April 27, 2006

I am not, nor have I ever been, athletic. I am quite likely the only woman who avoided the vault and the flexed arm hang for all four years of high school. At the height of my prowess, I once translated a tipped softball into a ripe black eye one week before the prom. I was also born with a paunch that never did reabsorb with the rest of the baby fat; after a year of very adult anxiety, at the age of 10 I pulled my father aside to inform him that, although I couldn’t explain just how it had happened, I was very much pregnant.

Then again, I was never the last to be picked on the blacktop, either, a combination of early training for what would manifest in a Senior Superlative for Class Flirt and uncanny hand-eye coordination that I am convinced only fully developed as a result of years of Connect Four. But I’ve always been mediocre. The one who was better at steering the golf cart than using the driver, the woman at the work picnic who keeps throwing the damn Frisbee into the street.

And so, in this year of taking on new things, those things I’m afraid of, I am taking my athletic avoidance head on: I started swimming lessons this week.

I should clarify something. I have always felt at home in the water. On long road trips I would beg my parents to drive to the next hotel – PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE – in case it had a pool. I would whine to my poor mother until she would force my poor father to carry a five-year-old me into the ocean.

But my swimming advancement has always been hindered by the presence of one oddly-evolved survival technique. As I don’t know how to breathe properly while in the water, at a very early age I learned to create an airtight seal between my upper lip and nostrils.

(I’ll pause while you try it out.)

I didn’t think anything of it until, at the age of 17, I emerged from a dive to find my lifeguard boyfriend wearing a look that said he sincerely hoped I would be good at having sex, as then it might be worth staying with such a woman.

(This move also proved adaptive during second rounds of sorority rush. During a particularly excruciating bout of small-group “what is special about you?” sharing – when I could no longer take the testimonials about volunteering their summers to save the animals of Equitorial Guinea and oohs and ahs about the ability to play the cello without hands – I broke out my nostril/lip-suction, party-pleasing move. The moment that followed may have been the very genesis of crickets.)

So you can imagine my reticence as I stepped into the cold water this week, unsure as to how I was even supposed to strap those goggles to my head, that after initial instructions and short demos our instructor asked us to show our stuff. Only one quarter of one lap.

I stood freezing in the corner of the shallow end, shaking from what I prefer to think was the crisp water. You go first, their eyes begged. And so I did. I breathed deeply. I began to swim.

I'm actually breathing!

And I kept going.

Look Ma! No water in my lungs!

I eventually heard my classmates and teacher yelling through the splashing that I was well beyond where we were told to stop.

I am quite sure I have not felt that good since the Bicentennial.

And I basked in the smell of chlorine until finally washing it from my skin the next morning.

April 25, 2006
At some point during the weekend . . .
Jorge started using lots of words with the very-foreign “our,” apparently over-pronounced a la those Jagewwwwarrr commericals (reference: see such complex words as behaviour, flavour, and downpour)

I lit a cigarette off of my stove. My flat, electric stove.

Kim texted someone.

Mrs. Jorge had to resort to an Avril Lavigne reference when I asked her if there were famous Canadian people.

Heather B. walked home from Bethesda, or some equally-distant, unfamiliar land. At 4 in the morning.

Kim texted someone else.

Heather B. drank wine to attempt to restart her wilting self. At 9 in the morning.

I wiped my T zone in Crisco and then posed for all pictures. (Reference: see all pictures of my shiny-countenanced self taken in last 72 hours.)

I didn’t think I’d ever recover from a red-wine induced migraine. Stupid Merlot.

The BF used the c word, causing both Mrs. Jorge and I to pass quickly into convulsions.

I would catch Jorge and the Mrs. taking a moment together, and was struck by just how close and in tune of a couple they are.

Kim single handedly caused Anheuser-Busch stock prices to plummet when she ordered a white wine.

I ate pizza. And it was so damn good.

Jorge awoke to find himself flanked by Bug and Cricket.

My visitors recoiled in horror when they saw where the blogging magic happens: on my Fujitsu laptop, also known as a refurbed ’86 Speak & Spell.

The Venga Bus is Coming was actually played in my apartment. Both the baby Jesus and Mary weeped openly.

More as I remember them.


April 24, 2006
Giggidy giggidy
Hours spent cleaning up Cricket’s hair balls and hiding human heads in places other than freezer: 5.

Dollars spent in eight minutes during the first Giant trip in two months, picking up staples other than wine, tampons, and Lean Cuisines: 76.

Acquiring a pink apron-ed, French toast-making Canadian kitchen minion for a full 48 hours: Priceless.


April 20, 2006
Stuff and Things
Let me begin with an apology. I have been so consumed with my damn self as of late, and trying to get to a state of (new) normalcy, that I have been neglecting your sites. Strangely, I think of you all more than a sane woman, or at least one with a life, should.

I worry that I’m missing out on important developments in the blogosphere:

Did Jodi have her baby?

Did Egan and Pants and Therese decide to run a marathon in Tuscany together?

Knox, are you engaged?

Did Jurgen write that tell-all book about me that she’s been threatening?

And the list goes on and on. I will be better, I promise. Right after Dear Diary Day. (Yes, it actually exists. I totally Googled it.)

In other developments, the BMIB (Big Man in the Blogosphere) and his wife are getting me back and coming to take over my king bed for the weekend. Bug and Crick have been trained to sing the Canadian national anthem and I have stocked the fridge full of maple syrup (hey, I hear it’s what they know.) Friday night we’re pretty much going to watch Slap Shot and listen to Celine Dion, but for those local yokels without Saturday plans, we’ll be getting together in the nation's capital to partake in some booze and lame discussions about bandwidth, Blogger v. Typepad, and Dooce – please email me for specifics if you’d like to join us. We’d love to see you there!

In the Same Old, Same Old File: On my walk last night I turned the corner and found myself walking behind an older couple out for a stroll. Hunched over. Holding hands. Of course I burst into tears. Right there in the road and right there in public.

Thank God neither of them was carrying a DVD of the Notebook, or I’m quite sure I would have had to be hospitalized.

April 18, 2006
Steel Plates in Head
I had a little to drink this weekend.

And one night, in my happiest of happy-hour states, I made the very rational decision that it would be smart to get out and get my exercise on. I recall factoring into my assessment that I would likely feel pretty crummy in the morning, so it would be very practical to get the day’s calorie burning in the night before.


I somehow laced up my shoes and put on matching clothing. I remembered my Nano and cell, but of course forgot to change into a sports bra – let’s be honest, taking off the first one might have resulted in me Houdini-d in the straps and having to call 911 with my toes.

I happily stumbled out the door.

I stop short of recommending drinking pre-strenuous activity, but I’ve got to be honest, I was en fuego. I was a veritable powerhouse for at least an hour, fueled by the beauty that is Britney’s Toxic and a little Lady Marmalade. I put a swagger in my step as I passed a few firemen born in the 80s and have pieced together that I, that's right - the Kris you know and maybe love - even smiled as I flew past several Moms and babies.

I know. Drunk.

As I neared the end of my Rocky run, I passed one of those automated speed signs that screams in school zones and such that you are not, indeed, crawling below the 3.5 mile-per-hour speed limit. And in the darkness, the majestic, huge numbers lit up just like my peepers do when they’ve spied a pizza:


I actually did a little rock out dance, celebrating my exercise prowess. SWEET! ‘Sup, Flo Jo?!? That must be some kind of record!

crickets squared.

It had almost fully passed me before I realized it was a green minivan that registered that warp speed, not my fleshy gams.

Clearly I need to switch to beer before that marathon.

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April 14, 2006
I may take this post down, because I don’t like braggarts, boasters, sycophants, narcissists, or carpetbaggers, for that matter

And it just feels soooooo damn good.

The weekend shall therefore involve much wine but very little Easter candy.

Let it commence.


April 12, 2006
Honestly, how much can one girl take in two weeks?

Gyllenhaal, Sarsgaard Engaged
Apr 11, 2:44 PM EST

The Associated Press

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard are engaged and expecting a baby, her publicist said Tuesday.

It will be the first marriage for both actors, Gyllenhaal's representative, Amanda Silverman, said Tuesday. No other information was released.

The couple have been dating for four years.

Screen credits for the 28-year-old Gyllenhaal include roles in Oliver Stone's upcoming "World Trade Center," "Mona Lisa Smile," "Secretary" and "Donnie Darko," co-starring her brother, Jake Gyllenhaal.

Sarsgaard, 35, starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in last year's war drama "Jarhead." His screen credits also include "Boys Don't Cry," "Shattered Glass" and "Kinsey."

props to Mystery Girl and Erika for bringing this madness to my attention.


April 11, 2006
Warning: This entry brought to you by rage and the number 4
I was asked out today. More about that later.

First, let me say that I am so, so, SO holding up my part of the new life bargain. I am giving space where every ounce of me has never known to give it, AND FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES I HAVE GIVEN UP (THE ENTIRE BOTTLE OF) WINE AND PIZZA AND LAUGHING COW CHEESE IN THE SPAN OF TWO MONTHS, DAMMIT. When a girl changes her WHOLE LIFE (I’m not kidding when I use those caps, dear readers) and tries to improve herself to the core – to be a more selfless friend and more attentive daughter and a woman who can put someone else’s needs before her own, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND OPRAH AND ALL THAT IS HOLY*, CAN SOMEONE JUST THROW HER A FUCKING BONE?

And by bone, I’m talking to you, Arlington County, home of the enigmas that are Katie Couric and Crystal City. Isn’t it nice that when a girl goes out to get some off this off her mind, and drinks one glass of wine too many, and does the responsible, Sex and the City thing and takes an overpriced cab back into DC, that you TOW HER CAR AT 5:50 ON A WEEKEND MORNING? Screw Virginia and her lovers.

Moral: A breakup, a hangover, NO VISIBLE TOW COMPANY NUMBER, and an unexpected 100 bucks out of pocket are just a few ways to ruin a new pair of contacts.

But onward it was. (“I made it a whole week!”) And then in the middle of an innocuous conversation I noticed a man was talking to me in a way that seemed just slightly different than the moment before. I could feel it coming. And then for the first time since the beau and I completely stopped talking (which shall heretofore be referred to as After Silence, or AS, as opposed to Before Silence, or BS. Today is roughly 10 days AS. You’ll catch on.), it came.

And this man is so nice. And has such a nice way about him. And means so well.

And all I could think about when he asked me was how in that very instant I might actually be sick.

(No, party people. Please don’t tell me how this is a good thing and I should feel wonderful about how someone wants to date me and this bodes well as now I will certainly not be the last of the Marsh girls to get married off of Papa’s farm.)

Because it just doesn’t matter.

Though no fault of his own, I don’t want to go out with this man. I don’t want to do 4-minute dating or see That Drunk Guy slinking toward me from across the bar or – shudder – fill out an eHarmony profile so I can finally realize that, after all, I’m only compatible with my dad.

What I’d like very much is to have my last relationship back circa one year in. When we used to be a team against the world, when we flirted over email and knew we were funnier and stronger than any other damn couple on the planet, when we could read the other’s mind with only a glance, when we seemed to be the only couple who vehemently refused to sit on the same side of the table at the goddamn Ruby Tuesday.

I should never have put another pair of new contacts in.

*Weight gods, please note that this statement is in no way intended for you, and that I appreciate every ounce of the 12.2 pounds you have let me lose thus far.


April 6, 2006
Reader Male
Sometimes a man's perspective is so refreshing. This has shown itself to be particularly true in the age of my recent relationship woes, when men have offered me some of the most sage words of wisdom sans analysis, Baked Doritos, and estrogen.

This first gem comes from Quinn*, a man who has known Kris since the days when she exceeded the legal limit for hanging out at bad Georgetown bars and had a diagnosable aversion to cats. A man who talks fondly of Depeche Mode and his years at Universi-teh, and who might be the first international man of mystery to wear an ascot by age 35. Recently reunited with an old love (and it feels so good), he offered these pearls of wisdom:

Sometimes it takes a year apart to realize that there really is no one else out there who's interested.

I mean, to realize that you were meant to be together.

And then there is one of the blogger loves of my life, t2ed, the Sporty Spice to my Ginger/Baby hybrid, a man who makes relationships and humor and working for the man and knowing the words to more hair band songs than I do seem effortless, who sent me this wonderful missive:

I got married so I could quit dating and let myself
go. In fact, I still threaten the wife with making
her date every now and then.

Make sure you have Matt Groening's Love is Hell. See
if you can pick out which type of couple you were.
Once this becomes funny, you're ready for further

As dating is essentially a job interview with the
threat of sex, you've got to start networking. Start
working those contacts as you have an opening to fill,
my friend. Any possibilities at the old job? Or new
one if you like really, really awkward moments in the

It is one of life's great mysteries how you always
find the perfect person once you're attached. Anyone
you turned down that you wish you hadn't? Taking up
with his best friend is always a nice touch.

Alternatively, find someone who looks just like him
and either go for a hate hump or stand him up for a
date. Both will make you feel better.

Make a list of all those traits you wish for in a boy
toy. Now rank them. Now, what are must haves?
Realize that "Pulse" and "Buys Me Dinner" are really
the only must haves on your list. See, there are
plenty of guys who fit the bill!

You should relish all those things you can do now that
you're "out of committee." Order whatever you want on
your pizza. Watch all those girly movies he'd never
sit through. Randomly talk about your feelings in the
middle of sporting events. Buy pillows for your bed
that are just for show. Buy small soaps and
handtowels that may not be used. Throw your clothes
everywhere. Do whatever you want to. This will only
be a phase so do not paint your apartment black.

Sorry you are blue. Things will get better. Now
continue to crank Love Bites, Love Stinks, Hate Myself
for Loving You, Bad Medicine, and I Like Them Big and
Stupid (by Julie Brown) as loud as your neighbors can
stand it.

Keep your chin up, kid.


I love you guys.

*he so wishes this was his name.

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April 4, 2006
Good thing I finally noticed that USC was nowhere near the national championship. Ho hum.

I'm pretty sure last night's thunderstorms were the eminent baby Jesus crying because of Florida's imminent win.

Although admittedly Gainesville has one of the finest Taco Bells on the planet, I would have been much happier had that been their only claim to fame. Murr.

April 2, 2006
An April Fool
Against my better judgment and all innate urges, I babysat this weekend. Well, it was more like assisting in babysitting. You know, smiling a lot and trying not to swear too much, not getting close enough to maim or otherwise injure the infant, and talking Final Four in the den with the dad while the real women reviewed the infant's routine.

The baby didn't even see his parents head out the door. I know he was aware that they were prepping to leave, but I saw the realization in his eyes when in an instant he looked up and they were gone. And although we were able to distract him momentarily with colorful plastic pieces and familiar characters, he panicked. No matter where we moved him in the house, he knew they had left him through that front door and he wanted to follow. We resorted to full bottles and tried and true nighttime stories. We enlisted the irresistible force of Elmo and repeated assurances that we loved him too and would not leave him. But no efforts could convince this little boy that the people he loved most dearly weren't gone forever. All the comfortable trimmings amounted to little because in his perception, what was most important to him was suddenly gone.

And as I heard him wail with desperation and loneliness and the weight of the world until he had nothing left in him, all I could think was, I understand.

So, in short, I'm finding myself in a similar situation, trying to stop the metaphorical staring at my own front door. There are a million details and feelings to share, but this is a relationship sacred to me and a man I cannot imagine not loving and not sharing my everyday and my life with, and so those will need to be recorded someplace else.

But this post is really to thank NBC's Bob Ryan for finally getting it right for two. whole. days. To the home owners on Constitution who had the foresight to plant my favorite purple hyacinths. To the chunky bumble bee who followed me for at least three blocks, the cashier who knew I needed that Clinique bonus gift even though my purchase didn't warrant it, the gardener who donned garden gloves trimmed with faux leopard fur. To catching the scent of my new perfume and the feeling of giant kick ass sunglasses on my tiny head. To the Weight Watchers leader who finally uttered that I'd reached the elusive ten-pound loss. To the sight of Bug waiting in the window like a concerned child after his mother got lost on South Capitol Street at three in the morning.

I very much needed all of this. And although experience dictates that the sadness will undoubtedly return, for this weekend life has been beautiful. I have been able to close the door on both unhappiness and self-doubt. At least for two days.