is one in Georgetown. Plus you can find some good home furnishing stuff at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

    • It’s insane. I look at one kings lane and it hurts my brain. Sometimes I feel like should use my sewing skills, which are far beyond basic pillow sewing, and start an Etsy shop. But that feels a bit too easy and uncreative. Though I did make a really cool metallic DC flag pillow that has me reconsidering the Etsy shop idea.
      Rant: why do I not just take the plunge on a side business? I think I could be good at it, but getting all of the pieces together first- business plan, business license, budget, photos, listings, product line planning- all seems like too much for one person sometimes.

      • I am on One Kings Lane right now – that’s where my rant came from. I LOVE so many of the pillows, but can’t make myself pay that much for a pillow! I used to make pillows in college, in fact I still have one that I use for traveling. It’s pretty gross after 15 years, but I love it! I’m not sure that I have the time or patience anymore for sewing. I always used to get the bobbin jammed somehow!
        If you made pillows as cute and cheaper than One Kings Lane, I would totally shop at your store πŸ™‚

        • A lot of that is their ability to source really cool textiles. I would love to get my hands on some cowhide with metallic splatters, but that’s not easy. But yes, I can make pillows pretty well and I am getting more and serious about starting an Etsy shop and thinking about a product line (not just pillows). I’m also happy to get input and see if anyone would buy my stuff, so if you’re going to the PoPville happy hour I’ll show a picture of my DC pillow.

          • Unfortunately I won’t be there… but if you ever decide to get moving with the etsy store let us all know and share the link! Like Victoria mentioned, it can be expensive at first, but when you get up and running you can do bulk buys for cheaper rates and find online wholesalers. I think it sounds like a fun idea!

        • check out joss and main- like one king’s lane but cheaper. i got two yellow print pillows there for my gray couch for probably $50. also i like the events on joss and main better.

      • Why not take the plunge? Well, since I’m currently making new pillow covers for a couch, I’ll mention a few reasons why not – The cheapest upholstery fabric – (remnants at G-Street Fabrics) are still around $7. a yard. Some online shops have good offerings in the $15.00/yard range, and Ikea goes $6-9, but full-price nice fabric is $30 and up.

        Trims are $5.00 a yard and up (can be WAY up!) Even if you make your own cording for the edges you need an extra 1-2 yards of fabric to cut on the bias. Zippers are $2-3. So you’d be lucky to get away with $14-16 just for material costs for a 20 inch trimmed pillow cover – plus the cost of the insert.
        A decent sewer could make a pillow cover in an hour (unless you are making the cording.) So add in whatever your hourly value is.

        You can buy from a great selection of ready made pillows at Ikea and the other places mentioned here for $5- 20.00. So while a hand-made pillow would make for a lovely personal gift, it isn’t likely to fly as a business, even a hobby business.

        • I don’t disagree, except maybe with the part about buying supplies at G Street. Sweet mothers of divinities that place is ridiculous. But oh-so pretty.
          I think a lot of it is about quality. Although, as I said, I wouldn’t just open a shop that was pillow covers and only pillow covers, those who do and do it with impeccable construction sell a lot of not inexpensive pillow covers. There is a huge market for handmade goods. Some of those people even make the investment in very fine fabrics that even sewists like me would not if I were just sewing for myself. I ordered a pillow cover from Etsy because I wasn’t going to buy a yard of the $125/yd fabric I fell madly in love with, but someone else did and sold their pillows for less than I would have paid to buy the supplies myself (a lot of fabric purchased online has to be in 1 yd quantities).
          It’s also about creativity. That’s a huge part of why I feel like, for me, opening a pillow shop is a cop out. I make plenty of other stuff too and I think that would do better, but I would like to put in the context of a cohesive collection/product line. That’s not easy for a side job in my spare time.

    • epric002

      spend the little bit extra to get nice throw pillow inserts that can have the covers changed. covers are cheaper than buying new pillows each time, and covers are easier to clean!

    • I almost never browse the pillow section on websites, even for lower-end stores, because they always seem so overpriced. Do you know anyone who sews? Pillow covers are pretty easy to make and are usually more economical than buying new pillows.

    • Also check out Society6 for cool stuff. Though it’s not super cheap, sign up for their email list to get info on sales.

      • I second society 6! I just found that website and its really cool – our of hundreds of artists drawing/paintings, you can put them on pillows, clocks, tshirts, etc.

        I also highly recommend etsy for pillows and anything home, for relatively low expense..

        • I’m clearly not going to get any work done today. This is ridiculously cool!

          • There are usually free shipping + $5 off codes around for Society6. Try searching Twitter as lots of people use them to promote their shops.

            H&M also has cushion covers and other home goods. They’re online-only so I don’t know what the quality is like but they’re inexpensive. I think they also occasionally offer free shipping.

          • Oh, I’ve ordered a few things from H&M home! I really like most of the stuff so far. I got a really cool graphic horse pillow cover and I think the quality is nice. It’s on par with something you would get at Marshall’s or home goods. I don’t like that you have to order their home items online and (usually) pay shipping, but apparently that’s not stopping me from ordering.
            I ordered a ceramic tooth brush holder, which I use for make up brushes, it looks much nicer than H&M quality.

          • Me either. Never heard of Society6 but they have some great stuff!

          • epric002

            did not know there was an H&M home- thanks!

    • Marshalls (DCUSA) always has a good selection of really nice pillows.

    • Ikea – their pillow covers are affordable and colorful, and the pillows are affordable too. also Tuesday morning.

    • Are you a member of Gilt? I get stuff on there all the time. I scored yesterday big time on some Bob Mitchell+ Gold swivel chairs. They retail for $2300 a piece and I was able to get them for $900. Some of the deals aren’t that great, but every now and then I score.

    • I made some throw pillows by opening a seam in some double sided target placemats with a colorful and pretty motif (a dollar or two each) and stuffing them with an old bed pillow I didnt like, and restiching (by hand) the opened seam. Each pillow only took about 10 minutes and they add a nice pop of color.

    • Try Society6.com for cheap, unique stuff.

  • Rave: Heard back about a job application I’d given up on. I’m among 25 candidates for a really sweet gigβ€”exactly the sort of thing I’d like to be doing, and in New Orleans, no less! I’m hoping to at least get an interview so I have an excuse for a vacation. πŸ™‚
    Rave: Did not fall into a spiral of despair after the recent dude disappointment.
    Rave: Really enjoying the new season of Mad Men.

  • Rave/Rant: Impending decade-marking birthday. Little excited. Little freaked out. I’m not sure I’m ready to get older.
    Rant: All sorts of nerves – to stay in DC or move on, to jump on a gorgeous, grand old house or prudently wait, to make a new job happen or keep the one I love. I’m so exhausted by the stress of it that it feels like I won’t actually get to enjoy any change when it happens.
    Double Rant: Allergies. My eyes feel filled with sand, my throat is sore, and my nose is runny, despite “24 hour” allergy meds. Why do all the beautiful flowers need to cause so many awful side effects?

  • Rant: I am trying (and feels like failing) to be a gardener. My lilies won’t bloom, my fuschia baskets are dying, my inpatiens are dying, and I have NO idea what to plant in my little front yard. I see all the gorgeous gardens walking around the city, or on Popville Garden of the Day, and I get so excited to go to teh garden store and then I get completely paralyzed. I feel like if I plant something that looks pretty now (like tulips), they will look ugly in 2 months, and then I’ll have messed up, and my garden will fail. It’s so dumb, gardening is supposed to be a nice enjoyable hobby, leave it to me to turn it into a reason to feel stressed out.

    Rave: Even though it feels like everything is dying, I still get excited every day to go home and see how my flowers look. So, hopefully I eventually get the hang of it because I definitely can see why it’s so enjoyable.

    Rant: This weather is kind of a bummer.
    Rave: Better than snow!!

    • Going slow at first may be useful. Take your time, experiment, find what you like and what grows in your micro-climate.

      What you see blooming now are bulbs and perennials that were planted last year (probably). It’s still to early to put out most annuals (like impatiens) – too cold at night. There are some annuals that thrive in cooler temperatures like snapdragons and calendula and pansies/violas. You’ll get the hang of it and it will become a source of relaxation and not stress!

      • Yes! Home Depot actually had a lot of nice looking snap dragons and I just filled my flowers boxes on my front porch with them πŸ™‚

    • Gardening definitely helps you cultivate patience. It takes a year or two (or three) to figure out what will grow happily in your garden. When we first started on our front garden, I discovered it was mostly construction sand underneath. I had to work in A LOT of compost and garden soil before I could plant anything. Accept that the annuals will die. Plant a good foundation of perennials. Don’t forget the fertilizer – petunias especially need regular fertilizing to keep going all spring and summer. And don’t buy plants that are still small but covered in flowers – they have put all their energy into making flowers instead of roots. In my experience they are more likely to die fast.

    • Yes, it’s early – don’t despair. And last year I remember warnings at American Plant that there was some kind of problem with a lot of Impatiens – don’t remember exactly what, some kind of disease. Try Dragon Wing Begonias – they are super easy, quick to grow and beautiful.

      • I’m trying to be a gardener too. I’m excited now in the planting stage but I’m sure I’ll be in the frowney, nothing’s doing anything stage in about a week.

      • I remember a lot of bad looking impatiens last year. Now I know why!

        I used to love begonias, but somehow I always over-watered them and they would rot and die. So plant with care – they don’t like to be water-logged.

    • A garden is something you can’t rush. It helps to make a plan, figure out what type of soil you have, what your light situation is and pick plants that will thrive in that environment. It also helps to layer plants that bloom/look good in different seasons. For example, my daffodil bulbs come out in early spring and the irises come out later in spring. I have summer bloomers like liriope and coral bells, Japanese maples that look great in fall and Nandina (a shrub that looks like bamboo) that looks great all year.
      This is my second year in this house, so I figured out what was lacking throughout the year and filled in the missing pieces. I also used a garden planning tool called Garden Puzzle. It’s a little limiting as far as different kinds of plants, but it allows you to upload a picture of your actual yard and “plant” things and view them during different seasons. You can also change light and soil conditions to fit your situation. I think it cost $19, but I found it to be worth it even though I ended up going with some different varieties than what was available in the app.

    • Emmaleigh504

      If you like flowers, cosmos are super duper easy. Just spread the seeds and they grow. They flower all summer and are quite pretty. They come in different colors and tolerate all kinds of conditions: over watering (my problem), drought, partial to full sun. Some can get quite tall, so check the seed packet before you buy them. I get my seeds from Southern Seed Exposure Seed Exchange. They have all kinds of seeds to buy.

  • Rant: Car repair is going to cost an arm and a leg. need a new clutch and timinig belt on my trusty ol’ subaru. I’m thinking maybe $2k? Eeek! I hope putting the money in will be worth it – it’s a 10 year old car, but only has 80,000 miles on it, so I’d really like to keep it going for a few more years. I hope that’s not a dumb move.

    Rave: At least we have the means to pay for the repairs.
    Rave: Bikesharing to work always helps me start my day in a better mood.

  • Rant: I needed to return a broken modem to comcast, but the guy on the servce call didn’t have any receipts, so he couldn’t take it from me. Last night I finally had a chance to take it back to Michican Ave and I get an email updating my account to remove the modem rental fee (yay), but charging me $2 to “Upgrade/Downgrade Service”. Seriously? After charging me more than $30 for a service call? That is the height of nickel and diming me. And my signal is still so weak that I only can get service if I’m about 3 feet from the modem/router. ugh.

    Rave: I’ve started taking lessons on the instrument I play and really like my teacher. This could be fun. Just need to find a good way to practice without really annoying my neighbors (don’t worry, I have a good practice mute so it isn’t much louder than a TV at conversational levels – probably softer than my neighbor playing his acoustic guitar).

    Rant: next lesson is at UMD this weekend and UMD is having some sort of event, so there will be no parking. The UMD shuttle from metro is apparently a half mile from my lesson space, which I dont want to walk with my instrument and music. Anyone know if there are usually taxis at the College Park metro on weekends?

    • What instrument?

      I don’t know about taxis on weekends but they’re always at metro on weekdays. Also, there’s lots of parking off campus – street parking and garages.

      • French Horn. I’m lead to believe that UMD is going to be a madhouse. Something called Maryland day? My teacher said off campus parking would likely be hard to come by as well.

        • I’ve parked literally one street over from the campus on Maryland Day and didn’t have trouble finding a space. According to the Maryland Day website, there are free shuttles from the College Park metro. I’ve never been to Maryland Day. Maybe I’ll ride my bike there on Saturday and check it out.

          • Thanks – this is helpful. I also should see if they’re running the campus circulator or some other shuttle since it is Maryland day. That would help me get around campus with the instrument more easily.

    • Can you use a folding grocery cart or hand cart to transport your instrument? Maybe even small rolling luggage. I’m assuming it’s heavy and/or large.

  • Rant: I have wasted years of my life on a job I hate and have barely anything to show for it. I want and need a total career change but don’t know where to start. The people I’ve consulted so far have not been helpful. Can anyone recommend a career coach?

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: fancy English violets seem to all be dead. I have to wait until next Fall/Winter for seeds to be available at the violet nursery I like. I really wanted to switch over to almost all viola ordorata and this is a set back.
    Rave: The native violets are mostly going gang busters. Well, the Buck’s County Magenta is going gang busters and will bloom soon (I hope). The other one I can’t remember the name of is struggling. At least it’s much easier to get replacements for the native varieties.
    Rave: Cosmos seedlings are going gang busters. I’ll have flowers all summer long with those.

  • Rave: Flickr Explore appearance again. I have no idea how it works, but it’s always amusing what photos the algorithm selects.
    Rave: outdoor lunch with a good friend. We grab lunch nearly three times a week, but it’s great.
    Rave: job leads & my resume is looking goooood.
    Rant: I brought my camera to work today to take pictures around SW after work. I forgot a memory card. This isn’t the first time, but how many memory cards do I really need? Time to start leaving a few at work.
    Rave: the minor, subtle irony of forgetting a memory card.

  • Rant: frat culture
    Rave: frat culture revealed
    Rant: fratapologists
    Rave: subsequent shaming

    • I assume you are referring to AU’s EI…in which case it is not a fraternity, not recognized by the school, and its unfair to lump all of those in official recognized fraternities/sororities with these thugs who have gotten away with this behavior (and so much more that is not being shared with the media that prompted the release of these emails) for far too long because AU refused to take action against the group as a whole. Not saying everyone in a fraternity or sorority are little angels, but don’t generalize an entire group (especially when those in recognized fraternities were the victims of EI’s actions) based on this group of low-lifes.

      • The details about their house’s status is pretty irrelevant; what you hear in the emails is what you hear in frats across the country. This is the patriarchy reinforcing itself, whether sanctioned by AU or not.

        • Not necessarily. Underground frats are usually underground because they can’t abide by the rules of the school. This generally shows that they are worse than those groups that can.
          If it is the discourse that you don’t like, that isn’t unique to fraternity settings. They just happen to be easiest to categorize (and usually also easier to hold accountable/punish than a group of friends without an official membership list).
          I see it as being very similar with the crusade against Pitbulls. It is easier to just scapegoat a clearly defined group than it is to identify the actual dangerous traits (say aggression for both the dogs and the people) and punish/reform transgressors regardless of breed or societal affiliation.

      • Caitlin Flanagan wrote a great piece on fraternities and the regular occurrences of accidents, rape, and assault for The Atlantic two months ago. Not sure if this link will work: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/02/the-dark-power-of-fraternities/357580/

  • Rant: I’m a newly-licensed teacher and am struggling with interviewing. It’s incredibly frustrating, especially knowing that hiring season is really only once a year (with a few exceptions)

    Rave: I’ve been able to make a few connections through the school I graduated from, so even if those principals aren’t able to hire me, they can give me some tips.

    • Not sure if this is comforting, but my partner was notified of his hire in Fairfax country about 2 days before he had to report. Hiring definitely lasts through the summer, often teachers will wait until the last minute to submit that they are retiring or going on leave. I fee like most of his interviews weren’t until the current school year had ended. Schools won’t know about their budgets or teacher slots until late. Keep hope and keep trucking!

    • yeah, i’ve been a teacher in ffx county for 10 years. i went to a job fair hosted by my university and got in the system- but didn’t have real interviews until the summer. systems usually find out who is leaving in May and then schedule interviews from there. i also got many many calls after i accepted my current gig well into august. good luck!

  • Rant: Latest Henning Mankell novel was disappointing. Was downright frustrating at the end.
    Rave: If that’s the biggest rant I have, life is pretty good.

  • Rant – flaky people. Had plans to make dinner for a girl I’ve been on a couple dates with last night, only for her to send a text bailing during the day. No idea if her excuse was true, but leaning towards no.
    Rave – food was delicious and there’s plenty of leftovers.

    • give her the benefit of the doubt, i have had that feeling many times where if i am afraid i will not be fun its just better for both parties if i cancel or re-schedule. Did she attempt to re-schedule after bailing? That is probably the key factor…

      • Yea I mean things come up where you have to cancel so I understand, but it’s still annoying. No reschedule mention, just an “I’m really sorry” at the end of the text. Weird given previous interactions, but oh well, I’ll survive…

  • Rave: Shocked no one has mentioned the Washington Wizards – up two games to none over the Bulls!! Are you kidding me? DC has not had his luck in the playoffs in a long time, momentum is building! Going to the Nats game tonight with some friends, hoping for similar outcome (win).
    Rant: I have no been to a doctor in about 7 years (im 25) and not that i feel sick or anything but i know i need to schedule an appointment. I also think i need some sort of anxiety medicine. Recently my boiling point has been way to low and i am afraid it might get out of control (if put into the wrong circumstance, but i am usually good at identifying and putting myself in environments that are good for me). How do you go about bringing up this conversation to a doctor? I am kind of scared of doing it.

    • jim_ed

      Re: Wizards – based on my facebook TL, people are tripping over themselves to jump on the Wizards bandwagon, and the national media seems to be getting on as well. Last night was an incredible, if blood-pressure raising affair. This team is a tremendous amount of fun to watch grow. They have the potential to be scary good in the next few years if the roster is managed correctly.

      But with the game ending well past midnight, I didn’t get to bed until after 2, and I am feeling it today.

    • “How do you go about bringing up this conversation to a doctor?”
      You go in and you say what you just wrote (or something like it.) Ask questions (write them down on a piece of paper beforehand if you’re afraid you’ll forget them), and make sure that you say everything you think you need to say; if the doctor seems unsure of what might be ailing you or you’re not satisfied, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations for a different type of doctor who can give you a different type of exam. Doctors have seen and heard just about everything, so it’s not like you’re going to shock them or disturb them. If you’re scared about finding out that you have a problem that needs treatment, you should be more scared about what might happen if you don’t get it treated.

    • You must be new here.

      Momentum is not building. They have won a couple of games before an inevitable collapse. πŸ™‚ That is how DC sports work.

      • You forget that we DC sportsfans forecast titles after 2 games as well…see the redskins every season

        • Of course! I thought the Caps were at least going to make it to the conference finals this year… Sigh.

    • Go Wiz! I watched game 1 at Cleveland Park Bar & Grill with a handful of other fans. I heard last night was much more crowded, but I opted to watch elsewhere. While I’m a big Fire Ernie guy, stealing the first two from the Bulls has been wonderful.

  • Rave: getting my financial house in order. Paid taxes (hopefully two years of refunds are coming soon!), consolidating student loans, trying to net out household expenses with my roommate (he owes me somewhere near $2K for expenses over 2 years), and applied for debt consolidation loan to pay off these credit cards at a lower interest rate. Really working hard at rebuilding my credit score and getting a few derrogatories removed from my report.
    Rant: Despite making 100K, student loans are utterly draining me every month. Don’t even have a proper emergency fund. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Feel like I’ll never own a place.

    • Keep plugging away! It feels so good to watch the balances slowly head in the right directions.

    • a few years ago I used lendingclub .com to consolidate my credit card debts into 1 payment. I think the max loan is 3 years. Ever since paying this off been debt free except for student loans. Good luck!

    • Out of curiosity, how much do you owe in student loans? I’m about to start graduate school and am always interested in the balance between student debt and expected salary.

      • $130K (grad school and undergrad). It works out to about $1100/month using the 10 year standard amortization schedule, if I didn’t consolidate (which I am doing now in order to better afford it).
        Once I consolidate, I will be under the Pay-As-You-Go plan which limits my payments to 10% of discretionary income (defined as any income above 150% of the US poverty threshold) and extend my loan term to a 25 year amortization. Of course, this greatly increases the amount you pay in interest.
        With my current salary, my payment post-consolidation should lower to around $670/month and then rise in parallel with my salary as I earn more. I’m a Fed, so after 120 payments (10 years of payments) any remaining interest and principle is forgiven.
        My job pays well for a Fed and my benefits are really good, but I need a raise/promotion badly. My agency is also independent of Congress, so we don’t get annual student reimbursements that Feds in other agencies get
        My advice? Don’t go to grad school unless someone is paying for the vast majority of it. Work part time and get your employer to cover most of the expenses (many Fed agencies do this), get scholarships, hit up your wealthy grandpa, whatever. Just don’t pay for it yourself via loans. Terrible decision.

  • There’s a little strip of rubbly ugly dirt (I wouldn’t even call it “soil”) between my house and my neighbor. It gets virtually no direct sun. Is there anything I can plant there that would pretty it up a little bit? Some height would be nice, but not too much. Max 2-3 feet.

    • How about a bunch of big rosemary bushes? They’re cold hardy, can grow in crap soil, and smell great. My parents have had one growing back in Texas for years that will never die.

      • Nevermind, it appears rosemary needs more direct sun. Which is odd considering my parents’ plant doesn’t get much of it, if any. Wondering if they have a special variety.

    • While I hesitate to say ivy – that stuff is such a weed, I don’t know why people buy it – it would probably work for your situation. also probably vinca. Just be careful which ivy you choose, you don’t want to plant a pest. the Missouri botanical garden website – mobot dot org – is a wealth of information.

    • jim_ed

      what about Azaleas? They don’t care for much sun.

      • They are really picky about what type of soil they’re planted in. If it’s not exactly the right mixture they will die out pretty quickly.

      • The soil isn’t good enough for azaleas. Learned that the sad expensive way. πŸ™
        I also don’t think it’s moist enough for ferns or moss. Nothing has ever really volunteered in the space except some straggly grass and, of course, virginia creeper, which would probably grow on the moon.
        I like the sound of anongardner’s native grass that looks like mini bamboo. Any idea what it’s called and where to find some?

        • Google” native plants Chesapeake Bay watershed” and it will take you to a great resource for native plants. And/or go to a nursery like Behnke or American Plant – they have knowledgable staff that might be able to help you choose the right plant for a tough spot

        • I just had a quick look – the stuff I see in the woods is called Arundinaria – I think sp. appalachiana. if I find a place to buy it, I’ll post it. Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is also supposed to grow in shade. I’ve seen Hakonechloa macra at the garden center and just loved it – come to think of it, I might be able to plant it in our hell strip.

    • Maybe some wood fens if there is enough moisture.

      • Maybe some wood ferns if there is enough moisture.

      • +1 on the ferns, though they may get too tall. or some kind of moss, like a club moss. There is a beautiful club moss that grows in the woods here, but I don’t know if it is sold commercially. we also have a beautiful native grass that grows in the woods, and looks like tiny bamboo.

    • Ornamental grass could be a good fit for that spot – many grasses offer year round interest so that’s a benefit. Or something like liriope that grows in tough conditions

    • What about liriope? They seem to duplicate over time! Not sure about light though.

  • I officially need a new job – colleagues gave me flowers for admin professionals day. I’m not an admin professional! but clearly that’s how people see me…. Trying to appreciate the gesture, and not feel angry and depressed.

    • Well, that’s kind of awkward. Sorry about that. I can’t for the life of me figure out why “admin professionals day” is even a thing.

      • justinbc

        Pick just about any profession / food / animal / virtually anything and stick Day at the end, and it probably exists now.

      • It’s a pc way to say Secretary’s Day. It was a big thing back in the 50’s (and I say this partially in jest) where the male boss would buy the female secretary flowers, and not demean or sexually harass her for an entire day! Think Mad Men. It’s a totally antiquated thing now, in my opinion.

      • I feel you on the “admin day.” In my previous role at my company everyone in my group used to say Jeslett or so-and-so will do it. So-and-so was the admin. It just killed me, for both the admin and I, that they didn’t actually know what either of us was supposed to be doing.
        Sorry for the job suckage, it’s rough and I know how it starts to spread into other parts of your life. But a job is a job and even though it seems to be your identity in DC, there is nothing wrong with it just being a job.

    • I’m curious…what do you do?

      • i’m a mid-level manager at a giant, silo’d corporation. I agree that all these “insert occupation here” Days are a bunch of BS that only prop up the greeting card, florist and helium balloon industries. I realize my job is just something I do to pay the mortgage – working on making my non-work life more meaningful. It would be nice to actually like my job again, though. Let’s see, how many years until I can retire?

  • Rant: Can’t figure out my new home security system. I consider myself relatively educated, why is ADT making so hard to protect my home?!?!
    Rave: I have a new home to protect!

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