March 30, 2007
I judge.
Please don't judge me for it.

Within minutes, and on occasion seconds, I form opinions of you and your little dog, too. I almost can't help myself.

If your house smells like cat urine, my assumption is: that you have at one time or another left your car windows down in the rain. Rather than getting the upholstery professionally cleaned, you let the car sit in the sun with the windows cracked. You eat Easy Cheese on Saltines. You have on more than one occasion had a family-size container of tapioca pudding in your fridge. You vacation at the Florida Disney. You grew up with a finished basement and have a mole you really wish was out of sight.

If you currently have hair not of this decade: you still harbor a crush on Burt Reynolds. Your father never told you that you were pretty. You likely wear granny panties and eat the rind on cheeses when you shouldn't. You've owned a parakeet. You buy store brand potato chips. You have awful, uncoordinated, unfulfilling sex.

If you wear suits that are too tight on your ass: your husband is having an affair with the woman from church who says she loves your lemon meringue pie but never finishes the slice. You drive a minivan that has at one time or another had its backseat covered in vomit. You buy excessively ornate birthday cards. With sparkles. From CVS. You complain incessantly about Beltway traffic and have a persistant toothache for which you neglect to make a dental appointment. You're not yet over your high school boyfriend. You like lace. A lot.

If you're a single Billy Joel fan and blogger living with two cats: you probably freeze your smelly shoes and have at least once found an ice cube in them. You post to Craigslist after drinking cheap wine and don't remember until noon the next day. You probably scoop out used cat litter and, too lazy to take it to the trash, leave it in the scoop on the floor. In a pinch, you freshen up your armpits with Clorox wipes. You clean the shower no more than three times a year. Sometimes, you think about where you'd hide a dead body if you had one.

Yep. Sounds about right.

March 28, 2007
overheard in northern virginia
Kris: Women in this restaurant are staring at me funny. Do I look like a hooker or something?

Mom: Not since you learned how to style your new haircut right.


March 26, 2007
Believe it or not, last night I had my first ever interview about this here site! (Not counting the weekly grilling I get from my mother given her assumption that each and every entry is about her and my voodoo doll of her likeness.) These two amazing bloggers were lovely enough to spend about a half hour talking to me, and made me feel comfortable and welcome in those thirty minutes, in which I:

  • realized that my voice is even more grating in played-back audio than in my head, which I thought was impossible.
  • compared having children to living with boa constrictors.
  • locked the windows and had to change a dampened shirt given that they brought up cyborgs.

Here it is in all it's glory. If dogs begin to howl in your neighborhood, you're listening to the right blogger's voice.

March 23, 2007
Mutual Admiration Society
I neglected to tell you that I had a very festive St. Patrick’s Day. I confirmed via caucusing with the parents that I am ¼ Irish prior to heading out in my “Everybody loves an Irish girl” tee shirt, not to mention the gold and green windmill antlers I attached to my head for the entire evening. With the exception of when I forgot they were there and swatted them off, just like six or seven times. It was that kind of night.

Not too long into the evening, I noticed a guy looking at me off and on from the next pool table, but he was wearing a wedding band, or at least it appeared to be, so I was pretty sure the attraction lay with the antlers. After a little while, he approached.

“Is your name Kris? With a K?”

We’re all familiar with reports of near-death experience, when memories of grandpa pushing kids on the big oak tree swing in August and the birth of a first cat flash through the mind of the dying. A similar thing happened to me, only in a split second I thought, “Surely I’d remember if we slept together or made out in the bushes by the Row or if I dressed your college townhouse with smashed pumpkins and Tang and Soft Scrub!” (Which, I might add, is not recommended for writing profanity on houses or front walkways, particularly at those town homes owned by friends’ parents, given the bleaching effect it has on apparently most all external household substances.)

Turns out we didn’t at any point engage in heavy petting; he revealed himself a fellow DC blogger (can I say who you are?) who recognized my antlers ginormous chin from my sidebar photos. After feeling a) relief that I probably do remember most men with whom I make out, and b) 2.4 seconds of I’m a God damn blogging diva, bitches! I for all intents and purposes attacked this wonderful man with paws and questions. Where had he been? What had he been up to? We had essentially known each other for a year prior to this meeting. Friends, in a strange way, who just haven’t seen each other in a long time. It makes perfect sense that most of us who frequent the same blogrolls are of like minds, but it really is something that when you meet these crazy cats in person, the awkwardness of other first meetings simply does not exist. Like minds, I guess.

And then there are the interesting minds. Yesterday, I received the following email (can I say who you are?):

My new To Do List:

Find address of certain DC Blogger.
Amass small collection of Precious Moments figurines.
Ship perfect gift to DC.
Wait outside someone's apartment until package arrives.
Shriek in horror when certain DC Blogger appears unimpressed with and perhaps even frightened of package.
Dye hair blonde; get a razor bob; adopt two cats; move in next door.

And these are the emails that make you wonder, “Are we bloggers really all that like minded after all?”

And you realize that sometimes, no, you aren’t like minded. Instead, you are quite possibly separated at birth.

March 21, 2007
Relish the red onion!
Today was another Weight Watchers* weigh-in day. Did I fail to whine about being back on the Dub Dub again? Well I am. So suck it.

So for the past two weeks I have successfully managed to lose, and for effect I will wait for an insert-your-own-drumroll-here moment, a whopping .4 pounds. As in the U.S. equivalent of Bug's long-lost testicles. GRANTED, I attended a tiny wine event that served cream liquers and THE Dubliner cheese, both of which I may or may not have sampled, but for the rest of my six dieting days I lived on light popcorn and oxygen. Or so that's how I very precisely recorded it in my food journal.

My beef with this whole diet thing is, or should I say my 93% lean ground turkey with this whole thing is (ha, that's the processed humor product of a starving brain, people), is that I have absolutely no interest in the consumption of crap. Something does taste as good as being thin feels, friends, and it's called FOOOOOOOD.

Case in point: fellow diet plan members regale us with tales of scrumptious soy-and-something-or-other burgers laid on delectable light, whuheeet English muffins with all the succulent sprouts and manatee-milk mozzarella and all the other curious cardboard toppings one can muster, and how they (SHE/HE/IT = SHEEIT) ate said ridiculousness with extra celery and pickles and zero-point ice cubes (YOU GO, GIRL!) and how SHEEIT felt not even a pang of desire when that nasty dessert tray WITH CANNOLI presented itself linenside later in the evening (HELLLLL NO, GIRL!) and I'm left thinking, now seriously, WHO ARE WE KIDDING?

I don't want to convert the beauty that is pizza, not even Chicago's, but North Jersey's, the kind that ensures a slice might cover your whole damn head, into a shell of its former self, made of a GD whuheet pita covered in shredded cyborg cow product and dried herbs, cooked up on a NASA-like foil contraption made large enough for my chubby hands to manipulate.

Come to the corner with me and let Mama whisper:

Do you not want you some pizza that makes you weep, what with it's thick, doughy on the inside, crisp-like-Fall-football-games on the outside crust, the cheese that somehow tastes so new, and yet, so perfectly bubbly and fully-cooked through, and tomato sauce - OH! - the tomato sauce, a genius amalgam of tomato and crushed garlic and fresh basil and oregano and love, sweet pea, LOVE in a slow cooker? Do you not want to eat said pizza on a first date, and watch as he devours it just as he might later kiss you, while you giggle and pull burning mozzarella off of your oversized chin?

YES. Because just like sex, you want the real thing. And no substitute will do.

Now excuse me while I wipe my brow. And proceed to draw two-point Sharpie lines on all of my wine glasses.

* I don't hate you Weight Watchers. I've lost quite a bit of body while partnering with you before. I'm just a grumpy old bitty who is only down .4 in two weeks. Let's make up with you sending me free stuff, no?


March 19, 2007
Month Twenty Four
Dear I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Wino,

You turned two this month. Trite as it most definitely is, it seems like only yesterday that you were born. I vividly remember sitting in my 400-sq-ft. apartment - yes, the one with the bars on the window - enduring hours of pain as I labored to get you up and running on Blogger.

For weeks I couldn't decide on a name, and first called you I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman as a self-deprecating reference to my love for really bad pop music. I intended to make you different than all the other fledgling blogs by changing on a monthly basis the "W" word in your title, but once I hit on "Wino" it just stuck. I don't foresee changing your name again anytime soon.

Like any adoring parent, I have, however, changed your look quite a bit over these 24 months. Given that you were my first site, I started with the simple black template that Blogger still offers at setup.

It became clear to me early on that this did not capture your personality, not to mention would contribute to you getting your ass kicked on the playground much like if I had named you Sheldon, and therefore I felt compelled to change your clothes regularly.

Do you remember your second template? The one with the woman in the martini glass holding that hairy, impaled olive? I do. I almost couldn't sleep the weekend I worked with the designer on that one.

You wore that day in and day out for a year, if you can believe it. Just like that week in college that no one talks about when your mom wore the same black cotton vest out drinking for a week. Then I moved you to one of my favorite templates, the One That Not a Soul Seemed to be Able to Read, which was short lived for that reason alone. Because oh how I loved that stock photo image, even if 16-month-old blogs probably shouldn't wear wine paraphernalia, which I don't think has been scientifically proven as detrimental to later health:

And from there I bounced you to flowers.

Looking back, that may have been more monkey bars ass-kicking inviting than either the generic template or the family name thing. And now here we are.

I think your style fits your personality quite well now. I'm sorry it took me almost two years to get you there.

I think it goes without saying that you and I have been through a lot together. In just 24 months, we've been through a move that involved the Irish brothers carrying a couch up four flights of stairs, a broken heart that your mama thought might break all of her, the addition of Cricket to our growing family of hairy things that walk on us while we sleep, a break, almost a month on the wagon, travel to lands both near and far, a round of layoffs. and lots of pure, unadulterated meanness. We have lost so many online friends to burnout or exposure that your blogroll has been halved in your short life. But the new friends you've brought to my world - most of whom your mama actually likes and is happy to report had no evidence of human heads in their freezers - because oh yes, she checked - outnumber those we might not see again.

Finally, sweet girl, I'm most proud of how much you've grown. I'm proud to say that on most days, your recent content is a little richer and hopefully much better written than in the earlier days. Because I recall many a crappy meme and posting cringe-inducing crap like this and this. Yes, even your mama has bad days and bad nights turning into bad mornings that necessitate the ordering of a Wendy's Single with Cheese - no mayo - and the posting of fluff.

Little Wino, happy second birthday. Know that I couldn't be more proud to be your mother and brag about you at conferences and bars and parties. I just hope you don't grow up to be a Mormon or a carnie or one of them damn gays.



March 15, 2007
Reason #1,007 I'm still single (and yes, I'm aware there are others, but I'm too damn tired to recall them all, thank you.)*
It was a nice morning in Washington yesterday, giving me that little extra spring in my step that just might get me cast in a Menthos commercial. So I cranked up the tunes in the '96 Sentra - Black Beauty to those who know her well (oh riiiiight, reason number 1,008!) - and I got to singing. Singing out loud, sisters! Belting it out whether pulled up next to a bread truck or a bus full of DC prisoners.

There's a part of my morning journey at which, for absolutely no visible reason, the stopped-dead traffic at once opens up, and we're set free like those poor doves released during the Jacko verdict. And beautifully, I reached that very moment just as that really funky a capella part of Black Water began. And I let loose, friends. Like the true choir geek that I still am, I hit the gas and pumped up my volume in turn.

By the hand, hand
Take me by the hand, pretty mama

Aw, yeah, get it girl! I heard from no one, but really, really wanted to.

As the Doobies kept going, there may have been hand motions; I'm not gonna lie. And again!

By the hand, hand

And that's as far as I got. Because my ridiculous fervor had caused me, while checking myself out in my rearview, to choke on my own spit. And not only to choke on my spit and acknowledge defeat, but to choke on my own spit and continue moving my lips, not wanting the man in the neighboring lane to know that I had, indeed, choked on my own spit.

My genius continued, because now not only was I still moving my lips, but also resisting any normal urge to cough, thus producing a quantity of tears generally reserved for Terms of Endearment and Meredith Grey. The horror only ended when I untintentionally smacked on both the rear defrost and the hazards and right-laned it at 35 until I regained my composure. There will be no singing for a few days.

*(I'm pretty sure reasons 1,009 and 10 are in here somewhere. Maybe even a few more.)


March 13, 2007
DC Moment
So I wanted to do so many things when the young man in the strange outfit saddled up next to me on the Metro on Saturday, asking with a finger extended just this much too close to my skin if I'd ever thought of getting extensions heeeeeere (while outlining the crown of my head, that portion of the scalp that I've been worried needed Miracle Grow ever since in the 7th grade Jacquie What-was-her-last-name-anyway? pointed out my impending baldness), but I simply said "no", and stifled my urge to ask why someone would get a cross tattooed on their forehead just so, so Mansonish, so that even with a wool cap pulled low there was no mistaking the shape plunging down between the eyes.

But then I figured that he'd probably heard that three more times than I'd been asked about my thinning hair, and decided instead to listen to his tales of hopping that morning from one congregation to the next, and how the church really is so valuable to life, and how if I wanted his styrofoam carton of "vegetarian meal" I was welcome to it.

Because despite the harshness I display, I really do think about the presence of God and Oprah, and since we all know that even Oprah is listening most of the time, I thought it best to just play it safe.

because that's what i hear big-time bloggers do, so i'm gonna
I have to do some clean up work in my archives, much like I need to sweep childhood memories out of my subconscious via rebirthing therapy*, so those of you with Google Reader will have to read more from my crappy blogging beginnings than you ever wanted to. Like the breakup of Wham!, you'll get over it.

* not really so much, or at all.

March 11, 2007
how to make my weekend
It's a well-known fact that I like wine. And I tend to like people who like wine, who can recognize the difference between a Chardonnay strong on oak and another on butter, those who know that a bottle is corked at the outset. It might not surprise you that this is one of my favorite weekends of the year, second only to the Swingers' Convention. Or that I had tickets for for both days. Two different sparkly wristbands = hours of middle-of-the-night fun for both cats. Apparently, I am not the only one who enjoys the wine. Which is sad, because I don't take pride in shiving Reidel-wielding old folk who stand between me and a Riesling.
I laughed even while sober and enjoyed cabs and merlots more than a self-respecting Pinot Noir junkie should. The hot sauce I bought made my eyelids tingle, just as a spice junkie in me wanted it to. I signed up for Indian cooking classes, watched as a DC pro and his amazingly cute sous chefs served up fennel-crusted salmon, and savored one fantastic Pinot Gris and liqueur after another. Let's not forget the women's numbers with which I walked away, as the Kris is prone to do. Because apparently my 11th commandment states that I shall never meet men at such events; I just add to my women's fellowship cup that already runneth over. (Said statements shall now result in at least 50 Google searches for girl-on-girl action.)

In a semi-tipsy state, I did what any blogger might do: while in the one decent bathroom in the joint, I attempted to take a picture of my new hair cut, as meeting the needs of my blog family is always on my mind, even moreso than a distracting visit to the booth for a LONG ISLAND winery. I mean, really? The Island? And while taking said photo, naturally I worried more about the crucial details, like getting back to the marketing genius that is selling silver jewelry and CHOCOLATE under the same roof, than ensuring that my flash was turned off. My apologies, because somehow the ceiling tile is much larger and my hair much longer than they appear in real life.

The lack of anything below the shoulders has nothing to do with my shutterbug abilities but instead a modesty ingrained in me after my first viewing of Witness. Moving on.

In short, I drank more vino and ate more than my share of wonderful dry Irish cheeses and met more women than my dance card can presently hold. And when I got off of Metro, and wasn't quite ready to go home, I did what any self-respecting Kris would do: I walked right into my local fire house and spent an hour and a half meeting and greeting the poor, unsuspecting men as they shared a corned beef and cabbage Sunday dinner. Because making friends, even while asking if they use Jergen's prior to sliding down the brass pole, is my way.

We're exhausted. Hope your weekend was as good.

March 8, 2007
it's the time of the season for blogging
I'm not a big conference person, but I think that's generally because all the professional conferences I attend leave me wishing I was smarter, more advanced in my career, and not as squashed into my black suit pants as I somehow always end up being.

Enter BlogHer {stage left}, the conference for women bloggers, about which I had little idea prior to going ("Sure Stacy, whoever you are, I'll share a room and potentially a bed with you in San Jose for five days. That sounds grand.") Some other people don't seem to get it either. I wish more people did.

Last year a few of us caught a little flack for attending. I think there was some perception that our attendance reflected some sort of naiveté, a desire on our part for each of us to be guaranteed entrance into blog superstardom, whatever that is.

But really what BlogHer ends up being:

[men, continue reading here; women, continue to next paragraph] is three days of ridiculous, n*ked fun. Of pillow fights and lace teddies and a good bit of girl-on-girl action. There are strawberries in Cristal glasses, hot tubs and belly chains, sure, but most of it is good, clean sex with [enter your town here]’s unsuspecting, boyish pizza guy. Oh, and the hourly washing of cars in our white BlogHer tissue tees. (While listening to Whitesnake, of course.)

[women carry on here . . .]
So anyhow. What this conference really does is create a sense of community within an unbelievably large population of writers. In the course of two days you are certain to encounter blogging genres completely outside your former circle of reference, given that blogroll jumping is not yet a viable full-time job. You meet well-known bloggers, or at least hear them speak from a well-positioned chair, and find out that a life of posting under pressure and relatively constant accessibility isn’t as carefree as you thought it might be. You discover during a session introduction that two of the people in your physical circle, out of a small group of 10, are listed on your sacred blogroll. And you surprise yourself, because at that very moment all you want to do is accost them like a weeping Beatles groupie to find out where one learned to express her humor so subtly and to pressure the other to tell you that one ridiculous Manhattan cab story in person.

It’s pulling up a chair at a table where you might not know anyone, and having six instant conversations, with one woman who blogs about dining in Minneapolis, another who has a site devoted to contracts law, another a photography blog of only black and whites, two more who write about two very different families, and one who posts well, about life. It’s imbibing the Ecto Cooler of alcoholic drinks, ones graciously sponsored by established companies who recognize that this blogging thing is here to stay. It’s having the woman at registration say she knows your site and loves it and feeling like all you want to do is squee and call your mom because, can you believe it? Someone actually reads this thing and came back for more after that post about Celine Dion – and she is an actual real, live person.

This real, live person will be there,

[this line for my male readers] learning about CSS in a French maid's outfit . . .

[this line for the ladies] in most unattractive, ill-fitting night clothing, potentially stealing leftover pizza from your room service tray while brandishing a plastic glass of Pinot . . .

hoping you are too.

March 6, 2007
i am never so lucky when i call my misplaced cell from a friend's phone, and upon it ringing, ask said friend to see who's calling me
It's a well-established fact, like God creating the universe and Baked Doritos, that at times I am not the brightest. Most moments, as my therapist heartily encourages me to repeat, I am a capable, capable, and very capable young woman with an overflowing tool box of life skills, but the moments in which I am not are as plentiful as really, really bad similes in any given episode of City Confidential.*

Take Saturday morning, when I took Cricket to the vet, distracted only by the expectation that I'd be financially assaulted as I was during earlier visits in which I found out that I am, indeed, mother to the smallest asthmatic on Earth. I arrived early. I was not flustered. I had consumed one Diet Coke and even clocked a decent sleep the night before. So imagine my surprise at my own hesitation when the receptionist simply asked, "Last name?"

Wait, does she want my last name or the cat's last name?

Of course, Kris. Of course you'd have different last names, because Cricket, your four-year-old Felis silvestris, who actually came with the lame, gaggy first name Flower until you renamed her, retained her father's surname when your divorce was final. You should probably think about changing it to match your last name so the cooler cats at school don't start making jokes about what her mom did while in heat. Asshat.

Because of the glory that is internal dialogue and the principles of reinforcement, brought into play at the vet via a flashback to the third grade in which I thankfully did not yelp that the state name was Ar-KANSAS, I didn't actually utter my rhetorical question. I did, however, take another 15 seconds to remember my last name.

* (e.g., "The escaped rapist was as belligerent as a University of Georgia football fan after a last-minute loss to Florida" OR "In Backwardsville, South Carolina, prostitutes littered Main Street just like beer cans in a Walmart parking lot." That kind of thing.)


March 5, 2007
volumant pour des cheveux fins
I got my hair cut this weekend. Not a trim, the requisite 1/2 inch one needs to have snipped in order not to appear homeless, but instead a good, blunt cut, shorter in the back and angling downward along my jaw line. This bold move came on the heels of twirling my fingers around my ponytail last week, and having the sneaking suspecion that during the night one of the cats had replaced my hair with hay.

My regular stylist chopped and shaved and angled until there was very little left. Two to three inches of dead, brassy ends fell to the floor, at times with a surprising thunk. And upon completion, I nearly hugged her. Her denial to come live with me to provide daily styling assistance did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm.

A woman must protect her new vanity, so I purchased on her recommendation a 28-dollar conditioner in a tall, noble bottle colored different shades of royal blue. I recognize that the container could be filled with mayonnaise, for all I know, but let's not rid me of all my fun, and given the abundance of French language on its entirety, I think you might agree that likely it is not. I placed the bottle in a special location in the shower, one free of soap scum and the unnecessary crowding of lesser hair and body products, and one in which I could see it in its expensive glory as I passed in and out of the bathroom.

The next shower began well, me full of anticipation and a full bottle of gorgeousness serum. My stylist said I should wash my hair first, so the conditioner could work its imported and very scientific magic while I took care of my common cleansing duties. I did just as she instructed. I held the leggy bottle to eye level and twisted it's lengthy nozzle. It rotated once. Then twice. Then multiple times, all to no avail. The stubborn, beautiful bottle just would not open.

It must be me, I thought. The expensive conditioner bottle was undoubtedly the work of fine craftsmen, and any flaws were clearly in my incapable hands.

I rotated the nozzle the other way. Ten, twelve times. I pulled it upward. I pushed it downward. I pushed it downward and turned, 30 degrees, 45, 180! Nothing. Not even a slight budge. Undeterred, I searched for instructions. None.

I have a master's degree. I can set my VCR clock without needing a Xanax. And like the smile, is it not univeral that lefty is loosey, for Christ's sake?

I summised that a new altitude might do the trick. I hoisted my left foot up onto the tub spigot, and began my now intensified ritual of rotating the nozzle while pushing it, pulling it, and staring it down in its one, mean eye. I was not backing down. After all that money, I sure wasn't going to admit failure and unscrew the whole apparatus either. It was going to work, come hell or high water.

But what came was cold water. In my frenzy I had wasted several minutes of the precious commodity that is winter shower warmth, and now I was being bathed in tepid drops, at best. Defeated, I abandoned the exhaustive effort, favoring instead to save my other 1,999 parts by cleaning them as efficiently as I could. I managed to shave one leg. I can't speak for the condition of the other.

Before leaving the shower and my dignity, I tried one last time. Defeated, I tapped the nozzle, the one last punch of a boxer fighting beyond her class.

And the damn thing popped open.

I simply cannot wait to use it tomorrow.


March 1, 2007
how to make my head pop off
Although irritating, I'm not talking about Lost having moved to 10 o'clock or people constantly telling me I'd be a great mom. I'm talking about this.

Not the fine reporting of a fellow DC Web site, mind you, but the ridiculous tendency for people to make proclamations about things not fully researched or explored. And to manipulate data to fit their view. And to speak without thinking things through.

Let's get something on the table: I am not advocating mass vaccinations; as a researcher I'm the first to say that we are not yet to that point. Instead, it's a change in attitude I'm advocating.

Your children are having sex.
And your children can get some bad things having sex.
Your female children can actually get cancer and die.
And although no one has been reporting this aspect of it, HPV can also cause your daughters to develop other painful complications that require extensive medical attention.

Wake up.

If HPV caused testicular cancer or resulted in the necessity for men to have invasive procedures such as this one, would we even be having this conversation?

Soapbox out.