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So… January 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 10:26 pm

I’ll save you the “oh, I’m sorry I didn’t post for such a long time ” blahblah blah blah.

Truthfully, I’m alright with not having posted. Mostly because I’ve been leading a pretty good life in the months between now and my last post.

I graduated. I got a new job. I became a permanent resident in Washington, D.C. I hung out with some great friends. Started to learn to ride a bike (!!!) and threw some awesome parties in the meantime.

Life was and is good.

I’m not saying I’m going to be a prolific writer again (see my previous blogs, not this one), but today, I felt the need to write.

Maybe it’s because I’m training again. This time for the Marine Corps marathon in October. I ran my first miles today — a rickety painful 3.03 that took me 45 minutes. Maybe I’m feeling vulnerable whereas during my absence, at my best, I felt invincible.

I’m not sure.

For some reason, some part of me today feels vulnerable. Like I’m on the cusp of something big and I’m not quite sure I’m prepared for it. (I’m not. Just saying it feels that way.)

Anyway, some friends and I have made our list of resolutions for this coming year. They don’t represent all of the things I want to accomplish, but it’s a start.

  1. Settle into my new job and own my beat. I’ve been kind of getting by and doing a lot of reactionary journalism. I’d like to become indispensible — or at the least, hella competent. In practice, this means I need to spend at least 30 minutes each morning reading news, maintaining and developing source relationships better and pitching more stories on my own. I’m going to aim for at least one analysis/features page story per month.
  2. Train for and complete another endurance event. I got accepted to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on April 1. A friend and I are planning to run the Marine Corps half or full marathon in October. This also is a double goal in that it gets me to exercise and use the gym membership that I’m currently paying for at Georgetown.
  3. Purge my house. I did round 1 of this in 2011, but I really need to do it again and really make sure that I am only surrounded by things that 1) bring me joy or 2) help me enjoy my life. I did the kitchen this weekend and got rid of an entire large Rubbermaid container of pots, dishes and other utensils. Feels good. I want that feeling all through my house.
  4. Decorate my house.  Again, I’m trying to make my home a place that brings me joy and helps me enjoy my life. I want my home to reflect the awesomeness of my life and the maturity befitting of a nearly 30 year old woman. I’ll be enlisting some help from my friend Soraya and my other fashionable friends to help me develop my aesthetic and get the most out of my space.
  5. Find an org/cause to volunteer with and do so at least once every 2 months. This is a recycled goal from last year, but I really want to get back into volunteering. I did so sporadically last year, but now that I’m settled in my apartment and new job, there’s really no excuse. I need to give back since I’ve been so blessed.
  6. (Continue) Learn(ing) to ride a bike AND go bike riding! I had two lessons with one of my awesome friends this fall, but Homecomings, school and general business kept me from having more. When we left, I could start pedaling by myself and ride unassisted for short distances. Our next lesson was to be on turning. I need to either continue lessons with him, or find a new teacher to help me along in the process. My goal will be to bike a portion of the bike trail once I master the skill.
  7. Get financial life in order. This means I will pay off my credit card debt, my loan and open a credit card solely for work expenses (so that my balance doesn’t get out of hand).
  8. Add at least $3000 to emergency account — I’ll be rebuilding my emergency savings account and establishing funds for leisure and my camera fund. But it seems $3,000 is a popular — and attainable – goal.
  9. Throw at least four gatherings.  I like to entertain. And I don’t do it enough. The Blaxploitation Extravaganza is now an annual event, but I want to start entertaining more. I figure at least one party per season is a fair goal. I can always do more if the mood strikes me.  Already on tap for 2012 — January: Tacos & Taboo; February: Blaxploitation Extravaganza – Feature titles – “Pootie Tang” & “The Mack”
  10. Strengthen relationship with God. Did minimal soul searching while I was in school — almost as a reflex of being in a very strict church in RI. I do miss having a closer relationship with God and I’d like to develop one again. I need to decide they type of relationship I want with God and commit to doing what it takes to achieve that relationship.
  11. Be more purposeful in my interactions. I am a control freak. I’m bossy. But in the nicest way possible. I need to allow myself to receive more and be okay with relinquishing control sometimes. Additionally, I want to be more purposeful about how I allow people to treat me, what I tolerate and what I expect from people. I need to demand better treatment from those in my life, or those seeking a place within it.
  12. Guest Goal: Find my “cute” — I’ve got a style, apparently, but I don’t have a beauty look: something from the neck up that defines me. So my challenge is to look in the mirror, decide what I want to highlight and find a way to rock it in an amazing way. This will require some experimentation. Tentatively, I’m thinking that awesome hair and played up eyes will be my things since they tentatively are, what I feel, my best assets.
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It’s been a long time March 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 8:48 pm

I’m procrastinating from studying, so I figured I’d blog really quickly.

That’s logical right?

This song and video are awesome. Watch it.

I’ve got about 7 weeks of law school left and honestly, it’s kicking my behind. I’ve got two papers due (really, more than that, but it’s a long story I’d rather not get into) and I’m here blogging instead of researching and reading the cases I’ve already found.

Did I mention I’m in the library? Yeah. In here not being productive like a mofo.

I volunteered this morning at DC Central Kitchen, which was actually really fun. I may try to do it again before I graduate. We’ll see. I worked out to keep from falling asleep. But all those endorphins aren’t translating into more focus for me.

I’m going to the Cherry Blossom Festival this week. Hell or high water. And I”m taking pictures. AND – know what else?? — I’m gonna post them here, since I’ve been such a slacker about posting here. You’d like that wouldn’t you? Yeah. I knew you would.

Beyond that, I’ve just been hanging out. When I should be studying. Like right now.

I’m going to go crack a book open.

 

A Day On January 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 3:05 pm

When the clock went off at 6:30, I didn’t want to get out of bed. But I knew I had to be at S.O.M.E. in the next 20 minutes, so I hopped to it.

I’m not a morning person. At all. But I wasn’t getting up for myself. I was getting up to help someone else. So I prayed as I walked the three blocks to the soup kitchen at 71 O St. NW, thanking God for the resources and opportunities I had been blessed with.

When I got into the offices, they’d already started orientation. Dirk Whatley, the volunteer coordinator was telling the volunteers about the people they would be serving, and the services that S.O.M.E. offers. At this location, in addition to offering food, patrons are provided with a place to shower. At locations throughout the city, the organization provides education and health services, and even a shelter for the elderly.

The main dining room seats 160 people. During one shift, about 300 people will walk through the doors to receive a meal. There’s a system that keeps things moving along quickly. Two lines of volunteers flank the food and provide plates, assembly line style to the end of the line, where two volunteers are waiting to hand out the plates as people come into the door. The diners take their plates and any other belongings they come in with, to the tables, where forks, napkins, cups and water pitchers are placed. Everyone gets one plate. You can opt out of something we’re serving, but you can’t double up.

Another set of volunteers roams through the dining room, serving coffee. In the kitchen, yet another group of volunteers is cooking the food.

I got placed on the food line. My item? Bread. I kind of wished I had a more active role, but I just reminded myself that I was part of the whole that provided food to the visitors.

Some of the people spoke to us as they passed the line. Most didn’t. As one of the volunteers closest to the door, I got to see the people who were coming in. Some of them looked stereotypically homeless: layered unkempt clothes, scruffy faces, lots of bags. But others, I was surprised at. A few men, maybe 25 or so, came in wearing what I thought were nice leather jackets. One man walked through the door proclaiming “This is for all the women on the line who like men, homeless or not!” and then proceeded to play what I think was “It’s Raining Men” from the older model Mac laptop he was carrying. The employees made him turn it down (I think they bribed him with an additional piece of bacon).

I looked out at the people eating breakfast during one break in the line and realized what a difference a change of scenery makes. I walk by the corner where S.O.M.E. is located nearly every day. It’s along the route I take to go to school. I normally walk by quickly with either a neutral face, or a slight scowl, in hopes of deterring anyone from trying me. If I’d seen any of these people on the streets, I wouldn’t have looked at them, or I would have scurried quickly past. But here, as I served food, I was smiling at them. Saying ‘good morning.’ Inside, I was a little ashamed that my behavior wasn’t the same both inside and outside of the S.O.M.E. walls.

At the end of the shift, at 8:30 a.m., we wiped down all of the tables and chairs (as we had done midway through service) and replenished the napkins, cups and forks at each table. Someone ran a mop while others washed dishes. I busied myself in whatever way I could, wiping chairs, placing cups and packaging leftovers into large aluminum pans.

Truth be told, I loved it. I miss doing community service. And serving food is something I’m accustomed to since I was always on the food committee at my church back in Rhode Island. As I left, I realized this was an easy way for me to give back to the community. I got Dirk’s card as I left the building. I told him I live a few blocks from here and I’d like to volunteer more regularly. He said to shoot him an e-mail and we can talk availability. If anyone wants to come with me, let me know. We’ll set a date. They serve breakfast and lunch daily, so there are always opportunities.

First Street NW was bright when I stepped out of the doors of S.O.M.E. My fellow volunteers walked to the left toward their cars. I turned right to walk home. I noticed a man who had passed through the line standing off to the side of the sidewalk. I looked him in his eyes, flashed a smile and said “Have a nice day.”

He smiled and wished me one in return.

 

Making Progress

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 1:58 am

Yes, it’s Friday night and I’m blogging. But only to keep from cleaning.

Tomorrow I’m having some people over for food and games. But, I wanted to give a quick update.

In addition to signing up for jazz class on Wednesday, tomorrow, I will be volunteering at So Others Might Eat with the Alliance for Women in Media – National Capital Area Chapter  as a part of their observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. I used to volunteer a lot more when I was in college, and when I had a church home, so this service is something that my soul has been crying out for.

Bright and early, I’ll be slanging eggs and whatnot. That should be cool. I might even be able to get a nap in before people start ringing my doorbell.

But tonight? Back to cleaning.

*cranks up “General Patton”*

Lata.

 

I like the way you move January 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 2:38 am

I was psyched about going to class tonight. I’m not even sure how it came about. It just all came together.

I was with Veronica Tuesday and she suggested I go to the intro to jazz class at her dance company, Contradiction Dance. I scoffed at first, then said, okay. I mean, I do have a slate of classes to finish by the end of this year — I promised myself.

So today, she and I made our way to Silver Spring, took off our shoes and got ready to move.

I’ll say this: it moves quickly.

But not even. Like, I felt like as it was going along, I could follow and that I was doing what I needed to do. But by the end of the class, when we had done like, three movements (not sure if that’s the right word) of a dance the instructor was teaching us, I was looking back like, how did we get here?

How’d I do?

There were some missteps. Quite a few. I don’t have a ton of rhythm, so I watched the instructor a lot. That was cool when she was in front of me. But then, I’d have to do it with another student and I couldn’t look at her. So I kinda felt like I had two left feet at times. I think it was also a little frustrating because I’d just done it not 30 seconds prior when she was leading us through, but I was stumbling trying to replicate it.

I’d talked with her prior to class beginning and she said she was going to try to convince me to sign up for the entire class. I was skeptical.

But at the end of the class, I wanted to finish it. I wanted to at least be able to get those moves down. And I did say I wanted to take a class. Why not this one? Why not now?

So, for the next 7 weeks, my Wednesday night dance card is full. Now let’s hope I can just get the whole counting-in-your-head-while-listening-to-music-and-moving-your-body thing down by then.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Eleven in ’11 December 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 5:40 am

I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Albeit a little late.

Erika and Darby started 11 in ’11 — a list of eleven goals that you want to accomplish in the New Year. They aren’t resolutions, they are specific goals that you will achieve in the coming year. (All about positive thinking.) Veronica jumped aboard and so did Keith. Me, I’m  tardy for the party.

Law school finals will do that to you.

Sue me. I had law school finals to fail pass, so I had to prioritize. But just because I didn’t have time to write this post doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish in 2011.

  1. Buy an SLR and start taking photographs. I’ve always loved photography and last year, I even took a class at my local design school (RISD, you may have heard of it?). Well, I’ve coveted a digital SLR for years, but after I got a chance to work with one for a semester, I REALLY wanted one then. But I had law school and a move to pay for. So my camera fund sat empty. With graduation on the horizon, there’s not really an excuse for me to at least be saving up for a really good camera. And I’ve got enough shutterbugs in my life to help me choose one that’ll work for me.
  2. Go on at least 2 dates with men I do not currently know. So, before you get on me for that extremely low number — I’ve never been a dater. I’ve always been the friend who happens to kind of stumble into relationships. So in all, I’ve probably been on like, 4 dates in my entire life. I’m 27. That should change. I’m starting small with two because I’m not really interested in just dating a ton of people. And really, that’s pretty good jump – from 0 to 2 – I think. And the qualifier is the kicker: they HAVE to be people I don’t currently know. Every one of my exes — every. single. one. — I knew before we started dating. I need to expand the circle. See who else is out there.
  3. Challenge myself in my career. Keeping it vague on purpose, though trust there are very specific goals in this category that I’m aiming for.
  4. Train for and complete another endurance event. In May, I completed a half marathon. It was the longest I’d ever ran in my life. And it was one of the harder things I have done. But after all of the training, I felt great. But after my race was over, I felt I deserved to be able to sit on my couch and eat nachos. Seven months later, I’ve yet to lace my running shoes up for a real run since. Even though I miss big parts of running. I also know that I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have during my half. I stopped a few times and I was running pretty slowly. I was glad to finish, but as I see my other friends finish their marathons and halfs, I know that I could have pushed myself harder and finished with a better time. So why not? I know I can do it. I know it is within my realm of possibilities. I just have to do it. And shoot, maybe I’ll think about a triathalon or something? Who knows!
  5. Purge my house (stolen from Veronica). I’m a pack rat. And I buy things unnecessarily. When I moved from Rhode Island to D.C., I packed at least 2 boxes of toiletries and extra products I had accumulated over the years. Since I’ve been in the District, I’ve vowed to not buy a lotion, soap or hair care product without first using up the stuff I have. I’ve barely made a dent. If I plan on staying in major metropolitan areas (i.e. places with tiny apartments and even smaller storage areas), I need to learn how to live with less. Plus, it would probably go a long way to helping me keep my house clean.
  6. Find an org/cause to volunteer with and do so at least once every 2 months. I’ve always liked helping people and when I got to Rhode Island, I volunteered with an organization helping young girls with their self-esteem. Once that program ended, I kept telling myself to look for something else to do, but I never got around to it. I really want to volunteer somewhere on a regular basis — so that I can build relationships and see the change that I’m contributing to. I’m not sure exactly what subsection of people I’d like to service, but I know that I want to find a group of people and help them in any way I can.
  7. Learn to ride a bike. I don’t know how. I never learned. There was a very harrowing experience when I was like 8 that involved me tucking and rolling as I jumped off a speeding bike and tumbled into the grass, but that’s neither here nor there. I live in a great city and you know what? It’d be nice to be able to bike it instead of taking the bus, train or driving my car. Plus, it’s something I want to learn how to do. And for years, people have promised they would teach me — we see how well that’s gone. So the  best remedy? Teach myself. Pointers are welcomed.
  8. Rebuild my emergency account. I exhausted it moving to D.C. and paying for law school. When I buckled down to create it (in the year before I enrolled) I was pretty amazed at how quickly your savings account can grow if you put your mind to it. I automated everything so that I didn’t have to think about it — I just saved. And it was awesome. It’d be nice to have that kind of money lying around for emergencies, or for vacations.
  9. Take  better care of my body. I have some health issues (nothing super serious) but they are exacerbated by my lifestyle — mainly by me not eating properly and not getting enough sleep. I need to do better about getting the foods I need to eat, and monitoring myself so that I can enjoy life a little more fully. I also need to floss — I always say I’m going to start this year, but I fall off. I’ll lump that into this goal as well.
  10. Take a dance class. So, disclaimer: I can’t really dance. Well, I can. But I’m not really comfortable dancing unless it’s in some sort of line formation (see: The Hustle, Cupid Shuffle, etc.). I mean, I can’t tell you how many times Veronica tried to teach me how to dougie. (It didn’t end well.) Not that you need a class to give you the moves, but I always thought it was cool how real dancers (like trained ones, or even just really good ones) are just really aware of how their bodies move and confident with it. I think that would be cool. Not sure of the genre yet — maybe salsa, lyrical or pole dancing (it is all the rage, after all!).
  11. V upped the ante. For my 10th goal, I have to take at least one class in each of the major dance categories: Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Broadway/Vegas Jazz, and African. If jazz isn’t available, I can substitute it for latin dance.

And as is the custom in this little shindig we’ve got going here,someone else is going to choose my 11th goal for the coming year. Since Erika and Darbs have already done it, Veronica is going to choose mine. I’ll let you know what she comes up with.

Here’s to the New Year!

 

Signing Off November 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taliabuford @ 10:27 pm

…For now, at least.

Next Tuesday, finals for my first semester of law school begin.

The bad news: As of right now, I’m woefully unprepared.

The good news: As a journalist, I’m well versed in the art of understanding complex stuff on short deadlines.

With all that said, I need to set some limits on myself, because I’m still a procrastinator. That means I’m logging out of Facebook, substantially curtailing my Tweets and Imma neglect the blog for a little bit (as if you aren’t already used to that by now).

Also, a plea to you: I like to procrastinate. If I hit you up on gchat or engage you in some mindless Twitter banter, I beg you to ask me if there’s something else I should be doing right now. Because there probably is a book/outline/study guide I should be reviewing rather than weighing in on the merits of Pink Friday. Just saying.

So send me good vibes (and gummy bears to fuel my cram sessions if you’re feeling generous) while I study and slog through this material. I’ll catch you around mid-December.

-Talia