Senses Fail and Justice Scalia. A blog post in 5 words.

20 Apr

Well I know I promised to tell you the surprise about 2 weeks ago, BUT I promise the tardiness will be WELL worth it.

First of all, the thing that I was SO excited for was a Senses Fail concert.  They are one of my favorite bands ever and this was my first time seeing them live in concert.  I went with my friend Victoria and we absolutely loved it.  It was nice to travel to a part of DC that is not typically touristy and to do something fun during the week. 

This little side story proves just how small the world actually is.  After talking to my friend Alex who is in a local Buffalo band, he just happened to tell me that his band was one of the opening acts for one of the bands that opened for Senses Fail.  Ironically, it was the band that Victoria and I took pictures with.  You never know how you can be randomly connected to people!

I would have had more time to update this blog if it wasn’t for the fact that we were getting ready for ABA Day- which was last week.  As with any huge event, there are always going to be a few snags along the way, but in all I have heard that this was one of the most successful ABA Days in a while!  And to be a part of its set up and to help work it just makes me feel more honored to have had this opportunity!

If I could pick out one highlight from the 3 day event, it would HAVE to be meeting Justice Antonin Scalia.  Yes, you read that correctly. I MET Justice Scalia.  Funny story is that I really wasn’t supposed to!  Wednesday night was going to be a simple reception in the Supreme Court (which really wasn’t so simple for me because I had NEVER been in there before) and Justice Scalia was going to give a brief 10 minute introduction before some grassroots awards were presented.  When I got to the top of the stairs where the event was being held, I found myself waiting in a long line and started talking to a lawyer from Nevada- who joked that people must really be hungry if the line for the food was this long.  Little did we know that the long line was actually a receiving line- a receiving line that NO ONE expected at all!  You can ask anyone I talked to after that meeting (or anyone who saw me on the metro coming home after) I was as giddy as a small child!  I could not believe that I had an opportunity to meet one of nine people who establishes the supreme law of the land.

During that week, I was able to network with some lawyers who would like me to stay in touch with them, and prove to my boss and department that I will not stop working until a job is completed- something I think they understood after a week of staying at work until 8…

Once my portfolio is done- which is soon because I have to hand it in tomorrow- I will be able to consistently record my final weeks here in DC. =[

Sadness.

THIS POST INCLUDES A GAME AT THE END!!

6 Apr

The past 2 weeks have been incredibly busy, in fact the only reason I have the time to write this right now is because my boss went to lunch and I finished the assignments she gave me before she left.

My last post was mostly about home, so I get to talk about what people really want to read about: here!

The Criminal Justice briefing I attended on March 24th was actually really interesting.  There were not a lot of people in attendance, so the atmosphere was very relaxed and we were all able to ask questions and get feedback from the panel.  Those are the briefings I like the most because the speakers truly want to listen and talk with those of us who took the time to hear their viewpoints.  In fact, afterwards I spent some time talking with Lieutenant Michael Spochart, who is with the U.S. Capitol Police, and was able to ask about his opinion on some current policing issues that are affecting our nation.

That weekend (the 26th and 27th) was the Cherry Blossom Festival, which is great if you’ve never seen those types of trees before because they are beautiful!  The weather was not as warm as we would have liked it, considering the trees are outside, BUT my hometown is STILL getting snow, so there’s not much I can complain about.

Work has been (and still is) the busiest it’s been all semester.  I guess you could say that I was unofficially “promoted” to Assistant to the Deputy Director while her “official” one is away.  That was the turning point in my position here.  I don’t think I’ve stopped working since that day and especially with ABA Day approaching next week (you can read about that here: http://www2.americanbar.org/calendar/abaday/pages/default.aspx ), it has been even crazier.  I really do not mind it at all because I live for the fast paced work and assignments.  It’s so much more energizing to have a strict deadline or have to work extended hours because you know that what you are doing is important.  That’s not to say that the other stuff isn’t important, but this just has a little more emphasis behind it.  It also doesn’t hurt to show your boss that you are ready and willing to do what it takes to get the job done- and done correctly.  I’ve been dealing a lot with the Federal Judicial vacancies and statistics and putting together coherent charts so understanding what districts and circuits are vacant, is easy.  While putting the charts together may be easy, understanding why there are so many vacancies and only a few confirmations is the confusing part.  That’s something that is *hopefully* going to be fixed.

Aside from a crazy workplace now, I’m starting to work on my schedule for fall semester.  That makes me so sad! Not only am I going to miss living here, but I’m going to miss the people I’ve met even more.  I also have to start finalizing my portfolio for the end of the semester.  More work than time, but it’ll get done. Eventually

All work and no play would be incredibly boring, so to emphasize the point that I’m not some workaholic I will announce that I am SO excited for tomorrow!!!

This post is already extremely long, so props to the people who read it all!  Those are the people that will find out (tomorrow) why I’m so excited for tomorrow!!

Is it mean of me to end a post with such suspense?

Perhaps, but then that means people actually read it…

Oooo! A fun game would be for people to comment and guess what I could possibly be doing tomorrow!  The closest person gets a shout-out!

A final note:

Tourist season is in full swing.

Those foreign financial hearings are looking better and better every day…

There’s no place like cold- err, home…

23 Mar

This weekend I was able to go home to see Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance- which I had tickets to FOREVER!  It was wonderful and now all I want to do is learn to Irish dance.  I’m sure I would fit right in, granted I have the curly hair and adore anything that sparkles (which was most of their costumes).

I have gone home twice since January and (conveniently) each time the weather here has been PERFECT.  Buffalo? Not so much.  The first time we got a snow storm on that Saturday and I almost wasn’t able to make it back to DC because of the giant Midwestern storm that was moving in.  This weekend, once again, the weather was absolutely gorgeous here and I was living briskly in the 40’s- which only isn’t quite so bad when you don’t know you’re missing 70 degree weather…

I guess I can’t complain anymore, though.  The entire day I have been receiving texts and words of envy because of the snowstorm that my hometown is getting right now.  I have to admit that as much as I love the snow, I’m very glad that I don’t have to deal with it anymore!  It’s going to be rainy here this week, but at least it’s not freezing.

I can’t even believe half of this post is about the weather- embarrassing!  On to more interesting things…

I’m currently working on a stamp project for the ABA.  We needed to figure out how to request a commemorative stamp for an upcoming anniversary and I volunteered to do the research.  The research turned into a more complicated process than we thought, so it’s now memorandum time.  The director wants to make sure that, for future reference, everyone knows the procedure for requesting stamps, so my memorandum will be saved and distributed to different sectors here.

Right now Congress is on break, so tomorrow I will be attending a briefing about new criminal justice policies for safer communities, presented by the Criminology & Criminal Justice Policy Coalition.  I never gave much thought to criminal justice, but I do a lot of work for one of the counsels here about crime and sentencing, so it’s becoming a likeable topic to me.  Just last week I went to another hearing by the USSC (United States Sentencing Commission) about the Fair Sentencing Act and Firearms Offenses and it’s really interesting to hear about what is going on in the world of crime and the steps being taken to prevent it.

 

On a final note, tourist season has started.

I know it would be awful to dictate my annoyance towards large groups of people that have no clue what is going on or understand proper behavior on the metro because I WAS a tourist at some point- but the giant groups of kiddies are less favorable than having to attend one hundred financial hearings in a row.

In a language that I don’t speak.

Do NOT feel bad for the people (me) who go alone to the opera. No one wants to sit next to a crier (also, me) anyway.

16 Mar

Monday night was incredible.  I was able to attend the Washington National Opera’s performance of Madame Butterfly- a Puccini classic- at the Kennedy Opera House.  It was amazing to say the least, and if I was working for money down here I would probably go again.  And again. And again.  For those of you who know my background, I cannot just write about it and NOT write a review.

From a singer’s POV, the cast was dead on.  The voices were impeccable and (in my opinion) if you can get at least ONE audience member (I guess this would be me) to cry, then you have done your job.  This is such an emotional opera, and the roles were very well cast.  The women were, obviously, remarkable and had those clear voices that give you goose bumps.  They weren’t those annoying, covered “opera voices” – the ones people usually think about when they think of the opera – but they were sweet and bell-like.  The men were just as good (I guess I’m biased a little because I am a girl, but oh well) and I approve of any man who can sing Bimba, Bimba, non piangere well.

I was fortunate enough to see the entire original cast (without understudies or alternates), so that always makes me extremely happy.  The opera house is absolutely gorgeous and the acoustics are wonderful.  It always bothers me when you are listening to someone famous or seeing a popular show and the resonance of the room is awful.  In those cases it doesn’t even matter WHO is singing, they still sound off.  It was my first time seeing this particular opera live and there is nothing better than doing just that.  Recordings are nice to listen to, but you don’t see the visual emotions, and DVDs are convenient, but nothing beats live theater.  I think my one criticism would be that…

**SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING IF YOU EVER PLAN ON SEEING THIS OPERA**

they need to work on the death scene a little.  Granted, I was a little preoccupied on trying to not cry all over the person next to me, but still it was a little awkward.  If it wasn’t for the fact that she was killing herself while her son was playing in the same room- I probably would have laughed.

Regardless, it was incredible and I think each and every one of you should see at least ONE opera in your lifetime.  You don’t have to like opera- and trust me I know many people don’t- but it’s such an experience that you will be able to say you took part in.

And if you ever need a companion for this type of adventure- you know who to ask. =D

Business cards are to professionals, as shopping is to me: Absolutely necessary and important.

16 Mar

I finally have time to post! There has been a lot going on, so I am going to post two separate posts today! Yay, reading is fun!

I have been consistently attending more hearings, which I enjoy because it gives me a chance to learn about something new and talk to random people waiting in line.  Speaking of random people, the other day I was waiting in line (my opening phrase is always “Are you here for the (insert hearing here) hearing?”- original, I know) and I happened to meet THE 7th Amendment AdvocateHe ended up knowing the director of my department, which led to more conversation and a business card swap.  Swapping business cards is the equivalent to finding a sale at a store you love: nothing may result in the swap (you don’t always buy something at a sale), but there is now that opportunity for something to happen (however, there is a possibility that you will).

This past Friday was a crazy day because I had to attend a hearing on LARA (Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act) – a subject I knew nothing about- and then write up a quick overview and “feelings” summary for my department director so he could speak about it at a meeting the next day.  These are the types of assignments that I love because you get that feeling of importance and adrenaline.  It had a strict deadline and it was for the head of my entire department- you really can’t get any more important than that.  The best part was when he told me that he actually read off my memorandum at the meeting- and that people liked my “flavor” observations. (Basically, what were the representatives doing throughout the hearing. It’s one thing when they are talking, but their actions and emotions can really set the tone for the entire thing.)

At least I know that I’m not just doing work to pass the time, but that it really matters and is used.

I completed my first legitimate memorandum on Fannie and Freddie and it was successfully accepted and approved by one of the legislative counsels here! I now have one more thing I can add to my resume now! You know someone means business when he/she is excited about adding “writing memos” to his/her resume…

Now on to the important stuff (at least for me)…

Old Town and more Georgetown (is anyone really surprised?)

8 Mar

This weekend some of us ventured out a little further than usual and headed towards Old Town Alexandria.  After waiting for close to 20 minutes for the wrong bus, we finally discovered that we were not in the right line and very nonchalantly made our way to the correct bus line.

You take a cute trolley to the central location of Old Town where the shops and water front are, but the traffic was so bad (thanks to an early St. Patrick’s Day parade) that we just ended up getting off and walking.  The weather was absolutely how I like it: moderate temperature, overcast, and NOT raining.  I could have done without the wind, but beggars can’t be choosers- especially when it’s only in the 20’s and 30’s in Buffalo.

I really hope that we get to go back to Old Town because it is just the cutest area.  There are a ton of shops, antique stores and restaurants there- plus the area is beautiful with quaint houses and greenery.

I’ve been to Georgetown numerous times now, and all at different times.  No matter WHEN you go, it is always busy with people.  In fact, yesterday we definitely passed by an ambassador of some sort!  How did we know? The 5 men with the ear pieces following behind him wasn’t exactly the most discreet way to go…  Anyway, no matter what time you head to Georgetown, it never gets old and it never loses its charm.  We’re waiting for the weather to get a tad warmer so we can go and walk around at night.  That’s another nice thing about the DC and many places in VA- the closing times are much later than I am used to, so you can still go to Georgetown or Chinatown after work and be able to go to the stores with 2 or 3 hours before closing time.

The rest of this week will be spent at Congressional hearings, which will be exciting!  Going to Capitol Hill NEVER gets old- no matter HOW long (or dull) the hearings are.

Read more to find out what a closet nerd gets excited about.

3 Mar

Yesterday I went with my friend to a Congressional hearing in the Longworth Building, and even though I’ve already been to about 8 already, I could not pass up the chance to hear about Medicare fraud.  Closet nerd? Perhaps- but it’s more interesting than some would think, I promise!  Not only was a convicted criminal (who duped the system out of almost $10 million) testifying – but get ready for this – Charles Rangel was sitting on the subcommittee.  Now, for those of you who know who he is you’re probably thinking “Why would she be excited about him…?”  For the others who are wondering who that is, here’s a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Rangel (the most important information about this man is towards the bottom).

So, as I’m freaking out that I’m going to be in the same room as this former Chairman, my friend turns to me and says “Why are you so excited?”  That’s when it occurred to me that I really didn’t care too much about him, but I thoroughly missed my American Politics class from last semester and the constant discussions we had about Charles.  It was just amazing to be in the same room as someone that you learn and read about.  Then thinking about the class made me think about the people, which made me miss all my pre-law buddies, which then reminded me that they’re getting ready for their moot court debut without me- so good luck guys!

Aside from that “highlight”, I’m now responsible for keeping one of the supervisors here up to date on anything pertaining to HIV/AIDS.  For such a huge epidemic, there is little that is being done about it currently, but that is something that we’re hoping to see change as the new Congress progresses.  Right now I am working on a list that shows the new freshmen members of Congress that are attorneys, so if or when the ABA needs to contact one of them we have all the information to have a successful conversation.

I got my business cards yesterday!  I’m very excited about that because they’re professional and glossy and shiny- so now I can give out my cards as well as take some.  Just like NYC, it’s all about who you know here, so you cannot be shy.

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