Wednesday, February 27, 2008



My horoscope for today (courtesy of Holiday Mathis, with The Washington Post):

Nurture the romance in your soul by getting out in the world—alone. Solo experiences turn up the vibrant creativity inside you. Take yourself on a really impressive date.

Florida, here I come!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


fingers crossed

Actually experiencing a Cliché Awful Hollywoodesque moment in one's life...crying over an ended relationship while walking home alone in the rain—

It can only mean that one will also experience those Cliché Amazing Hollywoodesque moments of pure unmitigated joy.


my mom says I should just give up...

Donating blood is such a bitch. The Red Cross is hounding me on a montly basis, emailing/calling/mailing to try to get me to donate blood. Since it's a renewable resource...I decide, why the hell not? I don't particularly mind needles, and all that stuff about "saving three lives" gets me to the core.

But the whole process is so frustrating. Even though you have an appointment, there's always a ridiculous wait to be seen, no matter if you're donating at a local blood drive or sticking your arms out to check for drug tracks at the Red Cross HQ in D.C.

Usually I go with high hopes, only to have them dashed when they do the preliminary finger prick. The past three (four?) times my iron has been too low, so I slink out of there with my head hidden. People might be wondering...does she have AIDS? Has she had sex with a man who has had sex with a man who lived in Africa? Has she ever injected drugs (NOT prescribed by a doctor) with a needle?

This time I passed the initial blood test with flying colors. I was thrilled. For once, I would be able to donate blood and save THREE lives. My precious Sunday morning will not have been wasted. FINALLY, finally, after an hour of sitting around, it was my time to sit in the reclining chair facing some trash TV. I was dying to change the station to TLC in the hopes that "What Not To Wear" was on, instead of being force-fed some dumb show...let me try to remember what it was called...oh yes. "News To Me." And oh my gosh, I can't believe CNN produces that crap!

So I'm all suited up with my empty blood bag in my hand, waiting to be pricked with the needle. The blood lady finally comes around, and gets to work wiping down my arm with iodine. She tells me to squeeze the mini-football in my hand, and I'm squeezing until it hurts, and apparently my vein is moving around. She finally gets it in, and the blood starts...trickling down the tube. At a glacial pace.

So much so that I was rejected for having blood that "just didn't want to come." And after poking around a bit more, she took the needle out, and said that I could go grab a snack from the "canteen" if I wanted. Which is the ultimate pity prize for us blood rejects...and it's just so embarrassing to be rejected from a place that is notoriously hard up.

Frustrated, I called my mom as I walked away. She told me that it's a sign, that I should just give up donating blood, since I have a 0/5 success rate. But I'm a masochist.

I had two things on my plate for today. Let's hope that the second one goes off without a hitch.

Friday, February 22, 2008


quick quote

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship - louisa may alcott

Courtesy of chapter three in Storm Chaser by Jim Reed. Reed is a chaser and amazing photographer...I spoke to him on the phone yesterday, and I mentioned that I would love to go on a storm chase someday...and he told me that I was welcome to come along with him sometime. I pretty much fell off my chair. I don't know if he was serious—but I hope he was and plan on following up! My eagerness was laughable. He said something along the lines of being really fun, and traveling with a fun crew, and I was all "Oh I'm SO MUCH FUN! REALLY!!!!"

Funny how just the hope of something amazing can make a day better.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


"Set look inscrutable, nor smile nor frown--"

This past weekend I searched out The Adams Memorial. It's a statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, commissioned in 1887 by Henry Adams to commemorate the life and death of his beloved wife, Clover Adams, who had committed suicide by drinking potassium cyanide. The Memorial is placed over their unmarked graves in Rock Creek Cemetery.

I had seen one of the two copies of the memorial a month or so ago in the National Portrait Gallery/National Museum of American Art. I had slipped into the museum after's open until 7 p.m., and sometimes I head there for a little treat on my way back to my apartment.

I had walked around the various rooms, taking in the pieces of art. I turned the corner, and saw the statue, not more than 10 feet away. It's larger than life, and just so breathtaking and frightening. It is a cloaked figure sitting on a throne-like chair, and the face stares out at you behind closed eyes from beneath the folds of a hood. The figure is neither male nor female, though it's beautiful and handsome. It's a presence. The informal name is "Grief" though Henry Adams wanted it to represent "the acceptance, intellectually, of the inevitable," and he was reportedly upset that people saw it as a sad comment on end of life.

When I read that the original is in a D.C. cemetery, I decided that I had to check it out. Coming upon it in the wild didn't give me the same kick in the gut—probably because I was looking for it, and not feeling as though it was looking for me—but it was powerful nonetheless.

According to the leaflet at the cemetery, Eleanor Roosevelt used to sit on the benches facing the statue during tough times, and would draw strength from the figure. John Galsworthy, an author, wrote about a character encountering the statue: "He didn't know, but in any case there it was, the best thing he had come across in America, the one that gave him the most pleasure, in spite of all the water he had seen at Niagara and those skyscrapers in New York... Easy to sit still in front of that thing! They ought to make America sit there once a week."

Looking at my pictures, I know I failed to capture the essence of the statue. Maybe because it was a sunny day...

Monday, February 18, 2008


cue "Walking After Midnight" by Patsy Cline

For the past couple of days I've been dog-sitting Jake (E's bf's dog). Part of our routine is an evening walk...we hit the streets around 6:30/7 p.m., at which time we walk to the park, gallivant through the dark park through the mud and leaves and whatnot, then do a big circuit around the block. It's pretty quiet and pretty dark, and normally I'd be all paranoid, but an over-protective 80-lb German Shepherd has a way of chilling my nerves.

Tonight, right before we arrived at the intersection where we turn left to return to E's bf's place, I looked up the hill in front of me, and saw a figure slowly walking down it, (incidentally) toward us. Jake didn't do more than glance at the figure, but my blood sort of chilled. I was glad that I was wearing the androgynous outfit of sweatpants, sweatshirt, and a baseball cap, because this person looked creepy, and honestly, when in doubt, it's best to try to look as masculine as possible.

I kept looking at the person as we walked toward the intersection. He/She was wearing dark clothes...and possibly...a trenchcoat?! Or an open bathrobe? Who the hell knows. And even though there was no visual evidence of this, I was positive that the Being was carrying an ax or shotgun, or similar weapon that would yield my protector dead as a doorknob.

Jake and I reached the intersection, took the left back to the condo, and kept walking. We turned into E's bf's tiny cul-de-sac, and when we got to the front door, Jake didn't look like he was ready to go in, and I was feeling a bit guilty that I'm going to be at work tomorrow (God, how do people leave their children to go to work? I have problem's leaving someone else's dog...), so we turned out of the cul-de-sac and back onto the road. Peering to my left, I saw the creepy trenchcoat/bathrobe wearing ax/shotgun wielding person slowly making his way down the road.

So we kept walking (to the right, of course), and I looked back periodically to check the Being's progress. I soon lost sight of him, since he was slowly staggering and I was spurring Jake on like a jockey in last place.

Fully completing the transformation to "crazy dog lady," I started talking to Jake about the stranger and how scary he seemed. And I realized...that he wasn't necessarily evil (I mean, he wasn't necessarily not, but you know). The Being's only crime was to walk at night without a dog. And that had seemed weird and disturbing to me.

I'm surprised it took me so long to come to this realization (since I'm always complaining that one has to take up smoking in order to look normal for chilling outside during work)—I'll blame it on the strong gusting winds and the long shadows. And the situation actually reminds me of the short story "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury.

In this story, written in 1951 and set in 2053, the world is addicted to their TV sets, and it's considered freakish and menacing to society to walk (or spend any time at all) outside. One man rebels against this idea, and goes for a walk at night. Deep thoughts on the direction of our society ensues. It's super short, and I recommend a read (I even provide a link! Twice!).

So...kind of ironic that the story resonates quite deeply with me, yet at the same time tonight I espoused the ideas of the cold, cold future. I think a big part of it is living in D.C., feeling sort of paranoid that I'll get jumped any time I'm out alone walking. It might be a fear without base? Or a fear that is unique to urban areas? I hope. Because I miss walking at night for the sake of walking.

I'd be interested to hear if other people feel safe walking alone at night.
“What are you doing out?”
“Walking,” said Leonard Mead.
“Just walking,” he said simply, but his face felt cold.
“Walking, just walking, walking?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Walking where? For what?”
“Walking for air. Walking to see.”
- the pedestrian

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