Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guilty Pleasures: An iPod Game

A friend emailed me last night and said that he'd been talking with people at work about the most embarrassing songs on their iPods. Their gulity pleasures.

His is REO Speedwagon: Roll With The Changes.

Here's my problem - I'm not always sure what should be embarrassing. I mean, I was raised overseas, with very little access to Western pop culture, and a father who listened exclusively to opera and show tunes. My brother and I didn't know the Beatles till the end of the '70s. We could, however, sing every single line to every song in Evita.

I asked my colleague T, who said, without hesitation, "Oh, well, some Britney Spears and some Justin Timberlake."

"But do you really have to be embarrassed about those? Everyone has some Britney and some Justin. I just bought that Sexyback song."

"Yah, you're right. OK, then, this definitely qualifies: Paris Hilton: Stars are Blind."

"Yes, that definitely qualifies."

"So what are yours?"

It turns out I have quite a variety. I have some Barry Manilow - I love that Copacabana song, I seriously do. I have Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker. I have Brandy, You're a Fine Girl, by I don't even know who.

These are things one could definitely make fun of me for.

It got me wondering about the fabulous array of possibilities. What's on your iPod that embarrasses you? Any guilty pleasures?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Exuberance and the Pill

A guy friend just emailed a bunch of us the text of a NY Times article entitled The Claim: The Pill Can Make You Put On Weight, found in the Health section of today's paper. The article described the results of a study on weight gain and the pill.

The final paragraph of text that my friend sent said this:

THE BOTTOM LINE The link between the pill and weight gain is exaggerated at best. Oral contraceptives and exuberant fellatio are clearly superior alternatives to condom use or abstinence for avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

I had to read it a couple times to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. And then immediately had to pull up the Times and find the article.

Which of course said nothing about fellatio, exuberant or otherwise.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with him for sneaking that in.

Moderation Is Not My Strong Suit

I have always sucked at moderation.

I don't know if you know this about M&Ms, but if you buy them in the plastic pound bag they're crunchier than in the small paper ones. And so I always buy the pound bags. I mean, when I buy them. Which, usually, is almost never.

Because. Because if I'm going to eat M&Ms, I'm going to eat the entire bag. Even if it means putting it across the room and then getting up every 30 seconds to get another handful. Even when I feel completely ill. If there are still some left, I'll keep eating. Honestly, I've gotten up ten times so far while writing this.

At work I can give them to a coworker to hold. Someone who won't just give them back if I come ask in five minutes. But at home, I'm screwed.

I had a coworker who said her sister would eat one peanut M&M after lunch every day. ONE. What on earth might be the point? And can she crack walnuts with her sphincter?

This lack of moderation comes out in everything - relationships, food, alcohol, exercise, you name it.

My dad emailed me earlier to say that it sounded like I'd really drunk a lot in New York.

And it's true. I drank a lot. Three glasses of wine out with the Dementor Wednesday, two cocktails with him Thursday. Friday, thankfully, was a one-martini night. And then my Saturday, well, you heard about my Saturday. My date and I split two bottles of wine at the wine bar and dinner, and then had several more glasses at various locations. We drank our way through lower Manhattan, it turns out.

And so I feel like I need to add moderation to my list of 2007 resolutions. Because I am just so dramatically not good at it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Remedial Phone Calling Lessons

I got home last night to two messages from my mother on my home answering machine.

"Hi Lisa! It's Mom! I guess you don't have your cell phone on!"

"Hi sweetheart! I just want to know how New York is! Are you having fun?"

I regularly get messages like the following on my cell phone. "Hi sweetie! I thought I might catch you at home!"

Or I'll get to the the office on Monday morning and my message light will be flashing. "Hi honey! I guess you're not home. I'll try your cell."

And then the next message will be, "Hi, it's Mom! I guess you're not answering your cell!"

When she actually catches me on the phone she thinks she's calling, it's always a nice surprise. And the thing is, my numbers are labeled in her phone. It's not like she has to dial them off a scrap of paper. Or dial them at all.

My brother said years ago that our mom needed remedial telephone lessons.

And then, when my mom calls me at the office, she wants to chat.

"Hi sweetie! How ARE you?"

"I'm fine, thanks, mom. How are you?"

She will launch into a story, or she'll ask me questions. And I never sound enthusiastic enough.

"OK, well, you sound very businesslike. I guess you're not in the mood to talk."

Or she'll say, "You sound bored."

Or, "What's wrong, honey? You don't sound up!"

And I will say, as I always do, "Mom, I'm fine. I work in a cubicle."

"Oh! That's right!"

Every time.

And later, when I see her and we are not on the phone, I explain. "When you work in a cube, everyone can hear your conversations. I can't just chat. And I'm never going to sound enthused."

I overheard her talking to a friend of hers once. The friend asked if I liked my job. My mom said I liked it fine.

"The big problem seems to be," she said, "the big problem is. . ."

Dramatic pause. And she got this very sad, talking about terminal disease kind of look on her face, as if she were imparting terrible news.

"That she works..."

Pause. Her voice drops to almost a whisper.

"In a cubicle!"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Totally Unexpected and Kind of Surreal NY Adventures, During Which I Behaved As Elegantly As Possible

NYC turned out to be full of totally unexpected random adventure, which I absolutely love.

I wound up having a totally trendy, spontaneous, glam Saturday night!

I didn't write about this beforehand, because my parents read my blog and they'd fret. I had a date with a stranger in NY. In fact, two dates with two strangers. Or three dates with two strangers, depending on how you count it.

I just knew that if they read beforehand that I'd be meeting a stranger in NY they'd call asking, "Who is this fellow?"

"Someone I don't know." (Always reassuring.)

"Where did you meet him?"

"On the Internet." (Even more reassuring.)

"Do you think this is safe? Where are you going to meet?"

"Of course it's safe. We're going to meet in a dark alley at 2:30 am." (Heh. Just kidding.)

So I figured I'd just wait until it was clear that I'd survived and then break the news that I was still alive and had had a great time. Both of which are true.

As some of you know, I've been intermittently doing the Internet dating thing. And a few weeks ago this guy wrote to me and said, "I know I'm in NY and you're in DC, but I'll be down there next month on business, and so I thought I'd write. . ."

Damned if that didn't happen twice. Two different guys. This was great! People to play with while I was up there! And so I wrote back and said that by sheer coincidence I'd be in NY the end of January.

Date #1 was on Saturday. I talked to him Friday to confirm, and he invited me to join him at his club to work out Saturday morning before going out.

Work out in front of a stranger? Too personal. I mean, I work out in front of lots of strangers in DC, but almost my entire gym is gay men, and I'm totally invisible. I like it that way. I mean, actually invisible. Not pretend invisible like when I go running or mince down the hallway in high heels.

I told Stu on Friday night that this guy I was meeting the next day had invited me to his club to work out, and wasn't that odd?

"Is he in finance?"

"Yes. Why?"

"I think those guys in finance do that sort of thing. I think it's normal for them."


So we met at MoMA in the afternoon, in lieu of a dark alley in the middle of the night. Totally above-board. And it turned out to be really fun. He was cute, so easy to talk to, smart, interesting. So when he asked if I wanted to grab a glass of wine, afterwards, well, absolutely!

We went to this very charming wine bar at Rockefeller Plaza and wound up drinking an entire bottle of wine and snacking on cheese. I know this next bit is just going to make you cringe, because you're going to think "oh, God, Lis, there you are at an elegant wine bar talking about bugs, and can't you just have one normal conversation on a date?"

But I promise, I didn't bring it up. . .this guy is Italian, and his grandmother used to eat this Italian cheese called Casu Marzu, which turns out to be maggot cheese. They give it a very particular flavor and texture. You eat it with the maggots still wriggling in it. Because if they're dead, it's too far decomposed.

Despite the maggot cheese conversation, or perhaps because of how impressed I was by it?, he asked if I'd like to have dinner that night. My plans were, well, nonexistent, and I was having fun, so I said sure!

I went back to the hotel, napped briefly (wine in the afternoon - very difficult), changed, and we met up at a delicious Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village. Ohmygod my gnocchi was so good! And we of course had another bottle of wine with dinner. Because one bottle a day is not enough.

After dinner we met some friends of his for a drink at this super-trendy bar in the Hotel on Rivington. And then to end the night we headed to a really elegant lounge-y bar at 60 Thompson for one last drink. Boy, I drank a lot this past week. Month. So far this year, in fact. But when people keep handing you delicious wine, how can you not?

Everyone at the last two places was sooo young and sooo glam, and I was very happy I had brought along good jeans and super spiky black boots. But I was also thinking, "oh my God these people are so skinny and hip and cool, and underneath this outfit I've got on Supergirl undies and red and pink stripey socks!" I can't manage NY glam, but at least I wasn't outwardly totally provincial.

It was a fabulous night. The kind of night that seems totally New York to me. I mean, totally high-end, trendy, spendy NY. It was kind of like watching TV, actually. Not entirely real. Not the kind of night I would want regularly. Nor the kind of night I could afford every weekend, actually, and it was amazing to be treated to such glam. But the kind of experience I feel lucky to have stumbled into.

My date, my very gracious 12-hour date, poured me into a cab at 1:30 am, and we wished each other well.

I awoke to the alarm at 7:15. I'd started work at 6 am the other days, so hadn't realized that some previous guest had left the alarm set. Rat bastard.

I slept as late as I could, and then totally hung over - as one might expect after a day of that much wine - I threw my suitcase together and ran off to have brunch with Date #2.

I arrived at the place and saw a guy, who didn't look like the guy I was expecting, but you never know, standing in front of the restaurant.

"Are you Jeremy, by any chance?"


"Excellent. Okay then."

"But someone who looked like he was looking for someone just walked in."

So I walked in and it wasn't him, and I walked out the door just as my phone was ringing, but I accidentally hung up when I tried to answer, and I was starting to dial. . . Totally discombobulated all around, with the not-Jeremy fellow I'd accosted standing there watching me in amusement, when a voice from above bellowed, "Lisa!"

I spun around.

"Lisa! Look up!"

Not-Jeremy and I both looked up, and I said, "God?"

It was Jeremy, who turned out to live in the building across the street. So I sheepishly turned to the waiting guy and said, "Well, there he is."

He nodded.

I felt ridiculous. "So, are you meeting someone you actually know?"

"Yes, I am."

"Well, that makes things easier. Heh heh."

Jeremy arrived, we got seated, and then not-Jeremy and his date got seated right next to us. Which I didn't realize until they were getting up to leave and wished us well. And not-Jeremy gave me a conspiratorial smile.

NY glam. Absolute grace. That's me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Three Days of Suits - A Dark Post

Our meetings just ended. I'm about to put on warm (warm warm because oh my God is it cold out there!) clothes and go out and run and explore NY. I'm in a dark, dark mood and I need to shake it.

I've gotta say that so far, this trip to NY has mostly just made me feel bad about myself. It's made me feel totally unaccomplished, unattractive, unfocused, and just generally lost.

Here's the thing. Since Wednesday I've been sitting through presentations on money management. The presenters are leaders in the financial world. They all have these phenomenally impressive backgrounds, they make crazy money, and they are incredibly focused and motivated. They arrive with entourages. They make decisions that affect the world. They really do.

And my role here was helping to put on the conference, which really means doing a bunch of tedious, running around kind of things, which only served to underline the difference between what all those people are doing with their lives and what I'm doing with mine. Which, at this moment, feels like nothing.

What the Hell am I doing with my life? I am not money motivated, and yet I feel like I should have gone into a high money field. It's not even like I can say that my job is totally creative and fun, and so while I'm not making big money, I'm getting to do cool things. No. I'm just paying my mortgage, doing creative stuff on the side, but not really doing anything big, important, impressive, anything.

I know myself well enough to know that it's not that their world is one I would like or one I want to be in, but it's a world that makes me feel totally inferior. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Shoes! It's Always the Shoes

I'm off to NY. I have to get in a cab in 15 minutes. I'm still packing. . .

Are five pairs of shoes too many to take? I want to have options. And some of them are for work. And I need different heel heights in shoes and boots, depending on the pants, the jeans, the skirt.

Do running shoes have to count? If I don't take stuff to work out in, then I feel like I'm admitting that there's no way I'll exercise. But I've gone on so many trips with running shoes, which take up a lot of space, and not worked out once. . .

Yikes! I just need to decide and go. Yay! NYC!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


OK, so the conservation guy, who is also the recent third date guy, he says I can write about him but not by name. He suggested I use a nickname such as "Dr. Dreamy" (dropping the Mc, realizing we are not Grey's Anatomy characters) or "Mr. Fabulous" or some such thing. I asked if he could come up with anything cheesier, and he said he'd try.

He and I had a great time on Saturday. We were going to go to dinner and a movie, but we would up having a couple pints of Guinness at Biddy's, which for me meant I'd drunk too much to sit through a movie. So instead we went to Pizzeria Paradiso and had a fantastic pizza and a completely delicious bottle of wine. And then, since neither of us had had quite enough to drink(??), we went back to Biddy's on the way home, for one last pint.

I felt a little like hell the next morning, but it was definitely fun.

And get this - he knows someone who has had a Botfly! I am dying to meet this person.

I first heard about Botfly from this article in the Post several years ago. This woman came back from Costa Rica, and she had these painful sores on her legs. She kept going to doctors who couldn't figure out what it was. But they wouldn't heal, and they were open and oozing, particularly at night. She had to change the sheets every day! And at some point, she started feeling like things were wiggling around in there.

Wiggling. Inside these holes in her legs. The Botfly turns into a little worm kind of thing, and then into an actual bug! In a hole in your skin! When they pulled one of hers out, it was an inch long and a quarter inch wide!

And his friend had one on his back! Conservation guy saw it. He thinks the guy kept it preserved after he had it removed. Hell, I would.

So gross. So fascinating. If I ever meet this man, I want to hear all about it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The False Friendship of New Shoes

I just got these fabulous, black patent leather heels. New! Fun! When I get a new pair of shoes, I like to wear them around the apartment. Particularly if they're high. Because I'm only 5'3" and so wearing 4" heels, well, that gives me a whole new perspective on the world.

I can reach things in my cupboard that I otherwise can't! I can see the top of the fridge! If only I were always this tall!

I think I have already mentioned my propensity to forget that I'm not invisible when I go out running. So I think nothing of donning orange shorts and a red fleece and black and neon green running shoes and blue socks and bopping out the door with my iPod.

I just happily jog down the street looking like a complete ass, totally in my own world. Not realizing how ridiculous I look. Or, more importantly, forgetting that anyone can see me. And then I run into people I know, and sometimes, sometimes even someone I went on a date with or someone from work.

And I can read the look: "How did she look so put together the other day, and is she aware that she currently looks like she escaped from the Asylum for the Criminally Unable to Dress Themselves in Normal Society?"

One might wonder how these two things are related. So here you go.

I got this new pair of shoes, pictured above. I've been mincing about in them at home this evening. An old boyfriend's red flannel boxer shorts, a pink tank top, and a purple velour hoodie complete the ensemble. My hair is pulled up in a clip. I'm wearing my glasses. But for the shoes, I look like, well, like I'm hanging out at home on a Sunday night, winding down for the evening.

Which is precisely the case. I'm drinking a little wine, doing laundry, straightening up, taking out the trash, etc.

Let me just say in my defense that I almost never run into anyone in the hallway. And that the trash room is mere steps down the hall from my apartment.

I wasn't about to walk down the hall barefoot. And I already had shoes on. . .

You can see where this is going.

It turns out that I'm not invisible when I'm taking out the trash either.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Trying to Be a Looker-Before-You-Leaper

So about a month ago, this guy came across my blog, and he wrote to me.

"I read a bunch on your blog, first b/c I was deciding whether to ask you out for a cup of coffee and then b/c the self-esteem/weight/boy issues reminded me of a friend battling through the same stuff. Don't let that crap ruin your life. You're obviously smart, funny, and beautiful... and 7 lbs isn't going to change any of that. Eat a goddamn dessert, even if you aren't about to fly. Hungry is no way to go through life!"

He wrote a variety of other things. He'd clearly put some thought into the note. And he was obviously bright and articulate. And so I wrote him back.

I didn't say, "Are you kidding? Seven pounds changes ALL of that!" Although, of course, that was what I was thinking.

I also didn't say, "Hungry? I spent years not having any idea what hungry felt like." If you spend enough time not eating, but obsessing about food, you stop being able to recognize hunger. You just have constant want.

But I am no longer that extreme, and I figured he'd already read about my issues in 50 different ways, having perused my blog. So I wrote him back a fairly normal note, not about my issues, nor really even about me. We struck up a rather interesting correspondence. He's very smart, well educated, funny, kind.

And here's the thing. It felt good that he already knew about a lot of my insecurities. He knew that I have baggage, and had seen it zipped open, security tags off, contents flung far and wide. And despite/because of it, he was interested in me as a person.

So we met for drinks a few weeks ago. And it was fun! And so we went out again last week. Which was fun again. And now we are going out again tonight.

I can write all this here, because he's not reading my blog. He's very deliberately not reading it. Because I said that this is my place where I'm working things out, and I have a lot of guy things to work out. So he might read things that he doesn't really like. So he said, and I believe him, that he'd leave me my privacy, and not read it, unless there was something I wanted him to read.

He also, having sent me this Post article on personal blogs, said, "I trust that if you want to stop seeing me, you'll tell me so rather than posting it on the Internet. Because that would be so sixth grade."

So here is what I'm struggling with. I like him. We have a good rapport. I find him attractive. I find him interesting. We make each other laugh. But I don't yet have that visceral, intense, massive emotional connection feeling.

Now this is a relief. Because the people I do have that with, well, those relationships wind up with me getting hurt. I've come to understand that that immediate and overwhelming intensity is not necessarily healthy. And not conducive to a real, actual, whole relationship. I am consciously trying to get away from that.

And so I am taking the entirely novel approach of getting to know someone, to see how we feel to each other as people. This, apparently, is how he goes about dating. It's foreign ground for me. It seems so, well, reasonable.

But I am used to being all emotion. Reason rarely figures into it. I get caught up in the moment. I fall hard before considering who I'm falling for. I'm a leaper-before-you-looker.

This looking and deciding whether or not to leap, I dunno. I've never looked at it as a decision before. Viewing it as a decision is safer. It's a lot more stable. It's probably the way one ought to go about things. Isn't it? Is it?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Because They Don't Have Car Tires in South America

When my parents lived overseas, my dad used to have a lot of urgent requests. URGENT. I would get an emergency phone call for something he needed. Like a tennis ball shooter machine. High altitude tennis balls. Car tires.

And being a first-born-rule-follower, and well trained, I would jump.

Since running into the old friend, I have been thinking about when I was 23 and I lived in Mt. Pleasant with Maude. For a while, meaning probably 3 or 4 months, which was probably my record at the time, I dated a very nice fellow named Chuck. The reason I dated Chuck? Because we met at the end of summer, and I'd gone on a million dates, and I was kind of tired.

We met, and he sent me a dozen red roses, and I thought, "This guy could be a nice boyfriend!"

And he was. We had nothing in common, but he was very, very nice. And he drove Maude up the wall. Because he was dull. And the thing was, I was always running late. So Maude would have to talk to him for the half hour that he was waiting for me to get ready when he'd come to pick me up for our dates. It made her really bitter.

I was bored, but he was just so nice. But at some point, nice was not enough. And so I was just about to break up with him when my dad called me from South America. And asked me to buy him two tires for his car. And mail them to him.

Two car tires.

We lived in Mt. Pleasant. Neither of us owned a car. We walked or took the metro. And I had to buy car tires.

And so I postponed the break-up. Because I needed to be driven to the Price Club. I needed a guy to help me find car tires. Good old Chuck was from Pennsylvania. He liked cars. He liked me. He was willing to do stuff like that. In other words, he was just the guy.

So we bought the car tires, but we didn't mail them immediately for one reason or another. And Chuck and I were doing really badly, and I just couldn't bear it anymore. You know when you want to break up with someone, and you get to the point where even the way they smile or chew irritates you? That was the point I'd reached before the tire request.

And so I realized that I just had to go ahead and break up with him, and figure out how to mail the tires myself. I should have broken up with him way earlier, or never gone out with him in the first place. But I was young and insecure and boyfriend-needy.

So Maude and I had these two tires on our hands. And no helpful boyfriend. And no car.

So on a Saturday we each slung a tire over one shoulder and tromped off to the Mt. Pleasant post office. We walked in, two little girls with car tires, and the entire place, which was packed with Latino men, turned around, looked at us, and burst into laughter.

It took quite a while to get through the line. And the whole way, we had to talk about the tires.

"Whatcha got there?"

"Um. Car tires?"

"Where are you sending them?"

"To South America."

"They don't have tires in South America? Ha ha ha ha!"

And the whole place would burst out laughing. We seriously had this conversation at least 8 times. I think I would have cried if I had been alone.

Finally, finally we got to the front of the line.

"You're mailing tires to South America?"


"They don't have tires in South America?" (Whole place erupts in laughter. Again.)

"Look. My father said he needs them. And I always do what my father asks me to do."

And this turned out to be a satisfactory answer for all involved. Meaning the entire post office.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Please Don't Tell PETA

A good friend of mine just moved back from China. There was a happy hour for her at Biddy's on Monday to celebrate her birthday and welcome her back. I'd met some of her friends before, but there were a lot of people I didn't know.

So I was talking to a guy who asked what I do for work. As one does.

I started describing my job, and he noted that I didn't sound terribly passionate about it.

And so I said, "It's not my passion. It pays my mortgage. And gives me time to do things I love."

"What's something you do that you love?"

"I dye fabric and make things."

He flared his nostrils slightly. "Wow! That's. . .Well. Unusual."


"Well, yeah. I've never met anyone that does that."

"Oh. Well. Maybe that's because you work in finance."

"Dead or alive?"

"Excuse me?"

"And then what do you do with them?"

I was so confused. At this point, another guy joined the conversation.

He looked at me and said, "What exactly do you do that's so unusual?"

"She dyes rabbits!"

The second guy and I both said, "Rabbits?"

I wish I'd been quick enough to just run with it, but I said, "Not rabbits! Fabric!"

"Ohhh. Fabric! I was wondering. . ."

"You were wondering if I dye live or dead rabbits?"

"Well. . ."

"And so what if I'd said. 'Live! And then I cut off their feet to sell for good luck. But they make these really good prosthetic ones, so in the end the bunnies walk just fine.' What if I'd said that?"

Honestly, I really thought that would shock him. But no.

"Then I'd have said, 'Prosthetic rabbit feet! That would be kind of like Neuticles!'"

"You know Neuticles?" This post by Dooce is the only reason I'd ever heard of them.

The second guy said, "What are Neuticles?"

"They're prosthetic testicles for pets."

"You're kidding, right? What does that mean?"

The first guy laughed. "You know, fake balls for your dog, man."

"But, why? How?"

"Well,' I said, "I think that when they suck the dog's testicles out, then they stick these little fake balls in that little ball bag, and then your dog walks around thinking he has some."

He bent over a little with a pained expression and backed away. Kind of like I'd tried to squeeze out his balls and replace them. Men are really sensitive about this kind of thing.

"Who are you? How do you people know this stuff?"

"I dunno. We just met."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Big Fret and a Nice Surprise

I have been totally fretting about my dad. He was flat out sick with one infection and another all of last year, on one antibiotic after another. He'd get better, and then he'd get sick again. Last year was a bad, bad year.

(Hey, mom, if you're reading this, notice that I didn't say it sucked ass? One of my 2007 resolutions is to clean up my language.)

He and my mom were supposed to go on a variety of fun trips last year, all of which got canceled because of his health. And yesterday, they were supposed to leave for Hawaii, but his infection came back. Or maybe it was never totally gone in the first place. They're not sure.

And so he just went to the doctor again, and they just put him on Cipro again, for God's sake. But I just talked to him, and he sounds a lot better, and a lot stronger, than he has. He sounds more positive.

It's so scary to see your parents age. They were always bigger and stronger and, well, everything-er than me, in my mind. My dad in particular was always larger than life. It's probably healthy for me that he's not, but it's frightening and upsetting to see him feeling frail.

And that's my fret. So now for some fun news.

That guy called me again. The one who called me last week for the first time and into whose ear I bellowed profanities when I broke the bottle of Mania perfume. We're going out tomorrow night.

It turns out he didn't think I was a lunatic. He thought I was funny.

He also thought I was probably bummed to be in Philadelphia last weekend when the Eagles lost. He's an Eagles fan. I didn't tell him that Jane thought that the Superbowl was last weekend, and that I only had a vague sense that it wasn't.

We might not have anything in common. I have no idea; our conversations have been so brief. But he seems like a good guy, and he was undeterred by the weirdness of our first conversation. As I recall, he is big and cute, and on the phone he has this really delicious, deep voice. And a calm demeanor. Well, at least, compared to me.

He's a graphic artist. I've never, ever even gone on a date with anyone remotely artistic or creative. But if he can do a spreadsheet, and is even remotely uptight, well then. . .

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New York! Glam!

Except for the math, I can be just like Rain Man - I will be in mid-sentence and something will catch my eye and I'll immediately lose my train of thought and say "Pretty! Shiny! Sparkly!" I am a sucker for glamour.

I am going up to NYC next week. I have three days of work and then am going to stay for the weekend to play. I am inordinately excited about it. IN. OR. DIN. ATE. LY. I mean, like jump up and down excited. I haven't been to New York in years.

The way I'm behaving, you'd think I was raised on a farm and had never have been to a city before. It's kind of silly. I've been to plenty of cities. But this is not the point. The point is that I am going to be in New York! And I am totally excited about it!

Yes, I have to work. But there's even, for me, some fabulousness associated with that! We'll be in meetings with all these investment bankers, most of whom are, well, men. What could be better than a room full of really bright, Type A men in nice suits and Italian shoes and crisp shirts with french cuffs and cuff links? Nothing!

This, for me, is like being a pig in heaven. Or a hog in the cabbage patch? I always get those expressions wrong. I have been known to say "a bird in the bush is never going to jump into your hand" or "you can't make a sow's purse out of a rat's ass." Both of which may in fact be true but are not the adage.

But away from farm animals, particularly since I'm comparing myself to a pig, which is so not glam, and back to NY, which is!

I have a lot of day things I want to do, like go to MoMA, and the Guggenheim, and go shopping, and go to Rice to Riches, which is supposed to be just the best rice pudding ever, and just wander around and soak in the cityness of the city. And then for evenings I have a few intriguing, potentially fabulous plans starting to come together. . . Hopefully they will!

I really don't know New York, so if you have any suggestions for what to do in my play time, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 15, 2007

It really is the city of brotherly love!

I went up to Philly this weekend to visit my friend Jane and her husband and their very fun baby.

Nobody would ever categorically call me a kid person, but I love my nephew like crazy, and I adore their son. Admittedly, they are both very cute, happy, non-fussy babies. If they were cranky I might have an entirely different opinion of them. I'd like to suggest I'm a bigger person than that, but I might not be.

I walked in to their house on Saturday afternoon and Avery was rolling around on a blanket on the floor. He can't yet crawl, but boy, can that kid roll. So I plonked myself down next to him and said, "Hi! Hi! Hi!"

And I swear he said, "Hi!"

"Jane! Did you hear that? He said hi!"

"Yeah, we keep thinking he's talking, too. He does say 'mamammamama' and 'dadadada' but we don't think he connects them with us yet."

I kept thinking he was saying stuff, though. Honestly. His dad was eating a power bar and Avery took the wrapper, looked at it, stuck the corner in his mouth, and contemplated it. He has this very wise demeanor. He looks at things and furrows his brow, and you really feel like he's thinking deep thoughts.

Honestly, I think he said, "Mmm. Power bar!"

"Jane! He said 'power bar'! He's so amazing for a 7-month old!"

I kept hearing him say things. "Jane! He said, 'I love this song!' He totally did!" They thought I was exaggerating.

A friend just wrote and asked why I like Philly so much. What did we DO?

The fact is, we didn't DO much. We ate, we drank, we laughed.

Saturday we wandered around the Italian Market and bought stuff for dinner. Jane's husband cooked a really delicious and beautiful meal. Jane's childhood friend came over and the four of us ate and drank too much wine. We stayed up late and talked and told silly stories and laughed.

Sunday was lazy brunch and shopping day. Jane and I wandered around to cute boutiques. Philly has no sales tax! So that lovely pair of black boots, which were totally on sale, which admittedly I don't exactly need but sort of do, because they're boots that can be a staple, well, they were such a bargain. I had to get them. Particularly since they went perfectly with the black pencil skirt I'd just bought. Which was also on sale. But not quite as on sale as the black A-line skirt, which I can also wear with the boots. And which I totally needed for work. Or dates. Or just general life.

Last night her husband and I cracked open a couple beers while Jane put Avery to bed. It was so nice to get to talk to him one-on-one, because often you only know your friend's partner as just that - their partner. And you don't necessarily see them as a whole, separate person. And it's such a treat when you do connect with the person and realize that wow, you really like this person for who he is, and not just that he's so great to Jane (which of course you have always liked him for).

I know the details of my weekend are fairly prosaic, but sometimes it's just so nice to BE, even if you don't DO much.

How you pay your bills and how you keep yourself engaged in the world are important, but I think the most important things in life are the people you love and who love you. And it's such a luxury to have old friends and to reconnect in a deep, personal way every once in a while.

I can't end this post without mentioning this one exquisite detail. On my pillow in the guest room? Two Bacci, which are among my favorite chocolates in the world! How's that for making you feel welcomed and loved?

Thank you guys!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Parasites and Such

OK, so somehow, and I really can't remember how it came up, but somehow I started talking about parasites on my date the other night.

I know that you just cringed when you read that. Because there is probably never an actual reason to talk about parasites on a second date. Or ever.

But growing up with a father who worked in public health, these kinds of things actually were dinner table conversation. We've all had some very weird stuff - parasites and such - because when you live in the countries we lived in, well, it's par for the course. And dinner was when the family was together. And we'd talk. I have a very strong stomach.

One night my mom had had enough. She said, "Could we just have no more anal talk at the dinner table?"

That might have lasted a week.

This story is gross. But in fairness, this guy has been all over the planet, and we were already talking parasites and tropical ailments or something. He was probably just glad we weren't talking about global warming.

So the story I somehow wound up telling was about my lovely friend N from New York. This woman was exquisitely beautiful - long curly black hair and big brown eyes, and flawless skin. She always wore dresses and skirts, always wore make up. She was very, very feminine. Except for the fact that she could swear like a sailor. It was a fantastic combination.

So beautiful N kept getting worms. Worms! Not like, oh you have a stomach ache and you go to the doctor. No! Worms like you look down in the toilet and say, "Oh, my God! Worms!"

And the reason? Because anyone, anyone who buys and eats grilled tripe from the guy selling it on the street corner is asking for worms. Tripe! Random stomach bits of cows. From the guy on the street. In Ecuador. Worms!

My date, well, as you may imagine he was a little surprised. And he did put a temporary injunction on parasite conversation till dinner was over.

I'm fascinated by really horrifying tropical diseases. I can talk about them endlessly.

Like, I love talking about Guinea Worm. It's this worm that you get by drinking water infected with the larvae. It can get up to 2-3 feet long. And listen to this - you start to see it under the surface of your skin, and then it bursts out. And you can't just pull it out! You have to twist it around a stick, pulling very slowly every day until it's all the way out. Is that not the most disgusting thing you've ever heard of? Or anyway, up there with Botfly?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Global Warming as a Five-Year Old

I had a second date last night with a guy who works in conservation. I said I take it back about the global warming. I don't really think it's happening. Because it's really cold in DC right now.

We went out for the first time last week, and we were talking about his work, and I asked, "Is global warming really that big a deal?"

"Excuse me?"

"I just wonder, so all the ice melts and the planet becomes uninhabitable. But does it all matter that much?"

"Um, only if you care about humans. And critters."

"I think it's hubris to think it's so important that humans last forever. Does it matter if we last the next gazillion years or not?"

"Maybe not. But I think it does."

"And say you don't procreate. If you don't have progeny to worry about...And anyway, even if you do, they'll be dead by the time it gets really bad. Right?"

"I do see what you're saying, but..."

"Don't get me wrong. I walk to work. I take public transportation. I recycle. I'm not running around trying to make things worse."

"You just can't decide if it matters that much in the long term."


I didn't say any of this antagonistically, and of course he understands I am not driving around in a Hummer or personally felling huge swathes of the rain forest. Just as I understand that if you have gone to the trouble of getting your doctorate and dedicating your career to making the planet sustainable for humans and critters, clearly you think it's pretty important.

I repeated this conversation to my new/old friend M, who said that his 5-year old and I approach global warming in the same way.

"How so?" I asked.

Turns out his son was delighted that it was warm last Saturday. He told his son that it was actually bad that it was warm, because of global warming.

"Global warming," he said, "is bad."

"Why is global warming bad?"

He was trying to explain. Then he thought of a perfect example. They had recently gone to the zoo and looked at the polar bears.

"Well, one thing that might happen is that polar bears might lose their homes because they live on ice and the ice might melt."

"But I'm not a polar bear."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Monday is Not Friday, Even to Profane, Onion-Eating Lunatics

I got a phone call on the way in the door Monday night. It was this guy I met recently through friends. We hadn't talked for long when we met but he seemed interesting and he's cute and has a lovely voice, so when he asked for my number, I gave it to him.

So I answered the phone, although I didn't really have time to talk, because I was meeting my new/old friend M for dinner.

I was running late, rushing around, and after two minutes of our conversation, which was about our weekends and about his Sunday football watching, (which I tend to sound kind of enthusiastic about, because while I think football is dreadful, I quite like these big, American, football-watching guys) I knocked over and broke a bottle of my favorite perfume all over my bathroom floor.

And bellowed, "Fuck!" Goddammit!" Straight into his ear.

Because profanity? Loud profanity? Out of nowhere? That always impresses men. Plus giving the impression that I have Turrets probably lends me an air of mystery.

"Oh, excuse me. I just broke a bottle of perfume all over my floor."

"Oh, no! Well, if you were going out," he said, "you could just use some."

"I am going out. I did briefly consider rolling in it. But for the broken glass."

"You're going out? Oh, right, it's Monday. To watch football?"

"Football? God, no! And they don't make it anymore."


"Mania. I mean, they make a new one but I don't like it."

"So you don't watch football."

"No, but I'm perfectly happy to encourage others to do so. I think you should."

So I cleaned up the glass while we chatted, and then he proceeded (while sounding a little nervous, which I thought was very cute) to ask me what my week is like and if I have any time.


I was so discombobulated.

I was thinking, oh, I love this perfume, and they don't make it anymore, and where am I going to get more and how am I going to get it out of the walls? And oh my god my legs smell like Mania and I wonder if they still will after I put my boots on. . . And damn there's broken glass all over the floor and oh, I love this perfume. . . And when I get off the phone I'll need to vacuum. Damn!

You get the picture. Thinking in 50 directions that had nothing to do with my conversation.

"Time? Well, I have time Friday."

And then I realized. "But Friday is the weekend!"

"Well, yes."

I said, "Friday is. On the weekend. Friday. Is. Well. Such a funny day to see someone you don't know. Which we don't. Know. Each other. So maybe not Friday? With the not knowing. Because I also have time Monday! Monday is not Friday."

Yeah, I'm that graceful.

He sort of chuckled. Sort of. "Are you saying you don't want to waste a weekend night on a stranger?"

"Oh, no, just well, because you never know on Friday. You might rather be doing your laundry or something."

What? Why on earth?

And so he said he didn't know what he was doing Friday and could we just talk later in the week?

I'm sure he hung up and was like, "Lunatic!"

When really I could have told him, "No, it's Mania!"

They make a new Mania but it is sweet and I like the old one. Every perfume I ever really like they stop making. Armani has done this to me twice now. It is further proof that the rest of the world and I don't see eye to eye. Or nose to nose.

And then I realized that I did smell like I'd been rolling around in it. And one thing I did remember about M, besides his grandmother, is that he has this really sensitive nose. Which I do not.

I remember we'd gone to see a movie at the last minute. I don't remember the movie. But I do remember that I'd had an onion and tomato salad for dinner. Seriously. One. Large. Onion. And tomato. Probably with some salt. Because when I was 23, I still didn't eat much of anything that really had calories. Like food.

We were sitting next to each other, and his nose started twitching. And he said, "Have you been eating onion?"

He didn't even want to sit next to me, it was so strong. All I could do was laugh. I did. I laughed really hard.

I have been impressing men with my grace for years. Years.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Call Your Grandmother

I had dinner last night at Bistrot du Coin with a guy that I dated for a couple months when I was 23 - approximately a trillion years ago. We ran into each other at a party 5 years ago, and then randomly connected again last week.

He's very bright and articulate and dinner was fun. He is now a lawyer, like most everyone I know. And DC being what it is, he works with people I know. He's gone on dates with at least one woman I know.

It's both weird and comforting in that small village kind of way that I hated when I lived in one in the Peace Corps. But that was because I was the only blonde for miles around, and everyone who came to our little town knew who I was as soon as they got off the bus. "Oh! You're the blonde gringa who goes running every morning!"

Fortunately, DC is not like that. Blondes, while in the minority, abound. As do runners. And this town is big enough to have street signs and more public transportation than hourly local buses with aisles filled with chickens and feed bags.

So it was great to catch up, and odd in how easy and familiar it was. I mean, we never knew each other that well, and we didn't stay in touch. But we caught up like old friends.

He was telling me about his family, and he mentioned his grandmother. And so I admitted to him that I have been telling this one particular story about a message his grandmother left for him, and mimicking her voice on his answering machine, for years and years now.

My friend Jane in Philadelphia will laugh. She has heard this story a million times. We made a recording of me being his grandmother on the answering machine for a project for one of our linguistics classes. (M - I know you will read this, and I didn't tell you this bit...)

I thought it was the kind of thing that was only in the movies. I made him play it 54 times. I wished, over the years, that I'd asked him for that answering machine tape. If I had a recording, I would post it here.

His grandmother, who has the stereotypical NY Jewish grandmother voice and accent, called him and left the following message:

"M! This is your grandmother calling! Why haven't you called me?"


"You promised to call me!"


"And this is how you keep your promise?"


Monday, January 08, 2007

One of Myriad Reasons I Am Not an Accountant

So my whole department, minus two of us, has weight loss goals for this year. And they decided to have a contest - people choose their respective goals, and whoever loses the largest percentage of their goal gets a prize.

Today everyone gave me their information, and I made a spreadsheet, and the end of March they give me their end weight. There are no weekly weigh-ins, and everyone is on their honor. It's really just for people to encourage each other.

Now, I'm one of the two not currently trying to lose weight. And so I was designated as "the enforcer" - me!

I said, "I'm not an enforcer! I'm an enabler!"

Which is true. So they said I don't really have to enforce.

I was chosen as the keeper of the numbers because I'm gentler than the Chinese woman who is the head of finance. She's a numbers person, so she'd be the appropriate choice. However, in her culture, they talk about weight and size very frankly - too frankly for Americans.

For example, she patted my thigh one day and said "Wow! You really carry all your weight there!"

Why, yes, yes, I do. Thank you for noticing.

"And your butt!"

Yes. There too.

"You know, I know some really good exercises for those areas if it bothers you. But only if that fat bothers you."

This kind of talk can make a person run screaming.

And so I think people had visions of her saying "Wow! You really weigh that much! And it's all in your stomach! It's because you eat too much!" Or something like that.

She's a lovely person. It really is cultural.

But the thing is, I'm not a numbers person. I am famously not a numbers person. I like words! Words and language! And art and color! But numbers, numbers are not my friends.

I once responded to a question asked by my old boyfriend (the very precise, German, engineer-turned-finance-guy who is ALL ABOUT numbers), when he asked if I wanted something mixed 50-50, by saying, "No, more like 60-30."




"What? I don't want it too strong!"

He told this story for months.

And then the other night someone asked how long a friend and I had known each other, and we said forever. They asked how long, and he said "Seven years. And if you count that in dog years..."

I interrupted, "Well, then it would only be one!"

Pause. Eyebrows raised.

"Oh. Or 42. Or 49!"

The nice thing about this is, I'm the one in my group of friends who gets asked to write the Evites for parties, and I'm never the one who has to do the math when the bill comes.

People are probably afraid it'll be split 60-30. Or 30-30-50.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Emotional Nudity

Last night I was talking to a guy who is in my social circle, but who I don't really know. He knows a lot more about me than I know about him. He reads my blog.

It's funny, the in-between people. Like, my closest friends, they know all the things I write about. I know they love me, and even if they question some of my decisions, they fundamentally like who I am as a person and support me. And they know me well enough to tell me when they think something is a very bad idea.

And complete strangers, well, they're safe. I don't know them and they don't actually know me, even if they read some very, very personal things about me.

But the in-between people, the ones who are in my social world but not emotionally close, they're the dangerous ones. They're the ones whose opinions are scary. I didn't realize that till last night.

Last night this guy made a reference to something that made me realize he'd read a recent post. He said he checks in regularly. And he said he'd never make public some of the things that I do. I asked if he thinks less of me for the things he's read, and he said no. But what else could he say?

He said, "There are some, 'oh, wow!' things that surprise me. Which makes sense. You're not going to write about shopping at Whole Foods and what you put in your basket. You're going to choose the 'oh, wow!' things to write about. But they're things that I would want control over sharing. I wouldn't want to just have them out there."

I can understand this. I don't think he's trying to denigrate my actions, but of course I feel judged. Does he think this is tantamount to emotionally flashing my girl bits? Perhaps. I didn't ask.

He also noted that there are some things I write about that are universal, and part of the "oh, wow!" is that when you read a description of something that is exactly how you feel, there's a thrill in that. It makes you feel a connection. This is what I love about some of the blogs I read. Dooce, for example, has some posts that really resonated with me, and posts that just floored me with their brutal self-honesty.

The thing about me is, I'm pretty up front about who I am and about my insecurities. Some people think this is strength, and some think it's weakness. Some of the things that I am realizing I probably share too quickly, well, they're the things that are really raw and close to the surface. I use my blog for some, but not all, of those things. So the picture people are getting is honest but censored. The things this guy knows, some of them are really personal and hard, but they're not the most personal or the worst that I've dealt with. I'm working through things, and I'm working hard on me. And for whatever reason, writing about it in this particular way is helping. It just takes a while.

He assumed that I tell everyone about my blog, and although it's not a secret, I don't. He assumed the last guy I was dating (who I wrote about) knew, and no, I never told him. I started out by telling my close friends, and then when Wonkette linked to me, I gained a whole bunch of readers - but I think except for this guy, they are people I don't know.

But no, I don't meet people and say, "Hi, I'm Lisa, and before you get to know me as a person, I'd like to get emotionally naked in front of you. Check out my blog!"

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Thank You, George W

Dear W,

I never thought I'd thank you for a single thing. But it's January, and it's sunny and gorgeous and, more importantly, it's going to be 70 degrees! Me, the coldest person around, I get to go running in shorts! How awesome is that?

And, I'd like to point out, cherry blossoms are blooming! This makes January even prettier in DC! It's going to be a bummer when they're not out in the spring, but it sure livens things up now!

I hate being cold. And I would rather spoon my eyes out than live in Florida. So this is working out very well for me. Thank you for screwing the planet. Thank you for the global warming! I'm really enjoying it!

Hugs and kisses,


Friday, January 05, 2007

Psychedelic Furs, John Hughes, Molly Ringwald

One of these days I just know that Cosmo or Glamor will be on the streets of DC with their cameras, and I will wind up on the Fashion Don't page with a black bar over my eyes.

I got lovely Christmas presents from two of my knitting colleagues. One, a fantastic pink felted hat. My friend Kay knitted it and then felted it! It's beautiful and fun and shockingly pink! I love it!

And the other is this lovely, fuzzy, pink and orange supersoft scarf from my friend Marta. It feels delicious. I love them both.

I can look like a reasonably normal person wearing the scarf and the hat, just so you know, I can do it. I just don't always choose to.

I was told very sternly by Steve that I cannot wear the scarf and the hat together. And especially not both of them with my bubble-gum pink coat. And then, definitely, definitely not while I am carrying my pink and orange and red striped umbrella.

"Even if it's really grey and rainy and gross outside and people need some color to cheer up their day? Like right now, today?"

"Yes, even if it's really grey and rainy and gross outside.You absolutely cannot."

Oh, really?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Oh, I Love My Friend Maude

I spoke to my friend Maude yesterday. We hadn't caught up in months. She married a man who took her off to England and I don't think they'll ever move back. I know she loves him so I try not to resent him for it.

I have known Maude, who is 6 weeks older than me, since I was born. Our parents were friends in the Peace Corps, and then, purely coincidentally, they were living in India when we were born. We were in Delhi; Maude's family was in Chandigarh. I couldn't pronounce it as a kid, so I had two dolls I named Candyjar.

We have the kind of brutal frankness with each other you can only have with family. We have had the fights that could end a friendship, but we've worked through them, because we will be in each other's lives forever. We have supported each other through massive life ups and downs, Even if somehow we didn't talk for three years, we'd still pick up where we left off.

Maude says my dad decided we were going to be friends, which I think is probably true. We only saw her family every few years, but Maude was often inserted in the bedtime stories that my dad made up for my brother and me. I didn't realize till I was writing this that it was a little twisted - all our bedtime stories were about these two evil witches, who were always chasing us. And if they caught us, well, they were going to cook us and eat us for dinner!

Sometimes Maudie would be there for me, and sometimes, oh, sometimes "Lisa was all by herself, in the middle of the field..."

"No, Daddy! Maudie was there! Lisa wasn't all by herself! Maudie was there in the middle of the field!"

Because of course my little brother would be of no use. Always better to have your friend Maude get eaten by the witches as well. We'd always get away at the very last minute. How's that for a way to put your kids to sleep?

So Maude was this constant figure in my life, even if we didn't see her family very often. The summer after 10th grade, when we hadn't seen each other for years and years, her family was living in NY, and we were living in India again, but back in the US for the summer.

We went to the beach for two weeks, and my dad said, "Lis, Maude really wants to come to the beach with us. She doesn't know anybody in NY." I couldn't imagine why, but it was fine.

She asked me years later why I'd wanted her to come to the beach so badly. Turns out her family said, "Lisa really wants you to go to the beach with them. She doesn't know anybody. You should go." And they packed her off with us. And fortunately, we really liked each other. But we were both terrible about keeping in touch.

And then we reconnected again while we were in college, and after college we shared our first apartment together. Maude and I lived in Mt. Pleasant. I've written about her before, and about our messy, messy apartment.

So Maude, now Maude is pregnant. And yesterday she said the following to me.

"So, I've learned that when you're pregnant, your sweat smells a lot less!"

"Oh, really?"

"Yes! With all the house guests and commotion lately, I just realized that I haven't bathed in a week! And it's not too bad!"

"Does your husband know this?"

"I think he's starting to suspect."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Figuratively Speaking

So yesterday Betty and I were talking about how excited I was that the new year had begun. She said, "You didn't have a very good year last year, did you?"

To which I replied, "My entire year sucked ass."

My poor little mother. She looked stricken. "Sweetheart! That's a terrible expression! Suck ass! Oh! Awful! Don't say that!"


You say these things often enough, you really don't think about the visual. (One might, of course, question my need to say "suck ass" so often.) Yeah, sucking ass. Really not appealing. I mean, for me. I don't judge if it's your thing.

I think maybe, considering the countires we've lived in, and our acute awareness of parasites being transmitted through fecal-oral contact (it only takes the tiniest microscopic bit of poo), it makes the idea of it all the worse for us. Or for her. Clearly I run around talking about ass-sucking very cavalierly. I just don't actually do it. I promise, mom and dad, if you're horrified and wondering.

I'm becoming friends with a friend of my friend Jane, via the blog. He's a really good writer, so when I was starting the blog, she emailed him the link, asking if he could help come up with a tag line. He emailed me recently to say that he likes my writing, and that he thinks I write like I talk. And now we've struck up a correspondence.

So I relayed the story about horrifying Betty with the "2006 sucked ass" comment. To which he replied, "2002 was my ass-sucking year."

This was followed quickly with, "I mean, that didn't come out quite right. But you know what I mean."

I do. I certainly do.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Year of Trusting Less

Someone asked me about my new year's resolutions last night, and I said: start doing yoga for my body and my psyche; be more organized and tidy; trust less.

"What was that third one?"

"Trust less."

The last night I saw M, we were driving and got briefly turned around. He has an amazing sense of direction, and he said that he has to look at a map before he goes anywhere. Once he has the map in his head, he can find pretty much anything. But if he doesn't know where he's going beforehand, he's really uncomfortable.

I said, "Oh, I'm terrible at maps. I just go."

This is true. It irritates my father every time I call him lost in VA asking for directions. He always asks if I've looked at the map. Why would I pull over to look at the map when he can tell me where I'm going?

"What do you mean, you just go?"

"Well, I get the Mapquest directions. And then I start driving."

"And if you get lost?"

"Then I call my dad or ask people. People are nice."

"You just ask people? You just jump in your car and go, and hope for the best?"

So I told him the following story. Years ago, I was visiting friends in Chile. My Spanish wasn't very good, but enough to get around. These friends live in Santiago, which is an enormous city. I'd gone downtown, and was trying to find my way back to their house in the suburbs. I got on a bus that I thought would take me there.

I asked the driver, who said, "Oh, no! This isn't the bus you need! You need the X bus. But don't worry - we'll cross it shortly!"

When we saw the X bus, he started honking his horn wildly. Yelling and waving his arms. "HEY! PULL OVER! There's this gringa who needs to get on your bus! She needs to go to (whatever the name of the street was)!"

And so the guy pulled over, and the first driver and several passengers wished me well, and I got on the other bus, and the driver told me when we got to my street. And all was fine.

So I told M this story, as an example of how people around the world are good, and how I am reminded of this every time I travel.

"You know what I think? I think you're just lucky you've never gotten kidnapped."

I thought this was a cynical view of things. I repeated this story to my best friend. Who said, "Oh, Lis, I have to agree with him."

So in 2007, I will do yoga, I will be tidier, and I will trust less.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I Cannot Ever Blame It On Alcohol

Hi friends! Happy 2007!

Our party last night was fun! I hope you all had a great New Year's Eve!

I've been in bed all day. I'm not hung over - I had 3 beers over 8 hours - but I am really tired and it's grey and rainy and stinky outside. And I have coffee and chocolate and a phone and the Internets right here. Why go anywhere?

Except that I have to bathe and go to a birthday party. In like 20 minutes. Thankfully, I won't have to make scintillating conversation. The guy whose birthday it is was alarmingly inebriated last night. And he's this huge, 6'5" guy. He was totally uncoordinated drunk and I was afraid that he'd fall over and take out 3 normal sized people in the process. I'm kind of curious to see how he's doing, actually.

Last night I saw this very cute guy that I'd met a couple times last summer. A mutual friend, someone I know, but not well, who is a very close friend of his, left me a message last fall while I was away for two weeks, asking if this guy could contact me.

So when I got back from my trip and listened to the message, I called her and said, "Absolutely! He's so cute and so funny!" And then I never heard from him.

I ran into him at a holiday party a couple weeks ago and we made slightly awkward conversation. And then last night I learned from this friend that he's dating someone. She was very apologetic - he'd wanted to contact me, but then it took a while for her to get in touch with me, and then it took me weeks to get back to her, and by then he'd met someone...Which is fine, of course; I barely know him.

So last night I was the temporary tattoo queen. I ordered these very fun sparkly tattoos from eBay. They work just like the ones you got in Cracker Jack boxes as a kid - you put them on your skin and put water on the back. But these, these are fabulous! Tacky blue roses, butterflies, daggers, dragons!

I offered everyone tattoos as an ice breaker. If you were standing alone in a corner, I accosted you. People who initially were like, "no way!" had a couple drinks and then came to find me to ask for one. The women, with few exceptions, wanted them in their cleavage (as consequence, I patted a lot of boobs). The men, who tastefully had very little skin exposed, mostly got them on their necks.

So the cute fellow, who initially was one of the no way! people, came up to me late in the evening for a tattoo. I was in the process of putting a tattoo on this very unappealing, bossy woman. She'd found me and requested one, and so I had just finished applying it when he arrived and said he was ready for one.

She immediately started telling him where it should go. And so I thought, oh, God, his girlfriend is awful! Yikes!

And so they haggled over where he wanted it. She wandered away mid-application, and then he walked away after I turned to tattoo someone else.

And later he came back and said, "Wow, your friend really is bossy!"

"My friend? She's not your girlfriend?"

"My girlfriend???"


"You were talking to her when I walked up to you! I don't even know her!"

"Oh. But she was telling you where to put it."

"I know. Very bossy."

"Yes. And so I thought, wow - he never called me, and instead he chose to date this dreadful woman! I decided you must just have really bad taste."

Did I really say that out loud? Yes, I did. Ah, well. Happy new year, cute guy.