Monday, April 30, 2007

An Atheist Jew, a Protestant, and a Heathen, Talking at a Bar

I know that this sounds like the start of one of those bad jokes.

This is a post I wrote and was going to put up the week before last. And then my world crashed and all I could write about was my dad. But I saw Matt and Laura last night, and our waiter talked to us about foot fetishes (I started it, and it's a long story), and Laura mentioned that odd stuff always happens when we're together.

And that reminded me that I had such fun the last time I'd seen them, and I had this little post just waiting to get out.

A bunch of us went to Local 16 to celebrate T's birthday. Our friend Matt is back in town for perhaps a month.

He's incredibly bright, accomplished, successful, and has made, for those in his field, an unsual choice. He's taken time off from his partner-track big lawyer job. He was making big lawyer money, literally working 24/7, and had no life outside of work.

And at some point he woke up, realized life was short, and he didn't want all of it to pass him by while he worked day and night at the office.

He's taken time off from his big lawyer job. He's been living in Buenos Aires, perfecting his Spanish, and generally trying to figure out what it is he really wants in life.

I was asking him about his timetable for coming back.

He's not sure.

I wanted to know if he's going to step back on the partner track at the same prestigious firm.

He's not sure.

"So," I asked, "what is it you're going to do when you come back?"

"I don't know exactly. I'm trying to figure out the IT that really gets me fired up. I'm looking for that, that. . ."

I interrupted, "Burning bush? It is a burning bush, isn't it?"

"Yes! The burning bush! I think."

"It's some biblical reference, right?" (I was pretty sure it was a line from the Bible, but then again, maybe it's the Sex Pistols?)

So Matt, who is Jewish, but actually an atheist, said, "No, I'm quite sure it's in the Bible. It's Old Testament, even, so I should probably know. But who was it? Moses? Jacob?"

"I dunno. It was one of those big names."

We turned to Laura, as in "Laura of the turquoise boots," - which she actually got while shopping with Matt in Buenos Aires - and tapped her on the shoulder. We asked if she knew who it was who spoke to God through the burning bush.

She said, "I think it was Moses. I'm pretty sure. But I was raised Protestant. So we didn't focus as much on Old Testament."

And then she went on to tell us a story about her childhood Sunday school teacher kicking her in the shins once! Further proof that church is best avoided.

So we had agreement that the burning bush was a Biblical thing. We just had to figure out who it was.

We found a Catholic. Or rather, an ex-Catholic.

Who confirmed that the burning bush was indeed Moses.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Quite Sappy But True

Things continue to improve with my dad. I had no idea he was so strong. His will to live is much stronger than he realizes.

Although I'd like to recognize people for their kindness, I am not naming any names in this post. I will, however, much like an academy award speech, have a list of people to thank very soon.

I just got a lovely email from a blogger in NY. She said she hadn't commented recently because she didn't know what to say, but she wanted to offer her support.

This is the kind of beautiful gesture that reminds me that kindness abounds in the world.

The truth is, there isn't much to say. And even some people I know in person don't know what to say. As my good friends and I keep repeating, it just sucks. That sums it up.

I know suicide is such an awkward thing to talk about. Most people don't. Some people are surprised that I'm willing to be so candid.

The fact is, I'm not ashamed. Shame is what keeps people from talking about it. Shame keeps people from getting help. Shame keeps suicide a taboo issue. Shame makes all of it so much worse.

Right after I wrote about what my dad had done, I got the most amazing email from a guy who said he'd tried to commit suicide before. He offered his ear, his support, anything. And so I started asking him questions - about his own experience, about his opinions. I asked him for advice. He answered any and all questions so candidly.

It's such an intimate thing to share, and he shared with me, a complete stranger. He gave me strength through his willingness to be vulnerable. That is a truly amazing thing. We have an ongoing dialogue. I feel like I have a new friend.

I cannot even express to you how much this has helped me. It gave me a little window into how it might be for my dad. It calmed me down. It gave me hope.

These are only a couple examples of many. It will probably sound sappy to say that I have found the kindest, most extraordinary people just by writing my little day-to-day on the Internet, but it's true. Thank you all for caring, for taking the time to reach out.

This whole experience has pretty much sucked ass, but it's been mitigated by friends, both my in-person ones and those of you in cyberspace who I've never met, but hope to one day.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Luscious? It's a Joke, Really

Yesterday the speech therapist covered up the hole in my dad's neck, just for a couple minutes, to see if he could breathe through his mouth. And he can. He can talk.

He is doing better than best case scenario. It's amazing.

The morning at the hospital was covered by my brother and a couple family friends. So Betty and I took the opportunity to head to Costco. We both hate to grocery shop (except Trader Joe's), but for some reason, we love Costco.

While browsing the clothing aisle, where I found the cutest pair of itty-bitty camoflage shorts for my nephew, I came across some very cool True Religion jeans. Because Costco has no dressing rooms, I was holding them up against me and Betty and I were trying to figure out if they would fit.

I can't just look at flat jeans and figure out if my round ass will fit inside. It's kind of like left-overs and tupperware for me. I can never accurately guess if the container is too big or too small for the amount I have.

So I tried putting one leg on over my jeans, but that's ridiculous.

I said, "I'm tempted to just take off my jeans and try these on."

Betty said, "Just do it."

As I was contemplating dropping my pants, a woman about my mom's age wheeled her cart by and said, "Oh, those are cute jeans!"

We got into a conversation with her about the size, how her daughter has had three kids and is as small as me, the fact that you can't try anything on, etc etc.

Betty told her I was thinking about just changing right there. She said, "You go right ahead!"

One one side, we had Betty's cart, which was full of pink azaleas. This woman parked her cart on the other side, and then stood chatting with my mom, so I essentially had a little wall around me.

I turned my back to them and slipped out of my jeans, and shimmied, with some difficulty, into the True Religion pair. Scooch, scooch. Tug tug. I got them up and zipped but I felt like all my ass fat got scooted up and squeezed over the top. And like my legs were in sausage casings. In other words, not my size.

I managed to change with a fair degree of alacrity. Because how mortifying would it be to get kicked out of Costco for nudity?

But what I realized while my pants were off was the following. That my underwear of the day was ridiculous. The random stranger didn't comment, although they were impossible not to notice.

I have this pair of boy shorts. They are purple, with red trim. They have an L on the front. And on the back? The word "luscious" written in red. With a huge red kiss.

Incidentally, when I bought those, I bought Maude an M pair. They have "marvelous" scrolled across the back. Heh.

So anyway, that's me. Lisa the luscious Costco shopping pants dropper.

Friday, April 27, 2007


The truth is that I want to kick and scream and yell and break things. I thought I wasn't mad. Actually, I'm furious.

Everyone thinks I'm handling it so well, being so positive. I thought I was just sad, and I am so sad for my dad. You don't do something this desperate just for attention. He is truly tortured.

But he's shattering all of us. And I'm exhausted. Enraged at seeing my mother and my brother so crushed. Livid that we're going through this again. Mad doesn't begin to describe it.

Hand Me the Remote Control

My brother just called from the hospital and said, "Lis, I've got some bad news."

My heart dropped into my stomach.

"The handsome Dr. Garg has a baby. Which means he has a wife. Dad, however, is fine."


"Find out if he has brothers and if they're single."

I spent a good chunk of yesterday with my dad, and he was in decent humor. The physical therapist was with him, and was getting him to stand up and sit in a chair. So he's stronger.

Then last night Betty was with him and he was belligerent. Exhausting to deal with, but true to form. We know his whole personality is still there.

My brother just said that according to the X-rays, the doctor thinks the swallow test will go well, and they could have the tube out in the next couple days and he can start eating.

Everyone who sees him says that he's doing incredibly well. They're astounded at how quickly he's recovering.

I'm astounded. This man is 70. He's done himself no favors, to put it mildly, over the years. And he's strong.

When my dad wants to be charming, he can dazzle you. He's so incredibly bright. He's delightfully sparkly and charismatic. His nurses love him.

They were talking about how well he's doing, and he said to my brother, "I'm a star."

And my brother said, "Dad, I hate your show. I hate the drama. It's tragic and scary and I want out of it. I'm done with this show. We can't do this anymore."

And it's true. We can't do this anymore. It's killing my mom, and she's the strongest, most positive, shiny sunflower I know. She's bright and happy and bends and bends. But this time, she seems like she might break.

This time has to be different. Once we get past the medical part, we need to make sure it's different. We need to change the channel. We need a new show.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blowing Kisses

I took this picture of my dad and nephew this past Christmas. They got matching sweaters as presents.

My nephew is actually gorgeous; he just looks a little toady in this picture. But I love how my dad looks.

This is how I like to think of him. Smiling, laughing, full of life.

Last night my dad asked the nurse call my mom. He wanted to tell her that he loves her. He still can't talk, so the nurse said the words.

Then the nurse put the phone up to my dad's ear so my mom could tell him back that she loves him. And he made kissing noises into the phone.

He can't talk, but he can blow kisses.

Every day is better.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tentative Rainbows - Wednesday, 4:30 pm

Today my dad wanted a Washington Post. He had questions for us to ask the nurse. He was trying to sparkle. Yay!

My brother is fantastic with him. He says things like, "Dad, we have a huge decision for you to make. Are you ready?

My dad nods. I get nervous.

"OK. Our next activity is to get you into the Olympic swimming pool downstairs. And what you need to decide is if you want a red or a blue speedo."

This makes my dad smile. Thank god he's smiling.

Horrifyingly, he actually used to wear a speedo at the American clud in Delhi. My brother goes on to say, "You know, middle school social life is easy enough. And always made easier by the appearance of one's father by the pool. In his blue speedo."

I remember those years. Cringe factor: very high. Almost as high as the black office socks worn with shorts and clogs.

The doctor feels like my dad is progressing really quickly. If he keeps doing this well, they could have the tube out as early as next Monday. They're not going to do the swallow test till then - they want to give his trachea time to heal. But today felt very positive.

Well, No, Not Just This Moment

Thursday night, in the middle of the night, three friends and I were in an ugly but private waiting room of the ER, which is in the basement of the hospital

They're very kind to you when you come in under those circumstances. A social worker meets you, and you get taken to a private room. It makes it a little scarier, because you wonder if you've been sequestered so that when the doctor arrives to tell you the worst, nobody hears you howling.

But as you know, the doctor did not deliver the worst, and so while my mom was with my dad, we were trying to contact my brother, his wife, others. And none of us had any cell phone reception.

There was a phone in the room, but you could only make local calls, and neither my brother or his wife have local cell numbers.

Luckily, my friend A had a phone card. She handed it to another friend to read off the 800-number while I dialed.

So I pushed the numbers as she read them. And was waiting for the prompt, "For English..."

...when the phone voice said, "Are you horny?"

This was unlike any AT&T card I'd ever used! And instead of being horrified, I gave it a sincere second of thought. The hell? What is wrong with me?

I was still waiting for instructions. "What do I do?"

My friend A said, "Press 1."

So pressed 1. And the voice said, "Are you looking for hot, wet girls?"

Even at this point, it didn't quite register, I'm embarrassed to admit. I was still waiting to put in the PIN.

So I turned to my friends and said, "They asked if I'm looking for hot, wet girls?"

"Hang up! Hang up! You dialed phone porn! Do you want to get us kicked out of here?"


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday, 3:30 pm

I just got back from the hospital. I think he's better. I mean, they have him sedated, but when he's awake, he's present. He tried to joke, in a small way, with our friend J, who was worried my dad might not want him there. I asked if it was OK if J was there, and he shook his head no.

J asked, "Do you want me to leave?"

My dad looked stern and nodded. But he had a twinkle in his eye. I knew he was kidding. I asked if he was kidding, and he nodded and smiled. Joking is not low level thinking, is it? I don't think so.

When J left he said to my dad, "You're a good looking guy, you know?"

And my dad pointed and mouthed something. It took us a few tries to figure out that he was saying, "You're blushing." Which was cute. And then made J blush.

As for the swallowing, we don't know. He's strong enough to cough up all kinds of disgusting phlegm that you suction out of the trache thingy. It's gross, but a relief, you know?

If you ask if he's thirsty, and he nods, you can swab his mouth with these little sponges on a stick. I think he's trying to swallow. I just don't know if any is going down, because we still need to suction a lot out.

The nurses have been great. Very kind to my dad, nice about explaining things to us, and conscientious. And my mom and brother liked his doctor, who I've still not met. The sitter that they had with my dad yesterday - all suicide watch patients get 24-hour sitters - said that his doctor is very cute.

He's Indian, which somehow makes me really happy. I don't think I'm doing racial profiling, but maybe. I like to think it's more that I was born in an Indian hospital in New Delhi, and grew up surrounded by Indians.

In fact, my mom said I was the only white baby in the nursery. There were all these gorgeous brown babies with full heads of black hair. And then they spotted one tiny little white-pink bald one. They didn't say they had an "ick, let's trade ours for one of the cute ones" reaction, but I think I would've.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Best Case, Worst Case

Today my brother asked the doctor to just tell him very plainly what the best case and worst case scenarios would be.

Best case: Dad gets the tracheotomy tube out in two weeks. He starts talking. And they figure out if he has brain damage, and if so, the extent of it.

Worst case: His wind pipe is crushed. The tracheotomy tube never comes out. He eats through a tube for the rest of his life.

They have a specialist coming in tomorrow or the next day to assess. Tomorrow morning I am going to the hospital with a dear family friend who is going to talk to the doctors. He's a business guy, but has been involved in the medical field for ages. He knows what questions to ask, what information to expect.

He is, incidentally, part of the family we spent Christmas with. Who took care of me after my eggnog-and-rum-wine-with-dinner-more-eggnog-and-rum-then-gin-martinis to cap it all off! spree Christmas eve. These are capable hands.

Monday, 10:30 am

A very small update, but positive: My dad got moved to a surgical floor this morning. This means he's out of the ICU. His heart has stabilized.

My mom and brother are with him now. I'll go later this afternoon. We're kind of tag-teaming. It makes it less exhausting.

A friend of mine just wrote to thank me for posting updates on my blog. And then he said, "I know you're not doing it for us, but I appreciate it."

The truth is, this blog was (still is) my cathartic place. It was mine. But Friday morning, at 4:30 am, when I wrote about my dad's suicide attempt, something shifted. For now, anyway, it's not just for me.

I got so many supportive comments, so many emails. All sending positive energy, prayers, hope for my dad and our family. And while I am not religious, I do believe that every drop of those thoughts goes to the same place. And I believe every single one makes a difference.

We have so many people pulling for my dad - more than I'd ever imagined. And I am grateful. I'd beg, borrow, steal for that man. I really would.

Another thing I learned was that friends, not just in DC, not just in the US, but around the world are staying updated by checking my blog. Kris in Paris, Maude in the UK, family friends in Africa, in the Bahamas.

The Internet is an amazing thing. I'd thank Al Gore personally if I could.

I am afraid of exhausting people by writing about this over and over, but it's my entire world right now.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It's either an important clue or it has nothing to do with anything

My dad is stable. He's off the respirator, breathing on his own. He slept all day, except when we woke him up. He still has the tracheotomy tube, so can't talk, but he nodded that he recognized us and went back to sleep. His eyes looked sad and tired, but not mad. Thank God. He's with us, albeit tenuously.

I'm staying at my parents' house for at least the next few days. Betty just walked over to where I was sitting at the kitchen table with a yellow sticky note.

"Do you know what this says?"

I look down at the note and see a long word, written in all caps. It looks like my father's hard to decipher handwriting.

"Hmm. C-O-I-C-A-L-O-M-M. No, wait. . .Is that a K?"

"Yes, I think so."

I am thinking this is a clue. Maybe this is some medication my dad took. It's really important to figure this out.

"C-O-C-K-A-. . ."

"Oh!" Betty says with recognition, "Cockalorum!"

Thank goodness she knows!

"Cockalorum! Do you know what that is?"

Betty replies with delight, "Yes! It's a small man with a very large opinion of himself!"

Heh. Good word to know, particularly in DC. But, um?

"So, were you guys doing a crossword or do you simply know one of these men?"

"Oh, it's a new word Dad taught me the other day."

Truly. Betty will write things down just because they intrigue her. A friend of mine got a high colonic once. I told Betty about it.

Months later, I was pulling a CD out of my car, and there was a tiny yellow sliver of a sticky note stuck to it.

It said, "HIGH COLONIC?"

This Time is Bad

This time, I just don't feel strong enough. I don't feel like I can do it this time.

It's my dad's eyes. He can't talk, but his eyes speak volumes. The look in his eyes says he doesn't want to be here. He's furious to have woken up. I know he loves us - it's not that he wants to leave us. It's that this mortal body, this life in the here and now, just feels like too much for him to bear.

This breaks my heart in a million pieces. I don't know what to do about this.

The last time when we found him, he was still awake. Loopy, about to be forced to drink charcoal and whisked away to the ER. But I got to talk to him. He was still my dad. So even when, at the hospital, he was completely out of it, even when he woke up and looked mad, he'd been there, been him, just prior.

This time, we thought he was gone. His eyes were flat. They kept saying, "If he wakes up..."

And then Friday seemed better. He did wake up. He could look at you, and when I asked if he knew I loved him, he nodded his head up and down. He knew us.

But yesterday at the hospital was awful. He was so agitated. He'd pulled out his IV just before I got there, and was trying to pull out the respirator tube. They wound up sedating him to calm him down. He slept all day.

I just cried. My brother was great with him. Very loving, but matter off fact. "Dad, does your hand hurt? This one? Right here? It hurts because that's where the IV is. It's a new one. It's clean, and they did a great job."

This is the kind of thing my dad responds well to. And I am not good at. I just cry.

It's 9 am and I should already be at the hospital, and I'm not. I knocked myself out last night, and boy, did I sleep. I just woke up. It's sunny out. I want to go for a run. This makes me feel so guilty.

My mother is strong, but nobody should have to be this strong. Her friends are rallying around her, and she has loving support constantly. But this time, she looks particularly tiny and fragile. I want to scoop her up and take care of her. And I'm so tired.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I Cannot Thank You Enough

First of all - thank you. Your thoughts, prayers, energy, God, the Universe, everything worked. My dad can't talk because he's on a respirator and has a tube in his trachea, but he is there. He is alert. He knows us. Writing this makes me cry. Thursday night I was so certain he was gone.

Thank you, thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. I opened email last night and was overwhelmed by the kindness of people who, in most cases, do not know me at all. All the prayers, all the positive thoughts. Offers of support, an ear, someone to lean on, vent to, cry to. I have had my heart squeezed by this generosity over and over.

I have gotten the most supportive, loving emails from people I would say were strangers, except that from the things you have written, I feel like I know you. I can't tell you how touching this is.

My brother does not tell anyone, ever, and this has been a part of our lives for 26 years. I don't fault him - this was how we were raised, and you have to do what is comfortable for you. Me, I think that though there is a stigma attached, people are loving, with an immense capacity for understanding. The people who judge are not the right people to have in your life.

I used to lie, used to cover up. And some people question me writing about this on the Internet, perhaps the most public of venues, except TV. But I put this out there and am getting nothing but love, kindness, support. And I believe that the positive energy you all put into the world for my dad has helped. I do.

I must apologize for posting a group "thank you" - I am going to respond to each of your emails - but last night I just couldn't, and I'm on my way back to the hospital shortly.

Thank you again.

Big hug,


Friday, April 20, 2007


I will be back at the hospital again in four and a half hours. I should be asleep and I just can't. And so I'm writing.

This is my deep, dark secret. The thing that probably most defines me, and is not about me. My dad has tried to commit suicide five times. The most recent being last night.

He's in the ICU in a coma. They don't know how long his brain was without oxygen. They don't know if he'll wake up. My mom is there in case he does. I just came home, ostensibly to get a little sleep, to get some stuff for tomorrow.

His name is Michael. If you pray, please pray for him. If you think positive thoughts, please send them to him. If you visualize, please, please imagine him opening his eyes and being OK.

I love him so very, very much. I am trying to be hopeful, despite the fact that the doctors say signs are not good.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

People are fragile things, you should know by now

I talk to my parents every day. And as soon as I hear my dad's voice, I know if it's a good day or not.

I fret about my father, whose health has been quite fragile for the last year. This man was always larger than life, totally in charge, always quick to laugh, quick to anger, but regardless of the emotion - and they were always extreme (which of course I cannot relate to), full of energy, full of motion.

And now he's had one ailment after another for over a year. And so many days, he just seems frail. And it scares me. I hate it.

There have always been ups and downs with him. And growing up, our household was always focused on making sure Dad was OK. Not being in the way if he was tired after a long day of work - and he worked a lot. Not making him angry. Not making things worse if he wasn't feeling well.

This is not to say he couldn't be fun. Sometimes, he was so much fun. Sometimes, life was a huge, fabulous adventure. But you didn't necessarily know what you were going to get. Collectively, a lot of our energy went to keeping things fine.

And of course, for the outside, we were always fine. Fine. How are we? Oh, we're fine. We're great! Things are great and fine and they could probably not even be finer! Yippee! Pom-poms! F! I! N! E! Fine!

I have always been so used to saying I was fine fine fine. Until one day I was just so spectacularly not fine. One day last year I started to cry and just couldn't stop. But if you asked, I was fine!

Seriously. If you asked how I was, a big tear might roll down my cheek if I was having a really bad day. And I would still smile, look you straight in the eye and said, "Fine, thanks! How are you?"

I found a therapist, because I felt like I'd lost my shit and just couldn't put it back together by myself. I didn't even know what all the pieces were. I knew what some of them were, but not all. And I didn't know how they ought to fit together.

And here's the funny thing. The first time I saw her, I started to cry. And said, "I don't really know why I'm here, besides the fact that I've lost my shit. Because really, I'm fine."

The really interesting thing to me was that what I wound up working on was not what I thought I was there for. I thought I was there for a broken heart. And it turned out, much like an iceberg, that while you're trying to deal with the stuff that's apparent, it's the myriad things below the surface, the ones of a magnitude you cannot even fathom, that are actually tearing you apart.

I saw her for almost a year - just stopped seeing her a month or so ago. Because it got to the point that I would go in and when she asked how I was, I would say, very genuinely, "I feel good! Things are good!" And I didn't really have things to talk about.

The last time I saw her, I thanked her for some very specific things. She enabled me to talk to my dad about things that upset me in how we relate to each other. And about how choices he makes affect me and how I feel.

Not in an accusatory way. Just in an, "I care about you and want you to be OK. But you need to help me be OK, too." way.

I had, without knowing it, been carrying around years of anger. I could be furious with him within seconds for the most seemingly innocuous thing. Why? Because this anger and resentment was always simmering, just below the surface. I just didn't know it.

How exhausting and unhealthy is that to lug around? How much does that NOT help you get into or stay in healthy relationships?

I am not angry anymore, just sometimes scared. And tired. I feel like I have so many skills now that I didn't have a year ago. I'm much more of a whole, healthy person than I was. I am very thankful for that.

But it doesn't mean that I'm totally fine, every day. None of us are. Even though I'd really like us to be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Every once in a while, I check up on him to make sure he's not incarcerated.

People, and men in particular, do not know what to do with my friend Kelli.

Kelli is tall and pretty and very much a girly-girl. She always has her make up on and her nails done. Her hair is long and blonde and tastefully layered. She has big breasts - breasts she did not have in high school. They were expensive, and I must say, really well done. She wears high heels, as a rule.

She is incredibly friendly, smiles all the time, and giggles a lot. And she's also whip smart and though she's incredibly nice and polite, doesn't take any shit. People who think she's a bimbo or a pushover will always be in for an incredible shock.

Kelli is going to be the subject of several posts, if not this week then in upcoming ones. In fact, I asked if I could interview her about her year as an exotic dancer, and she agreed.

On Saturday night she picked me up at my hotel and we went to a restaurant/bar called Japonais, which was elegant and hip and charming. If it were in DC, I'd want to go there all the time for the atmosphere. And the food was ohmygodsodelicious melt in your mouth good.

We both wanted wine, and so when I went up to the bar I asked if we should just get two glasses and she said, "Ah, Hell. We might as well just start with a bottle. Don't you think?"

And that was just the beginning of the evening. We sat down to wait for our table, and I told her she looks fantastic. She thanked me. And then said, "Hey, wait!"

She whipped out her cell phone and pulled up a picture of herself. Naked!

And yes, I was surprised, but hilariously so. Man, if I looked that hot naked, I'd have a pic on my phone as well. Hell, I'd happily take a picture, have stickers printed up, and post them on telephone poles all over the city. No, that's a lie. I wouldn't really. Just kidding, mom and dad.

We were squeezed into a tiny table in the swanky downstairs bar. The couple next to us were eating something absolutely beautiful. So I asked the guy, whose lap I was practically sitting on, what it was.

It was Kobe beef carpaccio. They offered us a taste. I don't eat beef (but I prefer that men do, whatever that means) but am unable to turn down new experiences when they're so beautiful and appealing. And it was oh so delicious. To their amusement, I took a picture.

We finished that bottle and then decided it was more judicious to just order by the glass from that point on. That point was perhaps 10:30. As it turned out, we had nearly four hours ahead of us. You can learn a lot about a person in four hours.

I really didn't know Kelli as an adult till Saturday. We knew each other in 10th grade, and then her family left Delhi. And I didn't see her again until two years ago, and that was only for a reunion. And we've kept in very sporadic touch since then.

But we have that high school bond. Forged by experiences that other people, people who grew up more "normally" than us cannot relate to.

So Saturday night, squeezed in at our little table, and then later hanging out drinking even more wine with her friend K, we bonded. Kelli and I both present ourselves as "what you see is what you get" - except that as with everyone, there are sooo many more layers below the surface, even when you are very candid about who you are.

And so the title of this post? A direct quote from Kelli. About an ex-boyfriend, now affectionately referred to as "John the con," who, when she started digging into his past, turned out to be an ex-con. And perpetually one step ahead of the law. Which is not the reason she broke up with him.

She said he tried to hide both his past and his present. But Kelli's dad did embassy security all over the world. You don't grow up with that and not learn a thing or two about finding out what you want to know.

As I said, layers and layers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why, sir, I would never question the size of your hedge fund!

We have some very impressive people from the world of finance present at our conferences.

This morning a handsome, distinguished, no-nonsense, investment banker suit kind of guy was one of our presenters. He needed to find the co-presenter, and I said the guy was probably on the second floor. We were on the third floor.

He said, "I'll go down to find him. Have you taken the stairs? Or do they have stairs anywhere around here?"

The elevators in this hotel took a long time. And it is irritating to take an elevator one flight. I take the stairs everywhere. Everywhere except hotels and unfamiliar office buildings. Because they can be isolated and creepy.

I replied, "They do but I haven't taken them. I don't take the stairs in hotels. I don't feel safe."


"I would if I were a man, though."

"Now I feel obligated to take them. Just to prove myself."

He had a little tiny twinkle in his very serious eye, but he said this without missing a beat or breaking a smile. And I blushed. I really did.

And now, my friends, now I am going out into the wide world of Chicago. The conference is over, the weather is beautiful, and I'm pulling on my sneaks and running along the lake.

And then my wild - truly, hilariously wild - friend Kelli is going to pick me up, and we are going to create some havoc.

I just hope we don't run into Mr. Hedge Fund after a couple cocktails.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Perhaps Part of the Reason I Have Never Been a Numbers Person

I like to think of myself as open minded. But there are a variety of things I just don't get.

At 7 this morning, AKA the crack of dawn, I staggered downstairs. I'd gone to sleep scant hours prior, around 2 am. Because Chicago is fun. But that is a story for another day.

So I struggled down to the staff room, checked in with our meeting planners, and then went into a meeting room trying to find one of the guys filming the event.

The workshop started at 8:30. And there were attendees already sitting in the room, waiting! Honest to God. Just hanging out. Waiting.

And then one of the speakers showed up, and he turned out to be a dick and a half. He was mean to the AV guys, and condescended to me. And I just peered at him with as much "I loathe you quickly and thoroughly, you angry toad." as I could muster.

But despite my lack of sleep and a mild case of the bird flu and sudden irritation, I realized that actually, I could list offhand a variety things to be thankful for then and there.

Starting with the fact that I am not an accountant. I will never, pray God, have to be an accountant. I do not get excited by accounting workshops.

And even if I did find this shit interesting, I have more imagination than to show up to a hotel ballroom a bloody hour and a half before a program starts, and just sit and wait.

Why the hell would you spend more time sitting in a hotel meeting room than you have to?

Because, you guys, it's Chicago, and Chicago is fantastic! It's chilly but sunny! Go out for breakfast! Go for a run! Meander down Michigan Avenue! Read the Sunday paper at Starbucks! Sit in your hotel room in your underwear and watch porn with the curtains open!

Honestly, there are 8 trillion things more interesting than waiting, on the edge of your seat, just sitting and waiting, for an accounting workshop to begin.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Non-Stop Party

I'm going to Chicago for work. I'm looking at three days with 400 university accountants. Can you even imagine more of a non-stop party?

I'm having dinner with a high school friend tonight. We were friends in 10th grade and then her family left Delhi and we lost touch until two years ago at a reunion. A group of us went out afterwards and got ridiculous. And she is just as wild and bright and funny as she was in high school. 'm really looking forward to catching up on her life.

I'm flying out of National. Which I refuse to refer to as Reagan. If you're the asshat who fired all those air traffic controllers, how do they have the temerity to name the airport after you? But anyway.

Because I'm flying, oh, I'm prepared. I've been mainlining chocolate from the second I got up this morning. I've got insanely fattening snacks for the flight. I have all my toiletries in little 3 oz. containers. My iPod is charged. I have a fleece for the plane.

And finally, I have a plethora of New Yorkers I've gotten behind on. Just in case anyone sitting next to me is in the military and headed for the middle east or anything.

I've no idea if I'll be blogging or not. But most likely I'll sneak one or two posts in. Because you know, it's that every day and twice on Tuesday kind of thing.

Friday, April 13, 2007

CSI: U Street

First of all, I'm a massive cranky-pants today, so I might be more annoyed than I should be. My allergies are from hell. Could I be itchier, sneezier, puffier, grumpier? I'm like the seven dwarfs of allergies all rolled into one. AND it's cold out! I blame W for the imbrication of nasty weather and pollen galore.

So. On to my actual rant.

You want the crimes in DC solved immediately? Hire the parking enforcement people. Put them on the police force. Seriously. These people are on the scene, ticket machine in hand, within minutes. Seconds, even.

The three friends of mine who were mugged last year my neighborhood? The parking enforcers would've caught the perps immediately. Might have even apprehended them mid-mug.

Hell, if I'd been illegally parked last fall, they probably would've stopped the dickface who smashed my windshield for fun.

And I hate giving DC government any more money than I pay in taxes. Because do I feel like it goes to anything constructive, like, oh, fixing potholes? Or making sure none of us have lead pipes? Or improving the schools?

No. I bet it goes to slow motion classes for DMV employees. Because, have you been to the inspection station? If I moved that slowly, I just know it would hurt. It's like watching them perform Tai Chi car inspection. With surliness. And cell phones glued to their ears.

OK. Rant over. Because the truth is, I really do like living in DC. I'm not about to move anywhere. I just had to get that out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Because I look like I know what I'm doing?

At the pizza party I was handed a hunk o' dough and invited to make whatever kind of pizza I wanted. But here's the thing. I didn't know what to do with it.

I didn't know you had to worry about over-working it. Or that you want to gently stretch it. And that there really is a reason for flinging it up in the air.

My partner in pizza, A, took over part way through and started flinging. And then we pressed it into what was meant to be a circle.

Which turned out to be a not-circle. But, interestingly enough, a heart! A heart-shaped pizza was OK with us.

We negotiated ingredients, came to agreement, and popped it in the oven quite delighted. Because it was going to be a fantastic pizza. And so charmingly shaped! No?

When our pizza, which we just knew would be amazing, came out of the oven, A asked if I wanted to cut it. And I told him he was welcome to do so.

He, very cleverly, cut a jagged line down the middle. Because what suits a heart pizza more?

When people asked what was on a broken heart pizza, we said that the toppings varied by individual. I mean, you could start with tomato sauce, peppers, pesto, spinach.

But depending on the person, you might include any or all of the following: one-night stands, liquor, regrets, chocolate, crying jags, drunken phone calls...

Really, ingredients for a broken heart pizza are wide open.

The pizza turned out to be not so great. The peppers we thought were hot were not. Our crust was too thick, thus doughy (mea culpa). It was pretty on the outside, raw on the inside. Alas. But perhaps fitting.

And hey, on a completely unrelated note, although it does nicely fall under today's rubric, it's my six-month anniversary in the world of blog!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And Then You Wake Up the Day After Easter With Peep Sugar in Your Belly Button

My friend J had an impromptu make-your-own pizza party on Sunday. Night of the risen crust and deflated Peep. And what a fun party! Lots of wine, creative and delicious pizzas, dark chocolate bunnies, exotic liqueurs. And Peeps galore!

J got the dough from Pizzeria Paradiso. He'd made a big vat of luscious, bright red, homemade tomato sauce. There were myriad toppings to choose from, ranging from the expected to the exotic: mozzarella, basil, spinach, roasted peppers, chevre, roasted garlic, broccolini, chicken sausage, pulled pork, prosciutto, chives, mint chutney, peaches, asparagus...

He had the party to christen his new kitchen. He'd redone it with lovely blue glass tile on the back splash, and blue counters. And clean white cabinets. All very simple and sophisticated.

There was a beautiful blue drink, which they called the Bridget Jones, because it looked exactly like that pale blue soup she made in the movie. It was some noxious vodka-curacao-secret ingredient (which I secretly suspect was ground up Devil's toenails) made for the occasion.

It was blue. It was beautiful. It matched the kitchen. And it tasted so terrible that I'm putting this remarkably heinous picture of myself up so you have some idea of the magnitude of the horribleness. Seriously. Just. Like. Ass.

But back to the positive. The pizza! As sometimes happens when you get a lot of lawyers in a room together, things got a little competitive. There were great combinations; there were suspect combinations.

Sometimes really simple pizza is fantastic, right? But then why make a pizza just with mozzarella and basil when you can make one with BBQ pork and mint chuntey? Or shrimp paste and broccolini? Especially if you can make something that sounds really repulsive, but people actually like it. You win!

Our friend L, she won. She created a pizza with peaches and prosciutto. It sounds kind of vile, but it was excellent. That salty fat and sweet fruit combo worked perfectly.

And here's the saddest but best part. The Peep. Who looks so peaceful in a field of peaches. The lone little sacrificial Peep, sitting on the Sistine pizza, oblivious to the finger of God above him.

Before I go on about Peep antics, I have to rhapsodize a little about this pizza. To be fair, I'd had a number of glasses of wine before this, the pizza de resistance (heh). So maybe there were better, earlier pizzas, and I just don't remember them. But still. It was delicious.

Now, getting a Peep to burn is a little harder than one expects. You can't just light his ear on fire, it turns out. Sometimes you have to douse him in Cointreau first. But immolation in a Cointreau bath can't be the worst way to go, can it? There are worse ways to be laid to rest in Peep. Did I really just say that? I did.

And after the burning and the melting? L took a big, happy, victorious bite. And then shared with the rest of us.

The night continued on in the slightly ridiculous manner that one might expect, considering that the entire crowd was consuming wine, gruesome Bridget Jones drink, Cointreau-doused pizza, some truly sinful chocolate cake, like sex on a plate, really, and then gorgeous dark Belgian bunny chocolate.

Post-dinner there were also some Peep in the microwave antics. I'll spare you the play-by-play, but here are the results.

This was all capped off with Cynar and Aperol, liqueurs made predominantly from artichoke and orange-rhubarb, respectively. As if we weren't all drunk enough on carbs and sugar.

During the whole Peep pizza incident, honestly, I was thinking, "Poor Peep. You look so sad melting all alone on that pizza. Poor little yellow bunny Peep."

But I think it's the bunny thing. Because at some point it can seem like a good idea to pull the head off a little pink chicken Peep. Just to see how it looks in a belly button. And I can now say with authority that a Peep looks somehow both alarming and comfortable nestled in the navel of a hirsute man.

And so you can fully appreciate, I'm posting yet another dramatically unflattering shot. Full pizza belly. With Peep. And wings!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm Going to Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart

I wrote this a couple weeks ago. I had it up for maybe 24 hours. And then I just felt too fragile, and took it down.

But tonight, at a goodbye happy hour, I ran into a friend of B's. And I feel OK, which stands in stark contrast to last fall, when I was shattered after talking to her at a party. Time and distance? They work. Relief.

I heard this Eels song the other day. They have other songs that I like better. But it really resonated with me. It just made me ache.

What it took me until last year to realize was that if you break something, even if on the surface it seems that you have been able to fix it - in my case with sincere apologies and regret and heaps of adoration and affection - the cracks still remain. And those cracks, they let doubt and anger and invidious thoughts seep in where they didn't before.

Because the truth is, I did break B's heart. And later, I somehow thought I could apologize enough. I thought we would eventually work out. But it doesn't really work that way, or at least, it didn't with us.

Just over a year ago I wanted to get back together. And he strung me along with I don't know and I don't know and I still love you but I don't know for months on end. Initially, I was hopeful. After a while, though, all I could focus on was how hurt I was. I wanted him to either say he'd give us a try, or say that he wouldn't and to move on. And he wouldn't do either.

I cried almost every day last year. I cried days and weeks and months away. I was so wrapped up in myself, in hating the limbo, in aching. I waited and waited and begged, absolutely begged, for an answer. Pathetic, I know.

I thought I could apologize enough. I really did. I thought the fact that he still loved me meant that we'd get to a point where he'd forgive me. But apologies don't actually erase anything. The past is still there. Not to sound too Lady Macbeth, but what's done cannot be undone.

Last year it was so easy to focus on his rejection of me. In fact, that was all I could focus on. Not the why of it, not his hurt behind it. And even when I realized the depth of his hurt, I couldn't feel anything beyond my own.

I did break his heart. And he was graceful about it. So graceful that at the time I didn't realize how hurt he was. Actually, he loved me like crazy. More than anyone other than my parents has, ever. At the time, I didn't have enough self-esteem to believe that was possible. Or to value it enough. And when I ended it, it turns out he was crushed. But he acted fine. At least to me.

Eventually last year I started feeling like he was being vindictive. He denied it. And I believe he didn't think he was, but oh, he was. And there was ego. And lots of anger. Last year, when he broke my heart in return, he didn't just break it in one motion. Rather, he rubbed and scraped it raw a little at a time over months and months.

And I was not graceful. Not remotely.

Now I have the perspective to say that I should have just let it go. We might even be friends now if I had. He was so incredibly important to me. We figured largely in each other's lives for years. And now we don't speak at all.

But unfortunately, it's not in my nature. I couldn't just let it go. I had to push as far as I could.

And the really, really unhelpful thing? The fact that we live across the street from each other, half a block down. And so even after we stopped talking, there was the inevitability of running into each other, even though he is out of town a lot for work. He lives between me and my gym. Between me and my best friend. Between me and the places I often go out.

I've got some months of distance. Some months of not speaking. Some months of not crying. I can say that I believe that things work out the way they are supposed to, and we clearly were not supposed to be. Mostly I do truly believe this.

Good days, I feel like it's fine; it should be fine. I'm going about my normal life, and if my normal life involves running into him, it's fine. Fine and fine and fine. But even on those good days, before I hit that corner of our street I get that dread in the stomach feeling.

So days that I am feeling vulnerable for any reason, I cross the street. Take the long way around. Go out other places. Just in case.

The days I walk by, though, are like a test. Because one of these days, that "Please don't be home. Please, please, please don't be home." hold my breath dreadful feeling will be gone. One of these days, I will simply stop feeling it. And I will be grateful.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter - Not, It Turns Out, All About the Basket

Betty made me a lovely little Easter basket! Just enough candy that I will feel sick if I eat it all in one go, which is pretty much perfect.

I was 24 when I realized that Easter was about Jesus. Honestly. Nobody had ever explicitly told me so before. At least not that I recall.

In our house, Easter was fun! Easter was dyeing eggs and the Easter Bunny and huge baskets of candy and eating so much chocolate you would almost throw up. I don't even remember if we had Easter dinner growing up. But Jesus? Not so much.

I think Jusus was, to me, like the rest of the gods and goddesses in the countries we lived in. Jesus, Ganesh, Vishnu, Parvati. . .Important. Holy. It probably sounds terrible to lump them together, but nobody singled him out for me.

I mean, I knew about Jesus. Because we always said grace - in English at home and in Norwegian at my Gramma Lillian's house. And Jesus was in that grace prayer. How did I gloss over him for Easter? Dunno.

And for the two years in high school that our parents dragged us to mass so that we'd have some religion and not grow up and join the Moonies, that whole Jesus-Easter connection somehow escaped me. Probably because I was so bitter about being up that early. I was saying the words along with the rest of the congregation but not actually thinking about their meaning.

Easter the year I was 24, I went to the beach with a boyfriend. The one I now refer to as the gay boyfriend. But at that point, our relationship was brand new. At that point, he was still sticking to his Catholic upbringing (mostly), I think, living life as a heterosexual, planning to get married, have a wife, kids, etc etc. I had months of insecurity and tumult ahead of me. And almost a year and a half before being told he was gay.

But this weekend, this was the beginning. He was really cute. And tall and athletic and oh so smart. We were living in Ecuador and his Spanish was fantastic but my accent was better than his, which impressed him. And I was always trying to impress him. It was nervous and new and fun.

We took off for a long weekend at the beach with no reservations and no plans. We found a charming place to stay, and I remember what an adventure it felt like. And there was all that giddy newness, when everything is fun and exciting.

He was raised rabidly Catholic (as was my dad, and he hates when I use this phrase as much as when I use profanity) and I had some worry that he'd want to go to mass or something, but there was no mention of it the night before, and I certainly wasn't going to suggest it.

I'd made him an Easter basket, because, of course, for me Easter was all about the candy, and kept it hidden till Easter morning. He woke up and I gave him the basket and said, "Happy Easter!"

And he said, "Yes! The day of the Risen Lord!"


"Day of the Risen Lord!"

"I heard you, but what are you talking about?"

"Jesus? The cave? On the third day? Ascended into Heaven? Any of this ring any bells?"

And it all came together. Right! Jesus! Easter! Day of the Risen Lord!

And Cadbury eggs!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Yes. Just remember to pour a shot for Elijah.

Something interesting happened this week. Quite a number of people wound up at my site through Google searches for tequila and Passover. The most common being "kosher for Passover tequila." Or some wondered, "Is tequila kosher for Passover?"

I wonder if people search for this kind of thing every year? What's the deal with tequila this week?

I'm not any religion. And I'm woefully ignorant about religious ritual. As I've said before, my brother and I were practically raised heathens.

I am, however, helpful. And in favor of tequila.

So, if you're one of the plethora who arrived here through that particular search, I have an answer for you. Yes! There are brands of tequila that are kosher for Passover! The Chicago Rabbinical Council has a list of brands of liquor that are acceptable.

I realize at this point it's not of much help. But print it out or bookmark it and then next year you can easily whip up some kosher for Passover cocktails!

Now, for the one person who arrived here by Googling "kosher for Passover ham" I am sorry to tell you, even I know you're out of luck.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Code Red at Local 16

The language for W's War on Terror (and immigration, for that matter) seeps into every aspect of our lives now.

I was out last night with my friend Laura. Beautiful, tall, lithe Laura of the turquoise boots and hypnotism. One thing I've discovered being out with Laura is that guys are practically tripping over each other to give her their business cards. Seriously.

We met up at Local 16 for one glass of wine that turned into three. And wound up staying out because this one guy farted. I'm not kidding you.

Laura does yoga on U Street and Local 16 is convenient and has nice wine. The bar was full when we got there a little after eight, but there was one stool empty, which we took over.

We were hanging out chatting, catching up on life, when all of a sudden we smelled an overpoweringly terrible smell. Laura smelled it first. I could see her nose twitching. But she didn't want to say anything. So I said, "Oh my God. Do you smell that?"

And I said, "It wasn't me! I promise!"

She said, "I ate some serious soy products last night. But it wasn't me either!"

So we started scanning for possible culprits. We started to giggle and look around. As did other people. We were surrounded by people - all potential farters. Laura did some farter profiling and decided that this one tall, cute, blond fellow was the most likely one. So I tilted my head in his direction and mouthed "Him?"

But he saw me. And said, "I didn't do it! You think I farted, right?"

We started to laugh. We laughed so hard we were crying. It was impossible to deny. But he adamantly denied it. We said we believed him.

Things went back to normal. We resumed catching up.

About 20 minutes later, this guy to my left said, "I did it."


"I'm the one who farted. I know you were wondering."

We were a little nervous, because it had been like a WMD, and started to edge away, but he said, "Don't worry - the borders are secure."

And Laura said, "Oh my God. The whole vocabulary for the War on Terror thing pervades every aspect of our lives." Which is true.

So we wound up talking to The Farter for a while. Because he was hilarious.

He and his friend eventually went to Saint Ex and we stayed. And the Accused Farter (AF) and his friends came over to talk to us. They wanted to know why we were willing to talk to The Farter for so long.

"Because he was funny!" Because the truth is, we weren't out to pick up guys. We were just out to catch up and have a good time.

We were chatting with the AF and his friends, who were very fun and interesting.

And Laura then said, "Oh, you have to blog about this!"

The AF said, "She has a blog? You have a blog?"

Laura said, "Absolutely!"

He turned to me. "So, you're a blogger?"

I nodded.

"What's it about?"


"You? Just you?"

"Yup. Nothing racy. No sex. Nothing scandalous. Just my plain old life. And I will probably go home and blog about the incident at Local 16 this evening."

We talked a bit about the topics I choose, why I started, what I like about it.

"Huh. So, like, you blog, all the time? Every day?"

Since I am well trained by my father to think on my feet and appreciate shock value, I said, "Yes. It's just like masturbating. Every day and twice on Tuesdays."

And smiled very sweetly.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Raising Parents Is Not Easy

I am really, really close to both my parents. I've read that Foreign Service families tend to be really tight because you are the only constants for each other, country after country. And this was true for us, moving at least every four years.

Sometimes they are too much in my business; sometimes I am too much in theirs. It's not all positive. Or easy. But it is what it is.

It's taken a long time for my dad and me to come to an understanding of each other. What I've realized is that the things that really frustrate me in him, the things that infuriate me in one hot second, are the things that frustrate me about myself. We are very similar in many ways. We can have a great time together. But we can hurt each others' feelings quite easily without intending to. And we can make each other really, really angry.

Realizing this has been immeasurably helpful for me. In the past couple years we've started to communicate pretty well. And that has improved our relationship immensely.

Those of you who know me, or who have been reading for a while, know that my mom, Betty, is my favorite human on the planet. I love my dad, but Betty is my best friend. She's incredibly supportive, we like a lot of the same things, and we make each other laugh.

My dad, I think, is just learning how to BE. Without having to DO all the time. Betty is very easy to just BE with. If this makes sense at all.

Which is not to say that she approves of everything. She read this post, even though it had a parental warning at the top. My dad, thankfully, stopped reading after he read that. But Betty ignored, even after my father pointed it out, and plowed on through. And, as you may imagine, was less than delighted.

The other day I told her that Dad said she read that New Yorker on the plane post.

And you know what? She got that same disapproving, pursed lips looks on her face that her mother used to get. I could see my Gramma Lillian sitting right in front of me. It makes me wonder if I will make that face too, one day.

But then it was gone. And we were back to talking about my date, or her garden, or whatever it was we were chatting about right before that. There was no, "I wish you would change that." or "I wish you wouldn't write things like that." No implication that she wishes I were different.

I am who I am, and she loves me and leaves it at that.

My dad, on the other hand, is full of, "Why don't you do X like this?" and "That was good. But it would be better if you did X." I take this, whether he means it that way or not, and more and more I think he does not, as "I'd think more of you if you were different."

He is kind, and he does love me. We just don't always communicate well. And so I am very used to being on the defensive with him.

He reads my blog every day, and I often get emails about it. Sometimes they are about my grammar. Sometimes I make him laugh and he lets me know. Sometimes he is expressing concern because I'm so down and he wants to make sure I know they love me.

A frequent impetus for an email, though, is my language. He hates what a terrible mouth I have.

"Why do you have to use the F word?"

"Dad. I write the way I speak. My friends who read my blog love that I write the way I speak. They can hear my voice in my writing. And you know how I talk."

"I know. And I don't know why you need to talk like that. It's so unattractive. And you put it in writing! On the Internet!"

The thing I had to say was, my blog is mine. My place that I'm using to both improve my writing and sort out my existential crises, to be dramatic about it. I want to be a better storyteller. And I want a place to get my angst out. And this works for me. But it's mine. For me.

If I want to be unattractive or inappropriate or pick my virtual nose or pour my whole soul out to strangers in cyberspace, I am going to do it. And I cannot spend my time worried about whether or not my dad approves. I've spent my whole life worried about that, in every single arena of it.

So last night I got an email from him. And it said the following:

"I did read your two new blogs. I liked the haircut blog a lot. The kids one blows my mind. What is going on? But why I react to the F word that you are so wont to use is my problem. Also the Christ word. So I need to make a choice. Read and just shut up, or don't read. Hmmmm."

And I wrote him back, not unkindly, and said that yes, he was right. That's precisely his choice. Although the truth is, it's not in his character. What I think will happen is that he will keep reading and bite his tongue half the time. How do I know this? C'mon. I'm my father's daughter.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Scissors + Chemicals = Power, My Friends

I got my hair cut and re-blonded last night. And so right before I left the office for my hair appointment, I started putting on make up. My colleague Eric, who has seen me through such things as the emergency shoes asked if I had a date.

"No! I'm getting my hair done! I want my stylist to think I'm pretty!"

"Is he cute?"

Yes. And he's gay. It's not that I'm interested in him. It's that I believe no matter what you ask for, you get the hair that your stylist thinks suits you. Don't you think?

And they've got all the power. They have the scissors; they have the chemicals. You are stuck in the chair and have no real idea what's going on up there. Until they're done. Someone once gave me bangs and then denied it when I asked why. But what can you do but go home and cry once you already have surprise bangs? You're just fucked. Right?

So anyway, it behooves you to show up at the salon dressed as the person you want your hair to look like, if that makes any sense. I learned this in San Diego. I absolutely believe this is true.

In San Diego, Maude and I went to the same stylist. Her name was Amber. Amber was just the most beautiful blonde, blue eyed, real live Barbie we had ever met. I really, genuinely liked her. But you looked at her and could only think "Barbie." She once described her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend as a Barbie, and it made my head spin. When you have a real-live Barbie describing someone as a Barbie, what does this mean? Is there such a thing as a double Barbie? A mega-Barbie?

In any case, she used to give me very cute haircuts. But Maude would always come home looking like a librarian. At some point she got very disgruntled - why did Amber do this to her, when clearly she was capable of giving hip haircuts? And I pointed out that Maude always schlepped in to Amber's in her dowdy painting clothes. So she got frumpy haircuts.

Once, also when we lived in SD, I dyed my hair dark brown. Maude, who is an artist, helped me pick the color. I love dark brown hair with blue eyes. It's a nice contrast.

Except that I looked dead. Nobody, not one person, liked how I looked. It made my skin flat and pasty and awful.

And so I decided that I had to fix it. But Maude and I had dyed it at home, and so I was too embarrassed to go to Amber and show her what I'd done. Because how can you go in to your stylist and tell her you were stupidly playing with dye at home?

So I went to another salon. A very spendy, trendy one. I told the guy what I'd done and asked if he could fix it. He said there was absolutely no way to go back to any kind of natural looking blonde.

He backed a couple feet away from me. He looked me up and down. He put his hands on his hips and cocked his head to the side. He said the best thing to do would be to strip all the color out and go platinum. Platinum! He said that only because I had on a hip outfit and the right shoes did he know I could pull it off. Otherwise, he'd never try.

And so I did. And platinum, platinum was great! I don't know if any of you have ever tried it, but when your hair is that damaged and really short, oh, you can do fun stuff with it!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What Is WRONG With the World?

I don't have anything to say except honest to Christ, what is wrong with people?

I just read this article about four fifth graders in Louisiana having sex with each other in front of the rest of the class. They'd been left alone for 15 minutes.

It's not about the teacher leaving the room. When my fifth grade teacher left us alone, I think we did things like leave our seats when we weren't supposed to or shoot erasers across the room. Saying this makes me feel like my father telling us that when he was a kid Coke cost 5 cents, or that he walked uphill in a snowstorm to get to school every day.

But honestly. Kids are exposed to a lot racier stuff, but mores have not changed that much since I was a kid.

In what twisted reality do four 11-13 year olds to decide to start having sex in front of the classroom because the teacher isn't there? Who are their parents? What is wrong with the world? Honestly.

A Sponge Bath and A Screw

I've told you about my gorgeous, hilarious friend Jen before. She's the one that prompted me to join her in following Officer Delicious to the scene of a crime in Petworth.

Jen and I are talking about a weekend in Rehoboth, which is what we did a couple years ago, right after my most serious relationship ever ever ever ended, and before she took off for China. It was a completely spontaneous, fun, carefree weekend. The kind of weekend that you just could not have planned better if you'd actually tried.

That week, for some reason, Jen was particularly fixated on her fertility. Her fertility was the topic of the week. After that week was over? Never heard about it again. That weekend, however, starting with the car ride down, every couple hours we'd have a Jen fertility check.

"I probably have, oh, 5 good years of fertility left in me. Don't you think?" (Might have been 10. I can't remember. In any case, it was a lot of years.)

A couple hours later it was, "I think I'm down to about two years."

Her years of fertility were decreasing rapidly as the weekend wore on. She'd peer over her wine glass and say, "A year and a half!" Later, "Eleven months!"

Jen has close friends who are a couple, a truly fabulous, cute, funny, interesting gay couple, who have a house in Rehoboth. We went out with these guys and their friends both nights.

We had fantastic weather. We had fun people to hang out with. We had a ton of wine.

So Saturday night we went out with this big group of guys. To some gay bar, the name of which I cannot recall. It had karaoke - that much I remember. We were standing in a group, drinking and chatting, when all of a sudden, Jen's beautiful green eyes narrowed, just slightly. She darted them back and forth. Her delicate nose went up in the air.

And she said, "There are straight men in here!"

Our crowd whipped around saw a few guys in rugby shirts or something similar. One of them was very cute, despite the attire.

Jen sashayed over to them. I watched animated chatting, delight, laughter. When she came back, we said, "Sooo?"

"He's straight. But he's in college!"


"I asked him which team he plays for. And he said he plays basketball at Buckacluck State! In college! What kind of answer to 'which team' is that?"

"Buckacluck State?"

She wailed, "Oh, somewhere in the Midwest! A child!"

Before we left, Mr. Buckacluck came over and asked for her number. And she gave it to him.

The walk home, as sometimes happens when fueled by that much alcohol, involved cartwheels on lawns we passed, wildly inappropriate conversation, and even arm wrestling.

The next morning Jen and I woke up in our hotel room. She turned her head very carefully and looked across the several feet that separated our beds.

She moaned, "I don't think I can move."

I peered over very gingerly. "Me either. Too. Much. Wine. Ow." And then I remembered. "You gave your number to a child!"

"God, I did!"

She thought a moment and said, "How am I going to take a shower? I have to bathe. And I can't move."

I said I wasn't going to shower. I hurt too much.

She said, "I have to bathe. A sponge bath! I need someone to give me a sponge bath!"

I laughed, a feeble, too much wine last night laugh. And suggested perhaps "the child" could help out.

She added, "And a screw."


"My fertility!" she said. "It's probably down to fifteen minutes, max!"

"Right, I'm sorry! I forgot about your fertility!"

"So now I need a sponge bath and a screw."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sure! AND It's Kosher For Passover!

You know how sometimes you say something, and as you hear yourself saying it, you know how utterly stupid it is? And you wish you could just snatch those words out of the air and cram them backwards into your mouth? But since that is an absolute impossibility, you just have to bank on the fact that your friends know you're not a moron?

I have a friend who is Jewish, but not religious. He eats pork. Pork, in fact, is one of his all-time favorite things ever.

He recently took a trip to Spain, mainly for the ham. Really. It was a ham-focused food tour of Northern Spain. Apparently it was amazing.

A group of friends were getting together last week to hear about the trip. I said I expected some pork tales.

He said, very cleverly, "Do you mean 'pork tales' or 'pork tails'?" Heh heh.

He added, "Because the latter is a delicacy, you know."

This led to me point out that that would mean eating the part of the pig closest to the butt hole, and was he serious?

He was dead serious. And, he added, people even eat cow anus. This I find truly hard to believe. And is off topic. But since you know I love to talk about that sort of thing, still gross enough to mention.

So when we all got together, I of course wanted to hear about the eating of the pig's tail.

He said it's not actually the tail, but the fatty part around it. And it's delicious.

And I. (I'm cringing all over again as I write this.) I said, "Wow. Is this a Jewish delicacy?"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thankfully, I Do Not Write for Children

Yesterday was a birthday party for my nephew. The little butterbean is a year old! Yay!

I needed presents for him. And this is a kid who already has every toy imaginable. So I headed for books, which I love.

There I was at the book store, trying to find books that a one-year old might enjoy. I saw one called "Five Little Ducks." I am incredibly tactile, and could not resist the super soft little fluffy ducks sticking out of the cover. Soft yellow ducklings to pet! What could be more compelling for a one-year old? Or me? Pet, pet.

So I opened the book and started flipping through thick, glossly, cardboard pages. Pages designed to withstand a good deal of chewing. There are holes in the initial pages for all five ducks to poke through. Then the holes are reduced page by page, thus hiding the ducks one by one.

Basically, and if you don't know the story, let me just warn you there is a spoiler ahead, the mother duck takes her five babies out for a walk. The first time, only four come back. The second, only three. Then you get down to two, and one...and none!

The mother duck, as you may imagine, is very sad. At this point, you are out of holes for the fuzzy ducks to poke through.

On a side bar: I'd like to work out some elaborate system of this sort in my office for basically eliminating the dragon ladies from sight, and thus from my existence. I know of at least one engineer who reads my blog, so if you have any suggestions, I'd be delighted.

And I was thinking, "Holy shit! I can't buy this book for my nephew! All the little duckies are dead! One by one they probably got eaten by frogs! (Do frogs eat ducks?) Or drowned by the fat orange koi, just like my brother and I actually saw happen in the pond at the hotel when we were kids on that one family trip to Hawaii! (We cried, as you may imagine.) Or maybe they ate rat poison! Or got stepped on by a cow! Or squished by a tractor!"

There are lots of ways a fragile little baby duck can perish, you know. At least in my very urban imagination.

I had the book in hand, and was thinking how shockingly unkind it was to kill off all the fuzzy yellow ducklings. What a horrible trick to play on a kid, to start a book so fluffy and happy and then: Bam! All gone!

I was about to put it down when I realized there were a couple more pages. They were just regular illustrated pages, with no holes for the fuzzy ducks to poke through. I flipped the pages.

Relief! The next time the mom goes out, ALL the little ducks come back!

And I was thinking, "Thank goodness! You're back and I can buy the book!"

And then I thought, "Stupid ducks. It's just a fucking pond. It's not like your mom took you to Disneyland, where there are all these rides for distraction! Or kidnappers waiting to snatch you from under your parents' nose."

But I bought it, and my nephew loved the fluffy yellow ducks even more than I did.