Sunday, December 31, 2006

happy new year?

i have to say, i wasn't terribly surprised when i saw this as a front page headline on yahoo! this afternoon:

Poll: Americans see doom, gloom in 2007

i mean, really, most americans have eyes. i was, however, a little surprised by a polling stat (from the Associated Press-AOL News) from the article, which notes that:

35 percent predict the military draft will be reinstated [in 2007].

That such a high percentage of people would not only think that, but admit it to a pollster, is not something that i would have expected. hell, i don't even know what i think about whether the draft will come back around. i've long said that if it even starts to seem like a true possibility, we're hopping the border to canada, so it would probably behoove me to look into this a little more deeply. however, just as i was thinking this, i read another eventuality that some believe will occur in 2007:

25 percent anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ.

then i remembered that many americans (one-quarter, apparently) are insane, and that i shouldn't base anything on what i read on yahoo! news. so while i do still worry about the draft, i don't think i'll do it today.

today, instead, will be reserved for drinking champagne, eating sushi, and watching the bears game from under a blanket on my couch. happy new year, everyone - let's wait until it gets here to start freaking out about 2007!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

some questions.

is it wrong that i want to apply for tickets to antiques roadshow?

is it wrong that there is a six-month application process for tickets to antiques roadshow?

is it wrong that if you happen to be lucky enough to be randomly selected to receive two antiques roadshow tickets, they arrive in your house in a plain white envelope so that postal carriers and/or envious little old ladies don't steal them?

answer: no. hilarious, but not wrong.

Friday, December 29, 2006

friday cat blogging, the return of CatCat edition.

i was a little worried about retrieving CatCat upon our return from massachusetts. she had been stowed away at a kennel for a week, and while it was a pretty nice kennel, it was a cage for eight days just the same. so i wondered exactly how much she would hate us, and for how long, after we picked her up.

turns out i did not have to worry about it.

my sweet little CatCat. forgiving to a fault, but that's how we like her.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


i wanted to start posting more upon my return from christmas week, but i am too busy blowing my nose, sniffling, and otherwise being whiny and obnoxious.

the upsides to being in this state: "the dog whisperer" marathon on the national geographic channel, a ridiculously soft wool blanket from ireland, and CatCat climbing all over me because she a) missed me, of course, and b) loves the wool blanket.

oh shoot, i'm snotting all over myself now - maybe 2007 will be the year of TMI on this blog - which i take as a sign to return to my repose on the couch.

welcome back.

this morning, i woke up 20 minutes before the alarm with one side of my nose simultaneously stuffed up and running like a faucet. what the??

soon after, my ears and the inside of my face started itching like a million little microscopic ants were line-dancing in there.

and to top it all off, i had, for some inexplicable reason, Nelly's ancient Top 40 song "Ride Wit Me" stuck in my head.

hello, cruel world!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

christmas vacation 2006: it's the food, stupid.

i'm realizing right now that our trip back to massachusetts for christmas this year has been dominated by food. i mean, the holidays often are, but this year was above and beyond. because in addition to the big spread of food put out at the family gathering on christmas eve AND the big christmas dinner at my parents' house, there was boston food.

ahhhh, boston food.

last year while we were home for christmas, BoyCat and i entertained the idea of making a pilgrimage out to allston to eat (and drink) at Our House, the bar that sucked up much of our money and time during two years of grad school. this place had 2-1 burgers and appetizers from 4-7 pm every weekday, two dollar brubaker beers, and a grilled cheese with tomato and avocado for which i would go to the ends of the earth. oh, and waffle fries. oh, and - it was a block from my first-year apartment.

so last year, all the best intentions didn't translate into us making it out to allston. this year, with SisterCat living much closer to commonwealth avenue, we swore we would get there. we met SisterCat after we got in from the airport, hopped on the T, and headed out on the B line. by the time we got off at the Long Ave. stop, i was literally giddy with excitement. we walked up the block, descended a few concrete steps to the door, and i grabbed the doorknob and pulled.

it was locked, the place was closed.

apparently, it's never been open before 4 pm on weekdays. hee hee, sure, i remember that. now.

luckily, SisterCat is a master planner and we did end up getting there for grilled cheeses, waffle fries, and beer on christmas eve day. and if that weren't good enough, today she is delivering anna's taqueria burritos to our door! BoyCat might be even more excited about the burritos than he was about the grilled cheese. so, even though i will probably have put on five pounds in five days over this vacation, it's been well worth it.

it's back to the real world (and the gym) tomorrow, when we hop on a plane back to DC. i can't wait for that pile of paperwork and the treadmill awaiting me when i get there!

edited to add: how did i forget to mention the lobster? my god. lobster at brown's that was every bit as good as i remembered and hoped it to be. i would have some for breakfast right now if i could.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

you can never escape, you can only move south down the coast.

there is (and was) no escaping involved in my move down the coast, but i always just kinda liked that line. bonus points if you can name the song. (and by bonus points, of course i mean a signed picture of CatCat. i still owe Jaynie K one.)

tomorrow morning we depart for dulles airport, and with a little bit of luck we'll touch down at logan a few hours later. blogging will be light for a week, while i do my damnedest to relax and regroup from the past two months.

see, i'm not even sure where to put commas anymore. before the "while"? or not? i think not, but i feel worse about the sentence without it.

commas. death by commas, a grantwriter's fate will be.

Monday, December 18, 2006

marking space.

i think it will go like this.

i will be doing the crossword puzzle in the back of a magazine, or maybe reading an article, when i start to feel myself moving downward. an almost imperceptible shifting.

soon, my tray table will be latched into the seat in front of me, and i’ll try to stretch my back with my seatbelt still on. i’ll crack one side of my neck, and then the other. i will exhale, but without relief, my chest tight and heartsore.

if i am sitting near the window, perhaps i will screw up enough courage to lean over and look out as we descend. we’ll be over water; every plane that comes into this airport arrives across a small slice of atlantic ocean. the waves will cut and scatter the morning sunlight, and the surface will be moving, always always moving. it will be beautiful and sickening, and as we get closer and closer i will have to turn away.

there is always that moment for me, when i have to look away. when i don’t trust everything that i know to be true, and all i can sense beneath me is the turbulent air, and the frail skin of the sea, and the depths beyond that.

after a few agonizing moments, the edge of the runway will appear alongside my window. solid ground, in the right place, at the right angle – just as it was built to be. in the nick of time, that foundation will materialize, with the runway lights – pale orange and blue in the glare of the sun – perfectly placed, marking space. the plane will touch down with a power that always astonishes me. a slight bounce, graceful even as it brushes up against uncontrollable, and then the winding down, the whirring engines slowing. i will loosen my grip on the armrest, and i’ll breathe the kind of breath that you can’t find anywhere else.

with a thin crackle, the intercom will come to life. the flight attendant, grasping the handset and pressing the talk button, will say, “ladies and gentlemen, welcome to boston.”

and i will be home.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

a sad pair are we.

oh, it's a rough week for CatCat. today, she got tossed in the cat carrier and brought to the vet for her annual exam and vaccinations. and i'll tell you - CatCat is a whiner. she can be pretty whiny on an average day - her meows often sound more like petulant wheezes - and when she gets hauled out in the carrier, it is definitive. but funnily enough, once she gets to the vet she pipes down. i think it's because she's too scared to whine anymore.

she was a good girl through her exam, except for being exceedingly pitiful. every time she's at the vet, she attempts to flatten and/or scrunch herself into non-existence against whatever surface she can find: the inside of the cat carrier, the exam table, the floor, etc. but she doesn't put up a fight - just goes limp and lets you move her around, and when you let go she gets back to flattening and scrunching.

so sad. her complacent fear, that is.

then, on wednesday night, she will get tossed into the carrier again, this time to make the trip to the kennel. yes, we are boarding CatCat for christmas vacation. i have spent an inordinate amount of time fretting and hand-wringing over this (as i am wont to do), but i think it's the best thing. our apartment is not really conducive to having anyone pop by to check in on her, and even if it were, well - we don't know that many people nearby! no one close enough to our place and good enough of a friend to ask to do it, anyway. so instead of leaving her here with a heap of food and having me worry every day of my vacation, we're putting her in the hopefully capable hands of a professional. you know, one i can call every day if i want to.

so sad. my obsessive paranoia, that is.

but other than getting CatCat to the kennel by 6:00 on wednesday, i think we are pretty well set for the upcoming holiday. plane tickets booked, transportation planned, (most) xmas presents bought. now it's just three more days of work to get through, and then time for relaxation new england style. this means fireplaces, wine, the ocean, and hopefully at some point, the seafood that comes from it.

my god, how long has it been since i've had lobster? Cat family, see what you can do about penciling in a trip to Brown's.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

a confession.

ok, i have to admit it. out loud. in public.

i am watching The O.C. again.

really, it's all the chicago tribune's fault. i had no intentions of watching the show ever, ever again, and then i happened upon a post by their TV critic who said - gasp - the first few episodes were getting back to what The O.C. does best, which is being funny. and thus the seed was planted in my brain. so, i watched one episode. and then another. then there was one that wasn't so good, and i was like "eh maybe this isn't such a good idea."

but then the next one was pretty good again.

so here i am, back in the cycle of addiction, waiting impatiently for the nine o'clock hour to arrive so that i can watch an hour of that crazy cohen family and their satellites of reformed juvenile delinquents, neurotic valedictorians, and money-hungry backstabbing bitches.

i don't know how else to define good TV, really. merry chrismukkah, everyone!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

oh, and!

i was just leaving a comment about how i'm stupid over at tart's, and in doing so, i remembered having a different stupid moment just this morning that i wanted to share with you all! season of giving, and all that. i generously give you my embarrassing inner monologues.

as background, every now and then i have these little linguistic epiphanies. when i have them, i often marvel at the fact that i can walk and chew gum at the same time, because only a monumentally idiotic person would not have figured these things out yet. for instance, i remember when it dawned on me that the letter "W" was shaped like a double "U." Double U = W. amazing! and the time when i realized that "cigarette" was "little cigar." oh, how i marveled at that one.

so today, i am walking toward the elevator on my way into work. i am thinking about nothing in particular and everything all at once. for some reason i am thinking about portrait of the artist as a young man (shut up), and the passage early in the book where stephen, as a child, is imagining his own funeral. part of what he thinks is "The bell! The bell! Farewell! O farewell!" and then i thought about the variation on "farewell," "fare thee well," and how it such an antiquated sounding term.

and then i was like, wait. "fare well." farewell. holy shit.

i tell you, sometimes i blow my sad, addled, pre-caffeinated mind.

oh dear, another blog meme.

damn you, jaynie k!

i feel as though i might have done this "five things you don't know about me" meme before, but i'm too lazy to hunt through the archives. so if i repeat myself, well, pretend that you didn't already know what i'm claiming at the moment that you don't know.

ok. so:

1) my favorite pair of jeans ever in the universe bit the dust in 2002 while i wrestled a friend outside an amherst bar at some unknown (but certainly ungodly) hour. tore the knee wide open crossways, and down enough that it made a little flap of denim. i still wore the jeans for a good two years anyway.

2) i have a somewhat serious fear of a meteor crashing into the earth and killing me. i mine this for comic gold most of the time, but the fear? kinda true.

3) i don't have much jewelry at all, but i still have a necklace that my boyfriend in the fifth grade bought me on a field trip to the museum of science in boston. it's a stone on a gold chain, and the stone is a mottled brown and white on one side, and a smooth purple color on the other. i wore it to his funeral, and it's still in my jewelry box.

4) i chew my nails constantly. i have not been able to keep my nails any longer than the tips of my fingers for years. nothing solves this problem.

5) i fell asleep during the third quarter of the bears game last night. shhhh, don't tell anyone!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

car meme.

ok, so weekends are good for memes. toast has this one up at his place, and he has tagged "everyone" (such hubris, that one!). and since i'm not getting him anything for christmas, well, i'll capitulate.

1. Favorite Car?

ummm i dunno. i have always been kinda infatuated with VW cabrios. i know, i know, but really? they are cute.

2. Favorite Car you've ever owned?

i haven’t owned that many, so i have to say celie, the 1991 celica. oh, she was a good little sportscar, and she got me through four years of college and then some.

3. Car you would be embarrassed to be seen driving?

a hummer. an escalade. anything that i’d have to hoist myself into in order to drive it.

4. Next car you plan to buy?

a hybrid, but hopefully not for awhile (we’ve gotta run this 2003 corolla into the ground first…)

5. Next car you would buy for daily use if money were no object?

hybrid. hybridhybridhybrid. yes, still.

6. What bumper stickers or other decorations, if any, do you have on your car?

we have an HRC equal sign on the back bumper.

7. Average annual miles you put on your primary vehicle?

not many, relatively. Maybe 3,000-4,000.

8. Describe your driving style.

aggressively defensive. that seems to make no sense, i know. i was indoctrinated in the “defensive driver” motif as a teenager, but then had to adapt that somewhat to the reality of city driving over the past five years.

9. Average highway cruising speed.

70-80 mph

10. Fastest you've ever driven?

i’m honestly not sure. don’t think i’ve ever topped 100, but i have topped 90.

11. Do you race people at stop lights?

um, in my corolla? no.

12. Will you cross a solid yellow or double yellow to pass someone?

no. that is the kind of move that makes me yell and gesticulate wildly. because, you know, what’s the rush? are you having a baby at the moment? no? then chill out.

13. Do you tailgate or flash your high-beams at people in front of you?

i rarely tailgate on the highway, but i probably get complacent and ride too close on side streets sometimes. i hardly ever flash people (what? yes. in every sense, i do not do that.)

14. Worst accident you've ever been in?

oh, i’ve talked about this one before. route 2. a snowstorm. a woman with one front tooth. i so don’t want to talk about it, except to say it was definitely not my fault.

15. About how many speeding tickets have you gotten?

zero (knock on wood)

16. Ever gotten a DUI/DWI?


17. What kind of car repairs and/or maintenance can you do?

oh, my dad is going to be so embarrassed. none, really, i can check my oil. i can change my washer fluid. that’s about it.

18. Have you ever modified a car you own from stock?

see above.

19. What do you listen to while driving?

usually the radio, though i am really disappointed with the options here in DC. for longer roadtrips we break out the iPods.

20. Favorite driving song?

very good question. tori amos’s “professional widow” is a surprisingly great driving song. also, “new york, new york” by ryan adams. i’m sure i can think of more.

21. Do you use an air freshener in your car, and if so, what scent?

no. how sad.

22. Messy or clean?

our car was pretty damn clean, until the 700 mile move. now the backseat is kind of a wreck. and it could use a carwash, too.

23. When you and the spouse/significant other go out together, who drives?

it’s pretty evenly divided. but have you noticed that in car commercials, it’s almost always the man driving? this is a pet peeve of mine. equity in fake driving, i say.

Friday, December 08, 2006

what i can't hear.

i am uncomfortable.

the morning sun is too harsh on my face, coming in crossways through the right side of the train car. half of me winces in the glare; half of me rests in the shadow of it.

the train hurtles along towards its downtown destination. my wool turtleneck and scarf stifle, but i am too tired to try to take them off. i just sit still. the sky all around me – these train cars are all windows and redirected light – is the blue of a cold swimming pool. the sun slices directly through it – if it were a photograph, the sun would have points, like a star – like the star it is. points at once sharp and vague, like everything upon which is it too difficult to focus.

as the train turns a corner, a plane takes off. i watch it rise above the rooftop of reagan national airport, tilted up and moving north, like us. it slips ahead, and up, without a sound to my ear, like the most natural thing in the world, just ascending towards its chosen destination. a second later, a flock of birds lift off from the building, afraid of being left behind.

everything rises.

i listen to the sound of the wheels on the tracks. i listen to the whine and groan of the car’s joints and cracks. i listen to what i am not seeing, and i watch what i can’t hear.

i watch until i can’t see anything moving upward anymore. the sun beats down. and i’m content just to move forward, for now.

friday cat blogging, "i'm a wussy baby" edition.

the wussy baby referred to in the post title is actually me, not CatCat. although i guess she is a wussy baby, too, as that is the phrase i thought of while planning to post this picture.

as for myself, BoyCat called me a wussy baby today over email, because i wrote to tell him that i was going out for a drink - one drink, really, seriously, just *one* - after work. he told me i was a wussy baby, and didn't i mean one thousand drinks?

i said, ok, maybe two.

for the record, it turned out to be three.

but now, without further ado, the other wussy baby:

yes, that is CatCat, hiding from the vacuum cleaner in the bathtub. apparently, she has it in her head that the vacuum cleaner would never go in the bathtub. she's actually right. but really, she's still a wussy baby.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

mountains? molehills? what's the difference?

i remember, quite distinctly, the day MomCat and SisterCat told me that i was high maintenance.

i remember thinking, that's insane! i'm the most low maintenance person i know. that's probably because i'm the only person that i know from the subconscious level on up, but that's neither here nor there. i took definitive umbrage at the accusation of high maintenance-ness at the time.

upon further reflection, however, i could see what they were getting at. i think sometimes it's not so much that i'm high maintenance as that i'm high strung. it's when i get really high strung that i can, at times, become high maintenance. get it? good.

a perfect example of this is my recent car-related debacle. and by debacle, i mean not a problem at all. turns out, my parking space neighbor is exceedingly gracious, and returned my note with a message saying "don't worry about it - these spots are way too tight! thanks for letting me know!" and then there was a smiley face.

a smiley face.

i spent the last two days agonizing over this, beating myself up and whining incessantly about every little aspect of the situation. what if the person was a big jerk and yelled at me? why did i have to be so stupid and scrape their car?* how am i going to pay for it? what is the insurance going to do, how does it work, oh my god i don't know what i'm doing and i'm such a big dumb idiot. (BoyCat, my parents, and various unfortunate co-workers had to listen to this for 48 hours, mind you.)

and the other person involved? smiley faces.

to that person i say congratulations and goodwill to you, for you are, in fact, a low maintenance person.

*i'm sure you can deduce from the victim's proportional response that it was literally "merely a scratch." i mean, it's an evident scratch, but just a scratch nonetheless. luckily, one of us had the lucidity to see it that way.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

stupidity never gets old, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Prep chick: Is it amoebas that come from Mexico? Or am I thinking of armadillos?

--5th Ave

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

in other imbecile-related news.

i scraped another car in our parking garage today. specifically, the one parked right next to ours. imagine that! i knew the very small amount of space between their bumper and the concrete column on the other side of the parking spot was going to do me in sooner or later!

just how i wanted to spend a few hundred bucks around the holidays - on someone else's paint job, and not on presents for people i actually know.

so, now you're all getting beef jerky and old copies of the washington post for christmas. deal with it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

ok, now you're just messing with me.

i am exhausted and about to head to the gym, but i just had to tell you all:

virginia is crazy.

no, i mean it this time. i kinda sorta thought it before, but now i am certain. so remember when i posted last month about how i had to drive around for 20 minutes just to find an honest-to-goodness mailbox? well. early - way too early - on saturday morning, BoyCat and i bundled up and got in the car to head to the DMV. mmmhmmm that's right, the DMV. we were both getting new licenses, and attempting to register the car in virginia to get new plates (our illinois ones had expired two days earlier). so it is before 8:00 am, i am looking at the prospect of standing outside in the cold waiting to get into a government building, and i am not very happy about either cirumstance.

"what the hell does this have to do with mailboxes, kate?" hold on, i'll tell you. as we pulled out of the apartment complex, i asked BoyCat to make a quick right so i could drop our netflix dvd in the mailbox. you know, the only mailbox. so, we took a right, and i looked, and it was not there.

the mailbox, it seems, has vanished.

i turned to BoyCat and said, "am i going insane? there was a mailbox here, right?" he said, "yeah, i think so." but he had only been there once, i had been twice, so i knew so. but the state of virginia, apparently unhappy with its citizens' collective ability to mail things unencumbered, decided to eradicate the one mailbox that i've ever been able to locate south of the mason-dixon line.

thank god the DMV actually gave us licenses and plates that day (not that it didn't take three hours, but that's a whole 'nother story), or else i would've had to consider drastic action. like a crying fit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

friday cat blogging, non-existent edition.

well, i had every intention of doing a friday cat blogging post, except that in the new blogger beta, i'll be damned if i can figure out how to post a picture. in fact, that whole hand icon bar from the original blogger appears to have vanished. "blogger help" is of no help to me.

i've only been attempting to figure this out for ten minutes, but seriously people, it's been a long week. i am at a loss here.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

still fingers.

i opened this "new post " screen, and my fingers just sat on the keys. i typed a paragraph and a half about something that didn't need saying; i deleted it.

truth be told, i don't have much right now. i want to have something - i'm starting to realize i'm going to need to work a little harder at it in order to have something on such a regular basis. and that's well and good, because i should be writing more, even when i don't want to. nobody wants to write all the time, but all good writers often make themselves do it anyway. and i don't want to give up on being a good writer.

but i don't have anything now. anything except a tired head and slow fingers. i should write anyway, but not today.

ah the joy of goals - they can always begin tomorrow.

your wednesday one-liner.

courtesy of Overheard in New York, a statement that is not to be believed:

Conductor: There's another local train directly behind this one. I would never lie to you.

--W train to Astoria

don't fall for it! they do lie! all of them.

whenever you hear a public transit conductor say this, know that it is true only about 30% of the time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


you know that you're going insane when...

you spend four months on the hunt for a pair of black ankle boots, because the pair that you have you don't actually like, and then you finally buy a pair of black ankle boots that you think you like, until you get home and realize they are almost exactly identical to the pair you have that you don't like.

same heel height. same stitching. same angle in the sole. holy cow would you look at that, same maker. only different is that the old ones have a square toe, and the new ones have a round toe.

a different-shaped toe does not an entirely new ankle boot make.

so now i have to return these boots (because really, kate, they're the same boots you already have. no rationalizing out of that fact.), and continue my search with the knowledge that sometimes, i don't know the difference between something that i like and something that i don't like.

this reality does not bode well for, oh, the rest of my life.

can i just tell you?

i loved the new bond movie, casino royale. we went to see it on friday night (and almost missed it because we couldn't find a parking space. at a 14 screen movie theater! in suburban virginia! but don't get me started), and i was just rinsing out my cereal bowl at the sink this morning thinking, "man, i loved casino royale."

this thought was precipitated by the today show, blathering in the background, which was talking about hollywood's box office bump this weekend. those damn dancing penguins were number one, of course, but bond came in second with about $30 million in revenue. the highlights came on and i was like, "ooooh. bond."

and then i stood at the sink and thought about it some more!

so in short, if you haven't gone, i highly recommend it. and then come back and tell me if you think daniel craig is the best bond since connery. because, you know, that's what i've heard. from some.

i'm just sayin'.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

survival, football, and weirdness.

firstly, i survived the week. just wanted to note that. though i do have a headache that started friday and just won't seem to go away.

secondly, today is going to be a difficult day in the Cat household. the patriots are playing the bears at 4:00 pm. the battlelines are drawn, the various sporting paraphernalia is donned and displayed - it is not going to be a harmonious three hours in this apartment come game time. to wit: on thursday, when the topic of "the big game" on sunday came up, and when someone had the audacity to ask "what game?," there were two separate responses:

BoyCat: "the bears/pats game"
me: "the pats/bears game"

you see the subtle but important distinction? then we spent a few minutes arguing which was more technically correct.

thirdly, something quite odd happened on saturday morning. i opened up my email to see a new anonymous comment to this blog, made around 4:00 a.m., which you can find in the post below. it reads: "kate...i never made the girls next door comment you attributed to me in may...that's not something i'd confused me with someone else."

hmmm. the girls next door comment in may. i attributed that to neil everett, from espn. what the??

according to my trusty statcounter, i soon discovered that someone in or around avon, connecticut googled "neil everett espn" around 3:00 a.m., and on the 13th page of results, found my blog post. i can only assume, as there were no other visits to the blog anywhere near that time frame, that this is also the person who left the comment...about neil the first person.

which is weird, right?

it's weird regardless of what's true. if it really was neil everett googling himself at 3:00 a.m. and leaving comments on blogs, well, that's unexpected. if it's someone living very near espn headquarters, googling sportscenter personalities, and then posing as them in blog comments, well, that's flat out bizarre.

but that's what i love about blogging! a little bit of weirdness is always just around the corner.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

couch dispatch.

-i am very, very full.

-we hosted a thanksgiving for six today, and nothing caught on fire, nobody cried or yelled, and all the food tasted - do you believe it? - delicious.

-BC football is on right now. therefore i am full and happy.

-i finished my mammoth editing job last night around 10:00 pm, and then promptly did a happy dance, filled a custard cup of excess peanut butter pie filling (BoyCat was prepping for the day of cooking ahead), and ate it curled up on the couch watching an old episode of sex and the city. but i deserved it. for serious.

-we now have the pseudo-cats-in-law (currently reposing, luckily, in a nearby hotel) for another two days. tomorrow it is off to the smithsonian, and perhaps the new bond movie?

-and ok, really, i'm wicked full.

Monday, November 20, 2006

where am i? what day is it?

i have a week's worth of work that i am catching up on at enviroland (thank you, week of retreats and trainings!), i have a 500+ page document that i am editing for my other job, and thanksgiving is in three days. at my apartment. with BoyCat's parents and aunt and uncle.

i think if i mainline advil and booze until saturday, i'll be ok.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

be careful what you wish for.

as much as it pains me to end this post title with a preposition and a period, well, that about sums it up.

if i'm being melodramatic, that is. which i am.

so we got our new laptop yesterday, an event that should have resulted in much cheering and leaping about. and it did, for a little while. then we tried to get our wireless router to work.

i can't even talk about it. suffice to say, a router that worked fine in chicago does not work in DC, despite two hours on the phone with tech support in india. then today, i tried to start tackling a giant work project, only to discover that dell had sent me an outdated version of microsoft word. this is after i paid extra just for the privlege of having microsoft word on the damn thing. i only discovered this through the sage wisdom of my friend jared, who, while unable to prevent the two hours of hair-pulling-out prior to talking with me, has saved me countless hours of wailing and gnashing of teeth with this information. for this, i thank him. and for potentially helping me get my hands on Office 2003, i thank him even more.

long story short, technology cuffed me upside the head and kicked me in the shins this weekend. so i'm going to stop composing this post right now, lest the computer burst into flames.

and c'mon, you know it happens. you've seen the video on youtube.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

the most wonderful time of the year.

no, i do not speak of christmas, or thanksgiving, or even that most venerated and enjoyed of holidays, secretarys' day. i refer, of course, to today, the 25th anniversary of SisterCat's arrival on the planet.

yes folks, for 25 loooooong years, SisterCat has shared with us her blindingly brilliant witticisms, her subtly nuanced arguments (some would call them "opinions," but i find that far too limiting for what SisterCat espouses), and her unimpeachable fashion sense with the world.

i mean seriously, people, you should have seen her first day of kindergarden ensemble. pink corduoroys, flowered turtleneck, sneakers - it was masterful.

anyway, i just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this momentous event. happy birthday, SisterCat, the world would be a far less interesting place without you in it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ex nihilo.

the girl raised up her camera, looked through the viewfinder, and clicked. she was being hurried along by her tour group, their shoes shuffling and squeaking along the gleaming marble hallway. the guide had just spent five full minutes describing the rose window, and she had half-listened, staring intently at the blueness of it – the brightness of it. it was only as the group began to depart, wandering away toward some other nook of the national cathedral, some other section of significance and importance, that she was shaken from her daze and brought the camera to her eye. people were moving around her. she focused on the blue, on the glow and the gray circumference. she pressed the button.


i stand outside, cardboard box of starbucks coffee in one hand, a plastic bag containing two leaking cups of whole milk and half & half in the other. a thin splatter of dairy product stains the left leg of my jeans, and for this i silently curse business meetings and mornings in general. the rest of my department slowly arrives, and we stand around in the dull wednesday sun, waiting. we are here to retreat, to discuss, to reflect on things not entirely clear to us.

my boss, robert, used to raise money at this place. that’s why we are even able to come and gather here – he has a few old friends and a few old keys. his former colleague and current tour guide meets us outside the west entrance to the cathedral, and she tells us the story of the iconography. adam and eve. creation. ex nihilo – out of nothing.

but really, nothing comes of nothing.


in the picture, when it’s developed, the top of a head is visible in the lower right hand corner. it’s the head of a tall, thin classmate – a closely-shaved silhouette that barely makes it into the frame. it doesn’t obscure the rose window at all, which she is pleased about at first. sooner or later, she largely fails to notice him when she looks at the photo. he has become merely another part of the picture, not critical, not detrimental.

at first she looked at the photo often, as she does with the dozens of others she’s taken over the course of the week. she was thirteen, and very interested in pictures of herself and the people that she knows. she and her friends documented nearly ever moment of their week in washington, sublime statues and threadbare hotel rooms alike. after awhile, the picture, along with all of the others, got tucked away in a box, in a closet, in a basement.

she moved along, and the picture remained.


as we break for lunch, the room in the west tower is almost unbearably cold. Robert warned of the potential chill, but the long-sleeved shirt and wool sweater that i am wearing aren’t even enough. the group mills about the room, slowly moving towards the circular staircase that goes through the carillon. the thick ropes of the bell tower dangle through the ceiling, a circular temptation.

you can do anything, robert had said as we made our way up to the room, but don’t touch the ropes.

the largest bell, connected to the last rope, weighs 24,000 pounds. as my last few co-workers drift toward the door, i stare at a loop, which is connected to a rope, which is connected, invisible through the ceiling, to such a metal monstrosity. i long to grasp it with both hands, to steady myself, and to pull with all my might.

i want to announce something, and to do it without words.


she’s not sure where the picture is now, honestly. it is probably in an envelope with other photos from that year – three inches by five inches, slightly sticky with age, and utterly without import to anyone except a small delegation from a certain time and place.

the boy whose head was captured in the corner was named dennis. she’s surprised that now, after all this time, she remembers this – she can’t even remember the last time she looked at the picture. but she remembers it.

a few years ago, she heard that dennis had been killed when his car crashed into a tractor-trailer on the highway. she had not seen or spoken to him in years, and could not be sad in anything but a cosmic way. because really, no one should die under a semi-truck. no one should have to finish it all so soon, and like that.

she did wonder if he had still worn his hair so short, cut so close.


as we wait near a small service elevator, robert searches for a key on his crowded key ring. the low, immaterial sound of my co-workers making small talk thickens the air, and the elevator whirs to a stop in front of us. the lift gives us four simple choices – ancient, grimy buttons labeled 4, 3, 2, and 1. robert chooses 3, and with a small exclamation of delight, also finds the key that he was looking for.

down a thin, dim hallway and through a metal door, we emerge into open space, and i am surprised, almost, by the volume of it. i am against the wall, fifty feet above the nave of the cathedral, and a low heavy balcony separates me from the gleaming marble floor below. i step out, forward, one hand on the balcony and one on the wall. with my eyes, i follow the line of the arches in the vaulting, the repeated curving that supports the whole building without a bolt or a nail. it is all held up by the force of pressure – by the continuing push and pull.

i turn away from the air and towards what is close, what is sturdy. it is only then that i realize i am standing directly underneath the rose window. i am so close that i hardly recognize it; i can only see pieces of the whole, small illuminated sections of blue and red glass, sweeping bends of stone.

i am so close that i could touch it.

it is quiet - the other people on the balcony are hushed, and in the mid-day lull nothing moves below. i raise up my hand, and the momentum of everything slows. i am lifted up out of the river, and i feel in the absence of that roaring stream of time a peculiar sense of calm. i have been given a moment, but just one.

i reach, up, up on tiptoe. with the full stretch of my shoulder, i can grasp the edge of it – the solid circle that contains the rose. the limestone is cool and smooth, and the curve fills my palm and presses outward. i hold on, curl my fingers around it, and close my eyes. nothing comes of nothing, and i am here now.


as we make our way off of the balcony, the far end of the nave fills with echoing noise. a tour guide leads a group of school kids along the marble corridor, their jumbled exclamations rising and falling like a wave. i strain to see, but i cannot make out their faces.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

not dead. yet.

sorry peoples, i forgot to post that i was heading out of town for two and a half days for a enviroland staff retreat this week! i apologize for how much you must have missed my verbal stylings since last friday. but somehow, you got through it, and for that i commend you.

i am pretty beat from running around southern pennsylvania for the last two days, so not much more from me at the moment. i will say that, in sum, work conferences are weird. i've never been with an organization that was big enough to have one of these off-site retreats, so it was a totally new experience. random company roommates, hotel kitchen food (though their hash browns at breakfast were delicious!), horrendous conference room wallpaper, and too many voices heard through microphones.

on the upside, though, there was free booze and a poker game going each night. so i can't really complain.

now i am facing two more days of in-town trainings this week, and one real day of work before the weekend. why they don't just give us friday off in order to digest all that training, i really don't know.

ok, i'm off to find out if anything actually happened in the world while i was gone...

Friday, November 10, 2006

help us help ourselves.

lately, among some of the big sites of the feminist blogosphere, there has been a lot of virtual ink spilled and virtual mud slung about what makes a good feminist. if this sounds like deja vu all over again, it is - this tempest in a teapot happens, in some form or another, every six months or so. last time twisty was the match and blowjobs were the powderkeg; in this lastest incarnation it was jill (responding to twisty, true - she's such a troublemaker!) and the claim of being a "fun feminist".

these discussions, while useful and healthy at their foundation, are also freaking exhausting. and it can get pretty disheartening to see how much the "divide and conquer" tactic an oppressor uses - keep them fighting with each other, and they'll never get their act together to fight us! - still works like a charm on the feminist movement. not that the patriarchy is out there orchestrating every dust-up and disagreement, but it's amazing how much we can get caught up in judging one another rather than directing that frustration and anger at a proper target.

this is where lauren (formerly of feministe fame, and now blogging solo) comes in. she's pretty fed up with all the bullshit, and wants to move forward with something collaboratively and supportively feminist. enter the Help Us Help Ourselves project, in which women* contribute tips, tricks, ideas and skills to help other women get a leg up on life. the project is centered on helping women with issues around money, finances, and bureaucracy, but this can mean so many things! see lauren's post on the project for some ideas and jumping off points, and then think of something that you can contribute to help a woman out.

at present, i can only think of basic instructions on how to do a triple time step, so i (obviously!) haven't chimed in yet. but i will...i've gotta have some useful skills rattling around in my brain somewhere...

*i say women because this project has its basis in an idea of collaboration among women, but i am almost certain it's not exclusionary in that sense. if you have an idea and want to chip in, you should, regardless of you sex and/or gender!

friday cat blogging, where's waldo edition.

we were a little worried that when we moved from chicago to DC, CatCat would be distraught over losing one thing: her beloved hiding space in the back of the closet. in the old apartment, we only had a curtain over the doorframe to the closet, so she could sneak in and out of there as she pleased, away from prying eyes and reaching hands (usually trying to take her to the vet). where would she hide in the new place?

turns out she had a number of options that pleased her. now, when she wants to disappear, she usually tucks away underneath one of the couches, up against the wall or in between the two big pillows we store under there. at times when she's less concerned about being inaccessible and more concerned with just blending in to the furniture, she goes here:

i think she figured out fairly quickly that she was far from invisible under there, but she still likes to tuck away under there sometimes, and monitor the comings and going from the safety of a hiding place.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

double take.

even though i have been living in DC for over a month, i still have moments when i'm still in chicago.

like this evening, for instance. i was walking back to the metro after work, and a man was walking toward me on the sidewalk. he was holding two big, green paper shopping bags in each hand. after i second, i realized that i had immediately assumed that they were marshall field's shopping bags. which would mean that the guy had walked a long way.

and of course, in the real world, i am in DC, and marshall field's shopping bags don't even exist anymore (except on ebay).


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

oh my god.

the AP and NBC news just called the virginia race for webb. if the montana victory holds, then the democrats have control of congress. the last time that this was true, i was 14 years old. i was barely out of middle school. i was wearing flannel, for gods sake.

to celebrate, i just did a flailing, ridiculous happy dance around my living room and scared the hell out of CatCat.

oh my god.

update: i find this headline - Youth turnout in election biggest in 20 years - particularly interesting. it only took young people six whole years to get off our asses and push back against the bush administration and the right-wing machine. or, is it these 18, 19, 20 year olds from a new, more civic-minded generation? i've been a bit skeptical of all this talk of the "millenials" being more focused on throwback "greatest generation" values like responsibility and community...these stats will certainly lend some fuel to that theoretical fire...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

some wine, some popcorn, and an electoral map.

it's election night, friends. and as much as i know that real "results" will probably not be available until tomorrow, or perhaps later (hey, that's a 21st century election for you!), i still can't help but tune the tv to msnbc and leave it there. i am trying to tough it out on HGTV right now ("what you get for the money" in manhattan is - surprise - not much), but soon i will give in and click over to to the babbling punditry and their obnoxious whiteboards. god, i really can't stand both tim russert and chris matthews, but i'll have them in my living room for the next 4 hours anyway. i have a definite streak of masochism in me when it comes to this stuff.

so, hoping against hope, i will wait and watch for a democratic deluge. i will hope even harder that if that wish comes true, that the dems will know what the hell to do with it.

update: congrats to deval patrick, the first black governor of massachusetts. yes, it is 2006, believe it or not. also, congrats to nancy pelosi, the first woman speaker of the house. holy crap, what happened to all the white men in the place?

oh right, they're still the overwhelming majority in government!

but still, it's cool.

update 2: oh my god, the senate is still in play. i went to sleep five hours ago, expecting that one of the three senate races would go republican and it'd be over. looks like they only definitively decided one race, missouri, and that went democrat. according to, the dems in the other two races are technically ahead.

holy mother, do i really dare to dream? or will a recount once again make me hurl inanimate objects against the wall? we'll see.

(oh yeah, and thanks to south dakota for rejecting the abortion ban and letting common sense and women's rights win the day for once.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

question of the day.

if the democrats win a majority in the both the house and the senate, will bush be impeached?

(and by the way - go vote.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

what're you gonna do.

so BoyCat and i woke up today, had some coffee and breakfast, and set off for the gym around 10:30. we were being oh so responsible and productive with our day. we arrive at the gym, and are promptly informed that the agreement our apartment complex has with the gym (which was set up because the complex's on-site gym is being renovated) has expired, and we can't work out there anymore. hmmm, that would've been good to know before getting changed and driving all the way over there! thanks, apartment complex!

so, upon receiving this unfortuate news, BoyCat and i did what any right-thinking people would do. we went to the liquor store.

behold, my find of the (late) morning:

shipyard! direct from federal jack's in kennebunkport, maine (the only bar from which i've ever been tossed - that's another dumb story though). how fun! so now i have a little slice (or six slices, to be exact) of new england in my fridge.

the following booze was actually not purchased today, but at a different store a few weeks ago. however, it was so funny that i had to a) buy it, and b) take a picture for you all:

love it. and finally, to make this a complete photo dump, BoyCat and i spotted this cruelty on a downtown street the other day:

that, my friends, is a picture of a chicago-style hot dog. it's on the side of a little foodstand cart, the likes of which you'll see all over downtown DC (and funnily enough, you'll never really see that much in downtown chicago). but these stands don't serve chicago-style hot dogs. i don't know if they just buy these carts wholesale - and cheap, hopefully, given their condition - from chicago or what, but i've seen more than one of them around. it is pure, unadulterated sadism for those recently relocated from chi-town.

i miss sport peppers, dammit.

Friday, November 03, 2006

friday cat blogging, fashion issues edition.

CatCat, while reposing on the couch, poses this pressing question:

"why do some women insist on wearing pantyhose with open-toed shoes? why???"

i can't give her a suitable answer.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

my hero.

i would like to shake this woman's hand. reading this story seriously made my afternoon.

i hope she gets her job back, but i gotta say, i doubt it. those unions aren't what they used to be, and directly insulting the president isn't the most smiled upon of activities these days...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

how much is in my checking account again?

i totally just bought a laptop. from dell. over the phone.

no one should make purchases of that size over the phone. makes it seem way too nonchalant. i hung up, and immediately needed to start breathing into a paper bag because holy shit i just spent our yet to be returned security deposit on one thing! and it only took, like, five minutes.

i think i need to lie down.

revolting headline of the day.

this is a real headline from a Maryland news outlet:

Court: Women Can't Say No After Start of Sex

hmmm. why is that? is there new research that indicates womens' vocal chords give out upon penetration? a bizarre chemical reaction that happens in our brains at the outset of intercourse that renders us unable to utter words?

oh, right - it's more important for a man to achieve orgasm that for a woman to be able to change her mind.

rebecca traister says:

Consider for a moment what this means: that once intercourse has started, a woman has no legal right to stop it. Not if it hurts, not if it feels wrong, not if something starts going badly. As soon as you say yes and begin the act, your freedom and ability to make and act on your own decisions simply evaporate.

shakes trenchantly observes:

The entire premise of this decision appears to be that women are not active players in the sexual act, but instead consent to turn their bodies over to their partners, who are then free to do with it whatever they please until they're damn well ready to be finished.

there are many things about these kinds of rulings that disturb me, but shakes's point is perhaps the most difficult for people to grasp. because on the whole, the issue of "consent" is an important (and unfortunately necessary) one. but it's difficult, because to focus so minutely on what does and does not constitute consent ends up painting women as passive recepticles of sex, not willing participants. women "consent" to sex, they don't actually "have" it! and that's not the direction in which i want to see sexual attitudes and ethics move.

it's sad that it has to be this way. it's sad that there have to be 50+ letters in response to traister's broadsheet post, with many letter writers not understanding that if we didn't live in a patriarchal society so rife with rape, assault, harassment and hatred towards women, we might not have to argue over these things! we wouldn't have to ask a court to tell a man to honor a woman's right to bodily integrity - and we certainly wouldn't have to watch that court deny it to her.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

thank you, vh1 classics.

so i woke up this morning with that murderously obnoxious john mellencamp song/chevy pitch in my head. you know the one. i'm not even going to say anything else about it.

in order to remedy this problem, i turned on the vh1 classics channel. that pat benatar video "love is a battlefield" was on. and i just want to take a moment to acknowledge what a damn good time that video is. it made my morning! big 80s sweaters and earrings. the stereotypical sleazy dude in a white vest, and with a gold tooth. a bunch of chicks in shredded up dresses menacing said sleazy dude. and a drink in the face! of course, how could it be otherwise?

thank you, pat benatar, for being awesome, in that incredibly theatrical reagan-era way. and for purging the mellencamp from my brain.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

not even a good title.

what kind of computer comes without microsoft word? (and don't say macs, you mac people, i know that.) i was all set to order a new dell today, and then the website's all like "does NOT come with MS word," or any other office suite stuff for that matter. and given that the three main things that i use on my home laptop are the internet, itunes, and microsoft office, well, that is a problem.

so i have to call dell tomorrow.

other than that, i have no coherent thoughts. i have other thoughts - like why i think it would be cooler if black holes really did make information disappear - but they are far from coherent.

maybe i'll work them into a post somehow anyway. but it won't be tonight, as i have a slight headache and a slight fear of returning to work tomorrow. only because i am afraid that i don't know what i'm doing.

well, i mean, i know that i don't know what i'm doing. but that's ok, right? as long as i know it, i mean.

also, on the last completely unrelated note, i dread the arrival of way-too-early holiday season on wednesday. i love christmas, but i hate how the day after halloween has become the offical beginning of the season. it actually sends me into a bit of a consumer-related rage. i actually saw a christmas-themed commerical for Lowe's the other day (not even the day before the day before halloween!) and almost threw something at the tv.

so, happy halloween.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

through a synopsis briefly.

oh my god, yous guys. working is like, hard.

i am still liking the new job (but sadly can't shake that part of my mind that is waiting for the other shoe to drop, as my experience at nonprofitland has apparently given me enough career-related baggage to last a long time). i found out today that i will be overseeing foundation relations and writing proposals for some of our programs in the mid-atlantic, the midwest, the southeast, the southwest, and the west coast. whoa! but i'm excited about it.

also, i actually ran at the gym today. like, on the treadmill. for awhile. which, when you haven't attempted such an endeavor in over a month, is not going to fall under the classic category of "fun." so now it is 9:35 and i am dangerously close to climbing into bed.

and now the laptop is beeping like it's dying, but it's plugged in.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

the (all-too-true) dangers of the cheap route from boston to nyc, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Man boarding bus to driver: You better not go flippin' this bitch over!

--Fung Wah Bus, Chinatown

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

oh crap.

so, BoyCat's laptop totally decided to stop working on sunday morning. the keyboard said, "eh, i'm tired of this," and promptly ceased to function. we restarted, we shut down and started up, we pleaded and begged and caterwauled - it would not work.

then, i was starting my new job monday, and unfortunately i had self-imposed a brand new "no blogging from work" policy. so i couldn't post from home, and i couldn't post from work.

that's where i've been.

so now the laptop is working again - as inexplicable as its collapse two and a half days ago - but we're thinking it's probably on its last legs. it is five years old, and also having problems with its usb ports and its ability to recognize being connected to a wall outlet. poor little fella. anyway, if i disappear for any noticeable length of time again, it's probably because it kicked the bucket for good and we're buying a new one.

in other news, the job is good so far.

in other other news, i'm thirsty and tired.

i can't even think of a way to end this post. so boring! so lame! so sorry!

Friday, October 20, 2006

victory over counter-intuitive anxiety. for now.

so blogger is wonky today, which means a short post from me. that way i won't cry if blogger eats it.

i have, as of 11:15 this morning, a job. one specific one, not three possible ones (oh, i got another offer thursday afternoon! what? three?? you'd think i was the donald or something over here). for the last day and a half i have been a total basket-case about it: making a decision, and salaries, and "office environments," and commuting, and holy shit oh my god if i make the wrong choice it will be apocolyptic and i will die!

untrue, of course, but really. you cannot reason with me when i get in this state. ask BoyCat, who had to endure a total kate meltdown at about 11:45 pm last night.

but hey, guess what? i accepted a job, and it's done! i am officially employed by a non-profit that i will call...hmmm, i don't know what to call it. NPL2? the new place? non-profit-that-shall-not-be-named?

i know. enviroland. there are enough environmental non-profits here, it could take a lifetime to guess the right one.

i will be doing grant writing and and development work. shocking! but i'm glad about it, because the more that i think about it, the more i feel like grant writing could be the ticket for me. it's writing that someone, somewhere always needs done.

and on that note, i'm going to stop writing here, and go eat some lunch on my final day of unemployment. and thank god for that, because i think if i had to endure one more day of cleaning product and/or fisher-price commericals, i would commit hari-kari with a bread knife.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

reason #6,427 the catholic church makes me sick to my stomach.

so did you hear? a catholic priest has admitted to a relationship with then-altar boy mark foley. two adjectives used to describe the relationship in news articles are "intimate" and "inappropriate." funny, i would ditch the all three of these terms, and replace them at the very least with "gross misconduct", and more probably with "sexual abuse."

The Rev. Anthony Mercieca, 72, described several encounters that he said Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. They include massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being nude in the same room on overnight trips...Foley would have been 13 at the time.

really? you think a 13 year old boy might perceive a 33 year old man massaging him while he's naked as "inappropriate"?? funny, i'd imagine that anyone with three brain cells to rub together would regard that as "inappropriate."

i continue to be amazed at this hapless, "who me?" stance that the catholic church and its officials continue to take in regards to abuse charges. as if this whole thing hasn't been blown wide open, and as if someone could actually believe that a priest sitting naked in a sauna with a 13 year old boy wasn't part of a bigger, sexually abusive dynamic. and then, after the years upon years of revelations of abuse, corruption, and systematic cover-ups, they expect us to believe statements like this:

Mercieca was adamant that his encounter with Foley was an aberration, and that the Catholic Church never had to send him for counseling during his 38 years in the priesthood in Florida...

an aberration. of course. just like this whole scandal that has rocked the catholic church to its foundation is "an aberration," as the worshipping flock will surely come to understand eventually. don't worry, no cause for concern - keep coming to mass on sunday, and keep dropping that dollar in the collection basket. "this too shall pass."

and that's where i so desperately hope that they're wrong.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

oh how i've missed these, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Mother, watching a clown holding a briefcase walk onto the train: [to child] Look, honey, it's a funny clown!... [to husband] Do you think he has a bomb in that briefcase?

--F train

in which i unabashedly shout, again.



actually, i've got two jobs at the moment, until i turn one down. i just took two job offer calls within half an hour of each other.

i am happy.


sidenote: i’m thinking about making these “honestly" posts a regular, if inconsistent, feature of this little blog. i often have these thoughts that i think i can’t really blog about for one reason or another - people will hate me! they won't understand me! they'll think i'm a bad person, send me nasty emails, stop reading my blog! but really, that's stupid. i should write about what it strikes me to write about, and people can certainly do with it what they will. at the very least, it’ll keep things interesting. hopefully.

ok, so. i don’t understand women who get pregnant.

(hackles up! got ‘em up? all right.)

i mean the above statement in two different ways. the first is that, yeah, i personally don’t understand women who get pregnant, period. i say “personally” because i do understand it in a logical sense, in a sociological sense, in a biological sense, etc. but on a personal level? i am flat-out flabbergasted by women who knowingly get pregnant.

why? here’s the thing. pregnancy, on a visceral level, grosses me out.* sometimes, when i see very pregnant women out in public, it turns my stomach. i’m not exaggerating. the idea of growing something inside you – very disturbing to me. and yes, pregnancy is a natural process, happens all the time, totally organic and blah blah blah. but i’m sorry, it’s weird to think about. i mean, if you had something growing inside you in any other context, you’d be wigged out. i’m not sure what makes a fetus any different. it is living inside your organs! it is (inflammatory but metaphorically fair language ahead) a parasite that lives off of you in order to survive! for nine months, you and the fetus attempt to share the resources of one human body – sometimes it works out fine, sometimes it doesn’t.

i know that millions of women choose this condition voluntarily, but i’ve just gotta say, i am mystified by that.

but do you want to know what i really don’t understand? (there’s more!)

women who get pregnant by accident.

now i’m not talking about women who are using some kind of birth control that fails (condom breakage, that unlucky winner of the 2% pill failure rate, etc). i guess it’s more women who, in this day and age, find themselves pregnant when they weren’t explicitly looking to get that way.

i must say, women who do this actually kinda fascinate me. it’s a little sick on my part, and entirely not my business, but i’m just dying to know how the hell it happened. (oh shut up, i know how it “happened,” all right.) i’m thinking, hey, have you heard? the 70s happened! margaret sanger happened! planned parenthood happened! widely available birth control, look into it!

there is one huge caveat here, and that is women who can’t afford birth control. before you come after me about not being class-conscious, these are not the women that i am talking about. lack of affordable birth control is one of the shames of this country, and if the anti-abortion folks actually cared about reducing the number of abortions in America, they would be advocating for free condoms on every street corner. but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

no, really, i’m referring to the women that i know can afford birth control (and there are real-life women, that i’ve known, who fall into this category – this is not even hypothetical) and yet somehow end up pregnant. and oh my god, i want nothing more than to ask them what the hell happened. what happened?? do people still get “caught up in the moment”? is that for real?? do you just play the odds (which, by the way, aren’t very good if you’re having unprotected sex and trying to remain unpregnant)? did you have a moment of amnesia, or involuntary hypnosis, or what?

i think, at bottom, it’s the level of nonchalance about it that i’ve witnessed that blows me away. women who unintentionally find themselves pregnant and then are like “well, i guess i’m pregnant.” what?? if you weren’t intending to get pregnant and then did, wouldn’t that raise your blood pressure a little? wouldn’t you be just a little freaked out? and if you’re so unsurprised by it, then wouldn’t that indicate that you were trying in the first place?

all of this rambling befuddlement stems, of course, from my earlier point that i just don’t understand wanting to be pregnant. so i sure as hell don’t understand a “que sera” attitude to accidentally landing in that state. but certainly, it is something that will continue to simultaneously horrify and intrigue me.

if anyone wants to share thoughts, stories, or sling verbal tomatoes, please do! i’m especially interested to hear about it if people know someone who got “accidentally” pregnant and also know the circumstances around it. because that’s like the freaking da vinci code to me - a mystery i’m desperate to crack, but assuredly never will.

*to those of you that want to say, “it’ll be different when it’s you/your pregnancy/your kid, i can’t wait ‘til you get pregnant and have to eat your words about this,” congrats. you are the 3,459th person to make this claim. i’m thinking about giving out a prize to the 5,000th commenter. a year’s supply of the Today sponge, or something.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

this is bad. very bad.

it is 2:28 pm on tuesday, october 17th, 2006. i just wanted to document the precise moment at which i realized that i've become an unemployed person.

i have, of course, been without an actual job for a little over three weeks. but that's not what i'm talking about. i don't mean that i've become unemployed, but that i've become that unemployed person.

- the one that doesn't bother conditioning her hair.
- the one that wears slippers more often than regular shoes.
- the one for whom "going to the grocery store" constitutes the biggest activity of the day.
- the one that looks forward to 4:00, because that's when oprah is on.
- the one who bought a pint of ben & jerry's ice cream at the store today with the express purpose of eating it from the carton, while under a blanket, while watching oprah.

i really, seriously, for-real-serious have thoughts like "this would be a good snack to have during oprah." my shame is boundless.

i am waiting to hear back from three different non-profits about three different jobs, for each of which i've interviewed at least twice. six interviews. as of 2:36 pm, zero phone calls.

for the love of god (and waistlines, and brain cells), i need to hear back from somebody.


seriously, people.

holy shit.

six turnovers by grossman, and the bears still get the win? six??

we turned the tv off.

i am not proud to admit it, but about two-thirds of the way through the fourth quarter, BoyCat and i folded like a cheap tent and turned the tv off. i should know better by now! but i gave in to tiredness and pessimism. and as punishment, i missed one of the most crazy-ass comebacks of the whole season.

the big question this morning, though: should the citizens of chicago still burn rex grossman in effigy, as they would have if the defense and special teams didn't win it for him?

Monday, October 16, 2006

the most amazing development EVER.

(non-bostonians, this post will probably mean absolutely nothing to you. just sayin'.)

i nearly fell off of the couch last night when, upon opening an email from SisterCat, i read this explosively amazing information:

there is a Border Cafe within driving distance of my apartment.

that's right, folks - a border! in virginia! i almost didn't believe it myself. but the interweb doesn't lie. so this weekend, BoyCat and i will be venturing west into the suburbs to find a little outpost of harvard square/route 1 deliciousness.

french quarter chicken! biscuits! chips and salsa!

i might actually just go right now.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

mini day trip.

BoyCat and i took advantage of the perfect fall day today, getting out into the fresh air and exploring our new surroundings. well, not our immediate surroundings, as those are just strip malls (tangent: however, i did find a little japanese/sushi restaurant in a nearby strip-mall that has gotten really good user reviews on a couple big sites. we will be trying that out pronto). no, today we hopped on the bus and took a short ride into old town. this is the only section of alexandria, so far as i can tell, that actually resembles a city. and one that's been around for a few hundred years, to boot!

i thought i'd share a few pictures from our little journey:

these are some typical-looking residences in old town. the area reminds me a lot of beacon hill, actually, except just a touch less urban. i dunno if it's that old town is right along the river, or south of the mason-dixon, or what. but either way, VERY colonial.

the river, as noted above.

when i say colonial, i mean colonial, people! see the gas lamp below. electricity, schmelectricity. and can any history buff explain to me what that little wrought-iron thing in the ground next to the stairs is? a shoe scuffer? hitching post? modern art that was just way ahead of its time?

some cute, old town doors. note the creative use of miniature pumpkins. well, i thought it was creative, until we saw it done in about half a dozen doorways in the area. i guess this isn't the most avant-garde type of neighborhood, really.

BoyCat noted that you knew you are priced out of an area when there's a fancy-looking dog obedience school on the corner. i feel the "towne" spelling emphasizes this fact. (side note: BoyCat later noted another visual representation of why we can't afford Old Town, which was a man eating lunch at cafe, at an outdoor table, with a companion. his little dog, instead of being leashed up along the railing or somewhere else on the sidewalk, was sitting on the man's lap. AND. the dog was wearing a sweater.)

apparently, they block off little areas of old town on the weekends to make pedestrian-only areas. hooray, pedestrians! and this is a street performer you won't see everyday.

parrots! in virginia! who knew?

and one last one, from the walk back to the bus stop, because i couldn't resist. this seems to encapsulate the delicate, um, sensibilities of old towners.

Friday, October 13, 2006

decisions, decisions.

when you're thinking about moving into DC, articles like this one - Liveliest D.C. Neighbhorhoods Also Jumping With Robberies - are troubling. the lead-in:

Some of Washington's most vibrant neighborhoods, destinations for suburbanites, barhoppers and urban professionals, share a lesser-known distinction: They have the highest concentrations of holdups in the city.

now, it's not that i'm surprised by this. i didn't just fall off of the turnip truck from hicksville - i know that if you live in the city, you have a higher chance of becoming a crime victim. but it's tough to read the names of all these neighborhoods that you've heard great things about, and are considering moving to, listed as being in the two police districts with the highest percentage of muggings and robberies. These aren't neighborhoods that you'd consider crime-ridden (and believe me, DC has those), but there are a number of factors that make them ripe for hold-ups. one, with the city cracking down on drug dealing and trafficking, a lot of current and former drug dealers are taking up plain 'ol robbery as a means to recoup lost earnings. two, many of these neighborhoods are "in transition," a.k.a. rapidly gentrifying, so it's evident that there's money to be had in the purses and wallets that stroll out of clubs and bars at 2:00 am.

but it's not even just "well, don't walk home at 2:00 am." people are getting knocked to the ground and mugged at 9:30 pm, under streetlights. and you know what? i don't want to mess with that. you can never totally prevent it from happening, but do i want to move to a neighborhood where it's been explicitly identified as a problem? where there's an average of five holdups a week? an average??

god, i don't know. it seems like in DC i might be trying to have my cake and eat it too. i don't want to live out here among the apartment complexes and the strip malls for long, but i also don't want to subject myself to unsafe situations. boystown was good for that - there was definitely no guarantee that you were safe all the time, but overall it was a pretty comfortable place to be. i don't know where neighborhoods like that are in DC, if there are neighborhoods like that in DC. i'm not too keen on playing the odds when it comes to getting robbed, so unless i can find out about some district enclaves that aren't magnets for muggers, i'm not sure what to do.

friday cat blogging, meta edition.

i think i informed everyone that CatCat has a blog. she won't tell us the url, but it's out there in the ether somewhere. i caught her surreptitiously posting the other night:

if she has a flickr account, we're all in trouble.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

riddle me this.

if there were a person who, upon hearing that a woman was denied timely access to EC after a condom broke during sex, and that the woman is now seeking an abortion as a result of that delay, took it upon him/herself to tell that woman that she deserves to be "brutally raped before being slaughtered in the most painful way I can think of" - would you call that person "pro-life"?

because i have to say, i wouldn't.

i know i'm late to this development, and i actually read about this days ago - the reality of it has been flexing its claws against the back of my mind since then. and it hurts. it hurts to think about.

if you don't believe that much of the anti-abortion movement is really just a veiled hatred and fear of women, and of the power that they wield when they make their own choices, read the above post.

hey! blogger's back.

and now that it is, i find i have nothing of consequence to say. this "having nothing to say" phenomenon could explain the dip in my readership as of late.

sorry, readership!

i find that i am just tired lately. which seems ridiculous, as i am unemployed. but i feel like i'm doing a pretty good job of getting out there, interviewing for jobs, making contacts, trying to get acclimated to DC. and that, friends, is kinda tiring! yesterday i went on two interviews, and then went out with BoyCat, one of his co-workers, and a friend from grad school. a co-worker of grad school friend came along, and she is actually going to help me get in and talk with some people at Media Matters, a great, liberal watchdog group. so, even though i am spent from my long day yesterday, good things happen when i get out and do stuff!

so i need to do that. more stuff. even though i'm tired. i'm off in an hour or so to go downtown and meet a friend of a friend who works for a liberal leadership organization for coffee, and also potentially meet up with another friend's contact who works for NOW.

one of a variety of lessons already learned here in DC: networking is exhausting, but worth it.

i hope.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

a brief query.

why is chopped garlic always the hardest item to find at a new grocery store?

and a bonus semi-brief query, because i'm feeling particularly ornery today:

virginia, do you have something against mailboxes? you know, the big blue ones that people can drop mail in to have the U.S. Postal Service deliver? because i drove around for 15 minutes today looking for one. i'm not sure if you are trying to eradicate snail mail all together, or whether they don't fit in with your suburban beautification plan, or what. but it is highly inconvenient, so i would really like to know.

Monday, October 09, 2006


while i'm thinking of it, i want to let you all know (if you didn't already) that PBS is running some of the Eyes on the Prize episodes on monday nights from 9-11 pm eastern time. this whole documentary series on the civil rights movement, which spans the 50s and 60s and is amazing in its breadth and depth, was actually unavailable for years while some copyright issues on archival footage being used in the series was worked out. but now it's back, and re-watching some of the episodes that focus on the mid 50s and early 60s, i'm blown away by the scope of it all. the series is all interviews and primary source footage - video, audio, still photographs - from the time, and it's incredible.

so, next week is the episode about the freedom summer in 1964 called mississippi: is this america?, and the episode about the selma march called bridge to freedom. and now you have six whole days to remember to mark it on your calendar.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

the full toll.

i noticed the police cars as i turned the corner of 13th and I St. one, then two, then another pair a few hundred feet away. all strategically placed to block cross-street traffic across new york avenue.

walking down the block toward 13th and new york, the wind rattled my umbrella and i tilted it forward in front of my face, hoping it wouldn't turn itself inside out. the rain had been relentless all morning. when i neared the crosswalk and raised the umbrella up again, a policeman extended his arm out at 90 degrees, palm towards me, in the universal symbol of "stop right there." so i stopped.

the traffic backed up behind the police car barricades. people were stopped at the intersection with me, as well as across the street and down the block. horns blared angrily in the near distance - people who could not see the scene, angry about the inexplicable standstill. a metro bus's doors hissed open and let some passengers out, even though it was not an official stop. the passengers thanked him as they descended the grimy steps into the rain.

i waited, with a kind of sick fascination, for what was coming. two minutes turned into five, five into ten. the gray skies continued to sling gusts of rain, and the water gathered in growing pools.
i realized that it was suprisingly quiet.

the first motorcycle came through with a roar and the short, staccato bursts of police sirens. these were not the long, slow wails of an emergency, of an ambulance on its way to a rescue - these were the hard, angry notes of authority.

woop, woooop woooop, with a grainy volume that you felt in your toes.

the first was followed by a second, and a third and a fourth and fifth. then came the limos, long and black with blinding gold insignias on the doors. then the hulking, midnight-dark SUVs, one after the other, the final one with it windows down and filled with secret service agents. the thick, whooshing sound of tires flying over wet concrete was cyclical and continuous, like the beginning of motion sickness - like the end of a bad dream.

that's him, i thought.

a single thought, unperturbed by any other complicating emotions or opinions. i didn't expect it to be so simple, but there it was. a singular thought, husked of every association, but still heavy as lead.

that's him.

as the end of the motorcade disappeared down new york avenue, above my head from somewhere in the city a church bell tolled out the time: a quarter til the hour. four notes that set the tone, then four that rose, and four that fell again. but the full tolling of the bell, with its long solitary notes and finality of purpose, did not come. it could not come until its appointed time. and so its absence hung in the air for a moment, an anticipation without excitement - a future without a present.

slowly, all around me, traffic and people began to move again. i turned and stepped off of the curb, hopping over a small river of rain that had gathered in the street and was spiraling, in its inevitable way, towards a sewer grate.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


a few hours ago, i was coming home from target and was stopped at a red light. i tilted my face up slightly and peered through the windshield at the stoplight on the wire, and the telephone tower beyond that, and the dull gray sky in the background. the sound of cars whirring past me, one by one, came through the cracked-open window. i struggled to focus. all i could think was, "what am i doing here? what. am i. doing here."

a few minutes ago, i held my toothbrush over the sink, and almost squirted hand soap on it instead of toothpaste.

i'm going to get into bed now.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

things that i have discovered today.

- that i still can't produce a coherent, non-move related post. sorry folks.

- that there are a number of things about the Metro that remind me of Disney World. firstly, the trains themselves make me think of the monorail at Disney. i don't know why. i guess compared to the hulking metal El trains, they just seem a little less...train-like. and they make that whirring sound when they run. secondly, the underground stations are kinda Space Mountain-esqe (actually, i credit BoyCat with discovering this, i merely had to concur with this assessment when i finally rode through one).

- the worst idea ever? putting industrial carpet inside public transit cars. Metro, what were you thinking??

- that cobblestone sidewalks are nice and quaint, until you almost bite it - twice! - while walking a four block span.

- that i had underestimated the phallic nature of the washington monument. holy penile symbology, people.

- that idiots are everywhere*. today at lunch at the Corner Bakery, BoyCat and i listened to a woman send a waitress back with a sandwich because "it has avocados on it. i ordered it without avocados. and they can't just take them off, because i'm allergic." what? seriously?? lady, there are at least half a dozen sandwich options without avocado on them. why in the world, if you are allergic to the damn things, would you even chance ordering a sandwich that usually comes with them?


*of course i already knew this. it's just something that i re-discover, and re-discover, and re-discover.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

a nearly content-free pictorial.

because i am still somewhat shellshocked from The Big Move and the ensuing adjustment to all things alexandria, i offer you some photos of the new place.

this one is really dark, i know, but i was too lazy to retake it after uploading it. you can make out the basics! this is the living/dining area, as seen from the front entrance. notice CatCat in her new favorite spot.

this is the living/dining area, as seen from the door by the deck.

this is the stove and microwave in the kitchen. the fact that i live in a place that has a kitchen this nice still does not seem correct to me.

i mean seriously, we have a dishwasher? what?

and we have an ice maker - an ice maker! what?

the bathroom, by my standards, is fricking huge. make of those standards what you will.

and. and. the crowning glory of this place - the washer/dryer. you mean they put these in apartments? what??

so this is where we live. now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to trader joe's to find some food to put in our nearly empty refrigerator. (did i spell that right? i have no idea.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

welcome to washington DC. er, i mean, the suburbs.

so we totally live in the suburbs. i am slowly processing this fact. but our apartment? freaking great. we have been working on getting it set up for the last day and a half, and we've made pretty good progress if i do say so myself. once we get the last few things put away, dealt with, or lit on fire and thrown in a dumpster (seriously, we have two whole boxes of books with no discernible home in this apartment) then i will post some pictures of the place and its greatness. but for now? cat pictures!

because really, i think these sum up the trip nicely.

we started out angry:

CatCat looks drugged and behind bars because she is drugged and behind bars. this was taken while the movers were taking stuff out of the place in chicago. the kitty tranqs didn't totally knock her out, just zoned her out (allegedly - see mention of the 2006 CatCat rebellion in my last post, which was repeated on saturday afternoon). the drugs made the membranes on the inside corners of her eyes come up towards the middle of her eyes, which was kinda freaky and gross. but we pitied her, like gregor samsa or the elephant man.

and 48 hours later, we were angry and dirty:

so i told you this apartment has a fireplace, yeah? well, guess what CatCat found her way into while her owners were otherwise engaged with boxes and packing tape? this picture doesn't even begin to do justice to how filthy she was. we were not even in the apartment three hours, and she strolls into the kitchen looking like oliver twist. i took this picture after 10 minutes of BoyCat holding her down so i could scrub her face, neck, and paws. this morning, she still has soot under her right eye and on her front paws.

while angry and/or dirty were sort of the overarching themes of the trip, we are all here now, and it is good. oh, and the temperature tomorrow? 84 degrees. holy shit, people, i am in the south.