A (Short) Trip Report

I went to DC for work this week.

It was a short trip to the FDA.  I flew out of SFO Monday morning, checked into a hotel not too far from IAD.  Had maybe an hour free.  Got together with the team for a preparation/strategy meeting over dinner.  Adjourned, went to bed.  Got together with the team for a preparation meeting over breakfast.  Went to the FDA for a meeting.  Went to IAD.  Debriefed over lunch.  Flew back to SFO Tuesday evening.  Worked on planes both ways; not too hard.

Here are several sketches from the trip that are mildly amusing and vaguely symbolic to reflect upon on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of moving to California from the East Coast last week.

Traveling light

I had one “commuter” backpack, no “personal item”, no small purse.  I had everything I needed to be comfortable, warm, clean, and properly dressed for the official meeting.  I still managed to bring stuff I didn’t end up using, e.g. makeup.  A laptop and a medium-sized knitting project fit into the backpack with all that and room to spare.  Would have been even more room, if it weren’t winter.  What do others have in their carry ons and personal items??

I sort of longed for skates when I walked past an open and empty skating rink during the one free hour before the meetings.  It was too cold anyway and I got rid of the skates when I moved to California.

What a hippie

I debated refreshing the mint green hair highlights before the trip.  Then remembered we were going to be meeting important people not on the West Coast, so perhaps a green haired statistician would not be positively impressive.

I debated bringing a neti pot and a little container of triphala powder.  Brought both, used both.  I did not bring a yoga mat, but did a bit of yoga in the hotel room without.

The portraits

There are large portraits of the US President, VP, HHS Secretary, and one more gentleman (who?) in the FDA building lobby, that being a government building.
img_20170111_124129_015 I thought “good thing we went early in the year”.  Then took a picture.  Then got loudly reprimanded by multiple security guys for taking a picture.  Apologized with an excellent friendly spacey Californian impression.  What?  No pictures?  Oh, sorry, won’t happen again.  Not any time soon for sure. *sigh*

The Mumbling Memorandum

There were 10 of us and maybe a dozen FDA employees in the meeting.  We started with introductions, going around the table, FDA first.

Around the table introductions are rarely done well.  The common pitfalls are people saying their names too fast, or not saying the full name in presence of strangers, or not describing their function or role at the meeting helpfully enough.  Here though, all the FDA employees mumbled their names and roles slowly enough, but so you can barely hear them.  I am convinced that there is a special procedure requiring them to do that, so they are impossible to be recorded surreptitiously.


There was rain, fog, and wind with gusts up to 40 mph at SFO.  We only got delayed 2 hours.   Much respect to SFO traffic control.

It was good to be home.  East Coast friends: next time…


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