Oh, hello there.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three people recently pointed out to me that I haven’t been here in over a year. I can’t deny that, and not only because the time stamps on my latest entries would expose me as a liar immediately. I’m sure many people can understand why I haven’t managed to finish a draft in all that time. I write a fair amount over in the technology section of The Post and any time I don’t devote there goes almost entirely to singing with the Congressional Chorus.

By the time I’m home, I just want to spend that time with my thoughts, my SO and my cat. I’m also a sucker for picking up new hobbies, and our studio apartment is littered with evidence of this. (The latest addition is eight yards of drapery fabric and a sewing machine.)

Still, people have wanted an update on my life, and so I’m willing to provide it.

In sum, life is good. Full, but good. As I eluded to above, the SO and I are now proud owners of Scipio: a sleek, black, year-old cat who takes after his namesake by cutting quite the impressive profile. And also by ordering us around. A lot. With his big, kitty eyes and his plaintive meows.

Choir has also been fun and rewarding. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t been bitten with the choir bug, but there’s nothing quite like it. We sang last night with three other ensembles — Howard University’s Afro Blue , the University of Maryland Percussion Ensemble, and the Joy of Motion Dance Center. Personally, I think we burned the house down. But I may be a tad biased.

Working at The Post continues to be fantastic — and I’m not just saying that because I’m publishing this on an openly searchable Internet. I regularly cannot believe the people I get to speak with and work with in the course of doing my job.

That said, I miss writing about things that aren’t tech, so I’ll try and update this blog semi-regularly moving ahead. I can’t promise the posts will be good or interesting, but I think writing them will make me happier in the long run. And very few of them will be as lazy as this one, but this seemed like a good way to ease back into it.

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Coming out as geek

I’m publishing old drafts:

I’ve always suspected I was a geek.

Even as well-meaning non-geek friends with more style in their pinky fingers than I could ever aspire to told me it was nonsense, I knew.  Come on. I earned three letters in high school…none in sports. (Friend-points to who can guess what they were!) I have the classic hallmarks, namely being enthusiastic about niche interests to the point where it could be called obsession.

Really, I’m okay with it. I often think that journalism is the perfect place for geeks because you can specialize in anything, like getting a PhD in Life. And it’s a good time to be one, quite frankly.

Forget Revenge of the Nerds. The Aughts are the Golden Age of Geekdom.

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From girls to women, or the quarter-life crisis

WASHINGTON, DC — So, I’m 25. Have been for a while now, but somehow I can’t quite feel my age. I’ve always felt older than my age and have been desperate to prove I’m an adult forever. But now I don’t feel like an adult despite being able to hit the checklist of “job”, “place to live that I pay for” and “don’t have to bum rides from people to get around.” Plus, I buy my own groceries and feed myself pretty regularly. That’s adult-like.

Then, yesterday, someone ran into me — an adult ran into me — and said, “Oh, excuse me ma’am.” That echoed in my head long after he’d gone.  Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am!?

Having been raised in Minnesota where we’re inexcusably rude (ha!), “ma’am” is not a something I’m used to hearing outside of the occasional  sarcastic salutes. But D.C. isn’t exactly the South (and my SO has words for anyone who thinks it is)  so I couldn’t pass it off as a regionalism either.

This is part of a trend with which I’m not entirely comfortable, actually. The other day a kid ran into me on the bus and his mom ordered him to apologize to “that lady.”  I’m getting carded less, which I find worrisome. Plus, I’m having trouble referring generically to my co-workers in conversations with my friends. At what point does “this girl from work” become “this woman from work”? Men, of course, can just be “guys,” but no one really uses the counterpart, gals. Or, you know, dolls. You just can’t without sounding like a 60′s movie.

I used to equate the switch with someone being married but that’s a really awful indicator and I know it. Plus, some of my classmates and close friends are married now so…that puts me back in the same predicament.

I’d totally be fine with people calling me “this girl I know from work,” or choir or whatever, but I don’t know if others my age would find that condescending. (I certainly find it much less condescending than “young lady” or “young woman” as in, “You’ve grown into such a nice” whatever.) But I think I’ll have to readjust my self-identity on that front, if only because I’d hate to insult good, professional people my age just because I still feel a bit like I’m playing dress-up every time I scan my security badge.

In general, I hate letting people know my age, since I worry it will belie how much I value my work. I guess I just have to start thinking of myself as an adult.

As a sidenote, I also hate making people feel old. I’ve had a version of this conversation too many times to count:

Person making small talk: “Where were you on 9/11?”

Me: “Oh, I was in sophomore biology class.”

PMST: “You took biology in college? I thought you were a history major.”

Me: “…”

PMST: “Oh man. High school biology? I’m so old.”

*crickets*

Me, earnest but unconvincing: “No you’re not…”

FIN

Then again, on a recent trip my cousin — who was, quite recently actually, a sophomore in college — said that she felt old because she was flipping channels and saw a kids’ show explaining to its young audience that tape decks were what people had in their cards before CD players.

Yowch.

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Goodbye temping, thanks for the memories!

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today was my second-to-last day temping (a.k.a. working two jobs) and I admit that I am extremely relieved to see that second job go.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had maybe the best temping experience one could have had. I thought I’d be in a different office every week, doing menial work, but instead I stuck with the same office for a long time and actually got to do some interesting stuff. In fact, for six months, I worked at a fantastic company with wonderful people with whom I developed real, likely lasting, friendships. If I had any passion for the work, I would have applied for a job there in a heartbeat. And really, how many temps can say that?

Still, it will be nice to defragment my brain a bit and let myself focus solely on being awesome at this amazing job I’ve lucked myself into. (Yes, ending sentences with prepositions on my off-hours woooo.) I do not fail to recognize how extremely lucky I am to have found a journalism job, writing, for The Washington Post, on a subject I love. That’s…a quad-fecta. Working longer hours will also (maybe?) free up some time to get back into serious reporting, which would make it a quint-fecta. In sum, life is pretty awesome right now, poised to get more awesome if I can hack it and I’m a very happy camper.

Plus, my SO just got Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and it’s maybe the most entertaining game to watch…um…ever.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

YAZOO CITY, MISS. — Helloooo everyone!

Hope you all have a fantastic Turkey Day.  I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Great family, a wonderful (better) other half, a roof over my head and a mercifully understanding and supportive group of friends. And now, to add to the list.

I. Have. A. Job.

A job! I will be working for the Washington Post’s technology section starting Dec. 6. That’s right, folks, someone will be paying me to commit journalism. I will be paid to do what I love.

I am so grateful and humbled, but most of all…excited beyond belief.

Thanks.

 

–Hayley

 

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Give to the Max

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Today is Give to the Max Day in my lovely, generous home state of Minnesota. In that spirit, I encourage everyone to give something to some charity that supports something they feel strongly about.

I know. Times are tough and there’s not a whole lot of money to be throwing around. I’m a temp with a new master’s degree, living in Washington, D.C. I feel that tells you everything you may need to know about my financials.

And I know, too, that sometimes not giving is the result of a sort of charity paralysis, as you try to figure out if your $25 should go to medical research or education programs or the arts or youth sports or….

But I’ll be giving money today to places in and out of MN that mean a lot to me. Because what’s important is not how much you give or even to whom. It’s that you give.

Support humanity. Donate what you can today.

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