Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pick Your Rolls

When I started blogging in October, I checked out Typepad and Blogger. In the end, I was swayed by the lure of free. I'd started on Typepad, though, and thought I'd copied all my early posts over to this blog, but I missed one. And I just remembered it, because I was drafting a post that involves camping, which relates to Axel, although not to this specific post...All this to say, I remembered I forgot it, and so here you go.

I have recently been in touch with an old boyfriend - a German fellow named Axel. We broke up 6 years ago when I left San Diego to move to DC. We parted as friends, and we have stayed friends, although we really never see each other and at this point rarely correspond. I suppose it's more accurate to say that we're friendly, rather than friends. He imported a German wife - which I thought was a great idea - and they now have a baby and I imagine them to be quite Teutonically happy.

In our last IM conversation, the topic of relationships came up - his: good, and mine: varied. I wound up sending him a link to my Talladega Nights post, to which he said, "very interesting, kind of depressing." Which is of course true.

I was instantly reminded of how incredibly ill-suited we were for each other. We were very good friends, and we laughed a lot. But our personalities could not be more different. Axel is relentlessly happy. Even on bad days, life is great and he insists that he's happy. He staunchly refuses to have a dark side. I totally judged him for that.

As I said, we were so ill-suited. He was fairly inflexible, and really well organized, and, well, stereotypically German. I know I generalize - anything Axel did is still, in my mind, what all Germans do. I have no idea what's just Axel and what's really a German thing.

He had to work with east coast stock market time, so he was at work before six every morning. Which meant he was in bed by ten. Every night. There was no staying up late to watch a movie. There was no sleeping in. I mean, I could do these things, but I was doing them alone.

I remember when we started dating, when we were spending a few nights a week together and just establishing some sort of routine. We were sitting in the living room reading, and he got up and said "Quarter to 10! We floss now!" I swear to God he said that. He would regularly say "Ten o'clock! We sleep now!" It sounds insane to want to date someone who said those things, but I thought it was funny. I got so much entertainment from the way he put things.

When we went to his hometown to visit his parents for two weeks, everything about him suddenly made a lot more sense. Now, his parents are people who are retired, who have nothing they have to do at any particularly early time. And still they set breakfast for 8 am. No sleeping in, no missing breakfast. And never, ever, hey, let's just wake up late this once and have breakfast at 10! No, that kind of craziness does not happen.

Breakfast in the Axel parent household consists of fresh rolls, cold cuts, cheeses, and tea or coffee. Axel's dad gets up at 6 am, when the bakery opens, to buy the rolls. You have to put in your order the night before. You have to specify the type - plain or with seeds - and how many you plan to eat the next morning.

Whatever you ordered the night before, you are obligated to eat. If you only want one roll, and you asked for two, someone else has to eat the extra so it doesn't go to waste. Or if you change your mind and you're more in the mood for seeds than plain, well, you could swap with someone else, but you couldn't just take a seeded one. The same with coffee and tea. If you're typically a two-cup coffee drinker, there's enough for you to get your two cups. There's no having a penchant for tea one morning, or needing that third cup of coffee.

This sounds like I didn't like them, but I did. I just get a great deal of enjoyment talking about them. I loved his mother, and I really missed her after Axel and I broke up. She and I stayed in contact, and I visited them several years ago. Axel had clearly told them about the stories I had propagated, because they laughed when asking, the night before, what kind of roll I wanted for breakfast. They meant it, though.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Time to Start Making Christmas Lists

My parents have asked for our Christmas lists.

Two years ago, when my sister-in-law Kate was newly part of our family, my mom asked both my brother and Kate for Christmas lists. Kate was apparently reluctant to make one. So finally, after many requests by our mother, my brother brought over two lists. Kate's list included such items as a Jessica Simpson CD, and "yummy flavored lip gloss."

I managed to mostly restrain myself from judging her on her taste in music. I'm the last person who ought to judge anyone on that. I bought the requested CD and a very fun assortment of "yummy" lip glosses from Sephora.

Christmas morning, we were taking turns unwrapping presents. Kate loved the lip glosses. I was sitting next to her as she opened the CD. She looked a little, well, surprised. There was a flicker of something across her face that I read as, "I am so trying not to judge Lisa for giving this to me."

"Wow! Thanks, Lis."

"You're welcome. I had no idea you liked Jessica Simpson!

"Um, sure.

"But since she was on your Christmas list..."

"My Christmas list? I didn't make a list."

"Yes, you did. It's taped to the cupboard in the kitchen."

She said emphatically, "I didn't make a Christmas list."

"You didn't you didn't ask for a Jessica Simpson CD?"

She turned to look at my brother. "I don't know, J. Did I ask for a Jessica Simpson CD?"

He looked sheepish. "What? You love her! She's amazing!"

He started enumerating with his fingers for emphasis. "She's smart, she's beautiful, she can sing..."

"So J, I guess you're also a big fan of 'yummy flavored lip gloss'?"

That Guy

Yesterday I referred to the guy that I had the third date with as "that guy." And a friend of mine said, "If you're going to see him again, which we know you are, can we stop calling him 'that guy' and call him by his name? What's his name?"

The thing is, almost every guy has wound up with a nickname, even the ones I went out with once. Or rather, the ones who were notable for some reason. Highlights: Cuddle on the Couch, the Dementor (whose story you know), the Wee Brit, Gay Lawyer Guy. . .

The ones from the internet were often nicknamed before the date just for descriptive purposes. As I said, I've gone on a lot of those dates. It was much easier to refer to a guy as "the Wee Brit" than to say a name, which almost invariably seemed to be Dave or John. I only went out with him once. And actually, I think his name really was either Dave or John.

Cuddle on the Couch is probably how the naming started. We went out for drinks once and dinner once. And then we had a snow day. He sent me an email suggesting that we spend the day watching movies and cuddling on the couch. Cuddle on the couch with a stranger? Eek! No thank you. I sent him a polite note wishing him all the best. But as my neighborhood is small, I kept running into him (I still do), and we'd say hello, and one time I was with a friend who asked who he was. I said "cuddle on the couch," and she knew exactly who I was talking about.

And so back to "that guy." I suppose I think about him more as a whole person, rather than focusing on one defining characteristic. "That guy" - I might just start referring to him by his name. I'll have to see how it goes.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Powers of Observation

I stopped at the Trader Joe's on 25th and M tonight on my way home. The line was eternal, and I was standing between a very cute guy wearing a lot of brown and beige corduroy and a man with a little boy in a stroller. The boy was alternating between hitting people with his yellow balloon and making the kind of combination grunting, moaning, growling noises that I assume an angry hippo in heat might make.

I was in front of the balloon-hitting-hippo-in-heat- noise-making boy for quite a while. I had just started to consider opening my chocolate covered raisins and shoving as many as I could up his nose just to be malicious when I was distracted by the big non-smiling weirdly flirty checkout guy from last week.

A couple days before Thanksgiving I stopped at that Trader Joe's. I went to the register with a million power bars, some chocolate, and a couple bottles of red wine. The checkout guy, an enormous, brown haired man, picked up a bottle of wine, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Are you old enough?"

Now, I'm only 5'3" and I think sometimes my size makes people think I'm young. And granted, I was wearing a bright pink coat and I didn't have makeup on. But I by no stretch of the imagination look under 21, and I have been legal drinking age forever.

So I laughed and rolled my eyes and said, "Me? My God, I'm old."

He didn't crack a smile. "Yeah, I hear that all the time."

If he'd been charming, I'd have flirted with him delightedly. I am perfectly happy to show my ID. These people can get fired for not doing their jobs. And not only do I not give anyone a hard time, now I practically thank them for asking me.

I offered to show him my ID. And he, with eyes narrowed, replied "Yes, I'd like to see it."

And so I shuffled through my wallet, which is fairly disorganized. I found receipts, credit card, money, more receipts...

He was watching me very carefully. "Oh, so maybe you don't have your ID?"

"Huh, maybe I don't..." Shuffle, shuffle. "Oh, here it is!" I handed it over.

He looked down at it, raised his eyebrows and said, "Well, I'll be damned!"

And then he said, "How on earth can you feel old with finger paint all over your hands?"

We both looked down at my hands. They were covered with splotches of fuchsia and blue, dye-stained from the night before.

"It's not finger paint. It's dye."

"Well, how come you feel old?"

As I said, ordinarily I'd have flirted. I'd have had fun with the conversation. But he had me on the defensive. I felt awkward. And annoyed.

"I don't know. I guess it's just one of those old kind of days." Please, I thought, please, just process my credit card and let me out.

"You shouldn't feel old! I bet your boyfriend just loves showing off his young girlfriend!"

I nodded in agreement. If I had one, of course. Just not that day. That day he'd have had to say, "Here's my 'young' girlfriend who got up late this morning, which is why she didn't bathe or have the ability to match any of her clothes. And although today she also looks like she either finger paints or has hands that are about to rot off, neither are true. Usually, I swear, she's hot. And has relatively clean hands."

As I was zoning out thinking about fictional boyfriend's imaginary explanation of my apparent lack of hygiene, the credit card went through, and he handed me my receipt and my bag. Without smiling, he gave me a huge wink that involved scrunching up half his face and said, "Happy Thanksgiving!"

I was thinking that since I've been writing more, maybe I've been honing my observational skills. I asked our HR person at work, who doesn't miss a thing, if she thinks that I'm more observant than the average human, or if weirder things happen to me. She gave it five seconds of thought and laughed.

"More observant? Do you know how many times I've passed you walking on M Street, honking and waving like a maniac from my car, trying to get your attention?"



"And do you know anyone else who, while taking her boot off at the office, gets it stuck halfway off her foot, panics and then falls off her chair?"


"Weirder things always happen to you."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Everything Is Fun!

I probably have padded bras in my collection that are sturdier than the bumpers on my Honda. I learned a couple days ago, when my bumper fell off, that they're made of plastic! Not only that, but all they're held on with are these cute little black plastic knobs! Doesn't this make a bumper more of an ornamental piece than an actual defense against impact?

Due to spending so much time on 95 yesterday and today, and paying pretty decent attention to other drivers, and noticing how little attention some of them are paying to driving, I've given some hard thought to car safety. Prior to this, I only fretted about trips on airplanes.

This weekend I drove up to Philadelphia to visit my friend Jane and her little family. She and her husband have a six-month old son. He's sweet, with big, brown, inquisitive eyes. He's incredibly good natured, and, as babies that age seem to be, easily entertained. One of his favorite games is Everything Is Fun! Jane holds him under the arms, bouncing him up and down on her lap, chanting, "Everything is fun!" over and over again. He laughs every time. It's hilarious.

I drove up yesterday and traffic was a breeze. Coming back today, the 150 miles took me four hours. Argh!

I must admit that am not terribly patient, and I am working on that. I got incredibly frustrated today, when people decided to bring traffic to a virtual standstill seven miles prior to every toll. I could feel myself getting totally worked up, thinking that it's not rocket science to pick a damn lane and take out $2! And then I said, "Oh, chill out. You don't have to get anywhere in a hurry. Life is short. Everything Is Fun!"

My date from last week called while I was practicing yogic breathing, intoning "everything is fun," and generally attempting to be Zen in a toll lane. I told him about the new Everything Is Fun! game.

He laughed and said, "It sounds like you've acquired a life lesson there." Sort of. I mean, it doesn't mean that I won't get worked up over the next stupid thing, but hopefully I'll remind myself to put it in perspective.

Today was sunny and absolutely beautiful. When I started out on 95, it was one of those afternoons where you feel like anything is possible. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, and traffic is easy, or when the night is very black and starry and still, and wraps around the car like a blanket, I feel like I should keep going forward, just to see where I wind up. And I have the certainty that it will be somewhere good.

Do you ever start driving and feel like you could keep going forever? Have you ever just kept driving to see where you wound up?

One time I asked B that very thing - "What if we just kept driving?"

And he replied, "Do you really want to go to Florida?"

"Florida? Who said anything about going to Florida?"

"Well, we're headed South on 95. If we just keep going, we'll wind up in Florida."

I remember snapping, "That's not the point. Where, practically speaking, you are headed is not the point."

And he snapped back, "Then what is the point?"

"The point is that you wouldn't know where you were going! The world is wide open!"

"But we do know where we'd be going. To Florida."

And I remember feeling like the vastness of the universe of unimagined, exciting, exotic possibilities had just been reduced to the very concrete and uninviting high-heels-by-the-pool-and-fake-boob-ness of South Beach.

I remembered that today, with the blue sky beckoning and the sun sparkling. If I kept going straight on South 95, I'd wind up in Florida.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has never been my holiday. It falls in November, when winter has firmly established itself, when days are short and the sun shines with that thin winter light that doesn't get you very far. And on top of that, Thanksgiving is so much about being thankful for having 85 pounds of food on your plate.

For someone both weight-focused and seasonal, Thanksgiving was a holiday I dreaded. It lacked the fun, twinkly lights of Christmas. All I could see were mounds of mashed potatoes, gallons of gravy. And pie that wouldn't stop.

It used to be that in October I would start my slide into winter weight gain, and by February or March, my annual winter weight would be happily and firmly settled on my hips and thighs. It took miles and miles of running in the spring to get rid of those pounds. Thanksgiving was always the beginning of the season of fat and unhappy.

I cannot claim to be a new woman, but I have, with help, gotten through some of these things. I'm pretty much myself - with all my ups and downs - the whole year through. And while I am always weighing the consequences of a piece of pie, it no longer has anything to do with winter. Now I can appreciate the good things about the holiday.

I spend so much time fretting out loud, complaining about the things I'd like to change or the things I don't have. And so I'd like to make a list - by no means comprehensive - of things I am thankful for.

My parents. My relationship with them. And the fact that now that we are adults, we can appreciate the easy and the difficult and love each other as whole people. Even if we sometimes make each other nutso. They are both smart, funny, incredibly bright, kind individuals. They support me and they love me unconditionally. I am so thankful to have them nearby.

My brother and his wife and their son, my nephew, who is the cutest little Hobbit on the planet. I think the arrival of the Hobbit brought my family closer together, and I am very, very thankful for that. Once he can talk, I hope he has the same sense of humor as his parents. And I fully intend to be Weird Aunt Lisa who drags him to art museums and foreign films.

My group of friends. I have an amazing, supportive group of friends. Since we moved every four years, and since we never lived in the US, I never, ever had a solid group, or any lasting sense of belonging. I had friends, and people always liked me, but I never had the feeling of really being comfortably ensconced in a group. And now I do. I adore these people. I am thankful.

My friends Erin and T. I find them endlessly fascinating. I laugh more with them than anyone. I can tell them anything. They know my deepest, darkest aspects, and they love me like crazy anyway. Even when they think I'm making a huge mistake, they make it very clear that no matter what, they love me for me and will support me. And will be there post-mistake. This is rare, and for both of them I am so incredibly thankful.

Having had B in my life. I've been really angry and hurt for a long, long time. On top of everything, he was one of my best friends, and I recognize that it will take a long time for that ache to dissipate. I have been wanting an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind erase, but truly, I'm thankful that he was in my life. He's had to deal with more adversity and is stronger and more graceful than anyone I know. He prompted me to grow a hell of a lot, and for all the things I've learned from him over the last six years, I am thankful. I hope he and his family are well and happy.

My job. I fret about the fact that I should be doing something that stretches my creativity, that's more aligned with my personality. And I am working in that direction. It's taken me an astoundingly long time to figure out who I am and what I like. And what I am good at. I have a boss that I really, really like, and coworkers who are smart and funny and supportive. I have the leeway to learn new things. It pays my mortgage and then some. And I can walk to work. For these things, I am thankful.

Finally, I am thankful that I have family friends who love me and feel like I am an important part of their Thanksgiving. I have to take a quick shower, pick up my parents, and head out to Great Falls.

I wish all of you health, happiness, family, and friends. And if it's your thing, enough gravy to drown a small village. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hyphenation Is Not My Strong Suit

My father read through my entire website the other day.

I'd called him and said, "Hey, Dad! There's this really famous DC blog called Wonkette, and they put a link to one of my blog posts! And now a ton of people are visiting my site! Isn't that cool?"

"Yes, that's cool! What did you write about?"

"Well, that's the thing...It was a post about foot prostitution..."

"Foot prostitution?" He laughed. "I'm not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed."

So he sat down and read every single post, start to end. And he emailed me. With a list of grammatical errors. And he had the following comment. "You seem to be opposed to using hyphens."

The fact is that I'm terrible at hyphenating. I'm never sure if something is supposed to be hyphenated, or all one word, or two separate words. Sometimes I guess, but mostly when in doubt, I just leave them separate. It's a good thing I'm not German. I'd get in trouble all the time for separating those eternally long adjectivenounverbanoatheradjectiveandanothernoun words.

You'd think I'd be better at it. I've taught English, for God's sake. I did my graduate work in linguistics. But just as taking courses in theoretical syntax didn't prepare me for teaching, nothing that I can recall in my educational background, taught me how to hyphenate. Or maybe the real reason is simple. I find memorizing those rules incredibly dull, and so except when I had to teach them, I just never did.

So back to my dad. He did have a couple comments about my use of the f-word, but for the most part, this man was focused on grammar. He then offered to edit my writing before I post it.

He's a good writer, he's more detail-oriented (how's that for hyphenation?) than I am, and he is a thorough editor.

But here's the kind of conversation that I anticipate, and I don't know how to wrap my mind around it.

"Honey, in paragraph two, 'monkey sex' shouldn't be hyphenated. But in the first paragraph of the second post, I think 'ass-lick' probably should. "

"Thanks, Dad."

"I don't mean to criticize, but are you sure you want to call someone an ass-lick on the internet?"

"Daaaaaaad! You promised - just the grammar!"

"OK, OK. Just wondering. And mom and I were also wondering about the "monkey sex." Is this new slang?"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nuts and Brains

I grew up with looks as a huge focus. With the repeated subconscious message that for a guy to love me, I had to be pretty. It took me years to actually realize that I was smart. And that it mattered. And in my social circle, it matters so much more than looks. And here's the thing. Now I do know I'm smart, but my God do my friends have big brains.

So last weekend I went to a birthday party for four of my lawyer friends. The party was lawyer central. Since I have been dating in a very small demographic, I ran into a guy - a law professor - that I went on one date with last summer. It was fun, and he's cute and interesting and so incredibly bright. I would've gone out with him again. We only went on one date because he never asked me out again. I wondered, was I not enough of a brainiac?

I met him at a party last summer, and I happened to be standing near a bowl of cashews. For some reason, and I swear to you I was sober, I decided it might be amusing to see if he'd let me put cashews in his nostrils. And he did!

Not only that, but he waited, one cashew protruding from each nostril like boar tusks, while I ran upstairs to get my camera. I had to promise him that I wouldn't share the pictures with anyone, which is too bad, because he has gorgeous eyes.

I was telling my mom, Betty, about running into this guy, about the one date, and about how we met. I told her that another friend, whose intellect I admire, said this guy might even be brilliant.

Betty said, "He can't be all that bright."

"Oh, he is, mom. Why would you say that?"

"Sweetheart, the man let you put nuts in his nose! And then he waited for you to get your camera."

Good point, Betty.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Locking Lug Nuts

I parked my car at the corner of 16th and Belmont last night. And this afternoon, when I was walking up 16th St. to get it, I started noticing shattered glass on the curb. Every other space had a pile of broken window glass next to it.

I started worrying that my car wouldn't be there when I turned onto Belmont. It was. I sighed with relief. As I was walking towards it, I realized that there was such a pretty pattern on my windshield. The pattern that glass makes when you take something really, really heavy, like perhaps a rock, and smash it onto the glass.

Clearly, last night some asshole went on a car window breaking spree. I have to say that the expectation of having no car made me actually relieved that it was just my window. I mean, it super-sucks, that's for sure. But it's DC. And in the end, it's just a window.

Last year someone stole my wheel. I don't mean my tire. I mean my entire wheel. I came out and my car was propped up on a jack, and there was a little nub sticking out where the wheel used to be. They'd clearly started on the wheel next to the curb, because they got the tire partly off, but couldn't get it all the way off because it was parked too close to the curb. For once I was delighted to be an unskilled parallel parker.

Luckily, my dad happened to be downtown visiting me. So he walked to the nearest garage, got some lug nuts, and then an incredibly nice man helped him get my car down and put on the spare.

While this was going on, a policeman happened along. I asked if he could write a report for me, and when I explained that my wheel had been stolen, he said, "Ha. You're lucky your whole car wasn't stolen." And then he asked, "Why don't you have locking lug nuts?"

"What are locking lug nuts?"

"You live in DC and you never heard of locking lug nuts?"

The truth was, I'd never heard of lug nuts.

Locking lug nuts, for those of you who do not live in wheel-stealing cities, are just as they sound. They lock. You buy a set of four, for $50, I think, and put one on each tire. You can only take them off with the key that comes with them.

These things remind you that you're in a city, and that you're not safe. At least it was my car, and not my place, which would feel like so much more of a violation. I'm not emotionally attached to my car.

I have never been a car person. I like my car because it gets me from one place to another, and it is not hard to park, even for the parking-challenged. But cars don't interest me. I have notoriously poor car recognition skills.

Since I went to high school in India, I didn't get my licence till I was almost 19. My dad spent a few weeks that summer teaching me, and then he drove me up to the Virginia DMV. I took the little written test, and then it was time for the driving test, which I absolutely dreaded. The man came to get me, and we walked outside.

"Where did you park?" he asked.

"On the side."

"Which side?"

"Hmm. Maybe this one." It wasn't there. There was parking on all four sides of the building, and I hadn't been paying the least bit of attention when my dad parked.

We walked to a second side. It wasn't there.

He asked, "What kind of car do you have?"

I didn't know.

We walked to the third side of the building. It wasn't there. He was, understandably, getting more and more exasperated.

"What." he said, very slowly and through clenched teeth, "What. Does. Your. Car. Look. Like?"

That I could answer. "It's red and square!"

We found it! He clearly thought I was a massive idiot. But I passed.

Would You Go Out With Me?

I came home last night after two birthday parties. One in Baltimore, for the 30th birthday of a dear friend and colleague. Yes, I like her enough that I hauled myself all the way up to Baltimore for dinner. And all the way back to make the joint birthday party of three friends of mine, two of whom are among my closest friends in DC.

The trip back to DC took nearly an hour, and trying to park in Adams Morgan took almost that long. So I got to the party kind of frazzled, had several beers, got home at 2:30 am, and answered an email to the guy I am going to go on a third (totally unprecedented in recent memory - third!) date with on Tuesday.

At least I hope I am. Because my judgement was a little impaired, I went ahead and told him about my evening. Including a version of the following. That two of the birthday people are my close, close friends. And the third man, who is gay, I would love passionately if he were straight.

Last night, when once again I said "Oh, if only you were straight!"

He replied, "If only you were a man!"

I'd never thought of it from that angle before. And frankly, even though that means I could date him, (or Erin for that matter, if I were a straight man) I'd be the pranciest little leprechaun of a man you can imagine. I'm so glad I'm not a man.

But my point - I do have one - is what on earth possessed me to share this information with him? And does he actually want to go out with someone who not only thinks but says these things?

I know he's strong, and he's not easily fazed. He got full-on Lisa on our first date and he didn't bat an eye. We'd just sat down to dinner when the conversation turned to relationships. And cheating in particular, although I can't remember why.

I said "I don't think anyone has ever cheated on me. Except maybe my gay boyfriend when I was 25."

Now, my date didn't flinch, but our waiter, he broke the cork he was in the process of removing from our wine bottle.

He asked me out a second time (the date, not the waiter) even after the explanation of the gay boyfriend, even after an entire evening of me, unfiltered. And after our second date, he asked me out a third time. Quite frankly, I'd like to see him again.

I was doing a post-date debrief with Erin last week, and I told her I think I might like him. I kissed him!

She was really surprised. "You kissed him? Where did you kiss him?!?"

"On the lips. I barely know him."

"No, stupid. I mean, did you kiss him on the stairs of your building? You didn't invite him up?"


"Wait, what am I saying? You never invite anyone up. Is it still messy?"

"In his car. I kissed him in his car. I might kiss him in his car again next week."

"You're going out with him again???"

Um, maybe?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stick Your Toe in a Lemon

If you Google "stick your toe in a lemon," this site appears at the top of the list. Now, this delights me because it's so odd and would never, ever have occurred to me. This "stick your toe in a lemon" is a mystery to me. What would you do with your toe in a lemon? Is this sexual? Is it for pedicures?

I might be overly amused, having just returned from a Beaujolais Nouveau party. It was a Beaujolais Nouveau and French cheese party, and there were two cheeses in particular, both bleu-ish cheeses, that smelled exactly like wet cat.

I don't know precisely what you might do to cheese to achieve that wet cat smell. Like, is it extra expensive because you have to keep cats, and wet cats at that, very tightly bound to the cheese while it's fermenting, or whatever cheese does? I can't imagine that's the case, because at the very least, PETA would've gotten involved in the wet cat cheese process at some point. Even in France. Anyway, wet cat is a very particular smell, and the host, who is a friend of mine, wasn't delighted that I'd pinpointed it and was leading a tour of the cheese table, with the Wet Cat Cheese being at the start of the tour.

Earlier today I told a very young coworker of mine that I was going to this party, and he asked "What's beaujolais?"

I started to launch into an explanation of why I didn't really know what it is or why you have to drink it so soon after it's bottled, but what he really wanted to know was, what is it in the first place? The fact that it was wine was enough for him.

And then he said, "Maybe you should take me. Then everyone can ask you who the guy is you're with who looks like he just had his eyebrows perfectly waxed. And I can ask for some ice in my Beaujolais. Nouveau."

So I have had a great deal of Beaujolais. Nouveau. And I spent a surprise! chunk of the evening talking with a friend of my ex-boyfriend. We were re-introduced and I said we'd met before and she said we'd met through B, but she hadn't immediately recognized me with my glasses. This led me to ask for another Full. Glass. of. Beaujolais. Nouveau!

We wound up talking, this beautiful friend of B's and I, and she asked if B and I still hang out. And so I said no, we do not. And then I said, in fact we have absolutely no contact because I wanted to get back together this spring and he spent the year saying he didn't know and then last month I finally said enough and so no, we are not talking. At all.

Anyway, so I got home after all this Beaujolais and opened my laptop and peered at the Statcounter site. I love seeing how people wound up here, because I just recently learned about this feature, and it's quite interesting.

People in DC seem to wind up on my site through a Google search for "glasses" and very practical things like that. People in Sweden, Qatar, Holland. . .they're searching for "foot job" and "prostitution" and "twisted sexy girl" and "sexy feet" - significantly spicier things. There's nothing even remotely sexy on my site. They must leave very disappointed.

I have learned that if you click on these search links, you find really bizarre things. Try looking up "foot job."Better yet, try Googling "Smurf blue" - there are websites that describe group Smurf sex! In shocking, Smurfillating detail!

It's fabulous. Endlessly fascinating. So go ahead, stick your toe in a lemon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There's Always Foot Prostitution

My job is fine, perfectly fine. My official title means not much of anything to anyone in terms of being an accurate description of what I do.

What it really means is that I'm the person who can do some techie stuff but mostly I can play nice with people, and so I am in between our (often contentious) content providers and the technical people. I'm the also person who deals with our online training courses.

Any of our digital content.

I knew the job would be fairly dry when I took it, but there were a variety of good things about it, including the ability to walk to work, to have a very 9-5 workday, and to have time to do things I love. And I knew there would be the ability to nudge it in a more interesting direction.

I like my boss and my close colleagues. It's the dragons in other departments that occasionally make it miserable. But most days, it's fine.

This morning I had a meeting with several people, including one of the dragon ladies. And so, when I am left fuming about the malignancy of some of the people, I remind myself that there's always foot prostitution.

Foot prostitution would never, ever have occurred to me on my own.

My sister-in-law mentioned one day that she saw an old high school friend who lives in NY and is now a foot prostitute. Huh? Well, she started out as a foot model, and then she met some guy who likes feet, and he started buying her fabulous shoes. And now she does stuff for him, and he pays her $1,000 every time.

"But, but what? What? What does she do? For him?" I wanted to know.

She had no idea. All she knew was that her friend had wanted her to accompany her to meet the guy at some swank-o restaurant. He'd buy them lunch, and then take her shoe shopping, and then she'd, well, she'd do whatever it was that she did.

"Why didn't you ask what she does? How could you bear not to?"

"I didn't want to pry."

It seems to me that if someone tells you they're a foot prostitute, they're practically inviting questions and comments. If I ever meet the woman, I have soo many questions for her.

We figured that there might be a lot of toe licking, or fondling. Maybe even some foot/penis action? Neither of us have much imagination in the foot arena. But really, we decided, even if you had to stick your toe in someone's anus for an hour, it'd be worth it. A thousand dollars. If you did this once a week under the table (no pun intended) you'd make $52,000 a year. Which seems like a lot for what I imagine to be not a lot of work.

I've asked around, but nobody I know knows any foot prostitutes.

A guy I know, though, a completely flamboyant gay man, said he was once with a guy who liked feet. The man had my friend put his foot in his ass. And then the guy asked him to wiggle his toes!

This image I was unprepared for. Wiggle your toes inside someone's ass! It seems like the toe wiggling one ought to charge extra for.

I was recently on a date and as there was a lull in conversation, I brought up the foot prostitution. Yes, I did.

And people wonder why I'm still single.

But the guy thought it was hilarious. I asked how he thought one should go about it. And without hesitation he said, "First, you take a sexy picture of your feet. To post on craigslist."

The thought of a sexy picture of my feet makes me laugh. My toenails are Smurf blue, for goodness sake.

"Barefoot or in heels?"

"Oh, one foot barefoot on the floor. You have your legs crossed and the other foot you have a shoe dangling off of. Like this!" And he proceeded to pull out his chair, pull up his jeans to show his ankles, and demonstrate.

And then he looked around the restaurant sheepishly and said, "Whoa, all of that came out a little too easily, didn't it?"

He plays hockey, is remarkably fit, and has offered to be my foot pimp. He said he could use his hockey stick as a weapon in case anyone got out of line. He wants 60%, though. I told him this seems high, considering he's not going to be the one with the toe in someone's anus. We're in negotiations.

So there you have it. It's Wednesday, and well, there's always foot prostitution.

Monday, November 13, 2006

When You Raise Your Children in Bangladesh. . .

Two things - one, I was perched on my chair trying to pull off my boot to put a band-aid on a blister. And I fell off the chair. And the second is that I was just reading a Citizen of the Month post on waiting for women's rooms, and how men wouldn't wait, they'd just pee on the wall.

Both these things together reminded me that I used to pee standing up. And my brother, he had a little trouble getting the hang of the toilet.

It's not as odd as it sounds. I mean, OK, yes, it is as odd as it sounds. But here's the thing. By the time I decided I wanted to be a boy (which, in case you're wondering, I'm not - it was just a phase) we'd moved from India, where I was born, to Bangladesh. Both very sexist, male-dominated countries. And I grew up in a Men Are God household.

And so it made sense that when I saw my brother being able to do whatever he wanted, I decided that I'd rather be a boy. And one of the things boys did was pee standing up. And so I went through a phase - might've even lasted 6 months, where I refused to pee sitting down. I got really good at it.

I haven't tried for years, but the last time I did, it was pretty successful. You just have to place your feet pretty far apart, lean back and get a good angle. It's best not to be wearing pants, just in case.

Now, my brother, on the other hand, got used to squatting to take a poo. We had regular toilets in our house, but in a lot of the places we went, you would squat over a hole in the floor. Or if we were outside somewhere, well, our Bangladeshi nanny would just tell us to pull down our pants and squat.

This was all well and good in the countries we lived in. But as little kids, we didn't really differentiate between social mores in Dkaha, Bangladesh, or Minot, North Dakota. And so one summer when my brother was about four, we went to Minot to visit our relatives.

We were out shopping and my brother had to go to the bathroom. So my mom sent him into the men's room and we waited. And waited. 10 minutes went by. Then 15. My mom poked her head in and yelled his name, and he yelled that he was fine.

Finally, finally he emerged.

My mom asked, "What took so long, sweetheart?"

"Well, I had to poo."

"Honey, that was a very long time. Was everything OK?"

"Yes, mom. It just took a long time to put my boots and my jeans back on."

"Why did you take them off?"

As it turns out, he'd adapted his toilet habits to the following: When faced with a hole-in-the-floor toilet, he'd just squat. He knew what to do. However, when faced with a regular toilet, well, he'd modified his approach. The little guy would climb up on top of the toilet seat to squat. This required the removal of half of his clothing.

It was a long process.

My father told us recently that when we moved to the US for the first time a couple years later, he and my brother were hanging out in a park in DC - my dad reading a newspaper and my brother playing.

My dad looked up when a busload of tourists started congregating on the edge of the park and pointing. He peered over his newspaper in the direction of their attention, to find my brother calmly taking a poo in a flower bed.

I asked him what he did. He said "Looked horrified, pretended I'd never seen him in my life, and went back to my newspaper! What else would I do?"

Well, yeah. What else would you do?

The Llama Song

I just came across The Llama Song - a friend sent it to me a while ago, and it never, ever fails to make me laugh.

Friday, November 10, 2006

In Which People in Traffic Think I'm Insane

Much like men who pick their noses at red lights, I forget that I'm not invisible in my car. Incidentally, I also forget this when I go our running, and so tend to put on whatever's cleanest, comfiest, and/or most convenient for the outside temperature. This has led to some pretty asinine color combinations, to include orange shorts, purple t-shirt, green socks. With black running shoes. And as DC is small, and I run in my neighborhood, I do run into people I know. None of them have commented on the outfits, but every once in a while one of the mendicants I pass does.

I don't tend to get road rage when I drive, but I do yell quite a bit. With the windows rolled up and the music on, so nobody can hear me. But I forget, I forget how animated I tend to be, and that when you are bellowing, it's not subtle.

Earlier today I was waiting to take a left onto 18th Street. The light had turned red, and there was a gap that I could pull through, and I was about to when man in a BMW obliviously rolled forwards to the car in front of him, thus closing the gap. I sat for a moment, and then, quite involuntarily, I snarled AAAAARRRAARRRGGGHHH! This man, this poor, innocuous man, I know he didn't hear me, but he happened to turn and see me, left blinker on, nostrils flared, teeth bared, claws gripping the wheel, mid-snarl. His eyes widened slightly, he raised his brows, tilted his head, and backed his car up to let me through.

How mortifying. How to recover from looking like an absolute lunatic? From snarling from the driver's seat like an angry Chihuahua? I smiled what I hoped was a sweet, normal-seeming smile, and pulled through his lane as quickly as possible, waved thank you, and fled.

I have this fear that it will be a Craigslist Missed Connection. To the Angry Growling Honda Girl: Chill out. Drink less coffee. Get some Xanax. Life is short.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In High Dudgeon

Today, I am in a mood and a half. I am walking around wanting to kick perfectly pleasant people in the shins.

I haven't been sleeping very well. And so yesterday I went to see a doctor, and he gave me a prescription for what he says is the only non-addictive drug for sleep available. So I took a quarter of one last night and slept like a rock. And today I'm wading through marshmallow fluff.

I don't know if the marshmallow fluff has anything to do with it, but I am astoundingly cranky. If that fellow over in development sends me another stupid email about our site, I swear I will stomp over there, hoist myself up over his enormous belly, pulling myself up one straining button at a time if I have to, and poke him in his little piggy eyes. This is how grumpy I am.

And I'm going to see Christine this evening. The last time I saw her we talked about how, when I am down, I have a tendency to medicate with men. Which isn't as racy as it sounds - what it actually means is just going on dates, endless first dates. I have spent countless hours having drinks or dinner or coffee or some combination with men who invariably wind up being Perfectly Nice Human Beings, but who I don't kiss and am not remotely interested in seeing again.

I probably can't even count the number of first dates I've been on. In the scheme of possible types of compulsive behavior it's not so terrible. It's not like I do crack or sleep with strangers or run naked in traffic.

Anyway, Christine is has been trying to convince me to give guys who I tend to write off immediately as "not my type" a chance. Because a lot of what these guys have been is simply not B. And so I am trying to give myself a chance to get to know them as people. I have told her, however, that I am only going to go on so many dates with these ordinary men that I am ambivalent about.

She said, "When you think a guy is just ordinary, think about what that means to you. What's ordinary? Stop and give some thought to these 'ordinary' people and see what you actually think once you get to know them."

Considering that formerly she said "go out with them as long as you're not repulsed" this new "give the normal guys a chance" seemed like an upgrade.

But today it seems like a directive to settle. Is it, or am I just in a bad mood? Am I too picky? Am I too hung up on teeth or attitude or whether or not they wear cuff links? None of those things matter when that particular sparkle is there. Is waiting for a spark unreasonable? Is finding someone nice and just deciding you're going to be happy with them even possible? Do I even want to?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's Almost Like Spring Coming to Narnia!

Rumsfeld is out! According to the AP, the world sees last night's Democratic wins as a rejection of Bush! Maybe fewer people will hate us! We just won Montana! And South Dakota said no to the ban on abortion! There is hope!

Oh, and let's not forget that a revamped Brit dumped that loser K-Fed!

Come on, Virginia, you can do it!

OK. I've used up my exclamation point quota for the week. Back to work.

Monday, November 06, 2006

We're Partisan

For election day tomorrow, one of my favorite stories ever.

My friend Ann has a 10-year old daughter who, on occasion, tortures her younger brother. One recent afternoon she was being particularly bad, and Ann got mad at her and put her in a time-out. She then turned her attention entirely to her son.

A couple minutes later her daughter was sobbing hysterically. Ann tried to comfort her, asking her what was so incredibly terrible.

"Why?" she wailed, "Why are you treating me as if I were a Republican?"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Venn Diagrams

If my mind were represented by a yellow circle, and most other people's were represented by a red one on a Venn diagram, I just wonder how much orange there would be? Some days I feel like the overlap area would be very, very small.

A couple guy friends said they were joining others doing "the Borat thing" this afternoon. This intrigued me.

"Cool. How?" I asked.

"What do you mean how?"

"Where are you going to go?"

"E Street."

"And what are you going to wear?"

"To see a movie?"

"Oh, so you're not dressing like him and running around town."

I got an eye roll from one and a "Huh, that could be fun." from the other.

It's not unlike the first time I heard of Fantasy football. Fantasy football! The possibilities for making fun were endless! I asked the guy who mentioned it to me if he played regularly.

"Of course. You play for the entire season."

"Who do you play as?"

"Well, I have a whole team."

"Right, but who do you like to dress up as?"

So it turns out that fantasy football, as everyone else already knew, is not a bunch of guys dressed as their favorite football players, playing tackle in the yard.

I like my version better.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Type

Erin and I met at Tryst for breakfast. There was a man with a cute little chubby-cheeked boy on a couch near us. The boy, who was about three, looked like he'd been recently awakened, chucked into clothes, and toted to the coffee house before he was fully ready to face the world. He had still-sleepy eyes and a bewildered, grumpy expression. Erin looked over and said, "I feel exactly like that little boy looks right now."

We sat and watched the world go by. Except for airports, it's the best people watching around. We keep a running commentary on pretty much everyone, and in terms of men, couldn't have more disparate views on attractiveness. She appreciates the exotic, the artsy, the slightly unusual. I gravitate towards very straight-laced American looking guys. She regularly scoffs, "Vanilla! I knew you would think he was cute." I like to think of myself as quirky, so full of surprises, but it turns out I'm fairly predictable.

Last week we ran into a guy that I dated briefly last summer. An intelligent, articulate, successful guy. I think he's cute in that big, tall, conservative, slightly dorky way. But he's very, very serious. How had I not noticed? Two drinks and home by midnight. No random letting loose, no staying out till one or two because you're having so much fun. And so I kept saying, "I dated him? I dated him? He's so serious! What was I doing?" And my friends kept saying, "That's exactly what we were telling you last summer!"

The truth was that it was perfect timing. I had, for a variety of reasons, imposed a moratorium on contact with B. And I was sad. And all of a sudden this guy, who in many ways is my type, was calling me every day and taking me out and keeping me well distracted. We didn't get the least bit close, and actually, our dating amounted to nothing more than 8 or 9 dinners over two months. It ended very easily and I quite like him as a person.

But I digress. The point I was leading up to is this. I was talking to Christine about running into this guy, and how I was surprised that I'd dated him. When she asked why, I said, "Well, because he's so serious. He never lets loose. He's not remotely fun-loving."

And she said, "Would you describe anyone you've ever dated as an adult as 'fun-loving'? Have you ever dated anyone who really lets loose?"


And the answer is no. Bright, interesting, dynamic, accomplished, yes. But no, fun-loving would probably not be the first or even the 10th adjective used to describe the men I adore. They are not laid back and they do not, on the whole, let loose. They have measurable goals, and they work very hard to maintain control.

And so I discover that I am a cliché. I have spent my whole adult life trying to date my father.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sometimes You Have to Check

I was walking out of the office for lunch with a coworker. She patted her back pocket to make sure she had her money. I thought it was kind of a funny gesture, so I said, "Yeah, sometimes I have to make sure my ass is still there, too."

We happened to be passing a formerly empty cubicle, which turns out now to house this cute, young, freshly-scrubbed guy. We were halfway past him as I said this, so when I noticed him I still had one hand firmly cupping one of my butt cheeks. He looked alarmed.

We made it to the hallway without laughing, at which point my coworker said, "He's Mormon. I'm afraid I may have already offended him this morning with my profanity."

I am absolutely dying to ask him if he knows Dooce.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cake on a Plane

There was an article in the NY Times yesterday about the positive effect of restricted calorie diets - restricted meaning 30% fewer calories than normal - in monkeys. The article was a topic of discussion at a dinner last night.

I was seated across the table from a woman I didn't know, and as the topic turned to the misery of restricted diets - as in, why live longer if you can't eat what you want, she and I looked at each other and both said, "I never eat whatever I want."

Then I said, "That describes my entire life. The only time I eat everything I want is when I fly."

My family lived overseas, so I practically grew up on planes, and was always very blasé about flying until a few years ago. Here's how it started. I was on a plane over the Atlantic, waiting in line for the bathroom. My feet were really cold.

As I stood there waiting, I started thinking. Well, of course my feet are cold! The only thing beneath them is some metal, and then a million miles of air, and then the Atlantic Ocean! And how in the hell do planes stay up anyway? It's a huge, heavy piece of metal, and it makes no sense that it doesn't just fall down.

When I got back to my seat, the flight attendant came by with lunch plus ice cream, which I ate all of. Sometime later they were passing out cookies. Yes, please. Snack box with chips, bread with too much butter and ham and cheese and candy bar? Absolutely. Now I make sure to bring my own snacks.

I had never articulated my issue until a couple years ago when I was visiting Jane's family in South Africa. I had three long flights to get home. Now, I'd spent the entire two weeks eating the way I normally do, which is to say, less than most people. No seconds, rarely dessert. (But wine, definitely!)

On my last night I ate everything. Twice as much of everything. And then I asked if I could have dessert, and would they mind if I took some of that amazing orange bread for the plane?

The family, who I am very close to, all stared at me. The father said, "This is practically as much as you've eaten the entire time you've been here!"

"It's because I'm flying."

"Flying makes you hungry?"

"No, but I might die. I don't want to die not having eaten dessert."

People ask my what I'd do if I flew every week for work, and I realize I'd have to take a different approach. Or Xanax. People also remind me that you're much more likely to die in a car crash, and do I eat a cupcake before I get in the car every time? Whatever.

I didn't say it made sense. I make choices every day - and if it's between cake and skinny, it's so much more worth it to me to be thin. The woman across the table from me at dinner got this. We talked about how most men think they don't know anyone with weight issues, when in fact most of the women they know have them to some degree. People are just more and less candid about it.

This eat-in-case-you-die approach makes total sense to people who come from weight obsessed backgrounds. One friend said she's adopting it enthusiastically. But it sounds really bizarre to people who don't.

Just recently a friend of mine said, "Lis, it's really funny, and I can see where you're coming from, but you do realize it's profoundly twisted, right?"

Well, no, honestly, I hadn't.