Tuesday, November 28, 2006


"You're the bees knees," Joe quipped

I have the unfortunate distinction of sitting five feet from the fax machine. This morning they installed a "new to us" facsimile maker machine that must have been assembled back in the early 80s, back when plastic was a new invention and most neighborhoods just had one party line.

This ring and number pad on this ridic fax machine is set to a volume that would wake the dead. And it's not adjustable, no matter how many times I jam the "down" button. So this afternoon, this super cool old guy...let's call him....F.H. was using the fax machine. He dialed. And the noise split his eardrums.

He exclaimed, "Jiminy Christmas!!"

And I fell in love a little bit more.

And this past weekend, when I was home for Thanksgiving, my Grandma was telling my family a story. She was recounting a time this winter when my older brother was pulling oranges from her tree at the Florida house around midnight (he was going home the next day, and my mom told him to not return if he didn't bring oranges).

He was jabbing the orange picker into the tree in the pitch black, and this huge bird flew down into his face, startling him. So, my Grandma was telling the story, and she said, "And then Michael said, 'Good Night! A bird!'"

Now, Mike probably had the presence of mind not to swear, but I really doubt that he said "Good Night!"

These little turns of phrase crack me up, and I'd really like to bring them back into circulation. They're just so much more descriptive and evocative than "Oh my Gaaawd" and "WTF?!" So, this evening, while exploring the ins and outs of Canadian forest fires, I also tried to think of more of these phrases.

Here goes:

- "Oh Boy" (said by one of my elderly coworkers as she was talking about a toilet overflowing on the fourth floor)
- "Holy Mackerel"

I clearly gotta do some more thinking. Anyone got any? I promise to use them in conversation. For reals.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


the culprit!

It seems that I now have a legit reason for not liking cats - apparently, I'm allergic to them?

On the plane, I heard a constant mewing. But I thought I was mistaken, because just today I was talking to my grandparents about them bringing their dogs on the plane, and I had mentioned that I had never seen a pet on a plane, so I thought seeing a pet on the plane today would just be too much of a coincidence.

And it sounded sort of like a whiny kid at the back of the plane, so I thought that's what it was.

At the beginning of the flight, I sneezed a couple of times. And then I sneezed some more times. And then some more. And my tongue felt all dry and my throat was all scratchy and tight. Odd. So when the Coke finally came around, I was psyched.

At the end of the flight, I stood up and grabbed my bag from the overhead bin, and I overheard some older guys two rows behind me talking to a girl one row behind me, saying "Oh, he or she probably hates you now!" and "oh, where did you get that carry-bag?"

In the row behind me sat a girl with her cat. Interesting...

Saturday, November 25, 2006


30 days to...a better me

I've really enjoyed this 30-day novel writing experiment. Other than living with a looming deadline, and feeling constant guilt for not meeting the 1,667 words a day quota, it's been great. It has challenged me to try something new, to be creative (something that does not come naturally), and it's given me a goal to shoot for. And, quite honestly, once I set a goal, I hit it.

While sitting at my computer, wishing that I could come up with some excellent prose instead of the mush that has enabled me to hit 36,000 words, I've decided that I should make 2007 the year of the New. The year of Experiments. The year of doing the shit that I want to do. The Year of Action, if you will.

(Well, actually, it's not going to just be 2007, since I plan on doing something in December. And the whole thing had actually started in October, with my SCUBA lessons. And I do hope I continue this little philosophy past 2007.)

The concept is of committing myself to a new experience for one month...sort of like, the 30-day difference. And I want it to be a good difference. I've only thought of a few so far. If anyone has any good ideas, please let me know! Here are some things that I've been tossing about.

1) Going to the gym. Alright. Pretty self-explanatory. Pretty basic. But I'm just so out of shape...sure, I can walk fast, and I walk a lot, since I don't have a car, but whatever. I want to be healthier/healthy. If I dedicate December to going to the gym, and to working on my cardiovascular system...who knows what will happen? Maybe my hatred of the gym will inexplicably switch to love and addiction? *fingers crossed*

2) Eating a Homemade Meal Everyday. This will force me to go to the grocery store more often, and to cook new, delicious meals. To stand in the kitchen, covered in flour, frantically turning pages to get to the next step of whipping up a delicious meal of Moo Goo Gai Pan. I know I won't be able to cook every night, but I'll have to eat at least one meghan-made meal/leftover every day. And no, cookies won't count. Alas.

3) Go to Church Everyday. Okay, so I know this is a bit out-there...but bear with me. Sophomore year I was super stressed and worn down from the school paper. In order to escape, for a couple of months I went to the 5:15 mass almost every day. When my mom found this out, she suspiciously asked me if I was going to become a nun. But in actuality, I went there for the selfish reason that no one could bother me for a solid 50 minutes, and it gave me time to gather my thoughts, send up a few prayers, and take some deep breaths. While I'm no longer the stressed-out Esmerelda seeking sanctuary that I once was, it would be interesting to see what happens. Hopefully some spiritual growth!

4) Take Ballroom Dancing Lessons. Since I can't do a box step without tripping over myself, I just know that I'll be asked to a ball someday. And I'll go. And then embarrass myself. So, in order to prevent that, I'd love to learn how to dance, how to glide on the dance floor, how to look into someone's eyes while waltzing, instead of staring at my own feet in abject horror (of course, being of the superstitious sort, I know that once I do take these lessons, I'll never be asked to a glittering ball. Guess I'll have to throw my own...).

A few other ideas that have me entranced: Taking an Arabic 101 Course, Finding and Playing for a Volleyball Team, Volunteering at a Kennel

Tuesday, November 21, 2006



For those of you who will be in the area over the next few days, I've heard that there is an amazing, tragic, poignant exhibit at the Holocaust Museum.

Let's get it out there: the Holocaust Museum is a downer. I confess that I pretty much avoid it like the plague...I've only been there once, and that was on graduation day.

But this exhibit is a tribute to Darfur. Something that can't be ignored. And it seems like it's a clever piece, in artistic terms—a projector beams a huge slideshow onto the walls of the building, for much of the city to see.

Here's a link to the Washington Post article: The Darkest Light.

I wish that a) I had found out about this sooner, and b) whoever runs the Darfur rallies/exhibits/etc. would stop always holding them on holiday weekends when I'm out of town.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Smile and Nod, Smile and Nod....

Freshman year of high school I had a study period with one of my good friends. She's naturally a low-talker, and we were also not supposed to talk in study hall, so that lowered her voice to .5 decibels. Approximately.

I felt like I had to say "sorry...what?" one too many times, so occasionally I'd do the ole' "smile and nod" trick. Occasionally with a little giggle or something thrown in for good measure. It seemed to work well.

One morning she wasn't at study, or in for the whole day. The following day, I asked her where she was...and she replied that she had been at her grandmother's funeral. I was saddened, and asked her why she hadn't told me.

She replied that she had told me, in study hall a few days previous, but all I had done was smile and sorta laugh.

Last night I went to a new-to-me bar in Adams Morgan. It was great, with live music, eclectic decor, and photographs of African tribes adorning the walls. The loud music, the loud talking, cigarette smoke (smoke-free DC in 2007! YES!!!), and incense got to be a bit much at one point, so I stood outside awkwardly on the patio for a few minutes, as is my style.

I got to chatting with the bouncer, and learned that he's from Brazil. I asked him the usual obnoxious questions "When did you move here? Do you like it? Why did you come here?" and he replied that he married an American girl, and then they came here.

And then the band started up again. And it got kinda loud. And his accent was awfully thick. So I reverted to the "smile and nod" move that had so burned me in the past, and even said "What a happy ending - or, rather, what a good beginning!" for good measure.

And then something he said came in loud and clear. "Yeah, we got married really young. I was 23, and she was 21."

Um, to me that sounds like a not-so-happy ending. It sounds like there was an entire part of the story that may or may have not included a divorce that I completely missed.

I can only hope that he thought I was drunk. I wasn't, because I hadn't had anything to drink other than Pepsi...but one can hope.

So, basically, if I have smiled and nodded to anyone's bad news, I apologize. Please let me know, so that I can respond to your misfortune with the appropriate sympathy, and not with a vacant giggle.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I am obviously a relationship expert

Okay, first off, I don't know why I was reading an article called "Is There A Break-Up In Your Future?" because, you know. There definitely isn't.

With that said, I did read the article, and it pretty much pissed me off. The tagline warns that "your can-do attitude can cost you your relationship."

On the surface it was pretty on-target, and it seems like the main message is "don't drop your life and obsess over him, because he'll feel smothered." That's definitely reasonable, and smart. A relationship gets all tipped off-kilter when one person is doing all the calling...writing...emailing...etc. However, beneath that message is one that is saying that YOUR boyfriend isn't being a good boyfriend because of YOU, and all of YOUR CONSIDERATE ways.

Before I get too riled up, I have to mark that her personal anecdotes are very telling. This woman seems super annoying, relating tales of how when she was younger she used to forcibly dress up her cat, would hug her pet rabbit too hard, and she "broke her Eazy-Bake oven from excessive entertaining." To use one of my dad's favorite sayings, it sounds like she could have used a good backhand.

(clarification: my dad doesn't actually beat children.)

So, no wonder a guy would tell her to tone it down. She's obnoxious and over-the-top.


Her first tip is to not "give more time, energy, or attention to the men you're dating than they're giving back to you."

Reasonable, at its core. It's always good to be on the same page, blah blah.

But then - she follows this tip with the first Romantic Rule:

Overgiving short-circuits the male coupling instinct! If your man has become romantically lazy, it's probably because your overabundant giving has drowned his desire to win and woo.

Um, see, my first thought was that it's probably because the guy sucks, and isn't rising to the occasion - not that the woman is unwittingly drowning his desire to win and woo.

And so it continues, in the same vein. Some of it is good, most notably the piece about having high self esteem and not centering your life around the guy. But she overwhelmingly blames the girl in every situation. Her whole attitude is "you're doing too much, so it's your fault that your guy is not making any effort."

I mean, it's nice to be told to not do anything, and let the loving come to you...but don't blame nice girls for boys being stupid and "wanting a challenge" and "loving to jump through hoops of fire, scaling craggy cliffs and bringing over Chinese takeout," but only when the girl is being helpless.

Screw her, and screw guys who think like that. I'm keeping my can-do attitude.

Speaking of, I don't even know what she considers a "can-do" attitude. I "can" make my boyfriend's dinner? I "can" call him every hour? Because she doesn't give any REAL examples of having a can-do attitude, like saving the world, mopping up the city streets, and braving tall trees on the Mall to save a cat.

And, for the record, I'm all about couples being nice to each other, and sweet, and making each other dinner and calling frequently and whatnot. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I have been guilty of over-giving. Whoops. But, factoring in all of that, I really, really resent the resounding 'blame the woman' battlecry.

In the end, she basically says that if, after all of your stepping back, and he hasn't stepped up, then your relationship is a dud. Which I am in agreement with. Because if you're doing nothing...and he's doing nothing...there's nothing there.

Thursday, November 16, 2006



who is JB? I just got an evite from him.

And THANK God it's Friday. I can't wait to stay in, watch a movie (Love Actually? Aladdin? The world is mind for the taking...) and make peanut butter cookies with hershey kisses in them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


oh yeah, it was worth it.

This morning I read in the paper about a drunk driver going 80 mph in his SUV, hitting a Civic that was stopped at a red light, killing two passengers inside the Civic. The SUV then spun out of control and smacked into a rowhouse, rendering the historic home uninhabitable.

Last week I read about a mom, dad, and their two kids crossing the street. A drunk driver hit them, killing the mom and the two children. The dad survived, with injuries to his arm.



I do not get it. DO NOT GET IT AT ALL!!

Is it really worth it?! Is it?! I do not understand. It's the stupidest, stupidest thing ever. There are so many options out there: get a ride with a designated driver, take a taxi, take public transportation, or decide to not drink. God forbid.

People claim that they know their limits. I know that I'm a fairly experienced drinker now, and that one beer hits me differently on different nights. I know that when I drink, my judgment is impaired, which is why - if I decide to drink - I'm not going to drive. At all. Simple as that.

How can anyone make the gamble that they do? I believe that you can do whatever you want with your life. Whatever floats your boat. I don't give a shit. But to be so selfish, so narrow-minded to put other people in danger? How would you feel if you hit a family crossing the street? Hit a stopped car at a red light? Killed someone, because you couldn't control yourself and not be irresponsible?

People who drink and drive obviously don't think that they'll get into an accident. I doubt that the two drivers from the past week are bad, or mean people. But I highly doubt that the two drivers thought that they'd be sitting in jail right now, both on multiple accounts of homicide.

I don't understand it. What a stupid, stupid thing to do. Those who do drive after drinking: please explain. Explain how your convenience and fun is more important than two friends, a mom, a two-year old boy, and a four-year old girl.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Rambles of Lisa

A good friend of mine recently quit her job, packed her bags, and began a journey-of-the-ages with her boyfriend across the United States. They're looking for somewhere to live, so they're checking out towns and cities all across the country for $70 a day.

Her blog, cataloguing these travels, is Rambles of Leesa. I haven't read all of the entries yet, but my favorite so far is about Cumberland Island, Georgia.

Lisa is definitely one of my role models (and has been since we were editors together, when I was a sophomore!). Reading her posts, you're sure to see why.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I hate trivia, and I love new blogs

Tonight we had the inaugural Trivia Night at work. I hate Trivia Night, because it reminds me of how much I do not know. Like, really. The only answers I knew related to my friends...like...the name of C-ment's cat. And M.T.'s middle name. And what sport J.Terry played in college. But, the author of "Sister Carrie" and what literary movement she was part of? And who said, "The scariest 10 words in the English language are 'Hello, I'm from the government and I'm here to help'"? And who fought Muhammad Ali in the "Rumble in the Jungle" match? And who is married to Sarah McLachlan? Lord help me.

On another note, there are two new sparkling stars in the blogosphere.

First is Min.
A bit of attitude and spunk, a lot of heart. Very insightful, and presented in a way that make you keep coming back to her page. Over and over. And it's hilarious. She's new to blogspot...so give her encouragement! Loads of it!

Second is J.Terry. Now, I just confessed my utter incompetence in Trivia. But I was on the winning team. You know how that happened? Well, J.Terry is a genius who eats facts like candy and then spits them out like nails. His first post is a solid, intellectual rant. Jump on it.

PS - I'm extremely angry with ABC for pulling this two month break with "Lost." I could maybe understand if they were putting something seasonal on TV, like baseball. I mean, it would still make me angry, but there would be an undercurrent of understanding. You know what's on for the next couple of weeks? SOME STUPID NEW SHOW THAT THEY'RE PIMPING. I hate networks! I hate political parties! I hate candy corn!

(See, I lead by example. I pimp new blogs, but I also have a little chit chat mixed in.)

PPS - I just watched "Grey's Anatomy" and cried. I did not expect to do that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


"I never see anyone touch himself at Dunkin Donuts!" c- note

E's in the midst of studying for the GREs, and as I am in the midst of writing a novel (yes, yes, you know), I asked her if she wanted to meet up with me at our local Starbucks to get some work done after work.

It's a great Starbucks, with a second floor that is complete with chairs, sofas, and several outlets. E got there first, and she was already up on the second floor when I arrived. Walking in, shaking off the rain, I called up, "Hey, Study Buddy!" It was totally like Cheers, or a corporate Norman Rockwell scene. I purchased a caramel frappachino and a slice of coffee cake (God, this venture is turning out to be expensive), and met her upstairs.

I opened up my computer, but before we got down to brass tacks, we started having a little gabfest, chatting about work, the upcoming weekend, the state of the world today, etc. etc.

Glancing around, I noticed two guys. The first one being a hot guy that had just walked in on the main level, and the second being an older guy that I'm pretty sure has been there the other two times I had been writing away. The older guy was just sitting on a sofa, contemplating life. It's a cozy place, so he was probably about eight feet away. And he was adjusting himself. But that happens to the best of them, right? Or you know, the middle of them, right?

Interrupting our scintillating conversation, I leaned towards E, and tried to be subtle as I said, "Don't look - but I think that guy over to your right has been here the last two times, just sitting there." I was successful in being subtle, because the guy was actually to E's left. I don't know why, but I still mix those up. Argh.

E looked around casually, and spied him. Then she got up to get a ham sandwich, to further procrastinate studying. Opening up my novel on my laptop (file name: a novel novel.doc), I looked around. And the guy was still there, adjusting himself. Again. And then lazily scratching. Or something.

Thoroughly icked out, when E came back, I posed this to her, in a strained whisper: "Either that man over there has a really bad itch...or he's feeling himself."

E looked, still casual (that girl's a professional), and said, "So uh...is there a nearby Barnes and Noble?" And then she asked me if I wanted to stay and write. Aghast, I told her that she could finish her sandwich. Looking at the wilted lettuce and ham, she proclaimed herself done. Walking out of there, E couldn't stop laughing, and I couldn't walk fast enough.

I really liked that Starbucks, too.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Ohhh myyy GOSH


So C-note just called me into the living room, saying that Faith Hill had flipped out on live television.

Thanks to the wonders of DV-R, she rewinded it for me. I ran to the living room, and plastered my face two inches from the screen.

It was the announcement for female vocalist of the year: the nominees were Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride, and Sara Evans. There was a split screen, showing all of their faces while they announced the winner. All of the nominees, except for Faith Hill, who was backstage, were sitting in the crowd.

Faith Hill was in the middle of the split screen, and when they called Carrie Underwood, she raised her arms, smiled graciously, then...

something got through her head that she wasn't the winner, and she opened her mouth wide...and screamed

"WHAT?!?!?," looking right into the camera. It's SO SCARY. Then she stomped off-camera.

I've always loved Faith Hill. She had me since "Like We Never Loved At All," playing a tragic lover, filled with a silent, secret pain, and beautifully dressed, with hugeass hair and perfect eye makeup. But this...this is an interesting twist to the Mississippi Girl.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I Know Things Now...

I don't so much have writer's block...as that I have nothing to write about. The plot of my November Novel has taken a turn in the direction of Romance + Social Justice. The plot is my life has taken a turn in the direction of procrastinating, and hoping that I write a bazillion words tomorrow.

(Common methods of procrastination: watching "Extreme Makeover," reading Missed Connections.)

Friday night I saw "Into the Woods," performed by the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society. I went because I had heard that Mel was carrying the pit orchestra with her incredible violining skills - and she did not disappoint.

One song, called "I Know Things Now" had the line "Nice is different than good."

That one threw me for a loop. Although common sense, I'm not sure if I ever really broke it down like that before. I think that often I do mistake nice for being the same as good. It's confusing - good people aren't always nice, and, more importantly, nice people aren't always good.

Basic, I know.

On an unrelated note, a guy demonstrated manners this weekend, and it really struck me. Basically, P forced him into walking me to a main street to get a cab. He hailed one for me, and it stopped on the other side of a divided street. I was all ready to say my goodbyes ("Thanks! Peace! Nice to meet you!"), but he bolted across the street, and opened the cab door for me.

Holy crap.

Two things:
1) What impeccable manners. It makes one feel special.
2) He's clearly good.

Thursday, November 02, 2006



Do you....love sports? Want to support young journalists? People who are pursuing their dreams?

Take a look at my friend Robert's sports site, The Water Cooler. It's amazing. He has a real staff. Real articles. I'm so proud. And in awe of him.

It's pretty damn impressive. Spread the word.


A question for my coworkers, and immortalized in song...

Why is Chris always calling Ronnie?


It is said that time heals all wounds. But sometimes, reading about history creates a wound where there wasn't one before. Like reading about celebrities that had died quite some time before I was born. In the Jan/Feb issue of the magazine (yes, you're getting a sneak preview! woo!), there's an article about the weather on "the day the music died." February 3, 1959, I think. Anyhow, so Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson, and Ritchie Valens were in the plane, along with the 21-year old pilot, Peterson. They all perished in the crash.

The crazy thing is (and I'm positive this is old news for anyone who cares about this stuff...but it's new to me) is that Richardson and Valens weren't even supposed to be in the plane. Richardson was given a seat because he was sick with the flu - Waylon Jennings had pity on him, so he let him take the seat, and Jennings rode the tour bus. Holy crap.

Valens wanted a seat on the plane, so he coin-tossed with one of Holly's band members. Valens won the toss, and got the seat on the plane. A side of a coin had decided his fate.

Holly had been married for only six months. His wife was pregnant, and she miscarried after his death.

I read the lyrics to the song "American Pie," and to be truthful, a lot of it didn't make sense, but that doesn't really detract from its power. And the song, it's become a song that everyone dances to, from middle school dances to throw-back moments in the bar. And it's just crazy to think that we're singing about death...in a pretty cheerful and jumping up-and-down manner.

I do think that death should be laughed at, especially death in peculiar circumstances (Mary got a tire in the FACE), but...it's such a strange phenomenon. Tuesday night I was dancing with a tall hottie (oh, like I'll stop mentioning that any time soon. Fat chance.), and I seem to remember him singing,

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
`cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym.

I suppose it's one way to avoid being forgotten. And it's a rather nice way, I suppose. A rallying cry for appreciating life, and acts as a demonstration of how music touches us deeper than on a temporary or superficial level.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



*Last year, on Nov 2nd, C-note and I met the love of our lives, our former neighbor Anon, aka Xander. He's working on being an international businessman genius in Arizona, and I miss him tons. I'm so glad C-note and I went grocery shopping last year and met him in the elevator...Happy first anniversary! ;-)


Today was my first novel day, and I surpassed the first target of 1,667 words! YES! Now, just so there's no confusion, I won't be posting it or sharing it. *cringes and hopes Robert doesn't hate me*

I was considering it, but I can't handle any sort of criticism. And, in general, I like to put my best foot forward. If my posts were actually feet, they would resemble my high heels today. Royal blue, patent leather, pretty. AND, as it turns out, high heels really do elongate the legs and make them look significantly hotter. So much so that I couldn't help but check myself out in the Brooks Brothers window as I was hobbling by.

But, when I'm writing fast, going for quantity over quality, settling for less, I can't put my best foot forward. It's more like putting my best Ugg forward. I mean, it's comfortable. Warm. Soft. But Uggs tend to give legs a tree trunkish appearance. If I were to meet with, say, the president, I wouldn't wear my Uggs.

Last night when E, C-note, and I were returning from our Halloween festivities, a police car was squat in the middle of the entrance to our apartment complex. We were directed to go around, so C-note did. After parking the car and fixing our outfits, we decided to go over and investigate. A man from the management company came over to us, and I took the lead, in my Minnie Mouse ears and thigh highs, looking extremely serious. I asked him if something had happened. He said no. By this time, there were three cop cars milling about.

Now, I may have had a drink or three, but that didn't turn me stupid. So I said something along the lines of "Something obviously happened. There are three police cars here."

So he responded, "Nothing happened on the property." I reponded with something along the lines of "Was someone mugged?"

He said, "No. All that happened was that someone asked this man for a cigarette, and he didn't have one, so he was punched in the face, but not on the property." Oh, oh of course. That is all. So I said, bluntly.... "So, it was an assault." And asked where it was. He prevaricated, and I spelled out, "I walk to and from the Metro, daily. Where did this happen?" He suggested that I have someone walk with me at all times, which is helpful, if I'm Britney Spears and have a 24/7 bodyguard detail.

I'm still in awe that he -

(AH! A Britney song just came on my iTunes! Spooky! And for you statisticians out there, I have 3 Britney Spears songs on my playlist, and 743 songs in all.)

Anyhow. I'm still in awe that he tried to claim that nothing had happened.

Last night C-note, E, and I went as
a) "sexy" Catholic School Girl
b) "sexy" Dunkin Donuts worker
c) "sexy" Minnie Mouse

Without further ado...

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