Three-Way Birthdays To Remember

My last night in Austin was in February 2011, a week before our birthday. The karaoke goodbye at Do512 HQ was thrown in part by John and April, so this was our de facto final three-way party.
My last night in Austin was in February 2011, a week before our birthday. The karaoke goodbye at Do512 HQ was thrown in part by John and April, so this was our de facto final three-way party.

There is no annual gathering that’s more special to me than the now-defunct “Three-Way Birthday” parties of my Austin years. For five years in my twenties, I celebrated my birthday with two other Texas politcal reporters who also were born on February 17th — my besties April Castro and John Moritz. We are the dancing-on-bartops together (April) and buy-homes-from-one-another (I bought John’s house) kind of close friends. Our friendship was born out of many inside jokes, lunches at the Texas Chili Parlor (which makes a CHEESEBURGER SALAD), drinks at the Stephen F. Austin hotel, and long nights at the Texas Capitol, staking out one politician or another, or listening to the endless chubbing of lawmakers stalling votes or adding amendments to amendments to the budget bill. And, of course, our annual birthday ritual fueled memories for always.

I suppose I moved away first, so maybe it’s all my fault, but now we are in three different countries. John remains in Austin, Texas, but I weirdly live in South Korea and April recently relocated to Canada. I think of them often, and miss them often, but never as much as I do on our birthday. (This just reminded me: One year, a Texas lawmaker who was ALSO born on February 17 did one of those honorary resolutions on the House floor to recognize us for our birthday, probably just because it was also his day, but anyway, it was pretty amusing.)

I met April in a committee room at the Texas Capitol, and John on my first day on the beat as a Texas political reporter. We quickly learned we shared a birthday. This is a snap from our very first joint birthday party, in 2007.
I met April in a committee room at the Texas Capitol, and John on my first day on the beat as a Texas political reporter. We quickly learned we shared a birthday. This is a snap from our very first joint birthday party, in 2007.

The 2008 party is memorable because it didn’t happen, and we can blame Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for that. We were political reporters, and Obama and Clinton were locked in such a tight battle at that point because Obama hoped to lock up the nomination in Texas/Ohio, that we were working nonstop. On the night of our party, Obama held a rally in downtown Austin in which something like 30,000 people showed up. We had to cancel the party at the last minute because we had to cover the rally.

The invite to a party that didn't happen. When we made the invite campaign-themed, we didn't know that the Obama campaign would be the reason our party got canceled.
The invite to a party that didn’t happen. When we made the invite campaign-themed, we didn’t know that the Obama campaign would be the reason our party got canceled.
Every year for the big party we'd send out invitations in which we'd combine our three ages. In 2009, we turned 112.
Every year for the big party, we’d send out invitations in which we’d combine our three ages. In 2009, we turned 112.
In 2010, we threw our swankiest party, at a bungalow that's part of Hotel St. Cecelia. After years of throwing "three-way's," we actually had a bed at our party venue.
In 2010, we threw our swankiest party, at a bungalow that’s part of Hotel St. Cecelia. After years of throwing “three-way’s,” we actually had a bed at our party venue.

Happiest of birthdays to my partners-in-mischief and fellow February 17thers. I miss you and treasure our shared birthday memories.

Catching Up Since I’ve Been Away

At the Paul McCartney concert, every seat at Nats stadium was filled.
At the Paul McCartney concert, every seat at Nats stadium was filled.

The bosses at NPR handed me the keys to our ‘All Tech Considered’ blog, which requires a lot of considering. So I’ve spent what time I have left on the important things: binge-watching Orange is the New Black, meeting up with friends at bars (naturally), and forgetting to blog on HeyElise.

Have I mentioned Orange is the New Black? I love, love, LOVE this show. So much to love. Last night I started a Twitter friendship with one of its actors (the dude you plays Bennett). He’s a hottie, but that’s not what makes OITNB so great. I don’t want to say anything else because you should just go watch it on Netflix.

Let’s see… what else? Between the Air Sex Championship and the fire-starting, I made a quick trip to Cambridge, where I reported a story on MIT’s folding cars (hasn’t aired yet) and attended the Knight/Civic Media confab. The Knight team was kind enough to let me curate and moderate the final panel of the conference, about disrupting newsrooms. You can read about it or watch the video here, though I didn’t bother to run a brush through my hair before going on stage and it’s painfully obvious.

At work, we had to say goodbye to NPR’s irreplaceable Director of Design, Dave Wright. Twitter (perhaps you’ve heard of it) lured him to San Francisco. Dave also happens to be one of the handful of people who made Washington so fun for us over these last two years. He’s such a special talent and hilarious human — I’m going to miss our long venting sessions and fast lunches and just general shenanigans together. To see just how much he meant to us, check out the quick video that Friend Claire and I made for Dave’s goodbye shindig at work. (Password: dwjr)

Oh, and thanks to a last minute invite from my bestie The Beam, I got to check off a bucket list item by seeing Paul McCartney. Just me, the Beam, and about 50,000 people under the stars.

My friends and I have hit “peak baby,” or whatever you want to call that time in your life when all your gal pals are pregnant and having babies. My BFF April came to DC a few weeks ago and announced she was pregnant (she’s the one whose Texas wedding I was willing to leave newborn Eva for). So is Friend Judy. And today, a bunch of us girls went out to Virgnia to celebrate the entrance of Baby Bob IV into the world. He’s the new son of one of my personal heroes, Angie Goff, and he’s a great cuddler. I love snuggling with these wee humans.

Snuggling with OhMyGoff's little prince, Baby Bob IV, at eight weeks old.
Snuggling with OhMyGoff’s little prince, Baby Bob IV, at eight weeks old.

Now we head into August (already?!), which will be a big travel month for me and the spouse and the spawn. Off to Ann Arbor tomorrow…

Matchmaking Success: April and Chad Got Hitched

Two years ago, one of my bridesmaids and best friends, April, unwittingly fell victim to a TOTAL ROMANTIC CATASTROPHE. There’s no need to go into the details except to say I learned of this in the middle of a busy downtown street and was so stunned that I froze there on the asphalt as cars honked to avoid running me over.

In the blur of  time following the news, April and I spent night after night out at bars, rooftop parties, dives featuring wood paneling and karaoke, sketchy dance clubs full of cougars, and, you get the idea. All along, we kept our friends Keith and Virginia, parents to a then-newborn, updated with new developments in the TOTAL ROMANTIC CATASTROPHE.

Around that time, Keith had begun a friendship with a super smart engineer named Chad. And he decided that Chad should meet April. So he enlisted my help in bringing the two together. We organized a happy hour, ostensibly to casually hang out, but mainly so the two could meet.

Within a month the two were dating, by Christmas they’d met one anothers families, and by this Easter, they were engaged. Keith and I spent their weekend wedding in the Texas Hill Country gloating over our matchmaking success.

 

Continue reading “Matchmaking Success: April and Chad Got Hitched”

Look Out, You Just Got Lobbied

SAN ANTONIO — Anywhere there are hundreds of state lawmakers you will find just as many special interest groups. (American Society for Nude Recreation, anyone?) Here at the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures, not only can you find lobbyists galore, you can also find plenty of the swag they give away to subtly (or not so subtly) communicate their brands.

My besties April, Blake and Justin helped me show off my favorite swag of the conference: