May 30, 2007
how to make my head explode while on vacation, day one
Let me get to the airport within 10 minutes, through DC security in four, and then delay my flight by more than one hour. Then don't tell me before I go through security that the only establishment serving alcohol in Terminal C is closed for renovation. I enjoy taking my clothes and shoes off repeatedly around strangers.

Then please, pretty please make me use my own powers of deduction to conclude that there's no earthly way I can fly on a 737 that is set to depart DC before it actually arrives from its previous departure city.

If you can find it in your heart, please then rebook me on another flight to my destination that will arrive four hours after my previous arrival time.

Please then keep every passenger standing in the jetway for 20 minutes waiting to board said plane. Don't tell us why we've been horded there like sweaty cattle. Pass by, flashing wings and walkie talkies and looking down at your toes. But hush, airplane man, don't speak; forced ignorance makes for more fun for doe-eyed holiday travelers.

Before I forget, when you rebook my flight in DC, don't mention that I'm today's big winner of a BONUS connection! Let me find out when I have both feet, and most certainly not my luggage, on the ground at my first connecting airport. It's always fun, when you're expecting your next landing to be in Southern Cali, to discover that you'll be taking the scenic route via Phoenix. One can never have enough turquoise and feathers!*

* This rant brought to you by the letters V, I, N and O. Ironically, ensuing relaxation, tanning and tomfoolery that includes nearly stealing an unsuspecting koala brought to you by the very same letters. Missing you all.

May 25, 2007
I'm not sure where it came from, this tendency to doubt myself. I was raised by parents who encouraged me to do whatever it was that suited me, even if it was to become a cake decorator or the next Martina Navratilova, both of which clearly never took shape. I was a relatively socially adept child, using what wiles one has as a fourth grader to achieve the nickname Squirt 'n Flirt (I was short, after all). I did well in school except for the flexed arm hang, never used a fake ID in college, only had sex with guys I was at least 50 percent sure would call me the following week. But somehow I never learned to trust my instinct. I wonder how many times this has really screwed things up.

I left work Wednesday night a harried mess of on-the-brain errands. Dry cleaning? Check. Bonne Belle Cappucino Lip Gloss that can only be bought in the DC area at CVS? Check. The Virginia road, the voice on the radio, all of it was all too familiar as the traffic that awaited me.

Within seconds of my left turn, the car in front of me started to hug the curb-level center median. Hug is a gentle word, and is perhaps misused here. The driver skimmed large stretches of the curb, kicking up dust in her wake. Once. Twice. She's probably screwing around with the car in front of her. Ahead, a stoplight turned red. The masses responded appropriately, tapping breaks and cursing poorly-timed lights and checking our foundation in rearview mirrors. She skidded. She had slammed on her brakes so heavily that her tires yelled in response. Something wasn't right.

The dance now included swerving into oncoming traffic. Swerve is a strong word; she in essence was taunting them just a foot or so over the line with her presence. But with each departure from the eastbound norm she surprisingly and eventually returned to the proper path. I eased back, my '96 Sentra and my sanity sacred to me on a night spent an hour late at work.

Her apparent move into a left turn lane was then abrubtly reconsidered; she veered back into traffic without a look or a thought of who was around her. No. Something wasn't right. The driving wasn't odd or off. My brain immediately ran through the Court TV dictionary of overused descriptive terminology and settled on: erratic. But this still didn't do it justice. The driver of this car was making it stumble, jerk, jolt. And it wasn't until I passed the vehicle, and saw just how off she looked in that front seat, that I thought to call 911.

Maybe she just had a little too much at happy hour.

I could be ruining this person's life.

This might really be no big deal.

I'm not even sure why, but I called anyway. 911 for a distant MD county put me on hold, ridiculous not only given the urgency of a 911 call but also that I was at least a state out of their jurisdiction. I hung up and redialed. This is the car make. I'm here. This is the direction in which we're headed.

We'll have someone look out for her.

Almost past the exit for the interstate, she decided instead to swerve onto the entrance ramp for the highway. Now she was in a new direction, one that would lead her to thousands charging toward the city on their way home. She repeatedly curved around the road lines confining us to safety and I thought she might now hit the barrier. Something would have to give. I called 911 again. Me again. Just called. Now changed direction.

If you don't stop her, she's going to hurt someone.

And it is just as they say. Slow motion and more vivid than most childhood memories and complete and utter silence despite the plastic cover of dry cleaning flapping in an open window and my radio playing something I cannot remember.

Within what now seems like seconds of ending my call to 911, she hit the right guardrail while overcompensating for a swerve and spun across all lanes of interstate rush hour traffic, coming to a stop only when she wedged herself in the center median. Then one. Two. Three. It was almost instantaneous. Scarily surreal. One after the other, cars smashed each other and spun here and there, Matchbox cars that were part of a sunny Wednesday play date. I remember holding the wheel and braking through the screen of flying glass and metal, just hoping that none of the spiraling cars would hit me. And getting out of my untouched car in the silence, to see how true shock really hangs on human faces, a car now half its original size, and what looked to be all of northern Virginia stopped behind me on a now-open highway.

I don't think I'll doubt myself so much the next time.

May 22, 2007
things to write about in my next entry, as noted today while waiting for the cable guy
1) How it’s really effing irritating that the effing Blue Angels flew over the nation’s effing capital TWICE TODAY, no more than 20 feet above my apartment, and our normally ridiculously propaganda-ish local news didn’t warn us about it beforehand. No, not because I wanted to take pictures of Iceman, but because, I don’t know, remember that little thing called 9/11? Yeah. Don’t bring your jets into our airspace before leaving a “we’ll be in your neighborhood” flyer on all of our cars.

2) Just how I hate memes.

3) The experiment I’m planning in which I will say hello to every person I pass for one full week, just to see how many will greet me back. And about how I will return the following week and clothesline those who ignore me. While wearing a nude thigh high over my head.

4) How I wanted to force feed Oprah bratwurst when she made fun of one of the guests having trouble on her weight loss show. Pot. Kettle.

5) How Google Reader is foiling all of my life plans, including, but not limited to, lude and lascivious stalking of readers.

6) About my attempt to register that lying, cheating “heart-healthy” 10,000 steps a day, which might drive me further toward lunacy and/child bearing, if memes and jet aeroplanes don’t get to me first.

May 21, 2007
on technique
It’s interesting how we fight. It’s not necessarily the overt act of arguing, per se, but how we battle with one another on a psychological level. Thankfully, I haven’t had too much of this going on as of late. But I’ve witnessed a good bit, as a woman happily perched on the perimeter, loving her place in the sun while the others fight it out in the darkened trenches.

It isn’t just the women in my life, so the men shouldn’t sigh with complete relief. The women I know tend to wear the world on their sleeves, a tacky holiday vest of wrongdoings and slights. Yes, they – we? – often see ourselves as victims. The ones undermined by coworkers. Ignored by whomever. Forgotten by those who didn’t matter just the day before. But should archaeologists dig our brains up 2,000 years from now, and somehow find a way to gauge just how it is that we approached human conflict, I am sure that, just as with the spine and the jawbone and the femur, they would find little variation between us. Subtle ones, not necessarily by gender, to be sure, but I picture these descendents able to lay our bones and someday our white matter into distinct and sterile groupings. Tagged in bold Sharpie, simply by approach.

There are the reactive of us for whom every disagreement is the end. The end of the dinner, the end of an otherwise rewarding vacation, the end of the relationship. An action or an ill-phrased comment turns into ample cause to terminate what has taken months or years to create. Explosive emotion invariably trumps history. The stakes in every interaction are sky high. The simplest of snubs becomes cause to recruit the others, to enlist the aid of those uninvolved, to hear of the atrocities and the unfairness perpetrated. Years of investment crumble in an instant.

Some of us horde the negative like a lone soldier preparing for battle, a veritable arsenal of misunderstandings and perceived abuse, never before addressed. Why should they be? The sum of the transgressions is clearly more substantial and useful than each alone. Everything seems fine; day to day the world turns just as you think it always will. But in the background he picks up each offense, adding it to the bucket of wrongdoing. And you don’t even know it exists until filled to the rim, when things become too much for him to bear. Suddenly you’re dodging bullets seven years in the making that have grown in weight over time. Mountains aren’t just molehills. These are the volcanic eruptions of our relationships.

There are those of us who take every opportunity to push buttons. To act initially as a shoulder to cry on, a confidante with whom one may share every confession. He didn’t want me. They found out I wasn’t the person they thought I was. And in flashes of conflict with those who know your every vulnerability, when you are most susceptible, they hurl them back at you. And the onslaught is infinitely more powerful and more hurtful than were the moments of confession. Sadly, there seems to be sick pleasure taken in their ability to wield your every acknowledgement as a weapon. And no matter what, no matter how genuinely the comforting shoulder is offered again, things can not even be made the same.

And there are those of us who ignore. For whom nothing is wrong and all is fine. Avoided at all costs, confrontation is the STD of the interpersonal interaction. You poke and you prod and you try to engage them in a healthy discussion, but they remain mute and go about the days, Seinfeld on reruns and conflict on the backburner. It’s pervasive. They do it with you, with their bosses, their mothers, the neighbor who daily makes off with their Washington Post. It’s fine that they got fries instead of greens, that a friend chose a better option despite established plans. Implosion seems inevitable, although it never comes. You’re quite sure it would for you.

I wonder if we even recognize that one or more of these are part of us.


May 18, 2007
I hope to find a way to weave in talk of cats, Ted Bundy, inadvertent tinkles, and 96% more narcissism than any of my co-presenters
Digital Exhibitionists or Chroniclers of their Time: Will Naked Bloggers Make History?

Throughout history women have written about their worlds, with little public recognition; still they provided a vibrant portrait of history beyond the political battles and civil wars. Are modern-day diarists self-involved? Self-absorbed? Boring? Au contraire! They may be future historians' and anthropologists' best source for understanding 21st Century mores and culture. We'll discuss identity blogging and how the legacy of such bloggers might be what future generations learn from them a century down the road. A historian will talk with indiebloggers Heather Barmore, Stacy Campbell and Kris Likey and the anonymous, but ever-evolving alwaysarousedgirl.

May 17, 2007
how the student became the teacher (told with some artistic license)
Kris: If you had to describe how boring we really are today, how would you do it?

Stacy: How boring WE are or how boring our jobs are?

Kris: Us. We’re pretty boring today. Neither of us has come up with anything snappy since the Spanish Civil War.

Stacy: Actually, I have an answer. Truthfully, the twitch in my left eye is the most excitement I've had all day. I'm trying to see if there's a pattern to it. Like, onetwothree...onetwo...onetwothree or something.

Kris: Good one. I’m so boring I’m pretty sure those stupid Anne Geddes babies sleeping in a mailbox/pea pod/Celine’s hand would get invited to happy hour before I would. Ok, you next.

Stacy: I'm so boring that even the crickets are annoyed.

Kris: Cornstarch is more flavorful than I am.

Stacy: Jerry Falwell is more entertained right now than I am.


I've hit a flat line flatter than Falwell's.

Kris: Ah, excellent use of a current event reference. I’ll take either. Ok. I’m more lackluster than a Julie Delpy performance.

OOOOH, SNAP! They named a new Care Bear after me: Apathy Bear. Or, you know. Whatever, I guess.

Kris: Tee hee hee. Ok. Here’s one: I’m more monotonous than your speaking voice.

Stacy: I'm deader than Lindsay Lohan's career.

Kris: I’m as lifeless as your split ends. (come on, bite . . .)

Stacy: That's not as bad as the fact that I'm more lifeless than your sex life.

Kris: I’m more off than the alignment of your eyes.


Touché, Danielson.

Kris: (catches fly with chopsticks.)


May 15, 2007
If any of you are called to testify against me, please empty your cache immediately
It never ceases to amaze me just how dumb the average American murderer is. Now don’t get all stars and stripes on me; I am convinced that statistical analyses would prove the United States criminal to be exponentially less savvy than those in most other countries. There must be a Polish joke I’m missing here, but there are Baked Cheetos to eat and very little time.

I often think, in a way that a young woman who publishes her thoughts for the worldwide Interwebs probably should not, just how I would commit the perfect murder. How I’d plan his demise, because of course he would be a philandering, formerly attractive HE, how I’d dismember his body with a sawing product under five-year Kenmore warrantee, wrapping up his bits in a tarp stolen from gypsies, topped with a madras bow I purchased while wearing an Andrew McCarthy mask.
Seriously, people. Who actually Google searches “top ways to screw a dead body and blame it on your father-in-law Larry G. Guomo?” And then. Four days later. Does it? At a Motel 6 at which they use their Discover Card? No, sir. Aliens interested in your Lladro did not commandeer both your Dell and your lame credit card, my dear.

Why, for the love of God, would you stand outside your chosen crime scene and suck down a cigarette of obscure origin, say, a non-filtered smoke produced by Spam-loving Guatemalan little people? Bubble gum flavored cloves tax stamped by a progeria-suffering Montel guest? You idiot. Just like the damned career of David Caruso, the CSI Unit will find you. And if you must smoke the above and you must concurrently slaughter the humans, I’d advise you to stop tonguing the rim of your cigarettes. Both your high school photo and your redneck mama will thank you.

And stop burying your bodies in a damned remote shallow grave. How anticlimactic. Did you spend all that time in killer summer school to have your piece de resistance be a Shenandoah Valley barbeque pit? Please. Do something original. Feed your ex to the cats. Stuff the Barcalounger with a cocktail of ground limbs and his Mets bobblehead collection. Mount his genitals and tell the neighborhood children it’s an original Snuffleupagus. Just please, please fill the Court TV queue with something more interesting than the insufferable, predictable succotash that currently resides therein.

If not for your own cries of innocence, please, please do it for Kris.

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May 14, 2007
Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. – Plato
So when you find out you’ll be a panel speaker at this year’s conference, do you:

a) contemplate which of your incognito wine vessels you’ll sneak into the session, enabling you to sound minimally coherent while droning on about your cats,
b) ponder the location of your unfilled emergency Xanax prescription (yes, I have one that isn’t filled, and no, you may not have it),
c) consider feigning a nonspecific GI ailment so as not to be forced to speak in public, much like you did during the unfortunate name-reading-into-a-microphone caper of Girls’ State 1990?

Maybe BlogHer flasks will be part of this year’s SWAG.

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May 13, 2007
10 of the millions of things mom has taught me
Always look good, even when going to the Giant, just in case you run into any Rules Committee members/ex-boyfriends.

Kill them with kindness.

Take better care of borrowed items than you would your own.

It might not be a good idea to discuss your personal life on the Internet.

Wait for the sale.

When asked for your phone number by a salesperson, transpose the last two digits.

Always go the extra mile to make someone feel great.

When in doubt, iron it.

You are capable of doing anything that you want to.

It is never too early for a Diet Coke.

May 10, 2007
go ahead
you say something.

Update: I really like the direction in which these comments are heading. Let's make these confessions. My first one? Yesterday, I watched my cashier at a certain red and white superstore insert her finger into one nostril - up to the knuckle. Too lazy to wait in the longer lines, I let her ring me and my lunch up anyway.

May 9, 2007
urine trouble
I sass a lot. At least I try. I sass when I walk, I sass when I blog, I sass when I’m three Pinots deep and I’m asking random DC tourists if the man on my arm looks like he really measures 6’2”.

And so it was on Tuesday afternoon, when at noon I sashayed my way down a work lobby hallway, sassing to and fro in a pair of wide-legged black pants that I was sure encapsulated my life as the poor man’s Carrie Bradshaw. But on one step down my self-assured runway, the heel of my right shoe caught in my left pant cuff. And I spiraled, and I slid, and I skated along the shiny tile, eventually and most thankfully catching myself. Others watched in horror.

But none was as horrified as I. Because as I turned and I twirled and I twisted, not all remained intact. For in the split second before I recovered, time stood still and a portion of my life flashed before me (the young part), and truth be told to God and Oprah: I tinkled.

It wasn't a lot, like when you actually stick to Weight Watchers and drink 248 ounces of water each hour. And it wasn't really even a little, like a five year old who shivers poolside like a deer in headlights. I was able to recover and hold my head high and say with varying degrees of certainty that I had not wet myself. But it was enough for me to know it had happened.

And it was enough for me to spend the remainder of the day wondering, sans even a remote element of sass, just how far in my future blue plate specials, sitz baths, and the pursuit of hairy youth cocoons really are .


May 4, 2007
So I'm happy to report that the creme brulee topping that encased the bulb of my nose completely chipped off last night. I almost saved the flaky goodness for show and tell with my coworkers. I thought better of it. Maybe next time.

Apparently sunburns don't happen all that often in the mid-Atlantic. At least 25 people have commented on the burn that ravaged my face and the front of both arms, as well as leaving me with an unattractive sock line on only one ankle. The rarity of these burns, like finding a straight man at Ikea, prompted one stranger to exclaim, "Oh my God, LOOK AT THAT!" which in turn prompted me to search the horizon for Godzilla, and the convenience store woman, who always thinks I want to buy Marlboros even though I only buy soda from her, to recoil and cry, "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE?!?" while making circling motions like she was exfoliating with a belt sander. I promptly checked for a third eye upon returning to my desk. All clear.

My Monday night date was kind enough to say that my face looked fine, and when I called him out on his gentle lies upon returning from the bathroom, he acknowledged that he could only make out three of the blisters camping on my nose. We like.


May 3, 2007
oh sweet lord
Well, thank god it didn't say anything about boobs.

May 2, 2007
an open letter to dudes
dear dude,

you know how you have preferences about things? like how you like hardee's way more than arby's, and how you are the only man on the planet who still wears tightie whities given that you like how they "swaddle your junk"? right, well me not wanting to have kids is so much more than that.

you know how you just know in your heart that you want to live your life with both of your testicles? it's like that.

and how you know in your heart that the Redskins are number 1 even though they really never are? it's like that.

okay, let's recap.

i don't want to bear your children.
i don't want to raise the ones you currently have, whether they are five or 15.
and i don't want to adopt them from malawi with you.

you not listening to me is just like when the boys in the 8th grade locker room wouldn't hear it that you weren't gay.

you aren't going to change me, much like i won't change your god awful decision to name one of your cats after a lord of the rings character.

good luck with your pursuit of a barefoot woman,


May 1, 2007
Why You Should Never Write About Happiness
Because when you do, you start your day with your car being backed into, and although you tell the woman not to worry about the damage on this fine spring morning and send her on her way, thinking that she’ll pay it forward and karma’s goodness may just end up knocking on your door, it just doesn’t happen like that.

Instead, on a beautiful drive home from work, you get the privilege of passing him walking down the street that still connects you, even though you are the absolute furthest thing from being connected. He hasn’t moved apartments, his gait hasn’t changed, the name emblazoned on the back of the softball jersey is the same. And apparently your want to run up and touch him and know him again hasn’t budged much either.

And this time you make it one block before crying, even though it has been so long and life has gone on in countless ways and directions. Because in a split second you never want to go out on one of these blasted dates ever again, or invest your soul in anyone ever, ever again, because it all just ends up like this down the road anyway.