friday night. franklin, ben, jess and i are watching previews, waiting for the hobbit to begin.

the preview is for oz: the great and powerful, the scene where james franco (aka oz) is being swept up by the tornado, and he's crouching in his hot air balloon:

james franco/oz: "i don't want to die! i haven't accomplished anything yet!"

ben: "cut off your arm!"



growing pains

it doesn't matter if you're 11 or 29, growing up can be challenging. especially as you get older, even the smallest of realizations can be tough to deal with.

1) seeing your parents as actual HUMANS with their own personalities, emotions, perspectives - and not just Mom and Dad.

2) the fading safety net - whether that net is your parents, school, sometimes even friends from different chapters in your life - it's ever changing.

3) realizing that inevitably, if someone uses the word 'duty' or 'duties' at all, i will laugh. i. will. laugh.


my happy place

while i do certainly have happy places*, geographically speaking, i am specifically referring to the past two weekends.

the college crew is my happy place. if we're surrounded by throngs of people and noise or nothing at all, it doesn't make a difference - it's just us. the group. the college crew, long after we have anything to do with the institutions for which our group was initially named. everything else just seems to fade away. it's being together - in the midst of a party, or just an evening watching football or videos on youtube - talking and laughing, reveling in the comfort of our friendship.

how many nights have we done exactly this same thing - over 15 (!) years now - and it never gets old. as people move away, or move back, visit over holiday breaks, significant others become family, children arrive, the group numbers may change, but the dynamic never does.

we've all been through the happy moments, the sad moments, the achievements and the disappointments - together.  we can be weird, funny, serious, sad, happy, loud, quiet, and no matter what, we'll still talk to each other the next day. and the day after that. at our best or at our worst, it really doesn't matter. because it's just US.

*london. northern california. pretty much any beach. probably harry potter world as soon as i actually visit it.



what's going on? i dunno, a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

1. work is full-steam-ahead until our conference in january. in addition to conference-related work, there are webinars, meetings (with 50 people), grants, classical music recitals, leadership workshops and much more to run. so i'm busy, and challenged in a good way. as long as i keep getting enough sleep. if that stops, i'll either rip someone's face off or just cry for 12 hours straight. it really could go either way....so here's hoping i keep getting those 8* hours a night.

2. i started with a new trainer at the gym, and will be going twice a week, at least for the next couple of months. i got my ass handed to me last night, but i think it'll be good. an immediate mood improvement has already occurred, and i hope it will continue.

3. i don't think my apartment has been clean in months. i work up the wherewithal to clean bits at a time, but it never stays that way for long. i'm not sure if i'll ever outgrow my messiness. it might just be one of those (unfortunate) things.


5. shoutout to meghan housley for being awesome.

6. there's an Associate happy hour at work tomorrow, and i'm still invited even though i'm a manager now :) sometimes the new dynamic feels a bit clunky (b/c i'm awkward and over-analyze everything) but it clearly hasn't done any real damage and i'm happy about that. and soon will be half in the tank about it, probably.

7. related to #1, i'll be in NYC in two weeks, and on friday the 30th i get to have (an early) dinner with ro. excitement!! i know i'll see her next week at our home turf of restonia, but hang out times in different cities are always fun. (see also: new orleans) also while in new york?  i get to go see this with some of my colleagues. so amped.

8. ke$ha's new song is my JAM.

*let's be real, it's more like 10.


i don't want to say i peaked at 29, but...

i'm pretty sure i should retire from all social media, because it is never ever going to get better than this:



immediately after following @bluthquotes on twitter, i got the following suggestions....um?


if complaining is cool, consider me miles davis

1. Flying in and out of BWI.
B. Not getting home from three days in Chattanooga, TN until 1:45am. From BWI.
III. The Hokies, Redskins, and Nationals losing (the Nationals managed to lose *both* weekend games)
4. Being requested to complete a nearly impossible task at work (PS: the number of times a day I find my left hand clenched in a fist while at work is alarming)
5. Four things seems incomplete. So, the fifth shitty thing is....did I mention being in Chattanooga for three days?


(there are good things that exist. they include: california vacations, thursday's nationals game with missy, franklin and meghan, being snarky while watching syfy original movies, 10 month old beagle puppies named Pepper, and pumpkin spice lattes. and yeah, health, friends, family, BLAH BLAH)


emails from frank

i love receiving emails from my dad.

"Bon jiorno Laura Anne !
I hope you're settling into your new office nicely. Have you started adding any personal touches yet ? I hope your laundry went well 'bleach wise' the other day.
This is pretty exciting stuff so I'll stop now before your head explodes from the total overload you must be experiencing.
Cordially, Frank
Plus, I love you." 

(the bleach thing was me experiencing my first load of laundy in our coin-operated machines in our building - they don't have the little trays where you can put bleach or fabric softener, NOR can you open the lid once the water starts. so i of course called my parents to figure out what exactly to do with my whites*)

*the answer, was, just pour the bleach in with the detergent into the empty washer, load in the whites, close the lid, and it'll be fine. i'm an adult, i swear.



and yeah, i was too lazy to do anything but a screenshot.


mid-year update

FIRST OF ALL....how is it the middle of the year already? That's just absurd. Plus I'm mentally (because of work) into July already - literally today, I was talking to someone about the week of July 4th and I referred to it as "next week"...yikes.

Anyway, here's what I said earlier in the year, that I wanted to do in 2012:

*go to jazzfest
*go camping more than once
*read all of the song of ice and fire books in time for the second season of game of thrones to start
*save money
*do yoga more regularly
*get stronger. literally and figuratively.
*learn something new
*get as many people on board (pun absolutely intended) with the Guess Who Halloween costumes as possible
*give clothes away

Here's the update (checked things off, added things!)

*go to jazzfest  DONE!
*go camping more than once
*read all of the song of ice and fire books in time for the second season of game of thrones to start (working on it - I'm on book 4!)
*save money (HA)
*do yoga more regularly (I need to find a good/decently priced studio...)
*get stronger. literally and figuratively. (working on it! my trainer is great)
*learn something new 
*get as many people on board (pun absolutely intended) with the Guess Who Halloween costumes as possible
*give clothes away DONE!
*love YES, of course! I haven't been dating since April but I've found more love in my life through my friends and family, and The Pepperton of course. The little dude is a bomb of joy.
*Corn Maze!
*Visit Rosa in NYC

Okay, so I've done some things, and still need to work on others. I REALLY need to save money. I'm pretty much right where I started moving in here two years ago...not great. But I am making progress on some of the others - I've been going to my trainer appointments and making additional gym trips in between (like once or twice more, let's not get crazy) and I've been reading Song of Ice and Fire books voraciously. Well, I read the second and the third ones voraciously. The fourth one is being read...normally. I'm just not loving it as much. 

The "love" one is the most interesting, I think. I quit my OKCupid profile back in April, because, I just wasn't having fun with it anymore. I was going on dates for the sake of SAYING I was going on dates and it was tiring and I was getting really cynical. So I stopped. And since then I've felt lighter, SO much happier, and much more able to see the existing, amazing love around me I have already. I am so lucky. 


sometimes you have a pretty damn good day.

i made myself an awesome dinner this evening, if i do say so myself. it's pretty, nutritious, and quite tasty.

salad: baby greens with feta cheese, sliced strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette

other thing: quinoa mac and cheese (adapted from this recipe) - in my version i kept the red pepper but swapped the leeks for chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. i've made other versions with the leeks, carrots, butternut squash and red pepper. i apparently really like red pepper. 

the white stuff is sour cream, obviously, because, well, it's sour cream. i don't need to explain. shit's delicious. 

in other news, today franklin and i bought tickets to see THESE DUDES at the 930 club in july. cannot. wait.

 will you think less of me if i tell you seeing them live was/is on my bucket list?

...and in other OTHER news, i collected $3 dollars this evening off of a craigslist posting i did for a couple of my old DVDs that i don't want to move with me. i got $3 and i didn't get murdered. boom goes the dynamite.


This weekend was crazy-town-banana-pants.

Thank you, Community:


*Morning "Yard" sale at our building - I made 30 bucks, what what!

*Beaglefest 2012!!! Frank, Blue and I took The Pepperton out to Chantilly for an afternoon to run free in the company of about 50 other beagles. The event was put on by BREW (Beagle Rescue, Education, and Welfare) - from whom we adopted the little dudelet, as we sometimes (ridiculously) call him. The best part? His sister was there!! His litter was rescued around New Years Day of 2012, and so one of his sisters, originally named Champagne (now named Missy) was there! The dogs couldn't have cared less, but the owners were pretty excited. And FYI, Pepper's original name was Dick Clark. Yeah.

*Jess' baby shower in the late afternoon with Ben/Jess, Franklin, Meghan, and Brian Baum! (and, you know, others, but of course I will only mention the awesomes)

*Tara's Sage-Cleansing party at night, complete with, obviously, sage burning, and some amazing 90s jams.


*Lunch at Shake Shack with Emily

*Elyse's wedding!!! So much love, happiness, friendship, laughter, and of course dancing. See:


*Elyse's post-wedding brunch at her (new!!) husband's parents' house in Great Falls
*Re-signing my lease for the new place....because....

I got lucky and was able to switch to an apt with the same layout (same size) but on the 14th floor. Which is the top floor. Facing North. With a view of the city. I can see the monuments and the National Cathedral. It is awesome and gets my insides churning (in a good way) whenever I think about it. I move in June15th, and I cannot wait. Joy thieves: fuck 'em.


joy thieves and tailspins

the most awesome elyse recently posted about her experience with joy thieves - i myself had an encounter with one and it took the wind right out of my sails...of a ship i was already feeling kind of insecure about.


my boat is tiny as shit, and then someone comes along and says" wow, your boat would fit in the giant Carnival Cruise Ship line I'M buying, but you're single so it's fine"

(Okay so maybe not a great nor subtle metaphor but i think you get the idea.)

the perfect storm of existing insecurities and a joy thief. i think a joy thief tends to have ZERO idea they are a such a person, and it makes me wonder when i might have been one. so if i've ever been one to you, i'm sorry. because being on the other end is a shitty place to be.

it takes one person (or maybe two) to send me into an emotional tailspin. that apartment that i was SO excited about is now:

my apartment isn't big enough and i won't even own it because i've been dicking around with my life and my (lack of) savings and don't have a high paying job because i'm three years behind where i should be in my career because i didn't get a post graduate degree right out of undergrad and/or it took me too long to figure out what i wanted to do in the first place, and i'm single and nowhere near sharing my life with someone and too undisciplined about being the size i want to be and


i want to be able to tell you that through the course of writing this post i've turned it around already and am telling my insecurities to go fuck themselves, but that is not the case. at least not yet. i can see the absurdity in my emotional tailspin and can ALSO see the many things i am incredibly lucky to have (amazing friends and family, the means to support myself, a relatively healthy body) - but the tailspin always trumps the gratitude. which in turn makes me feel worse, don't you know it.

anyways - this is a PSA against joy thieves and emotional tailspins. don't let them happen to you!


my jazzfest experience in GIFs

an homage to my new fave tumblr, what should we call me

trying to sleep tuesday night before I left on wednesday:

when the guy i shared a cab with asked me if i was in town for the oncology conference:

when florence + the machine started playing "shake it out":

all of the eating:

being with kk dan and rosa for 4 uninterrupted days:


Peer pressure!

KK updated, Rosa updated...FIIIIIIINE. Though fair warning, I did NOT go dog sledding or run a half marathon. But I have been traveling for work a lot. I went to Ann Arbor, MI about a month ago, Cleveland two weeks ago, Penn State last week, and as we speak I am in Austin. And I leave tomorrow...and a week from tomorrow I will be in New Orleans for JAZZFEST 2012 (!!) with KK, Dan, and Rosa!

Other things: Went to a Jeopardy taping. Went to an a capella concert with Kelley, Missy and Meghan, where I fell in love with live-looping and is now my "holy shit I wish I could do that" obsession. Went to the Americans for the Arts' Arts Advocacy Day Nancy Hanks Lecture (this year featuring Ben Folds and Alec Baldwin). And a board meeting. Also a while ago I went to a basketball game with Franklin, but I can't even remember when that was...but I *do* know I have two tickets still sitting on my dresser waiting to be redeemed for a Dunkin Donuts coffee...which I could really use right about now. I went to Richmond for Allison's birthday.

Fotoz I haz them:

As part of my Cleveland trip, swung by Columbus to spend the night with Vince and Lauren. We went to Jeni's ice cream. Which, if you don't know it...YOU NEED TO. Ask KK. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. 

Ohai I'm just teh cutest.

see: cute, not at all troublemaker.
except for totally being a troublemaker.


I wasn't supposed to take this picture but I did. Boom.

Our JetBlue flight circled us around  so we could all take pictures. Awesome. 


It's like West Wing except not at all West Wing

Today at work, headed into a meeting with my boss - we head towards his office and he goes "oh! - no wait, walk with me, I have to show you something, we'll walk and talk...in fact, our whole meeting will just be laps around the office" (he was joking, we did in fact sit down with the other members of the meeting) and I say "How very Aaron Sorkin of you!" and...reference lost on him. But that's okay. He likes to see pictures of the Pepperton* and always asks about him, that totally makes up for it.

In other work news - sadly not Aaron Sorkin related - business trips I haz them:
-Ann Arbor, MI - March 23-24
-Cleveland, OH - April 5-6
-Penn State - April 12-13 (or 13-14, something like that)

Plus there may be a work trip or two to Austin in my future. Fancypants is my middle name.

In other travel news but NOT work related, I am going to California in August for two weeks! Hooray vacation! Two weeks without the air feeling like soup! Blech. (Yep, it's February and I'm already complaining about DC summer humidity.)

In other news that has nothing to do with anything, Ben, Jess, (and Puck!) Franklin and I spent Superbowl Sunday together - Franklin hosted, I made Nutella Cheesecake (same portion but did a whole pie as opposed to individuals)  Buffalo Chicken Bites, and Potato Chip Cookies, and Ben/Jess brought potstickers, chips/pretzels and dip, homemade guac, and homemade pizza bagels. Serving roughly 30 people, oh wait, THERE WERE FOUR OF US. But it was awesomely delicious. And I was basically full until lunchtime of the following day :-P

*I may or may not also sometimes call him Pepper P. McSquirmyPants. Because I am a ridiculous, ridiculous individual.


beagles, beagles, and more beagles!

i volunteered for BREW again today! - i transported two beagles - picking them up from a giant panel van filled with crated rescues in centreville to the main BREW vet office in purcellville.

this was miss piggy, a non-stop-on-the-go beagle (clearly, this was the most in-focus picture i got!) that gave my hand leash-burn from trying to keep her from running amok, but very loving and happy! :

this was jewels, a little one that was so sweet and quiet and a bit timid:

and this little troublemaker is all ours!!!!!!

Pepper Benson
10 weeks old

Likes: chewing things, snuggling, food, going up stairs

Dislikes: going down stairs, closed doors, empty food bowls



Foo Fighters. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Florence + the Machine. Eagles. Ani DiFranco. Glen Hansard. Esperanza Spalding. My Morning Jacket. Better Than Ezra. Zac Brown Band. Bonnie Raitt. Ne-Yo. Bonerama.