Monday, December 31, 2007

The going home list

I write this as I try to convince myself to go to sleep. I have an early flight tomorrow that will take me from San Angelo, TX to Fairfax, VA. God, coming home makes me so contemplative. Thoughts tumbling in my head like a hamster chasing its shadow as it runs on it wheel. Tonight I’m trying to remember the little things about this place that I always forget. The little things that make me shake my head but also what make me love it just a little.

I always forget that

• Each bedroom in my house has a vanity for doing one’s hair and makeup and that it’s so much nicer to do this at a vanity than at a bathroom mirror.
• One town can feel like two towns and that each side of town has to have its own Wal-Mart, Sonic, and various other establishments.
• Texans keep Wrangler in business.
• “hon” is the proper way to greet someone.
• Everything is so flat and the buildings so low.
• Certain rooms in my house seem to have animal themes. It’s a wonder I didn’t grow up to be some PETA nut or a veterinarian.
• I could own a house for $20,000 and a mansion for $300,000.
• Beige has to be written into the town bylaws somewhere.
• My milkshake does, indeed, bring all the boys to the yard.
• It’s good to have a place called home.

Friday, November 30, 2007

So last night I swear I could have gotten myself killed.

It's about 12:30, and I've been asleep for about 40 minutes. I wake up to hear someone trying to get inside my apartment. I blame my next thoughts/actions on being awoken. In my head I'm thinking this is Scarlet trying to get into my apartment. I think I think this because I know she is in the ffx area and plus I'm groggy. She has a key, but the deadlock is in place.

Anyway, I go to the door to let her in...looking out the peephole first. I see someone disappearing aound the corner. In my head I still think this is Scarlet, so I open the door and stick my head out. I then call out "I hope you're not a killer" and giggle.

Well, I'll be damned if some sketchy guy doesn't come back around the corner. I was shocked beyond shocked and think I still had the smile frozen on my face. Anyway, he's bumbling some kind of weird apology/excuse. I don't think I said anything at all. I just moved back into my house and locked both locks again. I slept with my sidekick under my pillow after that.

Crazy, huh? I'd like to think he was lost or drunk and not really trying to get into my apartment. If he was really trying to get in, I bet he's never come across anyone like me before...calling out to him and saying I hope you're not a killer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

You cut me

I've been lost in thought a lot lately. I've been thinking about the little ways we cut the people who wander through our lives. Friends and loved ones whose lives so intertwine that sometimes it gets confusing as to where one begins and another ends. Connections that not only strengthen relationships and build closeness but that also sometimes wind up like twister. As bigger, more painful life experiences happen to us I wonder why these twists...these inadvertant cuts hurt like they do.

My goal for the holiday season is to embrace simplicity and attempt to cut those around me less (and take their cuts less personally).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let me in

I was alone pretty much the entire day and spent like 90% of it inside my apartment. When I realized my evening plans were falling through around 2:30, it hit me that it has actually been ages since I've been by myself for this long.

If I'm going to be honest, it was a bit unsettling. The thing is, while I'm good at being alone and don't lack for things to entertain me, I'm sometimes afraid of being left alone with my thoughts. An entire afternoon and evening to ponder the mistakes I've made in my life, what's missing and who I miss? Call me crazy, but I was a little wary.

That said, I kind of made the decision early on to have it so. It's always good to make sure you can stand yourself because you never know if you'll wind up alone later in life. hahaha...that might sound so negative, but it really wasn't meant to be. The only moment that could be construed as melodramatic was listening to a Decembrist mix (the slow shite) and lying on my couch.

In addition to listening to music, I (1) watched an episode and a half of Ugly Betty; (2) bought two pairs of shoes and a pair of magenta tights; (3) had a photoshoot with James; (4) watched Marissa die on the OC; (5) did laundry and dishes; (6) ate someone else's leftover spaghetti; (7) commented on Flickr photos; and (8) did a lot of thinking.

Not a bad day at all. Just not something I want to do all day, every day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sometimes it's fun

Real story with male customer yesterday:
(while looking up books by a particular author)

him: Is that tattoo on your hand permanent?
me: It is.
him: I like your earrings.
me: Thanks. The robots match the one on my leg.
him: Really? Let me see. (leaning over customer service counter)
me: (pulling up my skirt to show tattoo)
him: wow.
me: Well, it looks like the only book by the author you gave me is How to Get a Woman in Bed. (and I start cracking up hard core)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hakuna matata, bitch

Hakuna Matata. Shake It Off. Que Sera Sera. All of these songs are about* just letting go and letting live. This whole mentality has been one that I have been trying to embrace for the past few weeks.

Ask any of my friends and they will likely roll their eyes and explain how I haven't stopped singing Hakuna Matata at every opportunity. It goes beyond singing the words to a song, however. It's about managing expectations and learning to find that happy medium. The fact of the matter is that I expect a lot from the people around me, more than they should be required to give, and when they don't deliver, my disappointment is extreme and the aftermath brutal. I realized I was tired of constantly being unhappy with people because they didn't act in the way I expected them to or respond in the way I wanted.

Lowered expectations equals greater happiness, right? I'll let you know how it goes. ;-)

*to me

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We brought Italy back

In the ongoing saga of my kitchen and learning to cook, Steven and I "made Italy*" last night in the form of lasagna.

Lest you think we took the easy route, Martha Stewart and her damn Blueprint magazine (<3) taunted me into making my own meat sauce. Steven was my hero in using his muscles to break up pieces of the tomato, so I wouldn't have to deal with a chunky sauce; however, our one mistake was chilling on the balcony and admiring the trees. When he popped his head back in to check on the sauce, we discovered it had started to burn. Oops! A little bit of water and spicing (and tasting) and we were back on proper footing. Layer upon layer upon layer, and it was done. I don't know about Steven, but I felt smidge of pride when we pulled it out of the oven, and it looked all golden and yummy. One thing I've figured out about cooking is that I enjoy it a lot more when I'm cooking for and with people. The social aspect of food bringing people together is nice ancillary benefit. *according to Allie

Friday, September 07, 2007

The San Francisco treat

Having spent the better part of this week in San Francisco at a work conference and jetting back on a red-eye last night, I am exhausted. I find myself wondering if I can blame at least some of my exhaustion on being able to hang out with colleague turned good friend and boo, Elizabeth. When given the mandate that we should drink together while I was out on the left coast, Elizabeth took it to heart. Tuesday evening rolled around and Scarlet and I found ourselves in Elizabeth's Berkeley backyard kicking back with a drink in our hands.

If I weren't so tired, I would tell you what a good hostess Elizabeth and her bf Mark were. We were fed and watered like you wouldn't believe. It was also nice to spend time in their little community where neighbors and housemates came out to the yard to imbibe and grab a bite. Is the barometer of a good evening being made to feel comfortable and at home? Is it not remembering how you made it back to the hotel the next morning? hahaha.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Give a girl a kitchen...

...and she just might start to cook. Not that any of my previous apartments were kitchenless, they just didn't have granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and other features that mock me and my budding pot collection. It also happens to be the first kitchen that is all mine!

That said, my crew has been pitching in with cooking lessons. Poor Allie kicked off the lessons and was forced to suffer the most. I think she had been deluding herself into thinking I was hiding secret kitchen supplies. I had a big pot and a little pot. Evidently this is not enough to make spaghetti with Italian sausage. I had to give her lessons in how ghetto fab I can be and show her how to strain pasta without a strainer.

Ravena proved herself a formidable teacher the next week with a lesson in meatloaf and Parmesan mashed potatoes. She actually made me add spices, mash the potatoes myself and mold the meatloaf. She had incredible patience with me and all of my questions. Of course, who wouldn't question directions like "just a little" and "a pinch". Chez Ravena also introduced alcohol into the cooking lesson mix with some Scrumpy's organic hard cider. Yum!

My latest lesson packed a one-two punch of fajitas and mojitos by Scarlet. Her lesson was by far the easiest in that it involved a spice pack that answered all of my seasoning questions. Ice cream sundaes by Steven completed the evening.

Lest you think I'm not venturing out on my own, I even tried a little Texas fare last week in the form of steak fingers. Yes...Texans really will do just about anything with steak.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Living slowly

I've been fascinated for the past year with the slow life movement. Maybe it's because I spend so much time working and scheduling myself with an inch of exhaustion. I also like the way that it embraces living simply. I mean really...why does life have to be so complicated, so drama filled? Aren't we at fault for most of the drama and things in our lives? I know there are things that happen to us that are beyond our control, but when I think of the recent drama surrounding me (illnesses aside), I feel like all of it are things that I can in some way control. At the very least I could decide to extricate all of those complicating factors from my life.

If I have that much control over my own life, then why don't I? Because sometimes life is just too complicated and not all black and white. Sometimes the gray is important, too.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Staying alive

I'm alive. I still haven't read the new Harry Potter, but I have managed to move into a hott new apartment, make a movie for the 48 Hour Film Project, and attend its big screen debut earlier today. I'll be back in the swing of things tomorrow, but until then, check out what we came up with* for the film project when we drew super hero as our genre.

*Please note that quality has been sacrificed in order to condense this for the internet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Such a Harry mess!

Do you remember those famous battle scenes in movies? The ones where you can feel the approaching army by the rumble that grows increasingly louder and the ground literally vibrates? This has been the scene at the bookstore as we edge closer to the release of the 7th Harry Potter book.

I'll admit that I'm geeked. I've developed my own theories as to what really happened with Snape and whether Dumbledore is truly dead. Hell, I even volunteered to work during the Harry Potter midnight madness and will be there until 3 am ensuring voracious Disciples of Rowling get their fix at the earliest possible second.

What I do find annoying is the corporate mumbo jumbo Barnes & Noble (the Barn) is pushing. Rather than try to play it cool, the Barn (NYC HDQ) is working themselves into such a frenzy and virtually creating the chaos they are trying to avoid. Will it be crazy? Yes. Is this probably one of the most anticipated books ever? Yes. Are we going to get robbed of all of our Harry Potter books by customers who are over informed of our order and when it is expected? Doubtful.

Do you think I'm crazy? Take a look at some of the rules for yourself.

1) Do not tell customers or members of the media how many Harry Potter books we are expecting.
2) Do not tell customers or members of the media how many Harry Potter books have been reserved.
3) Do not talk to members of the media about Harry Potter. Direct all inquiries to blahblahblah.
4) Do not tell anyone when the Harry Potter books will or have arrived.
5) Under no circumstances are cameras or cell phones with cameras allowed in the vicinity of the Harry Potter boxes.

It's like they're issuing a personal challenge to me when they repeat such stupid rules to me every single night. I'm considering selling the right to touch the boxes on Ebay since they didn't bother to forbid me from doing that.

P.S. If you're so worried about people knowing when your shipment of HP books arrive, don't suddenly cover the window in the door to receiving with paper. It's a bit obvious to everyone.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Allie recently turned me on to Chuck Klosterman and one of his essays entitled Nemesis*, where Chuck illustrates with his prosaic words what women and comic book fans around the world have intuitively known for years. Most everyone in the world has both a nemesis and an archenemy. It is here he brilliantly defines the difference between nemesis and archenemy.

According to Klosterman, a nemesis is some one you kind of like even though you despise them. You would probably have drinks with your nemesis and go to their wedding**, if invited. Your archenemy, on the other hand, inspires such hatred that you won't even admit to hating them for fear of giving them the satisfaction. If your archenemy died, you would throw a party and dance on their grave.

The funny thing is that, while my archenemy came to mind almost immediately, I'm having a hard time identifying my nemesis. I'm sure I've had a nemesis over the years and probably could have named one immediately in high school or college. Is that I'm too old for a nemesis right now? Do I only harbor long-term grudges that speak more to the level of archenemy? Maybe I need to meet more people so I can develop a nemesis.

*Also known as The Importance of Being Hated.
**Of course, you would also be hoping it ends in a bitter divorce.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You better recognize

In the 4th grade I started a gang. I will readily admit the elementary school Serena was a hellion and probably merely a precursor to the pain-in-the-ass I am today.

Gathering a group of my female friends from all walks of life, I convinced everyone we should be a gang to defend ourselves in the elementary school social hierarchy. I named my gang the Let Me Call You Sweetheart Gang and set about developing our marketing campaign. Now, at the age of 11 I didn't know the phrase marketing campaign existed, but that's exactly what I was doing.

Our name came from this t-shirt I had with Minnie Mouse on it and a button that played Let Me Call You Sweetheart when pressed. Not exactly fear inspiring, huh? Looking back, I can't remember the exact purpose of our gang or if we even lasted past that first playground session. What I do remember is spinning on the merry-go-round as the tennis courts whizzed by. I remember the lone guy in our group talking about how his cousin could hook us up with gang shirts and those satin jackets with the embroidery on the back. Our jackets were going to be light pink satin and have a broken heart stitched on the back with the gang name. Our jackets would have our name embroidered on the front.

I don't recall much else, but I can still feel my excitement at the thought of those jackets and how cool we would look. I think I watched Grease too often as a child.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The one where a $1 beer equals happiness

I consider 7-11 to be a bit of a cultural mecca* that has only recently for me been replaced by Sheetz/Wawa. I like that it's filled with all walks of life and all sorts of items you never knew you needed. There are very few places that I walk into and automatically start craving a hot dog. I can also get a cheap bottle of Andres champagne or a mega slurpee if I so desire.

Every time I hear of a new, more obscure soda product I automatically assume 7-11 will be the one to bring it to the masses. When I was looking for the pink cigarettes put out by Camel where did I go first? 7-11. It shouldn't surprise you that when looking for the new Diet Pepsi Max** this Friday that I automatically assumed 7-11 would be place to go. As we strolled into 7-11, it soon became clear that they were Max-less. Never one to turn my nose up at a Diet Coke, I grabbed the nearest chilled bottle and made my way to the register, stopping only to search for that mystical cupcake. However, almost all routes to pay lead you past the hot dog roller. What proceeded was, upon reflection, a conversation that very much reminds me of Beavis and Butthead for some reason.

Scarlet: "I love their hot dogs."

Me: "Me, too. I'm going to get one."

Scarlet: "Me, too."

Seconds later my eyes alight on two of my favorite words: clearance and $1. There, in a bucket by the cash register was perhaps the best clearance sale ever. "Clearance. $1 beers. Any kind."

Me, nudging Scarlet: "Look. They have beers on clearance for $1."

Scarlet: "Really? We kind of have to get one."

Me: "Ummm...yeah. How can you not get clearance beer for $1."

Scarlet: "Yeungling. I'm getting the Yeungling."

Me: "Hmmm."

Scarlet: "Miller Lite blah blah blah is good."

Me: "I'm getting the Yeungling. I think I can drink a Yeungling."

Me: "We can drink these at my new secret place."

So it was with a Diet Coke, hot dog, and a Yeungling that I left 7-11.

7-11 is vintage.

*Cultural mecca a la Fast Food Nation-style infamy.
**with supposedly more caffeine

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

You know the Blair Witch Project...

Looking down the steep path littered in damp leaves I focused on trying to figure out the best flip flop placement so as not to go sliding down the path. I was determined to find the James River.

"If you think going down this trail is bad, just think what a bitch it's going to be to get back up."

I knew as soon as those words left my mouth that we were having fun and this was a good trip. Despite the vanishing daylight and my less than rugged team of bandits*, spirits were high as we made our way to what we thought was Texas Beach. Rounding a tight curve at the bottom of the steep section we came upon a narrow bridge made of metal and covered in forest growth. No whispers of water over rock, I found myself intrigued and creeped out simultaneously. We continued forward stopping only to take pictures of the bridge.

No water in sight and the sun in serious set mode, we decided to turn back. We figured, at the very least, we had stumbled across a cool bridge and path for our movie**.

As July continues on, stay tuned for more tales of the Richmond 48 Hour Film Project!

*the Queen of Allergies, She Who Wears Heels, and the Finder of Fred the Miniature Frog
**Did I mention the whole point of being in nature was part of our location scouting?

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Verdict

So much less hair now...whew! And, yes, I did take my stylist a picture of doll and told her I wouldn't mind my hair like that. ; )

Monday, June 25, 2007

Giving nature a bear hug

I am discovering I am one of those people who likes their nature condensed. Confused? Mountain ranges surrounding me, a natural fortress, with a ribbon of water cutting a path through a valley floor. I want trees that hug me close and loom over me like an older brother might. My rivers are narrow and glide over rocks, the playful whitewater waiting to make the unsuspecting their bitch. My river whispers say my name. The nature I'm most comfortable in offers shade and that perfect hiding place.

I appreciate my West Texas roots, but others can have the dry, desert climate. Where trees aren't trees but merely overgrown shrubs. The wind across the plains is a drug, but I would rather scale a mountain to catch the horizon and look west across my front yard and see for miles.

Wednesday morning I settled into a canoe named 'Scud' and set my sights across Thompson Creek. More estuary than riverine, the creek was merely a precursor to the Bay and, for many, simply a launching point for their mini yachts. Wide and flat, the only excitement came in the form of white caps that formed when the wind set in. Beautiful? Yes, but my arms burned as I fought the wind, propelled only by a well-crafted boat and the power of my paddle slicing through the Chesapeake. Give me my condensed, whitewater nature any day ; )

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On faith and getting through life

Earlier this week I put on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip when I got home from work and was reminded of how much I love the characters on this show. Maybe it's just me, but the show just has so much heart. I don't even mind if some of the story lines are a bit contrived (Tom's brother being captured as a prisoner of war). Witnessing Harriet kneel and begin praying brought my cheesy, weeps-at-commercials tears to my eyes.

This visual demonstration of faith reminded me of how faith serves as this cornerstone that helps me get through life and keeps me sane. My grandmother has been having a really rough go of it, constantly in so much pain that she could barely move and was only sleeping a couple of hours every night. My mother was the one to be there for her, listening to her cries and her questioning why God didn't love her any more. Her doctors weren't really providing many answers*, and a couple of weeks ago it finally got so bad that my mom took her to the hospital. She was admitted, and that is where she has been the past two weeks as the doctors and physical therapists poked and prodded her in an effort to figure out how best to treat her. Tomorrow, she is finally getting to go home and (from what I hear) is in much better shape and actually sleeping through the night and walking and everything.

Without faith in something greater than myself, I probably would have lost it. It is hard to function knowing that someone you love and that has helped raise you is in so much pain that she can't help but cry and question God. This is a tough woman** we're talking about here. Faith allows me stop myself when I go on a real bender about all of the "wrongs" in my life. It gives me the sense to realize how good I truly have it and how much worse things could be. I give faith the credit for the fact that I have yet to actually punch anyone and for helping me realize that sometimes my own problems are simply ones I've generated in that meager brain of mine.

*I need an entirely separate post to rail against HMOs, medicare and medicine in general these days. How does someone not figure out that my grandmother had broken a disc in her back during a fall?!
**I was raised to be a strong woman by tough women.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Evil people need to be crushed

Every now and then the universe tosses a truly horrific person into my life to remind me of just how terrible people can be. I seriously hope the universe doesn't expect me to respond in some kind of peaceful manner because some people deserve retribution for their actions.

Case in point. Early on in my Sunday shift at the book store, I was helping a customer in the children's department locate several books when a woman walks up to us and asks if I could help her locate books by a specific author. I explained to the woman that I was with another customer but would be happy to help her as soon as I was finished.

This woman suddenly turns into the evil bitch from hell as she actually has the nerve to get attitutude and say that my current customer has been monopolizing my time for 10 minutes and that I'm the only one back in that department. I explain to the bitch that she is more than welcome to go to customer service and someone would help her sooner. She then asks for my name so she can tell management how unhelpful I have been.

My customer is truly appalled that this woman had the nerve to insinuate her time was more important and apologizes to me. I explain that I am more than happy to continue helping her becuase what the woman with the ugly personality did was rude and bad manners. On hearing this, evil customer starts going off, and I basically tune her out. She manages to pull a real doozie out of that meager brain of hers in the hopes of doing me lasting harm. She ends by wishing me luck in my position there and telling me what a lowly position it is.

I turned back to my current customer not bothering to justify her comment or inform her that I actually had a pretty damn good job and only worked at the bookstore to support my expensive hobbies. She didn't need to know that. I only hope she comes to interview where I work, so I can assure she is never hired.

That said, I am a person who refuses to let people talk to me like that. Once done with my customer, I searched the aisles of the book store, so I could let her know she was never to speak to me like that again and how inappropriate she was as a person. Lucky for her*, she had already left.

Of course, on explaining what a horrific experience I had had to management, I start crying from all of the anger I had been holding in. I really hate that I cry when I get mad.

*And probably for me because I would have seriously had to restrain myself from punching her.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dream a little fucked up dream

One thing being sick has given me is more sleep time. You know I rarely sleep more than 4 hours, so generally I don't have dreams that I remember. Since Sunday, I have had at least 3 nights where I slept at least 8 hours. In addition to being increasingly well rested, this also means I have had increasingly convoluted dreams. So I don't completely scare you off, let's just look at highlights from the dream I had yesterday during one of my bouts of unconsciousness.

The dream starts out at some house party in Los Angeles. The only two people I recognize in this dream are Allie and Scarlet. In the beginning there is a lot of discussion about what alcohol to bring to said party and where to get food. I distinctly remember a minivan and us carting said goods into the house. As the party heats up, Allie gets upset about something and promptly disappears from the dream. My emotion is something akin to nervousness as Scarlet and these two cute rocker boys talk about going out for food before we begin the next leg of our trip. Knowing I only have $5 to get me (us) to Seattle, I say I need to stay and finish up some things and will meet them on the plane tomorrow.

Flash forward to the next day and being on board this massive airplane. As is common in (I think) a lot of dreams, certain things are just assumed. For example, I don't actually meet up with Scarlet and the rocker boys but just assume they are on the plane. At one point, I decide to go look for Scarlet and enter into another section of the plane. This section is full of sleeping people and laid out like no plane I have ever seen. All of the seats are arranged in a huge square along the perimeter of the plane with huge open space in the center. At the same time I spot Scarlet, who is fast asleep, I also spot one of those airplane cards that give you information about airline safety, etc.

The card talks about how this is an experimental plane and that everyone should always remain seated and make as little movement as possible so the plane doesn't crash. Upon reading this, I immediately drop to the floor and begin to slide on my stomach back to my seat. I am now thoroughly freaked out.

Minutes later the pilot gets on the speaker and tells everyone there are issues with the plane and that our flying over Portland will get interesting. The plane dips down and begins flying at a very low altitude, directly above the water and clear roads. I, personally, heave a sign of relief as I tell my seatmates that at least we don't have far to fall if we crash.

In this dream, the area in and around Portland is very hilly and plane is swooping up and down over the mountains as if a hover car out for a Sunday drive. After making a particularly steep climb, the plane again begins to malfunction, and everyone is told to brace themselves for a crash on the way down.

After the plane has crashed, I am one of quite a few people wandering around the site trying to figure out what to do next. I remember telling people that we surely can't be that far from civilization and that we should walk. I guess I remember Scarlet because I walk around to another part of the site to look for her and suddenly see this warehouse where they are already loading people into coffins. I spot Scarlet through the warehouse doors, definitely alive and now with Ali. Hugging ensues at being alive.

The whole thing gets very Lost as all the remaining people are told to get off the plane because it could explode. There is scavenging, etc for clothes to keep warm. At some point in this part of the dream, my sidekick comes back to life and I have a weak signal.

There is no resolution to this dream, only this odd sequence of events. Aren't you glad you don't have to be in my head when I sleep?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I love The Faint

I knew we were going to be in trouble when I noticed the blonde and the brunette slamming up against Scarlet's back. There were two opening bands for The Faint show, and midway through the second act, Services, a large mass of what had to be toddlers in back of us decided slam dancing or moshing was called for. I'm no stick-in-the-mud, but the writhing they were doing all up in our space was not called for at the time. My Texas ghetto upbringing came out as I switched places with Ali and prepared to do battle. I hadn't been standing there since 7:30 smelling the foul human stench that would permeate the air periodically and holding strong through the first opening act to lose my place to high school kids with rhythm problems. After I got slammed into for the hundredth time, I did what any Texas girl would do. I pulled my arm forward and slammed my elbow into the blonde behind me. don't like my dancing (*blink, blink*)? She moved. Unfortunately, the crowd literally pulsed as we waited for The Faint to go on. I knew we were doomed. Once they took the stage no dam in the world was going to be able to hold back these bodies.

I was right. The Faint bled music on the stage and the floor directly behind us went crazy. I tried moving with the crowd (hell, the music is danceable), but it so didn't help. I was doing everything I could just to stay on my feet and not get crushed. I know at one point I was laughing (because what else was I supposed to do) and holding on to Scarlet just to stay upright. About 3 minutes later I got the signal from the Al(l)i(e)s that we needed out of the pit. I have to admit I was a bit relieved because the fact that I was too fucking old for that had been scrolling through my brain.

Once we escaped the writhing mass of bodies, I inhaled the energy fed to us by The Faint. As hot and tired as I was, this group was bloody awesome. I wish I were some famous music writer who could put words on paper worthy of describing the way their music made me feel.

Instead, all I can say is that maybe you should go buy their cds.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Chronicle of a death foretold

I know I have no right to talk about it like it's a real person, but the void in my heart is similar. At night, its place by my head is now simply another unoccupied place in bed. When I wake up in the morning, I have been like a ship adrift at sea with no recognizable port in sight. My phone, Leonard II (2Molly to some of you), is dead.

Imagine barreling down I-66 at 3 am discussing with your mates what your next move should. Suddenly, nature is mentioned and you have the brilliant idea of a hike at a trail hidden nearby. Your trusting mates follow you blindly into the night, sliding one foot in front of the other down the rocky path. The old Civil War ford at Bull Run stretches before you whispering your name as it slides over the mossy rocks. Allie sits on a nearby rock asking for reason, begging me to keep my arse on dry land; however, my mate, Brendan, knows my adventurous spirit and is probably just as tipsy as I am. He follows as I begin my trip across the river and watches in slow motion as the slippery rocks claim flip flop #1.

Amazed that my shoe could disappear so quickly into the night, I fall to my knees and begin groping around the jagged rocks below. One shoe down, I attempt standing only to windmill my arms and flail about like a chicken. At some point flip flop #2 decides it misses its brother and takes off. Nothing between the river bottom and my feet, I sudden feel it important that I rescue my flip flops from their downstream death. To my knees again, only this time my fate is far worse.

Oh, dear friends. The cockiness of my last post was splashed back in my face Friday night as my phone slid out of my bra and into the stream below. Brendan made a valiant attempt as phone rescue, but it was too late. Submersion kills a phone faster than anything. For the second time in a year, I have violently laid a $300 phone to rest, and now I'm determined to spend some time reflecting on how much I need online-internet-email-aim phone that brings me joy.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Follow me

Cutting edge trendsetter...that's me. Laugh if you want, but soon every girl you know will be sporting her cell phone in much the same fashion.

For months now, possibly years, I end up carrying my cell phone tucked neatly into my bra. What's a girl to do when she needs her cell phone with her 24-7 and has no pockets? Simply slide the phone into that place where the strap attaches to the actual bra part and you're done. Think I'm joking? It works. Even phones such as my virtually disappear, and it works with even some of the skimpiest bras.

Perhaps I'm too comfortable with the idea and have been doing it for too long. I have been known to get some interesting looks when people see my cell phone appear. Slowly, though, I am acclimating the world to this cell carrying phenomenon. My heart warmed this past week when, looking down from the stands at graduation, I see Allie reach for her cell phone...stored in that special place. : )

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What not to wear

During my bookstore shift last night, a man walks up to me and asks where I go to church. Already my guard is up. "Not around here. Somewhere in Alexandria*," I responded. "Oh," he said. "Are you apostolic?" At this point I'm perplexed and will readily admit I didn't know what "apostolic" was. I answered with "I'm baptist**." He then proceeds to drop the bomb. "Well, you dress the part, and it's so refreshing to see these days. Not many women do."

Fuck. In other words, I look plain and conservative. Looks like it's time to slut it up at work again. No more hair pulled back, skirt below the knee looks for me. Sigh.

*Leaving aside the fact that I technically haven't been to my church in a year.
**Though, technically, I have a real issue with the labels within Protestant religion.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Never combine alcohol and spray paint.

Friday evening was the culmination of a long week and meant to be low key. A few friends dropping in on a birthday party and then headed to a local bar for a drink or two. Party...check. Local bar...check. Drink or two...turned into several more. Really, I blame the need to consume more than two drinks on the cover band we were forced to listen to for $8. In fact, perhaps this is best racket going. Charge an $8 cover fee to hear a cover band that consisted of an Avril wannabe and an elven white guy with a gerry curl, thus forcing people to drink even more to tolerate the music and run up an even greater bar tab. An entire post could be written on how much fun we were and the "friends" we made. This, however, is not my point (see first sentence).

Still lit when I got dropped off at my apartment, I decided it would be the perfect time to make my debut as a graffiti artist. *shaking head* Grabbing the supplies that I've had ready for a couple months now, I loaded them in my tote and stumbled out the front door. Pumped with a drunken energy, I began texting and or calling my drunken mates to let them know of my foolishness. Not surprisingly, despite their (also) impaired state, they expressed concern at my stumbling alone to my pre-selected target at roughly 3 am. Brendan couldn't take it, I guess, and came back as my get away car and later accomplice.

Parking near my planned target (a target I had staked out for months, btw), we exited the car and proceeded to walk along the darkened sidewalk. I expressed concern that my shirt was white and not the best color for nefarious activity. It was decided I should take my white shirt off to better blend in. I was cognizant enough to realize that my pale skin probably glowed just as brightly in the dark. Still, we plodded along until I dropped to my knees in what I thought was the perfect area. Sliding my latex, hypoallergenic white* gloves over each arm, I pressed the stencil on the sidewalk had at it. It appeared the dark sidewalk, while perfect for camouflaging our activities, was not the best canvas for displaying my work. I knew of a better spot but was worried because it was well lit and potentially had a camera. Despite my moments of clarity, we convinced drunken selves this didn't matter and ended up there anyway.

To end what is now becoming my ode to bumbling criminality, I'll say that (1) smart decisions are not always made while drunk, (2) taking off one's shirt does not make one hide better in the dark, and (3) I need to get better at making stencils because mine failed tragically. All of that comedic effort and all I got were spray painted blobs.

*Really. What kind of nefarious artist do I imagine myself? Sigh.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why I'm sometimes a bad environmentalist

I bust my ass all day trying to restore the rivers of the world; however, every now and then it hits me how bad of an environmentalist I can be sometimes.

1. I fell asleep during An Inconvenient Truth, even moaning a little.
2. The whole "if it's yellow, let it mellow" thing grosses me out, if it's not my toilet. I'm worried about the whole issue of accidental splash.
3. I listened to a whole powerpoint presentation on why recycling is bad without bothering to refute it (even though I disagreed).
4. I drink a lot of Diet Coke out of plastic bottles.
5. I like bubble baths and sometimes leave the water running when I brush my teeth.
6. I could probably start my own landfill with the amount of post-it notes I use.
7. In addition to post-it notes, I have a proclivity for all sorts of specialty paper products, sometimes wanting to own them "just because."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

To do lists

I like lists. I like lists enough that I sometimes include making a list of the lists I need to make on my to do list. Why I like lists is beyond me, since the majority of my lists either go unfinished or never give me the satisfaction of "checking" completed things off.

Today's Personal To-Do List:

-buy groceries (spawning a separate list)
-paint the pool on my train set (*cough* art project)
-buy new comforter
-begin compiling stuff for all of the care packages I need to send
-take self portrait

Today's Work To-Do List:

-enter the remaining applicant information into the database
-set up site visits for Thursday
-sort and box all of the research and bibliographic data for Berkeley
-financial reporting
-slam my head in a door (see financial reporting)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Toy Story

Despite all of the stress I've been feeling as of late, I've also been feeling particularly inspired. I have all sorts of creative ideas for both arts and crafts projects. Two art projects I'm most excited about involve these toys I've been adopting from the bookstore before they are about to be thrown out.

A couple of months ago I snagged an aging Thomas the Train set that was on its way to that big green garbage can in the sky. Having no children and really not wishing to acquire any, I still couldn't let such a kitschy item die. Recycle-reuse, right? Currently my Thomas set is undergoing its makeover into fabulous, over-the-top pink and jeweled train concoction. Why? To photograph, as an art installation....hell, to sell on ebay.

Last night further entrenched my weirdness (err...creativeness) when I spotted a huge set of Lincoln Logs destined for the trash. I could just picture these fabulously tacky log cabins glued together and destined to be left in odd places. I'm still working on my overall messaging for that project, but pictures will definitely be up once I get going.

I can only dream of one day being as cool as the couple featured in this month's ReadyMade Magazine. Two artist rockers from Seattle and Austin were looking for a place to relocate to together and ended up settling on a small town in Kansas. Why? Abandoned schools. Urban flight has led to the closing of so many schools that evidently they are really cheap. She sold her house and with the money bought four abandoned schools near each other in Kansas. They live in part of one and are in the process of turning the whole thing into an artist colony. How cool is that?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm the grumpy carebear

Grumpy might be the wrong word, but I just don't remember a weary Carebear. Perhaps I should create a line of adult-themed Carebears. Could get ugly though.

I digress. I'm weary and so over being stressed out by work and life. Work has me so stressed out right now that I have a mini-panic attack every time I start to think of everything on my to-do list. I can't blog in the mornings because I feel guilty and like I should be using that time to work. I can't keep up with my favorite blogs (see previous sentence). And, now, I finally post, and it is to complain.

I can't even begin to think about how to blog about the family health issues tearing my heart apart chunk by chunk. The short of it is that my grandmother may have to have a leg amputated and is in a lot of pain. Knowing she has to go through this ordeal and that my mom has to be the strong one, the one carrying the emotional burden for everyone, fills me with a depressive tiredness, as if I've spent hours fighting my way through a taffy maze.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mr. Roboto

Thursday took me to Fredericksburg for a work meeting on fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay. Rather than rent a car or take the train, I grabbed my traveling cohort, and we hit the road. On the way, we decided that, since we were already so close, there was no way we could not head on down to Richmond after my meeting and go to Sticky Rice. Once there, though, we determined we weren't yet hungry enough for the sushi and tots of Sticky Rice and should do some exploring of Carytown. Next thing I know, we're both sucked into the charms of Cary Street and the independent stores that line its path.

World of Mirth stopped us in our tracks. Our inner children shrieked and whizzed through the store with glazed eyes, periodically stopping to shout, "look at this" or "OMG, Allie, you've got to see this." Wind up sushi, Paul Frank wallets and shirts, skulls, skulls, skulls. I was almost ready to consider having a kid just to be able to buy the skull bib. Instead, I decided Allie needed to get knocked up. I walked out of World of Mirth with a robot and a promise to myself to go back soon.

We never did make it to Sticky Rice proper*. We wandered from shop to shop investing some loot in For the Love of Chocolate, finally snagging a Nancy Pearl action figure from Plan 9, and drooling over yarn in the local yarn store. I thought about feeling guilty for the toys I snagged but quickly pushed that thought aside. I work hard and think hard. Life is full of serious moments, both personally, professionally and globally. Toys give our lives color and creativity and a break from all of that seriousness.

My inner child had a blast.

*We did snag some tots from their carry out place, ToGoGo. I also should have snagged the number for the hot tattooed guy behind the counter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Return of my lover

I fall in and out of love with reading. Actually, it's more like the lover whom you know so well that you take for granted, often seeking a little something different in its stead. Our romance has been renewed recently with a few new additions to my collection. Jim Crace has always been an author I've had my eye on for a while but just never got around to reading. When an advance copy of his latest novel, The Pesthouse, arrived at the bookstore a week ago, I snatched it up and set about immediately devouring it. A sweet love story set in a post-apocalyptic* world.

Feeling rejuvinated by a good read, I decided the timing was right to slide right into the next read. I have dozens of unread books, but two recent purchases begged to be read, Love is a Mix Tape and How Sassy Changed My Life. Love is a Mix Tape won out. I've only just begun but adored the idea of the book before I ever picked it up. Blowing through the first chapter was like a romp down my pop culture memory lane. Two chapters in and he not only had my heart aching just a little for him but also had me reminiscing about the songs that made up the mix tape of my own life.

I've posted in the past about how different men (loves, crushes, obsessions, etc.) have each been assigned their own song. Thinking of these songs fighting each other for favorite song status on a mix tape cracks me up. I've** listed a few of the songs below. Judge for yourself, but I think they'd make a pretty crappy mix tape.

Serena's Hypothetical Man Mix Tape:

Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks
Unforgettable by Natalie Cole/Nat King Cole
Paper Bag by Fiona Apple
Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers (I think)
Million Ways to be Cruel by OkGo
Memories by Elvis Presley
I've Got Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks
Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie

Seriously, seeing that combination typed out makes me shudder.

*I'm big on post-apocalyptic novels, movies, tv shows, everything.
**I'm rushing this post because Allie is waiting on me and keeps singing/scatting The Final Countdown and is driving me batty with it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blow me away

I watched The Holiday this weekend, and while many of you film snobs may not consider it worthy of any mention, I enjoyed the smarm and the way everyone got what they needed in the end. I really only mention the movie because there are scenes where this insane wind blows and Jack Black's character talks about how it's the Santa Ana winds and crazy things can happen when they blow. Well, the Santa Ana* winds blew into DC yesterday and are still wreaking havoc. It's the wind of scary stories that blows the bad guy into town. If it weren't so freaking cold, I'd be completely enamored.

Crazy weather brings about crazy things, or in my case, the discovery of hidden talents. Guitar riffs, manic drums, and the keyboard. I rock at air instruments. Jimmy Hendrix would envy my air guitar, and Ben Gibbard only wishes his air keyboard was as fine. Maybe it's my weak wrists, but my air drums still need a lot of work. I'd be amenable to a real drummer boyfriend who would help me perfect my technique.

*I fully realize we can't have Santa Ana winds here, but you know what I mean.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Where is spring

Rain has the power to amplify whatever mood I'm in. If I'm a little down or melancholy, rain further drains my energy, the world weighing heavy like a sodden coat. If I'm upbeat, happy, the rain energizes me, even making me a little hyper. Today's rain, oddly enough, isn't really doing anything. I can almost feel it wanting to bring me down, but I keep fighting it. Waiting for the bus with only a black umbrella over my head, I began to sing ( the rain) to keep my spirits lifted. Before I ventured outside, I let the drumbeat of the falling rain be my music as I brightened up my surroundings with color. When the day is gray, there's nothing like color and a little red stain on your lips to keep things bright.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Was it all about the outfits?

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself every day and make it interesting? Since the second week of January, I’ve been participating in a 365 self portrait challenge* where you take a picture of yourself everyday, and this past week I finally broke down and took a break. I’ve been having fun doing it and think it’s an awesome endeavor. Because of the self portrait challenge, I have (1) learned which side is my good side, (2) no longer cringe at having my picture taken, and (3) have perfected “the serena”. However, I end up taking practically the same picture every day and am so bored with that. Remedy? I need to use this to work on a specific skill. Each week will have a theme, and my self portraits will need to reflect that theme. For example, I’m kicking this off again (after my one week hiatus) with a black and white theme. All self portraits this week will be done in black and white. Hopefully this will stave off any potential boredom.

Speaking of boredom, I’m almost embarrassed to admit one of the things I spent yesterday afternoon doing. Ha. Ah well, that’s what blogs are for, right? Remember the Blythe doll I purchased? Well, I was hanging out at Allie's house yesterday afternoon just eating, stealing wireless, and gabbing when we get a brilliant idea. Allie's mom has kept all of her Barbie's in tubs in the basement, so we decide to raid the contents for potential James (the Blythe) outfits. Suddenly I was 10 years old again and memory lane was the path spread out before me. There we are, two virtually grown women, sitting at the table surrounded by Barbies. There was the Jem collective and Brenda from 90210, too. The '80s were in full force with these outfits, most so horrific that they hurt to look at and be reminded that we once thought this was fashionable. Neon pink tulle skirt, printed leggins, shoulder pads, gold, glitter, the shirtdress, pleats. And, let's not forget the Barbie outfit Allie had made as a child, complete with puff paint. Ah...looking back is fun, but I'm glad to be moving forward.

*My “daily me” photos are on Flickr account, but you probably can’t see them unless you’re a Flickr “friend”.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

dueling banjos

I know we all have many different aspects to our personalities, but sometimes I feel like there are two very distinct individuals that live inside of me. Don't freak out; I'm not talking about any kind of split personality. It's just that the two sides of my coin are night and day.

There is the kind, compassionate side that is prohibitively shy. She hates big groups and parties and meeting new people. New situations make her nervous and cause her to break out in a cold sweat.

The other side of me is this very forward, bold woman who goes after what she wants. She takes charge and is just as likely to back you into a corner and have her way with you as she is apt to give you a verbal tongue lashing for the wrongs you've done to her.

Scarlet and I have talked about this 49%-51% split we all all have. Well..let's just say that last night the bold side took more than its fair percentage.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Writhing bodies for sale

As the only tall indie guys in the entire world found their way in front of me and bodies began closing in on all sides, I began to wonder what I was doing there. I could feel my hair physically frizzing as sweat trickled down the small of my back. A sea of heads bopped up and down before me in an almost zombie-like unison. The band playing, Land of Talk, was fun...good beats. Still, I couldn't help but ask myself why we subjected ourselves to concerts and shows when we could listen to the music in the comfort of our own homes, our cars, where ever.

Seconds later, as the driving beat was palpable and I fought my body's urge to follow it, I knew why we come to the live shows. Listening to a cd doesn't give you that visceral experience. You don't feel the beats in the same way, don't get that euphoric high when they hit that note just right, and miss all of the extras when they just decide to jam. The same crowd that makes you sweat also feeds your energy. The outfits, the shenanigans...

...this is why I love live music.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I think that maybe today I have the time and energy for an actual post. The combination of a hectic work week with deadlines and meetings piling on and our semi-annual trek to Smith & Wollensky (S&W) for Wine Week left me brain dead.

Work has been getting increasingly crazy as we enter into what we refer to as "restoration season". Somehow, I've also found myself (over the past couple of years) managing a big government grant and dealing with federal contracting issues. This is not my forte...looking at millions of dollars on paper makes my brain hurt and my eyes cross. Thursday and Friday found me wading through government paperwork and forms, and by noon on Friday, I was ready for that wine reservation. Getting off the phone with my boss after a harrowing thirty minutes of federal contract talk, I told her I was going to send this email and then go get drunk and pretend the conversation we had just had didn't happen.*

As usual, the wine flowed at S&W...the three glasses in front of me rarely empty. Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Reisling, and a great sparkling was forgotten. In fact, any good sense I had was apparently forgotten as well. I'm too embarrassed here to repeat some of the text messages and emails I sent, but let's just say that I was a very friendly and blunt girl.

You would think that would be enough, but no. We had plans to meet up with some people for happy hour at The Russia House and couldn't disappoint. One long, stumbling walk up Dupont and two (maybe three) mango martinis later, and I was done for. Completely tanked by 6 pm. Enough alcohol in my system that hours later, while at home, I was still drunk.

Despite the debauchery, I would never recommend giving up wine week and suggest everyone give it a whirl once in a while.

*Seriously, how can I not love working for a nonprofit like this?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rocketship to the moon

As I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, the face staring back at me was different. My pupils were mere pinpricks of their former selves, dilated, reflecting the far away look in my eyes. My skin was more flush than normal, contrasting sharply with my red locks. No, I didn't do drugs today. Arousal. I could go into more, since I am currently affected (or should it be afflicted); however, too many people from the office know about and potentially read this blog. None of them are the cause for said physical reaction, but I'm not sure I want them knowing more than what I've already said.

Reasons I should be aroused are this phat new Mac Powerbook I'm blogging on. Yep...that's right. This girl got herself a new computer today at a steal. Thanks to Ravena, I've practically got the computer of my dreams. I'd say my current look of elation has a much different origin than my dilated pupils of early afternoon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Manic Monday

I had what feels like one of the most hectic weekends I've had in a while. Maybe it had something to do with creating a to-do list so long that I knew I'd never make it through everything. Did I work on any of the work projects I wanted to this weekend? No. Did I clean and reorganize my apartment? No. Did I ever put that first coat of gesso on that art project? No.

I did...
  • work two insanely long shifts at the part-time;
  • try out a new martini bar out in the sticks and didn't hate it;
  • purchase my first lomo camera and shoot that first role of film;
  • pick up the first piece of artwork I've actually purchased;
  • continued my consumer binge by snagging two hott skirts and some apricot baby oil;
  • visited the sick and shut-in;
  • four hour online liaison that was more than satisfactory; and
  • even managed to do some laundry.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I've always been one of those weird people who find that Benadryl actually helps my allergies and doesn't make me tired. Yesterday, I became a statistic.

Spring is a bitch for those who suffer from allergies, and on the recommendation of a friend, I bought some of the new Benadryl strips that dissolve right on your tongue. Knowing these contained medicine didn't quell the thought that I was dropping acid. A few hours later and I was indeed wondering if I'd obtained a "special" batch of the strips.

Kneeling down in Children's department at the part-time I felt my heart speed up and suddenly the world grew hazy. I was tripping the light fantastic with Hello Kitty swirling in front of me. Several minutes later, I still felt like I was going to pass out and had trouble focusing on the world around me. A coworker mentioned how small my pupils were.

Benadryl may have helped the sneezing, but you weren't exactly the high I was looking for.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Washington D.C.*

We went to the opening reception for the DCist Exposed Photography Show. My overall impressions of the show are very positive. The vast majority of the photos were amazing with only a few that left me thinking of the contrived, the average. The Warehouse Theater, which was home to the show, wasn't disappointing. The minimum amount of square footage, though crowded, was also cozy, and I fell in love with the room that appeared unfinished. Things I would have liked: someplace to drop my heavy coat, free drinks, and for it to be a bit more clear how to buy a photograph**.

I left inspired, which is always the idea. Good job, DCist!

*I finished Mailtunes and was not the last. This one of the few songs in my mix.
**Maybe this is my fault since I don't play on the DC art scene much. Maybe I'm just not familiar with the rules.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ginger Snaps (And Sugar Winks)

I hate feeling constipated emotionally. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I find myself getting angry at situations and events with no real outlet for my anger. About 50% of my anger is simply impatience and a quick temper and is best not finding an outlet. The rest of my anger and frustration is most definitely valid and should be expressed in some productive way, preferably a way that results in a solution.

Humor me, and let me give an example. I get an email from my mom this morning telling me my grandparents got bad news yesterday. Evidently, my grandfather's company is changing its retiree policy such that they will no longer have life insurance and the premiums for their health insurance are increasing exponentially. How in the bloody hell can a company tell you they're providing you with life insurance (telling you this for decades) and then suddenly decide not to? Shouldn't they at least provide life insurance that was "banked" up until the point they decided to end it? It's like he's been screwed out of years of getting his own insurance policy. Don't even get me started on the health care crap.

It is situations like this where I feel like I have no real outlet for my anger, no way to affect change. Sure, you can tell me to vote or something similar, but I want change NOW. I want a way to make these companies, our system pay.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cheryl Tweedy

I've been feeling like being crafty lately but have balked at knitting due to a serious lack of cute yarn. Seriously, the closest places selling yarn to me are Michael's and Wal-Mart who both have such uninspiring selections. Maybe I'm just being picky. My other problem is that I'm ready to learn some new knitting skills but am not feeling patient enough to actually invest the time in acquiring them.

My solution? Try a new craft. Considering it was my first go, I'm pretty pleased with the results. They're supposed to be earring; however, because I made a silly mistake they're really nothing. I didn't put a big enough hole, and it shrunk to virtually nothing. Ah well, lessons learned. The next version will rock!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Getting my 'Thriller' mack on

Well, my need for all things 80s is officially over. Last night I survived the 80s porn-themed birthday party we through for Ravena's big day, and I rocked my outfit like Mary Lou Retton did the parallel bars. I'm officially washing my hands of 80s costumes though because seeing pictures this evening reminded me that (even 20 years later) that decade is not for me. Never again will these red locks be twisted into a side ponytail or will I wear fishnet leggings under a short skirt. I might bring back the bright blue shadow though because it makes my eyes pop.

We pre-gamed it by pulling on a pair of rollerskates and rocking the rink in Manassas. Yes. Rollerskates. The birthday girl requested, and who were we to argue. Walking into the brightly lit rink was a slightly mortifying given that I was wearing something similar to what I might have worn when I first started skating and that we were clearly the oldest people there without children. Once I got my skating legs back, I had a blast. Whipping around the rink and trying to remember how to crossover was sweet. Realizing I still didn't know how to stop was not so sweet. Some of those little kids were also death on wheels. I swear their parents sent them into my path to take me out. Last skate before we left was to Thriller. I almost passed out.

Back at Ravena's place, the more timid souls who wouldn't brave the rink joined us for a bit of revelry. The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur, but I want to remember Allie's cupcakes, Ravena's penis shot glass, food fight, pink cigarettes (not), Tice in bunny ears, and the 80s dance party in the living room.

Friday, March 02, 2007

We Only Come Out At Night

Continuing on this '80s track, I've had legwarmers on the brain a lot lately. Until recently (when I went in search of a pair for my project), I saw them everywhere. Sadly, I remember when they were originally* the thing to wear. I legitimized my owning several pair by the fact that I was in ballet at the time. Of course, I did wear them over jeans in addition to over my tights.

Anyway, back to the present day. I determined I needed legwarmers for my project but have been having trouble finding a pair. Yes, I did wait until the last minute but still thought I had enough knitting talent and speed in me to whip up a pair of turquoise legwarmers in a couple of days. What I kept forgetting is that (1) I knit slowly and (2) the available free hours I have on any given day are few and usually after midnight. Add on top of that the fact that I get frustrated when I don't find a pattern I like and was proceeding to design my own pair, and you can pretty much guess the status of my legwarmers.

*At least as far as I know.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What a Feeling

I was looking for a little wardrobe inspiration last night and figured it couldn't hurt to look through old pictures. Flipping through the latest issue of Nylon and other magazines, it's clear that the '80s are back. I lived through the '80s and have an established relationship with the decade. If I had a fashion resume, this ten years of experience would surely get me hired to style the remake of Mannequin, right? We'll let you be the judge.

This is me going away to some kind of camp. Yes, that is a George Michael t-shirt and Umbra shorts.

Note the sky high bangs, blue eyeshadow and rolled jeans.

I'm not sure if I thought I was Tom Cruise. The feathered hair is fierce though.

This has to be my favorite. I look like it's my 50th birthday with that leather skirt, wide belt and shoulder pads of death.

And what would the '80s be without a poufy, gold party dress.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

May Angels Lead You In

I picked up a copy of Good Magazine over the weekend and was completely taken in with the content. Reading about Hasan Elahi and his effort to track every minute of his existence was not only intriguing but mind-blowing in a completely paranoid way. Most definitely a victim of profiling in this post-9/11 world, he's turned the need for the Patriot Act on its head and taken blogging your life to the extreme. After reading the piece and learning about how the FBI's keen interest in him led him to start the project, I decided to visit his site. Insane. Using a Terraserver/GoogleMap type thing, he allows us to know exactly where he is at any given moment. He's outside of Houston right now, apparently on an airplane about to leave.

Then, just when my paranoia was getting the better of me, I turned a few pages and discovered a piece on the cameras that track our daily lives. Entitled the Path of Least Surveillance, the piece contends there are thousands of cameras (ATMs, traffic lights, buildings) everywhere that can track us throughout the urban landscape. Evidently iSEE has mapped out routes of least resistance for those interested in navigating the city sidewalks out of the camera's eye. I'm not that paranoid*, but I think it would interesting to walk some of their suggested routes. Or, better yet, why not walk the path with the most cameras and vogue for each and every one as you pass?

*Though every now and then I get this feeling of never being able to escape, hide. Anyway.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dear Catastrophe Waitress

The metro has turned me into a woman on the edge. The confusion generated yesterday over the Smithsonian station closing would have been laughable had we all not been tired and hot and ready to be home. As I was headed out the door, I heard rumor of backups on the orange and blue lines but also knew I had to risk it anyway. When I got to McPherson Square, it was pandamonium. People coming up the escalator were telling people headed into the station to turn around. Surprisingly the platform wasn't freakishly crowded because so many people were afraid to even pass through the stalls.

No sooner had I made it to my side of the platform when we all noticed the blue line train that should have been on our side pulling into the station on the opposite track. Mass chaos. Everyone racing up the escalator, beating a path to the other side. They must be single-tracking it, right? Would have been too easy to actually make an announcement. Wait. What was that? An announcement about my orange line train coming on the other side just as I made it to the other platform? I pulled my own Amazing Race as I spun around and ran right back up the escalator to the other side in a matter of seconds. Running en masse, a number of us made it onto the orange line train toward Vienna wedged in a corner with bicycle handlebars poking me.

Because I was pressed up against one of the doors, it was my irritated face people saw as the train pulled into their station and they were deciding whether to press their way on. I get really annoyed when people push their way on an already overcrowded train, and last night, I felt like I had some sway in not making our situation worse. Maybe I was just punchy, but I started shaking my head no as we would pull into stations, indicating their was no fucking way any more people could squeeze into our car. I met my match at Rosslyn with a guy who didn't buy my 'no' and forced his way in (and right up against me). So, here I am on a hot, crowded train with the handlebars of a bike in my ass and an older guy in Docs practically pressed against my chest.
We continue to feel like cattle as we pull into Vienna and are forced to make our way up the one escalator open as people coming into the station try to make their way down.

Thinking this morning would surely be better, I got on at my usual stop only to have to listen to two grown men go at it. "Have you got a problem? Is there something you want to say to me?" "I don't have a problem." " I think you have a problem. Have you got a problem?" "It's common courtesy not to stand in front of the train doors." It went on and on and on (for three stops). I was to the point of breaking. Seriously, boys, just pull your dicks out and compare size and get it over with. All I want is to ride to work in a modicum of peace and was on the brink of saying all of this when the train pulled into McPherson Square.

I tell you...a woman on edge.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where It's At

9:15 on a Sunday evening, and I'm quite literally sucking mocha syrup out of my cell phone. A wild party gone awry?

Grace has never been something that has come to me with ease. I am more ackward and clumsy, less nimble and fluid. Last night was no exception. Eager to get home, I was graciously pitching in at the "Starbucks" at my part-time job by hauling the steel canister of mocha syrup to the back. Karma bit me in the butt because, as I was complaining to someone about another employee, I managed to shift my grip on the canister in such a way that mocha syrup was beating a path into the pocket of my jacket without my even knowing. This would be the same pocket where I keep my phone (re: lifeline).

Experiencing serious flashbacks of the bathtub incident of 2006, my heart sank as I realized syrup had oozed its way into every possible crevice. Leonard* was experiencing its own form of cardiac arrest as it continually restarted itself. Never one to give up, I began CPR, unafraid to put my lips to some of the dangerous areas and attempt to suck mocha out and hopefully life back in to my phone.

For the moment, Leonard is hanging on. His symptoms are much like that of a stroke victim. We have partial paralysis on the right side of his body, so the left side is having to do all of the work. I'm already beginning to dread warmer days when the mocha that has surely hardened inside him decides to melt.

*My phone.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Night Drive

I don't usually blog Gilmore Girls; I leave that to Scarlet*. However, I finally got around to watching Tuesday's episode last night** and felt such a kinship with Lorelai in the most recent episode. I realized that Lorelai and I handle stressful situations in much the same way. Lorelai's opening scenes where she talked of how she had been driving and driving aimlessly all night as a response to splitting with Christopher hit home, and I was immediately reminded of the hours I spent behind the wheel driving to OC all because of a boy and how I needed that thinking time, that me time.

What about the scene with Richard and Emily at the dinner table? Using humor to deflect a difficult situation? Check.

There is also how she deals with a difficult situation. Avoidance is key, but there's also the inevitability in her avoidance. She knows what has to be done and ususally hands it with a certain bravado. A great example is her needing to tell Emily about the split with Christopher.

Now if I could just find Luke...(ha)

*Who, by the way, is in the process of writing Gilmore Girls for Dummies. Stay tuned.
**Yes, I am that lame. I spent my Saturday evening watching Gilmore Girls.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Million Ways*

Where as Hamlet pondered the iconic to be or not to be, my own recent dilemma is more consumer driven than life altering. To ipod or not to ipod, that is the question. I've actually been on the fence about getting one for a few years now and am really no closer to an answer. I love the idea of having all of my music in such a centralized, portable device. However, I wonder if I'd be a music poser. Some people are naturally meant for an ipod. Music is their life...their passion. The device becomes more a removable extension of their body, an extra appendage.

Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit. Music narrates my life. It makes me walk with a little more spunk and focuses my mind at work. I always have a song in my head and tie music to memories like nobody's business. I also assign songs to the people in my life, songs that remind me of them, songs we loved together, etc. Some people are even made up of entire playlists in my mind.

The thought of being able to tune out the world at a moment's notice is also appealing. On the flip side, though, I sometimes like listening to the world around me. I'm a chronic eavesdropper on public transportation and make up stories for the people around me. Would I lose some of this in becoming a pod person? Would I live more in my memories? ipod or not to ipod?

*Today's theme song thanks to OkGo and a certain person who recently got assigned this song in my memory bank.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our Weekend Starts on Wednesday

I'm not Catholic, but every now and then I've given up something for Lent. It's something my church always encouraged, and I thought it sounded like a good idea. This year I've been a bit of a heathen and should probably be giving up quite a bit. When have I ever been good at doing what I'm told to do? I'm obstinate by nature, so this year I figured out a compromise. Armed with a list of five, this year I'll give up one thing and then turn fate on its head by engaging in four more positive activities.

(1) blog every day
(2) flirt every day
(3) touch nothing from the bake case at the Barn
(4) write a letter every day
(5) have a theme song every day*

I reserve the right to add more to this list** at any time during the Lenten season.

*Today's theme song is the title.
**I realize that technically you're not supposed to tell anyone about what your lent thing is, but I think encouragement is a good thing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chinatown to Chinatown

Despite having to leap over murky puddles of melted snow and navigate trash piled along the curbs, it was good to be back in New York this weekend. Stepping off the bus in Chinatown and into a street market tosses you right into the different cultures of the city. Navigating the streets with a pink duffle slung over my shoulder looking for a cab to hail just felt right.

Saturday brunch cocktails provided fuel for our trek through Greenwich, Soho and Tribeca. Despite my frumpy coat, we owned the sidewalks and would have been more at home if we had just been able to get Ravena out of the bloody map. She was the slayer of any dreams I had of not looking like a tourist.

Cupcake sluts that we are, we couldn't not stop at The Magnolia Bakery even though it meant waiting in a line that extended down the block. I can't say I'm generally for queueing up for things like food, but whatever. When in Rome, right? Final verdict on the cupcakes? Good, but Cakelove cupcakes (warm) win.

Walking back to the phat apartment Ravena secured for us*, I lusted over $300 vintage rock tees and cowboy boots in What Comes Around Goes Around and cute bags at Le Sport Sac. Realizing how irrational any of those purchases would be, our journey back to the apartment continued as we each plotted our strategy for the evening that lay before us.

What transpired that evening could a post in and of itself, but perhaps that's for another blog. The short of it is that the Peculier Bar turned out to be a good choice for those hunting the male of our species. Brits, loud Air Force guys, long-haired guys with nice eyes tucked into booths across the room...they made the evening worth it. I want to remember the following from that night: the way 'jumper' sounds, weapons of mass destruction, the sound of two glasses shattering, Scottish beer, the "did I ruin your Banana Republic scarf you imperialist bitch?" chick, and being the more sober one that night.

I miss New York already.

*Said apartment makes one more forgiving of tourist-like travesties.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New tricks

My mom has recently discovered email at work, and it's a hilarious and wonderful thing. At her old job, while she was on a computer all day long, they never had access to the internet or even email accounts. At her new job, she has her own office and personal email account, opening up a world of possibilities. She isn't one to surf the internet or blog like I do (hell, she won't even read mine), but she has discovered the single best way to get in touch with her daughter. Email. Lately we've been navigating the learning curve of a seasoned emailer versus someone playing in the email minors. For instance, I ended a sentence earlier this week with (:-p). What then ensued was a conversation dedicated to me explaining the fine art of emoticons and that that was akin to me sticking my tongue out at her. While she has yet to try one out herself, she has managed a 'right back at ya' and is turning into a fine email buddy*.

*A fine email buddy is defined as one that responds in a reasonable amount of time and provides either information, laughs or another justifiable distraction.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Someone is shitting on my rainbow

I hate that life is difficult sometimes. Why do we have to continue to be pushed to "grow" by traversing the difficult landscape of life? I want sunshine, rainbows and cupcakes all the time. I want life to be emotionally easy.

My mom leaves a voicemail on my phone yesterday afternoon that says not to call that night because my grandmother is back in the hospital and that she won't be home until late. That's it. The heifer says nothing about why my grandmother is in the hospital or not even a clue as to the seriousness. It's not like she's some distant relative I never see. This woman raised me right alongside my mom. I consider her part of my parental unit.

She's been weak and sick lately, a bad bout of arthritis taking its toll on her body. I feel useless being so far away and unable to do anything. Even worse is that I feel the fucked up part of me distancing myself from her emotionally because I fear the hurt that will inevitably come when she is gone. I worry about my mom who has to deal with this all on her own.

I want a pity party where I just sit in a corner and cry but know that will do no good. I have to do the standard and at least appear to be strong. Aren't I allowed to be weak for anyone?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fair trade is more than just coffee

In cataloguing my books for The Library Thing, I realized exactly how many books I have that I haven’t even read, many that I have no intention of reading. Most of my unread books are advance reader copies I’ve rescued from the bookstore. I have a soft spot for unclaimed books that might have some redeeming value somewhere. So I adopt these books, eventually lugging them back to apartment where they take up residence on my bookshelves.

Well, no longer. These advance copies need homes with people who may actually want to read them. Peruse my catalogue on Library Thing, and look at the books tagged 'advance reader copy'. I’m interested in a trade. You tell me which book you want and what you’ve got to trade me for it. Deal?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Blonde zombies take over DC

Is it just me, or are there more blondes* roaming the streets these days? Everywhere I turn they seem to be moving in packs throughout the city and its bars. As someone so very not blonde, I'll readily admit that I started to wonder if I was missing out and should embrace my blonde roots.
I mean they looked like they might indeed be having more fun. They all had the prerequisite hair flip and smile down. If everyone wants to be blonde, shouldn't I? I know this sounds silly and like I'm making fun (and I am a bit), but I honestly started to question whether I was at a disadvantage because of my red locks.
I had some caffeine and sense finally returned to me. Why would I want to look like everyone else? Don't I have a competitive edge by being different? I'd like to think so. out ; )

*Blondes are some of my favorite people, so please don't take offense.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Memory lane is really just a sidewalk

Last night was like hopping in the Delorean with Michael J. Fox and taking a step back in time. The "reunion" happy hour I had blogged about earlier was last night, and the best way to describe it really was like a 5-year college reunion. There were the nerves before going downstairs about wanting to look extra hott, the guy who you had the brief happy hour thing with, and the photos of everyone's children now grown up. How odd to be in a room with people who nurtured my early career and taught me pretty much everything I know about public relations and media. I felt a bit like the daughter coming home all grown up. Hearing from an even younger colleague how I had taught them so much and how they found themselves passing down the same lessons brought memories flooding back of nights slaving away under the fluorescent lights of corporate cubes throwing together press packets for a client who was paying way too much money and would show little appreciation. Add to the surreal list a conversation about online dating and botox with a divorced older colleague. It was quite the night.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Disgruntled ramblings

"Corporate America" drives me bloody batty sometimes. The Barn is back on their big dress code kick, posting missives about business casual. The reality is that this part-time retail job requires that I dress nicer* than my full-time job that pays the bills. While I meet their dress code requirements most of the time**, I don't appreciate being told what I can and cannot put on my body. I also find it ludicrous that this particular store is choosing to come up with its own interpretation of the company's dress code policy and expanding upon the employee handbook that I signed when I started.

I'm most angry right now at how this is playing out for other folks. Manager X has a particular style that doesn't sit well with the latest store manager. While she technically meets the dress code according to the handbook, her clothes are baggier than they'd like, and if they're being honest with themselves, probably a bit manlier than they are comfortable with. Recently, they sat her down with a copy of What Not to Wear. I find this a tad hypocritical since the same store manager was known to bare her midriff during the warmer months. If no one counseled an older woman on whether or not she should really be dressing like her teen daughter, what right does she have to girlify another manager not comfortable in tight clothes? I don't particularly like Manager X's clothes, but the fact of the matter is that her clothes and style are her own. Her look offends no one and shouldn't be up for corporate debate.

*with the exception of any important meetings
**flipflops in the summer are my big exception

Monday, January 22, 2007

Too "nonprofit"

An email in my inbox this morning brought the past rushing back. The old public affairs group from my first post-college job is having a happy hour reunion at some old school DC establishment later this month. Immediately I was reminded of all the lessons I learned in the "big 5" PR world and of all of the characters I met. It's place where I learned that who you know really does matter. At the same time, I also learned that hard work pays off (sometimes). Profit and billable hours were my lingo, and even my idealism couldn't protect me from clients who were willing to shell out the big bucks for my pimping services. Three years of being worn down drove me to non-profit sector and a place where idealism is coddled. That said, the people I worked with had staying power. Most were good people who would have your back in a minute. Dare I show at happy hour? Am I too crunchy, liberal to even roll with the big boys anymore?

Friday, January 19, 2007


Tonight our bookclub meets and discusses Cunt. I knew the selection of this title would cause quite a stir, but I didn't really think it would go as far as it has.

I should start by saying that, while this is not my favorite word, it doesn't offend me any more than any other word. It's just a word, and I firmly believe we give words power by making them so verboten*. A good friend challenged me to use it continually over the course of one day, and it totally desensitized me to it. In choosing this month's title, I thought it might give more positive ammunition in fighting the stigma of the word.

Turns out choosing a book called Cunt** for a Barnes & Noble (officially sanctioned) bookclub raises more than a few eyebrows. List it on the store's community events calendar? Give it the signage normal bookclub books get? Are you kidding me?! Haha. All of the marketing materials were actually printed before one of the store's printers got so concerned they contacted corporate headquarters in NYC. The big bosses up in NY evidently got their panties in such a wad that they called down to the store our bookclub is housed out of to ask what was up. Oh my...can't say I was disappointed in attracting the attention of corporate. I was, however, disappointed that Barnes & Noble is ok with selling and earning a profit from a book but not promoting it. Notice I said disappointed...not surprised. None of this is shocking.

The only thing that has shocked me at all is my discovery that I basically have no freedom of speech rights in the workplace. Perhaps it was a bit Pollyanna of me to think I had some kind of legal legs to stand on. Well, for the record, I do not. The courts have definitely not defined freedom of speech as an absolute. In the private sector, the First Amendment freedom of speech criteria (generalizing here...there are some instances where they may be applied) do not apply.

*I'm a bit of a hypocrite and will readily admit it. While I do believe we have also empowered the n* word, I would never say nor condone saying it.
**I can't say I was all that impressed with the actual book.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

tickling itchy feet

It's what the Lonely Planet site has on the header of their WorldGuide, and it's a syndrome that I chronically suffer from. What do you do when you've got an itch? I don't know about you, but I'm a chronic scratcher. Today's top 5 is a list of random towns I want to visit soon.

1. Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
2. San Cristobal, Chiapas
3. Iceland (anywhere now that I've seen the amazing Flickr photos)
4. Bangalore, India
5. Lesotho, Africa

In other news, my trip to the airport late yesterday proved fruitful. After waiting in line at the American counter for 30 minutes, I finally had answers to the questions the Internet could not solve for me and the automated phone system refused to help with. Turns out my the return ticket I didn't use from San Angelo to BWI can be used anytime before December 27 as long as I pay the $100 change fee. I also learned that I can use my voucher pretty much however I want. Talk about a conundrum. I was left wondering whether I should go somewhere exotic alone or get two tickets to somewhere in the states and take a friend. I really want to share Austin with these two but think plans for a quick trip might need to be put on hold. One thing is certain; a jaunt around the globe will happen sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Flashbacks and other such nonsense

Sometimes I think I'm two different people fighting it out in one body. There is the easy going, laid back Serena who truly is flexible and can roll with the punches. On the flip side of the coin, you have super sensitive Serena who gets her feelings hurt if the wind blows too hard and whose temper can't be blamed on her red hair.

That said, some of the stories I carried back from my holiday travels shouldn't be so surprising. Our first night on the road, we left Austin around 3:30 pm determined to get as close to the Texas border as possible. Roughly eight hours later, we rolled into a desolate* town of Van Horn, Texas. Tired from having spent the morning packing up a two bedroom apartment and driving (or in my case staring at the back of) a UHaul for hours on end, we decided grab a room in one of the 10 or so roadside motels. Who would have guessed that every single person driving I-10 had the same idea. Ten hotels and no vacancies. If I had been pregnant, I would have felt like Mary.

The car was low on gas, so we decide to head to the nearest gas station (re: truck stop) to fill up. Time for a game plan. My traveling partner reminded me that I had mentioned camping and that we could find a place to park the vehicles and camp out in them. No problem. My easy going self was totally fine with that. While I have my high maintenance moments, I'm not a total diva who demands a hotel room and a shower**. The problem arose when I misheard something my friend said. Let's just say I thought he was sending me off to sleep in the vast truck stop parking lot all by myself. Can you imagine? I've seen way too many movies where bad things happen to people in truck stop parking lots****. I was furious and terribly upset***. I'm sobbing and searching for a place to park a Honda Civic next to these gargantuan trucks. The walkie talkie beside me crackles, and I can only manage to sob, "leave me alone." Sobbing still, I wonder how I got myself into this mess and how I'm ever going to sleep parked next to all of these trucks.

Can you see where this is going? The easy going, laid back me is fine sleeping in a car and adjusting to the roadblocks of life. However, there's also the part of me that gets worked up so easily. I was devastated and angry at the way I thought I was being treated all at the same time. The story continues, but you get the drift. Needless to say, we talked the next morning, and I had misheard his original statement. Being so sensitive led me to take what I thought I heard and turn it into this huge THING.

*Not desolate enough, since we soon determined the town was FULL.
**OMG, how I wanted a shower after the sweating involved in loading a UHaul!
***I'm also stubborn and didn't bother to stop and clarify his statement.
****Joy Ride, Thelma & Louise, etc.