Improv Overload??

Pshaah.  Not possible to overload on something so fun.  However, it’s that time of year when the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament (FIST) takes hold of the City (okay, at least my corner of the world) and suddenly I realize that my calendar is full of improv.  Seriously.  Full.  Here’s what I’m up to next week:

  • Sunday – The Harold class that I TA for is having their showcase at 6:00pm.  I’ll be there to take notes and cheer them on!  Probably taking in other showcases before or after, since that’s a fun freebie of new talent and ideas.
  • Monday – Subsidized Corn practice.  At least I get to practice.  Sometimes I get antsy when I just watch performances because I want to get out there so bad!
  • Tuesday – Auditions for a Harold team.  Yes, it’s time I finally tried out.  I’ve let it slip by for a few auditions for a range of reasons (lack of confidence, 10:00 shows are too late, missed the deadline).  But now the stars are aligned, and I’m ready.  Plus, being on the other side of auditions when SubCo had ours was really helpful.
  • Wednesday – WIT happy hour in Columbia Heights.  This is one of the beau’s favorite spots, so of course I’m going.  So technically, this isn’t improv, but it’s improv related.
  • Thursday – Finally, I get to take the stage with my FIST team!  Jules Duffy, Brandon Russell and I, aka Good Friends, will be playing on Thursday, March 15th (Beware the Ides!) at 9:30pm at Source Theater.  Please come out and vote for us so we can advance to the next round!!
  • Friday – A day off.  Whew.
  • Saturday – FIST night for me.  Darnell and Nick (Mere Mortals) are on at 8:00pm and the beau (Two Beards and a Bald) is on at 11:00pm.  Kind of a crappy slot to be on St. Patrick’s Day, but I’ll be there cheering them on and voting for the bestest teams!

So come out and watch with me!  Or, support us on Thursday with your laughter and your votes to move Good Friends to the next round.  If we advance, I will be sure to let everyone know about our next show.

See you there.


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Little Tweaks

I spent all of my Friday evening me time perusing blog after blog of DIY projects and home improvement makeovers.  Who’s living the dream now, Carrie?  While scrolling through fab-o ideas and wishing I could do the same thing, I realized that I have!  There are lots of little things I’ve done to the Corn Palace that I have not reported on in oh, the last year or so.  Sorry about that.  I’m not all home improvement all the time, but lately I’ve really been nesting.  Not sure if that is the cold weather forcing me to look at my walls a bit more or if I now have a talented assistant that is more capable than I.  Either way, things have been getting done.  And for those of you wondering, my kitchen is 99.5% complete!  All will be revealed in a separate post…it’s just that good!

Let’s start in the living room, which also happens to be the dining room since I’m a city dweller.  Here’s the earliest photo and post I could find, taken before the two work weekends with my parents right after I bought the house.  Those were the days!  And boy did this house need some help.

After the work weekend about a year and a half ago, this is what it looked like.  I got “new” 1960s chairs from my parent’s basement – my mom found them for a super duper price of $15 each, then recovered them.  They are the most comfortable chairs, and truly vintage.  My pops and I made the bookcase and tv cabinet, and the family painted the walls a sunshine yellow.

And here it is!  I don’t think I ever told you the story about painting the banister and floor landing pieces brown.  I wanted to warm up the space and the white banister was killing me.  I told folks about my idea and had little support.  I just thought they did not have the vision so I did it anyway.  I love it, and Corey and others admitted that it looked much better than they imagined it could.  Which meant I got a few free passes the next time I had some crazy ideas.  Nice.  Throw in a few pillows, accessories and an end table, and Ta-da!  I got that table, the coffee table and a side table from a carpenter who made them just for me with my dimensions and design.  I still need to do spiffying up with them, but for now they do what they need to do.

What else??  Let’s stick with this room.  Here is the plain ol’ couch.  Like the cardboard box table?  Keepin’ it classy.

A year later, here we are!  How ’bout those homemade ikat pillows?  Love, love, love.  And speaking of love, they were made with love by my mother as a Christmas gift.  Yay!  And I learned about ikat.  I love that my mother and Melissa have to teach me about fabric trends because I sure don’t know!  She did such a great job with the piping and getting the right blend of structure and fluffy. Thanks so much, Mom!  They look great!

Also notice that coffee table I was telling you about.  It was primed in brown, and I crackle painted the blue.  Crackle paint!  Also known as sorcery in this house ’cause it’s magic.  I still need to give it a clear coat – it’s sort of getting beat up.  The best part of the table?  It opens and holds all my tools, and it’s the exact right height for my dining room table.  So, when hosting dinner parties, it doubles as seating for three.  I’m smart like that!  One day I will design and build my own furniture.  I just need a workshop. One day.

Hmmm, what else?

My bathroom art!  I come from such a talented family.  My Aunt Bonnie made these 2×3 inch stamp art of ferns.  I had them “commissioned” and she made them to fit my bathroom just perfectly with the right colors.  Thank you, Aunt Bonnie!  She also had the mats and frames, and I painted the mats with the subtle colors of the leftover bathroom paint.  It was Aunt Bonnie’s idea.  You can’t really see it in this photo, but trust me they are beautiful.  And check out my awesome towel rack from Chiasso.  Chiasso has a ton of modern stuff, but the right pieces placed throughout the house gives it some pop.  You won’t find these towel racks at a big box.

So, what have we learned?  1. I desperately need a new camera to take better photos.  Most of these were taken with my phone.  Boo.  2. My family does all the hard work, and I just support and enjoy!  Thanks to everyone who has helped with the house in one way or another.  I can’t believe it will be two years in April.

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Willa Wade

Here she is! Willa Wade B-K is 8lbs and 21 inches of adorable. Born Friday morning at 7:48 at their home on Bainbridge Island, WA. Mom and baby are perfectly healthy and Jake is proud of both his girls.


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2011 Blog Stats

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog…I’m a sucker for site stats and comparisons to transit.

A special thanks to Lizzie, Kipp, Aunt Bonnie, Lauren and Goli for all their comments.  Another thanks to Mike “The Beast” Hurley for leading a ton of curious winter weather warrior folks my way!

Yeah, it wasn’t the greatest blogging year ever, but who knows?  Maybe I will be back soon.  Things just happen so fast.  I have been keeping a personal journal since falling off the blogosphere, so at least I’m writing!


Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My Quake Take

Here’s the long and short of it, in no particular order…

1. The house stood up perfectly.  In fact, I think it’s better than it was.  The bathroom door does not squeak as loud and the front stairs seem sturdier (though Corey could have corrected it by falling down them yesterday and spilling and breaking  beer bottles on the sidewalk).  The only damage was that my earring holder fell down, and that seems to happen a bit.  Kitchen is sturdy!  Front stairs needed to be replaced anyway, now these are just two reasons to do it.

2. The office did not fair as well.  City Hall is opened tomorrow, except for my area and the area below me where the planners sit.  If you ask me, there were probably things wrong with that area before the quake, like incandescent blue and red mold (Party in Mold Town!).  But that’s what happens when a building from 1961 is integrated with a building from 1871 – you get a few weak spots.  From the five minutes I was there after the evacuation to gather my things, I saw one broken internal window, a few cracks on the wall (which, in all honesty, what building from 1871 doesn’t have cracks?) and plaster pieces on the blue carpet.  I was wise enough to bring work home with me, so I may be working from home tomorrow.

3. I watched the whole thing go down outside at the corner of Royal Street and Cameron Street.  Luckily, I had left Ross a few minutes earlier to hustle to get to a 2:00 conference call.  Could you imagine if “my story” was that I was shopping in Ross during the great quake of 2011?  No thanks.  That place is a mess anyway.   During the quake I had my wallet and a bag of extra large sassy underwear, including a size 42D bra, a small clutch and a packet of cheap lip gloss samples.  Oh, for shame! I was hoping my coworkers flooding out of the building would not judge if they could see through the bag because really, carrying that bag was bad enough.

4. So the corner of Royal and Cameron around 1:51pm…I felt what seemed to be an imaginary breeze.  My eyes saw a breeze – birds flew into the air simultaneously, trees were shaking, buildings were creaking, bricks were flying through the air and that steeple.  I will have dreams about that steeple.  It was swaying every which way.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  Which is probably why I thought it was a breeze.  My balance is not the greatest and I frequently get dizzy spells, so I’ve learned to trust my eyes.  Thinking back, I probably felt the quake because I remember taking a step backwards – why would I do that to hustle to a meeting?  Point is, it moved me, but I get “moved” by my dizziness enough not to notice.  I noticed today!

5. I felt certain that was not an earthquake.  100% certain.  I bet the intern $5 that it wasn’t – surely it was a gas explosion (the big breeze perhaps?) or something from the construction site a block away.  But then people started pouring out into the street.  Everyone was pretty calm for the most part, though some were a bit shaken.  We met at our safety spot, until we realized that was a courtyard on top of a parking garage that probably wasn’t safe.  After about 30 minutes (of hiding the Ross bag), we were allowed in to collect our things.  Our office was dismissed around 2:40pm.

6. Luckily, we had a “safe house”.  I remember on 9/11 my house on Capital Hill was the safe house for all the staffers who lived in VA, and now I was in VA going to a safe house.  Planner Katye, Planner Maya, Planner Brandi and Planner Nate made their way to Katye’s house to watch the news and relax while we let traffic pass by.  We mostly played with our phones and let out a single laugh from time to time at a clever Facebook post.  Speaking of clever, the news coverage was stellar.  And by stellar, I mean comedic.  Pat Collins at it again!  We were certainly entertained.  I got home around 6:30, and my plans for the evening have been postponed until tomorrow night.

The planner crew after the earthquake.

The planner crew after the earthquake.

7. At 1:59 I got my first text message, from Paul in Boston, asking about the earthquake.  How amazing is that?  We didn’t even know what was happening and I got word that quickly.  Our cell phones were blocked for quite awhile, and those things are useless in emergencies.  Folks, we should have better plans.  I had just finished my NIMS training, required by all Transportation employees for working emergency situations, so I felt extra prepared.  But not really because I didn’t even have my city badge on me.  But, thanks to those two workshops that lasted a whole day combined, I at least knew what was going on behind the scenes and I felt good about that.

8. Not that anyone is counting, but that’s one earthquake during my four years in Southern California and THREE earthquakes in DC in the last three years.  (Earthquake #1 post here, and the second minor one at work when Salsa Mike and I noticed it because we used to live in CA).  I remember having a debate with Sweet Pea, a west coaster, about earthquakes (west coast) vs. hurricanes (east coast), and here we are getting both in one week.  This is truly special.  Stay safe everyone!


Did you miss me?

Whew!  Did you realize that it has been over a month since I last wrote?  Some of you have noticed and have let me know about it.  For those of you who have encouraged me to continue writing, thank you!  Starting the new job and finishing the kitchen took a toll, and I have not slowed down since.  Well, there were two times I wanted to write, but writing when in a sour mood never helped anything!

Instead, I’ve been keeping a journal.  That doesn’t really help you, does it?

First, the kitchen.  It looks awesome.  Photos do not do it justice so I hesitate to post them.  Why don’t you just come visit and see it yourself?  My favorite part of all of the remodeling is revealing to my friends and watching their reactions.  It tickles me to no end.  Why would I miss out on that by posting photos?  I have a few items left on the list: move an electrical outlet, caulk the counter top, and figure out what to do with the backsplash…if anything.  Oh, and one more kink in the plan, the fridge just decided to quit working on Sunday.  Ugh.  Refrigerator repairmen are not easy to get.  And honestly, I’m not sure I can replace it because I think we trapped it in with the counter top!  Ahhh!

Next, the job.  I’m having a blast working for Alexandria.  It combines the best part of my transportation planning and marketing skills to try to get people out of single occupancy vehicles and into alternative modes.  I really like the people I work with as they are open to new ideas and trying them out.  That’s much different than my previous perspective of public sector work.  Plus, I get to carpool with Maya, and that has been fun, too.  Speaking of, the commute is beautiful – 25 minutes in the car passing the monuments and along the Potomac River on the GW Parkway.  Refreshing.

Family.  Everyone is doing fine – happy and healthy.  And I know this because I spent the weekend with the Cummings family at our reunion in Branson, MO.  Branson is like nothing I could ever explain here.  Corby is from Branson and she tried to prepare me, but nothing could have prepared me.  I highly suggest you make a trip.  The best way I can describe it is “an auto-centric Christian family values Vegas for middle to late aged.”  We enjoyed the go cart track, putt-putt, and rode a DUKW.  The best part was playing games with family and seeing some of my cousins I haven’t seen in almost 20 years.

What else?  Improv.  There’s always improv!  Subsidized Corn is going to the Del Close Marathon!  It’s 48 solid hours of improv by troupes from all over the country.  We’re very excited.  There were 12 teams from DC who were accepted (it’s a selective process), so it’s like moving the improv party to NYC for the weekend.  How fun is that?  If you want to see us, we’re playing on the UCB Theater stage at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.

I think that’s about it for this time around.  There are plenty of things to write about, and I plan to continue.  And there are some great things that I have no intention of writing about here…but you can ask!

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Goodbye, Unemployment

Dear Unemployment,

It is with bittersweet feelings that I write this note to you.  Over these past two months, we’ve really gotten to know each other.  We had some good times, right?  We traveled to New York City for a week of improv class at UCB Theater and hung out with Roy in Brooklyn.  We traveled to Los Angeles for a week of reuniting with my planner friends, spending a bit of time on the beach and recalling my planning roots.  We got some projects done around the house, including a good start on a kitchen remodel.  We entertained out of town visitors like Dave, Hirman and Christian.  I directed my first movie, and you were there to support me through it all giving me the time and space I needed to be creative.  We frequented the library and the free small business seminars.  We had lunch with my full-time employed friends, and spent most of it making them jealous.  I even managed to lose a few pounds, which doesn’t typically happen when I’m, ahem, involved.  And don’t get me started on the lazy mornings in bed together…

Yes, it’s been fun.  I wasn’t sure how we would get along at the beginning, but we made it work.  You were thrust upon me, surprisingly out of nowhere like a dreaded blind date that turned out more than okay.  We became a team, and anything was possible together.  Yes, I worried how I would afford our next date sometimes, but you listened when I said I had a budget to keep.  You understood me.

But tonight is our last night together.  As of tomorrow, I will be leaving you and getting into a committed relationship with your much older brother, Full-time Career.  I have high hopes for my future with him.  It’s just that I’ve known him longer and had a history with him before you came along.  I hope you understand.  He’s really all I know.  I’m looking forward to rekindling what we had before you came along to shake up my life.

And while I will always remember our spring fling, I have to do what’s right for me.  With him I feel mature, capable, responsible and needed.  I am free to be myself and travel the world with him.  I love myself more with him.  Sadly, I’ll be back to the land of the early bedtimes and setting my alarm.  But I will always remember the awesome times we had and how creative I felt with you.  I will always look back on this time in my life fondly with love.  I will miss you.

All my love,


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