Friday, July 25, 2008

The end of TT's

In the middle of the few blocks that make up Old Town Fairfax, there sits a little tavern called TT Reynolds. This place has been in business since the beginning of time, and for the past few decades has been a pretty hot little local music scene. Back in 2001-2002 when we lived right in Fairfax, I always said I was going to hit up TT's some night and see a band. This, of course, never happened cause I had zero life outside of going to work and whatever was going on at home. I was sad about this, but got on with my life and moved out to Winchester.

After 3 long years out west, we came back to NOVA, and after about six months I decided that I should get a life and go out - and that's what I did. I rekindled an old friendship, and I went out with the couple of friends that I did have. All of this led me to make new friends and the ball just rolled from there. Round about now I'm sure you're wondering what this could possibly have to do with TT's. Alot actually. On my second "outing" with friends I went to Shamrockfest where I made a point to see a band that I'd heard about over and over again - Welbilt. I heard about them on the radio alot, and I wanted to see them live, so we headed on over to the DC101 stage and watched their set. Ya, so they rocked my socks. Loved them from the first chord. Shannon even beboped over to their table and picked up their CD - we were hooked.
A couple weeks later I saw that Welbilt was going to be playing at none other than TT Reynolds and I called Shannon up and suggested we take in a show. She came over and we got ready and headed out the door - entirely too early. I think we got there around 8:30pm and the place was virtually dead. We sidled up to the bar and ordered some dinner and drinks. I had the BEST cheese steak ever. They don't put that crappy steakum crap in their cheese steak. No, they take a steak, and they slice it up real nice, and they put some cheese and peppers and onions on it and slide it in to a toasted baguette and voila - one hell of a cheese steak. Some older fellow thought we were cute and bought us drinks, and I met Matty. If you go back about a year and a half in my Myspace blog you will read an entire blog about Matty. So the first band played and they were alright, and I don't actually recall who they were. All I remember is Welbilt, and I remember that they rocked. TT's is a small place. I like to call it the "College Lunch of GMU." If you're fortunate enough to know the College Lunch then you'll understand that, and if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about well, you've just missed out.

From that night on I spent ALOT of time at TT's. Every time Welbilt played there I showed up (and at that time it was probably about once a month, maybe even twice). I followed Welbilt to other spots that are also favorites of mine now, but nothing on earth is like seeing your favorite band at TT's. TT's was more than a little bar with a good cheese steak - it was where I became who I wanted to be. To have friends, and a life, and let go for just a little while. There's alot of personal significance in that little building. I shared really good times with really good friends there, and things always seemed to be better once I walked in the door.

A little over a month ago I found myself with a day where there wasn't anything to do. Shannon was over and Brad took the day off from work, and Josh was already out of school, so we went over there for lunch. We had to wait for them to open the doors because we were so early, but I didn't mind that we were the only ones there. I wanted to sit and take it all in. I had my cheese steak, and I stood in the bathroom and read the graffiti on the walls. Not one bit of it said "for a good time call 555-45275." The walls of the bathroom at TT's say things like "EBP ROCKS!", "I heart NATE!", and "I saw the best band in the world here tonight!" Just these snippets are significant proof that it's not just me who was profoundly affected by my experiences here. There are alot of us out there.

TT's is having it's final farewell weekend starting tonight. The City of Fairfax sold the building to a new owner who doesn't care about the history, or significance of this establishment. The new guy simply wants to open up a Vietnamese restaurant in that spot (cause that's what Fairfax needs, another ethnic food joint). Tonight and tomorrow there will be bands, just like every Friday and Saturday. The place will undoubtedly be packed, just like every Friday and Saturday. Sunday, that'll be the kicker... On Sunday they'll be having a farewell party, and I'm wondering if I'll even be able to get in the door if I don't camp out, but I'll have to take my chances. There have been a few big events at TT's that I've had to miss over the years because of odd and assorted reasons, but this is one event that just can't be missed. It's sure to be a very bitter-sweet experience, but I'll just add it to my memory book of all the good times I had at TT's.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why you want to work at AAHPERD

I am sure that every office has it's perks. My first office job, which I took a few months after graduating from college, didn't have many while I was there, but from what I heard there was a time when they did fun stuff (like the entire office went to St. Maarten). My second job didn't have much to offer in the way of perks, but maybe that was just more incentive for me to leave. The third place started off well, and then rolled down hill going forward. The 4th place actually had numerous perks - company paid lunches at Smith & Wollensky (where I got food poisoning), free sodas, coffee, and tea, monthly office gatherings to celebrate birthdays and such, and the occasional wine tasting (which I thought was the best of all). Unfortunate that place sucked where the actual job was concerned, so all those perks were for naught. After that fiasco I came here to AAHPERD, and the perks - while not as plentiful as the previous job - are generally a good time. Among these perks is our monthly celebration.
Once a month we have a little get together we like to call the Hail & Farewell. This gathering is "sponsored" by a different department each month, so each time there's a different "theme," a different snack, and sometimes even better things like competitions or activities. We've had "prom," "graduation," "pie at the Pullman's," and today we had the annual "bake-off." AAPAR, one of our 5 national associations within AAHPERD, always has a bake-off for their sponsored Hail & Farewell event. They publicize it around the office a few weeks ahead of time, and folks sign up to bring in their homemade goodies for judging. As you might imagine, this is a good time in and of itself. This year, however; the contest didn't stop with the goodie judging. To add fuel to the competitive fire there was a "whip-off." Three employees were selected to see how fast they could whip up some whipped cream. This seemed sorta absurd, even to those of us sitting there stuffing our face full of chocolate mousse and cupcakes, but everyone stayed to see what the outcome was. The three selected participants were Judy, our VP of Programs, Jen, our Marketing Director, and O'Brien, a summer intern with NASPE (another one of our associations). Everyone instantly thought O'Brien would be the loser. He's a college age guy, with admittedly few kitchen skills. So they took their spots at the table and commenced to whipping up bowls of heavy cream. Judy and Jen were working hard at it, but frankly, nobody was getting anywhere. People started to get up and gather around the table (like this was a gripping sport where there might be a photo finish). Whipping takes alot of energy and endurance, so it's difficult to compete in such a manner. Someone suggested it be a relay and so Judy passed off her bowl to Elsa, who continued to whip up the cream. Then Jen passed off her bowl, but O'Brien just kept whipping away. Round about this time people actually started cheering because it was turning in to a real contest. While this might sound ridiculously lame, it was actually pretty entertaining. Finally, O'Brien threw down the whisk and turned the bowl upside down over his head. Miraculously, the whipping cream didn't fall out, and he was declared the winner. Literally, everyone cheered, and then everyone laughed. Yes, this was potentially one of the lamest contests ever created, but it was a good time. It was something everyone could laugh about and cheer for and it beat the hell out of sitting at my desk bored to tears or working through the event.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 Alaska

I've got 7 days and counting until my next big adventure. While I'm jumping ahead a little as far as blogging chronologically is concerned, I think it's important to plan ahead for major events, therefore I should blog ahead for them too.
Next Thursday, I'll hop a flight (first class, thanks to all my frequent flyer miles) to Seattle. In Seattle I'll stay the night with my business associate (and hopefully new found friend) Rene, and then hop the train to Bellingham the next morning. Once in Bellingham, I'll have the morning to look around and then I'll head on over to the docks to board a ferry bound for Juneau, Alaska.
I've wanted to go to Alaska my whole life. When I was little, and unreasonably petrified of thunderstorms and other bad things that come along with them (like tornadoes - which I'm still unreasonably petrified of), I fancied winter as my favorite season and reasoned that there was alot more winter in Alaska, therefore that's where I should be. I read books about Alaska, looked at maps of Alaska, hell, I even drew a remarkable map (freehand nonetheless) of Alaska and plastered it to my bedroom door. I can't recall exactly when I decided that summer was really where it was at, but I inevitably let my obsession with the state slip and focused on the numerous positive aspects of bright, sunny, HOT days.
When I started my job here at AAHPERD, it became apparent to me on day one that I'd have to put in my fair share of business travel. There were alot of people all across the country that I should probably meet and work side by side with in order to do a good job, and to support them in the job they are trying to do. Partnering well is what makes my program so successful. I'm not gonna turn my nose up at travel cause I really enjoy it. Even trips to places that most people would groan about are viewed by myself as opportunities to see new places and meet new people and if I hate it, well... at least I had the experience. My first trip was to Overland Park, Kansas - so you can plainly see that it's not all glorious. I've not been to L.A. with this job, nor have I been to NYC, Vegas, or Miami. Regardless, I've been to those places on my own, and the random business travel gives me the chance to see places I wouldn't choose to spend my own money going to. All of this brings me back to how I'm going to Alaska next week - on a business trip.
Our North West District is holding it's annual convention on a ferry boat this year. This is a curse and a blessing. It's a curse because the number of convention participants will undoubtedly be considerably lower due to the increased cost of taking the ferry. The blessing is that those of us attending will have the opportunity to see some amazing scenery, travel to a place we've probably never been to before, and learn about health, physical education, recreation and dance (not to mention Jump Rope and Hoops For Heart) in a unique and memorable setting. We'll be on the boat for 2 1/2 days, departing at 6pm and getting in to port in Juneau at 3:45am - at which point we have to GET OFF THE BOAT. This is probably the most miserable aspect of this trip.
I've booked myself at a hotel that seems to be within walking distance of the Juneau dock, and noted to them that I'll need early check-in - very early check-in. From there I've got a whole day in Juneau where I've planned to see what's there in town and then take this cable car thingy up to the top of the mountain to see what I can see from up there. I'm hoping to make a friend on the boat, so I don't have to do all this sightseeing alone, but we'll have to wait and see what happens on that end. After all is said and done, I hop a flight back to Seattle and then Seattle back home (which is where the real joy in first class is sure to take place). It's sure to be exhausting, yet wonderful, and I'm honestly looking forward to it (even the part where we get off the effing boat at 3:45am).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dress shopping

This is probably news to half of the population, but my sister is getting married. Yes, yes, it's true. She and Bekir got engaged last winter and are getting married in December up in New Jersey at a great place that I was fortunate enough to see when we were up there doing wedding planning things a couple of weeks ago.
This brings me to my current issue of dress shopping. Seeing how I'm the only sister, I get the honor of being the Matron (cause I'm so matronly) of Honor. Katie has decided that nobody is going to wear the same dress, but rather we'll all just wear the same color. This being said, she won't be choosing a dress for anyone, so it's up to each of us in the bridal party to peruse the racks at David's Bridal and select the dress in Velvet Blue that is to our liking. Katie and I will be heading over to the Springfield store tomorrow night to see what we can find. I've made a quick list of my favorites (per what I see online, and that's no guarantee these same dresses will look remotely good on me). I've made a short list, so feel free to give me your opinion on one or all of them.

Cocktail length halter
Strapless chiffon bubble
Asymmetrical strapless chiffon
Strapless crinkle chiffon
Tea length satin halter
Strapless beaded ball gown

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jenny is coming, Jenny is coming!

Once upon a time, in a land far far away (ok, not that far away, it was just Alexandria), a 12 year old girl was forcibly moved to a farm house 5 miles out a dirt road in West - by God - Virginia... with me being the aforementioned 12 year old girl. This was an unpleasant experience as one might imagine, but I survivied it thanks to another 12 year old girl who lived about 4 miles out a dirt road, just "around the corner" from myself . This girl proceeded to be the bestest best friend anyone could ever ask for. She was cool, fashionable, kind and patient, generally adventurous, had a cool big sister, horses, dogs, and cats. When you're 5 miles out a dirt road these things are even more important than in other locations. So she and I became friends, and as the years went on we continued to be friends until one day we graduated from high school and went off to college where we lived in a house together, and miraculously.... remained friends. Lesser people might have beat the ever-living crap out of me for not coming home from the club one night (that took great restraint on her part), for bringing random boys home from the club (he turned out ok - hell, we're still friends), and for getting her boyfriend drunk and then sending him off to bed for her to deal with. Before I get myself in to too much trouble, I'll stop digressing and move on to the story at hand.

So, this friend and I have been separated by some geography for many years now, and this has led to us not seeing one another but maybe once or twice a year (and that's once or twice a year when I come to visit her). She came to visit once when I was pregnant, once before I got married, for my actual wedding, and then not once since. In her defense she is quite busy, with a job, a farm, a husband and now two little girls. For the most part I've understood when she told me that she just can't get away to come for a visit, but I can't help but think (often) that she could really use a getaway. A weekend or so to just come and relax and do something fun - just for her. Forget about the husband and the kids and whatever else goes on at home. Everyone needs that sometimes, right?

Finally, finally, finally! This is the weekend. It's been years and years and years, but she's coming to visit! The last time she and I went to anything that could be remotely construed as a club was in 1995 (I think), so I've planned that for our Saturday night. From there I think we'll do some fun stuff around town and maybe shop (cause who doesn't love to shop).

The great blog consolidation

So, it turns out I've got WAY to many blogs. Seriously, I've got like 4, and nobody needs 4 when you can just have 1. For months and months now I've been in a great debate (with myself) as to the best way to go about consolidating these blogs in to a single blog. There is no really good answer, but I've decided that perhaps this blog should be the "primary" blog and I'll just let all the other blogs go. This is sort of a shame as there are some really awesome posts on my other blogs that won't ever be seen by those only seeing my new "primary" blog. Nonetheless, this is a necessary change, and there'll be other good blogs to come.

Blogs that I've used previously:

Blog that I'll post to going forward:
This one right here that you're reading, genius!