January 31, 2006
A Test of the Emergency Broadcast System
I know this is supposed to be all about AC/DC and hating toddlers and drinking Chardonnay and all that good stuff, and I’m sure it will come back, but today I just can’t do it.

I am facing right now the potential disintegration of my two-year relationship. Not just any relationship, but the one you just know is the One. The relationship that when it ends you want to kick someone in the gut for even thinking to offer the hollow “I’m sure you’ll meet someone soon.” That almost makes you drop to your knees in the toilet paper aisle at Target when on the phone he mentions going solo to a family wedding the two of you had been talking about for months. The man who if you were ever tied down and forced to procreate, you’d pick to watch you be thrown up on and someday grill your daughter’s dates when they arrive with tacky boutonnieres. Your puzzle pieces fit, so perfectly, that you often wonder how you ended up in separate boxes, in separate stores, in separate states to begin with.

But the equation of love and honesty and devotion and respect and laughter and commitment and a love of BEAUTY AND PEOPLE AND TRAVEL, GODDAMIT! doesn’t add up and you JUST CAN’T SEEM TO GET ALONG ANYMORE.

Minutiae become mountains and suddenly open cabinet doors are the precursor to a heated conversation. You fall into a routine. The amazing little things – like looks across the table that let you know you’re on the same page and missing each other on the road entirely because each of you is surprising the other with ice cream – are missing.

Can you ever get that back?

If these kinds of relationships don’t work out, then why ever invest in ANYONE? Why open yourself up and share your world with anyone other than two cats who keep you up all damn night by inserting their nails in your nostrils, just to remind you that you are on the very verge of Dr. Philisms and Match.com? Ugh. At least that hurts a lot less than this does.

I’m not sure what to say beyond that. I’m pretty sure my comments will dry up and crickets will abound, but this just is what it is.


January 26, 2006
I never sausage a thing.
Today I felt awful for sausage. Not the same kind of awful I feel while watching Rudy, but you’ll get the gist.

I was devouring my Diet Supreme (not at all French) Bread Pizza That Comes in the Green Box, when between the two bites it usually takes me to consume it, I actually looked down. There was the pepperoni, splayed out in male peacock fashion, round and robust and fully symmetrical. It was the color of a goat’s teat and – next to the MSG/roid-raged green and red peppers – it was the most colorful part of the topping fireworks display.

Pepperoni had it going on, and it was making no apologies.

And next to these uber toppings, the sparkling onion and even the slick, taupe mushroom, was the gray matter. Bits of something. Nay, morsels? Chunks? Nah. Lumps. Bulges of what looked like chewed-up newspaper or maybe even smooth, moist cat litter. Closer examination revealed these knobs to be the red-headed stepchild of the linked-meat universe: the sausage ball.

Researcher that I am, I had to track down others. It turns out sausage scabs abound. All the diet pizzas have them, scraps of virtually colorless meat material. (My first recollection of the meat in its post-living form is from the Butcher’s Wife - I blame the fact that it’s imprinted itself on my brain on the odd pairing of Demi Moore and possibly one of the Daniels brothers (?) – and it looked much like pepperoni [whose mention for some strange reason always brings both a Burgess Meredith ”baloney pony” reference to mind and an equally disturbing shudder].)

Sausage AND pepperoni both come in a link, straight from the ark, do they not?

But wait, the pizza chains have them too. Ground up bits. Tads of something. Specks of pork and orphans and sparrow beak (or whatever it is). Check it all out at a Pizza Lean-To and a Papa Juan’s near you. I tell you no lies.

I don’t even like sausage. I usually pick it off, much like old women in the path of my minivan (I kid). But if I were you, and I liked sausage, I’d revolt. It’s time for the kind of mass phone campaign that brought Designing Women back. That should save Arrested Development. That the beau makes to sex lines each month.

Wait, what?

File this under: FTLOG. Tags: mutton morsels; baloney pony; my massive phone bills and I don’t even use the damn thing; crickets.

January 22, 2006
Did I mention we have the Garden State in common?
Dear Peter,

I am so happy you could make it. I trust that the accommodations I set up for you in the Tupperware storage box under my bed are up to your expectations. As we discussed while you were in the trunk of my Sentra, I will do my best to make your tenure as my Underrated & Neglected Forced Actor In Residence (UNFAIR) valuable. (And definitely more worthwhile than Flight Plan.)

I hope I didn’t frighten you when I put that hood on you so swiftly at Au Bon Pain. I neglected then to tell you of the prestige that accompanies this new role. Know that this honor is one for which you must be chosen, as others including Timothy Hutton (UNFAIR, ’80), John Cusack (’87, ’99 and '05), Hank Azaria (’00) were before you. Many actors, meeting neither the underrated nor the enticing nor the endearing requirements (see Ethan Hawke, circa Before Sunrise) have been turned away despite their frenzied pleas.

Each morning I will provide you with a schedule of the day’s activities. Potential activities will include, but will not be limited to:

· You pseudo-chastizing me – while wearing only a flat cap and chewing on a Cross pen – for plagiarizing all of my blog entries, Stephen Glass style. Bad Kris.

· You. Brooding.

· You writing Mrs. Kris Sarsgaard 250-300 times in provided composition notebook. This will be followed by you using big words like “acquiesce” and “evidentiary” and “morose” whole looking off into space.

· Full re-enactment of full frontal nudity a la Kinsey.

· You laying around without your shirt on. Holding my cats. While I paint a Titanic-like portrait of you.

· Fountain soda breaks/Impromptu movie kiss sessions.

· More Brooding.

· Working on your positive professional self-talk, utilizing such phrases as “I am NOT the poor woman’s Paul Newman.” (Please note that this did wonders for my 2002 UNFAIR, Colin Firth.) World acting domination/our wedding is sure to soon follow.

So just relax and try not to cover your air holes.

With love and admiration,


January 19, 2006
And on the third day, God created the airhead.
HR notified me today that in my first act as Newly-Employed Thirtysomething, I designated myself as my own life insurance beneficiary.

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January 16, 2006
There must be a Carly Simon song for this. [Now with 33% more update!]

When I was six my mother bought me a pristine pink outfit for the first day of second grade. I couldn’t wait to start the year wearing it. Mom laid it out on the spare twin in my bedroom with great care, and with even greater care I smoothed out the wrinkles after she left. I slept with both the light on and a huge stinking grin on my face. I first woke up at 2 a.m. (I wonder who will sit next to me tomorrow!) Again at 3:45 (Mrs. Brown seems SO nice!). At 4 o’clock, I truly thought my head would explode (I wonder where our first field trip will be!!!) Finally, at 5, I broke free of the constraints of adult time (and the duvet) and put the whole damn outfit on. And then I went back to bed. Fully dressed.

My excessive enthusiasm for first days has faded only slightly in the 26 years that have passed. I spent the last few days making trips to CVS for basic toiletry needs (I surely must have some tissues and Advil for the office!), to the mall (I don’t have a pair of brown shoes that are precisely what I need for that outfit), and to every damn Ann Taylor in the national capital area (Good news, Miss! We’ve located a store in upper Arkansas that has the pants in your size!) I have the tampon stash, the new silver jewelry, and all the trouser socks and 100-calorie pack Cheese Nips necessary to return successfully to the workforce.

[Please note that I have effectively stifled the urge to A number 1) do a drive by of the new office to scope out chain restaurants and driving shortcuts and other people’s outfits and such, and B number 2) clean Staples out of every novelty Post-It, writing implement, labeling gadget, and excessively large vat of Starlight Mints on those shelves within my reach. This is mostly due to A number 1) an irrational fear of my future boss and/or coworkers seeing me doing said drive by in vehicle whose missing hubcap has yet to be replaced, and B number 2) a perfectly rational fear that, after indulging in aforementioned expenditures, Visa check card may/will likely be declined at Staples checkout line.]

So tonight I will pack my new handbag full of unnecessary goodies and paint my nails a pale shade of pink. I will lay out the outfit I will be wearing tomorrow, right down to the last earring and bracelet. And I will make no promises that I will wait until morning to put it all on.

FIRST DAY UPDATE:What could have made the day more perfect? I made it through the entire morning without seeing that excruciating Dub Dub commercial in which Cher howls about loneliness while chunky women like yours truly walk about the screen.

I discovered that I can Eat Fresh for weekday lunch WITHOUT HAVING TO DRIVE ANYWHERE! Represent, Jared!


Did I mention my commute was cut by 10 minutes?

I feel like I'm going to do good things with this new group. Good things make mama happy.

As in lives past, no one told me about their gastric bypass surgery or second broken engagement in the first two hours.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did fantasize (between breaths on the ride home, detailing the entire day to my padre via cell phone) for at least 12 full minutes about all the goods I would buy for my new office (Ooooh! A girl needs a new lamp!)

And the piece de creme brulee; I HOUSED those college suckers on my cognitive show tonight.

Now my peepers and I are sleepy. I'm going to turn off my celly, watch a Juiceman infomercial while performing aerobatic feats of macrame (I kid about the juice thing) and, well, I'm just going to kick it.

I love you and your support.

January 13, 2006
Unanticipated unemployment benefit #3: Having the distinct advantage of being able to visit your podiatrist and the gynecologist in the same afternoon.

Unanticipated unemployment benefit #7: Being at home to see the painter across the street urinate on the roof of the house NEXT TO THE ONE HE'S WORKING ON because he's too lazy to go inside.

Unanticipated unemployment benefit #27: Ellen, Oprah, Dr. Phil. A Wedding Story, A Baby Story, A Makeover Story, Perfect Proposal, Whose Freaking Wedding is it, Anyway?, Everything on Discovery Health About Twins With Multiple Heads. Passions.

(Please give me due credit for leaving Tony Danza out of this dazzling array.)

Unanticipated unemployment benefit #36: Discovering your long-mourned Paula Abdul CD while cleaning out the trunk of your car.

Unanticipated unemployment benefit #42: Increased neurosis with a side of Generalized Anxiety. Do I really need Q Tips? I could always swirl up toilet paper and use that until I get a paycheck. Oh, must remember to buy fast food today so I can pilfer ketchup packets and Splenda from the condiments bar.

Unanticipated unemployment benefit #50: Shaving. Every day.

Unanticipated unemployment benefit #75: 73 days after starting your job search, 40 resumes, one job fair, three paper cuts (one in the web of your right hand, I might add), 56 sappy looks from people who know your plight, and one employer who interviewed you and NEVER EVEN CALLED BACK, the job that you cross your fingers, toes, and eyelashes for calls and tells you it's a go. And you feel so fantastic that you dance around the apartment first with one cat, and then with the one that is now hiding from you.

I start on Tuesday.

January 12, 2006
What? Sometimes I sit around in a martini glass. So?
No one ever mentioned that my olive was hairy.

January 9, 2006
Play that funky music white girl
I arrived at the weekend with a need to burn off steam. I found myself a) unemployed, and in that state following one of the most stressful weeks of work on record, and b) with an awful post-cruise cold, likely picked up from one of the many coughing-sans-coverage passengers on my 767. Saturday arrived, and with it the promise of a Redskins playoff game. The beau and I had a tiff that day, so in true Kris fashion, I donned my largest boyfriend-defiant hoop earrings, took his beer out of my fridge, and headed to the Best Friend's house for some football and Baked Lays.

I'm convinced that Redskins football is literally in her blood, the promise of a Super Bowl ring something that pulled her through the days of the clots. With each passing play, the two of us drank more cheap beer, cheered our hearts out, sang the Redskins fight song, drank the rest of the white wine, made the cat cheer much to his chagrin, drank red wine, broke open champagne, and danced. Yes, my friends. A la Bridget Jones, we two solo females got our groove on right there in her 50's kitsch-filled Arlington pad, courtesy of her excessive drunken iTunes downloading, while her tailless cat hid in the kitchen.

From the moment the Best Friend started playing her AC/DC air guitar, I knew it was SO on. I spent those first few seconds contemplating the dance moves that would follow. Ohhhh, yeah.

She was a fast machine
She kept her motor clean
She was the best damn woman I had ever seen

I recall there being a lot of hip movement at this point, the old reliable college move that, accompanied by a badass game face, could definitely pass for dancing in the right lighting.

She had the sightless eyes
Telling me no lies
Knockin' me out with those American thighs

I took it up a notch, introducing Rockettes kicks into my routine, puffing with pride that my legs could clear the height of the sofa.

Taking more than her share
Had me fighting for air
She told me to come but I was already there

Shake it! Now back to the hips. And some booty shaking with the arms high over the head. Man, I probably looked hot, Claire's Boutique hoop earrings and all.

'Cause the walls start shaking
The earth was quaking


My mind was aching
And we were making it and you -

My sassy hips crescendoed with the music, and I decided it was time to bring out the big guns. I hadn't attempted it since college, but it was time once again for the worm.

You shook me all night long

Hands strategically placed on my hips, I attempted to let the hard rock genius flow from the soles of my black Chucks up to my pursed lips.

But something went terribly wrong.

Yeah you, shook me all night long

The smooth, 20-year-old hip action was no longer there, and it was replaced by a jerking motion that made me appear to be in the front row of a certain fitness enthusiast's Sweating to the Aussies.

Working double time
On the seduction line
She was one of a kind, she's just mine all mine

I was in bad shape. Bucking to and fro out of control, I tried to think quickly, and in my tipsy haze did the only thing I could think of to save myself: I pulled out the thumbs.

She wanted no applause
Just another course
Made a meal out of me and came back for more

That's right: the thumbs. I had reverted to the Solid Gold kiss of death and there was no way out. I found myself sashaying to the right, pausing at the end with a raised right foot and hitchiking move of dramatic proportions.

Had to cool me down
To take another round
Now I'm back in the ring to take another swing

I checked to see if the shades were down and if my friend still appeared too drunk to notice me.

'Cause the walls were shaking
The earth was quaking

And now that I had gone the whole way right, there was no way out other than to thumb my way back to the left.

My mind was aching
And we were making it and you -

The song lasted another couple of minutes, and I cut my losses by hopping around in a circle Flatley style throughout the entire chorus and lengthy guitar solo. I was winded with anxiety, and mortified that my dance moves were so bad. Hi, my name is Kris, and I am a twentysomething no more. I contemplated going to buy my first pair of elasticized pants from Penney's.

In hindsight, I'm proud to say that I never resorted to biting my lower lip while the thumbs were in play, a middle-age dance move best displayed with a loosened tie at weddings.

But let's be honest with each other, friends. It's really only a matter of time.

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January 5, 2006
La Isla Barista
Friday is my last day of work.

I'm not sure if I've shared this before, but I've served many a professional purpose over the course of my young life.

My first job was as an assistant to the activities director at a nursing home. I ran chair exercise activities to the tune of "the Atchison, Topeka and the Sante Fe" while my participants tried to keep their uppers securely in their gums. I loved it. That and the fact that I discovered a love for - nay, a passion for - low-sodium tomato soup AND macaroni salad while working a 4th of July picnic on the lawn there.

In my later years I worked at a Mom and Pop pharmacy. Well, it was a pharmacy and a card/balloon store. Did I mention that in the lower half of the store you could buy beer and wine? And that as an 18 year old I'd give out recommendations on the best white to share with Turkey Divan? Not sure if I talked about the part where I kept the humidor at Fahrenheit perfection and sold cigars with your Pampers and Amoxicillin. Or if I shared that the store security cameras were focused on the employees rather than the customers. Right.

I also was voted Class Flirt for my '91 senior superlatives, once made some MEAN mini-rum cakes in bundt formation, and have never had a cold sore.

Should you need assistance in any of the above areas, please feel free to contact me for employment.

January 4, 2006
Is it wrong that when I see housewives win big money on Wheel of Fortune - a guilty pleasure I refer to as my cognitive show as I'm convinced the before and after puzzles alone will stave off the onset of Alzheimer's - and the husbands run up to hug their newly-rich wives, I always suspect he's thinking, "Well geez, I can't leave her, because we've got enough money for that big bass fishin' boat I always wanted," and I think his mistress, the permed girl at DQ who has mastered dunking your cone in warm chocolate without it losing its swirly head, is watching in horror, thinking, "Ain't that the crap? He's so not gonna take me to Daytona now."?

Yeah. It probably is.

January 2, 2006
Seven dolphins swimming
Wish you had been there. Truly.

I have uncovered Christmas truths that I shall forever be grateful for, wisdom imparted to me by seven days at sea. I present them to you in print but recommend you sing each of the first lines out loud, forever to be branded by neighboring cubemates as "le freak."

On the first day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . old women are indeed biddies. Yes, my friends. After hitting the threshold that is 78 these ladies turn into mean, mean girls. Truthfully, I care not for their excuses of dementia or living through both the Depression and leisure suits. Old women are ruder than Shannen Doherty on a bad day at the Peach Pit. I'm not going to go into the details, but suffice it to say that some days I wish I could have reamed the mean old ones without worrying about them dropping dead halfway through my rant.

On the second day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . you can make fun of others as a family. Our family games began with poolside Connect Four and rose to the heights of spotting the most offensive of the holiday vests/sweaters/mistletoe earrings and Rudolph brooches DON'T COUNT ALREADY. More fun than quarter slots and CATS, I tell you. I scored unlimited points when I unknowingly rescued a full-on frantic Santa sweater from the restroom when she didn't remember to push rather than to pull. Queen for a day, I was.

On the third day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . in the heat Uggs are unnecessary. It's 80 degrees, young one. I don't recall a scheduled stop in the Alps. Why the need to wear hairy boots?

On the fourth day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . with cheese sculptures I must disagree. Mr. Culinary genius, I appreciate the artistic merit of your watermelon swan and even riskier endeavors such as the turkey ice carving created poolside, but the sharp cheddar duck was over the top. Not all is lost, my friend. At least your indiscretions are still less irritating than those of the much-maligned ship's photographer, who is surprisingly more persistent than the woman in Costa Maya insisting we'd all look spectacular in braids.

On the fifth day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . cell phones are not what they're cracked up to be. Believe it or not, I survived seven full days without cell service, and these were seven of the happiest days of my life. I didn't need to call anyone when I was tubing under stalactites in 100-foot caves in Belize. And although I had the urge to drunk dial while on a catamaran in Cozumel - just to say that I was having a Corona after snorkeling at 10 in the morning - I replaced that phone space with a few more minutes staring into the teal water. I don't make resolutions, but I am vowing to try to turn my cellular crutch off more and more this year. There is just too much else to savor.

On the sixth day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . Lost has ruined any chance of me traveling comfortably. It isn't the visual of the plane breaking in half that is etched into my brain (although I must admit to that running through my mind on occasion at 37,000 feet). I actually study the habits of those in my travel environment to gauge a) their potential to forage successfully for nuts and berries and 200-pound wild boar, b) their ability to fit the requisite island roles (e.g., young woman who looks good without makeup but amply covered in sweat DUE TO HER WEARING JEANS AND A CLUNKY BELT IN THE 100 DEGREE HEAT, canine character actor who has no problem doing nothing but drinking water for 37 consecutive takes), and c) the likelihood that they'll have an effervescent back story to which we can refer in future episodes. I'm serious.

On the last day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . in most of us there is such beauty. Our server works six straight months before getting time off to visit her children in the Phillipines and yet she met us every evening with multiple giggles and questions about our day. She grew to know each of our names and would sneak away when no manager was near to talk more with us. On one of my shore excursions a family saw that I was touring alone and welcomed me into their group; we talked so much that the book I had intended to read while in transit sat untouched in my bag. My Belizean tour guide pulled up a chair and had chicken and Coke (in a bottle!) with me at my otherwise unoccupied table. Nearly every person I encountered took the extra time to give a little more. Call it the vacation, blame it on the holidays, but it is comforting to see that the 6 o'clock news doesn't cover all we have to offer. Even the cruise biddies couldn't ruin that.