December 26, 2007


Greetings, earthlings...Er, sorry, I got my messages mixed up. What I meant to say is Happy Day After Christmas, or rather Happy Boxing Day.

I can't believe how many things are still open on Christmas and Boxing Day (Kinko's,, the guards at the gate of a posh neighborhood in Georgetown, the street cleaners on my street)...And then I remember that, not everyone enjoys the job benefits I do, and not everyone celebrates Christmas (for example my Jewish cousins, and my Buddhist neighbor). I am ever so grateful of these few days off.

Enjoy whatever you are celebrating (Christmas, the lack of colleagues at work, the empty streets, the unencumbered shopping) this year!

December 17, 2007

A Game of Life!

A friend, who is an avid mountaineer, says that there are three essential things when climbing a mountain: 1) To be warm, 2) To be satiated, 3) To be rested.


If one element should be absent, a climber can still survive the climb.  But it two elements are missing, there is real danger to his/her life.  For example, one can tired, so long as he/she is warm and full.  But one cannot reasonably be expected to climb a mountain on an empty stomach and dog-tired.


This same principle can be applied to life in general I suppose, provided one has: 1) Good health, 2) A stable job, 3) An active personal life.


Right now, I feel like I have good health.  My job is stable but not very fulfilling.  My personal life is blah.


So the score is


Health              %  100

Job                   %  50

Personal           %     0


Hum, better not try to climb that mountain!

Sur Windows Live Ideas, découvrez en exclusivité de nouveaux services en ligne... si nouveaux qu'ils ne sont pas encore sortis officiellement sur le marché ! Essayez-le !

December 14, 2007

Holy Beans!

Lately, I've been trying to recapture that lunchtime feeling from Congo, when I would nuzzle up to the office cook, to see her red beans rolling in tomato sauce and bouillon-cubed water. That steam, those bursting skins, that salty tomato sauce! Just heaven, even in a hot climate…

We would then have to loosen our belts, and deal with that heavy, satiated felling for the rest of the afternoon.

So I bought red beans yesterday, out of nostalgia, and forgot to soak them over night. No worries I thought, I can just boil them for a few minutes, let them sit out for a while, and cook them for 30 mins. Not so. The beans were almost as hard as they were when they were dry.

So I decided to take a break and have them for dinner the next day. The next evening, I took them out of the fridge and cooked them for another hour. Still not soft enough to be edible! So I left them for the next day. On and on, until I had cooked them for what seemed like 4 hours! And they still aren't quite soft enough to eat.

I now have a newfound respect for Maman Cécile, the Congolese office cook.

December 11, 2007

A slice of a (crime ridden) neighborhood

At about 10:30 pm, last night, I heard 4 loud cracks that reverberated in the icy parking lot across from my house. Savvy enough to recognize the sound by now, I ran to my third floor window to figure out who had fired the gun. Instead of a person, I saw a large, dark blue SUV, driving erratically down the street. It hit a car parked on the side of the street (effectively reducing it to 2/3 of its original size), and that car hit the car in front of it, creating a domino effect.

I squinted to see the back of the SUV but couldn't see the license plate number.

Soon after that, a series of neighbors came out of their houses to talk to the policemen that arrived 5 minutes after the altercation. While we were talking to them, a series of 4 shots were fired again, this time one street away, and the cops were on their way again.

While the neighbors took pictures for accident reports and assessed the damage to their cars (there was a 4-car pile-up), we got to talking a little bit. Here are some excerpts of the conversations:

Woman who's still in college (panicked):

"I can't believe my landlord wanted to increase rent for this crap-hole. I told myself I would leave 6 months later, and I'm still planning on doing that. It's too unsafe. Did you go to the meeting at the community center? You should go, they explain all about what's going on with the gangs. It feels a lot better to understand the dynamics. Still though, I'm gonna leave, anytime now".

Man whose car was considerably damaged, to cop (laughing):

"Ya, I wish I could claim that dent from the accident, but the truth is that I damaged it earlier on with my foot".

Man whose car suffered the least damage, after moving it from under the third one (in his pajamas, with a winter coat):

"I'm going back to sleep".

Woman who has lived on the street for 20 years, engaging the surprised onlookers (animatedly):

"It's not the environment…I raised my three kids on this very street, and let me tell you, the eighties were terrible…all these drug-related problems…Two of my kids went to college, the older one here (pointing to her Virginia T-shirt), and the third one is a senior in high school…I tell you, back in the day when my kids were napping on the top floor, I would look out the window, and see the drug dealers stash their drugs…then I would call the cops on them with the location and the description of the drug-dealers…they were always surprised when they were caught…Lavinia had to remove her shrubs from her front yard 'cause they'd always stash to their drugs there…I tell you, it's not the environment…And you know, I should know, I'm white. It's all gang-related now".

Woman who has lived on the street for 30 years, when examining the damage to her totaled car (matter-of-factly):

"Well, at least I didn't fill up the tank".

Adopt a Family for Christmas

I don't know about you but, given that my family (parents, sis and bro) are all grown up, we've decided, for three Christmases straight now, to give each other little-bitty presents that are worth no more than $10-15. They are always thoughtful presents and appreciated, but any present more than $15 is a little pointless given that we are well-off and can generally buy our own items throughout the year.

But the financial freedom is not available to everyone. In fact, plenty of homeless families will not have a Christmas/Kwanza/Hanukkah this year. Community of Hope, a homeless shelter in Washington D.C. (more like a set of apartment complexes for families transitioning into other more permanent housing like their cousin's, or subsidized housing), is looking to get gifts for about 200 families. Here's how people can help:

Community of Hope Adopt a Family Program

You can help Community of Hope make Christmas special for a needy family. It is our desire to make sure every homeless child and parent in our housing program for homeless families, along with numerous other needy families we serve through our medical clinic, receive Christmas gifts for the holiday.

Your $50 contribution to Community of Hope enables us to purchase a gift card for one family member. For $100 we can purchase two cards or for $250 five cards. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
HERE to read more.

or CLICK THE GIFT CARD ABOVE to make your contribution!

If you can't afford it, don't sweat it! I certainly can, now that my family has let up a little on the gift for Christmas.

December 10, 2007

One Issue Voter

I fear I have become a one-issue voter. My issue? Health insurance.

Surely there's got to be a better way to do health insurance, from a country that is so technologically-sophisticated, and customer-service orientated.

This always happens:

1-I go to the dentist/gynecologist/doctor once a year.

2-I work with the medical office to ensure that my paperwork is accurate and up-to-date.

3-I pay the entire bill. My insurance promises to reimburse the allowable fees. That still leaves with having to pay $538.20 that day, of which $300 will be covered by my health insurance and $248.20 (I sometimes really wonder why I am paying $150 per month and yet still have to shell out $250 out of my own pocket).

4-I go home feeling healthy, yet disgruntled at having had to wait 1 hour to see the dentist/gyncologist/doctor, when I arrived perfectly on time.

5-Three months later, I still haven't been reimbursed the $300.

6-I call the insurance company. They tell me that my dentist/gynecologist/doctor hasn't submitted the claim.

7-I call my dentist/gynecologist/doctor. The office tells me that they did. In fact, they sent the claim months ago. The office is annoyed, but sends the paperwork again.

8-I wait another month until reimbursement.

Can you imagine if you had 3 kids, which means three times as many appointments, and just a 1/3 of the time to follow-up with all of these? What if you were a cashier at Giant on your feet all day, then had to rush to school to pick up the kids at 4 pm, then spent all your evening cooking, checking homework, giving baths, and doing laundry. It's impossible!

No wonder people are reluctant to go to the doctor's.

Whichever candidate proposes to streamline and simplify the process, gets my vote in November 2008.

December 06, 2007

Simple bully math

My parents have a little dog + My parents are traveling = I have to take care of the dog

The dog is little + it is cold and snowing outside = I dress the dog in a green coat

The dog looks ridiculous + we go to the dog park = The big dogs instinctively attack my pooch

(note: the picture is not of my dog, but you have to admit that this one's cute!)

December 01, 2007

Black Rose

The Black Rose website states:

About Black Rose
Black Rose is a not-for-profit organization which provides a forum for the many different expressions of power in love and play. This can include dominance & submission, bondage & discipline, fetishism, cross-dressing, to name a few.

Black Rose is a support, education, and social group for adults who share these interests in the context of caring relationships. Black Rose is a pan sexual group, open to those of any sexual orientation. It is our goal to provide a comfortable, safe, and discreet environment where one can meet others of like mind. We are not a swingers group or a sex club. We do not make referrals. We are not a chapter based organization. We welcome the interested, the inquisitive, and the discerning to join us as we explain, explore, and enjoy.

You must be at least 19 years old to attend any of our functions or to receive our literature or newsletter.

Every person who attends a Black Rose event, in exchange for admittance, agrees that he or she, and his or her representatives and assigns, will not hold Black Rose or any coordinator liable directly or vicariously for injuries or other damages that result directly or indirectly from attending the event.

Hum, I guess that's why I felt like a prey in my little conservative little suit at the hotel, on Friday...