Thursday, December 31, 2009

This Year, This Decade and the Next

From graduating from the agency mentoring program and the Commerce Department’s Aspiring Leaders Development Program to completing the six statistics credits, I have accomplished so much this year. However, I must admit that I am frustrated with not being promoted so I have decided to do something about it and apply for both statistician and economist jobs. Now I know that I can find a job twice as quickly. By March I will have a GS-12 or GS-13 promotion because I refuse to settle.

Never settling for something has been my mantra ever since starting my blog; and, it will continue well into next decade because there are so many milestones I want to reach. In 2010 I will accomplish the following objectives: GS-12/13 promotion; payoff last two credit card bills; travel to my Warrensville Heights High 15th high school reunion, Greater Cleveland Black MBA Association 25th Anniversary and the National Black MBA Association 40th Annual Conference in Los Angeles; attend both the DC and NOVA fashion week events; and test out of elementary statistics II, business mathematics I and II, and differential equations if UDC decides to cancel the class during fall 2010 semester. By the end of next decade, I will achieve Senior Executive Series professional status before 2015; payoff all of my credit card and student loan debt; l travel more; and, found my own Hiram College and Cleveland State University book scholarships.

Monday, December 28, 2009

DC Sports Bog is a Classist and a Hypocrite

I cannot believe the high level of classcism spouted in Mike Wise's Washington Post column regarding Tiger Woods. First, Tiger has done this to himself. As a married father or two, no one tells him to get a harem of misstresses. Mr. Woods will experience the same level of embarrassment every other man does when he repeatedly cheats on his wife: divorce. Furthermore, telling the audience not to judge further pushes Wise's classicism because the rich are beyond reproach. Second, Wise did not come to Kobe Bryant's aid when he got caught cheating in Colorado. Was this because Bryant possessed a high school diploma, whereas, Woods attended Stanford? I graduated from Hiram College, the same college that President James A. Garfield graduated, so I possessed some credibility regarding my class argument. I highly doubted that Mike Wise would write an article in defense of Kobe because of his academic pedigree. Third, I totally agree with Augusta's and Woods promoters stance against him. It is business and contracts have morality clauses. Tiger Woods violates them with his public infidelity. Why should Woods be treated any differently than anyone else? I congratulate his sponsors on showing no preference to Tiger because of his middle-class background and Stanford education. This is a business and they have done the one thing that no one else especially Wise has done: punish Woods for wrongdoing. I believe if Tiger Woods do not have all of these yes-men, he would not be embarrassed. Finally, if Mike Wise can defend Tiger Woods what is next, a Bernie Madoff column?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Becoming a Statistician

I check UDC Web4students grade site and learn that I have received an A in business statistics! This is huge because I keep my statistics streak alive and well. I need to blog about this because I am so happy to qualify for the statistician classification. It is essential to be the best at anything. Now I can enter 2010 qualifying for two mission-critical occupations instead of simply one; and, upon receiving my linear algebra grade I will become eligible for the mathematician occupation.
This journey started September 2008. I was on detail at another federal agency and during my 45 days, realized the similarities between economist and statistician. While visiting the Office of Personnel Management's classification site, I read that to become a statistician I would need 15 math credits, 6 of which must be in statistics. Though I possess the mathematics credits, at the time I had no statistics classes. Since my graduate studies return did not pan out as I had planned, I returned to UDC to retake calculus III spring semester, elementary statistics I summer semester, and business statistics fall semester. Enrolling in these three classes along with linear algebra helped qualify me for both the government's statistician and mathematician positions.
The government lists these two occupations as mission-critical because retirements would create a dire need for replacements. Currently I am an economist, also a mission-critical occupation, however, I want to expand my career options especially since I want to join the Senior Executive Service (SES). SES takes only mission-critical people and having three different ways to qualify ensure that I will become an executive one day.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Opportunity Journal Entry #27: Testing Out of Elementary Statistics II

This Tuesday I learned from my advisor that I only had to pay $50 to test out of elementary statistics II. Dr. Rice told me that he was using the same book and would send me an email (He still has not after emailing him a reminder). However, I refuse to wait on him so today I call the math department to receive a copy of the syllabus. I will call again because this is so important to me. I really need the copy to finalize my study schedule. I have a lot going for me. Presently I am enrolled in business statistics so I am mentally fresh to take the exam. For the rest of fall semester, I will use my business statistics resources to prepare for elementary statistics. Even though I will only receive credit, this is exactly what I want because it enables me to qualify for more science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations.

Taking Care of Family

My friend discusses that her mother does not babysit her grandchildren is somewhat disturbing. I cannot see anyone in my family saying that they would not watch my children. This is crazy because someone watched out for you. Moreover, my parents especially my mother paid for daycare but we saw our paternal and maternal grandmothers every weekend. It is quite selfish though I have learned that her mother has arthritis. She remarks that my family is nice. In addition, she says that most grandparents are busy and have lives. My maternal grandparents went on numerous cruises yet still found time to babysit us. I guess because I do not have that kind of dissention within the family ranks! It just sounds weird.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Observations

Today on Black Friday I have bought five Ann Taylor cable-knit sweaters for $106 and an Acer computer for $450 (it includes anti-viral software subscription!). I am so thankful that I have the money to buy another computer because now I can schedule the Monday Comcast appointment tomorrow. Right now I am tired because Black Friday has consumed an abundance of my energy.

Earlier this morning I had to walk to Ann Taylor Loft twice because when I originally arrived at 9:05am, the store was closed forcing me to return home and call the store to verify. As soon as the saleswoman said that the DuPont location was open, albeit late, I returned to the store. That took a lot out of me. After watching Matlock I went to Farragut North and boarded the red line for Tenleytown metro. After climbing those escalators, I arrived at Best Buy where the small netbook screen saddened me. Immediately I looked for a laptop and after talking with two employees I bought the $349 Acer with anti-viral protection for another $79.99. Since the software was not installed I had to sit in the Geek Squad lounge for 15 minutes. Though stores were usually packed on Black Friday, this was not the case at Best Buy and it was not because I arrived at 11:15am. The recession took a very huge bit out of Christmas spending. Though many of my friends comment that Wal-Mart and JC Penney are crowded, when you are scared about keeping your job, a new computer is not high on your list! This situation is another realization that I am lucky to have a high-paying job to allow me to replace my computer. Later, I walked to Chipotle where I ordered the usual chicken burrito. I used cash and it was only returning home when I realized that the company mailed me two free burrito coupons. Rats! Speaking of returning home, this man who resided in my apartment was moving real fast through traffic. If I did not have my computer I would had secretly raced him home.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Response to Bissinger's NYT Opinion

On the eve of Michael Jordan’s 25th anniversary playing his first NBA game, I am disappointed the New York Times would publish Bissinger’s opinion. He is a UNC graduate and ardent age and college supporter. Bissinger is wrong to solely focus on the NBA when the NFL has the same age and college requirements. The fact that no one is disputing weakens Bissinger’s argument. There is a huge difference between high school and college. Colleges prepare these boys to handle publicity, improve teamwork at a higher level and improve their conditioning to avoid injury. These things require college. Ask Carmelo Anthony and Shaquille O’Neal who openly profess that their tenure at Syracuse and Louisiana State University have helped their career development. Just because the focus is athletic as opposed to academic does not mean that college and the age requirement are irrelevant.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Feel So Honored

Yippee! The National Black MBA Association President has accepted my Facebook friend request! This more than compensates for the Ann Taylor incident! Immediately I have suggested two DCMBAA officers. I feel so honored!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Living Paycheck to Paycheck

No, not in that sense. I realize that by focusing on my paydays the weeks go quicker. For instance, today is payday and in two weeks it will be Monday, October 5th, two weeks from fall break and two months before the end of classes. Adopting this payday mentality makes me accomplish things quicker because there is a finality to it. That’s how I have been able to graduate from ALDP, ace my elementary statistics class and process the new child tax credit. Finally, it will also be the reason for getting my GS-12 promotion and acing fall semester classes to qualify for the GS-12 Statistician and Mathematician positions.

Nice Try But No Cigar

A male blogger friend of mine talks about enabling abuse but I take particular issue with blaming the victim because it was all about the female singers but not male abusers. What are the abusers’ psychology? This sticks at me because even though he’s a gay man, he’s a man nevertheless so he does not understand.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Problem I Have When People Deem What They Say As Intelliegent But It Really Is Not

Unlike NY Times' Room for Debate, I do not believe that Mexico decriminalizing marijuana will affect the US drug policy because of our no tolerance drug policies. Look at student financial aid. If a student is caught using drugs, his financial aid is cancelled. Therefore, I do not understand why this or any publication would waste trees trying to entertain something like this! The New York Times is just stupid for even making this gesture. Now I am officially on Marc Anderssen's NY Times Deathwatch list because all the papers seems to do is write salacious pro-drug articles to generate web traffic. Wow! How the mighty (newspaper publication) has fallen!

Friday, September 11, 2009

You Cannot Give with a Closed Palm

Increasing my philanthropy has been one of my 32nd birthday wishes so receiving the DC Dress for Success annual luncheon invitation has made my day! Attending this event enables me to realize my personal objective. Having donated money and shoes, I am an avid supporter of this organization because it ensures that women can wear professional clothing, get jobs and feed their families. In addition, the ticket price is affordable. Furthermore, since one of my social service organizations holds clothing drives, I will ask if I may attend this program and give a report at the general body meeting. Since I am picking out my annual event table, I might as well infuse something that’s free! More importantly giving to DC for Success is about lifting as I climb.

This has always been core to my being because no one gets here by himself. Also I want to see people do better. Moreover, charitable giving shows my money maturation because one year ago I could find afford this ticket. However, after signing a one-year rental contract which keeps my costs down, my band promotion, and paying off a student loan, I have enough money to give to others, and in a way, myself.

Financial Empowerment & Upward Mobility

I really want the $98 Stuart Weitzman Puddles rain boots but the shoe company only carries it to size large (sizes 9-10). Knowing that I need an extra-large to fit my size 12 feet, I begin searching the Internet, and viola Bloomingdales comes up in the first page results. Though I click on the link, I am cautious about it because the department store carries women’s shoe sizes until size 11. Therefore, when Bloomingdales offers Puddles in extra-large, I am astounded! Immediately I search the site for the Chevy Chase location, call the main number and get forwarded to the women’s shoe department where I ask the sales employee if it has the extra-large. He says the store does so I ask if he could hold them for me. Not only does he hold the boots, he asks me when can I pick them up? I tell him lunch time around 12pm-12:30pm. Obviously brimming with optimism and anticipation, I cannot wait that long and leave the office at 11:35 am en route to Farragut North and eventually Bloomingdales. I board the third car because it aligns itself with the Western Avenue elevator. Right upon exiting the train and the station, I decide to take the elevator to Wisconsin Avenue. Upon seeing that it is on the train’s level, I make a mad dash for it (Of course, I wait to see if anyone else wants to board.). Why climb two sets of escalators when the elevator takes you to the street? I hit the button transporting me to the street where I walk two blocks to Wisconsin Center where Bloomingdales is located.

Wisconsin Center’s construction is going along at a rapid pace. In addition, to Bloomingdales, BCBG, Cole Haan and Eileen Fisher are now tenants. Furthermore, Capital Grille is under construction; and, I hope that they finish before Christmastime so that I can eat there! Bypassing the other stores, I enter the department store, look at the directory and make my way towards the women’s shoe salon where I see a male sales employee going right by me. Thinking this is horrible customer service, I am fuming. Then I decide to talk to the female employee who is cleaning the displays. When I tell her that I have come to try shoes that are held for me, she proceeds to her register where my boots are. Oops! Right after putting my feet in them, the wool sole padding surprising me because it minimizes the amount of space. This addition magnifies the importance of purchasing the extra-large. While seated I remark to the female employee that they feel snug to which she recommends that I stand up. Upon doing so, the Puddles are looser. Immediately, I buy the $103.88 ($98 plus $5.88 in taxes) and wear them outside since it rained earlier. The lady places my Munro in the Stuart Weitzman boot. After purchasing a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory across the street, I return to Friendship Heights metro station where I board the red line back to downtown.

Looking around my room I see the five other purple Stuart Weitzman boxes. The Puddles purchase brings my total to six. My ability to have all of my bills paid and snap up a pair of haute couture exemplifies how far financially I have come in three years. In 2006 I was a financial mess with two checking accounts in ChexSystems, the delinquent checking account bureau and credit so bad that no one would rent to me after my apartment flooded. This forced me out of DC and into Arlington, VA. During the next three years, I have enrolled in CCCS paying off two creditors along with my $1200 Hiram College Perkins loan. In addition, I have received my GS-11 economist promotion which helps accelerate my debt; thereby, liberating more discretionary money to buy Stuart Weitzman. :)

My 9/11 Reflections Eight Years Later

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks by Al-Qaeda. Even though Osama bin Laden is still outstanding, I pray that President Obama catches him. His capture would symbolize the turning point in the War on Terror. Thus far, we have aimlessly been pointing guns, running around in circles, trying to find the chief masterminds of these attacks. Even though the United States has captured the #3 Al-Qaeda terrorise, no one will rest until Osams bin Laden is caught!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My Promotional Job Search Thus Far

When one of my interviewers asks me to supply a reference's phone number, I believe that I may be on the cusp of receiving a GS-12 Economist offer. Though staying internally is my original aim, the interviewer's department has this neat housing project focusing on my hometown so I would not feel bad if I go there for an opportunity. In addition, this department has its own leadership development program enabling me to still realize my career objective of joining the Senior Executive Service. Therefore, if I must make a move then so be it. The decision should come either late this week or after Labor Day. During this time I will contact my internal interviewers to inquire about the status of my applications because this is crunch time!
However, if this and other opportunities do not materialize there is always six more GS-12 Economist applications which have been forwarded to the hiring official in the last three weeks; four of them within one week. I feel that after Labor Day people will once again call me for interviews therefore I am not worried since one of these applications is inside of my department and Human Resources rates me qualified at both the GS-12 and GS-13 levels!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunshine at Midnight

Sunscreen in my eyes cannot keep me from attending my apartment building’s rooftop gathering! The first time it was rained out; and, it looked like it would rain again but, alas, it did not. I am glad to breathe the air, venting all of the trivial details of today. I need to do this more often (and next time wear the maxi dress because this one woman wears a Gypsy 05 dress and I know that I can do better than that! OMG I am so sick of these secretarial support chicks thinking that they are styling and profiling!). Anyway I am so happy to meet with other tenants in building and this rooftop event serves as a stress release from thinking about tomorrow's economist interview.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ascending the Ladder

Yesterday I nailed my economist interview by asking two very good questions and possessing very solid economics knowledge. I could see myself working for the hiring manager because I could discover new things without competition. After lunch I returned to my desk where another person asked me about my availability for a brief 20-minute interview for the healthcare economist. I replied saying Tuesday, August 11th since Friday and Monday were my off days. Finally, while printing my announcement, resume and application answers I noticed that the agency forwarded my newest application to the hiring official. Immediately I clicked on QuickHire and my III/IV economist application had been forwarded to the hiring official!

I notified my boss about interviewing. Though he had taken it well, this was the hardest thing that I had to do because I really loved my job! In addition with the recovery transfer payments being implemented I knew that next year there would be so many new components! However, getting accepted into ELDP was my primary career objective so if moving on means moving up then so be it! Ever since my friend who took a detail at Main Commerce became section chief at another agency told me that I qualified for higher grades, I knew that I could realize my goal. Never settle even if I liked my current position!

I Don't Need to Surround Myself By Stupid People Like These

Checking my Facebook page, I saw this crap from an atheist white man questioning Christianity and blacks being brainwashed by slave traders. Knowing that Coptic Christianity existed in Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa, this was so dumb that I de-friend him. I know where my ancestors come from and now that they were not pagans. My friend likes my status. Later tonight I will divulge her my reason behind the post. She is a practicing Christian so she will understand my angst! I cannot be around someone that dumb. The Coptic Christianity is highlighted on Wikipedia not to mention Brittanica!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Career Management

Who knew that working with a resume writer rto rewrite my resume would be so much harder than doing it myself! However, it is all worth it because my new resume is way better and reflects my professional growth. Now I can say wholeheartedly that I am a GS-12 subject matter expert and paste it on my Monster, HotJobs, JobBankUSA and USAJOBS tomorrow! Furthermore, I will email all of my prior contacts about the status of my applications because my August 1st deadline is 1 ½ weeks! I need this position because I have done everything good!

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Problem I Have with In Plain Sight

After watching In Plain Sight, I do not know if I could idly stand by and watch my partner kill innocent (well, anyone not associated with the crime) people in the name of ‘justice’. This whole no-snitching thing is stupid and does not save anyone life. Therefore, I totally disagree with this episode because it honesty and the truth do matter. His partner was a hothead who needs to go to jail because he steps over the line!

Ah! I feel better because I have gotten this off of my chest but this still affects me especially since it had a military connotation! This whole thing that some kinds of dirt is okay but others are not does not sit well with the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of veterans!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Opportunity Journal Entry #26: Aspiring Leaders Development Program Graduation Ceremony

I am happy to have graduated from the Commerce Department's Aspiring Leaders Development Program because it has stimulated my personal and professional growth and many of its participants have received promotions. The senior executive's lobbying us to take American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) detail drives home this point because I highly doubt that he has gone to the average Commerce Department employee asking him to join. He is looking for the best and the brightest!

Even though it turns out to be a sunny day, initially a monsoon sweeps through funneling wind and rain! I return to my humble abode, get my winter coat with the hood, wear my boots and charge outside ready to take on this hurly-burly force! Hey, I, too, am a force to be reckoned! Ever the Type A personality, I think that I am late arriving at 11:08am but hardly anyone is there. I sit in my assigned seat, draft a plan on how to receive my plaque and certificate without bumping into anyone. Afterward, we take numerous pictures. I particularly want our class picture with Brianna's son because when he turns 25 and enters a leadership program I want to be the one who says that I was there in the beginning!

After graduation, the weather calms down and the sun emerges. I drop off my winter gear, wash my face, call my mother preceding her casino trip and head to my favorite steakhouse to celebrate this momentous occasion! Armed with the restaurant's April $49 six-ounce lobster special in my hand, the waiter recommends two $28 soft crab which are pretty good and filling! They are also cheaper than the monthly special and as the waiter quips, 'You have the rest of the month.' True, indeed. With the cost savings, I have ordered a Coke and a peanut butter chocolate cake which has come nearly to the original amount.

This entire yearlong experience has served as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. Without it, I would have never known how much potential I have. I know that I am a good economist but now I know that I am a great economist! I can actually become not just a GS-12 economist but will one day become a senior executive service economist myself!

The Second Time Around

Yippee! I (think) that I have aced my calculus III final Thursday by reviewing my work thrice. It is essential to take my time . This tactic and asking the professor about the error analysis question result in getting four questions right. This caps off a great two weeks because the professor says that no one in the class will fail, I promptly complete my summer tuition assistance for elementary statistics and registered for linear algebra or business statistics for the fall semester. I have regained my life and my doctoral aspirations are back on track! By the end of this summer, I will have twenty-three math credits and halfway towards becoming a statistician and by December 2009, I will have twenty-nine math credits and qualify for the statistician, mathematician and mathematical statistician positions. I want to become a full-fledged member of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community and am nearly there. During this time period, I will attend the American Statistical Association JSM conference and its continuing education seminar. By December 2009 I will have everything professionally in place.

Retaking calculus III is a humbling journey because this is the first time in over five years that I have received a D in math. Although it is hard, I know that cannot have that blemish stay on my academic record because doctoral school is on the horizon. Therefore, I have put my all into this class because my future is on the line.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stupidity on Both Sides of the Miss USA Controversy

I think that I need to layoff Twitter a bit after reading Roland Martin’s commentary. Disclosure: I dislike Roland Martin and his ilk because they present themselves as so-called carriers of the Freedom Movement but have left out some considerable amount of its principles; thus, they are watering down the Movement’s potency. I have to post this on Twitter because I simply hate his hypocrisy! Aah! I feel much better after this! Now I am not letting Perez Hilton off the hook because I really do not understand how the pageant allows him within 1000 feet of Miss USA. The problem I have is not with Miss California’s response that she is against gay marriage but Martin’s assertion that being pro-gay marriage is politically correct. This is a disturbing accusation and I refuse to tolerate it or let those who believe or disbelieve be labeled!

Friday, March 06, 2009

En Route to my Hiram College Tenth Year Reunion

2009 commemorates ten years since my 1999 college graduation and I am using my blog to chronicle my feelings about returning to campus.

Hiram was not my first choice. Howard University in Washington, DC was my first choice but I did not have the backbone that I do now so I did what my mother said. She had an ulterior motive which was to prove certain people at her workforce that she could afford to send her daughter to a private school. That was why I disliked it so much. However I managed to create my own life by interning in Washington, DC which was where I currently worked. Needless to say my mother did not like that idea because she was not in control of it. Essentially, she did not like any idea that she did not understand, be it graduate school to earn a second degree or travel to London to accumulate international business experience or relocate here to DC. Prior to DC, I worked at Cuyahoga County and that gave her bragging rights because she could afford it on a clerk’s salary. Working in my major messed her whole fantasy up because she could not control the outcome. Hey! It was my life!

That is a little back story about post-graduation life. Now as I enter my third year as a government economist, the fed will make me a career permanent employee and fully vest my retirement. On the cusp of this milestone, I look at my career progress. In three short years I have gone from GS-9 to GS-12, completing the agency’s mentoring and within one month will graduate from ALDP. In the duration I have broaden my professional networks by joining several economist organizations and have kept my NBMBAA membership up to date. Participating in seminars have helped me stay current of my profession which in turn makes me more successful.

Now as I return to Hiram College I will run into the same, old classmates (Hopefully everyone will still have their jobs but given that BLS reports February 2009 has seen 651,000 unemployed, I highly doubt it! Personally, I think that the mixer will turn into an impromptu job session which I am happy to help because the government is hiring!). The one thing that I will do is bury old emotions and realize that the Carla at age 21 is not the Carla at age 31.

I Wish You Well, I Guess? I Dunno

I have accomplished a lot today! I have submitted my ALDP forms so that my matrix spreadsheet will not be blank. Financial empowerment: Saturday I will deposit $375 to replenish my savings account. Tuesday, I will open my online savings account to stash away more money. In addition, next week I will calculate my bills, register for my Hiram College tenth year reunion, and submit my ALDP management interviews and developmental assignment impact paper.

Later this evening, I am happy to have spoken to my friend about her predatory lending situation because I really want to hear what transpire. For three weeks, I have tried to text message her but to no avail. However, she has notified me that she has bought a new cell phone (figures!). Listening to her, I realize that those silly teenage boys are nothing to the very real problems that she has (Although they will probably be in juvenile detention this summer)! Therefore, I am grateful for the problems that I do have: no predatory mortgage, crazy people particularly family whom I can keep at a distance and not having to deal with bill collectors. However, Ellen’s plight just makes me more of an advocate.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Life (Thus Far) At Age 31

At age 31
I do not look back because
I am happy to be my age
Unlike what society says
I have no desire to be any younger
I can still rock microminiskirts
Still write poems, songs and rhymes
Still express myself my way without regard to anyone's opinion.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Day After: My Official Inaugural Story

Having spent all yesterday recuperating from attending the inaugural swearing in ceremony, parade, and official ball, I am writing my inaugural ball entry a day later. While at the Western Ball, one of the ten official inaugural balls where both the president and vice-president danced with their wives, I basked in the glow of my hustle and maintaining my integrity throughout the entire waiting process. From November 2008 to January 2009, many party promoters and organizations have flooded my email and Facebook accounts with their own inaugural balls with a higher price tag than the official ball.

I vividly remember last December 2008 when one of the Young and Powerful representatives wanted me to pay $200 to serve as host for its series of unofficial inaugural events. I replied to Crystal that I could not fork over $200 for an unofficial ticket when the official presidential ones were still unavailable. Attending the real ball was my primary objective. During this two-month period, I saved over $1000, forwent buying extravagant Christmas gifts at deep discounts, participated in DC for Obama, subscribed to the Presidential Inauguration Committee's Twitter feed and email updates, and conducted thorough due diligence to discover that the official ball tickets started at $150, $100 cheaper. On January 14th, Adam, the DC for Obama president, sent me an email with the special Ticketmaster link tp purchase my tickets. Immediately I bought the Southern and Western ball tickets at $173.75 ($150 plus $23.75 processing) apiece and forwarded the link to all of my friends.

Beginning Friday, January 16th, I started searching for the perfect ball gowns. My after work trips to Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie, Bloomingdales at Chevy Center and Nordstrom at Pentagon City were unfruitful. Exhausted, I realized that I skipped Lord and Taylor at Friendship Heights and should visit there Saturday.morning before proceeding to Tysons Corner.

Saturday morning bright and early I boarded the red line train for Friendship Heights and walked into Lord and Taylor where I found the prettiest gray sequined gown. I flagged down a retail associate to give me a dressing room but after ten minutes I left the dress on the rack because I refused to wait that long for one to open up. Right afterward, I traveled to Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue to see if they carried the designer I wanted. Upon learning that they did not, I returned to the red line where I rode the train to Metro Center to transfer to the orange line to Dunn Loring to ride the 2C to Tysons Corner's Lord and Taylor store (During this commute, I realized that the 2C bus left after my orange train arrival so I rode past Ballston). While waiting at the bus shelter, I remembered my whole 3T debacle. Boarding the wrong train lengthened my Tysons Corner trip 50 minutes. If I did not have that experience, I would had made the same mistake once it pulled up. When the 2C finally arrived I boarded it and within 10 minutes I was there.

Knowing that Nordstrom carried my designer I went there first (plus it anchored the entrance.) but it did not have it. Later I traveled to Jessice McClintock which stocked some very pretty gowns but none of them appropriate for the official inaugural balls, therefore, I continued to Bloomingdales where once again, the larger store did not have my particular designer. Finally, I tried the Lord and Taylor and, viola!, there my dress was but in a size 10. Undeterred, I decided to try it on and it fit. That was amazing because 12 was my normal size. Immediately, I purchased it and headed to the Chanel counter to buy all of the requisite makeup. As soon as I sat down, I told the ladies that this was where I had to purchase my makeup because I wanted to look like a sophisticated lady. This was no time for CVS makeup! After purchasing my lipstick, liquid foundation, lip liner and eye makeup, I thought about how empowering it was to save the $1000 cash and to use the 20% off coupon to save even more money. Having purchased the first gown that I wanted, I boarded the 2C bus to Dunn Loring, transferred to the orange line to Metro Center then reboard the red line to Friendship Heights to buy the second dress that I wanted. Upon returning to a now bustling Chevy Chase store, I managed to try on the black halter sequined dress then bought a black purchase. Cumulatively I saved $131.20 on my total purchases giving me breathing room. Furthermore, it made me almost forget not buying the Badgley Mishicka ball gown that I really wanted.

This shopping experience reaffirmed the importance of hustle and staying true to myself because I could had settled for buying the white sequined dress in a size 12 but that was not the one that I wanted; just like that I could had settled for buying the unofficial ball ticket but I saved and waited for the official one to come. These two examples exemplified how patience and integrity were necessary towards being successful in anything.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Place in Obama Inaugural History

I am happy to announce that I am the very first person to pick up my official Obama inaugural ball ticket from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center! In the bitter cold I walk down L Street to the convention center, inform the security guard that I am here to pick up my two official inaugural ball tickets. And, because I arrive in person rather than having my ticket mailed, I receive an official inaugural invitation with the president-elect's and vice president-elect's pictures!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Notes on the 2009 Fiesta Bowl: At Least My Buckeyes Have Shown Up!

Even though my OSU Buckeyes have lost to the Texas Longhorns 24-21 in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, I am happy that they have at least showed up to play! Furthermore, I am impressed at Terrelle Pryor's maturity who can hold his head up knowing that as a freshman he has given the Buckeyes the lead and the ability to win the game. Actually this game looks like one of those dandies from 2005 and 2006! Finally, I see Ohio State getting better especially with Terrelle at the helm!

Education and Opportunity for All

Work has paid dividends today because researching some counties using the exception edit let me see how other Americans are using the Pell Grant to pay for their education. Until today I have never known that Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Augustana College and Concordia University exist in Oklahoma, North Dakota, and West Virginia, respectively. These are not numbers but people which motivate me to solidify my spring 2009 plans. I have overcome my fear of submitting the wrong email to a professor(I will still call my advisor for vetting purposes). I will finalize my schedule and aid package and check the bookstore for the new book. Completing these classes put me only my master's thesis away from graduating.

On another note, Tuesday I will travel to UDC to submit my certified tax return. I need to have everyhing aligned because this summer I will have two independent study research seminars. This is my way to bolster my analytical background. Also I will conduct county cycle research because this year has been interesting to say the least. I have had the opportunity to find and fix many errors. This has been a learning experience enabling me to grow from it. Personally I feel that these experiences allow me to ace the SAS certification.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

From winning the ALDP slot to receiving my ZP-III economist promotion, I have accomplished a lot of my objectives. However, my American University return has not been as smooth because I must retake both classes after receiving dismal grades. Starting with calculus III, this entire year has been nothing but retakes. Though it looks like 2009 will be a redo, I will still graduate in 2009, conduct two independent study research projects, vie for the GS-12 economist post and expand my career and professional opportunities through earning six statistics credits to become a statistician and attending the NABE, NBMBAA, NAACP and ASA JSM annual conferences. Regardless of circumstances, I will improve my lot this 2009.