Monday, June 30, 2008

Ghosts of the past

This afternoon, someone shared with me some news about one of my ex-boyfriends -- good news -- and then, seemed somewhat surprised that I hadn't already heard directly. Then they asked if I wanted to see the email. And my honest, instinctive answer was no -- even though there was that little ping of curiosity in the back of my mind. I think it's the same thing that makes people check the newspaper for wedding announcements or read their exes' blogs. But ultimately, he is so far out of my orbit at this time -- and I am so far out of his -- that I don't feel the need to test the gravitational pulls.

This may sound like maturity, but it's not, really. It's selfishness or self-centeredness or something similar. I wish him the best, but I don't really care about the details. I certainly don't care enough to call or write, and don't expect it in return. Velvet used a phrase that I liked today -- "It's someone else's problem now." Amen.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amazing powers of observation

Friday morning, on the way into work, I was on the escalator coming out of the Metro station, and I looked down and noticed some girl's sandals.

My first thought was "Those are really cute and they look comfortable."

The second thought was "Oh, they're Tevas."

The third thought was "I am wearing the exact same shoes."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Small world, courtesy of Facebook

The world is shrinking, my friends.

I've had this blog for just about two and a half years now, and I've been reading other blogs for about that same amount of time. There are some bloggers that I started following pretty much since day one, my virtual friends, if you will. But since I haven't gone to any happy hours or met up with any of my fellow bloggers, they are just that -- virtual acquaintances. Even if I do have them on my blogroll, subscribe to their RSS feeds, accept their MySpace friend requests, follow them on Twitter, and correspond with them via comments just about as often as I talk to my "real" friends (sometimes even more).

I signed up for Facebook this spring. All of my "friends" are people that I actually do know in the meatspace: friends, former classmates, former coworkers and the like.

Today, on Facebook, I saw a notification about someone that I have known for pretty much forever, from someone else in the "Washington DC" Network. So, out of curiosity, I clicked on the profile and saw a wall post from a blogger that I have followed pretty much since Day 1. Apparently, all this time, I've been two degrees separated from this person in real life.

This, of course, is causing me to reconsider my stance on whether I should actually meet up with the other bloggers that I correspond with. I mean, at a minimum, I am quite sure that I would have had a grand old time hanging out with Paige Jennifer and Ryane last weekend.

Choosing my family

This morning, one of my mom's best friends called. It was the first time I had spoken with her since the week of my mother's funeral, and we caught up for about half an hour. It was really nice to talk to someone that I've known my entire life, who is like an aunt to me. (Point of reference: Her daughter was the first baby my dad ever held.)

That was my first thought, anyway. My second thought was that it sucks that my own aunt, my mother's sister, hasn't spoken to me since my mother's funeral either. And she hasn't shown any signs of calling.

Anyway, in talking to my dad tonight, between all the condo news (made an offer, hasn't been accepted or rejected or countered -- yet), I told my dad about the phone call with mom's friend, and how lovely it was. And then I said that, for lack of a better word, I am angry with my aunt -- not to mention offended -- but that I know there's nothing I can do about it.

So, what this boils down to is: I acknowledge my anger. And I hereby compartmentalize it. My aunt can call me or not. As far as I'm concerned, from now on, my family is who I choose for it to be. My mom's friend is most definitely in.

I am a shoe addict

Honeykbee asked for more shoes, and I like to give people what they want. Before I got on the whole budget kick, I bought these:

Yes, kids -- they are brown and teal snakeskin. And I have absolutely no idea what to wear them with. But I got them on sale, which makes everything okay.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Budgetary concerns

So I think I'm making an offer on a condo tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it for what I want to pay for it, but I'm going to try. And I'm very nervous. It's a lot of money. And, at least for the first couple of months, my budget will be very very tight. I think I'm going to have to stop buying shoes. And clothes. And bags. And hats (like this one, which, along with t-shirt that says "Captain Awesome," is what I happen to be wearing as I type this).

As someone who has never really been on a budget in her entire life, this is going to be a challenge. I don't even know where to start. I mean, I probably should have started a while ago. Like I didn't really need to buy a new dress this week. And maybe I should be learning to be less of a food snob -- for example, I can go back to buying cheese at the grocery store instead of at Cowgirl Creamery.

Maybe I should get a roommate.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

The first thing I read this morning was the news about George Carlin, who, for as long as I can remember, was my favorite comic. And not just because he was in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure -- one of my favorite movies -- but because he was, at heart, a grammarian. He is one of the first people who got me thinking about words -- sometimes the dirty ones -- in a deeper way.

Here's a story: In 11th grade, some friends and I made a movie. It started out as a bunch of planned out sketches, but eventually broke down into us roaming around the halls, videotaping whatever amused us at the time. And in a tribute to Heathers, we decided to take lunchtime polls. This was right after I discovered George Carlin. So my contribution to the poll questions was first to steal "Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?" and later, continuing down the linguistic path, to open to random pages of the dictionary and to ask people to come up with definitions of the more unusual words.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Washington Post is reading my thoughts

From yesterday's Washington Post:

. . . girlfriends and spouses who look at [men without shirts] and think: That's just unfair. A woman can't strip to her waist, not without breaking the law anyway. And even if a woman is willing to break the law, nobody would consider her shirtless. She'd be considered topless. There is no such thing as a shirtless woman, just like there's no such thing as a topless man.

For the record, I have this exact thought all summer long.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My priorities are skewed

Last night, the fire alarm went off at 2 am. I got up, turned on the light, looked around my apartment, and went right back to sleep. With the alarm blaring.

In all honesty, I took inventory of the situation and decided that the sleep was more important. And I didn't want to put on pants and shoes.

I am glad there was no fire.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The elaborate and strange workings of my subconscious mind

For the first time in what seems like a thousand years, last night, my mother was in my dream. I was on a trip, somewhere exotic (possibly Southeast Asian or Middle Eastern), and I was in a hotel -- which was reminiscent of some that I had stayed in in Morocco: a little shabby and worn looking, but a perfectly sufficient place to sleep.

In any event, I checked into the hotel, and went up to the room to sit and wait for my mother. I was waiting, and waiting, and kept on washing my hands. As I waited, the rest of the family arrived there too -- my sister and brother, Nana and Pop. Finally, my mother and father arrived, and I was so happy to see her. She told me that I looked beautiful, she had missed me, and the room was a disaster and would never do.

And then I woke up -- late for work.

I remember the dream as vividly as I do most reality -- more so than, for example, her funeral. Which, if you think about it, is actually kind of weird.

One of the last times I saw my mom was in a hotel. I met up with her and my Nana and aunt last fall in Rhode Island, for my cousin's wedding. The four of us shared a room in the historic Biltmore. It was not the best trip for my mom, who, at least for the past few years, was not a good traveler. And my mom, for some reason, was disappointed with the room. (But not the bed, which was fabulous! After the wedding, the four of us watched the Red Sox wrap up the World Series in those comfy beds.)

Anyway, earlier tonight, my Nana called. I didn't tell her about the dream, though. Instead we had a nice normal conversation -- until she asked me if I was angry with my mom for dying. The tears started pouring out of my eyes before I even knew what happened.

Am I angry? Maybe -- maybe not. Disappointed and sad are more accurate. What I do know is that I'm trying not to dwell, because fundamentally, I understand that this is my reality -- it's just the way things are, and I can't change it. I also know that I just spent two weeks on vacation, thinking about how I would have loved to tell my mom about some of the things I saw and did. I would have loved to have asked her where she lived when she lived in Hollywood, so I could have gone to find it. And she would have understood about all the wine I bought (and shipped home), unlike, for example, my dad who said that it all tastes the same to him.

So, maybe that's why I'm dreaming about my mom going on vacation with me. Or maybe I just want her to come and visit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Get off of my lawn!

There were annoying tourist kids on Metro tonight when I was on my way home. And it was really late for me, which means it was way too late for kids to be making tons of noise while their parents ignore how they're twirling around on the poles as if they were practicing their routines for when they eventually become strippers in their inevitably sad and pathetic adult lives.

Suddenly, I had this great idea for a t-shirt. On the front it says "I don't hate all children. . . " and on the back it says ". . . Just Yours." I think I'm going to submit it to Threadless.

Anyway, that's when the train stopped and one of the twirling children fell. And shrieked. I laughed out loud. I couldn't help it. I guess I'm an asshole.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dumped for Obama

On my way home from work, on Metro, I formulated a plan to write a whole big political/tax-geek thing about the failed attempt on a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. But then I got home and realized that I don't really write about politics anymore. People think that I can't because of work, but that's not really true. The truth is that I don't because I just don't have it in me anymore. Things are a mess and our elected officials keep going in circles, which gets us nowhere. And gas prices are over $4.00 a gallon. It's depressing.

But then Caroline sent me this, which made me laugh. And calmed me down. So here it is:

Monday, June 09, 2008

Vacation perspective

The worst part about coming back from vacation is the sudden transition back to real life. And I'm not just talking about having to unpack, do laundry, pay bills, and go to work -- it's the shifting away from doing only those things you want to doing the things that have to get done.

My reintroduction to my real life was exceptionally distressing: I came back to a heat wave and a malfunctioning air conditioner. All day yesterday, my apartment hovered around 85 degrees. Of course, after the overnight flight, I was pretty much too tired to care, so I did my laundry, watched baseball, and tried to sleep in the sweltering heat -- which, on the most part, was insufferable. But lucky for me, I live in a place with maintenance. So they fixed it. But if I lived in a hotel, they would have moved me to another room last night.

And then there's the whole working thing. Most of the time, I like what I do for a living, but I'd rather be living off a trust fund, traveling across the world. So having to go back to actually doing stuff kind of sucks, in its own way.

I've decided though, that there are some vacation-type things that are going to stick. I'm going to try to drink wine on a semi-regular basis, instead of just at fancy dinners. I'm going to try to go to interesting places and do interesting things on the weekends, and not just run errands. But mostly, every day, I'm going to try to have a sense of wonder about the things that are around me.

Like when I was watching the Foccault Pendulum at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles:

Or taking in the desolate landscape at Pebble Beach:

Or watching the Sea Lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco:

Or noticing how the butterflies on display at the Conservatory of Flowers just wanted to get outside:

Or listening to the sound of the foghorn at the Golden Gate Bridge:

Or even riding the cable car:

These are the things we ignore or overlook or take for granted every day, but appreciate while on vacation.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lombard Street

I keep meaning to post more videos, but the whole vacation thing keeps getting in the way.

This is what the tourists driving down Lombard Street in San Francisco look like:

And this is what it's like to be one of those tourists driving down Lombard Street: