Weekly Vitals - Get Your Fix.

Wine-o's of the world rejoice, this Bud's for you!
Wine continues to increase in popularity, at the expense of beer.
Since 1992, Gallup has been asking Americans who drink alcohol (a little less than two-thirds of the population) which of three types of alcoholic beverages they prefer: wine, beer, or liquor. The trend is clear: Beer has dropped in popularity while wine's popularity has increased.
In 1992, 27% of drinkers said they preferred wine, while 47% preferred beer. Now, according to Gallup's July 7-10 poll, 39% of drinkers prefer wine while 36% prefer beer. The percentage preferring liquor has stayed about the same since 1992.
Source: Gallup

Can't escape it, residing here in the nation's capital - the POTUS Approval.
The real question is, what does the POTUS think of us - the people of The United States?
The People's Approval rating, by The President of the United States, at 40% (lower than his own); but, all hope is not lost because
"God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear." George W. Bush, Los Angeles, Calif., March 3, 2004
*Contact Vitals' author to receive polling methodology that arrived at the 40% statistic

Bush Approval at 44%
: Lowest measurement of his presidency
The July 25-28 [2005] Gallup Poll finds 44% of Americans approving and 51% disapproving of the job Bush is doing as president. Bush's prior low approval rating was 45%, which occurred once in March and once again in June of this year.
Source: Gallup

Contrary to popular belief, this approval rating information is not meant to push any type of political agenda or to make the POTUS feel unloved, unpopular or ugly. There are many people and many country's that do not embrace democratic principals or believe that citizens should be granted the freedom of speech or expression. If we don't exercise these rights, how will anyone stay informed, become quizzical or motivate themselves to perform extended research on a controversial topic. Have a daily latte and don't forget to exercise your rights!


Summer Reading Recommendations - Jog outside in 100% humidity or curl up in front of the window unit with a compelling read...hmmm....

It's not quite as cozy as the fireplace; however, if you manipulate the temperature control, the system will produce a cool enough gust to cause the need for a cuddly fleece blanket. Everyone has access to a fleece blanket in the beginning of August, right?

Reading is a wonderful and relaxing activity, unfortunately, we tend to only have a few moments here and there to catch up with all of those neatly stacked books biding their time on the bedside table. There are the moments before we pass out at night and we convince ourselves that we can knock out a chapter or two - right. Usually, it's a one paragraph deal, depending on the events that occurred prior to sleeping. There are the Metro and Bus moments - you hop on-board thinking about the ten minutes of bliss, just you, your book and your headphones. Instead of solitude and enjoyment, you find yourself elbow-to-elbow with every other soul in DC who commutes to work. Sometimes, it really does feel like 1/2 million people are crammed onto the metro car that you swear looked completely empty and free of madness. This is not what I would call an ideal reading environment.

When you finally make it to a vacation destination or, you have a few hours on a Saturday, here are some recommended reads:
  • Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley
    Some of the best satirical writing ever! I could not put this one down!

  • Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
    It's as if she's inside the head of
    Mary Jo Kopechne.

  • Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins Just plain weird and wonderful and completely fantastical.
Just can't quite bring myself to get into the world of Harry Potter - I have made it 3/4 of the way through the first book, but I'm not salivating for more. I believe I may be the only one in the world - apparently, some people live and breath "Harry". My co-worker took a day off of work to read the new book, in it's entirety. I don't think the children of Rwanda are waiting in anticipation for the next Harry Potter book - but then again, I still think that "Where's Waldo" is still a trendy thing.


Research and Ye Shall be Rewarded.

The ever-lovable housing discussion and related stressful thought process - to buy or not to buy; personally, it keeps me up at night. For every article one comes across that advises buying is a smart move, there are another dozen articles that talk about the "bubble" or "froth" or the general madness of the DC and its neighboring housing market and related prices. Like most people, I like to have options. Although I am seriously exploring the idea of buying, I may want to renew my current lease, if the condo that I am renting is not sold in the near future.

When my landlord informed me that next year's rent will be increased by 7.5%, it was either sell the cat, buy a house or get out. Determined to find out if this number, called "standard" by my landlord, was indeed legal, I started to do some research. Can't say I have caught onto the Harry Potter craze so I won't be waving my wand "just-so" to rememedy this current situation. I suppose I am taking more of the Law & Order approach and stalking those who can give me fact, proof, and documentation.

Thanks to my roommate, who hunted down the Tenant's Guide to Safe and Decent Housing, I was able to read about the CPI-W or Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. I guess I am an Urban Wage Earner because I do not fit into the Clerical category - who knew? The CPI-W is published in February each year and available by calling the HRA Customer Service Center at 202.442.4610. I made the call. I was directed to call the Office of the Secretary so I could track down the DC Municipal Regulations and Register.

From the DC Municipal Regulations and Register screen, scroll down and click on DCMR & DCR Online. When the next screen loads, click on DCR Online. The interface is not what I would call "user-friendly"; think library research, circa 1990. Your best bet is the Search Form tab.

If you want the PDF that contains the official CPI-W for 2005, drop me an email. I will try and post the PDF, for all to access, sometime this weekend. In the meantime, I am preparing my case so my landlord cannot unjustly rule my land. So sad that Johnny Cochran is no longer among us; he would have made a wonderful addition to my legal team. I guess there is always the freak that represented Michael Jackson...or was it the other way around?


Statistics and those responsible for generating a buzz about these ubiquitous measurements are alive and kicking (aka, Mr. Alan Greenspan). Maybe Mr. Greenspan will share his Fountain of Youth location with Chief Justice William Rehnquist; every determined soul needs hydration. Here are Wednesday's Vitals:
  • Of importance to the DC region (sorry to be a naysayer here, but I just don't see any froth in DC, unless it is oozing out of Starbucks© and becoming the next "silent killer" - oh wait, people are starting to catch on to the fact that thousand caloriecaffeinatedd drinks may be contributing to the obesity epidemic - alas, I digress):
    Greenspan also warned that the "boom" in housing prices could reverse itself in certain geographical areas. "We certainly cannot rule out declines in home prices, especially in some local markets," said Greenspan, adding that there are "signs of froth in some local markets where home prices seem to have risen to unsustainable levels."
    See Full Article:
    Greenspan warns on fuel, housing

  • Gallup asked this question in its July 7-10 [2005] poll: "The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court COMPLETELY OVERTURN its Roe v. Wade decision, or not?" Two-thirds of Americans (68%) said the court should not completely overturn Roe.
    See Full Article: Gallup: The Nation's Pulse

  • Iraq remains the most important issue on the American public's agenda. The most recent Gallup Poll shows 25% of Americans name Iraq as the most important problem facing the country today -- the top mention on the list. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll gave respondents a list of eight problems and asked which should be the next priority for the federal government. Iraq was on top, selected by 23% of Americans.

    The public's view of the war in Iraq is becoming more negative. The most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed 44% of Americans feel the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, leaving the majority, 53% saying it was not.
    See Full Article: Gallup: The Nation's Pulse

Numbers/Statistics to Ponder:
  • The current population of the world is: 6,453,635,161
    For More Information: Negative Population Growth
  • According to the The 2005-2006 National Pet Owners Survey (NPOS), Americans own approximately 73 million dogs, 90 million cats, 139 million freshwater fish, 9 million saltwater fish, 16 million birds, 18 million small animals and 11 million reptiles.
    For More Information: American Pet products Manufacturers Association, Inc.
  • The black satin Louis Vuitton Flat is available at Eluxury for $795.00
    For More Information: eluxury


Frazzled by stress? Follow these tips to lower that blood pressure and regain your balance:

You glance at your watch - 6:33am. You bolt out of the house so quickly that your cat is still attached to your pant leg (note: hem is now partially removed). First things first - remove cat (place gently back into apartment), then, deal with hem (remove excess string and tie remainder in a knot). Run yourself, your luggage, carry-on and laptop to the metro. Never mind that the air is made of 5% "air" and 95% humidity; it's only your hair that will suffer. On the up-side, you are conditioning your body for July running weather. That is never an easy task. Get to airport, print out boarding pass, run to gate, hop on plane and then:
  • Face the facts: you are on-board an airplane. No one can contact you and no one can force you to make small talk if you immediately attach your iPod to your head. Take out your book, bottle of water and snack bag. Read like there is no tomorrow. For the next two hours, no one can you deny you this pleasure.
  • If need be, knock back an in-flight cocktail. Everyone loves mini bottles of vodka.

Your family visit begins with an immediate third degree, followed by a cross examination from your Grandmother, followed by a three-person all talking over one another recap when your late uncle joins the party. It truly doesn't get better than this. Your blood is boiling, you begin craving a gimlet at 10am and you can feel a lash-out diatribe forming in your head. Regroup, put on a smile and:

  • Start counting down the time when you can get a workout in - preferably running or kick-boxing.
  • Laugh along with your family and remember, they are only grilling you because your physical presence coincides with the annual eclipse. Turn the tables (in a nice way) - start asking questions back (preferably, changing the subject). Ask about distant cousins, the upcoming family reunion, gossip, etc.
  • Reminisce - Everyone loves to remember the time, when you were two, and you took off your party dress and danced about in your nudeness at your cousin's wedding.
  • Walk out of the room - make a phone call, walk around the block, get coffee - just get out. Fresh perspective, even removing yourself for five minutes, can make a huge difference.


Cheers for the truly nice people in our offices or employment shacks.

Do you really want to be one?

Nothing phases these folks, and much to my dismay, I have actually been accused as a member of the happy employee tribe. In my case, an exceptional number of negative events recently occurred in my employment environment;I dealt with the situation by becoming overly chipper.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being classified as one of the nice crew. Some of my co-workers are by-the-book "good" people: raising money at work for various charities, helping others with moving and organizing good-bye and hello lunches. The nice-ness comes so natural to this crew; they exude it.

When you are ever-so slightly cynical and seen the movie Office Space one too many times, these people can grate on you, just a wee bit.

Truly nice people say the following things:
  • "Welcome to your working day, take a load off."
  • "Smile, it's Wednesday Afternoon - 2.5 days to go!"
  • "Bet some M&Ms will perk you right up!"
  • "I'm wearing bright orange - think of me as a human sun, I can brighten your day" (this is no joke - I really couldn't make-up something this good).
  • "Brought in snacky-snacks, just because! Everyone help themselves to some chocolate!" (Unfortunately, those with small children occasionally forget to drop the extra "y". I am thinking about reminding these nice people...)

One may also have the "nice, but annoying crowd";we all have them. Here are some simple, straight-up advice lines for dealing with these special mates:
  • Ignore. The next time smile-ly Steve stands in your doorway and randomly starts telling you about his crazzzy night at the bar, wink at your officemate. He/she should know what to do. The moment your phone rings, you are in the clear.
  • Say "I don't really like chocolate-marshmallow-peanut butter-super sugar cookies, thanks". Or,
    "My bikini doesn't really like me to eat snacks that are over 1000 calories a pop."
    To the co-worker that wants to know why you haven't stopped by his office to eat his "goodies" (not those goodies - if that ever happens, follow your organization's process for dealing with sexual harassment issues).
  • When the response to your effort at being attentive and asking "How was your weekend?" is "A little stressful; we're trying to get pregnant", don't look horrified. Simply state "Thanks for sharing." and briskly walk away.


Statistics are Cool - Wednesday's Vitals:
  • In a June 6-8 (2005) poll, 37% of Americans told Gallup they believe in haunted houses, while 46% say they don't, and 16% aren't sure.
    [And even more interesting - The tendency to believe in some paranormal occurrences varies by ideology -- political conservatives appear significantly more skeptical than either moderates or liberals. Twenty-eight percent of conservatives believe in haunted houses versus 42% of moderates and 42% of liberals. Similar patterns emerge with respect to ghosts -- 25% of conservatives believe in ghosts, compared with 35% of moderates and 42% of liberals. Age could partly explain the ideological differences -- younger adults tend to identify more as liberals than older adults do, and younger adults are more likely to believe.]
    Source: The Gallup Organization

  • How much confidence do you have that NASA, the U.S. space agency, will be able to prevent accidents like [the space shuttle Columbia] from happening in the future -- a great deal of confidence, a fair amount, not very much, or none at all?
    (June 24-26, 2005)
    Great Deal: 20%
    Fair Amount: 56%
    Not Very Much: 18%
    None at All: 5%
    No Opinion: 1%
    Source: The Gallup Organization

    How Timely: Shuttle's Liftoff Canceled by Fuel Sensor Problem

  • As you may know, there are websites known as "blogs" or "web logs," where people sometimes post their thoughts. How familiar are you with "blogs" -- very familiar, somewhat familiar, not too familiar, or not at all familiar?
    (Feb 25-27, 2005)
    Very Familiar: 7%
    Somewhat Familiar: 19%
    Not too Familiar: 18%
    Not at all Familiar: 56%
    No Opinion: *
    Source: The Gallup Organization
  • The Most Profound Daily Stat:
    You use more calories eating celery than there are in the celery itself.
    Source: Funny Facts
If any reader spent Tuesday night as that pesky fly on my wall, please don't reveal my true feelings about the science and study of Statistics. So close to receiving my Masters, except one teeny-tiny requirement: Statistics. Almost every night, I chip away at another chapter, complete the quiz, and then do a dance--really, I do dance. While my friends sip cocktails and catch up on life and work, I sit in my kitchen (in close proximity to the wine rack - a very important fact), diligently learning how to take a population and produce a set of statistics, based on habits and facts belonging to that population. I also praise the wonder that is my scientific calculator - my partner in crime. As much as I hate blowing two hours every night on this class, I am finding myself smitten with all of the interesting and random Stats available online.
Yes, I will get out more often, recycled air is clearly making me insane.


99.9 fahrenheit degrees - cocktails that please

Simple to prepare, even more delightful to consume. The only difficult ingredient is for the "Tangy Treat" cocktail. This ingredient must be purchased from you local 7-11.

The ingredients are provided – you play chemist and make the proportions work for you.

  • Lovely Lime
    Minute Maid © Light Lime-aid, Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka © (or, Vodka of preference), crushed ice, fresh lime, club soda

  • Hawaiian Punch
    Minute Maid © Light Mixed
    Berry, Hangar One Mandarin Blossom © (or, Vodka of preference), crushed ice, fresh OJ, club soda

  • Tangy Treat
    Mango-Peach Crystal Light Slurpee (7-11) ©, Hangar One
    Mandarin Blossom © (or, Vodka of preference), crushed ice, club soda

  • Minty-Fresh
    Bonny Doon 2003 Ca'
    del Solo Big House White © (It’s a screw-cap!), fresh mint leaves – crush them (as if you are making a Mohito), smidgen of sugar, ice


Ethics in the work place.

I think it's fair to say that swiping a paper clip, notepad or left-over mouse pad from the user conference circa 2003 is no longer a grappling issue. Larger and more complex issues have found their way into our working lives.

Let's examine this dilemma, presented by a friend that works at a PR firm. Her firm is working on a strategy for a specialized drug and they are actively recruiting people who understand the niche market that intends to purchase this drug. Finding people that fit the desired qualifications has proven almost impossible.

My friend, who we'll call Ana, knows a head-hunter who represents a resource that fits Ana's needs. The truth of the matter is, Ana just doesn't know this person, it's her very close friend. To make the situation all the more complex, Ana's friend is living with the president of Ana's company. To further complicate the situation, Ana's friend represents clients for income, meaning that if Ana selected the client, Ana's company would need to pay in order to hire this person.

Ana, in a desperate bind to find the right person, has another member of her team phone-interview the candidate. The team member reports back that the candidate, who we'll call Stella, is pretty solid and would be worth bringing into the office for a formal interview.

Moments before Ana's team member reported back, the company president told Ana that he is not willing to pay for a candidate; further, the president is aware that the candidate is being represented by his girlfriend.

Ana feels the pressure and confesses the situation to the team member who performed the phone interview, Claire. Claire asks Ana "So, you want me to decide if the candidate is worth paying for or not? I was simply asked to give my professional opinion, not to make a call on the candidate's worth. Further, I think it's a bit strange that the president's girlfriend wants to charge our company for her client."

Ana feels awful, Claire is upset at the situation and Ana still does not have the resources to move forward on her latest account.


It's 3am and you're, quite frankly, rather sloshed and hungry - how to avoid the next morning guilt and how not to eat the entire contents of your refrigerator...

If you have ever had an evening that consists of Blackcat’s Mousetrap dance-party, late-night neighborly nightcaps at Wonderland and a lot of distilled grain, this lil’ entry is for you. Of course, this entry is also for anyone who has been flat-out wasted.

You feel the need to eat at
3am for several reasons including the fact that you actually have burned a ton of calories dancing you heart out to your favorite live band, the last time you ate was 10 hours ago, and you want to sober up. Sobering up is key, especially if there is a, um, "special" friend loitering in your living room. Sobering up helps you make that all important "next move" decision - attack him or feign sickness to get him the hell out of your house and off your property. For some us, sobering up is about refueling for face-washing and teeth-brushing as well as putting the kibosh on any chance that you may puke because you have nothing but a 1/2 liter of rum in your tummy.

Your brain is pulsating with images of junk food - salty snacks like potato chips come in-and-out of focus, sweet snacks like cookies and brownies grow legs and cartwheel inside of your thinking cap, you begin to sing the jingle for popular fast food joints, you tear through the trash for the take-out menu that has chinese food and southern style chicken wings and lastly, you are absolutely certain that the Popeye's drive thru on 14th is open at all hours.

Stop the madness and promptly down three tall glasses of water. If you are feeling like a water snob, stock up on Smartwater (the "plain" version, not the flavored options). Once you have started the re-hydration process, think light and healthy - after all, you are teetering on the pass out line. Deli turkey, fruit or some dry toast is perfect; even a micro-waved veggie burger is a smart choice. Save the Doritos for another time when you aren't immediately heading off to bed - who want to wake up with nacho cheese powder all over their bed? ewww, gross.


Brace yourself ladies and gents - this photo is a teensy-weensy bit blinding:

Today is a wonderful July day. The weather goddess has graced us with low humidity, few clouds, and occasional breezes - perfect day for trying out one of DC's community pools. My roommate and I ventured over to the Francais pool on N Street NW to observe the obnoxious and bulging packages of our fellow man. Catching some rays, enjoying the cool water and relaxing were passé reasons to head to the pool. Thankfully, we were able to fulfill our goal; it would have been a frustrating venture if there were no package sightings.
This photo was shot when I, feeling very refreshed and tanned after a short cat-nap, lifted up my head to see if any lounge chairs were abandoned. After the initial shock wore off, I was able to grab my camera phone and capture this crowning piece of evidence. We couldn't possibly keep this one to ourselves. You can now look away and everything will be OK, we promise.


Greetings and Welcome!

Here are the vitals or facts, if you will. The females (in DC) are 2:1 to the males in this city. That statistic does not give us the right to push our fellow males out of the city, haze them or make them feel small or puny; however, being in the majority, does give us a voice (not a whining or resentful one, either). This blog is about things that interest the women of dc, and yes, for myself and most of my females friends, males are of interest. Alas, there are many other topics, other than males, that this blog will explore and (hopefully) offer insight upon.

Living in DC, we are faced with purchasing real-estate, making financial investments, forced into wearing panty-hose (ugh!!), constantly hunting for "stylish but comfortable shoes" (they totally don't exist), volunteering, dating and finding some time to just breath.

The content found here is meant to be light, informative, amusing, introspective, sometimes cynical but always true. Magazines are my motiviation here - I have a love/hate relationship with them. Love to read through them; hate how they re-package the same content from month to month.

I'm looking to try something new - original, informative, pleasurable and inspiring content is what this blog is all about.