31 July 2009

"Whatta man, whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man"--Salt N Pepa

It's a sleepy Friday so howsabout you crawl into my lap and I'll tell you a story? *oof* Just watch the elbows.

Many years ago, I was in my mid-twenties, coming off a bad marriage, fairly new to the area and to my job, and living in my own little apartment. It was pretty low on the fancy amenities scale, but it had one thing going for it: it was mineminemine.*

I decided to throw a party and invited a college friend, Herman, down from Jersey** for the weekend. I spread the word and bought official party food (Ruffles and Molson) and even bought some records to play. Herman informed me that this was a mistake. No one wanted to hear a whole side of a Thompson Twins record. No indeed. He brought mix tapes and saved the party.

My boyfriend of a few months (read: rebound), Kevin, came over early. In hindsight, he wasn't a very good match for me but at the time I was one smitten kitten. I was hoping Herman would like my new beau. I wanted to feel good about my choices again after making such a dismally bad choice (my former husband). But, no. Herman and Kevin were sizing each other up in that icky way straight men do from the first moment they saw each other.

Party time (excellent) came and I was pleased that so many of my new friends showed. There were probably about twenty-five of us in my little apartment and we spilled out onto the balcony which looked down onto the parking lot. It was a first floor apartment and [key point -->] over twenty feet up from ground level.

I'd invited a co-worker, Rob. Rob had a really bad crush on Susie, who was about 15 years his senior by the way.*** He followed her around all night like a puppy begging for a Milkbone. ****

The beer flowed and the talk flowed and the music flowed and at some point somebody pointed out that there was a tow truck down in the parking lot and a car was being towed. Susie realized it was her car, parked illegally in a reserved spot. Susie called down to the tow truck operator to stop, she'd be right down. As you might expect, the tow truck operator ignored her. She headed out the door.

Rob, seeing his chance to play the hero, but having twelve too many beers to see the flaw in his plan, figured it would be quicker to get to the tow truck operator by going over the balcony railing. He nearly did, too. He scrambled up onto the balcony railing, all the while shouting that he'd be right there. Rob was about to jump off when Kevin wrapped his arms around Rob's waist and pulled him back, with a simple "You don't want to do that, Rob."

Susie had to pay the tow truck operator to get her car back and, crisis ended, the party continued into the night. When everybody left and Herman and I were cleaning up...

Me: So, what did you think of Kevin?
Herman: Mm. I wasn't impressed.
Me: You found nothing to like about him?
Herman: *pause* Sorry.
Me, *pouting*:
Herman, *grudgingly*: Okay, there was something.
Me *beaming*:
Herman: The way he wrapped his arms around Rob and pulled him off the railing, that was quick thinking. I liked that. That was something.
Me: ...well... yeah!

That was something.

We see stuff happen all the time, and even as we known it shouldn't be happening, we don't often move quickly enough to stop it. Kevin did. His instincts kicked in and, in that instant, he acted. He saved Rob from, at a minimum, a broken ankle. I don't think Rob ever thanked him. I don't think Kevin ever expected to be thanked. He just did what needed to be done.

Kevin broke my heart a few months later but on that night I was proud of him.

* And the landlord's.

** There's nothing "New" about it.

*** Can I get an "Amen" for older women?

**** Too easy?

30 July 2009

"Summertime and the livin' is easy" --George Gershwin

I am all over summer. It is my favorite season.

Some of the things I love about summer:

  • less clothes in general and sun dresses in particular
  • grilled foods
  • feeling the sun on my skin
  • having a vast array of ripe fruits and berries and melons
  • day lilies and hydrangea
  • Silver Queen corn and tomatoes that taste like tomatoes
  • having hours of daylight to enjoy after I come home from work
  • ice cream
  • craving and enjoying salads
  • people coming out of their hideyholes, smiling

Summer is languorous. Summer is delicious.

And probably the thing I love most about summer is my lack of footwear. If it were socially acceptable I'd be barefoot all the freakin' time. From early spring to late fall, I wear sandals when I'm out and I'm barefoot when I'm home. Always. Like the moment I come in the door from work the shoes come off. And if I'm around the house, I'm barefoot, too. I love the feel of grass under my feet.

And this makes me a "bad example." You see the neighbor kids are not permitted to go barefoot outside. Can you believe that? Not ever. Their parents have convinced them that going barefoot is dangerous and dirty. The kids have even suggested that my going barefoot is dangerous and dirty.

Aren't all the fun things in life described this way?

28 July 2009

"Now give me money, that's what I want" --The Beatles

[Editor's note: Yeah, I was a little quick with the trigger finger today and--accidentally--blessed you with two posts. Instead of pointing out my error, you could, oh, I dunno, just be grateful and look at both of them. Well, you could. Or even--now this is a crazy thought here--comment! Getting judgy is not a good look on you. Neither is taupe. Just sayin'.]

I had lunch with the entertaining and sweet Barbara in Old Town Alexandria at Restaurant Eve. They run quite the deal during the week. So I got good company and good food.

I also got more. Usually I have some change on me but this time I managed to leave the house without any change and Old Town is all about metered parking. What to do?

I considered parking, running to the restaurant, asking for change, running back to the car all while hoping a cop didn't wander by in the meantime. But the three--count 'em: three--cop cars I saw on the way, made me nervous.

Instead, I parked, took a dollar out of my purse and, waving it, asked the first person I saw if she had change for the meter. She immediately replied "Yes" and handed me four quarters from her hand! I guess she was all ready to feed a meter herself and had extra...? Strange, but who am I to be ungrateful? I thanked her, gave her the dollar and fed the meter.

That bought me an hour. Probably sufficient but I didn't want to be that person that rushes you through lunch. So, I took out another dollar and waved it at the next person I saw, asking for change for the meter. He immediately fished out his change and said "I don't have change for a dollar but take what I have." Me: "No, here, take the dollar." Him: "No, no, just take the change and feed the meter."


Which brings me to the question du jour: How often do you depend on the kindness of strangers? Will you only do it in emergencies or do you assume, hey, that's what strangers are for?

Bonus questions: Would you help someone in this situation or keep walking? Would it matter what they looked like?

" I remember we were driving driving in your car" --Tracey Chapman

Here's my thinking: we've overcomplicated driving.

All those rules we learned in Driver's Ed? What's the point? Sure, sometimes you come to a complete stop at a stop sign and sometimes you maintain the three second rule for distance between you and the car in front of you. See? That's only two of the 428 rules and it's already too complicated.

Who can blame you if you don't follow all the rules to the letter? You are busy multitasking. You have things to do. You're watching a movie on your I-phone. You're looking up stock prices. You're calling your pal to set up a Frisbee golf game. You're texting that bit of stuff from Saturday night. You're eating Cheetos.* You're applying lip liner.* You're shaving your kinkajou.* You're figuring out which Sopranos character you are on a Facebook quiz. You're looking up "eating Cheetos" in the Urban Dictionary. You're reading my blog. Driving is secondary, I get that.

So, I say we simplify. Really simplify.

From now on there's one and only one question you should be asking yourself when you're behind the wheel: Am I in someone's way? If the answer is yes, get out of the way or expect a ticket. If the answer is no, carry on, my friend. Because, fascinating as it may be to see what you are doing in your car while you are supposedly driving, Mr. I'mDriftingIntoYourLaneAgain, the bottom line is I just want you to get out of the way. I, in
turn, will get out of your way.

Who's with me? Text #7 to 4329, but first get over into the right-hand lane.

* Euphemism? You decide.

27 July 2009

"Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'" --Billy Preston

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!
Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.

Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

the Sniper points to Navin's name in the phone book]
Sniper: Johnson, Navin R... sounds like a typical bastard.

I got a raise. I'm not talking about the one in your pants. At work, I just got a raise.

Not to curse it or anything. (Are you superstitious like that? I am spitting like Franny Fine--*ptui* *ptui* *ptui*--to avoid drawing the evil eye upon me.)

Not a lot of money. Really not. But still a pleasant surprise.

Thank you, Universe!

I guess I'm all that. *snort* NOT!

Oh, I have moments of sheer brilliance at work. I do! Unfortunately, they are always wedged squarely between months of sheer idiocy.

Do you play this game? Every little increase means I go into calculation mode...

"I'm worth how much a year? What does that come to per hour? How much more is that per check?" And even though all the new numbers are remarkably close to the old numbers, I get a little jazzed. "$6.95/hour?! OMG! That's practically minimum wage! The gumballs are on me!"

Which brings me to the question du jour, which may seem like a no brainer to you but I've heard differing views on this: In your experience, who's more generous? Wealthy people or poor people?

23 July 2009

"Everybody's talkin' at me" --Harry Nillson


Yesterday was a blur and today shows signs of being icky*, too, so let's keep this brief, hm?

I know people that read the blogs of everyone who reads their blog. I also know people that state "Read what you want to read, period."

The questions du jour:
Do you read everyone that reads you? Do you read only the blogs that entertain you?

Unrelated bonus question because you look so gosh darn cute in that outfit today:
Do you feel cheated when the first square or two of toilet paper gets shredded when you try to start the roll?

Yet another unrelated super bonus question because your hair smells terrific: When you hear commercials for the inhaler Spiriva, do you think "Spiriva... great device for helping people breathe" or do you think "Spiriva... I think I got a nasty case of that when I ate some bad oysters"?

* Technical jargon. Feel free to be in awe.

21 July 2009

"I'm not feeling too good myself" --Joe Cocker

I could never be bulimic. I hate vomiting too much.

I used to get car sick and plane sick and boat sick all the time. It wasn't a family vacation without Dad pulling the car over so I could stumble out and hurl.

I come by it naturally. No joke: my mother and aunt got nauseous at the Baltimore Aquarium. They were walking through it and all the fish swimming around in the tanks was enough to turn them green around the gills (nyucknyuck).

But it's been years since I've refunded. Not to say I don't still get a bit nauseous if the driver of a car is really jerky and I'm in back. Focused breathing, facing forward, even holding onto my head to keep it from moving seems to help. I fly multiple times a year and I've learned to deep breathe and self-talk my way through turbulence. I choose to go out on small, wobbly boats so I can go snorkeling. I've even gone para-sailing. And I've gotten nauseous in all of these situations... but stopped short of singing a rainbow.

What I haven't figured out is how to not get nauseous to begin with. Is it all in the bend of the knees, like in skiing? Is it keeping your head forward of your center of gravity? Is it not eating the 7-11 nachos?

Tips gratefully appreciated.

And just because I know there are some of you who will appreciate it, I give you:

The Vomit Thesaurus

20 July 2009

"Never going back again" --Fleetwood Mac

In our recent travels we passed a Red Lobster and I admitted that I'd never had that particular culinary experience. It didn't bother me, not being in the know. I realized I was a bit rare in this way but, hey, okay, it's not like having an extra nipple.*

But men tend to like "firsts". So, Friday, we went to a Red Lobster. You're judging me, aren't you?

I was pleased with the choice of drinks, the Caesar salad was fresh and Caesary--though it was overdressed, and I was quite impressed with the cheese biscuits:
Seriously. They should change the name of the place to Cheese Biscuits.

Even the service was on point.

What was terrible was the main meal, the very thing they brag about. The seafood ranged from mediocre to down-right nasty. The seafood lover in me? Not loving it, to say the least.

A minor plus: it was reasonably-priced nastiness.

And, if anybody asks if I've been to a Bob Evans, I'm keeping my mouth shut.

* No offense intended to readers afflicted with this condition. Or do you consider yourself "nipple enhanced"? "Nipple enriched"? "Nipple laden"? How many times can I say "nipple" in one footnote?**


16 July 2009

Sex and death, but not in that order

See that? That's a hearse. For reals. So what, you say.*

Look closely at my crappy, in-motion picture. That's a hearse--With. A. Luggage. Rack.


Maybe you can take it with you...?

Maybe this is for all those people that you meet and you think, "Geez, they have so much baggage, they're gonna need a hearse with a luggage rack." Okay, I've never thought that part after the comma, but I will from now on.

Hm, if I was gonna customize a hearse I think there's better features than a luggage rack. Maybe a bar for the mourners?

Meanwhile, in a completely different direction, I was reading The Foggy Dew's** post and that got me to the question of the day:

Lingerie: A wonderful thing or just one more thing that's in the way?


* I love it when you're impudent. ( Come a little closer. I'll give you impudent.

** A very cool guy to hang out with, by the way.

15 July 2009

"I found God on the corner of First and Amistad" --The Fray

This morning, on my standard commute, I am sitting in my car at a light and I turn to the right and see two guys standing, smoking, staring in my direction. I immediately feel uncomfortable. I don't know why. I think "dirtbags". I wonder why I have this visceral--and likely unfair--reaction. I look around, not seeing anything they might be staring at. I look back at them. They're still standing, smoking, staring. I don't want to make eye contact so I look straight ahead.

It's a long light. And I won't turn my head to the right. So, eventually, I turn to the left, again. There, I see a young man (20s?) with a book bag slung over his shoulder and he's walking but not like you and I walk. His legs don't work right. It's as if he's dragging each leg to get each foot into the right configuration. If he weren't so young, I'd think he had polio. Muscular dystrophy? Cerebral palsy? Sadly, there are lots of reasons legs don't work right. I think "poor guy" as I watch him slowly, laboriously make his way down the sidewalk.

As he is crossing the street, he breaks into a run. It's somehow less disturbing to watch him run. He's still ungainly but maybe it's because lots of people look flaily when they run and he is impressive. He is booking it for all he's worth and I'm surprised at how quickly he can move.

It's at this point that the bus comes up and I realize this guy is running for the bus stop. The light is changing but the bus goes through the yellow light and I know there's no way this guy is going to make the bus stop in time. He's still too far away. If only the bus had stopped at the light... My heart sinks for this guy.

With the light change, I start to drive. And, as I go, I see the bus pull up next to the running guy and the doors open. He stops and turns. And I am happy.

14 July 2009

Assorted Flotsom

[No, no! Hank you for the attention to etail!!]

Weird little things that I should probably have saved for TMIT:

  • I have an extremely mild allergy to cranapple juice. I drink cranapple juice mixed with seltzer multiple times a week and every time I drink it, two minutes later, my nose runs. Just a little bit.
  • My feet squeak. Charming, yes? I am always barefoot and now that I live in a house with a good stretch of hardwood floors, I've come to realize that I turn my feet enough as I walk for them to squeak. Who needs to beat box when parts of you are naturally musical?
  • And what the heck is this:

I've seen these purple contraptions in the trees in Maryland and in Virginia. Anybody in the know?

13 July 2009

"The moral of this little tale... is sip your cider from a pail" --traditional, Sippin Cider

Hello, ducklings! I'm back. Let me see you shake your tail feathers!*

I've spent the week catching up with relatives I don't get to see often enough, doing as little as possible, and gaining weight like I was destined for one of those survivor shows where they make you eat rats.

Them: I'm afraid all that's here to eat is rats.
Me: Sounds lovely but I'm still full from my last vacation. Please pass my rat to Ryan Seacrest.

I don't actually watch those shows but if anyone should be on an island eating rats, it's the omnipresent Ryan Seacrest.

I was sure that a week away from work would leave me abuzz with creativity, a veritable font of fizzy lifting pure delight. Mmm, not so much. Maybe I've shot my proverbial wad, blog-wise. Unlike Seinfeld, I refuse to go out on top. I will drag this down and around and then around some more a la The Beverly Hillbillies. Because calling a swimming pool a "cee-ment pond" never gets old.

While traveling, we stopped at a restaurant. It was a place that served drinks in big plastic cups. The kind that looks like frosted glass, but isn't. You know? They brought me a straw and I got to thinking and you know I can't have an unexpressed thought.**

At fast food places, I totally get the straw deal. You've got that plastic lid on top and you have to poke a straw through that plastic lid in order to enjoy your 186 ounce beverage without spilling it while you are speeding around curves and wondering whose house to TP next.***

What I don't get is when you actually get an honest to god hard cup, like I did--without a plastic lid--and they bring you a straw.

Is it a hygiene thing? What are they saying? "You probably don't want to put your lips on that cup"? Is that what they're saying? Because if that's what they're saying, why should I think I want to put my lips on anything else in that establishment? Are the forks any cleaner than the cups?

Is it a dexterity thing? Is it: "You don't look like you can manage to lift that cup to your mouth without spilling any and we don't want to clean up after you"? Is that what they're saying? Then, why not just bring me a sippy cup! Hmph. Should I be insulted?
I'd hate to think I missed an opportunity to be insulted and was all pleasant-like when I could have been all pissy.

And, finally, are straws girly? Do real men not use straws?


Oh, and,



* You know you want to. Go on. No one's watching... A little more... Thaaaaat's it. Perfect!

** I would make a lousy spy. You: So, you're new in town? Me: I HAVE THE SECRET FORMULA!

*** I have it on good authority that TPing has been replaced by forking. Little plastic forks all over the lawn. Niiiice. So, you twenty-somethings, feel free to replace all references to TPing with forking. And you fifty- and sixty-somethings, feel free to replace all TPing references with words like Lindy and skidoo.

03 July 2009

"I'm going to Montana to throw a houlihan" --traditional, Old Paint

So, yesterday was my last day in the office before vacation. The night before I had this dream:

I was in the mountains and there was a cow, of the classic black and white variety. (They're the best kind, right?) Further in the dream, I no longer saw the cow. I realized I had failed to tell the cow the important information I was supposed to convey. D'oh!

I woke up in a panic, scouring my brain, trying to think:

a) what the hell was I supposed to tell the cow?

b) how can I find the cow again to convey this critical data?

It took me a good 30 seconds to wake up enough to realize that, maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't be worried about this.

Still, I spent a good bit of the day with that feeling that I was forgetting something. But you know what? I'm done. If I forgot something, I no longer care what I forgot. (Is this senility? Hm, not so bad!)

What the heck am I saying? (You don't know either?) I'm saying (if it isn't already abundantly clear from my disjointed and increasingly parenthetical posts):

It's time for vacation.

Adios, muchachos y muchachas! And, if you see the cow, tell her to text me.

Yours 'til Niagara Falls, 'til Hungary fries Turkey in Greece, 'til the kitchen sinks,


Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Interrupting cow.



01 July 2009

"Tartlet. Tartlet. Tartlet. That word has lost all meaning."

Have you noticed how the term "salad" has lost all meaning?

Well, Webster's says it has meaning:

1: any of various usu. cold dishes: as a: raw greens (as lettuce) often combined with other vegetables and toppings and served especially with dressing b: small pieces of food (as pasta, meat, fruit, or vegetables) usually mixed with a dressing (as mayonnaise) or set in gelatin*

Oh, that clears it right up.

It's about temperature. But it's not. It's about greens. But it's not. It's about what it's dressed with. But it's not. It's about size.** But it's not. It's about suspension.*** But it's not.

English is such a specific language. Except when it's not.

At some point, somebody had to point to something that wasn't a salad prior to that moment in history and say "Prithee, Squire, passeth me the ...salad!" and somebody passed what he was pointing to and danged if the roast beast on dandelion greens didn't become a salad.

How about we lump soup and dessert in under "salad" and call it a day?

At my next physical, when the doctor asks about my diet, I'm going to tell him the truth: "Hand to god, Doc, every meal I eat is salad."

* Webster doesn't even mention fish but I've seen plenty of fish salads. And taco salads. And...

** That's what she said!

*** And why is there always room for Jello? Is it the compression factor?