cabin fever

I've been home two weeks and the itch to get busy with work has settled in again. I guess I'm just not very good at sitting still and relaxing, but that's not exactly a surprise. That's not to say that I haven't enjoyed my time at home, sitting in my pajamas all morning, reading the whole paper, taking walks, etc. But after a while -- and with no car -- it gets a bit tiresome.

The boredom really started to settle in yesterday. I haven't watched much television at all -- shock! -- though I have gotten sucked into some of the premium movie channels we have. I started watching a particularly dull film yesterday and was so bored that I dug up my guitar, dusted it off, and started reacquainting myself with some chords. I'd like to bring the guitar back to Washington with me, but with all the other stuff I'm checking in, carrying on-board, etc. I'm not sure I'll be able to. I'd rather not check it, seeing as how I don't have a hard case, just a soft gig bag. But I'm not sure if I'd be allowed to bring it on the plane, since it is a full-sized acoustic. Anyone have any experience with this?

Other than that, I've been enjoying reading. I'm almost done with Keri Hulme's "The Bone People." I've been catching up on some Vanity Fair and New Yorker articles and today started reading a book called "The Future of Peace," which is a collection of interviews with some of the world's leading peacemakers. Seems the right time of year to be hoping for peace.

Though I won't be getting any peace tomorrow night. After last year's New Year's Eve madness in Long Beach, this year I was hoping some friends might get together at home, play some games, eat a good meal and relax. But no. I'm going to a bar in Hollywood with Taleen and some of her friends. I'm sure it'll be fun, even though I've never been much of an LA person. My only other option was to sit at home with my parents and as much as I love them, that wouldn't be quite as much fun, now would it? It also wouldn't help with this lingering case of cabin fever.

Hope you all have some fabulous plans lined up. Most importantly remember to: 1. Be safe. and 2. Rock out!

Happy new year!


Happy Christmas

It's 75 degrees outside and my nerdy family is playing Scrabble and soon we'll be sitting outside smoking hookah. A very Merry California-Armenian Christmas to you all!

And if you're wondering what the rest of the Vorperian-Agopian clan does on the holidays, check out the lovely accessories my mom bought for the "kids."



Too tired (and sick -- boo!) to write now, but most importantly: I'm DONE with my first semester of graduate school. I got home Sunday night with a nasty congested nose and a general not-good achy feeling, but all that melted away this morning just as I finished the final touches on my 505 final, meaning I'm DONE!

Hooray! Now I'm off for sushi and shopping with my sister and friends. Let the holidays commence!


my only deadline this weekend is catching my flight out of Reagan on time

The Foggy Bottom-George Washington University station is where I get on and off the Metro for my commutes to and from work every day. The metro stop is directly underneath the GWU hospital, where Sen. Tim Johnson has been undergoing treatment the last few days. As you all know (or should know) Johnson collapsed earlier this week and later underwent surgery to stop bleeding in his brain, thus leaving the already-delicate Democratic majority in the Senate in a total panic.

The last couple days, as I've walked by the hospital, there have been hordes of TV cameras and reporters camped out in front of the entrance, hoping to catch a quote from a family member or one of Johnson's doctors. And each day I've passed them with a little smile on my face, content in the knowledge that for the first time in four years, it isn't me circling like one of those sharks, hungry for the smell of blood. (Pun intended.)

I hated camping out in hospitals. It was the absolute worst part of the job. Rarely do you ever get anything newsworthy out of it and most of the time, you'll get a nasty scowl or even a threat of bodily harm for your trouble.

So these last few days as I keep my fingers crossed for that Democratic majority (and Johnson's recovery, of course!), I've also been grateful for my pressure-free NGO job where the word deadline is loosely defined. Rather than being due in the next 2 hours, most of my projects are due "in the next couple weeks or sometime around then."

There are still plenty of things about journalism that I miss. And the tight deadlines and excitement are definitely two major points. But at this time of year, I'm happy to know that when I turn on my cell phone in the morning and there's a message waiting for me it isn't from a certain Lunatic Editor demanding I rush to the scene of a fire, but rather is just a friend asking if I want to meet for lunch.

P.S. I fly home Sunday! Hooray!


what weekends were like pre-graduate school

I'd forgotten what it was like to have a weekend that didn't require an entire afternoon devoted to reading, researching and writing. A whole weekend to do whatever I wanted. (See how I'm not letting those last two teeny papers get in the way of my fun? Don't worry, mom. I'll get my work done.)

Saturday I went to Eastern Market for my first trip there. If it wasn't 30 degrees, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it much more. But I'm already planning return trips for cute jewelry, fun artwork (though maybe not a set of wooden ducks that Vahan decided his house desperately needed), and some delicious fresh meats and seafood.

In the evening we dined on bratwurst that we'd picked up at Eastern Market, then headed out to a rather odd little U Street bar, which may be my new favorite watering hole: The Saloon. They've got some rules that work in their favor:

* No standing around the bar. If you can't find a spot to sit, you're asked to leave.
* No loud conversations. Only your friends are interested in what you have to say, not the five people sitting around you.
* Some beers you can only have one or two glasses of, because it's just that precious.
* Black chocolate stout may in fact be liquid heaven.

Afterwards we headed over to Twins Jazz for some excellent music, probably the best chicken wings I've ever had, and a Guinness, for good measure.

This morning was Vahan's famous brunch: homemade hash browns, sausage, French toast, and omelettes made to order.

A weekend of good eats, in all. The training for marathon holiday eating has commenced.

Also, for those keeping track at home: I'll be home in just one week! Get ready!


home stretch

I had the last lecture of my first semester of grad school tonight. I'm almost DONE. All that's left is a take-home final (due Dec. 18, one day after I get home) and a final paper/project/whatever-I-want-to-make-of-it/creative-type assignment (due Dec. 20, three days after I get home).

See, at this point, everything is considered in terms of how long it will be before I get home. Today? 12 days before I go home! Tomorrow? 11 days! Fun game! Teach the kiddies some math and play at home!

Why so anxious?

1. I haven't been home since August.
2. I'm desperate for real Mexican food.
3. When my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning and NPR came on, the announcer (who really didn't deserve the flurry of epithets I spat at him) told me it was 28 degrees outside!
4. Right now it's 35 degrees.
5. Oh yeah, I miss my family and friends and stuff.

All I need to do is get through those two damn papers...soo close, yet so far away...


procrastination nation

I should be writing the last 140 words of my STIA paper and what am I doing? Screwing around on the Internet, catching up on my friends' blogs, mindlessly flipping through MySpace. Ugh. I did so great for the first half of the semester. I was energized. I did ALL the reading. I enthusiastically participated in class discussions. Now? I just want to go home, eat mom's food, and zone out in front of a TV. (I'm *really* starting to miss having a TV. Just a little CNN or DiscoveryTimes. Is that so much for a girl to ask?)

I wonder if part of my fatigue has to do with the semester system? The 10-week quarter always seemed to zip by rather quickly. The four-month-long semester seems to be interiminable. Especially now that I'm on the cusp. Last lecture is Tuesday and after that I only have one paper/potential multimedia project and a take-home exam, which probably will run no more than 5 or 6 pages. Easy!

Counting the days to Dec. 17...

In addition to all that, Roommate and I have decided we both really want to move into the city and are looking into subletting our place and moving into the Big Bad City sometime around mid-January. Part of tonight's procrastination revolved around us simultaneoulsy searching Craig's List and Washington City Paper and calling out attractive-looking listings. I'm going to call a few places tomorrow.

Our apartment is great and it is in a cute neighborhood, but we've both been feeling pretty isolated. Some of you have heard my complaints on this. It largely has to do with my lack of a car and the general unreliability of the weekend bus schedules. Also, after riding the train, waiting up to half an hour for a bus can be pretty frustrating. So we'll see what comes up. No guarantees yet, but we're both pretty excited about the possibility.

So if any of you D.C. readers have suggestions/ideas, let me know!