Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user kristenstake

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.

108 Comment

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I really need to be strict with myself about going to bed at a decent hour.
    Rave: Great weekend, even if there wasn’t quite as much lying-around-doing-nothing time as I like.
    PSA: If anyone it interested in Ken Burns’s Jefferson Lecture, (free) tickets will be available tomorrow at noon on the NEH website.

  • Andie302

    Rave: Spring has sprung! I’ve spotted the first of the lilacs 🙂 They are super early this year! I’m that weird lady sticking my nose in people’s bushes!

  • Rave: Great weekend with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew. My cousin(s) and I managed to keep the little guy safe, entertained, and happy right up until the last 40 minutes before his parents came to get him. But no bumps, bruises, scrapes, and very few instances of baby-almost-toddler screaming/shrieking. Huzzah!
    Rave? I’m going to be an aunt again! But this time, it’ll be the kid of my brother who, if you’ll recall loyal RRRR readers, was but three months ago in the hospital strung out on who-knows-what and had been kicked out by his gf. Then he decided he really did want to get clean and sober, starting getting help, has landed a job, and stood by her when her dad died a month ago. They’ve both been doing a lot of personal work and going to AA, so even though I’m really nervous about this new baby thing (what if he freaks out and decides nah, what if he relapses, how on earth are they going to afford this kid? Etc)…I’m hoping that maybe this is the motivation he needs to really, truly turn his life around and stay clean and sober. Holy crap my mind is still reeling. So many emotions right now.
    Rant: Have a migraine that I can’t seem to kick, but waaaay too much to do this week to take any time off.
    Rant: Super tired on top of the migraine – I wasn’t able to fall asleep until around 1 a.m., and then I was awakened by my roomie’s very loud drunk guests at 3 a.m.. Fighting to stay awake right now…

    • So glad that your babysitting adventure went reasonably smoothly! Congrats on the expected niece or nephew. I can understand your trepidation, though. A close friend has a brother in similar circumstances and a now-one-year-old. FWIW, they’re making it work and I think both he and the baby’s mother (their relationship status seems to fluctuate some) are making efforts at staying clean that work much of the time. They get lots of help with the baby from family, so I think that helps too. Fingers crossed that your brother and his gf are able to stick with the high road, particularly with a baby in the picture.

      • Thanks, mtpresident! I appreciate your words of encouragement, and thanks for your suggestions last Friday – the kid wasn’t super interested in boxes, but he really loved playing with my set of mixing bowls! I showed him how to use them as a drum set, but he preferred simply chucking them at the floor and enjoying the different tones their clatter made, depending on the size 🙂

        • My pleasure on both counts. Very funny on chucking the bowls–you never know what those little minds will pick up on!

    • I just wanted to say, that pic your bro took of you on FB, the one in the hat? Fucking gorgeous!
      Also, regarding the baby…. I completely understand all of your concerns, and I am sure they have them as well (even if they are vocalizing). The best thing to do is be supportive without enabling, in this situation and in any situation with addicts. This may be exactly what he (they?) need to stay clean for good, or it may be the start of a super shitty situation, but only time will tell. However, it sounds like they are laying the groundwork for their continued sobriety, so I think you can be hopeful.

      • Aw! Thanks Anonamom! My brother has a fancy new camera and loves playing with it, luckily he’s not too bad at photography! And yes, I think all of us, as a family, are ready to help support them as they (and we) figure this situation out. I’m really, really hoping that this will be the start of some wonderful changes in our family.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rant: My brother-in-law has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer! The family is understandably devastated. A mass of cancer cells had spread to his vocal cords and paralyzed them to the point of asphyxiation and from that investigation, they found the pancreatic cancer. I feel so sorry for my sister’s family having to deal with this and I’m frustrated that I’m not closer.
    Rave: None after the above.

  • Rant: I was going to take my Mom to Spain for her 80th birthday — Dad doesn’t travel much any more (respiratory and knee ailments) and it seemed like something special to do for a woman who put up with a lot, who loves classical Spanish guitar and who I don’t see often enough. Flights were booked, hotel rooms reserved and Mom even got her passport renewed — paying extra for expedited service, just in case. But, yesterday, she pulled the plug, claiming that she’s not up to it physically (which I think is not true) and because she’s afraid to leave my Dad alone. So now I’m bummed out for myself, very bummed out that she’s missing an adventure that I know she’d love (expedited passport service!) and even more worried about my father than I was before. And it’s a crappy Monday and the Girlfriend is on the West Coast hobnobbing with the rich, fabulously successful men who fund progressive causes and who she deserves.

    • 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • That One Guy

      Is there a way to send your dad somewhere (resort maybe) where he can be pampered and looked after while you’re on your trip? Maybe that would ease some of your mom’s anxiety to travel and be away.

      • I’m pondering a few options and will add this to the list, thanks, but she’s a determined woman (in a good way, not a “stubborn old crank” way) and it will be tough to change her mind.

        • Could you find someone to stay with your dad? When is the trip booked? I have a friend’s son (Pharmacy master’s student in Pittsburgh) doing summer internships in DC and looking for house/pet/maybe people sitting places, even for a week or so, so he doesn’t have to commute from the parent’s house in Rockville every day.

          • Victoria, when will he be looking for places to stay? I am planning on being out of town 4th of July week and also for a long weekend in August and would be interested in having someone stay in my NE DC house. P.S. I have emailed with you in the past about cat fostering (I am the foster failure with 4 cats).

          • email me at vicmck at gmail and I will connect you to my friend’s son. He is a very nice young man!

        • Also, I recommend trip insurance. I bought it for the first time for a big trip with lots of potential for things going awry. I only needed a clinic visit for bronchitis, but they paid the entire claim, including taxi fare to the clinic! Another person on the bicycle portion of the trip had to leave when his 98 year old mother went into the hospital. I don’t know if he had insurance, but it would have been very valuable! Check out “Insureandgo.”

          • Unfortunately, I think the horse is already out of the barn on trip insurance — which I’m not sure would have paid out on the grounds on mom changing her mind without any “official” cause (though it my be useful for me in case of bronchitis or terrorist attack). I paid for mom’s ticket with miles, so I’ll be on the phone to Amex to see what, if anything can be recouped there, and I recall paying extra for the hotel rooms, so that they could be cancelled. Dad’s in Atlanta and we’ve ruled out my sister-in-law, who is retired, because she’d drive dad crazy. My son remains a possibility, but I don’t know what his work schedule is like. Pretty sure he wants to be helpful because he just got into grad school and wants to stay in good graces with potential sources of student aid, aka me. But, as I’m sure you suspect, it’s not the money that I’m depressed about, it’s not having a grand adventure with mom. I’ll definitely make one more effort to bring her around and, if that fails, I guess I’ll find something to do alone in Barcelona and Madrid.

        • I Dont Get It

          “You’ll never win an argument with a Senior Citizen.” –Aunt Helen, age 82.

  • Rave: While we had to cancel our trip last moment (oh the joys of fertility treatment), the Other Mrs. Rabbit and I had a fantastic anniversary.
    Rant: My father has asked me to write a letter of encouragement to my mother for her upcoming Catholic spiritual retreat. I left the church many years ago for obvious reasons (that whole I’m not hetero and I refuse to live a celibate life thing) so this feels really weird and kind of wrong. I don’t even know what I should write.
    Rave: It looks like we may be through the last of the winter freeze and I can get my hands dirty in the garden this weekend.

    • In response to the letter of encouragement: I am also someone who was raised very religiously and left the church for a whole variety of reasons, including but not limited to being a queer woman who was pretty explicitly told my soul was doomed. That said, perhaps the letter could just be an expression of encouragement/support of HER rather than support of the specifics of what she’s doing– that is, telling her you love her and are glad she is doing something for herself that she finds empowering/soothing/healing/spiritually gratifying, and wishing her well.

      • I like this idea: “[P]erhaps the letter could just be an expression of encouragement/support of HER rather than support of the specifics of what she’s doing– that is, telling her you love her and are glad she is doing something for herself that she finds empowering/soothing/healing/spiritually gratifying, and wishing her well.”
        Rabbit^3 — Do you know if the “letter of encouragement” thing is a requirement for the retreat — like, she has to collect x letters of encouragement from loved ones? Or is this a random thing that your dad asked you to do?

        • It’s a requirement that all immediate family members write a letter

          • Yikes — that doesn’t seem to take into account the number of families where people disagree about religion.

          • I assume it’s a requirement that they ask. There’s obviously no way to force anyone to write letters and I doubt they’ll be denied participation if they don’t have letters from every single family member. At least I’ve never heard of one that worked that way, but who knows.

          • I am semi-religious (Catholic) and that would make me feel very uncomfortable. Is it me or is making all family members write a letter a little…. cult-like? I have never heard of that before.

    • I think something as simple as “I hope you find the solace or wisdom that you are seeking” could work.

    • I agree with SBinDC. Obviously I know nothing about your relationship with your mother so I’m speaking very generally: you don’t have to agree with what she believes or how she spends her time to express love, support, or encouragement. If you think your mother is a bad person due to her religious beliefs, then yeah, maybe don’t write a letter. But if you think she’s a good person even though you don’t agree with her religious lifestyle, you should still be able to come up with some nice things to say. Your words don’t have to be “Catholic” or religious in nature, just supportive of her.

      • And to add, the point is not necessarily to unambiguously praise her and tell her she’s awesome. Spiritual retreats are supposed to be times for spiritual honesty and reflection, so it’s OK to acknowledge any differences or disagreements you may have, as long as the bottom line is that you love and support her. (Again. if that’s not the bottom line, you might want to skip the letter.)

      • I think my problem came about when I looked up what a letter of encouragement typically involves (Bible verses, etc). I finally forced myself to sit down and write what I truly feel about my mother. I think the letter came out nicely. Thanks everyone for your help.

    • I actually just listened to a Dear Sugar podcast on a somewhat related topic. It’s a very interesting listen and you may find it interesting/helpful in your decision to write and if you do write your letter. http://www.wbur.org/2016/04/08/dear-sugar-episode-fifty

  • Rave: Productive weekend–car ordered, kids’ clothing re-organized, and sorted through tax stuff to send out.
    Rant: Amazon seems to have lost my return?
    Rant: Courtesy of my daughter, my longest chunk of sleep was 2 hours last night. Crap. So even though her baby brother had a better night, my sleep still stunk. Thanks kiddo. Didn’t want to upset her in the middle of the night to make things worse, but seriously? You want me to come find a pacifier when you have two additional ones on your nightstand? Ugh.
    Rant: I suspect we need to start limiting the length of her weekend naps. I think she sometimes has trouble sleeping through the night when she’s had too much daytime sleep.
    Rave: Loved seeing Ovi get his 50th goal on a hat trick, no less!

    • Which car did you end up deciding on — I think you were leaning toward a Subaru, right?

      • Yup–we got the Subaru Forester. It should arrive in 3-4 weeks. It’ll be so weird to drive a new car after driving my little golf for over 15 years!

  • Rave: Spent a happy weekend with my parents. We attended the Jeopardy taping on Saturday and went to dinner after. The tapings were a blast! They filmed two shows, it was really fascinating to watch the process. With the exception of a technical glitch during the first show they pretty much film in real time. Alex would do Q&A with the audience during the commercial breaks. He is quick on his feet and pretty insightful. My parents had a great time. It was so nice seeing my mother happy after the sad events of the past month.

    Rave: New hair color! More of dark plum this time. I modeled for a local salon yesterday. Love the color, its a bit “normal” for me, but still fun.

    Rant: I somehow managed to clog one of the USB ports of my laptop with chocolate. I’m waiting to hear from tech support on how to clean it out. Only I could pull something so stupid as getting candy stuck in my port off.

    • I got lipstick in my iPod once and I froze it, then chipped it out with a toothpick.

      • That’s pretty much the route I’m taking. Thankfully the chocolate is pretty solid, so I’m going to chip with a toothpick, then use a cotton swap and toothbrush the get the rest.

    • Nah, I could totally pull off the chocolate in the USB drive. I was cooking once and dropped my iPhone in a bunch of beaten eggs. There was no coming back from that.

  • Rant: New house has a feral cat colony on the front porch and in the backyard. As in, the current tenants have set up boxes for the cats to live and they feed them regularly. The cats have got to go. The outdoor space is currently unusable.

    Rave: I got some packing done this weekend.

    Rant: I suddenly feel like I have imposter syndrome and can’t get going on applying for jobs. The clock is ticking!

    Rave: I had an interview on Fri and it went really well. It’s not what I want to do, and there will be a pay cut, but there’s a good chance that I won’t end up unemployed once this contract ends.

  • Rave: Amazing, amazing weekend hiking and out of town. I love the man I went with, and we’re settling into the stage where silences are easy and not nerve-wracking. I just feel so optimistic about where we (and I) are.
    Rave: Having good things in one part of my life makes me want good things in the other. Time for professional and financial changes.
    Revel: Life changes. It’s amazing.

  • Bear

    Rant: Poor sleep, headachey, and my office is freezing! I shouldn’t have to sit here in my winter coat.
    Rave: Leaving work early! At least I only have to suffer through for a couple more hours.

    • maxwell smart

      Reverse problem here – our office is boiling! I’ve reached a point where I can not remove any more articles of clothing without HR getting involved.

  • Rant: my car needs major work and I was thinking about selling it. Ugh. maybe I won’t sell it, but then I’ll need to find somewhere to store it for 4 months while I’m out of town.

    Question – does anyone have a rec for someone to come out and just repair my ceiling where it has split along a drywall seam? Such a little job, but it needs to get done.

  • Rave: Inspired by a PoPville post last week, I made kimchi ramen this weekend. I also made more kimchi, so I can make lots more delicious kimchi ramen (and other dishes with kimchi)
    Rave: Lacto-fermentation!
    Rave: Tomatoe seeds starting to sprout – I’m late to get these started, but I’m confident I’ll be harvesting home grown tomatoes by July
    Rant: Started doing my taxes. It’s not difficult, just tedious

  • Revel: My gymming/watching what I eat is paying off. I got through week 2 in Couch to 5k and I’m down a couple lbs!
    Revel: My math plans are getting better, but not amazing.
    Rant: A cousin I haven’t seen since he was 4, in the early 90s, that I’ve recently reconnected with on facebook is going into rehab. My dead mother’s first cousin’s son who lives in the Bay Area.

  • Kitten season has started and I’ve got 4 little beauties plus a very sweet mom looking for a forever home. Check them out! (Search “Eeny, meeny, miny moe if you don’t want to click a link.)

  • Concentrating on the raves.
    Rave (1): Best buddy is getting proposed to in a few weeks and I can’t tell her! I’m really psyched and can’t wait to be a part of the festivities.
    Rave (2): Spent a fabulous afternoon with good friends doing high brow stuff (Upper East Side museums) and then low brow stuff (hanging out giggling while trying to figure out snapchat and faceswap.
    Rave(3): Barn tonight! Finally pony time. And I spent a good long time trying to figure out places to ride in NYC. Exploring them next weekend.
    Rave (4): Planning a bachelors party – for my two male friends that are getting married (to each other). Any suggestions/ideas for games?

    • Do people still do the surprise proposal? Can anyone who has been/ wants to be surprised with a staged proposal tell me what’s appealing about it?

      • I was at a party once where several of the women there described their surprise proposal and the fact that they said no/not now the first time. Granted, all but one eventually did marry the person they initially said no/not now to. But they made for fun stories (years later in hindsight).

      • Well, surprise proposal in that she doesn’t know when/how he’s going to propose. Not in that they’ve never talked about it/she doesn’t know it’s coming. They’ve been together a long time and have talked about marriage a lot. So yea, it’s a surprise but he knows she’ll say yes and so do I. I was “surprise” proposed to and it was lovely – but I knew it was going to happen sometime soon.

      • My BF and I have discussed the whole marriage thing, and I would be really thrilled with a surprise proposal. Even though I was married, I have never actually been proposed to… I’m not all girly-girl about most things, but I would really like to be proposed to as silly as it may be.

        • Andie302

          +1 – my first proposal was NOT good…not the worst thing in the world, but still….

        • When I proposed to my wife, if was a “surprise” to the extent she didn’t know precisely when it was coming, that I had spoken to her parents, or that I had purchased a ring. It was not a true surprise because we’d discussed marriage, and had already reserved a venue. I’m all for spontaneity, but the thought of proposing to someone who had no inkling it was coming strikes me as both (i) ridiculous and (ii) terrifying.

      • being surprised by a proposal and having a staged surprise proposal are two totally different things. my now-husband and I had looked at rings and, for visa purposes, we had agreed we needed to be engaged by a certain date, so I definitely knew it was going to happen. but the actual “will you marry me?” question and ring presentation (which wasn’t staged or public in any way) was a total surprise and I loved that.

        • What constitutes a “staged” proposal?

          • Just like a theater production is staged. Obsess over the venue and the outfit, practice the speech, think about audience reactions, try to do something clever with the props, I mean rings.

          • Flash mob, scoreboard message, etc…

          • @wdc: My completely unscientific prediction is that people who have the time and energy obsess over this are going to be absolute nightmares when it comes to planning the actual wedding. Bride- and Groom-zillas, indeed.
            (Hope I didn’t offend anyone with that.)

          • As usual, we’re on the same page, dcd. I worry about people who want the look or the story of the thing, at the expense of the actual thing. If the proposal is a surprise, I feel like the principals can’t have really reached a true understanding.
            (In our case, no one proposed to anyone. We just talked about it until it seemed like a natural thing. At some point, we picked out a ring together. Then we got a cat.)

  • jim_ed

    Rant: Continually lousy weekend weather.
    Rave: Decided to try to beat cabin fever on Saturday by taking our toddler Duckpin Bowling in Silver Spring and it was a huge hit. By the end she knew how to pick up her own ball, run down to the line and throw it at the pins. Now she can’t stop talking about bowling.
    Rave/Rant: The Pistons mercifully administered the coup de grace to the Wizards on Friday. Hopefully this gets the coach and GM fired.

  • Rant and troubleshooting query re. memory card for digital camera:
    I’m still having trouble with the camera memory card I was ranting about last week (http://www.popville.com/2016/03/random-reader-rant-andor-revel-1537/#comment-1108202 ). I probably should have explained myself more clearly in that post — because I don’t have a USB cable for the camera, I’ve always downloaded photos to my computer via a card-reading device that connects by USB.
    Yesterday, I tried downloading the photos (via the card-reading device) onto my newly purchased laptop… and one particular folder kept making the laptop crash, which is even worse than what was happening with my old laptop. (With the old laptop, for about 2/3 of the JPGs in one particular folder, I was getting error messages along the line of “DSC1950 cannot be copied. The parameter is incorrect.”)
    I’m wondering if somehow the memory card itself became partially corrupt. Sometimes it will display image thumbnails of the affected photos… and sometimes it doesn’t. On the new laptop, when I click on one of the thumbnails that isn’t displaying properly, it tells me it’s not a recognized file type (or something like that).
    Any ideas? I don’t have another card reader, so I can’t try that as a troubleshooting method.

    • That One Guy

      Memory cards have a finite shelf life (read/writes) and it could possibly be corrupted or your card reader device may be the problem.

      Have you found the USB cable for the camera? Try that out too.

      • I don’t think I ever had the USB cable… it was a camera my dad left at my house, apparently after my brother foisted it off on him.
        I’m not sure if my dad ever had the USB cable. He’s usually very good about saving cables (and unfortunately also likes saving all packaging).

        • That One Guy

          You can try to burn the files onto a CD. I don’t know if this would keep your computer from crashing and get your files transferred into new media.

          • My new laptop doesn’t have an external CD/DVD drive, and I forgot to buy one when I bought the laptop itself. -adds to “To Do” list-
            I could try copying the files to a CD on my old laptop… but I have a bad feeling I’m going to get the “Parameter is incorrect” message again.

      • Another friend thought I might need to enlist a data-recovery professional. He had run into a similar situation, except that in his case he lost ALL the photos from a lengthy international trip. He said:
        “I did get them all back, but I had to pay someone with more technical knowledge than me to do it. google “SD card data recovery” basically. one possible (example) cause is that the table of contents is corrupted and the files are there, it just can’t find them.
        “you can buy utlities that purport to recover files too, but as this will probably only happen to you once (unless you always buy really cheap SD cards) you might as well just find someone that charges a similar amount to the software costs (preferably with a “no recovery no charge” deal if you can find one!).”

  • maxwell smart

    Starting to realize that maybe the person who should be reading my passive-aggressive dissatisfaction cues at work is myself and that I need to make a difficult life decision sooner rather than later.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: unfortunate place in my career where I don’t like what I’m doing, but everything else is a pay cut. Just not sure I can swing it.
    Rave: fancy violets are sprouting!

  • That One Guy

    Rant: received an email saying that my livejournal account was accessed in Russia. I haven’t touched the blog in years. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to pay attention to it.
    Rave/rant: when you eat food so good that your body starts to shut down in food coma.

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