Advocacy Day and DC Trip, 2018

I always seem to do my best planning after the even occurs, much to my internal project manager’s chagrin. Since MomZ and I got back from DC, I’ve already revamped my packing list (which I didn’t even use this time), added travel items to a new “Travel Items” shopping list on Amazon, and started researching places to visit & eat at next year when MomZ and I are in DC.


My annual pilgrimage to DC has been my favorite trip of the year, despite the fact that it can be the most sad reunion ever. But MomZ and I have met and made some great friends on the trip, and she and I seem to travel very well together.

Every year, we get a little bit better at going up on The Hill, and this year, I think a huge contributing factor to that is that it was just MomZ and I in our Representatives’ offices this year.

Which is a double-edged sword – MomZ and I don’t screw around when it comes to sales pitches (which is ultimately what our Congressional asks are), but at the same time, it means that out of the approximately 4.5 million people in Northeast Ohio, only two went to Advocacy Day this year.

So, as much as I like MomZ and I being a two-person powerhouse, we need more people to come and pester the shit out of Congress to pass research funding budgets.

Notes from our trip:

  • For the first time in 4 years, both MomZ and my “comfortable” travel shoes gave up their ghosts, and we found ourselves almost completely unable to walk by the end of the trip. That put a damper on sightseeing our last day.
  • We hit two new museums: the National Museum of Natural History, and National Museum of American History. We liked them both.
  • We’ve decided that since Smithsonian museums are free, we’d just hit the exhibits we wanted to see, and beat feet. If there’s stuff we want to see next year, we’ll just go back.
  • Made it to one of the Ladurée in the United States. I got to bandy about my mangled French, but the shopgirl – who was French – appreciated it and helped my awful pronunciation. I then ate my weight in macarons.
  • I don’t know why anyone take my directions as gospel, but at one point on our Mall walk, MomZ, Terri and I ended up on the stage of the outdoor amphitheater in the cordoned-off-because-of-construction section by the Washington Monument. Don’t follow me like you know where I’m going! This is how we all end up in jail!
  • We did some shopping at the Pentagon City Mall, but it was surprisingly just for things we needed: dress shoes for me, light shirt for MomZ. We looked in Sephora, but realized we both liked Ulta better, and since we can shop at both of those places at home, what’s the point? We spent our money in the museum gift shops instead.
  • MomZ and I both got new piercings. She got third holes in both of her lobes, and I finally got my forward helix done. I think it’s placed too low, but it gives me room to get a second one (which I probably will).


  • Next year, we’ll probably stay at an off-site hotel. The Renaissance is cost-prohibitive, and I’m going to make a better effort to pick up the tab. Besides, DC is so very commutable, it’ll be a lot like living/working in DC. I like this opportunity a lot better. Maybe an AirBnB, maybe not. We’ll see.
  • The White House is one of those places you can see once and only once in your lifetime. MomZ hated how many security checkpoints we had to go through, and I thought Biltmore was better. I’ve seen it once, I’m good for life.



For the rest of our trip photo album, head on over to Google Photos.

Sunday Soujourn

We’re in the throws of September, which means the Ziffels need to pick which weekend we head to our annual Yankee Peddler sojourn.

Got a text message from MomZ this morning asking if I wanted to go to YP today, or head to Neu Ziffelhaus for lunch. Since I was napping on the couch (I stayed out late last night painting a sample Wedding Plate for a friend’s pottery painting studio last night), I didn’t get the text until an hour later, and I still hadn’t showered, I opted to meet them for a late lunch.

Made a wedding platter as an example for the studio.

A photo posted by Julia (@styckywycket) on Sep 10, 2016 at 8:37pm PDT

As part of lunch, we went to Jeni’s in Chagrin Falls, which was MomZ and DadZ first time. I could have had the Salted Carmel, which is my favorite, but I eat it all the time. I opted for the Ylang Ylang & Fennel instead, which was actually really good. However:

  • it tasted like you’d expect an aromatherapy candle to smell, and therefore,
  • would have been way better in a cup than a cone.

That said, I like the boutiqu-y flavor of it, so if I see it at Heinen’s in the near future, I’ll grab a million-dollar pint of it to eat when the weather is not nearly as gorgeous as it was today.

Edited to Add: I mentioned to Charlie about my ice cream flavor. He cocked an eyebrow and said, “Did it smell like the shower? Because that the scent of the shower spray we use?”


#PurpleStride 2016

Since the last time we talked (the trip to France), DadZ had been diagnosed at Stage 1 pancreatic cancer (January, 2014). Diagnosis that early is almost completely unheard of, and our family has been very, very lucky. DadZ is basically cancer free (he had a radical pancreatectomy and is now a bittle diabetic and eats with Creon).

As such, MomZ and I work very hard to give back to the 92% of families that won’t be as lucky when their loved ones get a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Purple Stride, 2016
Click here to go to the entire album.

Here’s how PurpleStride Cleveland and Team “Ziffel Whipple’d PanCan” did:

  • Total raised: $230,000/$300,000 (77% of goal).
  • Top Team: “Exceptional, Not Average” ($27,918).
  • Ziffel Raised: $2,695 (54% of goal).
  • Total # on Team Ziffel: 12 (120% of goal).
  • Top Team Ziffel fundraiser: Andrea Hauserman ($570).
  • Charlie’s Race Time: DNF (the course was weird :( ).

We had a ton of people donating. I was so honored to be able to present our donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.