Monday, October 22, 2018

Washington, DC and a Bag of ChIPs

I'm watching Season One of iZombie on Netflix right now. Have you seen this? I'm enjoying it immensely. It's funny, dark, wry, and most importantly- blessedly superficial. As we get closer to the midterms, that one spot of hope that seemed so far away two years ago, I'm having PTSD about election night and I can only re-watch The West Wing so many times to escape. (I mean, our president praises physical assault on journalists and crowds cheer him on; we're living in a Constitutional Hellscape and the Founding Fathers would be so proud.) So. Zombies! I'm hanging out with them at night now.

When we left off we'd just celebrated James's birthday early before I jumped into a busy work week, parenting week (TCU fall break = no nannies), and medical week. On Tuesday, I picked up the kids from school and took them to get their flu shots. I stopped at Albertson's on the way and got my own, and the kids took a lot of inspiration from my general survival and possession of a princess band-aid.

They all took theirs with equal bravery and nary a flinch, so we celebrated our new flu resistance powers with the season's first hot chocolate once we got back home.

A few hours later it was time to take the kids to swimming. Landon packed two books for the 4 mile ride which seemed appropriate.

Both girls fell fast asleep on the long 12-minute journey, so they ended up skipping swimming and coming home to hang out with mom.

On Wednesday, I was set to fly to DC at 2:00 to attend an amazing and inspiring conference that I was really looking forward to. I'd saved my packing for the morning, so of course Claire woke me up at 6:45 sobbing with sharp stomach pains and then suddenly throwing up white foam on the floor and THEN having a panic attack and screaming she couldn't breathe because she'd never thrown up before and it scared the shit out of her.

So I spent the morning in Urgent Care with the Bear, writing out a packing list and pretending those items were floating over to my suitcase, shocked to find out that she had Strep because apparently you can have that without a fever or sore throat and instead just intense stomach pain. WHO KNEW? Based on her history (we'd been to the pediatrician for stomach pain a few weeks ago), the ER doctor thought she'd likely had it for a month. Poor Claire.

James finished up his own doctor's appointment I had told him not to reschedule, relieved me at Urgent Care while we waited on an abdominal x-ray, and I got back home at the precise time I was supposed to leave for the airport. I threw some stuff in a suitcase and made it to my gate 5 whole minutes before boarding. Time to spare! I got to DC at 6, took a cab to the hotel, tossed my stuff in my room, and marched outside determined to walk until it was dark. It had been raining in Fort Worth for 150 days and I LOVE walking in cities and I just needed this.

I walked to the Washington Monument, then over to the Jefferson Memorial, then along the river, then back to my hotel.

It was glorious. A gorgeous night, people walking all around me, a gentle breeze, and SUN! Rays of sun! My soul withers without it.

That night found me in the Mandarin Oriental bar, catching up with two partners I used to work with at my firm prior to joining the SEC. In addition to those lovely blasts from the past, I got to meet up with a few LawMas in real life! The Law Mamas are a facebook group I'm part of; we've taken the llama as our spirit animal and it was a delight to meet so many in person over the course of the conference.

Inspiration and mentor!

The conference was the ChIPs Global Summit, a summit of all women at the very top of their fields in tech, law, and policy, and it was FABULOUS. I sat in the basement of the Mandarin from 7:30 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. and time seemed to fly by. There were panels on regulatory policy, blockchain and cryptography, women entrepreneurs, managing crisis, referring business to friends and other women, negotiating for yourself, investing in women (particularly at the angel/seed investment stage), and so much more. It was amazing and a well timed bit of inspiration for me.

Sally Yates was one of the panelists and I completely fangirled with her 15 feet in front of me, snapping pictures like I was in a N'Sync concert in 1999. I didn't get a selfie with her because not all dreams come true, but she was inspiring nonetheless.

Also at the conference were several pop-up shops by women-owned businesses. They had absolutely beautiful things- most were outside my price range, but the lipstick counter was squarely in my wheelhouse. I was emboldened to try a lipstick shade with actual color in it. It made me feel nervous and powerful all at once. I kind of love it.

It was a wonderful 36 hours. The only downside is 24 of those hours covered James's whole birthday (though I was in the city of his birth!) and Claire having a lead speaking role in their class musical production Thursday night. But friends took video of Claire, James was able to be there to watch and always gracefully picks up our full family schedule when I'm away, and the family survived and thrived without me.

The conference ended Friday about 12 and my flight didn't leave until 3:55, so I checked out of my room, dropped my luggage with the bellhop, and soaked up some more of the beautiful weather. I walked over to the National Mall, aiming for the Capitol building, but first got distracted by the fabulous Farmer's Market the Dept. of Agriculture apparently puts on every Friday.

I got an empanada to eat while I resumed my trek.

Empanada gone, I stopped to marvel at the Smithsonian Castle and remember what it was like to live somewhere it didn't rain. I checked my phone to confirm it was currently raining in Fort Worth and marveled some more.

I decided I had time for a few museums, so I wandered into the Museum of Natural History. I love that all the Smithsonians are free. I said "Hello again" to the Hope Diamond, admired some ancient mummies, and took pictures of a few animal skeletons for Landon.

It was time to turn back, and hoping the line for the incredible looking Farmer's Market pizza had gone down, I made my way back that direction and sure enough! The line no longer wound down the block. Fifteen people in line later and I had my pizza and it was AMAZING. Possibly the best pizza I've ever had. I took a picture with it so I could remember it forever and then sat at the group picnic tables listening to live music and chatting with some tourists from New Jersey who impressed equally by the fact I was a lawyer and that I ate my whole pizza.

I flew home, landing in the rain and the dark in Dallas. I drove home in the rain and the dark to James and two very excited girls and a boy who joined us later from a Student Council lock-in. I missed my sun, but it was lovely to be home. Saturday was errands and volleyball and going to yoga for the first time in seven days (ouch). I pulled up in the driveway after yoga to find the three kids racing in circles around the front yard holding swords and nerf guns.

"What are you playing?" I asked. "War!" yelled Claire.

"Oh?", not seeing any other friends around, "who are you fighting?"

"Well, we're all on the same side." Landon explained, then paused and shrugged and added, "We're winning."

They played outside for 4 hours more. It may have been a war, but there wasn't a single cry or tattle or fight. James and I went out on a fancy dinner date to belatedly celebrate his birthday, our beloved Tara "came home" (Cora's words) to babysit, and it was a thoroughly peaceful day (and it didn't rain!!). Sunday was a trip to the Arboretum for my favorite fall tradition- their fabulous pumpkin village, but other than these two pictures I happened to take on my phone, the rest are on my big camera and will have to wait.

I took this mostly to record my lip stick, a sample from the lipstick counter at the pop-up shop. Also more color than I usually wear in all the weeks put together. Color is kind of fun, even if it's still a little scary. Happy fall y'all!


  1. Ha! Just have to laugh as someone who lives right outside DC- you got lucky and experienced some of the only dry days we've had this year (slight exaggeration but we broke records for rainfall this spring/summer, just started drying up a few weeks ago). Glad you enjoyed your trip and some sun!

  2. The lipstick looks amazing on you (both colors.) great choices!

  3. You are rocking those lips!

  4. Both my kids throw up and have stomach pains with strep and even knowing this, I still forget because it seems so odd.

  5. I grew up in the DC area and am always surprised when you have to pay to go to museums. That conference sounds amazing!

    But don't be fooled -- the reason everything is still so green in DC right now is that we have also had weeks and weeks of rain. So much rain.

  6. LOVE the lipstick!! My husband was looking over my shoulder and had the following comments/questions:
    Him: Did you go to college with her?
    Me: No
    H: Work? Charity thing?
    M: No. I don't know her know her.
    M: I read her blog.
    H: So, she's a complete stranger?
    M: Yeah. But no. She's an internet friend.
    H: That you don't talk to?
    M: Sometimes I comment.
    H: You're stalking her.
    M: It's only creepy stalking if you take it further than the blog.
    H: Is this because there are shirtless pics of her Olympic-athlete-like husband?
    H: I think she's cute. She sounds smart. That's hot.
    H: I think you're smart, too.
    M: Gee, thanks.
    H: Why is she afraid of colored lipstick? Is there non-colored lipstick? Isn't that chapstick? I think the kids are scarier than lipstick. Especially the puking one. If you can handle foaming puke in the morning, what's a little lipstick?
    M: We're done here.

    1. Omg, I hate typing on my phone but this made me laugh out loud in my office and I couldn’t resist. I love everything happening here and you can tell your husband we’re totally friends, you can definitely email me, and if you’re ever in Fort Worth we’re getting margaritas.

      (And strong colors are totally scarier than kids. Dark lipstick is harder to wipe off than puke on a wood floor.)

  7. I agree with everyone up thread who say you are lucky you had nice weather in DC. It's been a really, really wet late summer and fall. I love the Mandarin Oriental - we had our annual conference there in April. Great location, great hotel with fantastic, customer oriented staff.

    The puking made me laugh - one of my kids used to get strep all the time and rarely had a sore throat. Ear aches, stomach aches, head aches, general feeling of yucky, but no pain in the throat.

    I love the lipstick. I used to be braver about wearing bold lipsticks - late 80s/early 90s in high school and college followed by mid 1990s professional life lead to a love of dark lipsticks. Now in my mid 40s, I'm convinced my lips are shrinking and scared to go quite so bold. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Fellow LawMa here! Sally Y. works down the hall from me (and I still totally fangirl her). If you ever come through ATL I would love to meet up!

    1. Ahhhhh. Did you get a selfie with her early on and then debate whether making it your profile picture would be weird if she saw it? And my aunt and uncle live in Atlanta so this could TOTALLY HAPPEN. I'll send out an alert on the blog when/if this looks likely.

  9. How fun to visit DC! My sister lives there now and I'm planning on going in a couple weeks. I've never been there when it hasn't been snowing so let's hope I see some sun.

    We were also at the Arboretum on Sunday. The pumpkin village was great if not a tad bit muddy. LOL!

  10. I have been needing West Wing re-runs too! Check out Madam Secretary it's becoming the new WW. The season premiere with Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton will make you stand up and cheer.