Monday, March 23, 2009

'Tis herself...

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Food Blog, Part One

One of my friends always gets on to me, saying she doesn't travel places just to eat. Bollocks. One of the things I love about new places in the cuisine. With the interesting cultural melange here, I knew this would be a great trip. I've been to so many awesome (and not so awesome) places since I've been in DC....

*Tortilla Cafe - Salvadorean/Mexican cuisine: The first place I went upon arriving in DC. Somewhat of a hole-in-the-wall, but those places are often the best. The food was fantastic, part of which I contribute to the fact that all I'd had that day was a breakfast roll, coffee, and some Triscuits. We ordered the chicken fajitas, sweet plantains, pupusas, and a quesadilla, along with a passionfruit juice. Delicious!!!!
*Various Chinese takeout locations: You could say we were on a quest. Since they moved here, Heidi and Mike haven't found a good Chinese takeout yet. I've had some good places in New York, and actually in Georgia too, and I was surprised that they hadn't found a good place yet. The search continues...
*Trattoria Alberto - Italian: Neat little location on Barracks row. The place got really good reviews. The setup of the restaurant was odd, but the food was moderately priced. Our waiter was really friendly, but I had some of the strangest Italian food. In fact, the only dishes that were truly good were Heidi's Spaghetti Carbonara and the cannolis. I ordered Pollo Marsala, which didn't taste anything like chicken Marsala I'd ever had, and our tiramisu came in individual bowls and was more like ladyfingers with custard sauce than mascarpone. Oh well...
*Le Pain Quotidien - Organic/Italian/French/Pretention: A cute little bakery/bistro, where everything is all natural and organic. Very clean, with lovely classical music piped in. Heidi and I shared the Tuscan platter, which was a combination of sundried tomatoes, fresh ricotta, olives, prosciutto, an olive tapenade with basil pesto (heavenly!), and a juicy slice of melon, along with assorted breads. Tasty!
*Zack's/The Greek Islands Taverna - Greek (duh): Most definitely a hole in the wall, but delightful! We were one of two parties in the dining room for lunch, and it was great to get out of the snow. Heidi was excited that they carried Mythos, our preferred beer while we were in Greece, and we split an order of what turned out to be the best calamari and sweet marinara I've had in my life. We didn't hesitate to throw our fried potatoes on our gyros or souvlaki, and we polished off everything and were happily warm on the mile-walk home.
*Banana Cafe and Piano Bar - Puerto Rican/Cuban/Mexican?(well, quesadillas most definitely AREN'T Cuban!): Heartbreaking. We went to Happy Hour in the Piano Bar for the free appetizers, which turned out to be quesadillas so loaded with jalapenos that they gave Heidi indigestion for the next 36 hours. I had bacalao frito, or codfish fritters, and some fried plantains, which were ok but nothing special. The only thing worth anything there was the mango daquiri. The saddest part was that good latin food is normally so good you'll want to slap your mother. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
*The Old Siam - Thai: OUTSTANDING! The service, above all, was great, and everything we ate was wonderful, from the curry wontons, to the pad thai, to the ginger stir fried with chicken. Mike and I ended up trading dishes and being all the happier for it.

And that was just the first week....more to come!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Breaking Away

Many of you know that I'm here in Washington, DC. In a way, it's a vacation, in the sense that I'm away from home and am not working. On the other hand, I'm here looking for work. I'm really trying to see how life is here, and if I can do it. If anything, I've learned it's expensive. But I have figured out so much more than the money. I love it here. For the first time in years, I feel like I truly belong somewhere. I've been in Augusta for so long I don't know what it's like being somewhere else. I didn't leave for college. I didn't even move out. But I need to. I'm closing in on 26 years, for god's sakes. I really think that if I discipline myself I can make it here.
One of the hardest things was putting my resume out there. I couldn't shake the feeling that somehow what I have to offer wasn't good enough on paper. A friend of mine made an excellent point that I needed to "market" my skills as opposed to just listing them. Without him, I think I wouldn't have applied to anything. Also, I signed up for a job searcher that deals specifically on Capitol Hill. For shits and giggles, I even started looking at apartments. They say that in order to truly get things done one must be proactive. Unfortunately I have long lived with the belief that whenever I get too excited or prepare too much for things, something doesn't work out. Is it my thinking that's flawed? Or my crap luck? Either way, I'm still going for it here.
I love Washington, DC. The culture, the food, the history...I love being able to walk places. I want to only drive if I have to or want to. I'm also lucky that my closest friend lives here. i think she would keep me from feeling entirely lost or homesick. I also have family in the Northern Virginia area.
I want somewhere I can make my own. All I need is a job, and some more money.
Feeling like you belong is a wonderful feeling...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What to do...

I am afraid. I have tried not to rely on an unsure thing, but then again, I've never been in a situation like this before. I know that my information has been subitted to the Georgia Department of Labor, and as of last Wednesday I filed my first claim for unemployment insurance. I filed for this week as of midnight (as instructed) and decided to make an inquiry towards my previous claim to see if and when I might expect it in my account and to know the amount I might receive. However, I was surprised to see that the benefits were "not paid," and that I was to go back to the labor office for assistance.
And now, I am faced with a great big "What if?" What if I don't get any assistance? Is it possible to be denied? It's funny - admittedly, I was nervous about even signing up for the benefits, but after I did they seemed like a small light on the horizon. I've worked every chance I've had, even though I've been sick. I don't care if they only give me $50 a week. It would most certainly help with my bills.
If someone reads this that understands the system better, please offer any information you might have, as I would very mnuch appreciate it. I'm so scared they'll say I don't deserve it or don't qualify for it.
Maybe it would be best just to go to bed...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A New Year...?

Wow...I realized I haven't posted since October. It doesn't seem like that long ago when I think about it, but maybe because I'm thinking of all the times I've considered posting but put it off. I did that last week.
What has changed since last year? Well, the economy got to me and I was laid off from my job. True, this was a job from hell, but it was health insurance. It was knowing exactly how much I would have in my bank account every two weeks. But more importantly, it was health insurance, and a damn good plan at that. I was planning on being out of that job by March of 2009, but not like this. I never thought i'd be drawing unemployment benefits. I never, ever thought I'd be in that place, and most certainly not this soon after graduating from college. My afternoon at the Department of Labor was, by far, the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It was a lesson in pride and humility if I've ever had one. All I could think was that I wasn't like any of "those people" that I saw down there. The whole time, though, I knew that my way of thinking wasn't right, that I knew nothing about any of them, and who knew if there wasn't someone else in the same situation as I was. It was all I could do not to cry out of shame and/or anger. I am, however, extremely lucky to have the Village Deli to fall back on. They have been gracious and generous enough to give me somewhat steady employment. It is better than nothing, and it's something I truly enjoy doing. The customers are better than I could have ever asked for.
In the meantime, I'm trying to figure myself out again. I feel like I'm back at square one, wondering what the hell I am going to do with my life. The job at the apartments wasn't by any means a permanent one, but it was a routine. It was stability. Yet I keep having to ask myself, "Is this what I really want?" Now I think I can take time to get out there and do what I am meant to do and live my own life. We shall see.