Saturday, March 31, 2007

Because I Haven't Had Enough of Them

Today in my silk screen class I learned a lot about what not to do.

I should have printed my images out darker on my transparency. I should have held the squeegee at a different angle. I should have coated my screen thinner. I should have done X, Y, and Z differently. I have to re-shoot my screen, which only means a lot of tedious washing out and reprinting images and putting them on the screen again.

None of it is dire. These were good lessons to learn. And it's not like I took the most perfect piece of paper made out of gold leaf by my great-grandmother and ruined it forever and ever. This can all be redone. And I will re-do it all next week. But still.

And then I was talking to a friend who asked how art class was today, and I said it was just like my dating life - full of good lessons. Clearly, for years now, I've been all about learning what not to do. What I don't want. Who I don't want. How I don't want things to be. How I don't want to behave. How I don't want things to turn out.

Today, I said, today I am tired. Today, I am wrapping myself up in the cumbersome but familiar quilt of an existential crisis. I have the absolute certainty that I will die alone. And I won't even be surrounded by my own artwork, because none of it turned out right.

And I'm allergic to cats. I won't even be the spinster cat lady for years leading up to it. I'm going to be alone alone alone. Today, I cannot imagine my life turning out in any other way and am feeling very sorry for myself. I hate days like today.

Lately, things have been mostly good. Not all highs and lows, mostly just even-keeled good. But today, despite the delicious sunshine, today is a bad art and I'm going to die alone day.

I got an email from a blogger named Shannon a week or so ago. A very, very nice one, telling me she likes my blog, likes how I write, and likes my attitude. She mentioned the fact that I don't wallow. And I was so flattered by her kind note. And thrilled to be seen as a positive-attituder rather than a wallower. (And yes, I know attituder is not a real word. But I have no compunctions about using it anyway.)

Today, however, today is a wallow day. The kind of day that gin and M&Ms and peanut butter and, oh, I don't know, maybe even a little crack sprinkled on ice cream were made for. Or whatever you might suggest as wallowing food or activities.

I'm realizing as I write this that as often happens, writing it is making me feel better. This might be partly because I'm feeling so sorry for myself that I'm crying big, fat, salty tears. Which are falling onto the keyboard. Which will probably then short out and since I live alone without cats to dial the 911, that will be that. Drama queen much today? Wallow wallow wallow.

The thing is, what I am actually going to do is go for a run. I'm not really going to inject gin and M&Ms, even though I do have the kind of pale skin and prominent veins that blood takers rhapsodize over. Because if I do, then I'll have that I'm a big fat cow worry on top of everything else.

Some days with art nothing technically goes right and you just start over and it never makes me cry. It is also more than just PMS, although holy crap is that not helping one bit. But all of these things together, they just suck ass. I know from experience I can't cry while running, but I don't know if I can wallow and run at the same time. I'll find out shortly, I guess.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Bloggers! Live, In Person Bloggers!

I went to my first DC Blogger happy hour last night, kindly organized by I-66. Who is utterly charming and welcoming. And it was such fun!

The truth is, I can be really shy when I don't know people. I was so glad to see LMNt immediately, because I'd met him before in person once before. He's really cool and fun to talk to, and he doesn't know this but I'd decided I could just hide behind him all evening if I felt shy. But everyone was so nice! It was easy to talk to people.

It was cool to put faces and real-life personalities with writing. I mean, there were a couple people, like Arjewtino for example, who I recognized from photos. I had that, "Hey, wow, I know you!" feeling.

Also, it was funny to realize how invested I'd gotten in some people's stories. Inowpronounceyou, for example. When I learned who he was and introduced myself, I wanted to just scoop him up and give him a big hug and say "I've been so worried about you!"

Ridiculous, right? But it's true.

And Roosh, I'd been scared of him because of a couple posts of his that just seemed, well, mean. I was talking to the incredibly lovely KassieK, who mentioned something about Roosh and how he was such a nice person. And I replied, "He is? I'm afraid of him!"

This made her laugh so hard. And so of course I had to go introduce myself to him and tell him how I've never commented on his blog because I thought he might be mean. This astounded him. In person? Funny and charismatic. Not remotely mean.

I'm so glad I went. Everyone was incredibly interesting, engaging, funny. And I wound up hugging a lot of them goodbye. Probably because they didn't feel like strangers in the first place. Isn't that nice?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Imaginary Logistics of Mr. Clean Naked

I was over at my parents' house the other day, and, as almost never happens, Betty and I were both sitting at the computer. I was searching for this very cool wallpaper that she'd seen in the Post and wanted to know more about.

So while we were sitting there, Betty asked what was new on my blog. And she read my post about the fleeting thought of having a random naked man from Craigslist come over and clean my apartment.

Who, she wanted to know, is this man?

"Some man wants to just take off his clothes and clean apartments?"

"That's what it seems like."

"Why? Why would he want to do that?"

I said I assumed it was some kind of sexual fantasy. He'd have to be getting off somehow.

This really upset her. "You mean, he might be turned on by this?"

I shrugged. "I assume."

"Honey! Oh, no! You don't want some strange man erecting all over your apartment!"

It is true. I do not want a strange man erecting anywhere in my apartment. I'm not about to do this. Ever. It was just a very, very brief thought. Because my brain is wired to enjoy the weird.

Betty gave it a little thought. "Would he come over with his clothes on? Or would he come over already naked?"

I had to imagine that he'd be fully clothed in public. Or else he'd get arrested on the way.

We turned back to the wallpaper site. I was clicking through, enjoying the patterns. I'd already forgotten Mr. Clean Naked. Until Betty spoke.

Let me remind you that Betty is incredibly kind and polite. And often shocked by much of the stuff I come up with.

"How much would you tip him? I mean, it would only be fair to tip that naked man. Don't you think? Since you're not paying him to clean your apartment in the first place, I mean."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Goodbye to J Part 2: We Can All Be Sylvia Poggioli, If Only For a Moment

So this post includes the real goodbye to J, which makes me very sad. But before I get to the sad, let me talk about the silly.

Our friends being who they are, people were encouraged to come to J's goodbye party as their favorite NPR celebrity. Being that it is radio, people had to take their best guess as to what people might look like.

Here I am, having briefly borrowed the accoutrements of one man's Sylvia Poggioli costume. It was more effectively humorous on him, as you may imagine.

Because, much like how in my world everyone wants to sleep with Jon Stewart, wouldn't we all jump at the chance to be Sylvia Poggioli? Oh, I think we would.

Just like Halloween in this crowd, there were of course representational costumes. One friend carried around a glass vase with a paper inside that said "ROTH." Ira Glass. Get it? Ira? Glass? Heh. Someone else had on a blazer and an American flag on her cheek. She was This American Life.

J, lovely, sexy J, had on a totally slinky black dress that fit her perfectly. You looked at her and thought, or if you were me, said out loud, "Wow! You are hot! My God look how hot you are! What have you done to your head?!"

She was all pretty and sexy except, well, except on top of her head? A chicken hat. Why? Well, because she was Cluck. Who? Cluck. Fictional sister of Click and Clack, the Tappit brothers of Car Talk fame. Cluck.

While I love costumes as much as the next person, I had been waiting for the NPR costume epiphany that never arrived. So I just went for girly and wore my new red dress. That I discovered is like a magic dress. I adore it!. I might devote a whole post to it.

I know you are rolling your eyes out there in cyberspace.

Anyway. J walked around taking pictures with her Polaroid camera. And now I really want one. You get the instant gratification with a digital, but there's something about the nostalgia of a Polariod, with the big white borders. Plus, how often do you get to wave your just-taken photo in the air and shake it like a Polaroid picture?

It was a great party, with lots of dancing, good friends, a surprising variety of tall, handsome men, some charming Brits with fun accents who walked in because it looked like fun, and lots of cake.

Cake! Big, fluffy, cake. From that Korean bakery on the corner of Calvert from which our friend S has always, for some reason, wanted to buy a cake. The one that some people speculated was a front, and were delighted to learn that someone had actually bought a cake there! With fruit that A and I started picking off once cake consumption had slowed and people might not be as bothered by our fingering their potential slice. Pretty, no?

So at the end of the night we hugged goodbye. It's not a real goodbye, though, just a temporary one.

Because my goodness, NY is both a quick train ride and one of the most fabulous cities on the planet! On my already planned imaginary visit, we have ultra-glam martinis somewhere totally overpriced and fabulous. We discuss our mutual appreciation for men in suits. We shop and stroll and catch up. We collaborate on the Sunday Times crossword and it will feel just like brunch at S's place.

But the truth is, saying goodbye is very hard. Frankly, I've done it enough in my lifetime. I would love to never have another goodbye. Ever.

New York is so close. But it's not ten minutes away, where one can, with no planning, meet up at Biddy's or Local 16. It is not, even if you don't see each other all the time, knowing you can at any moment and taking advantage of that fact.

It is not close enough meet up after work and stroll over to the Kennedy Center. To see Turandot, because you both feel that you need more opera in your life, even if the truth, which you later admit to each other, is you get a little bored with it. Because going makes you feel very cultured and you momentarily get swept up in the pageantry.

I don't know if you know the story, but this icy Chinese princess (who is supposed to be exquisitely beautiful, but neither of us were able to suspend reality that much that night) refuses to get married. And so she gives each suitor three riddles. The ones who cannot answer them (and until our hero arrives, none can) are killed. Suitors have been beheaded left and right that year alone!

We were sitting there, listening to her sing the riddles to the suitor, and reading the surtitles so we knew what was actually being said, when all of a sudden J sat bolt upright in her chair. She grabbed my arm.

And said, "This! This is how we should be choosing our husbands! The Hell with this tedious dating we've been doing!"

Laughing out loud in the middle of the opera in the middle of the Kennedy Center? Gauche. Oops.

So, J, you are in my heart, and this is not a real goodbye. I wish you all good things, and I know your NY life is going to be full of great adventures. I will miss you. And here or there, I will see you again very soon.

Big hug,


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Goodbye to J Part 1: You Had Me at Tequila Shots and Roller Skating

A very dear friend is moving to New York this week to start a really cool job with NPR. J is a journalist and she's lived all over the world working in print. And now she is branching into radio.

And she will be phenomenal. She's incredibly bright and articulate, and has a very accessible, friendly, conversational reporting style. You will all want to turn on your public radio station just to listen to her.

Now, of course we are all delighted for her. But selfishly, we are also incredibly sad to say goodbye. Who wants to let a good friend out of your sight? But this is a fantastic job - both for her and for us. Because in some ways, it will be like we still have her; we will be able to hear lovely J's voice every hour, on the radio.

So Saturday was a big goodbye bash for her. The Evite was out a month in advance. The hosts had rented out Karma, which is a cool space for a party, with fabulous high ceilings, good dance space, and huge windows. And the staff is super friendly. The hosts hired DJ Neville Chamberlain, who is great fun. They had ordered a huge, fluffy, goodbye cake.

So last week R, one of the organizers and one of J's closest friends, sent an email to a small group of us.

Now, let me just mention that R has the biggest brain of anyone I know. He can, genuinely, focus on 12 things at the same time. Really. He gets bored easily with life's prosaic details. He is always looking to insert randomness into, well, everything. Just to keep himself entertained.

So the email message. How, R wondered, should we spice up this party? What did we think of getting the DJ to play the All Things Considered theme?

Our friend T, who is so funny and never known to hold her tongue, responded not two minutes later with the following:

"Oh my god, you want to spice up the party by playing the All Things Considered Theme? Have you ever been to a party before?

Spice = tequila shots, nude roller skating, snarfing CoCo Puffs and absinthe, breakaway pants, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen at the Hotel Chelsea."

It's not to say that J's party wasn't fun - it really, really was. I'm going to go into further detail tomorrow.

But when I move away? I absolutely want T planning my farewell.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Like a Hurricane Without the Water

My little place gets very untidy very quickly. The five outfits I tried on last night before going out? They're currently on my bedroom floor. The shoes are, too. Plus the one I actually wound up wearing. This fills up the whole expanse of floor in there.

And my living room, same kind of thing. Eight pieces of mail and a backpack and several purses and a coat or two tossed aside makes it look like an utter disaster. I just don't have enough space to be untidy.

I deal with my dishes immediately, and I do laundry like there's no tomorrow. But the folding? Ugh. So things are clean but piled. When I bought this place, and Betty helped me figure out the best configuration for my furniture, we determined that I could either have a bedside cabinet or a chair. Not room for both.

So I opted for bedside cabinet. And my mom said without sarcasm, "Sweetheart, if you don't have a chair in your room, where are you going to put your clothes?"

And I hate to scrub my bathroom. I hate scrubbing the kitchen floor. I wish I were one of these people who clean compulsively. I read this post yesterday, and I thought about how neat and tidy my place could be. If I were more like that.

But I'm not. And so then I was thinking, hey, you know how sometimes on Craigslist a guy posts an ad offering to come over and clean your place for free? As long as he can do it naked? Nothing sexual, he just wants to clean.

Now, this is a fantasy I cannot relate to. My fantasies are more along the lines of let's have a gorgeous meal and fabulous wine and then make out in the gardens of the Villa Borghese. Or really, anywhere in Rome. Or why confine it to Rome? Anywhere in Italy. Or southern Europe. But I am getting off topic.

So back to the fictional Mr. Clean Naked, I generally think as long as you're not hurting anyone (unless of course that's what they want you to do) or doing anything with children or animals, people should do whatever they want.

But while the offer of someone cleaning for you for free is appealing, mostly I think, "Yikes, who wants some naked stranger in your house?"

But then sometimes, like today, I think, "But that naked stranger could make my bathroom sparkle! And I wonder if he does windows?"

Today, it seems very tempting.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Techie Art Nerdiness of a Saturday Morning

I'm in class but currently waiting for my screen to dry. I burned the images onto it, but once you do that, you need to wash it out and wait for it to dry before you can start pulling ink through it.

So I needed to come up with a composition for my silk screen class. We have to separate our image into at least five colors.

I gave it some thought, and then decided on stripes and flowers. These aren't necessarily the colors I'll use when I'm actually putting ink onto paper, but I wanted distinct colors on different layers so I could easily see the various stripes.

I made one layer with red stripes, one with blue, some of which overlap with the red, and one layer with just one yellow stripe. And then a layer with flowers. Oh, and a center of the flowers layer.

And then I learned something cool! Because I decided I wanted flowers, but I didn't want to print them over the stripes. I wanted flower cut-outs instead. And could I get rid of the parts of stripe where the flowers are?

Yes! And when my colleague taught me this I was so excited. Yippee! "Ooh! It's magic!"

"Yes. But it's actually called 'masking'".

I also learned that Photoshop has different brushes. When I was drawing the flowers I was trying to choose a brush. And it turns out there are brushes with butterflies. You can draw lines comprised of little butterfly images! Or swirls, which look more like nipples, in my opinion. Or a blue gajillion other options!

I was dancing in my chair, I was so nerdishly-excited to learn these things.

"Ooh! Ooh! Look! I'm drawing with butterflies! Ooh! It worked! Stripes gone where the flower is! Ooh!"

My two colleagues who know this stuff in and out were just laughing at me.

I absolutely love learning things like this. There are soo many things you can do in Photoshop. Now I want to take all my photos, open them in Photoshop, and cut flowers or butterflies or swirls out of them. Just because I can!

And then I am going to screen a shirt for myself that says "mega nerd" or something like that. If you have suggestions, I'm open to them.

Friday, March 23, 2007

No Clowns, No Clucking Like A Chicken

So on Wednesday I did in fact go up on stage to try to get hypnotized. And my friend Laura decided to as well, which was a fun surprise!

I have to say that being hypnotized was very different than I expected. I felt slightly fuzzy, slightly giddy. Not out of control, but not totally in control either.

He talked us down into a hypnotic state. But nothing happened as quickly as it did last week. We could all tell him our names when asked. He had to talk us into relaxation again. Which felt good. It felt warm and cozy, like being snuggled in soft sheets.

He then started talking about how hot it was. The air was so dry and hot. He was getting so thirsty, and he assumed we were becoming very thirsty as well. We might even want some water. He would get water for everyone who wanted it. Because it was so hot. And so dry. And we were to open our eyes in 3...2...1

And I was thinking, "Oh, I am so not hypnotized. But he's right. It's really hot now. And my mouth is so dry and sticky. Water would be fantastic. Even though I'm not hypnotized, I'd love some water. I hope he lets me stay up here so I get a glass of water too."

He got waters for everyone who was thirsty. And it was such good water! Because boy, was I thirsty!

This second time he went around asking names, some people could give them and some couldn't. When he asked Laura, who was sitting next to me, what her name was, she couldn't tell him.

She contemplated. She cocked her head and said, "Oh, I know it!" She opened her mouth and. . .giggled. But she couldn't come up with it.

I was sitting next to her laughing. Thinking, "I can't believe she can't tell him! Because I know my name! I totally know my name!"

And when he asked me my name I said, very triumphantly, "Laura!"

And Laura said, "That's it! That's my name!"

I was very excited. "Oh! Right! That is it!"

As for my name? No clue. I mean, I knew I knew it. I just couldn't quite produce it.

At the time, I really didn't think I was hypnotized. Neither of us did. I think both of us analyzed the experience a little too much while it was going on. There were some people who were so totally there, and I was watching them, thinking, "Oh, they are so hypnotized. And I'm not."

One of the early skits, we were supposed to see Flip's clothes drop off when he touched his forehead. And when he turned around, we would see his three foot penis.

And some of the people clearly did. He touched his forehead and they were laughing and pointing. Or averting their eyes. Some of the guys shook their heads and clapped their hands over their eyes, "Oh, dude!"

At the end of that skit, I was positive I wasn't hypnotized. I just felt buzzed and happy. So I beckoned him over with my finger. "Psst!"

And when he walked over, I leaned forward. To tell him the secretest secret. Ever.

I whispered, "I didn't see you naked."

And he said, "I know."

Laura and I talked afterwards. We were both so disappointed to not have seen the three foot penis. Because when does that kind of opportunity ever arise? No pun intended.

And so I expected him to send me down from the stage. The next time he talked us into relaxation and then asked a few people who could tell clearly weren't hypnotized to speed up their breathing and go back to a normal state, I wasn't one of them.

The last skit, he had people become irate when he said, "Ladies and gentlemen," because they would instead hear him berating the audience. He also chose individual people to perform particular things. He assigned these tasks by focusing on us one at a time.

With everyone's eyes closed, he said to this perky little red-haired woman, "The person whose shoulder I am tapping right now will become very angry when you hear the words 'ladies and gentlemen'. Your hand, however, will turn into a puppet. This puppet will speak with your voice. This puppet thinks everything is funny, even though you do not."

He tapped both Laura and me on the shoulder to laugh hysterically while others were getting mad.

One man was asked to make baseball signals to get the audience to understand that he wanted the hypnotist off the stage.

And one guy was Santa Claus. But in disguise - nobody knew he was really Santa. He was to remember everyone who was naughty and nice for his end of year tally.

When Flip asked all of us to open our eyes, the Santa guy immediately asked for a piece of paper and a pen. When asked what he wanted it for, he was cagey. Just needed a pen. And paper. He narrowed his eyes at Flip and asked for his name, which he noted on the paper.

This skit was truly hilarious, for us anyway. Because every time he said "ladies and gentlemen" people got mad. Laura and I clutched each other laughing. And people were getting so annoyed with us. Because the angrier they were, the more I laughed. I was crying.

And whenever someone would glare at me and say, "What's so funny? How can you think this is funny?" I'd gasp an apology.

"I don't know! Ha ha ha! I'm so sorry! Haaaaah! Ha ha ha ha!" Gasp gasp. "Ha ha!"

The redhead with the puppet hand was furious. With Flip. With us. But her hand, which was perched in the air like a little bird next to her shoulder, was laughing away. Her hand, speaking through her, thought it was incredibly funny.

And the guy doing baseball signs? He was flailing all over the place. It was like he was directing airplanes for take-off and landing. When really, all he wanted was the hypnotist to get off the stage. He was so earnest. And so upset.

Santa squinted around suspiciously, asking names and noting them down. He was incredibly serious. And secretive.

And we just laughed our asses off.

In the end, when he talked us out of it, I felt like I'd been sort of asleep. But not quite. Rested. Relaxed.

My parents thanked me so much for inviting them. My dad sent me the cutest email saying that they'd not only laughed so hard but they felt like such grown ups coming into the city for an evening! Isn't that adorable?

In comparison with last week, it's funnier from the audience because you can see everyone reacting to everything. And I do think I was processing too much to really let go and run with it. But I could never have gotten up there with last week's date. I'd have been waaaay too self-conscious.

So I'm glad I went back and got up on stage. I had a damn good time up there. And it definitely assuaged my curiosity.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Erection Skirt

Hi! I know that some of you are wondering what the eff happened to the hypnotism post and here's the thing. Although it only felt like we were up on stage for 20 minutes last night, we didn't get out of the show till 11:30. And so I got to bed late and woke up late and have been a little discombobulated today.

Plus it is going to take a little time to process and to write. Which I will do this evening.

But I just ran out for a minute over lunch and Oh My God is it gorgeous outside! I'd forgotten that it can be so deliciously warm and lovely in DC!

Taking advantage of spring, I'm wearing this cute brown A-line corduroy skirt from the Gap and a fitted denim blazer. And no tights! I'd forgotten how nice it is to have sunshine on my knees!

And I've got on the most charming boots ever. I got them in Spain and I love them so much. They're beige suede with pink leather flowers and embroidered bugs on the side! They're fairly flat but still very cute. Which, it occurs to me, is a way in which I hope I am never described.

The weather is making me ramble. Anyway, I was bouncing along, listening to Lily Allen, feeling super cute, smiling at men in suits who walked by and who were smiling at me.

I'm happy! It's spring! Spring makes me feel cute! And is that my reflection in that store window?

It is. And wait. Hang on. Does it look like I have an erection?

It turns out this cute corduroy skirt pokes out in the front when I walk. And in fact, makes me look like I have an erection.

And being me, after realizing that, what was the first thing I thought? Not, "So embarrassing! It looks like I not only have a penis but an erection!"

No. The first thing was, "Well, really. It looks so little! Because if I did have an erection, it would be much bigger than that."

The Hell?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

If I didn't have a mouth like a sailor, people could totally pay me to promote their sh*t

Seriously. Because when I like something, I get all "Oh my God! Wow! Yay! This is the best thing ever!" about it.

But sincerely. Because if I don't like something, I won't necessarily denigrate it, but I certainly won't say anything positive. In fact, I won't offer anything at all.

Unless asked. In which case I will say, for example, that I hated the new Fresh mascara that I bought in a moment of "I need long lush lashes for my date tonight!" and I'd have been really bitter about the $25 ($25! for too wet, gloppy mascara!) except that Sephora was so great about letting me exchange it. Love Sephora!

Mostly, I'm kind of a cheerleader. OK, I actually was a cheerleader. But I feel it's mitigated by the fact that it was high school. And it was only for a year and it was India. Don't you think?

Some people still guess, out of the blue. I think because of how ridiculously jump-up-and-down-happy I can be. Plus the short flippy skirts and pom-poms might be a give-away.

Anyway, my point is this. That when I'm excited about something new, I am soo excited. I show everyone, I take pictures, I talk about it, I write about it. Really, it's a good thing I've never had breast implants. Or anything intimate pierced.

New cute shoes? I want to wear them EVERY day! And post them on the Internet! New fabulous lip gloss? Ooh, it's so fun and tingly! I love it SO much! EVERYone should get some! Those Trader Joe's milk chocolate peanuts? They're VERY delicious. Want some? Because I'm delighted to share! Something new and fun? I want to do it ALL the time!

New boyfriends? They tend to be really psyched about this approach to things.

But anyway. So last week I went on a date to that hypnotist at the Improv. And I had the best time. I laughed my ass off. I wrote a post about it. I told everyone I know.

And my lovely friend Laura of the turquoise boots, she said she really wanted to go. With me. Because wants me to get up on stage and see if I can get hypnotized. So tonight I'm going with a group of people who were so delighted hearing how much fun I had that they all wanted to go.

Now, this group includes my parents. And initially I thought, oh, pray God if I get hypnotized I don't say anything really embarrassing. Like about sex or anything. But then I figured that I'm unlikely to horrify them more than I do here.

So I think I'm going to try it! There's a good chance I'm too scared of losing control to get hypnotized. But if I do and it works, you'll hear all about it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Bag Lady At Heart

This semester I've been taking a silk screen class at the Corcoran. Working with ink on paper. It's a different way of thinking, working with opacity of inks to create depth. I don't have any formal art training, so it's hard for me. But interesting.

And this simple little leaf is my first four-color separation project.

For those of you with art training, or who are really good at drawing, particularly in Photoshop, this isn't going to impress you. But I'm quite proud of it.

To get four colors, you have to burn four silkscreens - one for the green of the leaf, one for the background, one for the border, and one for the veins of the leaf. I drew each part on a separate layer in Photoshop so I could print them out separately but they'd still line up in the end.

Apparently with paper you can build color with layers and layers of ink, and then sand down to a previous color in one area, and then build up. This backwards and forwards is something you can't really do on fabric. At least, not without really toxic chemicals. It's really cool.

But next semester I am going back to the textiles. I miss the teacher. I miss the feeling of the class. I love dyeing fabric. I am so very tactile.

And I love the immediacy of sticking something white in a pot of dye and washing it out an hour later. And it is fuchsia! Or turquoise! Or whatever color!

I haven't dyed any fabric in a while, but I had a bunch sitting around and Betty got on a sewing kick and now boy, do we have bags! Because moderation, it's so boring.

These started out as yards of white cotton. And I think they turned out beautifully.

If I may say so myself.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Sometimes on winter evenings, when it's so much nicer to be comfy cozy, I put on warm fleecy things and crawl in bed quite early. I prop my laptop on my tummy and read and write.

And so the other night I was in bed, writing a post, when I got a message from my friend J.

He said, "Wanna go out?"

"Actually, I'm in bed drinking wine and blogging."

"Heh heh. Is that a euphemism for something?"

"If it were, do you really think I'd be answering your message?"

"Fair point."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Linguistically Speaking

I played Boggle with some colleagues over lunch. There's a group that plays regularly but I never do because I always want to get out and walk over lunch.

I do errands, I walk up to Dupont and back, I mince over to the allergist for a shot. Whatever takes me out and about. It makes me crazy to just sit all day. But today is rainy and cold and gross. Not walking weather. I would say the weather sucks ass, but I'm not using that expression anymore.

I hadn't played Boggle since I was ten. And it's so much fun! It combines two things I love - words and patterns. For those of you who don't remember Boggle, you shake up 25 cubes of letters, let them settle, and then have three minutes to write down all the (minimum four letter) words you can make. The letters have to be touching, at least by a corner.

When time runs out, you read through your lists and cross off any words that other people also have. Part of the fun was how impressed we were with good words.


"Oooh! Good one!"

We're a very enthusiastic bunch. And these people are great. I mostly came up with a whole bunch of four letter words that other people invariably had. And then they went on to list their 6, 7, 8 letter words. Next rainy day I'm playing again.

Last weekend I was out at dinner with a guy. I can't remember how it fit in the conversation, but he somehow wound up mentioning the Incas.

And I said, very animatedly, "Oh, from a linguistic standpoint the Incas are so interesting!"

I went on to describe how impressive it was that they were able to spread their language, considering how enormous the empire was. They successfully instituted Quechua as the language of administration from Quito to Santiago without trying to eradicate any of the local languages and dialects. I wrote a paper about this in grad school. I thought it was fascinating.

At some point I realized he was laughing.

"What? What's so funny?"

"You just don't really hear people say 'from a linguistic standpoint' very often. Or ever. You're so excited about this."

"You had no idea what a nerd I am, did you?"

People never expect it. It's like I'm a secret nerd till you get to know me. And then you realize I am a huge nerd. And I like it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

As Long As You Don't Call Them Elves

I went to the Improv last night to see Flip Orley, the hypnotist. My date suggested it, and though it sounded like fun, I'd never seen a hypnotist before and had no idea what to expect. And I haven't laughed that hard in years.

I was laughing so hard I was howling. I was crying. I was sure I'd leave with mascara streaks down my face, but thankfully, that didn't happen.

The hypnotist, Flip, was kind - he didn't do anything rough or mean or degrading. He just had fun with the people. And they did some of the most hilarious things.

He had one skit where he divided the group of eight into two sides. One side had devoted their entire careers to proving the existence of Santa Claus. They had been to the North Pole. They had incontrovertible evidence of his existence.

The other side had devoted their lives to proving he was a fictional character. Parents were lying to their children, setting them up for disappointment. They had evidence. And they were not going to be convinced otherwise.

It was amazing to see these people, very sincerely and adamantly promoting their positions. They stated the most bizarre things like everyday facts.

One woman, when asked about the elves, said, "First of all, don't call them elves. It insults them. They like to be called tinies."

So when one of the men on her side started to say something about the elves, he immediately apologized and said, "Sorry - I meant 'tinies' - I forget sometimes."

An attractive blonde who seemed to be fairly tightly wound was sitting at the far end of the stage, next to a large, gruff, grey-haired main. She had a very stern look on her face. Flip walked over to her and asked what she had to say about the Santa debate.

She burst into tears. She waved him away. "My parents..." she sobbed disconsolately, "my parents dressed up as Santa Claus. He's not real!"

Sobbing. The big gruff man, an absolute stranger, put his arm around her to comfort her. "There, there." He chastised Flip. "She's been through a lot. Her parents."

Back to the pro-Santa side, one guy waved his arm and thrust his finger at her, "Your parents were taking Santa's job away from him! They need to just let him do his work!"

Anti-Santas: "What, you really think he goes all the way around the world in one night? You think he could actually eat that many cookies and drink that much milk?"

"Dude! I was there! At the North Pole! I pulled his beard!"

Back to the anti-Santas. The big, gruff man bellowed. "There is no Santa!"

"How do you know?"

He glowered at him. "I wrote a book!"

"What's it called?"

He thought for a moment. And said, "Santa's a Dick."

When asked if this book could be purchased on Amazon or in any bookstore he said no, but for $34 he'd send you one.

Flip later convinced them that they were world-renowned hypnotists. Basically, they were addressing a huge forum about the use of hypnotism for good. They could improve the quality of the lives of Americans by giving them relaxation techniques. And they all thought he was a phony. When he counted down from three, they were real hypnotists, and had nothing but contempt for him. 3...2...1

They opened their eyes and sneered at him. They were asked to come up to the microphone and share their secrets.

The uptight blonde gave him an utterly disdainful look and said, "I'm not in it for self-promotion."

One young, enthusiastic guy said, "Here's how you get people to relax. The word is 'pickles'"


"Yes, you just say it over and over. Pickles."

A few of the other people on stage gave this some obvious thought, slowly nodding their heads in agreement. One woman added thoughtfully, "Or turtles. Turtles would work."

Others nodded in agreement. "Turtles. Sure."

This tough looking, shaved head guy looked around, got up, and said, "You know what works really well? 'Fuck.' You just say that over and over. It's a short word, feels good to say. Fuck. Everyone likes to do it, too. What's more fun than that? Makes you feel good, relaxes you. Fuck. Just keep saying it. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck."

Enthusiasm all around. "Hey, yeah. That's a good one! I bet that works really well."

The uptight blonde? She looked at him very sternly, shook her head and said, "Oh, that would never work in elementary school."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Give Me a Shot and Set Me Up

I get allergy shots. I love my allergist and I love his office staff. I've been going there for years. I get hugs from the nurses. I even tried to set my allergist up with a friend of mine once. They both want to marry someone Jewish and I thought they might like each other. Unfortunately, it didn't work out.

So lately, the nurses at his office have been keeping their eyes open for someone to set me up with. They are Hell-bent on finding me someone.

Both nurses are African American. I think in their 40's. They're very different, but both attractive, kind, and funny. And they can both put on serious attitude when they want to. And so I can imagine them intimidating some of these guys if they feel like it.

I went in one day and they said, "Lisa, we have a guy for you! He was just here! He's divorced, and he's cute." The following week when I returned they'd discovered that he's actually still married. He's said he's in the process of getting divorced. So off the list.

Then they found another guy. "This one's definitely single. We need to take your picture to show him next time he comes in!"

They looked me up and down. "But not today. You're not having a good day. You usually look a lot prettier."


They deemed him "unworthy" upon further investigation. Why? He asked if I made a lot of money. They told him the question was inappropriate and he didn't get to meet me. I was in definite agreement. I'm not going to be of much interest to someone looking for someone with piles of cash. Nor do I want someone with that as a priority.

A couple months ago Tracy, one of the nurses, sidled up to me in the waiting room, and, talking out the side of her mouth said, "Yww see tht gyy ver thrre?"

"Who? Where?"

"Shhh! Come over here!" She jerked her head sideways.

So I went into the nurses' station and she described the guy she was talking about. He's divorced, definitely single, and looking to get married. And, according to her, so handsome!

So I walked back to the waiting room and peered around for the guy she described. Who, to me, looked too old and not particularly attractive.

While I was getting my shot from the other nurse, she got his card from him. And thrust it into my purse. On my way out the door she hissed, "Call him! He wants you to call him!"


The next time I went in, Tracy asked if I'd called him. Of course I hadn't. I had a plethora of excuses at the ready, but before I could say anything, the other nurse, B, said, "Who?"

Tracy answered, "You know, that dentist!"

B responded, "Him? He's too old for her!"

"No he's not! And he's handsome!"

"Too old!"

And so they pulled out his chart and looked up his age. And determined that he was too old. And then B happened to notice his address.

"He lives in an apartment?!? He's a dentist! What's he doing living in an apartment? Why doesn't he have a big, fancy house somewhere?"

"Probably spends all his money supporting his ex-wife."

"You don't need that mess. Good thing you never called him, sweetie."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Supporting Our Troops

First of all, if you're related to me, please don't read this. Mom and Dad - this means you. It could make you apoplectic. And make you wish you still had some modicum of parental control.

So I was on the plane from San Diego to Dulles last Tuesday night. The plane was packed. I was squeezed into a middle seat in cattle class. I'm little, but there's never enough room. We were all squished in together.

In the window seat next to me was this big, athletic guy. He looked military-ish, all clean cut with short hair and big muscles, although he didn't have on a military outfit. Which is also, I realize, known as a uniform. On the other side was a guy very intent on his Economist.

So I was stuck in the middle, unable to stand up every 5 minutes, as I like to do. And I was screwed for entertainment. I had no book. My iPod shuffle only had running music on it - and who wants to listen to the Scissor Sisters while packed in and unable to move? And there was a fucking Will Ferrell movie playing.

Luckily I'd brought a bunch of magazines to catch up on. But there's only so much New Yorker one can read in a row. And so at some point I was just sitting. My military-ish-looking companion and I started chatting. He was really nice, bright, articulate.

When the flight attendant served us beverages, he pulled out Airborne tablets and offered me one. He said, "I used to get sick every time I flew for 20 hours. But now I take these and I'm fine."

So I asked where the Hell he was going that he'd be flying for 20 hours?

He said he was on his way back to Iraq. He was in the Marines. And then he pulled out some Twizzlers and offered me some.

And my first thought was, oh, this poor, sweet guy! He might die! He might, right now, be flying towards his death in W's stupid stupid war. I should at least offer him a hand job.

I told this to a friend of mine, who said, "Why on earth would you think of offering him a hand job?"

"Well, a blow job would just be too intimate."

"This is insane! You don't even usually kiss on first dates! Were you interested in him?"

"Not at all."

She said, "What on earth was this about?"

"I dunno. Community service? Supporting the troops?"

But it's true that I don't even kiss people I barely know, much less do sexual things with strangers. And I hate hand jobs.

So in the end, I offered him one of my New Yorkers.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Food is Love

I don't know about your families, but in mine, food is love.

It's not that we don't tell each other we love each other - we do. But food, food is concrete proof.

When I was growing up, we'd go to my grandmother's house in the summer, and she'd have baked five different kinds of cookies for us. The fridge would be full of things we liked. She was kind and everything she did was incredibly loving. But something about all the baking beforehand really hit home. It was proof. We were in her mind when we weren't there. She was excited we were coming. She thought about what we liked, and she worked to make it for us. And offered it to us beaming, so glad we were finally there for our visit.

I bake for people I love. I can't cook, but I do make kick ass brownies, if I may say so myself. They used to be my friend Maude's staple request when she was sad.

Even now, when my dad wants to get my mom to make him something, he'll say, "Back when your mother really loved me, she used to make Minnesota hot dish/rice pudding/the most wonderful chocolate cake." (Or whatever it might be he was missing.) It's unfair in a Catholic guilt trip kind of way, actually, but it really works. She'll go ahead and make it. To prove, in whatever silly cake kind of way, she still loves him. He knows full well she loves him. But he likes this proof.

My brother always used to have very specific food requests when coming home for a visit. A taste for something our mom used to make. Or five different things she used to make. And she'd make them all. So happy to feed him. Nostalgia. And proof of love.

Being fairly food/body image obsessed, I never had food requests when I came home. Because I was always trying so hard not to eat. And so the food is love, and "we cooked this because we love you" caused me a great deal of anxiety. I resented it. But now that I am (almost entirely) past that I can appreciate it.

So today I spent a good part of the day with my parents as I often do on weekends.

And no matter how often I'm there, they send me home with food. This doesn't mean they thrust a roast chicken into my arms or send me off with a casserole. But, for example, my dad got three extra boxes of this Kashi cereal I love for me to take with me. My mom is constantly sticking food in my bag. She'll sneak in some oranges or apples. Slip in some cookies. See me off at the door with a jar of garlic pickle from the Indian store.

The other day I took fresh baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Yum. Today I came home laden with oranges, apples, plums, and grapes. They just had too many. I had to take them. They would go to waste if I didn't take them.

It's love. It is.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Does He Work?

I am so very used to my little DC life and my social circle. I'm used to being surrounded by lawyers. I'm used to everyone around me talking politics and current events. I'm used to "I had to work." being the answer to "What did you do this weekend?"

I'm used to guys who would sooner lose a testicle than their BlackBerry or Treo.

And then I went to SoCal for four days. It was such a reminder of how different DC is from so much of the planet.

For one thing, I was surprised to learn that not everyone has a crush on Jon Stewart! Seriously. I just assumed everybody had this huge celebrity crush on him. He's so smart and funny and good looking, and, well,all around hot! Doesn't everyone think Jon Stewart is hot?

Turns out not in San Diego. Why would you have a crush on Jon Stewart when there are Brad Pitts and Patrick Dempseys and Leonardo DiCaprios? Um, because like I said, he's hot! He's so smart and funny and that makes him 85 times hotter than all of them.

They weren't in agreement. They're wrong. But anyway.

But the whole approach to everything is so different. In DC, "What do you do?" is the first question anyone asks. It's something I'm opposed to, because it puts people in little boxes. But I'm guilty of doing it. It's become so ingrained.

So naturally, when you start dating someone, the first question anyone asks about him is, "What does he do?"

Or in my case, "Is he a lawyer?" And the answer is almost invariably yes. Because they're practically all I meet. It's DC, after all. Fortunately I like lawyers - I like how analytical they are, and the fact that they are articulate and write well. Or anyway, the ones I know and adore.

So on Saturday, as you know, my fabulous friend Jane came down from LA. Jane, hilarious, fun Jane, who texted me last year to say, "Lis! I'm in Vegas with Tony! Drinking pool by the beer!"

So this weekend we texted Tony to say we were drinking beach by the beer!

We were in fact at Cass Street drinking bar by the beer when a San Diego friend of hers joined us.

On an average weekend in DC you can find the men I tend to like at work at just about any time of the day or night. I'm not saying it's healthy - for me or them. But it is what it is. In San Diego, you can most likely find these men having a beer. In a bar or on the beach.

And so while I was perched on my bar stool I was only half listening to Jane and her friend's conversation. Because I was also peering at cute men. And taking more pictures of my feet.

Jane's friend was telling Jane she had a new boyfriend. He loves all the same music she does. She met him at a show of one of her favorite bands. He's really cool. He's laid back. He surfs. He snowboards.

Jane's first question was, "Does he work?"

Which was when I snapped to attention.

She just asked her if he works!

And this summed up how different my DC world is from theirs. It's a question I've never heard here. And for the guys I date, not only do they work, they do practically nothing but work.

I mean, they might be happy to see me. Or it might just be the PDA in their pocket.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cali and the Toes

This picture was taken around 2:00 pm on Saturday. After Jane and I had brunch at The Mission and then had fun San Diego pedicures. And a pitcher of Sierra Nevada.

Because post-pedicure, I still had time to play. And Jane and I considered our options. I'd already gone running. She was going to surf much later. And so it seemed to us that we might as well do what much of San Diego was doing.

So we headed to Cass Street Bar and Grill for beer. For old time's sake. It was kind of a perfect way to spend the day, actually.

And now I am back in wool coats and scarves and hats in cold, wintry, DC.

So I was thinking that having a lovely pedicure under my wool socks and boots would be tantamount to wearing sexy lingerie under conservative office clothing. You know it's there, and it makes you feel pretty, and it's all the more intriguing because nobody else knows.

In fact, it just made me bitter.

Because as I was trudging to work in the snow Wednesday morning I was thinking, "Goddamn it! A couple days ago my feet were naked! And I was warm, even in fun, skimpy outfits! And my toes look so pretty! And will this fucking winter in DC ever end?"

If one of our colleagues hadn't completely arbitrarily scheduled something for yesterday, something with clients that could not be rescheduled, my boss and I wouldn't have had to rush back. We could've stayed through the end of the conference and enjoyed a few extra hours of yummy San Diego sun and one last run. And flown Wednesday and missed the snow.

However, as it was, we rushed to leave Cali and then hurried in to begin a busy day. Which would be made busier due to the ineptitude of others. I knew this would be the case, and arrived irritated.

Basically, I was pre-annoyed.

It was definitely one of those consider-alternate-forms-of-employment days. And as you know, these are the days where I consider foot prostitution.

What a weird mantra: There's always foot prostitution! There's always foot prostitution!The truth is, I still haven't investigated what it might actually entail. I'm still speculating. So clearly not considering it seriously as an eminent option. But as I went about the irritation that comprised a good deal of my work time today, it certainly crossed my mind.

And then I remembered my toes!

Now, you'd think having cute little flowers painted on your toes would make you all the more likely to want to actually have your feet feature prominently into whatever it is you might be doing with them and your, um, foot prostitution client. You'd want them to be admired. I'm currently fascinated by them. Since Saturday, I have taken approximately 85 million pictures of my feet. I've probably never looked at my feet so much in my life.

But at the moment I am thinking foot prostitution is out. I may have to come up with some other random backup.

Why? Because look. I have the cutest little flower painted on my big toes. And in the center of the flower is an adorable little rhinestone. I don't care if they're tacky. I love the flowers and the sparkle. And they are just so very San Diego.

And would I really be willing to tickle some guy's anal sphincter with my cute, sparkly little flower?

I think not.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

If Oxygen Masks Drop From the Ceiling, Secure Yours Before Assisting Others

I was originally going to write a "Yay! I'm glad to be home!" post, but instead I'm going to take this opportunity to shame myself on the Internet.

Let me just preface this story by saying that I am not, on the whole, a big farter.

In keeping with my eat-whatever-you-want-on-flying-days rule, I had a vanilla milkshake for lunch today. And it made my tummy a little unhappy. Which made me nervous, because it reminded me of one of the most noxious odors I have ever encountered. Ever. And it was produced by me.

Several years ago I was on a flight. And I had that, hmm, I think I might have to fart feeling. And so I did. Ever so casually and quietly. Of course I assumed it would be a tiny little nothing, and if it smelled at all, it would be lost in the seat cushion.


I was sitting in my aisle seat, flipping through my magazine, when a truly vile smell assaulted my nostrils. It was so terrible, I could picture tendrils of a poisonous green cloud swirling and creeping through the air in much the same way that the legs of an octopus might gently and quietly reach out and strangle you.

At first I thought, "Good God! What's that?" And then it dawned on me. And all my hair stood on end.

I sat there willing it to dissipate before anyone else smelled it. Wishing I could take it back. But it just got increasingly stronger. And stronger.

Soon the row behind me, which turned out to be filled with people who knew each other, started talking about it.

"Oh my God! Did you do that?"

"Me? No! Maybe someone left the bathroom door open?"

"Holy shit! That's really awful."

And then the row in front of me started talking about it. And the row across the aisle from me. It spread until three rows in front and behind on both sides of the aisle were talking about it.

I was mortified. But hardly about to own up to it, surrounded by strangers. So I just looked around feigning innocence and horror. With my eyes wide and my nose slightly crinkled, as if I too wondered at the source of the eyelash singeing, shoe rubber-melting smell.

A flight attendant appeared, bustling down the aisle. She was moving at a good clip. And as she passed the epicenter of the smell (i.e., me), she sprayed air freshener. She did this in a very businesslike manner, without breaking stride, without looking left or right.

Tsssssst tsssssst tssssssst.

And then she was gone.

I was so thankful I was alone, that nobody knew for sure it was me. Although since then I've told everyone I know. Maude's family loves this story. She said that sometimes, when they all get together, like at holidays, someone will say, "Hey Maude, tell the Lisa farting on a plane story."

If anyone reading this was on that plane, I apologize. I really and truly do.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Don't Be A Team Player! Play With Me!

Oh, goodness. I have to admit that I actually just said that to one of my friends at a work reception.

We had two receptions, at the first of which I got tipsy on one glass of wine. And so, when colleagues who were obligated to go to the second reception were pressuring Steve with, "C'mon! Be a team player!" I burst out with...

"Don't be a team player! Play with me!"

OK, so the truth is, I have had too many nice glasses of California Cabernet, and not enough sleep, nor enough to eat. And so I am blogging without my wits about me. It's probably not judicious, but yay - I have both Internet access and middle of the night, uninterrupted time! And so here I am!

I'm still in San Diego. Coronado, actually. We have another half day of conference and then I fly out tomorrow.

I had totally forgotten how exquisitely beautiful it is here. The sun is glorious. The water is gorgeous. The vegetation is weird and tropical, like that of my childhood. And the men - oh, yum. I've been out running in the mornings, and so have they. All these fit, clean cut, and did I say fit?, Navy men.

Soon I will have pics of the super fun flowerdy toenails. And my thoughts on my favorite differences between San Diego and DC. And the scoop on seeing Axel and his Teutonic family.

But for now, I'm exhausted and tipsy and must sleep, so this is all I've got. I'm well but tired. These conferences make me kind of hate people. I'm out of patience. I'm not a team player. When I drink too much wine I have no filter. And I am willing to run farther than my fitness level just to follow hot (hot!) men.

But I bet you knew that already.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Going Back to Cali

This evening I head to San Diego for work. Since I'm flying, you know I had cake for breakfast and I'll probably have a pound of M&Ms for lunch. And maybe some crack as an afternoon snack

I have limited play time on this trip, but my dear friend Jane is driving down from LA to spend Saturday with me. Jane, who grew up the same way I did, who has now turned into a SoCal surfer girl. I was hoping she'd get tired of California and move back east, but it's not going to happen. She loves it.

She asked what I want to do, and I had a couple requests. I want to get pedicures at the old place in Pacific Beach that we used to go to regularly. They will even paint daisies on your toes, and I think for old time's sake I have to have that done. And I want to go for a run on the bay. I used to absolutely love that.

And those are the two things I want to DO. For the rest of it, I just want to BE. I want to see the desert flowers that I hope are blooming on the sides of the canyons. I want to enjoy the crazy Southern California vegetation. I want to feel the sunshine and listen to the waves.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Maybe This Is What Normal Feels Like?

I wonder if this is what normal feels like, and it's just abnormal for me. For the most part, I just don't feel a whole lot. It's not bad, just weird for me. I think, actually, I'm fine. But just fine to me feels, I don't know, suspect.

The me I'm used to never lacks emotion. I've been told many times that I'm intense, and I think it's true. And the people I gravitate towards are intense. I feel everything so much. Maybe too much? I don't know. It's not always helpful, but it's just how I am. Even when I'd rather not feel, I do. I have tried to stop feeling, to feel less, at times, and it never works.

Emotion sneaks out all of my pores. I have no poker face.

And at some point I realized that I'm kind of inconsistent - whatever I'm feeling in the moment is how I've always felt. Until it changes the next day. Like, if it's rained the past couple days, I feel like it's been raining my entire life, and will this rain ever stop? That part I've been working on for a while, because it's made it very hard for people I've been in romantic relationships with.

If I'm having a bad day, people know. Even if I answer "Fine, thanks!" and smile when asked how I am, people know. My coloring changes. My eyes get flat, and my smile, I know, doesn't reach past my lips. My energy changes. I walk differently.

On the up side, when I'm happy, I have been told that I sparkle, and I think, though it sounds like self-promotion or something, that I do. I beam. I smile with my whole body. You can hear my voice smiling on the phone. When I'm really excited about something I jump up and down, or wiggle in my chair if I am sitting.

When I'm really up, I have all this positive emotion swirling around me. It feels good, to me and to others. It attracts people to me. It makes people excited about projects I'm working on that I like, because I'm just so enthusiastic about them. I know this is true.

I'm not saying everyone loves me - I'm not everyone's cup of chai - but usually I make people feel pretty good. I realize that this ties in somehow to the crazy person on the bus desperately trying to make eye contact and engage me in bellowed conversation from afar. And that's something I'm trying to change as well.

But lately, for the most part, I'm just not feeling things in any kind of extreme way. I'm happy in moments - happy to see my parents, happy to see my friends, laughing when I read something funny. I'm sad in moments, even very sad - like on my Liz Phair opposite of a unicorn day. But mostly, things are fine, just fine.

I'm not complaining, just wondering. Is this how I should be? Is this what normal feels like? I don't know.