November 29, 2006
Mom: 1; Kris: 1
I'm nearing the end of The Year That Was Discovering All Things About Yourself and Every Other Damn Person Ever in the Whole of Existence (TAFKAP), and I couldn't be more relieved. I am really tired of this process [insert fooling self into thinking journey ends with calendar year here].

Latest development? The Mom.

For those of you who have been here a while, you might recall that Mom and I have a history of what my brainy side refers to as "maladaptive behavior," interactions that prompted my emotional side to scream into a pillow in my bedroom closet for much of my youth. Mom is without a doubt the closest person in my universe, and in many ways the one most similar to me. As a result, we have spent much of my adult life in a struggle for power and attention and, naturally, world domination. You know, as you would in any healthy relationship.

(Psychobabblephobes should probably stop reading here.**) I have struggled a good bit this year with setting appropriate boundaries for myself. Not caving in appropriate situations, appreciating my actions in a bigger context, learning to use what oomph and tenacity I have for good rather than eeee-vil; the list is lengthy.

And Mom was my first trial case.
I'm new! I'm improved! And I really, really love you. But no, I'm not going to take responsibility for the immense bowl of crap that this entire family owns. And if that means me missing holidays and times when every other tribe in the universe is celebrating with food and booze and quiet discomfort, so be it.
And let us not forget the ever popular and extremely difficult:
Yes, I will take on what is my part of this putrid mess, and really think this through. This apology is not just for saving face.
And the I can't believe I did it without screaming . . . I ALWAYS scream at times like these!
I'm listening, Mom.
And I felt better. Even though she still wasn't talking to me.

But now, out of nowhere, Mom is doing her part. The long talk this weekend came on the heels of her reaching out to me, maybe not in the way that I would have wanted, but in the best way that she knows how: through giving meaningful things to me, by calling me by the affectionate nickname that only she - and not another living soul on the planet - ever uses, by phoning to tell me to stay off the roads in a violent storm.

There will never be an apology or an acknowledgement of her role. It just isn't who she is. And that's alright.

And without regret, I'm learning that resolution doesn't have to come on my terms.

**Up next! A post that doesn't delve 4 fathoms into my psyche and my failed relationships with everyone on the planet. Promise. If not for your sanity, for mine.


November 27, 2006
The weekend was a whirlwind of turkey entrees, turkey sandwiches, very novice poker played with my family – yet again over turkey, two too many drinks and pool with the best of friends, a close talk with my mom, a trip to New York City and back within an 18-hour period, and a good bit of sleep. Did I mention a little text messaging with CNB with dog? And a little shopping.

I indulged in full price (as in non-sale, non-Target) mascara AND foundation at the CVS, party people. That alone surely makes me a rock star, no? And as I left the store, intoxicated by my purchases and the stimulus overload that is the CVS at Christmas, I turned to make sure I held the door for anyone who followed. And that anyone turned out to be none other than Him. The ex, the beau, the love of my life who I once spent most of my dream time on, thinking on more than one occasion about just how this man would ultimately propose to me.

I did a double take. Only after I was quite sure that my heart was not indeed bursting, that I hadn’t started bawling and that I would not require medical assistance did I speak.

“Hi.” I said on the second take. “How are you?”

“I’m good.”

Then nothing. No discussion, no big smiles, no I think of you and I miss you sometimes. And the heavy pain and imminent embarrassment were the only things that prompted me to force one leg out in front of the other, because if I didn’t, the awfulness of the situation might indeed consume me and make my heart stop beating.

And as it continued to strike me as so ridiculous that you can spend three years of your life knowing someone – knowing everything about them, more than their parents and their best friends and their brothers ever will – and traveling and loving and living life side by side, and suddenly your partnership is reduced to three seconds of niceties between the two glass doors at the drug store, I offered nothing remotely close to what I really wanted to say and do, what I struggle with holding back on a daily basis.

“Well I guess I’ll see you around.” And I turned my head and walked away without looking back.

I made it two whole blocks before I burst into tears in my car.

I just keep wondering when it will go away.


November 23, 2006
A Thanksgiving Reminder
Enjoy your day, everyone. May the day be full of laughter, love, loads of good food and even better blogging material.

And as your mother says so something so insensitive that you consider pouring the full contents of the gravy boat into her lap, or your Great Uncle Reginald falls asleep while you're talking to him, or Grammy comments while grabbing your fat parts on just how much weight you've gained since you last saw her, just remember: Kris is thankful for you.

November 21, 2006
Fortuitous Meeting #3
I didn't realize that after feeling so low yesterday morning that the day would look up. That I'd find two of my Christmas gifts at the Tar-zhey, that I'd stay late and get more work done than I'd hoped, that the always unpredictable corner store would have two of the most beautiful, ripe tomatoes waiting for me even at 7 pm. Or that I'd be so excited for developing Thanksgiving day and evening plans. Or, for that matter, that I'd run into Cute Neighborhood Boy with Dog again.

We chatted about the holidays again and the places he's lived. About my job and moving around as a child and football and Jimmy Stewart. We walked to a park and played with his now-bored pup, and searched to no avail when the ball ultimately was lost to the orange leaf cover. I remember giggling a lot. I hope it wasn't the annoying girl giggle, but the laughter of a woman just having such a good time.

And then there was mention of getting together sometime soon. My smile might well have broken my cheeks. And a request for my number. (Yep, definitely broken.) And as he was typing the number into his phone, the question: "how do you spell your name again?"

November 20, 2006
Holiday Season Blow to the Ego #3
I didn't realize just how important it would be that I got up a little early this morning, allowing me to put concealer under both eyes and ensure my gloves were the same color.

For as I left the house, 100 percent sass in a camel coat and flowing curls and diva sunglasses, I ran into Cute Neighborhood Boy with Dog. This time, no wart bandages. I was upright and showered. And I was so definitely wearing a bra.

We chatted about the holidays and how he'll be in town and the fact that I'm pretty much working straight through Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that I hadn't seen him around much. And as my car door shut to my turned back he checked in - did I have my keys in hand? And how his dog is so sweet and such a love and how even having cats doesn't replace the void of not having a pup around the place.

And although through my tights I was pretty sure he couldn't tell that I shaved my legs today, I felt like a rock star.

And then just before I said goodbye, he stopped me: "what was your name again?"


November 18, 2006
Here's your neuroticism
I have a tiny history of obsessive behavior. Not a big one, like crazy stalker stuff where Mr. Letterman gets a restraining order against me even though it SO didn't happen like he said in court, but a little, itty-bitty miniature one, like I can't stand the thought of or the actuality of losing anything. My palms are sweating just writing about it.

Said head beast crept out yesterday morning, when I stumbled into the kitchen upon waking to get the day started. Cats' Brita water: check. Wet food for Crick with tiny pill that she will gum and spit out anyway: check. Trash bag for cat food container: hmmm. It must be here somewhere. I just bought a new box of kitchen bags at Target last week.

Cue whatever obsessive music would be, probably a mix between the Halloween theme and maybe one of Dick Marx's harder ditties.

All time and tasks, including feeding poor Bug who stood anxiously next to his dry bowl, were put on hold. Ye shall not escape me, trash bags. Mama will find you.

I searched the kitchen. I pulled the phone book and the bundt cupcake pan out of the cabinets. I checked the silverware drawer. At this point, I do believe I began sweating. And oh yes, I checked the fridge. And, if you must know, the oven.

Now intoxicated by the hunt, I moved to the bathroom. Here, baggie baggie baggie. Not in the linen closet, under the sink, or in the washing machine, for the love of God. THE BEDROOM! Not in the nightstand drawers, under the bed, in any of the cat litter bags or under the folded towels. The hamper, of course! Rationally, trash bags would want to hide with dirty underwear and jeans!

The insanity ceased long enough for me to feed the now nearly-barking Bug, get my body showered and ready for work, at which time I raided every orifice of the Sentra and subsequently my office and the privacy of my startled workmates. I mean really; hadn't they ever gone psych hospital over a 15 pack of garbage bags? Sheesh.


I'm still wondering if maybe Bug ate them.

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November 16, 2006
I'm Home Sick
I was home yesterday too.

By 8 pm I felt like a new woman. My throat wasn't closing up any longer! I felt good enough to venture out into the world and therefore successfully suspended total atrophy for at least another day. By 10 pm I was restless. By 11 pm I was reading Self magazine in a bed that I was too lazy to make fully. By 12 I was watching Leno, 1:00 Conan, 3:30 cursing the fact that Cricket apparently has no problems sleeping EVER despite me turning on all lights to stir up some company and that for some unknown reason NBC sees fit to rebroadcast He of the Ample Chin again in the 3:30 hour.

Some jalepeno hazelnuts and a bite of milk chocolate later, I finally fell asleep. 4 am and Ghirardelli, I love you.

My alarm went off at 7:30. The room was so bright that I wanted to bash the sunshine out of it.

I'm currently on the couch, attempting unsuccessfully to get back to sleep so maybe this damn headache will subside. I'm out of the panacea that is milk chocolate.

I've seen this sort of thing on House, you know. It all starts with a headache. Pretty soon they'll find out it's polyester poisoning and after twelve biopsies I'll need to get a heart transplant from my comatose father.

November 13, 2006
LudaKris II (OR, Girls Just Wanna Have Puns)
It might have been better had I worked on Friday. The anticipation was truly almost too much to bear. Many of my closest friends and many fewer drinks and 70-degree temperatures!?!? OH MY! Did you hear me? For a brief flicker on the map of November, the thermometer registered 70 degrees, which, coupled with some sort of strange chest abrasion, totally blew my well-planned choice of outfit, but old women learn not to fret about such minor things. I had my hair lightened that day, telling myself that it was a due treat for a woman old enough to remember watching Benson, when I really just had two inches of roots that needed serious attention. And attention they got.

I loooooove me some highlights. And I looooooove the ones my stylist give me. I discovered, however, that she and I have distinctly different ideas of what constitutes straight. She, a woman of a multitude of bold curls, probably didn’t get that I indeed meant “no really” and “totally straight not like Liberace,” and instead thought “straight” translated into something kinda, sorta like “with wings.

And that was the version after I fashioned a Saran Wrap helmet to calm it.

Friends had mixed reviews.

“I LOVE IT!” one admiring blonde shrieked as I made her pinky swear not to copy my do for school on Monday.

“Eh,” said another. Apparently the Saran headdress hadn’t done the magic I’d hoped.

“YOU LOOK LIKE THE FLYING NUN!” barked he who shall remain nameless but whom I shall refer to as He Who Wore a Distinct Wool Cap All Night. Something to hide under there, ye of apparently enviable locks? And really, did I mention anything about those 70 degrees yet?

Friends arrived on time in a steady stream, fully aware of my tendency to 1) arrive early to all festivities save my birth and therefore sit alone with the bartender (which I was), and 2) leave most if not all parties by the stroke of midnight, clearly afraid that my Sentra will turn into a pumpkin after I drop a Payless heel. One crony was noticeably late, despite repeated IMs the day prior containing ridiculous enthusiasm on my part . . . (“WOOT! We’re gonna party like it’s 1999!” and “This place is even better than Shooters, Amanda!” and/or some such nonsense.) She arrived at least two hours into the night’s festivities, and living only a hop, skip and a street crossing from the bar, I was forced to inquire out of pure selfishness: “Are you ok? Working late? Family issues? Syphilis?” Sadly for Miss Kris, she is partial to honesty, “there are many reasons that I’m late, but it all really started when the cast of Law & Order was on Jeopardy.”

(Cue Law & Order “DUN, DUN” followed by a handful of those award-winning SVU crickets.)

Lucky for her, she knows a girl loves a good face licking, and soon all was right with the world.

So there was pool playing. Someone put me in charge of the jukebox at one point; that appointment was later revoked when the group realized there were more artists than just Kelly Clarkson and Mrs. Ritchie from which to choose. Suckahs. There were attempts at speaking French with some real, live French women, which I have now placed in the “Not Smart to Do Sober, and Really Not Smart to Do Tipsy” file. And my friend Erika, in a very uncharacteristic Wear-Sunscreen-gooey-graduation-speech moment, proclaimed as we hugged that “Against All Odds” was our theme song for the past year.

There were beautiful real gifts (such a gorgeous necklace, kb) and beautiful gag gifts (you know me too well – I am truly a sucker for Easy Cheese . . . WITH MINI CRACKERS!) and shots of unknown flavor and origin (read: of this Earth?) There was also a very serious debate over Pluto “SO not being a planet anymore” and “technically being a dwarf planet, asshats” that was carried out with amazingly straight faces.

Then at some point during the night, at the same spot in all evenings when my face turns gummy and Joan Cusack-like, not necessarily because I’m intoxicated but because I’m continuously talking smack, I knew the dancing would begin.

And so it did. There was sass.

And there was shaking it. And (what I envision as very unattractive) attempts by Kris to Cirque de Soleil/Britney When She’s Cute it on the dance floor. There were clearly too many shots at it, as when I walked out of the bar, shoes nowhere near my feet, my toes were still crying. As were my thighs the next day. Oh, and my forehead. And eyes and bat wings, should I have failed to mention those. Apparently my moves aren’t quite what they used to be.

When I could finally prop myself up on Saturday afternoon I uploaded all of the night’s pictures and just giggled while the cats stared at me. I thought about how much I just wanted to love on and squeeze tightly all my good friends, near and far. And about how next go ‘round it might be better not to sing all the words to Rapper’s Delight with a glass of wine in my non-dominant hand, or for that matter interrupt that name-tagged couple awkwardly canoodling at a dating event. Or for that matter, not go to bed without combing my product-laden hair out first.

And I giggled even more, knowing full well that in 364 days I probably would.


November 10, 2006
Donger's here for five hours, and he's got somebody. I live here my whole life, and I'm like a disease.
Party people, I’m proud to say that I’m 33 today. Ahhhhh. I’m not sure what to write about the day itself, other than I’m grateful for a moment to celebrate with friends and wine, glad for a date on which to reset the timer, in love with the fact that I’m savoring my 30s rather than sitting uncomfortably in the skin of my 20s. And I’m loving looking forward.

This is the second birthday I’ve celebrated while writing on this site. I’m commemorating the day with said wine and referenced accomplices as well as an eye toward the 33 things a 33-year-old would be proud to accomplish by age 40. It’s closer than you – and surely I – can even imagine.

A few beautiful things I’d like to do in the next few years . . .

1. Own more than four bras. And buy those really kick-ass, expensive, gorgeous ones. Like Anna Nicole probably wore before she started the crack.
2. Ride a roller coaster for the first time.
3. Spend at least a week in the Greek Islands. Preferably on a private boat.
4. Get the operation I’ve been putting off for 16 years.
5. Purchase an apartment that despite its cracks and peeling paint takes my breath away.
6. Run a 5K without panting or hallucinating.
7. Visit the Egyptian pyramids in all their splendor. Fight tears while taking in said grandeur.
8. Meditate regularly.
9. Attend two home Florida State football games in the same season.
10. Learn to cook five dishes that I can make with my eyes closed. At least one must be a dessert. At least one other must involve vindaloo. All five must wow ‘em at dinner parties.

11. (Oh.) Have a dinner party for which I make everything from scratch.
12. a) Touch a koala bear. b) Hold koala bear if it doesn’t try to scratch my eyes out after 12a.
13. Find an accepting home for my spiritual beliefs.
14. Trace Jack the Ripper’s literal footsteps through London.
15. Fall in unguarded, spectacular, ridiculous, magnificent, hot, mushy love. And when I find him, kiss this man regularly as if my life depended on it.
16. Have more than half of my furniture bought after leaving graduate school.
17. Give a speech to more than 200 people. Without backing out early and/or hyperventilating.
18. Read the remainder of the canon of world literature I somehow missed.
19. Sing karaoke with wild abandon.
20. Keep a personal, hard-copy journal for one full year.

21. Own a car with bum warmers.
22. Spend a month without television. I’d like to keep it in the room and put plants and my nail polish on it, but choose not to watch it.
23. Make an international volunteer trip, likely to Central or South America.
24. Publish somewhere other than this site.
25. Make my SCUBA open-water dive on Grand Bahama Island.
26. Become an expert on one topic not related to my degrees.
27. Learn as much as I can about blues music.
28. Observe an autopsy.
29. Get my groove on. Take both salsa and ballroom dancing lessons.
30. Make amends with my parents. Even just a few weeks of Texas Hold ‘Em, shared mystery movies and unabated laughter would be worth all of this.

31. Stop my M.O. of keeping people around so I can have my Christmas card numbers up.
32. Wake up 4/5 days with a passion for what I do for a living.
33. Learn to forgive. Learn to treat people well on more days than I don’t, doing so without an intentional thought about any part of it.

Thanks for celebrating each and every day with me. Or those days that I actually post.

I raise a glass to you.


November 7, 2006
Oh Canada! Or, Prepare for the sap, party people.
I’ve had a hard time writing this post over the past day. Mostly because I was hungover and stuck on and off a plane at JFK for five hours, not to mention my INTERNETS AND CABLE being down, but also because I couldn’t decide which slant to take with the content: A number 1) the Omigod this weekend totally RAWKED! We froze one another’s panties and drank our faces off! and B number 2) I really can’t believe how spectacular the weekend was, from the perspective of a woman who cries at Hang In There kitty posters and may or may not have her period a full 30 days of each of the –er months.

But as my faithful readers know, mediocrity and/or indecisiveness generally win(s) out, and I decided to do both.

Blog approach A number 1) the weekend did, indeed, totally rock rawk. I consumed three glasses of wine prior to hitting Canadian soil, thanks to two separate bars at my motherland’s major airport and a closed circuit television system that apparently didn’t catch me tripping over the non-existent hem of my jeans on the people mover. Jorge and I arrived at Mrs. J’s work with me smelling of the beautifully pungent combination of Marlboro Lights and Beringer Chardonnay (Amen to those airport dives serving more than White Zin. Represent!) And me honking the car horn. Repeatedly.

That night we reminisced about Junior Prom (not really) and my recent n*ked exploits (no such thing) and Jorge’s brief but fulfilling teenage sexual relationship with Dave (I kid, party people). (Wait, I think I may have confused those a bit. But I can say that we definitely ate pizza.)

Anyhooooooo – we talked and laughed and naturally I cried. And was asleep by 10.

Saturday was a whirlwind of downtown Toronto french fries, attempts at me stuffing the hosts’ cats in my carry on and the Ontario/Seattle Needle sassily refusing me entrance via a loooooooong line. D’accord, I said, laughing in the Tower’s face. The earlier I shall drink, my tall stone one.

Friends and confidantes and young lovers arrived at my host home at 5, and the festivities began. We drank. And we (forcibly) watched wedding and/or Algonquin camping videos and/or soft-core p*rn until drunk off of communal laughter and wine and (gulp) Jagermeister. And I may have smoked les cigarettes, but per that stealth Accept All Faults and Neuroticisms Agreement you checked upon entering this blog, you shall leave such judgments at the door. [At the door with my adorable shoes (see wish list above), that would apparently taint my hosts’ carpet prior to their home sale date. Even Jesus was allowed to wear shoes in the house, Jorge and Mrs. J. Even the Canadian Jesus. I KID.]

Saturday night was amazing. Dinner and drinks with remarkable bunch of people. Mirth and awful butterscotch shots and pints and half pints of beer ensued. And then more laughter and stories about where each person met the other, followed by one-on-one serious and more lighthearted chats (e.g., “I LOVE YOU, MAN!”; “NOOOO. I LOVE YOU!”). And sweating. Near the bar fireplace, which burned to a minimum of 750 degrees Kelvin, there could not have been more perspiration. Unless you’re Kris on a first date.

And on the way home that night I found myself in a cab with Jorge and Dave and Sarah and a lovely taxi Mountie who I’m pretty sure I irritated, giggling myself drunk silly to well-intentioned road signage reading, “Tap it and go!” and “We love your junk!” And I laughed and passed out late night with a cat I pretty much saw two of and a smile I hadn’t had in months.

Enter blog post approach B Number 2). And I cried at the YYZ airport as Jorge and Mrs. J drove away, because this has been one shit of a year. One shit of a year that has made me feel, in a word, disposable. Disposable to friends and lovers and family who don't seem all that phased that I'm not in their lives anymore.

And during this weekend away from it all, I wasn’t.

I was Me. And it felt so mothergrubbing good to fit like a glove with an exceptional group of ridiculously wonderful people I’d never met before. And to know I am still Myself. Excessive drinking, French fry eating, Blog loving, F-bomb dropping, American accent having, neurotic, good ol’ me.

Weekends like this one remind me it hasn’t been such a crappy year after all.


November 3, 2006
Wish you were with us

Dear reader,

I'm headed to Toronto for the weekend.

Amazing how it can take you two flights and six hours to travel to a city essentially two states away. My theory is that the non-nonstop flight pattern is some sort of Canadian conspiracy, much like hiding Michael J. Fox until his pubescent years and everything "en Francais" and their famous geese. Oh well. More free Delta snacks for meeee, suckas!

Or something like that.

I am hoping not to spend the weekend obsessed with the conversion of stupid celsius to formidable fahrenheit. (I'm pretty sure I will. It just won't be enough that COLD = REALLY FREAKING COLD. And success with simple conversions makes up for the GRE, now doesn't it?) I expect that I will a) meet in person north-of-the-border friends and b) inappropriately corner them barside, forcing them to eat apple pie and watch King of the Hill. And I simply can't wait to drink wine grown in the fertile grounds under the CN Tower and snap pictures for Internet posting of my host and his wife while they are sleeping in strange positions and/or drooling.

I hear they drool real, live maple syrup, people.

Blog to you this weekend,


November 1, 2006
Fogie Alert!
As a general rule I delete entries that begin with Kids these days . . . but sometimes, you know, as one of the wise Golden Girls said, it just is what it is.

Kids these days just don’t have things as good as we did.**

Darrre! I sedd it!

Come on, admit it, and we’re all gonna put on our memory caps here. Remember the thrill of having beginner sex in that ’84 LeBaron convertible (burgundy red!). Summertime, the windows down, asphalt just outside your door still hot from the record temp day, lemon Italian ice still on your lips, praying to the Jersey Shore and God and Phil Donahue that no one drove down the shaded lane and caught your hormonal bodies half hanging out of your matching tank tops?

I do.

Remember babysitting and sneaking out the back door for a cigarette after the kids were put to bed? I don’t. Probably because I only dogsat. But you get the gist.

Not anymore. The schools have surveillance, the parking lots have video, the cameras have cameras. Parents consumed by two-hour Datelines put freaking mini-cassettes in their kids’ Beanie Babies! Will the nanny beat dear Junior with a Q-Tip as that (very stereotypically) illegally Guatemalan? foreign au pair did the poor defenseless child with four toenails and one eyebrow? Clearly not. But you will catch her talking loin with Sam the Butcher.

I don’t think I have any teenage readers, but I would venture to guess that you can’t get away with crap nowadays. Ooooooh. The tension of texting under the covers! I luv u 4eva. Ugh. IT WAS SO MUCH MORE EXCITING TO READ THE HARDY BOYS AND DREAM FANTASIZE ABOUT THAT YOUNGER HARDY BROTHER WHILE UNDER THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE COMFORTER, DAMMIT! Does anyone pass notes at school anymore with a sorry so sloppy signoff? Are text messages intercepted by your Science teacher when you least expect it, in that slow-mo moment in which he of the violet corduroy vest grabs the delicately folded paper and you know by the drop in your stomach that any semblance of social status is done gone and over (hilarious that we took generic classes called “science” and “social studies” and “stuff arts” – no wonder everyone passed notes.) Does it happen, party people?

I dare say it doesn’t. How can you dream about Kirk Cameron while you’re walking through a metal detector at 7:50 a.m.? How can you think about sorting your candy stash when you’re more concerned about the scarlet garter popping out of your slutty creative and contemporary 36-DD prison guard costume? And FTLOG, despite the gazillion megapixels Grand Theft Winnebago v. 36.0 can offer the youth of today, do you not just crave the sweet innocence that was Pong? A simple bar and a beautiful ball and the gracious dink it made signaling SUCCESS! There is a reason why Ms. Pac Man is still found in laundromats and AMCs throughout our U.S. of A. It isn’t just for those Angelina Jolie lips of hers.

Don’t get me started on texting your mom to tell her you finally got your period for the first time. Or just knowing the Mets would suck for eternity. Or the virtues of the Leave No Child Behind Speak and Spell.

God damn, I love you and all you’ve done for me, Texas Instruments.

**Save the dinosaur and do you still blog on a typewriter? jokes for later (during my sponge bath), HB.