Friday, July 29, 2005

Simultaneous Recovery and Preparation

Alors, the week, it got away from me. I have been attempting to do laundry for days. Last night I got the last of my stuff out of the old place, and as I drove there, I realized that it was a good two years. A big two years. I made friends and mistakes in that house, acclimated myself to adulthood and learned volumes. Particularly, about me. I survived the dating jungle while living in that house and emerged from it. So, here's to 700 days in Columbia. It wasn't nearly as bad as I made it out to be. And I'll be back. My rented copy of Coach Carter is three weeks overdue.

This morning, I'm told, The Boy's dad and stepmom arrived with their friends. They will stay for the weekend that has been planned since the blizzard in January. We have had tickets to tonight's Orioles game since they went on sale in February. What we have not had planned that long is the Shrek and Donkey Wilderness Adventure to commence Sunday afternoon after my walk through. Thus, the problem is this: We must devise a way to spend our weekend with The Parents and get our laundry done and everything packed to catch a flight from Dulles on Sunday afternoon, even though I have to be in Columbia starting at 8am that day. Bah.

Tonight we will host The Parents for a cookout, for which I must leave work early to prepare. I feel like I don't even have TIME to be at work, GOSH.

Most likely, this will be my last post until after the Shrek and Donkey Wilderness Adventure (i.e., we get back from Maine), so think of me, think of me fondly. My commitment to you is to take copious notes on the happenings up there so that I may parlay said notes into a worthwhile reading experience for the crickets. My commitment to myself is the economy-sized bottle of anti-bacterial gel I bought yesterday, but I digress.

Finally, your moment of Zen. Yesterday on MSN, two headlines that seemed a bit off:

"Shark bites girl off Fla." and
"Single women turn to sperm."

I am not making this up. Don't forget to tip.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Popped Collars and Profit Margins, Cabbages and Kings

In my (admittedly, extremely limited) experience, attending a Nats game is like watching fake baseball. It's like actors pretending to be baseball players. Fake, fake, fake. So, as an homage (i.e., a French nod) to the theme of the evening, I took this picture as a fake representation of our good seats. To the most untrained eyes, it's pretty clear these guys are not baseball players. They were actually obnoxious twin brothers from "Chi-Towwwwwwn, Baby!" who, despite their attire, seemed to think they were at home and spent the entire night cheering on the Cubs. And asking the players ON THE FIELD for autographs. I'm pretty sure that has never succeeded in the history of baseball. Let me think back to Doubleday....yeah, it's never happened. We did have great seats, but aside from the fact that we were able to walk to the stadium from my friend's house in Lincoln Park, I hated it as a baseball stadium. The seats do not extend very far past the bases on either of the baselines and there is no lower deck in the outfield. Also, it appears that those who built the stadium didn't think it would ever be prudent to sell refreshments. That's all I can come up with, because all of the vendors sold from kiosks that clogged up the concourse. Granted, I'm used to Camden Yards. And I probably don't have much room to talk right now, what with my team currently blowing the only shot they've had at contention in years. But, really, at least our house is nicer.

After the game, I spent Friday night on Capitol Hill and concluded that it is an alternate universe. Take, for example, the Friday night attire. I've never seen so many guys in pressed khakis and pastel polos. They were all speaking political code. But Andy's roommate tells me he and Ted Kennedy are working on a bill that would make it a whole lot easier for me to make it through Grad school, and if that's true, I can put up with the polos. At least the collars were not popped. (A survey: Is that trend ever going to die? You should have seen the way the cashier at American Eagle looked at me when I complained about it. "Maybe I'm just old," I trailed off. "Yeah," she fake-smiled at me, "maybe." And a little part of me died.)

Saturday I navigated my way home from Union Station beautifully. I guess that isn't that much of an accomplishment, but I was beaming. I also managed to go through boxes in the basement of the old house and actually got rid of a good amount of stuff, including pictures and letters that were terribly important to me at one time. Their unceremonious disposal felt laden with power, until I realized that dumpster divers would be able to recreate a good portion of my life from the contents of those trash bags. So, if you ever see my story on a Lifetime movie, please know that it was in no way authorized. Also, let me know, because I'm not a frequent viewer. What, surprised?

Yesterday was my little brother's first real gig (besides his high school talent show), and he did great! He wore a shirt that said, "I'm a Keeper." Like he really needed another way to get teenage female attention. One of his songs refers to getting tired of waiting for the girl who "walks through [his] dreams," and a couple of voices behind me said, "You don't have to wait! I'm right here!" After he played his set, a guy named Emmanuel who wore a do-rag and an enormous black t-shirt that said, "I GOT IT 4 CHEAP" asked Danny to play guitar while he rapped. Danny knows like 3 chords. I was so proud of him for being open to it, though. He sold 14 cds, including a couple to those NOT of the female persuasion, prompting me to suggest that he up his profit margin. My dad, as if I were crazy, replied, "He's not doing it for profit. He's just getting his music out there." Oh. Right. Getting the music out there/For the love of the game. But, here's a wacky idea: Wouldn't it be nice to fuse those goals together? No? Am I wrong?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Look What I Can Do!

$100 and 45 minutes later and I'm Salvador Dali. Who would have ever thought it might be necessary to take self portraits with one's phone, but voila. My first picture phone picture ever. (Don't be misled-- I did not achieve this...piece...on my first try. More like the eleventh. And really, it's not even very good. I'm trying to convince myself that it's also not very accurate, and that the schnozz does not look like that in person, but I'm not sure.)

Tonight I will be attending my first Washington Nationals baseball game, and perhaps that would have seemed more alluring if they were not doing better in their division than the O's are. I am thrilled for them that they've found a fan base and a winning record here in D.C. I really am. But, unfortunately, said fan base contains not a few pretentious Washingtonians and wealthy suburbanites who feel the need to mention how they never actually wanted to go to Orioles games or cheer for them, etc. I wish they would take a lesson from me: I am able to loyally stand by my team, in victory and defeat, without raining on their parade. I just wish they could find a way to do the same. And if they can't... honestly, we never wanted them in Baltimore anyway.

Like I said, hopefully it will be enjoyable. But just in case, I will not be rocking the orange and black. Well, not on the outside, anyway. I'll be braving the D.C. Metro system to get there, so if no one hears from me for a few days, come looking for me. Or just wait longer.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

May 2003 - July 2005. Jaded in Life, Busted in Death.

It would seem that my always temperamental and often battered and despised cell phone fell to its death today. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't do much about it. Upon learning that there was no hope for recovery, a single, deeply profound thought came into my head: "Who's to say any one of us can't not die in a freak gasoline fight incident? I'm pretty sure there's more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

As a result of this sad occasion, I am finally forced to visit Verizon and explain to an overzealous sales associate, repeatedly, why I do not need children's programming or interactive party games or sports highlights on my phone. To me, this doesn't seem minimalist or difficult to understand. I fear the sales associate and I will not be in agreement on that one.

So, as most of the crickets may know, I will soon embark upon a wilderness adventure. Long ago, upon hearing The Boy name it his favorite place in the world, without a second of hesitation, I agreed to accompany him to his family's cabin in Maine. Due to circumstances outside my control, it appeared that trip would not take place this year. Until last weekend, when the brothers concocted a plan to get us all there the first week of August. I knew the accommodations would be...rustic, but I had seen pictures and didn't think it anything I wasn't capable of handling. Until The Boy casually referred to our destination as "the campsite." I quickly corrected him. Wrong "c" word-- I believe the word you're searching for is "cabin." He assured me that was the case, but that it also is considered camping. Thus, a couple of facts I was previously oblivious to: There is no electricity, and there is no running water. Oh, and interior walls? Not so much. It's one big happy bunked family at bed time. Yessss. And I am the only girl. Except for what may be the tougher half of the G-Unit. Thanks a lot, Master of Omission.

Now, some of you might scoff that this poses an insurmountable challenge for me, à la Jessica Simpson on her Newlyweds camping trip. But you'd be wrong. I am not content to survive it; I intend to flourish. (Maybe we'll see...sailfish-- Tara, and maybe DP, that's all you.) Really, though. With all of this time to mentally prepare, I know I can do it. And, also, that it's not out of the realm of possibility for this to be a boys' trip from here on out. I know you all wish I could keep a running blog throughout my trip, but I think it's probably best for my relationship and my dignity that I don't have a laptop anymore.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Miami Sound Machine, Revisited

I came across this at (really a riveting project, check it out). My brother used to swear that the song was called "Christmas is Gonna Getcha." I think this picture finally confirms that it is not.

In New England they Pass the Duchy, not the Basket

We weathered the figurative and literal New England storms quite nicely this weekend. Thanks to the appearance of impending thunderstorms, I never had to don my new green-and-brown faux snake skin "bathing suit" in front of the G-Unit. They appeared unfazed at meeting me. I was left to fend for myself for most of the day, because evidently I give the impression that I'm good at that. I might have to work on that whole determined self-reliance bit. So, I met Gladys, someone's grandmother, who will never dye her hair and was excited to return to the 12-pound ball yesterday at bowling practice, now that she has altered her delivery. She hopes to avoid bowler's elbow. Not sure how that worked out for her.

We didn't mind paying $20 a head to see The Rock Star Brother play for 45 minutes to benefit a 5-year-old girl with a beautiful smile and cancer. I decided I'll have to troll H&M for him for some more "vintage" shirts, because the one we gave him for Christmas is getting a little too much play (very unlike Velma, from Scooby Doo). The Other Brother keeps insisting that he should just buy regular t-shirts with words on them, then wash them hundreds of times to get the vintage effect. He feels passionately about it.

Returning to what I guess was the after party, we ate the barbecue chicken I waited all day for and I was astonished to have to teach the kids the game of Bullshit. I did not win. Adding to my astonishment, I witnessed some relaxation techniques that I'm unaccustomed to seeing. Especially from parents. And it smelled like burnt.

In the morning I picked up The Mother and her Husband in the rain to go to First Baptist Church. I tried to explain that I have never had a good experience with a church of that name (don't even get me started on Second Baptist Church of Shelby-- they do not make foam fingers that resemble peace signs, that's all I'm trying to say). I suggested that it might be better to try Grace, as just the name was more appealing to me.

We arrived at First Baptist. Now, I realize that my experience in New England is limited to several states in the last year. But in my travels within that time, I have not witnessed a lot of racial diversity. As we walked into the building I recognized the floor shaking and organ embellishments I had only heard at one church before. Faith Harvest Church in North Carolina. We were at a black church. Please don't misunderstand me: I have no problem with this, and have had some of the most meaningful experiences of my life at a black church-- a Pentecostal one at that. But The Mother has only ever been to Catholic church, has bad memories, and hasn't set foot in a church for years. Knowing all of this, all I could do was look up and laugh. Really? So this is how it's going to happen?

We sat down, through a long and formally organized service. The Mother asked if this was like my church. Not at all, I assured her. I explained the fundamental difference in belief between christening and baptism by immersion as 7-year-old Shayla went under. I told her she had to walk by the offering basket, but it was okay if she didn't put anything in. I listened while the Reverend Carleton Giles, II spoke about grace. And as I pondered why on earth this was the church the Lord chose for this occasion, I realized that this could very well be the first time The Mother had ever heard of this outrageous concept called grace. I remembered, a little embarrassed, that it wasn't any less outrageous or relevant to me just because I have known it for years.

We had to stand to introduce ourselves to the congregation. She felt uncomfortable and almost said the wrong last name. But when we left, Rev. Giles shook her hand and looked into her eyes and did not say the wrong last name. And I think, more than anything else, that's what she will remember.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Memory is 83% Full

Think I could get that emblazoned on a t-shirt? My cell phone announced this to me today, and I really wish I could act like my cell phone. Just quit with no apology when I'm tuckered out, especially if I've been caught in the rain. Free of guilt, hang up on a person I'm tired of listening to. Without explanation, end a call when I'm in the middle of Wal-Mart with my arms full of Excedrin and Skintimate and Balance bars. If you asked me what animal I'd want to be the question would go unanswered, because really, who in their right mind would ever want to be an animal? But if you asked me what electronic device I'd want to be, it would be a cell phone. In reality, I'm probably more of an iPod, but whatever (but not one like mine which apparently has laryngitis and suddenly refuses to scroll. Blast the entire concept of the circular scroll. I never bought into that--always longed for arrows. Way to go, Apple.)

Yesterday I had my first contact-by-Googling experience. See? I knew there were people out there looking for me! This is why I hesitate to change my name when I get married. Because what if someone needs to find me? The Boy is incapable of understanding this concept, arguing that if a person doesn't know I got married then they aren't close enough to me to be looking for me anyway. But I can think of a bunch of girls from high school or college I wouldn't mind talking to again, whom I'd probably never be able to find because they are now hyphenated. On a related note, these childhood and high school friends are coming out of the woodwork. After my CBG experience yesterday, I ran into one of my high school teachers. That's the second time in as many weeks. I've been back from college for three years, so why is all of this happening now?

This weekend we will take New England by storm/on bald tires. I guess, then, that it is we who might be taken by storm. (Honestly, how John Kerry does that sentence sound? "Who among us does not foster an appreciation for NASCAR?" Sincerest apologies all around. Apologies for everyone.) Tomorrow we have a one-year-old's birthday party to attend, and I think we are on track to set the world record for one-year-old's soirees this year. Certainly we'll set the record for miles logged in order to attend said blessed events. It's a pool party. Thus, I will be meeting The Boy's grandparents for the first time wearing a bathing suit. Because God was experimenting when He stitched me together, the purchasing and subsequent wearing of bathing suits has never been pleasant. Neither are the looks and snide remarks shot my way when I'm engaged in these acts. There just is no way I've discovered yet to avoid looking a) pregnant, or b) distractingly buoyant. I think that, given the circumstances, appearing pregnant would be far worse, so I have resigned myself to meeting the G-Unit for the first time looking like a flotation device. Yesssssss. Because nothing says, "I love your grandson" quite like cleavage and low-rise boy shorts. Adding to my weekend glee and anticipation, I will be accompanying The Boy's mother to church on Sunday, marking her first trip in many years and quite certainly her first experience with all things Protestant. He will be golfing. (Makes him sound gross, but it was just a prior commitment.) I already feel like an ambassador. If I make it through the experience successfully, I think I'll apply to the State department. Kids, I'll move mountains. (Please just forward your request via comment or e-mail re: specific mountains you'd like moved. I'm thinking of starting in the Appalachians. But don't tell Joyce Brown or App State-- I'd rather it be a surprise.)

And now, your moment of Zen: "Paris [Hilton] tried unsuccessfully to position new BFF Kimberly Stewart as Nicole's replacement by posing with her at numerous red carpet events and dropping less-than-subtle hints about their planned partnership. Kim, she of the not-found-in-nature blond locks and rich Corinthian leather-hued skin, would have had to carve out time from her busy schedule of being Rod Stewart's daughter in order to participate." --Kat Giantis

Monday, July 11, 2005

Passive Aggressive Post-Its and the Impossible, Inanimate Good-Bye

I had a grilled chicken salad from Panera for lunch today. Stick with me on this, and I'll tell you why this is such an outrage. I intended to have three cheese chicken and broccoli, courtesy of Lean Cuisine. I smelled something good around 1:00 and realized I was hungry. Upon opening the (community) fridge to retrieve my frozen low-cal, low-fat, low-taste mediocrity, I gasped. Someone stole my lunch. I really am trying to give the thief the benefit of the doubt. I know it can be confusing when you have to share space with others. But is it really possible to forget, in the course of a couple of hours, that you did not, in fact, remove a frozen item from your freezer at home, commute with it to work and place it in the fridge? How can one make that mistake? Baffled, I retreated to Panera, but not without much gnashing of teeth. This is even worse than when the cleaning crew emptied the fridge of all contents, including my icy and much anticipated Diet Cokes. You can be sure, my refrigerated items will heretofore be adorned with passive aggressive messages on post-its to ensure that this never happens again.

This absurdity is what keeps me from focusing on the real issues in my life. I feel like Samuel Beckett. But I've never contemplated hanging myself for the physical thrill, so perhaps no.

This weekend I reunited with two old friends-- one from high school and one from earlier than that, and it was such a nice surprise to see that sometimes it's possible to rejuvenate old friendships. I graduated from high school and moved away with no intent of maintaining the majority of my friendships, and no apologies or attempts at contact to prove otherwise. Especially given the way I thought it would all go, this is serendipitous and wonderful.

Yesterday I visited my grandmother's house, and really went through it for the first time since my grandfather died. Since then, my visits had consisted of picking my grandmother up or dropping her off, and once alone in the car, I cried every time. It is unbearable to watch her retreat into the big dark house-- alone. Before March, I can't remember a time when I left their house and my grandfather did not walk me to my car and wave from the driveway until I couldn't see him anymore. So, I completely understand the need for her to get out of there. But as I went through and saw the changes that are being made to get it ready to sell, I couldn't help but think that's where I grew up.

I spent every holiday in that house (except for what my family refers to as "The Lost Christmas" that I spent in Indiana). Even when my family skipped around central Maryland every few years, I felt like that house was always there-- the one thing that refused to change. I stood on the deck and thought about the birthday parties I had there every year, the time we set up tents for a camping trip in the yard. My dad spent most of that night walking skittish girls through the wet grass into the house to use the bathroom.

Mom joined me on the deck and said, tears in her eyes, "I can just see Dad out there, in his sweaty white t-shirt cleaning the pool to get it ready for you guys."

I could see that too, but I didn't remember it as much as I did my brother sneaking drowned frogs and mice out of the skimmer and chasing me with them, or the spring we collected tadpoles off the cover that grew into little frogs on our porch before Mom made us set them free. Or the day Mau was in charge of John and me, and she accidentally whacked me in the head with a 20-foot pole while attempting to clean the pool and while John got attacked by wasps and thought that the meat tenderizer she put on his stings meant he had to be cooked. I walked around the yard and thought of marks on the grass from the rides we took on Pop's series of John Deeres. I was never allowed to drive.

I remembered taking walks with Mau around the neighborhood, collecting leaves in Ziploc baggies. She would lean into me, causing me to walk up along the curb while she whispered about the neighbors. John and I used to play hide and seek with the neighbor kids under the pine trees that are even bigger than I remember. We walked the shih-tzu brothers when they were just puppies. Only one survives now. He's 14. And even he walks slower, with his head down, knowing something is missing.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It's Okay, You Don't Really Have to be My Neighbor

Hawaiian shirt guy spoke to me for the first time today. Usually he just leans forward and watches me walk by over the top of his cube, but he actually came to my cube and spoke to me this morning. He and his neighbors in the first two rows neglect to turn the lights on every morning. Initially, I thought maybe they assumed this was an administrative duty, and huffed my way over there all the while muttering under my breath that it's not difficult to turn the lights on, nor is it my job. So, this morning when I turned on the lights, he came by moaning because they are used to working in the dark. He told me of his several years in Hawaii (hmm, hence the shirts?) where he worked in a basement, and that lack of light except from a computer screen is actually good for the eyes. It is summer outside. I'm already bitter enough that I miss the vast majority of summer, except for walking to and from my car, and that it's so seasonless in here that I have to wear sleeves year round. Really, would it be so terrible, especially in the absence of natural light, to have the lights on? I told him I was sorry to make things difficult for him, but that I would have to buy one of those Sharper Image natural light simulators to prevent my own suicide if there were no light in here. I assume he will adjust. But he wouldn't go away, so I hope he doesn't think we have a connection now. Because how much can you really say about lights? This is pretty much all I've got.

I made the journey to the tiniest apartment ever this weekend, and it all went quite well. I am brainstorming creative ways to store my clothing under my bed and to cook on a slanted stove. S autéeing chicken on the equivalent of a ski slope is not an easy task. Also, I found what appears to be poo under my kitchen sink. Needless to say, I am none too pleased about this development. You better believe my landlord has already heard from me on this troubling matter.

The parents saw the place last night and actually approved, which is no small feat. Granted, they saw it on the heels of seeing The Boy's place for the first time, which is much like a live action version of "City Mouse, Country Mouse." Really, it's like time travel from after to before winning the lottery. But it's my space and I don't have to share it (except with the owner of the under-the-sink poo), and that in and of itself is worth the price of admission. Upon bringing friends up to see the place on Monday, I pointed out that, while it is no architectural gem, there are aspects of the outside that feel European to me. Gabe gestured to the rubble from the renovations next door and said, "Hmm, yes. This does feel very...Post-World War II." Nice.

This morning I met the neighbor across the hall, Laura.
Me: "Hi. I'm Christina; I just moved in. My car is the red one, in case I ever block you in."
Her: "I'm Laura. I was gone all weekend, but I heard voices the other day and figured someone moved in. Any car with a Connecticut plate will be mine, but the one out there right now isn't actually mine, because it's in Connecticut getting fixed because I put a Michael Jackson cd in it and couldn't get it out of the player. Now that's fixed, but something else is being worked on. So I have my dad's car and I was listening to the same Michael Jackson cd and it's stuck again, and he's gonna be so pissed at me for effing up another cd player."
Me: "It was nice to meet you?"
But really I was thinking, for the love, do you really need any clearer direction to stop listening to Michael Jackson?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

This Game is Called, "I Win"

It is 9:53 am and I smell Salisbury Steak, so naturally, I thought of you, the crickets, and how I've been neglecting you. I'm sure you've felt the sting. (Or would that be the absence of sting? Like if the Police reunited under a new front man?)

What can I say, the week got away from me. I took my little brother to see Howie Day and Gavin DeGraw at Wolf Trap on Wednesday. Which would be a nice venue if it were not in Vienna and populated with uber-yuppies. Wait, don't shoot. It's not that I have, in my 23-plus years, eluded that label, because clearly I have not. Really, I'm aware that I maintain a spiky-haired boyfriend who drives a Saab with Connecticut plates. Let me explain. Danny and I arrived five minutes before the gates opened, resulting in our getting a pretty good spot to spread our sleeping bag out on the lawn. There remained about a five foot gap in front and to the left of us and behind and the couple in front of us. Half an hour before show time, three girls in their mid-twenties and an enormous rolling cooler arrived and managed to spread themselves across the gap and onto our stuff. Their SIX friends who arrived just in time for the show couldn't believe how they had "lucked out." Neither could we. Honestly. It began POURING, but the princesses planned ahead and would not get wet. They spread a tarp over their spread and did not return until the worst of the rain was over, bone dry. (Danny and I fashioned a fort out of our sleeping bag and remained remarkably dry until one of his legs fell asleep and the other began shaking and we realized the rain wouldn't stop all night.) We stood the rest of the night in our green, $12 Wolf Trap ponchos (I tried to guilt trip the woman who sold them to me from under cover in the gift shop, but she was heartless. When I told The Boy, ever the salesman, all he could say was, "Supply and demand, baby."). When the princesses finally returned to their spot, they were wearing ponchos that did not cost them $12, and they proceeded to break out their food. FIVE different kinds of cheeses, still in its original packaging, a wooden cutting board, a Ron Popeil knife in a protective sleeve, homemade salsa, organic tortilla chips, two bottles of red wine, sesame breadsticks, hummus and pitas. Danny and I were in awe. Just as they began slicing up the cheese, it started pouring again. The one who obviously organized this outing (who was wearing pearls, by the way) screamed over the thunder, "WOULD ANYBODY LIKE SOME SALSA?" Her voice grew desperate and I honestly thought she would cry. Danny and I howled. It almost made it worth it that their ponchos blocked our view of the stage for the majority of the show.

Anyway, so the show was good, and I was terribly glad to have that adventure with Danny before he left for Texas. It turned out that it wasn't much of a decision. At the last minute, The Boy had invited us to sit with him in Sidney Ponson's skybox at the Orioles/Yankees game, which ended up getting rained out, resulting in The Boy and friends sitting in the air conditioning, watching Ponson drink beer in full Oriole regalia while famehounds snapped pictures on camera phones. So, yeah, I win.
C'est-à-dire - Free Blogger Templates, Free Wordpress Themes - by Templates para novo blogger HD TV Watch Shows Online. Unblock through myspace proxy unblock, Songs by Christian Guitar Chords