August 31, 2007
you make me want to be a better writer
Because they each have something to say. And each says it infinitely better than I ever could. Happy Friday, everybody.




August 30, 2007
A friend with a newborn asked me today if I baby sit.

Come again?

I know that I’ve stopped wearing the sign, but I’m pretty certain my “not interested in children, yours or mine” tattoo is still intact on my forehead, and if it isn’t, Ray had better hold to his refund policy. In my confusion I’m not sure what I said in return, but I do know that my face contorted much like it does when any stranger calls me “sugar.”

“I don’t even touch babies, so I don’t think I’d sit them.”

Consider that an hour earlier a friend had emailed news of a pending domestic shorthair adoption. I cooed as I typed my first response, picturing the feline gift bag I’d create that would overflow with pink mice and that cardboard scratcher no one believes in but that saved my aging couch from certain leg amputation. We wrote back and forth about her imminent state of motherhood, me wearing a full-on permagrin. I offered to accompany her to the adoption site. If allowed, there is a good chance that I’d film the joyous PetSmart event and shower mother and daughter with cheers and cat nip as they pretended not to know me. Forcibly declaring myself this unsuspecting cat's godmother is also in the plan.

It – and I? – just seem so wrong in the bigger picture of things. Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel this way.

August 29, 2007
the right stuff
Last night was date number 4. The Kris of yesteryear would have been picking out china patterns at this point in the relationship, but her current counterpart opted instead for a night of Mexican food and good conversation and ruby red sangria, one of God's true nectars. I think it goes without saying that Eve knew there was a greater purpose for that apple when she yanked it from the tree.

Two drinks and a free tequila shot turned into staying out a little later, lounging on a bar couch and talking about ourselves and pretty much everyone else in the room. For some reason that I currently can't recall, the conversation turned to family.

"What about your grandparents?" he asked.

"Which ones?" I questioned back. "The ones on the left?"

He blinked hard.

For there were no grandparents to my left or my right. Because given that all four are long deceased, bringing them on my date would have been totally inappropriate and downright creepy, much like those jokes I always make about current uses for Bug's now defunct fourth leg. In my head, left meant the left side of something, which still remains unclear. I knew it to mean paternal, just like I know turning the air down means making it warmer, but only to me, but how in Hades was he supposed to know that?

He didn't run, at least not at first, and then it was only under the guise of having to use the restroom. I joke. But I think he'll probably pause again when he hears me speak of "warshing" the dishes. And how "whack" things are. And how I have a monkey's uterus.

At least there was no talk of china patterns.


August 27, 2007
number 2
You arrive 25 minutes early, the result of your obsession with being prompt for each and every engagement. If you’re being honest, a late entrance would also mean you’d have to walk toward him, revealing once and for all that your skirt does not look nearly as good in motion as it does perched atop a bar stool. You order a pre-emptive drink.

You powder your face with such alarming regularity that you’re quite sure your paleness rivals Ms. Kidman’s. More than once you hop to the bar for a napkin to expend nervous energy. You don’t yet smoke. You try to coax lip gloss from the bottom of its tiny bottle and you write.

You wait.

The clock you’ve checked every five minutes says he shows right on time. He stands close to your side. And when you lift your head, you know your face gives away that this week you’ve been biting your lower lip when you think about him. That yes, you await his emails and wish you could respond to his text messages, the ones he sends even though he knows your phone is broken and you won’t be able to respond. The ones he writes anyway, just to say hello. Because.

He leans in to you and whispers in your ear. He comments that you’re even cuter than he remembers, and you can’t believe that minutes ago you wanted to say the same thing to him. You break into the goofy type of smile that you regularly envy when it’s worn by others. And you’re reminded why, no matter how many times you swear it and every Air Supply song off for good, you choose to be in this wonderful place once again.


August 24, 2007
God rest ye merry costumed men
I care not for people in costume.

(That’s not altogether true, as we all know that a number 1) they serve their purpose on annual October 31sts when no one is a better Dorothy than I, and c number 3) the practice is acceptable in certain boudoir situations. That said.)

I can’t stand when law-abiding, self-respecting adults put themselves in situations in which they have to don costuming, and at its worst, period costuming. Individuals with expensive liberal arts degrees, who could probably pull down more cash selling salt water taffy on the Seaside boardwalk, actually and for whatever reason choose to put themselves in these hideous and humiliating situations. Your local renaissance fair. Civil War re-enactments. The Tower of London. Like men who wear madras, they are in more places than should be legal, making many a moment more uncomfortable for me than watching newbie improv.

A friend recently spent a week with her family in Williamsburg, VA, land of the beginnings of our land, home of churning your own butter for absolutely no reason and, well, lots of dirt and manure. To me, a vacation of this sort is a fate akin to being locked for a week in an abandoned psych ward with a clan of cyborgs or Marilu Henner. In such situations, I begin to perspire when the costumed approach, worried that I’ll be forced to speak in the King’s English or sucked into a sober Maypole dance.

Public programming stuffed this down my throat this week in what promised to be a beautiful account of the life of Typhoid Mary, my watching of which you should interpret both as my attempt to assume the role of a woman once successful on her SATs and the end of all decent regular season programming as we know it. It started out all well and good, with real-life ivy leaguers talking in irritating tones of tenements and scourges, but before I knew it, there they were. Pale women with rosy cheeks in unassuming frocks. Ah, hell. Here we go. Time for a flashback. Seriously, was I expected to be transported to the 19th century by a man with an epoxied pony hair moustache*? Modern television re-enactments are offensive enough, but actors in old-timey garments set against stagnant backdrops spewing such forth such quotes as “her stools were a living culture of typhoid bacilli”? Please. Did I not just see that “town doctor” on an episode of One Tree Hill? Yeah. I thought so.

All that said, this woman will not die before she gets to Medieval Times in all its ridiculous splendor. You’ll have to pry that turkey leg from my cold, dead hands.

*What's worse? I bet even that guy has a date for next weekend. (Ye know it's true.)


August 22, 2007
knee deep
Life is turned upside down right now. Not because things aren't going stupendously, but because work deadlines, an overbooked calendar and spotty home Interweb service leave me too far from this e-obsession. I'm tired and not in my right writing mind. Ask Kim. Last night I told her something was "totally whack." She will never let me forget it. Rightfully so.

I don't have much for you today, but was hoping you'd keep me company. Do delurk or leave your beautiful words as you usually do and say hi.

Mama needs the break today.

August 20, 2007
The day before I found the clementine-sized tumor on Bug’s side, I sent an email to his first mom letting him know just how well he was doing. It occurred to me that I might be jinxing his welfare, but Bug had been a healthy cat for many a year, and an innocuous electronic missive wouldn’t change that, now would it? It probably didn’t, but being that I’d like to keep my two legs, I’m a little more wary about putting good news out there. See, I fear that my happiness makes the Universe just a tiny bit disagreeable. It never fails upon trumpets signaling good news that, in an ironic Pay it Forward moment, the big U hurls something big and unpleasant my way in the form of stomach flu or stupid boy move. It’s why I haven’t written about my father’s illness in many moons, why you don’t hear about any of my true successes, and why I haven’t celebrated that my car hasn’t been broken into in a least three days.

So I will write very little about the Date. Suffice it to say that, at 33, there are still men out there who can challenge a woman proud of her wit and who can hold a conversation about both Def Leppard and the AFI. Because such things are important to this girl. As is the kissing. And oh, yes. Apparently there are still men left who didn't skip that day of training.

I’m closing things there. I promise to keep you posted. But right now, I’m a little worried that might be the Universe on Line 1.


August 18, 2007
Busy bee
My date last night was charming, even more striking in person than I remembered. Our evening was one full of laughter and sweet looks across our table and warm soft pretzels. Sadly, this date didn't put out. Maybe next time.

Tonight, another date, this of a different gender. Details tomorrow.


August 17, 2007
not lying down
I try not to lie too much, but admittedly I fail miserably. I’ve fessed this up before to you, along with my fondness for Easy Cheese and Tony Danza vehicles, but the subject has come up in my life again more recently. I’m reminded. In my skewed tiny head – I’m not kidding, I can wear children’s sunglasses – I justify my lies. They are passable because they don’t hurt anyone.

I can’t go to your (happy hour or niece’s bat mitzvah or raging kegger) because (insert cat or gastric affliction here, which is often true as you well know, or plague of locusts or being in the middle of tutoring the unfortunate children of the inner suburbs in particle physics). I can’t make the event, no, but my excuse of wanting to stay home to write or my inability to look presentable in this God awful heat or me just not liking you all that much will never, ever suffice. You probably don’t want to hear it anyway.

You look great (wearing those pleated khakis, with a home perm, in your new electric blue Geo Metro, with inch-thick liquid eyeliner). I tell you this simply because I don’t know you well enough to say otherwise. If I did, and my friends can vouch for this, it would be time for an intervention, with or without the help of A&E.

No, we aren’t doing anything for your birthday. I’m sorry that none of us remembered it. Better luck next year.

Yes, I like your boyfriend. I especially like the way he walks two feet in front of you and buys his beer without getting yours. Yes, of course, he could very well be the One! I say this knowing that you’ll break up in two weeks, and that then, and only then, we will split a jug of rose Gallo from Walgreen’s and I will dish about how much I wanted to twist his scrawny red neck.

I once sprayed deodorant in my office in a desperate moment that had me turning to my emergency hygiene drawer, the one that for some odd reason also houses all of my lunchtime condiments. Because the universe fools with me on a regular basis, a coworker walked in within seconds. I lied and told her the scent was from an air freshener. Now how could I help her? She gave me a puzzled look. I had left a white streak of Soft and Dri on the black fabric under each of my arms.

Lying is easier. The words that come off the cuff in our everyday save us a good bit of uncomfortable interaction. And I also think it’s acceptable, something that you shall henceforth agree never, ever to use against me in the blogosphere or at real-life drinking events. It’s okay for the 17-year-old girl to be sent to the nurse with a headache rather than the cramps that kept her up all night. You can tell your friends that their newborn is adorable, even though you’re quite sure it will never be Prom King, or Queen for that matter, whenever you finally crack the code of its ambiguous gender via pierced ears or baseball appliqué.

But I was recently lied to in a way that didn’t fit my or any other rulebooks. It was a lie by omission, something I’m pretty sure others see as the brand of lie that warrants a footnote rather than its own chapter. It required not one lie, but a series of them, the kind that require planning. That demand strategy. It demanded so much intent and so many days of avoidance that it almost boggles the mind that one would engage in so much effort rather than telling the truth.

Is it worth it? Was it worth it?

I haven’t told a lie like this in some time, and the last time I did, it began a spiral of distrust that led to me losing someone very close to me. I remember the absolute panic I felt going into it, the desperation that followed an act that I couldn’t take back, an event solely of my initiation. I was vague in my account of what had happened, telling bits and pieces in short, stuttered phrases. I vividly recall that I couldn’t look him in the eyes and talk at the same time. I also knew I was making very conscious efforts to breathe deeply just so I could get the words out. I was completely wrapped up in my own head, worried defensively only about covering myself; not losing him in the process was completely secondary. I hadn’t given a thought to his feelings or the consequences or any of that tangential crap before I did it, of course. And I remember that I was almost flippant in my apologies to him. I defended my actions. But I knew it was wrong as I went through every planned motion. And he knew. He almost knew the story to the most minuscule detail before I coughed up the information. We always know.

When you’re the liar, you are that guy we’ve all sat down to a friendly game of poker with, the overeager, smarmy one with the odd tells, the one who repeatedly claims he doesn’t understand the rules but seems to know his way around the table just fine. Not only is no one sure exactly who invited him, but he takes all the fun out of the game. And he’s an ass when he wins the pot, scooping up your cash with a sweaty snort while you give the knowing glance to your regular players. This is the guy from whom you hide your good beer in the farthest reaches of the fridge. The one you rant about after he’s cleaned you out. The one you promise will not be invited back.

I’m not playing that game anymore.

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August 16, 2007
to the asshat who broke into my car last night
Now how did you know I was a quart low on drama?

Thanks. I so needed that.


August 14, 2007
me, myself and mine
I once had a Strawberry Shortcake diary. I very carefully catalogued, with the help of its matching tiny pencil, all the most important happenings in the life of a 3rd grader. Field trips to New Jersey parks – yes, we do have them – and elementary school Field Days. I chronicled my first crush in vivid, two-line detail. How I loved Scott Toale; how I almost collapsed when he gave me his YMCA patch when I was 8 years old. At one point, and despite the trauma I don’t recall exactly who the perpetrator was, but someone found the diary. Its little gold lock was no match for his or her grubby fingers, and within seconds it gave up my secrets. Found out, I frantically erased the contents of every page.
Seems strange that a woman with such a traumatic diary history would splash her thoughts for all to read on the Internets, doesn’t it?

Strangely enough, this has always been a safe place for me because of the relative anonymity afforded me, given my teeny, tiny slice of the blog world. My family has so far respected my boundaries as far as these entries and pictures are concerned, something for which I am thankful. I know that the very existence of this site nearly kills my mother, who I am sure envisions archives full of Freudian references and photoshopped horns placed on each of her pictures. Over the years, others who I have asked to keep their distance, whether they be friends or dates, have and have not respected my wishes, but those past decisions are neither here nor there at this very moment in time.

Last night my mother called with several issues to put on the table. In rapid succession, she fired them off. I don’t actually remember what followed the first of these, however, because she opened the list with a simple, “Ok. So don’t write on your site about Mary. She’s looking for your blog.”

Come again?

Mary? I thought. Mary, the young friend of my mother who I’ve only met a few times, a woman new to her life for whose companionship my mother is truly thankful? I sat in silence for a few seconds, giving myself the space to make sure I had it right. No, I'm right; she’s my mother’s pal. A woman who I have no true interaction with or opinion of other than loving that my mom has such support in her life.

So why Mary would want access to a friend’s daughter’s blog, when my mother always indicates to others that, although very proud of my online endeavors, even she does not have “access” to this site, is really just beyond me. Is this really the place for you? Are there not other pursuits that allow you to indulge your curious – and if we’re all being honest with ourselves, probing – side? If all else fails, is there not a pantyless teenebrity on Melrose at whom you can gawk?

I’ve been down this road before. And each and every time it happens, I become momentarily bitter about imaginary boundaries that are crossed. I scan my mental archives to see if posts might be misinterpreted or in any way hurtful to people close to me, however unintentional. I wonder if pictures make me look as if I'm having too much fun, too little - do I appear to be a girl who is flirtatious, irritating, narcissistic? A tiny bit of panic sets in. Are mine the words of a woman who would make her parents proud?

These discoveries make me doubt and urge me to edit, to check content and the words I know without reservation that I chose carefully the first time I wrote them. I hate that reaction with every ounce of my being. This is mine. And with every intrusion I feel like a kid again, hiding in my closet to write in that miniature pink diary. Only this time, I very much want to resist erasing any of the pages.

dear very cute dc boy
do make sure your blacks match before leaving the house. such a travesty.

and nine out of ten capitol hill 20-something women? why ruin that perfectly tailored $300 suit with flip flops? seriously?


August 13, 2007
celling out
I had no cell phone last week. Much to the disbelief of my mother, who of course attributed the battery failure to some dumb action on my part, such as dropping it in the toilet or baking it into a birthday bundt cake, it simply failed on me. I walked to my car on Tuesday morning, pulled it out of the pocket of my brown dress pants, and the screen was dark. At each successive stoplight I attempted to give it life. I removed its back end, fed it 50 ccs of car charger, stat! and opened and closed its little pink face repeatedly. Nothing worked. When I reached my computer I quickly Googled the closest repair shop. Maryland. Open until 5. Gee, only two states away! The Beltway is a total joy at rush hour! Suddenly it dawned on me: I wouldn’t be able to make it to the repair shop until the weekend. I, Kris, would be cell phoneless for at least a full five days, unreachable after the hour of 5:30 by man and beast and beastlike men. I’d be on my own, just like the old days, when the cumbersome nature of the rotary dial made it a chore to call friends. It’s hard to describe, but a fierce calm passed over me, one I had not known in some time. I was free.

I cannot tell you how comforting this was to me. As the social butterfly who admittedly hates people, I was free to spend my time as I wanted it, free from my cellular tether. I leave the damn thing on silent most of the time that I’m home, when it’s in the deep recesses of my oversized handbag or the couch, but I always know it’s there. And, like the frosted strawberry Pop Tarts did when I once allowed them into my home, it calls to me with a voice strikingly similar to Gollum’s. Kris . . . come hither. . . text Kim and tell her you’re watching Ghost Whisperer. . . AND THAT YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN THIS EPISODE TWICE! I also got to feel a little bit of the phantom limb syndrome that poor Bug likely encounters on a daily basis; I reached for that phone in more ridiculous locations than any woman should admit, realizing with some sadness that, like his hind leg, it was no more. We both spent the week with a little bit of a limp.

So I give you, dear readers, an abbreviated list of those places that I check and/or use my cell phone but absolutely, positively do not have to:

My bed. My cell doubles as my alarm clock, so even though I keep the damn thing on one beep for calls, I crank it up to a level 3 so I can rock out to Kelly Clarkson while I’m hatching. When I didn’t have it last week, I overslept for work, waking up at 8:57 in a cold I-missed-the-final-Bio-exam sweat. Because apparently a woman with a master’s can’t program her 1994 Dream Machine for a 7 am wakeup. Admittedly, my degree is in psychology.

Bars. What’s interesting is that I’m never texting or talking to people I’m meeting out that night. But while tipsy I simply must text and know: Jorge and Mrs. Jorge, does the water go down the drain in the opposite direction in Canada? Meredith, what’s the temperature in the bathroom in your apartment? Kim, is Scott Baio really, like seriously, doing a reality series? No. Seriously.

In the elevator in my apartment building. Where I don’t get reception. And I know it.

The bathroom. Stacy and I will actually announce that we are going to use the commode when we’re speaking to one another, as if this makes this behavior a) acceptable, or b) ACCEPTABLE. I have also used the cell in the tub, which makes me feel very L.A. Law for some reason, given that my cell phone is so huge and archaic and I look absolutely nothing like Susan Dey. I have also been known to brush my teeth while taking a cell call. Because I just love when people do that kind of crap to me.

The vet’s/doctor’s/therapist’s waiting room. I text while sitting in these spots all the time. I’ll often gaily laugh out loud at innocuous content just to confuse and/or make myself the envy of those around me. Then again, I often laugh out loud at the Reader’s Digest when I’m in the therapist’s waiting room. I’m pretty sure that’s led to at least one unwarranted diagnosis.

The movies. I won’t make or take calls, but I do check my phone once or twice during any film to see if I’ve gotten a text or a phone message. Because as you well know, something important could transpire during the 120 minutes I’m otherwise occupied, like my mother requesting 50 pounds of Fresh Step on my next trip to PetSmart, or, you know, a priority call from Jesus. I hear he’s got a sweet friends and family plan.

So yes, I caved. I got a new cell phone yesterday. And I’m already thinking it might be time to bake it into a bundt cake.

August 9, 2007
taking stock
I found myself in an odd position this week. It had to do with love and the future and the past and one big cheese ball of happiness, a mixture of joy that might once have been but was no longer there, and hadn’t been there for some time. I would guess years, and although not a betting woman I would offer Cricket’s right hind leg that I’m probably guessing correctly. Tied to an unpleasant, recurring date I wound my way through the glitter of children’s birthday greetings and those God awful morose and inexplicably floral sympathy cards and finally settled, as intended, in the anniversary section.

I hate it there. It’s a plastic wasteland of lies and discomfort and wishing there wasn’t so much gold trim. The neighboring wedding and engagement cards are acceptable and borderline whimsical, so full of promise and hope and all the stuff that made little Annie not our red-headed stepchild but our orphan hero. I have a strict anniversary card rule I’ve carted around since first seeing Kramer vs. Kramer, one I’m quite sure increases my Hallmark aisle discomfort exponentially. I never buy anything that doesn’t reflect the absolute fervor with which the couple lives their lives and loves one another. To me, doing anything less is like giving an engagement gift when the bride-to-be has already flushed her platinum ring. Thus the quandary in a northern Virginia Target: what to buy for a twosome no longer in love?

These sorts of situations make my heart ache, even more than the elderly who have part-time jobs at McDonald’s. I simply cannot fathom at this point in my life (and don’t you dare go digging in my archives) that someone would withstand a relationship that was any less than what they truly deserved, an abundance of love and a scattered, smothered, covered and chunked order of morning kisses and late-night talks. Money and dependence and situation be damned. You deserve a life of not giving in to watching yet another horrible episode of American Idol, but doing it because you just can’t believe the odd gleeful laugh she lets out at every one of Simon’s dreadful comments. Of smiling each and every time you think of him, even if he did give the phone to you when you violently shook your head to the negative, even when she’s had one too many flutes of champagne at the corporate event and offers the big boys much too much about your long-gone fraternity years. Of getting through the arguments and rough patches hand in hand.

Yet we all do it – we’ve all done it – to different degrees. Some of us for months, others for years, some of us for decades. Through a curbside coffee table scored on a big trash day to hermit crabs won at the shore boardwalk to the shared experience of newborn puppies and babies. We all do it. Like robots who convince ourselves that things will fix, that things will change. For most of us, they don’t. For many of us, the out is easier, a series of unreturned phone calls or a Dear John letter left on the kitchen table. An uncomfortable Easter Sunday conversation that has one or the other moving out before vows were exchanged. The others who enter the wrong union eventually succumb to the inevitable. They end up trapped.

Perhaps what left me most lost in the world of cardstock was not the fact that I had to find the most innocuous offender, the one least covered in interlocked white hands, bearing multi-sided talk of forever in poorly-written, saccharine verse. It was the fact that I know so few couples, if more than one even, for whom I’d buy one of those $4.99 cards. Everyone else I know is going through the motions, exchanging once-knowing, perhaps frisky shared looks at a dinner party for silence on a car ride home. For unexpected Tuesday mornings spent laughing over burned toast and predictable Wednesday nights spent on distant sides of a king bed.

I never, ever want to be in that situation. The reality that surrounds me goes against all that I’ve hoped for those in my inner circle and, most selfishly, for me. I can’t do it. It may mean I have to use a walker when I finally hobble down the aisle in a black sequined garment meant to camouflage all of my loose parts, but it won’t be like that. I just won’t do it.

I settled on a card with beautiful stitching that bore a simple interior message of good wishes, thankfully only two lines in length. It was sadly perfect, and I should have bought three of them in anticipation of the next two couple “celebrations.” And now I sit thinking of this passionless marriage that once might have been something great, of how these two people probably dread their anniversary more than I do solo wedding attendance, and I’m left without words. Just what exactly is there to say?


August 8, 2007
because nothing says pretty hair quite like this

a real post, not containing jonbenet-like video of my cats or pics of my telly, but actual words and possibly hyphens, coming on thursday. promise.

this one's for the woman who showed me they aren't all hairy, feral beasts
If you don’t watch this, my first-ever, low-quality video (other than the ones I made as a Jersey mall superstar in ’87 - and the soft core of ‘06, of course), you are missing out on:

A seldom-seen view of my couch without its skin on.
Me almost tripping into the oven.
The sound of my transcriptionist typing all of my hideous words into a Commodore 64.
A glimpse of Cricket’s ass.
My irritating voice. It’s really quite something, let me tell you. Infants are crying states away. As is the baby Jesus.

my annoying voice and some cats from kris likey and Vimeo.



August 6, 2007
cutting the grass
I had a minor breakdown last Wednesday afternoon which involved me leaning on two of my wise people for more minutes than my Sprint plan currently allows. The flip out was a dash of circumstantial big bang, a heavy dose of the approaching menses, and a generous helping of the grass being greener. Part of the envy I was feeling came directly from BlogHer, land of the women to your right with the full hair and the one to your left with the book deal and the other dead ahead with disposable income that affords her world travel and that elusive Coach scarf hobo. I also booked a flight to a destination wedding this week, one at which I will spend my 34th birthday, likely celebrating both events alone. I was just a swirl of feeling low and as if my cats and my rented apartment just didn’t cut it. It was a pity party for which I forgot to send out invitations.

Things always look so good from the outside. For all of us. Sometimes I wish I wanted offspring so I didn’t have to get the you-just-sprouted-horns look from each and every person who discovers I’m more interested in funding that Coach purchase than a college education. I had to chuckle while reading friend and woman I taught how to text message Chris’ post earlier today. Apparently having seven children and feeding them properly gets you some strange looks at times, as well. What single woman would have thought it?

One of the aforementioned wise people held a get together at his house last week, a setting he has told me on more than one occasion was designed for entertaining. I made this man, a grown man with intact testicles, tell me each and every detail of the event from the napkins to the cheese selection and the service timing because I was just so damn envious. It oozed from me and I cared not to try to scoop it up before he noticed. Neurotic in his planning as I am, he spent days on details like group-pleasing music and cutting the lawn just so. The lawn I don’t have but I'd love to find bits of under my fingernails. Did I mention him having space for a grill? For a deck? I won’t even get started on having a mailbox. A real-life one from which you can send outgoing mail. Without having to go to the post office.

When Jenny was in town a few weeks ago, I openly expressed my envy of her life, a level that grew with each story she told and, naturally, with each glass of Pinot I poured us. It wasn’t one thing. It was the whole picture, albeit one without the zoom on. Her high-profile job that sounds exciting no matter the day and the apartment she co-owns with a man we’re pretty sure will be her fiancé within months in a city that is completely foreign and therefore all the more intriguing to me. Their nights at home with rented movies made me ache a little. To cuddle on the couch with a man with whom I’m in love? Come on, does it really get better than that?

What floored me was that, on more than one occasion during the weekend, she expressed just how boring she thought her life sounded when comparing it to mine. I paused, incredulous, because as glamorous as we all know having the people at your local Subway know your name and mothering one full-bodied feline and the other amputee cat can be, not to mention your collection of brilliant Suave (and now Bliss!) products being every young woman’s dream, I just hadn’t considered how things might look from my outside. She cited the softball and the bocce and the happy hours and the wine tours and the writing and elusive female friendships. And DC and the dating and the drama and the dining out in all four quadrants and being within driving distance of family. And yes, she even mentioned the cats.

Maybe days like Wednesday would be a little easier if I didn’t spend so much of my time looking at the neighbor's lawn.


August 2, 2007
I won't even show you what's on the door
In scrutinizing the pictures of myself from BlogHer, I wanted to scream at how chunky I looked, how imperfect each and every angle seemed to be. I don't own Photoshop and given that MS Paint doesn't have a tool to trim ass (and chin) length, I think I'm going to have to take it upon myself to stop eating fries for breakfast (ok, it only happened once at BlogHer, but it was like NOON, people).

Problem is, I hate to grocery shop. HATE. DETEST. LOOOOATHE. The Safeway is a completely unsafe environment for the Kris, stocked with forty types of vinegar when I'm pretty sure we all know humankind needs only one, not to mention the infants and the toddlers and the teen boys with their hands flailing toward my highlights while mommy's back is turned. It's enough to make a woman order in every night. Or just not stock her fridge. Like ever. At all. Like really.

Behold today's confession, folks: my refrigerator.

Now before you freak out and start calling the ugly people who protect cats from their neglectful, wino owners, let me offer that I was indeed out of town for five whole days last week. I wouldn't have wanted anything to rot, particularly this:

Yep, see that clear container of soup on the middle shelf? Well, Grissom, that pretty girl used to be a Panera side salad. A co-worker didn't eat it so I took it home from my company meeting in EARLY JULY. I'm pleased to see that the empty Tupperware to her left decided to keep her company. Wouldn't want her to get lonely in there. And perhaps be attacked by a fifth of a green pepper. Moving on.

I HAVE A JOB. What in God's name would make me think that I couldn't afford to toss the last precious three milliliters of Pinot Grigio from my clearly well-fingerprinted glass? And when did I become an ER doc or mother of triplets or Carrot Top or someone else who might legitimately have a reason to be busy enough to put the IMPALED NIPPLE OF A CUCUMBER in the forefront of the fridge? Um, in such a rush to blog and file down your feet that you didn't have time to remove the slicing implement, Kris?

And doesn't it look like it got stabbed in the damn mouth? Like it was sassing the gang of condiments and one of them done gone and shivved him right in the piehole?

Ok. Kids, let's stop this crazy sexual tension a la Maddie and David. You two have been making blue lips at each other since at least May. Whaddya say you scoot on in closer and get your parfait on? Can't you hear them now, party people? "Yoplait or mine?"

I'll be going now.


August 1, 2007
I’m not sure exactly how it happens. Formulas work well for both NASA launches and cocktails, but matter not when you’re in the depths of It.

I recall naturally and am well reminded by private writings that life was in shambles, that work consisted of showing up and hoping on a fundamental level that even my shoes matched. That I would make it through a regular just-after-9-am call from a caring someone checking to see if I was composed enough to sit with my office door open. To then make it to a 10 o’clock meeting. Why didn’t I try lunch out with a friend? Because naturally that would set the world upright again. Perhaps a new activity? Because that would wipe my psychic slate clean. I’d phone in an entry on this site, something about Cusack or happy hour or new success at swimming. I’d hope he’d read it. After all, if he did, didn’t that mean something for us?

The messages from friends were well intentioned. He doesn’t deserve you. But if he doesn’t, why did I pick him in the first place? This doesn’t say anything about you. Sweet friend, you must not have heard me – he didn’t want me back. Kris, you are complete as you are. If this drunken sobbing is really me, then do I really want to be me anymore? They tried. I appreciated. I bucked and discarded.

I used to drive past his house on the way to work. I knew there were other routes, options that DC and distant friends and a paid Kris advocate and yes, even myself, knew were available, and I cared not. I’d curse him under my breath and remind him via CourtTV telepathy that I was the best Goddamn thing ever to happen to him, knowing full well in my gut that things would never be - and never should be - again. I’d talk of him in the past tense when things were very much present for me. And I’d come home after work to the dark windows and the needy cats. Even in a Pinot haze, the hatred of being alone, of being a me rather than an us, of telling people of the unchanging outcome in a steady stream of weeks and months, was absolute torture. Even though our end was a sewn together series of silences, once having shared a space and a life and all of your reachable memory can almost consume your insides. Every last thing had to go, if not literally then figuratively. Stray clothing was tossed as if it might infect me, music was shelved for a time that it would no longer be self indulgent and ridiculously painful.

All I wanted was a formula, a recipe online or news from confidantes or effing Dr. Phil to make things better. Nothing came.

Months later there were moments during which I could appreciate the humor of the blinding white of the snow and Cricket consuming all of Bug’s food as he groomed himself post-gorging. Expected neighborhood run-ins brought the same amount of pain and often minutes and sometime hours spent on long-distance therapeutic phone calls, but I no longer ruined contacts the day after ripping open the pack. I was reminded that these were simple successes. How I hated those morsels of wisdom with all of my being. I dated again, under a heavy cloak of Spanish reds and California whites, and only found ridiculous amounts of humor in a man who kissed me just as a mason jar might. Life became a series of building blocks that I openly mocked. Of putting myself out there in every forum so life could take me down. Again.

Somehow it didn’t.

And then I drove past his house last night. It was a last-minute necessity given a long trip home and the promise of awaiting traffic that I simply could not stand. And for a moment I remembered the time that I showed up on his doorstep and knocked on the darkened apartment door to find he wasn’t home, only minutes later to call and discover he was a state away surprising me with the very same arrival. This was a rowhouse of countless hours of chilled white wine, nighttime and mid-afternoon and whatever-the-hell-time-it-is sex, napping until the irritating alarm sounded, and checking your blogs from an unknown IP. The associated aftermath was an embarrassing collage of I-know-better-than-this drive bys and full pressed powder application before hitting the corner store. Of thinking there was a chance. That if I made myself pretty enough and somehow emotionally fresh enough that things could work.

They didn’t. And they never should have.

I still have no formula. And I’m not sure exactly how it happens. It isn’t the influence of another person or a tripod cat donning a scar to let you know what’s really important in life. But one day or over a series of them linked together you just wake up and the pull is gone. The ache subsides. The pictoral bits and pieces are fine in the scrapbook on the shelf with those that came before. And you realize with sadness that although it and you all meant something, it also means absolutely nothing at all.