Monday, November 28, 2005

An apple a day

Isn't it odd how forces sometimes coalesce around certain issues in your life, seeming to dare you to respond? Who am I to argue with fate?
I consider myself a plebian. I come from plebian stock and hope to remain in touch with my plebian roots throughout my entire life. I hope to raise children who carry a plebian mindset with them in all they do. I never want to be mistaken for an elitist or someone who isn't willing
to work for something. Why the rambling? I got sucked into a debate today on the merits of a private school education versus a public school education. For those of you who don't know me very well, let me state that education is one of my "hot button" issues (hot button issue=an
issue I care deeply about and will cause me pull out the nearest soapbox). The conversation itself was fairly innocuous because I was speaking with a like-minded individual. However, it did bring years of resentment toward the education system to the forefront of my mind.
I am continually amazed at the politicization of our education system and how it has turned into a battle of the haves versus the havenots. (I'm going to oversimplify here because I'm a lazy blogger.) Take public school versus private school for example. Generally (remember I'm generalizing here and realize there are exceptions to this), people who have the means are the only ones able to send their children to private school. Private schools have, in fact, been referred to as training grounds for the new elite and are becoming widespread enough to cause me to wonder whether our government and its people have given up on public school. If mainly those with means can send their kids to private school and the government is investing less in public school, then where does this leave public school children? Public schools, particularly in lower income school districts, get treated like second class citizens. I speak from experience on this issue, having gone to school on "the wrong side of town". My high school lacked in so many of the opportunities afforded the high school on the other side of town. I hadn't even heard of AP tests until I graduated college.
It's not just about public versus private education. It's also about the general dumbing down of our kids. Teaching to standardized tests is not teaching. Allowing any Suzy Sixpack to educate her kids at home is not teaching. Assuming your kid deserves a higher grade than they got or deserved is not helping their education. I'm not just pulling these things out of thin air. I have witnessed this myself or have seen friends who are teachers go through it.
I am so not done with post but should stop before it becomes a manifesto. Let's just say that if we can't effing teach our kids (ALL kids) then what are we coming to?

Friday, November 25, 2005

I *heart* art

I love art. Simplistic, complicated, beautiful, obtuse, paint, photography, illustration, graphic design, music, the written it all. I spent the last few hours of my evening flipping
through one of my old issues of Look-Look magazine, a publication aimed at promoting the work of young artists in a variety of mediums. The emotion and creativity displayed by those with little formal training always blows my mind. It makes me want to drink wine, put on a good cd
and create something. Some people want to bring forth life in the form of children; I want to give life to art of some kind. I have a hard time choosing a favorite artistic medium, but the flexibility of photography amazes me. I guess the point of this post (other than the rambling it has afforded me) is urge you to check out one of my favorite photographers. Go to Scarlet's online photo montage, and let your jealousy build looking at her photos. Start with her 'favorites' won't regret it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Just a dusting of emotion

I'm feeling euphoric right now. We're in the middle of the first
snowfall of the season, and even though it is just a series of flurries
I love it! It's ironic how there is a moment where something snaps
inside me, and I begin to get excited for the holiday season. I have
had Tuesday and Wednesday off this week, time that was truly mine and no
one elses. During the past two days I have become ok with Christmas
music, snapped fall pictures, baked cookies, spiked my own drink, and
knit a scarf. This afternoon, I watched my first holiday movie of the
season, and this evening sang my first Christmas carol and danced around
my living room. Since I'm never thankful enough, I thank God for my
family, friends, and the life he has given me to live.

I've got three words for the holiday season...bring it on!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Fear of Dreaming

I am an inquisitive person. A friend of mine is attempting to set me up with her English professor. She piqued my curiousity by telling me we might hit it off and talking about how mysterious he was. A snapshot and a name later and I was officially intrigued. The man was hot in that geek chic way that I love. Evidently he was intelligent, well-read and had recently published his first novel. All very promising. I then did what every girl with a blog, a Google obsession and an addiction to Alias would do. I googled him. More than your average novice, I took it one step further and trolled Technorati just to ensure I didn't miss anything. Some might call it a bit obsessive, but I believe fully in being an informed citizen. While I didn't discover the secret blog I was hoping for, I did discover his "official" website and a couple of different interviews with him following the release of his book.

Did I learn anything? I learned that Matt Bondurant comes across as one cocky piece of work. Personally, I cannot stand the Dan Brown obsession and would never consider him a literary genius. However, it seems in poor taste for Bondurant to slam Brown's writing while talking about how he set out to write more of a literary novel. I, for one, am fed up with writers and their quest to produce a literary masterpiece. You either possess that kind of talent or you don't. If you have to remind us how talented you are, perhaps you value your work more than the rest of the world. Perhaps the literary novel you thought you wrote is more Clive Cussler than Alexander Dumas. Of course, Bondurant himself admits that writing is an arrogant endeavor in an interview on

I could continue on my rant, pointing out the numerous instances where Bondurant came across as arrogant. I am loathe to admit, however, that I find this cockiness somewhat appealing. Help me out here. Why do some women (myself included) have a soft spot for arrogant men?

Friday, November 18, 2005


I saw Prime earlier this week at the theater, and despite the fact I am no Meryl Streep fan, I enjoyed the movie. I am horrific at psychobabble and looking for the hidden meaning in movies (Freud's analysis of Kafka's the Metamorphosis completely threw me for a loop), but I do know that I was cheering on Uma Thurman's old ass as she hooked up with the uber-young David. It's not that I'm a cradle robber, but as I continue to get older, I do feel like everyone my age is permanently attached. The younger guys begin to look better and better...not to mention the fact that I have trouble even discerning age sometimes.

Really this just illustrates my penchant for inappropriate crushes. Not only has my eye strayed to younger men, I've eyed older bosses, married coworkers, coworkers in serious relationships, people I couldn't stand. Inappropriate crushes begin with the littlest of things. Did you ever have someone look at you in just that way? Look at you like they knew you and convince you they really did? I had what is likely my last encounter today with an inappropriate crush who did just that.

It's not just a look though. Sometimes it's just the way they laugh or the way they annoy me, the way they hug. It's that weird quirk that makes someone want worthy. Fortunately, sometimes you have to recognize an inappropriate crush for what it is, give a hug like you mean it and let them go.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stigma of walking

Walking (propelling oneself with one's own two feet) in the suburbs is akin announcing you have leprosy or that you've always wanted a child with three arms to handle chores better. Ever since my car died, I have become familiar with buses, walking and the like. I am continually amazed at how weird people think walking is. People stare at walkers. A key piece to this is that you have to be wearing normal (i.e., nonworkout) attire. Slapping on your running shoes, sweatband, and a pair of shorts to get in a walking workout is ok, but walking to get from point A to point B is preposterous. "Don't you have a mini Hummer to use to go that one mile? Do you have so much free time on your hands you can afford to walk?" Their eyes burn these questions into my soul. Perhaps I would be less bitter about this if I weren't being forced to walk by a car that is now a very expensive piece of junk.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Weekend update

*Sigh* I feel like the last few days have passed in a blur. As the leaves finally turned and made their way to the ground, I spent much of the week in rural Virginia at a staff retreat. Forced bonding is a double-edged sword. I am thankful for the way in which the true personalities of certain people on our staff were revealed. I'm continually amazed at the audacity of people to hold on to the antics of high school and middle school and am thankful I've had the luck to outgrow some of that drama. Of course, that age manifested itself in the form of aching knees on Thursday after a night of hardcore staff dancing.

As the staff retreat came to an end on Friday, I stayed in the Virginia wilds (re: rural and a little far away) for a modern-day version of the slumber party. Think coed with a bartending book, board games and truth or dare. I discovered that:

*Scarlet can make a mean pizza and mixed drink.
*I don't like Tijuana Sunrises or Carusos.
*Steven is the cookie monster and wears cute pjs.
*I can't hum worth a darn.

I wrapped up the weekend with movies, a Godiva (the alcohol) ice cream float, and a rockin' free haircut.

I missed blogging.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

teenage crushes

I was looking through a box of old photos the other day in search of a picture of me as a toddler and came across several photos of an adolescent me hanging in my room. Like your average pre-teen (hell, teen) I had adorned my walls with all sorts of random memories. This includes a lion's share of ripped out pages from magazines like Tiger Beat featuring men I thought I couldn't live with out. Looking back I have come to realize that perhaps my taste in men was always skewed. My walls featured George Michael (gay); Michael J. Fox (Alex P. Keaton so played into my republican fantasies); and Elvis Presley (what other kid gets a crush on a overweight, dead rock star). There were more photos up, but these 3 were definitely my obsession. What celeb crushes did you have when you were a kid?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

thirty, flirty & thriving

I woke up this morning and had to deal with the fact that I am now a 30 y.o. woman. Truthfully, I have been celebrating the fact all week and coming to terms with this day the moment the clock started ticking on 29. I have had a fabulous weekend celebrating thanks to be surrounded by good friends.

Friday night Scarlet, Steven and I (sboos) headed into Richmond for a little food, drink and FirstFridays. Scarlet showed us around some of her old haunts, starting with cheese and pepperoni at Bottoms Up Pizza. Lack of a proper meal during the day left us a bit tipsy after one drink, so I decided to bite the bullet and kick off Project 30 Kisses for 30 Years. Steven's eyes widened as I pushed him against the wall outside and laid one on him. Poor guy...thanks for being such a good sport and being my #1. Fully satiated (from the meal, not the kiss), we headed down to Broad Street and FirstFridaysArtwalk. Fat bellydancers, twirling fire, a 3-d hut that made me feel like Alice in Wonderland going through the little door, spinning outside of Scarlet's brother's store, and tons of those kind of guys. We closed out the evening with a round of brew at Penny Lane Pub and me going round and round on which guys in the bar to make 2+ in Project 30 (none...couldn't bring myself to do it). The evening technically wasn't over because Scarlet and Steven further plied their way into my heart with birthday cake from Cakelove (mmmm) and a supply of sugar-free Red Bull. Seriously, you know your friends know you when they know the way to your heart is through chocolate and caffeine. I even enjoyed the laughs on the drive back as we all fought to stay awake (with only Scarlet and I winning) and pondered a quick jaunt to Spirits while Steven snoozed.

Not to be outdone, Saturday night was all about dancing my way into my 30s. A group of us had dinner in Adams Morgan at El Tamarindo ( favorite) where Ravena regaled us with stories of her afternoon at some sort of bondage convention and other just tried to keep it together : ) Food was good...margaritas were even better. The original goal was to attempt to find parking in Adams Morgan and hit a club or two luck. Searching for a parking space in Adams Morgan requires divine intervention that we didn't have. The best we got was a game of chicken with a screaming fire truck on those narrow residential streets. Perhaps it was divine intervention because we ended up at one of my new favorite places, Blue Gin. Some ass-shaking occured, and I did indeed dance my way into my 30s.

Thanks, guys. You rock!

Friday, November 04, 2005


It hit me this past Sunday that I was spending my last week as a 29 year old. I get these ideas in my head and decided I wanted to make each day memorable and celebrate by doing something I wouldn't normally do. It started with a bottle of wine I'd been saving before work on Sunday (hence the wine, bubbles, Smashing Pumpkins post) and culminates the weekend with what we're calling Project 30 Kisses for 30 Years. In addition to a good bottle of wine in a relaxing setting, I've tagged (graffiti) my first thing and placed a secret in a book that could have inspired the secret. Tuesday I determined I should kiss a random man and managed to snag Todd (a friend of a friend), quaintly placing lips to his soft cheek. I'm leaving out the part where I turn as red as a tomato and chicken out the first time. I'm most proud of myself for Wednesday because I was honest and straightforward with a long-time crush about my feelings for him. Even though it was a simple message on voicemail I risked getting hurt for the potential for something grand. What a way to celebrate those last days in my twenties!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The humpty dance

It's officially Hump Day on the east coast, and I'm beginning the
downhill slide to my 30th birthday. Don't get me wrong...I think 30
will be fabulous. However, it is a landmark birthday, and I plan on
celebrating and posting appropriately. Today kicks off my series of
'30' themed posts that includes the '30' photo contest and ends with
installing the new site design I've been waiting to put up. Today I
tried really hard to come up with my 30 favorite things (including
feelings, actions, etc.).
Serena's 30 Favorite Things:
1. Diet coke
2. The unconditional love of family
3. Second kisses
4. Dirty Dancing
5. Email (re: sidekick)
6. Clean sheets
7. Dancing around in my pajamas
8. The 'journey' part of a road trip
9. 74 degrees fahrenheit
10. Laughing 'til I cry
11. Digital cameras
12. Blogging
13. Words that begin with the letter 'f'
14. Alias & Friends on dvd
15. Water (rivers, oceans)
16. Chocolate & coconut
17. Smashing Pumpkins
18. Thunderstorms
19. Tulips
20. Handmaid's Tale
21. Vanilla
22. Mexican food
23. Travelling
24. Chartreuse
25. Cosmopolitans
26. Sephora
27. Johnny Depp
28. Hugs
29. Sandals
30. Paris