Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Me: "Whew. One item off my To-Do List."

Roommate: "Which item was this?"

Me: "I finally installed the magnetic lenses for my phone. They click on magnetically, and they give you wide-angle and macro abilities. I only bought them a YEAR ago."

Roommate: "And WHY haven't you installed them, yet?"

Me: "Putting the self-stick magnetic ring on my phone seemed like too much work."

Roommate: "Says the girl who just took her ENTIRE JEEP apart."

Me: "...whatever."


I would just like to announce to the world that I replaced my gas tank. By myself. Related: I am kind of big deal.


I am standing on the sidewalk, which is "safe", or at least likely to contain hidden dog poop, while Titan waters a place as FAR AWAY AS HE CAN GET from me and still be attached. Actually, I am not standing on the sidewalk; I have only one foot on it. The other leg is raised in the air to balance me as I lean at a 90 degree angle over the leaves and dirt, leash hooked on my longest finger, because seriously, Titan is AS FAR AWAY AS HE CAN POSSIBLY BE. I am doing Warrior III Pose, is what I'm saying here. My dog WOULD require me to do yoga while walking him.

I complain about this to my mother, who happens to be standing right next to me. "Why do we always have to go to the very very end of the leash to pee? WHY?"

"I remember a young lady who also had to push to the very edge of her boundaries," she said, rather wryly, watching me balance on the sidewalk.

Me: "...Oh, really? Hmmm."

Her: "YES."

Me: "Hey, and we both do it for the same reason: to make our mark on the world!"

Her: "In a slightly different way, though."

Friday, December 09, 2011

I Am Tired

So tired, in fact, that I hit "Publish" before I'd even written anything. Awesome. I am tired. I am so tired. Everyone's tired on a Friday; I get that. I totally have that going on. That's not what I'm talking about. I am (in addition to the standard Friday tired) the kind of tired that happens after you've been filled with adrenaline and stress for weeks and suddenly, at the end of a Friday, it all drains out of you in a whoosh and you are a lump, in a chair, sort of melting into it, because you don't have any energy to sit up straight. I just put music on and had to turn it off, because I don't have enough energy to write and listen to music at the same time. I am TIRED. I am too tired to fall asleep. Thanks for being here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I Think Lady Gaga May Be The Third Prophet

I was trying to think of a pithy statement that could possibly describe this hell of a day, and then I realized...the least exciting thing that happened today is the leak in my gas tank. And that's really all I can say. ("And babe, there's nothing else I can say. Eh eh, eh eh.")

Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011


Me: "So, want to hit the Crescent? I'm in the mood for some karaoke."

Date: "Mmmm...I don't know. I usually love karaoke." (Author's note: I know this to be true--this was not our first date. But we had not yet gone to karaoke together.) "My mojo's kind of gone. I mean, a few weeks ago, I was in Portland, singing karaoke, and..."

Me (interrupting): "Where?"

Date: "At the Galaxy. And there was this big guy..."

Me (interrupting again): "With a beard? A rather long one?"

Date: "Yes!"

Me: "That's RC."

Date: "Oh, you know him? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you do."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The First Thing You Do, You Destroy All The Mirrors*

Remember how this was supposed to be done for my parents' fortieth anniversary? Yeah, me either.

(If you're lost, feel free to check out Part 1 and Part 2 first.) (If anyone is reading this besides my parents, who deserve this effort and more even if it's only read by them. I love you guys.)

Where were we? Oh, yes. I had taken one post to describe my heroes, and another post to describe how awesome I was, and right when I was about to get to describe WHY I turned out awesome, and also modest, and did I mention I was about to compare myself to my heroes?--I sort of vanished into Korea. (Damn Korea.) (Possibly I'll try not to curse anymore in this love letter to my parents, whom are rather conservative.)

Ahem. So. I possibly ran out of words because I am not MUCH like my heroes, unfortunately, which sort of deflates my point--if you can do that--but I DID grow up to be pretty confident with a rather fresh mouth, and seriously, you want your daughter to grow up like this. You do. (Don't worry, moms that I know--SHE WON'T TURN OUT LIKE ME. Well...probably.)

Wow, I have really lost my point. LET'S JUST COMMENCE, SHALL WE?

Golden Rules For Raising a Kick Ass Daughter in the Style of Tina Fey

(Expect her to curse every now and then.)

1. Pray she "peaks" at 50. Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey made this point very clear: if your daughter isn't Pretty at 17, THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS.

Of course, you can't actually do anything about this, aside from encasing her in a burkha (or handy ivory tower, if you want to go all fairy tale) or marrying the ugliest partner you can find, but I wouldn't really  recommend any of those options. Here's what you can do, even if she has porcelain skin and perfect hair at five years old: bring her up in a household that focuses on other things. And this should start in the womb. (The Huffington Post did a fantastic article about this phenomenon here, which you should really read, right away, right now.)

Fortunately for my parents, they didn't have to work too hard on this, given the material they were blessed with. Arraying yourself in button down shirts with belts in weird places at 12 is not the way to attract a lot of attention for your looks, and it didn't help that I had an unwieldy-ily-large and rather British vocabulary, an enormous imagination, and two friends who were just as nerdy as I was. Tina Fey refers to this phase as "when she relaxed in her colonial lady outfit after school", which is why she is the comedy writer, and not me. And she and Mindy Kaling have both included hilarious pictures of themselves from those time periods, and I won't do that because I am not a multimillion dollar comedienne. What I will say: at the rather advanced age of twenty-four, I suddenly started hitting the gym, lost twenty pounds, cut off my hair, and dyed it blonde, and I was cute!...for about twenty minutes. Turns out that blonde hair needs a lot of upkeep. As I frequently find it difficult to shower more than once a week, you can imagine how well I did with that. For the next three years.

Why did this happen? (Besides the not-washing-hair phase, which happened for other reasons that I won't go into here.) Well. It's true that my parents didn't have to work too hard to keep my focus off my looks, but it's also true to say that they are both overachievers. To say that my up-bringing was not looks-focused would be an understatement. Let's put it this way: I didn't learn how to apply makeup until I was twenty. I didn't get my first pedicure until I had graduated from college. My up-bringing was 100% focused on school, activities, and church. I'm not even sure we owned mirrors in the house. (Joke.) (Barely.)

This is both entirely both my parents' fault, as it's their damn genes on my face, but also of course not their fault at all, since they couldn't help it. My mother was born with naturally perfect skin, a fast metabolism, a dread of sugar, and a great smile. You don't NEED makeup when you have all those things. My blessed father told us both, over and over again, that we were the most beautiful ladies he knew. I believed him, because he was my father, and besides, it made sense that if he was right about my mother--which he was--then he must be right about me, too! I was beautiful! Excellent!

(Junior high came as kind of a shock.)

Yes, well. It gives me things to laugh now, and more importantly, it turns out that that is THE ABSOLUTE BEST WAY TO RAISE A DAUGHTER. Like, only the absolutely most important thing you can do. Being shuttled around between school, activities, and church (also not a looks-focused organization, generally) I had zero time to stare into any mirrors even if we had owned them. Instead, I developed interests in many other things, all of which were focused on my talents and skills, and not my looks. Music. Art*. Drama. Travel. Knowledge about the world. Opinions (definitely developed a lot of those). Ability to FORM opinions and SHARE them, articulately. Hey: I am the product of two (2) salespeople. The dinner table was not quiet in our house.

Oh, yeah: the dinner table. It also turns out some kind of structure and dependability is also important for raising kids, and that brings us to The Next Golden Rule...TOMORROW!

*Name that Shakespeare reference!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Obviously, I Was Just Kidding

I was writing the piece about The Second Golden Rule, and then I realized that my piece on "How To Raise A Kick-Ass Daughter" was veering into "verbal diarrhea about my relationship with my parents". The first focus is good, the second focus is...not. Come on. That's what Roommate is for. (Other people might say, "That's what Therapy is for," but that's not how I roll.)

Please hold while I work out exactly what I want to say. THANK YOU.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Am Such An Engineer, Part II.

Him: "Well, the original composite bows were made of heartwood, and yew* wood."

Me: "Really? How did they get the two woods to stay together back in medieval days? Glue? Had nails been invented?"

Him: (Smiling, because he is cute.) "No, it grows that way."

Me: "..."

Me: "...Oooooooooohhhhhhhh. Because it's...a tree."

Him: "Yes!"

*Note: it has come to my attention that this post is totally, and completely, inaccurate, and it's not because of the source. It's because I misremembered it and wrote it quickly. The Yew is the kind of tree. Bows were made from heartwood and SAP wood, which is true no matter what kind of tree you make it out of. Here's what Wikipedia says:

"One of the simpler longbow designs is known as the self bow. By definition, a self bow is made from a single piece of wood. Truly traditional English longbows are self bows, made from yew wood. The bowstave is cut from the radius of the tree so that the sapwood (on the outside of the tree) becomes the back two thirds and the belly, the remaining one third, is heartwood. Yew sapwood is good only in tension, while the heartwood is good in compression."

The point of using the yew tree (hopefully, not to shoot ewes) is that the yew sapwood can take much, much, more energy in tension (when you draw the bow back) than other timbers, so more of the energy goes into the arrow, meaning you can kill someone from farther away, always a plus.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Minor Differences. (Hat tip to The Oatmeal.)

When my roommate cooks, it is a well-choreographed ballet. When I cook, it is a chicken running around the kitchen with its head cut off, if said chicken also swore a lot and made general comments about the chastity of the recipe author's mother. This is why my roommate does most of the cooking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to the best mother in the world. I love you.

And Happy Birthday to MY LITTLE! I'm coming back to NYC soon, honey. <3.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Guess She Does Notice A Few Things About Me

I had a recent conversation with my mother in the car, always a good place for a productive one on one session, even if you're yelling at each other. (We haven't done that in a long time, though.)

(I think my father and I recently solved all the world's problems on a sunny drive out to Cle Elum and back.)

Back to my mother. Right. I had been contemplating sharing something about my dating life--always a trepidatious thing to do with your MOTHER--and finally I said it.

"I've noticed a theme with the guys I'm dating," I said.

"Oh, really?"

"Well, two themes, really. The first is substantial, the second is totally superficial."


"Superficially, and I don't know what this means, but it appears to be common thread more often than not: they're a) not clotheshorses, b) they have often asked me to influence their clothing choices. I mean, I revamped the entire wardrobes of two serious boyfriends (at their request), and more recently I went shopping for suits with T.C. Like on our fifth or sixth date."

Mom: "Hmmm. That's interesting." (Because she is my mother, she has to say this, even if it's not.)

Me: "I just thought that was worth mentioning."

Author's note: I've since realized that anyone I date more casually, as in, not in relationship mode, actually IS kind of a clotheshorse. There's four five, wait, SIX men I could name off the top of my head that I've dated who are better dressers than I am. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Ahem.

Anyway.  Back to my poor mother, who has to listen to this.

"More substantially, there IS a common theme that binds almost every man I've been romantically interested in, throughout my whole life, almost to a man: romantic interest has shaken off the blueprint of his home life to become something completely different than his parents. Mostly he still has a cordial, and even close, relationship with his family, but he has still purposely looked at his parents' lifestyle, said, 'No thanks, I think I'll create my own', and run with it."

My mother actually was listening, I realized, because she responded, at neutrino speed, with: "REALLY! I can't imagine why YOU'D find that attractive in someone! I'm just flabbergasted!"

Humph. Everyone's a comedian. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Am Such An Engineer, Part 1

Me: recently describing to Entrepreneur in lurid detail the recent visit I got to make to Insitu, which makes some of the best, if not THE best, UAVs in the world.


Him: "Hmm. I wonder if you could train raptors to spot and attack those drones, if they fly at such low altitude?"

Me: "...Raptors?" Thinking: Does he mean the F-22? Is this a UAV I don't know? There is one called Predator. Is he about to make a velociraptor joke?*

Him: "Well, there's a long history of falconry in the Middle East."

Me: "..."

Me: "...Oh, my God. You mean, RAPTORS. Like, birds of prey."

Him: "Yes!"

Me: "You mean, those commandable, maneuverable, low-profile, low-altitude, high-resolution-vision, silent, flying, things."

Him: (Smiling.) "Yes."

Me: "The ORIGINAL flying drones. Wow."

Me: "Well, if you thought of it, I can only hope they don't."

* (In a conversation between two people who read xkcd, this is always a possibility.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Supporting the World I Want To Live in, or Justifying Spending Money, OR, See Title Of This Blog. Part III.

I found The Thing That Will Be Teh Awesome, or at least I hope it will. The thing that will convert heels or flats into boots. I may never need to buy another pair of boots again. Maybe.

If it doesn't work, it will be a rather expensive experiment, but oh well. This is how we learn, yes?

I can't share the details yet; my mother would have a heart attack, and anyway I bought the item on Etsy, so it's no longer available for public view.

What can I do instead? I promised an update. Hmmm. I will share other ways in which I changed my own personal world:

My new, absolutely favorite, artist:

Ronald Jenkees, everyone.

Need more?

Diplo. Oh, hell yes.

A Magazine that I can feel proud supporting: Anthology.

A blog that represents my design aesthetic very closely: The Steampunk Home.

In related news, I need to make more money. Thanks and good night.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Supporting the World I Want To Live in, or Justifying Spending Money, OR, See Title Of This Blog. Part II.

His reply, and then MY reply to his reply. (Author's note: his responses, and my responses, are inline to my original questions, and the things that look like links are, indeed, links. All SFW except when noted.)

Can you also give me the following?

1. Hooks on strapless dresses that attach to the supporting bustier. Obviously, the hooks (on both garments) will need to be standard widths apart, so that all garments work together.

2. Pants that have hems that can be risen or lowered, depending on heel length, so that a woman isn't forced to choose, roll up hems (never works), or buy two pairs of the same damn pants.

He said: "this might work for numbers one and two ."
I replied: "I've had bad experiences with fashion tape of any kind, but I did find these, which I think may solve a number of my problems, including possibly problem 1. (Or maybe clear plastic snaps?) I might even start tailoring my work pants with them. I mean, seriously. The possibilities are endless."

3. Some sort of neoprene-with-support bustier? Probably not neoprene, but something like it. I love my traditional corsets, but there is a material out there SOMEWHERE that will lift, support, and be somewhat flexible. Somewhere. (Out there.)

He said: "somewhere to start ." (Slightly NSFW if you work at a church, or a place where the word "corset" offends.)

4. Shoes with retractable heels would be great, too. God, I wish women designed more things.

He said: "you mean like this?"

I replied: "Okay, I actually BOUGHT those, they were so exactly what I needed. (Phooey on the 4-6 week wait, but whatever.) Also I discovered these. Apparently they sell them in downtown Seattle? Your next challenge here: convert these shoes into boots when necessary. And then I'll be able to carry every kind of shoe I need in one bag."

5. And finally, some kind of small bag item that carries a few things that is wearable, and not nerdy. In a really perfect world, I'd own this:

But something much simpler would be fine, too. Sigh.

He had no response to this. (HA! Stumped him!)
But then...I did a little more looking and bought this and this, the second one in black and with a zipper closure.

6. While we're talking about bags, I also want a larger bag that is convertible from backpack to messenger to cross-body to cross-back. I wouldn't need to own so many things if I could make them do what I wanted them to do.

He said: "ok, I'm done procrastinating.."

I replied: "This is the only failure--it's close, but not great. I already bought a second laptop bag of the one that I love, that I'm going to convert myself." (Have I told everyone on this blog that I've bought the nearly-perfect work backpack? The only way it could be better is if it was handmade by 100% Genuine American Grandmothers, but for the same price.)

Actually, I would totally pay three or four times this price for an identical backpack handmade by 100% Genuine American Grandmothers. (Speaking of, anyone remember this movie? Turns out it's based on a short story by Ray Bradbury.)

And FOR MY NEXT TRICK...coming tomorrow!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Supporting the World I Want To Live in, or Justifying Spending Money, OR, See Title Of This Blog.

A few weeks ago, I had a Moment.

We all get these, I think. Moments at which we are suddenly driven with a desire to change our worlds. To make things better. To fix X problem in our lives which, although not life threatening, is one of those little daily annoyances that make us want to curse at business meetings. (Or maybe that's just me.)

Some people may have them about BIG things. I'm not ashamed to say that mine usually involve clothes.

Okay, I think they ALWAYS involve clothes. I don't know why. I don't think of myself as much of a clothes horse, although I do like to make a statement with my outfit, when I can; I think partially due to the conservative work environment I'm forced to live in five days a week. (See title of this blog.)

And it's not just clothes--I also have an obsession with GEAR. (Would I include shoes here? or in clothes, above? No matter.) I want things that work, simply, and don't do anything I don't need them to do, and do EXACTLY what I WANT them to do, all the time, with no backtalk.

(Man, the backtalk my new phone gives me, sometimes, will just blow your mind.)

And I've lived in Capitol Hill for five years. I'm not exactly surrounded by jeans-wearing engineers in my off hours. (My mother: "Every time I come to see you here, I think to myself, 'There must be a costume party happening somewhere,' and then I realize, no, that's just the way they dress all the time.")

(You should see the Hill on Halloween!)

Anyway, yes. My ideas regarding clothes. They came to a head a few weeks ago, and, while inspired through rage, I sent the following email to a young entrepreneur that I know:

"Hey there. While you're changing the world, can you also give me the following?

1. Hooks on strapless dresses that attach to the supporting bustier. Obviously, the hooks (on both garments) will need to be standard widths apart, so that all garments work together.

2. Pants that have hems that can be risen or lowered, depending on heel length, so that a woman isn't forced to choose, roll up hems (never works), or buy two pairs of the same damn pants.

3. Some sort of neoprene-with-support bustier? Probably not neoprene, but something like it. I love my traditional corsets, but there is a material out there SOMEWHERE that will lift, support, and be somewhat flexible. Somewhere. (Out there.)

4. Shoes with retractable heels would be great, too. God, I wish women designed more things.

5. And finally, some kind of small bag item that carries a few things, that is wearable, and not nerdy. In a really perfect world, I'd own this:

But something much simpler would be fine, too. Sigh.

6. While we're talking about bags, I also want a larger bag that is convertible from backpack to messenger to cross-body to cross-back. I wouldn't need to own so many things if I could make them do what I wanted them to do.

Got it? Good. I'm glad we had this conversation. :)


(Yeah, perhaps that last sentence is a bit snotty. He thinks I'm cute, I can get away with it.)

I was just rambling, you know? Having a Moment. Not really expecting anything. Because he is an entrepreneur and a dreamer, what does the workaholic do but GET BACK TO ME WITH FIXES.

*Coming Monday!*

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Have now officially survived all six weddings I was supposed to attend this summer. Close call.

I don't think I've slept in four days. Maybe more. But I'm surviving, and that's what counts. Yes?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I Shake My Bumbershoot In Your General Direction

Hello! How was your Labor Day weekend? Good? Excellent. Did you go to Bumbershoot? I did not, in spite of invitations, and I hear it was great. But one can't be everywhere, and instead I spent a lot of time with people that I really dig, and also I redecorated my kitchen, almost got thrown out of a bar, (related: survived a bachelorette party) and put a blonde to work washing my dishes. I opened my house up to guests, and also, spent quite some time away from it. I got my bridesmaid's dress tailored! I went to West Seattle twice! I went to a LOT of restaurants and brought home pounds of leftovers! I found TWO new good hip hop places! (God, I miss dancing.) I had two very serious and productive relationship talks! Did I mention I redecorated my kitchen? Like, for real? No pictures, sorry. I didn't want to stop and take the time to take "before" pictures, and without the "before", the "after" won't have quite as much affect. I still may take some, though.

Now that I have redecorated my kitchen so that it is, in fact, usable, and even attractive, my next project is to inventory everything in my fridge and cabinets. Yes, everything. Since this fridge isn't yet within my budget (or lifestyle), I'm trying to simulate it with cunning. And hacks.

Speaking of, has everyone seen this? This is what I see when I close my eyes. Every. Day. This is the future, and it is SO CLOSE. This is going to happen. It's already happening, somewhere else in the multiverse, and this one is going to jump there, if all of us keep pushing to change this world.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sometimes Life Just Works Out

I couldn't figure out what I wanted to listen to, a moment ago. I called up (on the new application Spotify, which is pretty good, everyone go check it out) the first two songs that were stuck in my head:

And then Jane Fonda, by Mickey Avalon, a song that I am not linking to because it's so dirty (but great!), and then:

(The above song isn't all that clean, either, but way less dirty than "Jane Fonda".)

And then I couldn't decide what was next. Ambient? RJD2? Or classical? Finally I just went to my RJD2 station on Pandora, my old standby, and THIS song came on next:

Thanks, universe. That was pretty great.

Like If You Described the Bible as a Story About Some Guys Who Travel Around and Talk To Each Other

"Like the Princess Bride?" I said, raising an eyebrow.

"I haven't seen it," he said.

Silence on my end.



"You haven't seen THE PRINCESS BRIDE?"

"What about ME would imply that that is a movie that I would want to see?"

I looked at the angry, smartass engineer across from me at the table at lunch. He enjoyed all the same webcomics I did, and we even had the same phone. Sure, he tended more heavily to straight up sarcasm than I did, me preferring to stay on the side of snark, but there was no reason that he would NOT like The Princess Bride. Wait.

"Do you KNOW anything about the movie?"

"I know it's about a girl who falls in love with a guy who goes away and becomes a pirate, or something, and then she thinks he's dead and marries someone else, but he comes back for her. And there's a guy with six fingers."

A little part of my soul died, but I was relieved.

"Okay. I see the problem. Hmmm. Okay, you've seen The Big Lebowski, right?"

"Of COURSE I've seen The Big Lebowski!"

I held up my hands in a placating gesture. "Okay, okay. Just checking. Okay. Describing The Princess Bride as a movie about a girl and a guy who becomes a pirate, and there's a guy with six fingers on one hand, is like describing the plot of The Big Lebowski as a movie about a guy who gets his rug peed on by a low-class criminal and gets involved with a rich guy and his weird ex-wife. It's technically TRUE, but the movie is about so much more than that. It's the environment that's created, and the quotes, and the interaction between the characters. It's not about the plot. The Princess Bride is the same way."

He stared at me.

"Okay. Maybe I'll check it out."


Monday, August 29, 2011

The End of the First Trip with T.C.

After the launch tweet:

"Local place with coffee, gourmet sandwiches, ice cream, and air conditioning. Clutch. (@ Caffe Chocolat) ."

Snarky tweet to appease my mother: "Yes, T.C. and I were on our phones the whole time during the launch wait, duh, but we DID actually see the LAUNCH."

(Also, it was 100 degrees at the launch. To say that is "hot" is...well, you know. T.C. and I felt we should get extra credit for surviving Orlando at 100 F, when even the locals were complaining.)

Launch lunch finished, we discussed what to do next, doing that polite but weird thing in which you totally like this person but you are different from him, and you're realizing for the first time how different your likes and dislikes are, and I had the additional challenges of being paranoid and crazy (every day, for a woman, but certainly more likely on this, the first trip with T.C., coincidentally scheduled directly over my PMS week) (hi dad!) and T.C. still hadn't recovered from his tummy bug (did I mention we were sharing a small hotel bathroom?) and...yes.

Of course, I wanted to see *everything* while we were already out on the Atlantic, and he wanted to go home and maybe do it tomorrow, when we weren't so exhausted.

"August 5th: T.C. and I not adjusting to East Coast Time well."

Reminded me of traveling with my father and mother. My mother wants to see everything, my father wants to read in the comfort of his hotel room, eat great meals, and see good museums. Not much of an outdoor guy. Similar situation here. T.C. and I came to easy compromise: he would come to Daytona Beach and would find shade and nap in the car, running the engine and with the AC on if necessary. (It was.) I would do my thing. He might meet up with me later, or might not. Simultaneously, I released him from any obligation to come out to the Gulf Coast with me for this trip, as long as he didn't mind if I left him alone for five hours. He didn't. Excellent. On to Daytona Beach.

From the August 5th Twitter Feed:

Monday, August 22, 2011

My life, for the past 22 days, in tweet form

Monday, August 1st: "Hello, World! Computer is up and running." (For those who are curious: Dell Inspiron Zino HD.) "No need for the help of Mr. Neighbor. Well, not yet."

Wednesday, August 3rd: "Pit stop before airport! (@ Cafe Besalu)." Thanks to the Foursquare app for Android.

We had called a cab with an hour to spare! It was an easy Wednesday morning! We were feeling fine! WHEN SUDDENLY...

Wednesday, August 3rd: "Okay, it's been half an hour. Where is the cab?"

Travel Companion and I start phone bombing the Yellow Cab offices.

Wednesday, August 3rd, safely on airplane: "Totally the closest I've ever cut a flight, and that is really saying something. Actually not my fault this time."

Wednesday, August 3rd: "For the record, we waited an hour for the yellow cab. I keep saying, "never again", might mean it this time." (I didn't, but you know...)

Wednesday, August 3rd: "Travel companion flagged down gate agent & convinced her to print our boarding passes."

Wednesday, August 3rd: "I talked stone faced TSA agent into letting travel companion & I through 1st class line or else would not have made it. Go team!"

Wednesday, August 3rd: "Not worth it, though, even for good story. Stress was overwhelming."

Wednesday, August 3rd: "98 degrees in Charlotte. Fortunately not final destination. Unfortunately Fla will be hotter."

Wednesday, August 3rd: *Took picture posted below.*

Thursday, August 4th: "Orlando is very hot. And strip malls as far as the eye can see."

Thursday, August 4th: "We're in a part of the world that has more Denny's than Starbucks. Truly strangers in a strange land."

Friday, August 5th: "Keeping in theme of trip, Traveling Companion is sick and we caught the absolutely last bus from the visitor center out to the probe launch."

Friday, August 5th: *From NasaJuno*: "We are GO for launch!"

: "LIFTOFF of the Atlas V 551 rocket carrying the Juno spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter to reveal the giant planet story!"

From Me: "Traveling comp. and I were mainly on our phones for much of the time, duh, but we did view the actual liftoff."

: NASA's Juno Mission: Wow there’s a kick! Rocket staging complete. Centaur upper stage now on 1st of its 2 planned burns
Whew! Tweeting to the blog is exhausting!

And then they set the sky on fire.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Part 2: Love Letter to My Parents, on Their Fortieth Wedding Anniversary

Because Roommate and I have been exploring this subject for a while, on and off, in our mid-evening talks: "Our parents succeeded brilliantly in raising us. WHY? Our parents are not similar in their lifestyles or methods, and yet, you and I turned out very similarly. If it's not about the small details, then what is it about?"

I mean, we don't necessarily take after our (very different) parents, either of us, and so I think both of us occasionally worry that our respective parents think they did a poor job of raising us. Or that maybe they wish we had turned out differently. Or that we were more...normal, maybe. Less likely to really stand out in a crowd. Softer. Less sharp tongued. Less apt to have lives that we can't really even talk about in mixed company. More apt to spend time with family. Especially because we are both girls; this kind of "I can act normal, but I could also make you REALLY uncomfortable" is not perhaps what every parents dreams of in a daughter.

And yet. As I recently exclaimed to Roommate, the other night: "I mean, both of us are rather intelligent, rather talented, rather sane, not unsuccessful, or addicts, or even alcoholics (debatable) or divorced, or lovesick retards, married to someone who's all wrong for us and barely has a job, etc..." and here she interrupted me: "We beat the spread."

Yes. We beat the spread.

It's important to note here that I've never once thought that my parents just "got lucky" with the way I turned out. They WORKED at it. They always had the best of intentions; they are loving parents. But so many other parents had good intentions and were loving and kind and caring, and yet the product of their efforts didn't turn out the way they intended. Their children didn't beat the spread. Why?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Love Letter to My Parents, on Their Fortieth Wedding Anniversary

*This will be in many, many parts. MANY parts. Hi, Mom and Dad! I love you.*

To be clear, my parents' fortieth wedding anniversary was in fact two weeks ago (when I STARTED this incredibly long piece, anyway, and now it's been a month and a half) and in fact I'm still not even sure of the correct DAY.

Yes. Me, their only child, I don't know the day they were married and the ONLY thing I know is that I am two weeks late at least, because that is the kind of caring, thoughtful, and involved only child that I am.


In my defense, it is all THEIR fault because they got married on a holiday (Memorial Day) that shifts days every year, and who can be expected to remember that?

Anyway, on this, their fortieth wedding anniversary, it occured to me to say a few words about how they are the best parents any girl could ever wish for, and because I have two engineering degrees, I won't expect you to just believe it; I will also use two references for proof: Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling.

Tina Fey, as you may know, has just come out with a book, Bossypants, and Mindy Kaling's book will appear in October. And so I have been reading Tina Fey's, and it is of course AMAZING, and reminded me how much I also appreciated Alisha Tyler's "Swerve", a few years ago, speaking of funny, mouthy, women.

These two women (and also Ms. Tyler) are two of the most brillliantly funny writers to hit comedy in the past twenty years, and it's only a SLIGHT bit of a thing that they are, in fact women.

They haven't succeeded because they have made big protests on the lawn of the SNL headquarters. They have succeeded because they were so funny, and so good, and so DETERMINED, and--here's the kicker--not determined in the kind of way that makes you stage protests on the lawn of SNL HQ but rather the kind of determined that only happens because you're too confident and stubborn to do anything else. It's naievete masquerading as stubbornness, really. You don't know how hard it's going to be, but all you know is that you're confident and that you don't know how to do anything else and you have a healthy sense of humor. A REALLY healthy sense of humor.

From Bossypants: "In 1995, each cast at The Second City [Improv touring show] was made up of four men and two women. When it was suggested that they switch one of the companies to three men and three women, the producers and directors had the same panicked reaction. "You can't do that. There won't be enough parts to go around There won't be enough for the girls." This made no sense to me, probably because I speak English and have never had a head injury. We weren't doing Death of a Salesman. We were making up the show ourselves. How could there not be enough parts? WE'RE MAKING UP THE SHOW!"

And then there's me: I had been at B about six months when I met several other people my own age, which was great, and one day I was visiting one of these gentlemen at his desk, and he introduced me to his coworker, who chatted with me for a brief second before saying, "So, how long have you been here?"

I answered. And he said, "Ah. Okay. I'll shorten your learning process right now: Women who succeed at B are either a) ugly but smart women who keep their heads down and act like men, or b) pretty and dumb women who do exactly what they're told to do."

It was the kind of thing that leaves you speechless, and let me add here that I am rarely speechless.

I wish now I'd had the wherewithal, the CHUTZPAH, to answer him, something snappy like, "Oh yeah? So which one will I be?" But it's possibly a good thing that I didn't because then I might be living up to that today, if I had been told at that formative time what, exactly, to be.

And yet I didn't let that stop me, of course, and now I think I'm actually higher than he is, on the engineering promotional ladder. Not that I've noticed that or anything.

About the same time one of my friends on a different program in the company got told by a man she worked with that her kneepads (for crawling around on the inside of a plane) would come in handy at her performance review with her boss.

For the record, it is comments like that that are why women don't stay in engineering. Or leadership roles. Why they quit before they make partner. Comments like that will sink into your head and keep you up at night, and they will poke at your psyche and your confidence over and over again until they're full of holes and you're going back to school to become a nurse...if you let them.

What allows you to keep going after comments like that? Why did I stick around engineering? Why did Tina Fey and Alisha Tyler and Mindy Kaling keep going in spite of the people around them?

Because your parents raised you to have more confidence and kickass-ness than that, and so you keep going. But how did your parents actually do that? Confidence isn't a pill you can give; it's not a one-day seminar. Strength, and courage, aren't carried in your genes. They're instilled in you by whoever raised you, and the people around you. And so, having suddenly realized that they have been rather successful (in spite of comments like the above) Ms. Fey, and Ms. Kaling, and also Ms. Tyler, have written books, part memoir, part instruction guide for life, with some comments on how to raise your own version of a really kickass daughter, and it turns out that there are some very strong patterns.

Very, very strong. And it also happens that my life fits into this pattern. As I was reading, I kept thinking..."That could be ME!"

How? I'm happy you asked! This love letter to my parents will continue in the next episode. Please stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stream of Consciousness on the KTX

Seoul is warm and very hazy today, with the sun trying to break through the tan dust everywhere. I’m wearing the same shirt, vest, and blazer that I wore yesterday and I don’t care—it’s not like I care about impressing my coworkers, and my customer didn’t see me yesterday. Eff them.

(In a good way, if there is indeed such a thing. I would never offend a customer by wearing the same thing two days in a row. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about it.)

A red-head (even with my hair up) full on RUNNING for a train in a suit, backpack, and patent leather high heels will attract a lot of attention in Seoul Station, it turns out. Fortunately that worked out to our favor—a janitor type person stopped my Korean coworker and motioned to us that we were going the wrong way. “They’ve changed the KTX entrance,” he said, and by God, he was right.

Seoul is such a SAFE town. I don’t know anything about the organized crime here, but I do know that my Korean coworker has no compunctions about leaving his suit jacket and briefcase on his seat in the train while he goes to the restroom. He knew that I was there (probably) watching them, but still. Also, Seoul is incredibly friendly. The janitor had no problem with flagging Korean Coworker down and directing him to the right place, and even more strangely still, Korean Coworker had no problem stopping to listen. I’m not sure if I would have stopped if a janitor had flagged me down in NYC, for example. Maybe I would, since the janitor would immediately use words that I would understand.

Seoul is a weird mix of formal and informal, aloof and accessible. They bow all the time, and can be incredibly genuflectious, if that is even a word. Even just in formal business settings. And I’ve been in places in which I’ve been full on ignored, like at Nam Dae Mun market, in which I was the only white girl for miles, or because I’ve just joined a table of men and the waitstaff are obviously waiting for the men to flag them down to get me a cup of coffee, and their eyes slide right over my frantic hand signals. On the other hand, in Korean business, NO ONE ignores me. A Korea conference table is a like a lit up stage, I’m on so much display. And Korean Coworker just returned to his usurped seat and reached over the man now sitting there to grab his bottle of water. Neither the man nor Korean Coworker seemed aware of each other’s presence nor exchanged a word, and they passed within a hair's breadth of each other.) In America, someone leaning over my seat would immediately put me on high alert, but the Koreans (and I think they share this with most Asian cultures) have no sense of personal space whatsoever. They will breathe down the back of your neck. It’s disconcerting, but also friendly, or at least, familiar. Koreans will stand and argue with the ticket taker or flight attendant for what seems like FOREVER, and they obviously feel comfortable doing so.

I wish I had brought my phone. The countryside is really quite beautiful today, even in the haze; it’s incredibly green. And my mood has improved from yesterday, in which I was so heartsick that even the huge chunks of free Brie seemed unpalatable; I will have QUITE a lot of time today to walk and run errands and take pictures, and that is a wonderful thing. I think the tan high rises everywhere are apartment buildings, if I had to guess. They’re sure building a lot of them, and they’re all marked with numbers on the side. I wonder if there is some standard apartment building labeling system to make the post easier? Would make sense. Seoul is growing by leaps and bounds.

They’ve changed the wifi system; either that, or I only get free wifi in the first class car and I arrived too late today at the station to get a first class ticket. No matter. I can post this later

Quite a lot of this countryside that I’m currently passing is using solar panels. I wonder if there is a special incentive applied in this district?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my post from yesterday, and I want to emphasize that I am not an anthropologist or a psychologist, nor do I have any training in the field. And I haven’t run my ideas by a Korean person. I may be 100% wrong. Maybe the closets are over the windows. Maybe clothes in the window (because it’s certainly not 100%) signifies something sinister, or class-oriented, or some other social cue that I can’t pick up because I don’t know. I’m just making it up as I go along.

I want to get a few pictures of Seoul at dusk tonight—there’s quite a few Christian churches by me (I’m in an area heavily populated by ex-pats) and they all have gorgeous neon crosses on them. As a mix of contemporary, foreign, and an attempt to also make the church building itself blend in with the landscape (which is only, itself, probably 20 years old) it is fascinating. Also, of course, I’m trying to convince my roommate to let me have a neon cross in the apartment.

I REALLY wish I had brought my phone. I could have gotten an excellent picture of the “Sweet Long Sugar”. Maybe I’ll grab a packet on the way back.

Things I’d like to do today:

Drop off my suits

Tour the palace by Insadong

Buy postcards at mm/mg and send them to people.

Possibly stroll the grounds at the Grand Hyatt? If I have time?

Go by the Body Shop and buy wipes? So far my skin is awesome. The Yes To Blueberries stuff and the Argan oil has really made a fast difference.

My hands are just okay. They haven’t fallen off yet, so that’s a good sign.

*End stream of consciousness post.*

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Seoul at 3:30 am

My bladder and my internal clock conspire and at 3:30 am, my eyes snap open, staring at the ceiling. Good Morning, Pacific Rim!

This hotel room has a little JBL iPod speaker, which is really...pretty awesome. Gives me something to listen to at 4 am besides my own thoughts. Since I actually brought an iPod, which I always forget to do. (By the way, it is actually my mother's iPod. That she wasn't using. Thanks, Mom.) (In fact, I feel incredibly well-prepared for this trip. I'm sure it will turn out that I forgot something amusing like socks or underwear.)

(I may write a much longer post on How I Pack For Trips soon, as I have become--rather unexpectedly, to some people who have known me for some time--a phenomenally light packer. It's more than a phenomenon; I'm almost a guerrilla packer. I'm a fanatic about it. I do it by combining a number of my more asocial tendencies, and it weirds some people out, but it works well for me. Maybe later.) (Because the point is that I barely brought socks or underwear, ON PURPOSE. Okay. Leaving the damn parantheses.)

This 3:30 am HELLO! is common, by the way, when the human body crosses this many time zones; it's no cause for alarm. I'm not particularly susceptible to jet lag, but it usually happens at least the first night. No problem. A little music, a little stretching, a little coffee, and I'm good to go. Sometimes I attempt to go back to sleep, but it never happens and this way is really better. I have to get up in another 1.5 hours anyway. I wonder what time the pool opens? I don't have a cap, but I brought my suit. (I am prepared for anything! Yes!)

Of course, I woke up STARVING and there's nothing open, but the Grand Hyatt even thoughtfully leaves out oranges and water. (Why oranges? I don't know, but they're actually SUPER helpful when you need to pump up your blood sugar at 4:30 am. Good looking out, Grand Hyatt.)

I had a short conversation with my mother's carpool partner right before I left, in which I said I was going to Seoul, and she said, " do you like it?"

I said, "I love it!"

She said, "Oh...really? Hmmm. I was there for one night and my husband and I weren't big fans. It was so EXPENSIVE, and the neighborhood we stayed in seemed kind down."

"I don't think it's that expensive," I said lightly, and the conversation moved on, and then I got here and I realized I was paying $25 bucks for internet service and $18 for a plate of spaghetti. $13 for a glass of white wine. Not...outrageous, but certainly not Seattle prices, either. Of course, I'm on the company dime. I would be doing things differently if it were just me.

And the bus ride from the airport took us by downtown, working, Seoul, in which I realized the Saturday and Sunday markets had closed down for the day, and all the pallets and garbage was stacked out on the sidewalks. (Bundled up neatly, but still.)

It is so weird what different cultures see and don't see, what registers on their radar as "trashy" and what doesn't. I think most of the non-American world runs on the same assumptions that the Koreans do: the market streets here look much like the markets streets look in Paris, and in Japan. It's more about function than form--but at the same time, it's NOT. No one can accuse the Koreans of not loving their form. The shopkeeper makes sure the customer part of his booth is clean, and that his goods are laid out beautifully and perfectly--no one can present a collection of off-brand purses like the Asians; their innate sense of order and symmetry makes them able to plot arrangements that are light-years ahead of the kind of detail that Americans can even dream of registering--and then he stacks all his trash to one side and leaves his food out and smokes while he's talking to you, because that is *not meant for your eyes.* That is the private part of the shop, but there isn't space to have an actual private space, so it becomes...mentally private. If I had to guess, the Asians--and we'll just stay with them, because I haven't spent as much time in Paris, for example--simply expect that their customers won't even look at the trash. Or the extra shoes on the curb or whatever. The customers only look at the part that is meant for them. And after 1500 years, give or take, that kind of cultural assumption is pretty set in stone.

Because most of the world has ALWAYS lived in the kind of tight quarters that Americans are only now encountering. You lived tightly together. You had to. The fire would only reach so far. Trash was a part of life. You had to put the trash somewhere. You stacked it neatly and your neighbor's eyes slid over it politely, and now, two millennia later, it is an ingrained part of the cultural assumption.

Man, I make a LOT of unbased generalizations at 5:00 am.

The strange thing is that the TRASH probably represents most of what Sample Korean Shopkeeper actually OWNS at that second.

Stay with me. The rest of the world doesn't collect clutter. Not like we do. The most they collect--and most of what takes up room in their shop, and such--is in fact, trash. (Most of it gets reused, the pallets and so on, but it resembles trash, at least for the purposes of this conversation.)

Because no one collects actual CLUTTER like the Americans. (There isn't room for it, remember?) What other culture in the universe has a show called Hoarders, with spin-offs?--but at the same time, no one is so concerned with outside appearances, and everything looking NEW and PRISTINE, like the Americans are. Because most other cultures in the world are most about the INSIDE than the OUTSIDE.

Walled houses, plain houses with decadent interiors, interior gardens, interior plazas...we don't have that in North America. But they sure do everywhere else. EVERYWHERE else. And that mindset persists even in the lack of actual walls. Young Koreans stack all their surplus stuff, the kind of thing that you and I might put in a closet, BY THE WINDOWS.

Driving by high rises, the windows are PACKED with stuff: brooms, clothes, boxes, extra office chairs, whatever. To my American mind, it makes the very nice high rise apartment look like a tenement. No American would ever stack their winter clothes by the WINDOWS, so it's the first thing that walk-up visitors see. But the Koreans have grown up with the idea that Trash goes On The Rim Of The Place, and that's where they put it. Of course, their places are tiny. Even in this very nice luxury hotel room, there isn't much space. I don't know what apartment closets are like. They may not have any. Or they may, and they might keep other things there? Who knows. But the trash goes on the Outside Rim, and therefore they put it in the window.

Not that they have much clutter anyway. But the stuff they have, they move it away from the center of the place, and the front door, because the inside--what the guests see when they walk in the front door--is way more important than the outside.

It's fascinating. It's totally fascinating to me. People are FASCINATING! The world is like a gigantic buffet, and I want to try everything.

Speaking of, OMG, breakfast opens in 20 minutes!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diet For Past Thirty Six Hours

Monday Morning: Few swallows coconut water, 1 oz shot of apple cider vinegar, black coffee, Shiitake Mushroom and Tofu in Black Pepper Sauce over white sticky rice. (Microwave meal from Trader Joe's.)

Monday Lunch: Coffee with coconut creamer.

Monday Afternoon: Half a Naked Green Machine, half a Starbucks chocolate banana smoothie with a shot of espresso. 1.5 oz tequila. Entire range of supplements.

Monday Happy Hour: Half bottle of white wine in the park, in the sunshine.

Monday dinner: Half a precooked eggplant curry packet over SOLID serving of frozen precooked brown rice medley. 1 oz tequila. Mini corn muffin.

Tuesday morning: 1 oz shot of apple cider vinegar, few swallows coconut water, other half of Naked Green Machine, other half of Starbucks chocolate banana smoothie.

Tuesday early lunch: Broccoli soup, 99% broccoli with some salt, oil, spices, and nutritional yeast.

Tuesday after-early-lunch snack: Coffee with 2% milk.

I need to buy smaller jeans.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011

This Conversation AGAIN.

He watched me pick up my phone, look at it, sigh, and set it back down.

"Another lovesick swain?"

(He is a writer, and from New Zealand, and allowed to say things like that.)

"Not LOVESICK. Just a guy who texts me more than I want to text him back."

"And how much more?"

"Well...greater than zero. He texts me more than never. That's annoying. I wish he would just go away."

He rolled his eyes. "Yes. I HATE it when cute members of the opposite sex text me."

I blew him the raspberry, because I am mature, not to mention well-spoken and courageous.

"Seriously. If you don't want him to text you, why don't you just tell him it's over?"

"There's no good reason for it to BE over. He's nice, and employed, and cute, and by the way has a great body. He's PRETTY. And he's in school to get his Master's. And he wants to be in a long term relationship like he needs air. He went COUCH SHOPPING with me on our third date. My mother would be salivating, except he is Asian. But she's coming around.

"So, what's the problem?"

"I'm just not that into him."

"You should tell him."

"I'm so bad at that."

"HOW CAN YOU BE BAD AT THAT? Jesus, you must get enough practice."

"Gee, thanks."

"Seriously. Have you ever been dumped?"

"Once or twice, yes."

"Yeah. Okay. Therefore you must be on the dumper side more often than not. I know your love life. Why aren't you better at this?"

"I'm a slow learner?"

"And I know THAT'S not true, either," he said. "The truth is, you're a coward. Man up."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Debrief, Or, Love Letter to the Blond Squad: Epilogue

I shared this entire story with Roommate, one warmish afternoon not too long ago.

“He’s right,” she said, of Handrolled, herself the product of at least two live-in boyfriends, one of which she was engaged to.

“You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You learn so much more living with a person than you ever do just staying with them.”


And then I shared with S, one of those seven original members, just last night.

“I see where he’s coming from,” she said, apparently agreeing with Roommate.

“I moved in with D” (her boyfriend, and they have NOT had a smooth relationship) “mainly FOR that reason. I was really concerned about what living with D’s eight-year-old son would be like. And I wasn’t sure that D and I were meant for each other in the first place. So I moved in on a trial basis to see if we could work it out, as a qualifier for marriage: ‘If we can handle this, then maybe we can get married.”

Me: “Okay.”


“But HE moved in with totally the opposite point of view. For him, moving in together was already the commitment. He thinks marriage is a final step, for sure, and he wants to get married, but the way he sees it, it’s sort of a by product of the REAL commitment, which is moving in together. He wouldn’t have moved in with me if he wasn’t already 99% sure.”

Me, thinking about the many books and studies I’ve read recently:

“That’s very continental. I’ve read that that’s how the French, and most Western Europeans, seem to view it. It’s not that marriage isn’t important. Eventually. But if the pair keeps dating for awhile, and agrees to move in together, that’s 99% of the way to ‘death do us part’. Living together is not really a test. It would take a LOT at that point to break up the relationship. Way more than just some dirty dishes in the sink.”

Her: “Yes, I’ve heard the same thing. And I understand it. But I guess that’s not where I was.”


“I wonder if that’s why so many ‘living together’ relationships fail? Because one party moves in thinking this is just a final step before the ring happens, and the other party moves in because they’re still not sure the relationship will last, and decides to see if dirty dishes take care of the breakup for them?”

Her: “Ouch.”


“Yeah, neither party ends up looking good there. Trying again: one person moves in because they want to wake up next to the person every morning, pretty much now and forever, and the other person moves in thinking they *probably* want to get married to this person, but aren’t sure, and would like to see how they feel about living with the other person first?”

Her: “Maybe? I’m certainly no expert. Thanks to you, I just realized I was dating my mother. IN MY BOYFRIEND.”

Me: “Sorry.”

Her: "Maybe I should be paying YOU $75 an hour."

Me: "It's easier for me. Your therapist just met you. I've known you for three years. And I just did the same thing myself LAST year."

Her: "Still. Maybe get a second job?"

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Debrief, or A Love Letter to the Blond Squad, Part 3

Read Part I and Part II First.

"Yeah. And it's kind of been contentious because she's had a hard time finding a job, so she occasionally emailed us to say that she was bumming around the apartment, picking up her boyfriend's dirty socks." Did I mention they lived in 246 square feet? So there was no way to get away from each other?


"Well, she wanted a place of her own."

"Okay." Delayed reaction. "Wait, WHAT?"


"You said she wanted a place of her own, but she ALSO wanted a ring?"

"Well, they ARE in pretty tight quarters. Besides, how does moving out and getting a little space interfere with getting engaged?"


"I'm serious. A girl needs her independence."

"Hold UP. Are you saying you would get engaged, and married, to someone, without living with them first?"

"Yes. I don't think it's important. And in fact I think it's not a recommended activity."

He waved his hands in the air, exasperated. "It's only the most crucial thing! You have to see if you can LIVE with someone BEFORE you get married!"

"You do, though," I said. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like living with HIM and we'd only been dating a few months. "You and I spend at least one weekend day and night totally together, sometimes, two, and we've already been away on two short but intense weekend jaunts. We've gotten into our first serious fight."

He almost thumped the steering wheel. "NO. LIVING with someone is totally different."

Then he looked over at me. "You've never lived with a boyfriend before, right?"

I had to admit it.

"Good, then we're not really disagreeing, you just don't know what you're talking about."


"I'm sorry, sweetie, but you really don't. Believe me."

Just a few hours later we were celebrating the ENGAGEMENT (!) of M and AD at the soiree, and M and AD--who have always been very up front and public about their entire relationship, to the extent of how often they perform certain sex acts (AD's parents are nudists and swingers, so psychoanalyze THAT)--were laughing about how small their apartment was and how happy they were to be moving into a bigger place in a few weeks.

"So now you don't have to move out," I said, jokingly.

She rolled her eyes. "I wasn't really going to MOVE OUT. It was just an empty threat that I liked to scream at him in the middle of crying jags. I wanted to get my ring; I wasn't going ANYWHERE."

Handrolled looked at me. "HMMM. Wait, you have to LIVE with someone before you marry them? And living with someone is a viable step on the way to engagement? Hmm. Imagine that."

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Debrief, or A Love Letter to the Blond Squad, Part 2

Read Part I first.

I leaned up in that way that women do, giving myself a once-over in the maplight, and started with powder.

"Okay. The original Blond Squad is seven people: K, C, M, myself, A, S, and a boy, M."

"M, your ex?"

"No! GOD no. M is gay. That was certainly confusing for awhile, though, especially because the boy that C broke up with was ALSO named M."


"Okay. We formed originally because we all broke up with our boyfriends at the same time--literally, six girls, all within two months of each other--and we needed each other to be our dates to things. And we all went platinum. And we had to include M because we LUV him."

Driver rolled his eyes. "Okay. So you were the Blond Squad."

"Yes. And that lasted for awhile. And then we got a lot more people, most of whom weren't blond, and some of whom had boyfriends, and the whole group grew to about 15 people and it's a lot harder to stay close when the group is that large. The group has evolved a little over the years."

"Okay. And who are we going to see tonight?"

"M. Two of the original members, C and M, both recently moved to Chicago, in unrelated events. M went with her boyfriend, and C accepted a new job."

"Okay. Why is M in town?"

"Her boyfriend AD brought her on a surprise trip, just to make her happy. She's had kind of a rough time in Chicago, although she did recently find a job, so that's good." It had been weird to see M so down, or at least, absorb it through email. M was always my shining example of financial stability; she was so frugal, and so careful, that she had saved (on a basic salary) enough money to NOT WORK FOR A YEAR. At the time that we met, that had seemed to me like black magic. We bonded due to being only children and the mother-daughter angst that that can cause, and she gave me exasperated reminders to not spend so much money on stupid shit. It was partly on her kudos that I bought the used car I still have today.

"Okay. So I won't be the only guy there."

"Definitely not, and not even the only date. AD will be there, and I'm sure M's boyfriend is coming." I finished my eyeliner and wiped my fingers on my jeans. "How do I look?"

The man has spent more years in ONE relationship than I have in all of my long-term relationships combined. He knows girls and their craziness. He looked over warily...

...then brightened. "Great! Hey, did you do something different to your hair?"

"You stellar boy, you," I said. "You just gained 7 million brownie points. I got my hair cut TODAY, in fact."

"Holy SHIT! That was amazing. I noticed it earlier in the sun on my deck but wasn't sure if I should say anything."

Three minutes later. "How awesome am I? I mean, really."

"Pretty awesome. I seriously can't believe you noticed. *I* can barely tell."

"Okay. So, M and AD. What's their story?"

"M wants a ring. She moved out there only after giving him a deadline."