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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Completely true

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Worst Chinese Take-out Ever

This is the story of a hungry girl. A graduate student in search of some sesame chicken and fried rice. A girl who wishes she had just had peanut butter and jelly.

In January of this year, I ordered food through an online service called campusfood.com. They had stores that delivered, and I didn't feel like going out in the rain. The chinese food place on the corner near the Metro had a menu online and I chose my favorite.

About an hour later, a good fifteen minutes after the intended delivery time, I called the restaurant to confirm they were delivering my food. I was a mile or so outside their delivery area, so no, they were not delivering my food.

I asked the woman (of course with limited skills in English) why no one called to tell me they weren't bringing my food. "We no do that," was the response.

She said that at least they could take the charge off my card, or I could come and pick up my food. I said I would be right there (really hungry). She kindly asked if I needed directions. I didn't.

So I show up and there is a bag of my now hour old, completely cold chinese food on the counter. And they had taken the charge off my bill, because she thought I didn't want my food anymore (when I had said I didn't need directions, I confused her). 25 minutes later I left with two charges on my card, one refund in progress and freshly cooked food.

It wasn't worth the trouble.

So I never ordered from there again, and my life continued happily. Until last month when a weird charge appeared on my credit card. Now, I notice these things not because I am diligent, but just because I have not been using my card and so a random charge for exactly $10 seemed out of place.

I talked to Lorien and Dana, I fretted for two days, and they finally convinced me to let it go. I must have just forgotten some purchase I made. I remember everything (really, it's sad) so I didn't think this could be the case. But I've made mistakes before.

Today I went online to pay my bill again (I will not have debt after college. I will not have debt after college. (Except those pesky student loans.)) Random $10 charge.

This is unacceptable. I find the contact number for the company that has been charging me and call them. Apparently, when the ordering website got my information, they automatically enrolled me in a rewards program with coupons for the restaurants. The monthly fee ... you guessed it, $10.

The customer service representative explains - calmly, and as if it were for my benefit - how I was duped into paying her organization for the past two months. Then I had her kindly take at least this month's charge off my card.

In the end I had to drive to get my delivery order and pay $10 to a company I'd never heard of for food which wasn't that good to begin with.

Note to self: Don't order online unless it is directly from the source.

And in case you don't regularly check - look at all those little lines on your credit card statement and make sure you recognize the charges. Your terrible chinese take-out could be costing you much more than you originally bargained for.

Love always, ~Heather

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Career Day

Yesterday there was a career fair at school. I am pretty excited about some of the organizations I talked to. There were political organizations, leadership groups, theaters (business side - I'm not reverting back to my performance roots yet), and a film company. I have an interview to be a potential tutor or summer camp counselor this coming week too (this is actually on the far end of my radar at the moment, but I'm not shutting any doors just yet).

All this career fair activity has me thinking about the future. I try not to worry about it, because everything will fall into place when it's supposed to, but it is still a little intimidating. It seems like the choices I make now will alter my future much more drastically than they ever did before or can again.

Is this really what I am meant to be doing? Is this really what I want to be doing? Is there something bizarre in the fact that I am writing a thesis on science communication and none of the organizations I tried to talk to had science anything in them? Which of my four fields of study is my hobby? Does how much money I'll be making really matter? If my job were to make me do something I wasn't thrilled with for a little while, in return for long-term job goals, is it still worth it? If I magically get call backs on each of the jobs, how do I decide?

I think I am going to have to make a chart like I did for schools (undergrad and grad). One of the key components then was location. I love DC and really want to stay here, but would a change in scenery change my ideas? Challenge me? And if I stay, do I want to live in this apartment again? With whom will I live? How will I pay for it?

The best part about all these questions though, is that I don't have to worry about friends or my personal life. I mean I could, but it wouldn't make one bit of difference. I've moved 13 times in the past 5 1/2 years, and I have - quite blessedly - never been at a loss for good company.

Come to think of it, I think staying in the same location might be a bigger challenge for me than moving someplace else.

I know I owe you entries, but it's dinner time and I want to start researching my speech before I go to Lindsay's birthday party tonight. Have a good weekend! Love always, ~Heather

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Principles of Scientific Management

As part of an assignment for my management class, I am reading the original 1911 book by Frederick Taylor on efficiency in the workplace (The Principles of Scientific Management). It is 66 pages of pure joy I tell you. (This is limited sarcasm ... it is pretty interesting in a nerdy way.)

One interesting note is that his system calls for an employee in a factory to literally plan ways for the factory workers to be more efficient and comfortable in their work. I thought the idea of having an ergonomics specialist was pretty funny - since I am generally under the impression that people should observe ways to make their own job easier and then do it.

However, I realized I had a friend in France who actually did this as her job. And then I remembered all the detail she went into making sure the employees got their stuff done. And so, I think to myself, "Thanks Sophie! Because of you, this concept makes alot more sense!"

(Hugues ou Alice, si vous parlez avec Sophie, dit-elle merci pour moi!)

Also, I would like to tell those who don't know, that Frank Gilbreth worked with Taylor, and he was the father described in the book Cheaper by the Dozen (which is sadly not half as humorous as the Steve Martin representation). [That makes much more sense if you've read the book.] Efficiency at work and at home ... priceless.

Back to work (efficiency calls) ... ~Heather

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For Patty's Sake!

English below, but first ...

Merci, merci, merci ma famille francaise! Votre pacquet etait bien recu. Le livre est un prefere de moi aussi. Il est arrive au moment precis que j'avais besoin d'un sourire. Jusqu'au mai, c'est sur que je suis occupee (donc, mes lettres moins souvent). Mais je pense de vous toujours, et les pensees me donne espoir et un sourire. Je vous adore, tous les quatre!

As usual, I'm behind on blogging at exactly the time I'm doing something exciting and adventurous. So here is what I owe you (as a reminder list for myself on Thursday):

My new business suit
Executive Women in Gov't Conference
Potential future jobs
Pictures of my cousin's show
Philadelphia with Theresa
Georgetown Waterfront dinner
Monuments downtown (DC) with family and friends
Bracketology
Real Irish dinner
Wild times in the apartment
" " at Cleveland Park Bar & Grill
" " at Rumors (near Dupont)
How I spent my spring break doing homework at an equal or greater rate than an average week. (Practicum surveys, work calls on the Philly commuter train, and speechwriting - and the thesis, of course.)
Kitchen reorganization and a third "official" roommate

As a personal note (until the real "adventures" blogging begins), life is smoothing out. I wouldn't say everything is "just peachy" yet, but we're making significant progress. I am certainly being forward with the people in my life who have been drastically altering my happiness level. And, there was a revealing moment a week and a half ago that made life easier (if not better).

I'm far from my best, distant from my worst, and hopeful for a better tomorrow. (A lame attempt at inspirational language, true; but honestly what came to mind.)

Hope everyone else is having a good week! ~Heather

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Midsummer Musical

My cousin Clark played the fabulous duo Flute/Thisbe in his high school's production of A Midsumer Night's Dream. It was a musical version blending original scoring by the director and arranged pop/broadway tunes. The whole thing was really incredible.

I left my camera cord in DC, so I'll post them when I get home. The set was gorgeous, as were the costumes. And Clark, in true family fashion, was a show-stealer.

The trip up for his show made it possible for me to get a little vacation time this spring break. I know the whole break is supposed to be mine - but I do have a thesis and a paper and two books to read (not to mention some catch-up reading). So I am enjoying the Philly suburbs (Jersey side) with my cousin and his parents.

Yesterday, my aunt and I went to Borders and I got what I hope will be my management free-read book. She also has me reading Crank, which is a novel completely written in a stylistic poetry format. Some are concrete (many actually). You still get the feeling of conversation ... it is really cool. Plus, it is a fast read. I'm on page 216 and I've read for a little over an hour. If the title doesn't give it away, it is about a struggle with drugs. This could be a modern Go Ask Alice. [Pritcher - this could be an excellent read for your students.]

This morning I went to Methodist church (a little different than my typical Catholic services ... ahem (sarcasm)). The lesson was about God punishing sinners. Actually, it was about how he doesn't. I'm going to have to look at the readings for this week somewhere and see if the messages coincide.

This afternoon we are going to see Philly. I'm excited, since I've never actually been. My uncle is probably the funniest person I've ever met and he'll be playing tour guide. Can't wait. I'll take pictures.

Okay - I'm off to enjoy my vacation now. Just two more days and then I am going home. My brother and his roommate are coming up for the rest of the week so there are fun times ahead.

Love always, ~Heather

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life as a Pincusion

Tomorrow I have to go shopping. Shopping is like getting blood tests done - it sucks thinking about going, going is a pain and you have to attempt patience, you go in this little box of a room for the worst part of the procedure, the stupid thing is so tight it almost hurts, and then you have to pay for it.

I think the only good part is that once it is over, you don't really have to worry about it anymore. Until the results come in (this is an awful lot like your credit card bill). I have luckily, almost always walked away unscathed and with pretty good results. But it sometimes requires multiple stabs to get it right.

Tomorrow I again set out to be a pincushion.

My sister thinks this is a horrible analogy. I'm not particularly fond of thinking of anything as if it were a torturous situation - I'm really not. But I really don't like shopping, and I found out tonight at 10pm that I have to be wearing a business suit on Thursday at 2pm.

That's 40 hours to find a business suit that is not only appropriate for the meeting, but that I can afford. And that fits. And, if possible, that I could wear again in the future. And that I already have shoes for - because I seriously couldn't handle having to buy shoes again too.

To any other female - okay, not any, but most - this wouldn't be a big deal. They would jump at the chance to spend a Wednesday afternoon in the mall, not feeling guilty because they absolutely had to be there. I am less inclined to leap for joy.

Tomorrow morning I'll be dressed up in what I thought were appropriate business clothes to do interviews. Then I get to go to the mall and shop before I have night class. I must be successful then, because I have class in the morning and then a lunch deal-io. And then it's 2pm.

It has to be comfortable too - since I need to be wearing the thing basically all day. And if I were to wear it again, it would be to an interview, and I wouldn't want to be fidgeting during that. That's a lot of requirements for a few hours.

If I find one that fits and looks nice and everything else, I'm buying one in every color so I can avoid doing this again soon.

Growing up is expensive and frustrating. But maybe if I just take the leap into adulthood - like ripping the band-aid off - it won't be as hard, or hurt as much.

To be honest, I think adulthood is one of the most frightening things of all.

Love always, ~Heather

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Walk the Plank

If someone is going to kick you when you are down, you usually have two options:

1. Take it

2. Stop them from kicking you however you can

I myself have created a new option: Not getting down in the first place.

Unless it is an actual physical fight, the only person who can belittle and hurt me is myself. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And I refuse to be inferior.

***

I recently asked, "How many times are you supposed to turn the other cheek?" Well, I'm stopping turning by taking a step away instead. I pride myself on always standing my ground, but not every battle needs to be fought.

I feel a little like Will Turner (in Pirates of the Carribean) when Jack Sparrow pulls out a gun. Will says something about him not following the rules of engagement and Sparrow says: "Pirate!"

The truth is, I have been battling a particularly awful pirate for some time now. (This is not to say - in any way, shape, or form - that he is like Jack Sparrow. Anything but.) I was doing everything I could to stand as a shield between him and my classmates. I felt like I could continue to take the lashing - even though no one deserved it - and that would make everyone else's lives easier. But now he's thrown out an ultimatum and just expected I would take the end he prefered.

I'm walking the plank instead.

If my friends/classmates want to step up and fight now, they can. Perhaps my plunge will empower them. They have seen what the battle is going to be like, so if they fight, they know what they are getting themselves into (I really didn't know). I think, that many of them will recognize the futility of it though, and jump ship too.

There's a funny thing about a big ship - if the captain abuses the crew and they all jump off, the captain has to take care of the ship himself or let it sink.

Best of luck with that ship captain. Best of luck.

Love always, ~Heather

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Thou shalt

How many times are you supposed to "turn the other cheek"?

I feel like I am getting beaten up.

Jesus got whipped, nailed, and otherwise tortured. In comparison, I got nothin'.

So why do I feel so lost, hurt, and powerless?

Praying for God's strength .... ~Heather

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Lot

It's movie time. This is just a quick note. My friend is entering a short film competition. Please check out his movie and leave comments if you can.

Final Crossing
is a period piece about the sinking of the Lusitania. I won't give away my thoughts yet... check it out!

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