March 31, 2008
Opening Day (now with 66% more losing Presidents!)
Opening Day at the new Nationals ball park was - how you say? - COLD. It was fabulous, actually, the thrill of a lifetime, a cold, throbbing thrill of which only a few thousand of us non-season ticket holding bourgeoisie got to be a part. An experience that will forever remain imprinted on my brain and leave me at Kim's disposal, forced to ask people embarrassing questions at bars while she points and laughs, given that she granted me the golden ticket.

It'll be worth every emotional penny.

The day started with a hangover for Kim (see exhibit A) and an overzealous and completely not hungover Kris, who of course had planned for days that she would take tissues in her purse and that her camera battery would be fully charged and which Metro lines at what times put her in strategic on-time placement for the BEST. DAY. EVER.

Hungover Kim (again refer to Exhibit A) was not pleased by Kris' excessive use of exclamations and decibels, leaving Kris in a position to drink too much prior to game time and take multiple "before" photos in the bar bathroom before being caught by a sober female
patron. The "Does this darn thing work?" doesn't hold water after a few drinks, especially when you're caught posing in the mirror with said camera.

DC, we finally have a real ball park. She's beautiful, and I was like a real woman at a baby shower. Look at the little Ws on the gate!

And the Nats colors in the women's bathroom!

The President of these United States threw out the first ball, which was met with a ridiculous number of boos. Not normal boos, like Michael Richards just made racist remarks boos, but mega throwdown boos, like Bush had just kicked a puppy being held by the Pope sitting on the lap of a disabled veteran. Hometown grad made good Denyce Graves sang the national anthem, and I would have been crying if it hadn't eaten my weight in what I will claim was low-sodium ketchup.

Seriously? Nationals Park is full of delicious goodness, like bottom of the ninth game-winning home runs I read about and all that, but the excessive use of puns? Behold the awesomeness:

and the raw gorgeousness of . . .

. . . and the - dare I say - titillating?

Moving on.

There were amazing highlights to the night, with the exception of the fact that the park is kid friendly and smoking unfriendly,


Highlights like the fact that our team actually looks cute in this year's mug shots! And that hypothermia doesn't reach the breasts for at least one hour and twelve minutes!

And that the only open seats in the entire park were right next to us!

And oh, the luscious scoreboard, on which my personal history of scores will be broadcast to the crowd and all my ex-boyfriends in attendance on my 80th birthday . . .

And that gorgeous field, complete with gorgeous men at least 10 years my junior wearing gorgeous lycra-infused pants . . .

And a backyard view that says, "World? We're Washington, DC. No, we can't make a decent bagel any better than we can make our votes count, but we're the center of the international universe! AND AT LEAST WE'RE NOT NEW JERSEY!"

Well, we'll always have the senator's sausage.

March 30, 2008
it's really effing cold out here, people.
Let the record show that neither kim nor I booed the president when he threw out the opening pitch just now. I think we were the only ones.

March 28, 2008
I went with my mother to buy her a car last night. We went to a luxury car dealership in the Northern Virginia, where everything was shiny and all the people were smiley and for a few moments I was shiny and smiley too. A stubborn, stubborn woman, I am not good at negotiation, but I am good at research. I was armed with numbers and quotes and a brain.

Let the record show that I do not fare condescension well, and I am not a woman who likes to be manipulated, save in situations of mutual adult consent. Within minutes, I wanted to stab the sales guy in the eye with a white hot poker. If not a white hot poker, maybe a pair of those tweezers used in the Operation game. A pair that were whittled in the Stone Age, passed down by generations of females, used with such frequency to remove the genitalia of arrogant men that they were little more than blunt stubs.

I stated that we did not want a car with the extras the floor model had.

“There are no extras on that car. Tell me which ones are extras,” he challenged. “Show me.”

Surely he couldn’t be serious. They were printed on the dealer sticker we just reviewed. I was completely caught off guard.

“Oh, that’s the only way that model is made,” he stated.

Really? Seriously. Because the web site for your brand mothership begs to differ. And I’m pretty sure they call certain features “options” because they don’t come standard. As in THEY ARE OPTIONAL.

He told us they did make the cars we wanted in other far off lands, places like Whoville and Double Crossia, “but that’s the only way that model is made for this area. Those are the only cars the manufacturer sends us.” And we’d have to wait ‘til the new millennium to get a car built without those options, because those special vehicles are made by students at Hogwarts, and, as you well know, sometimes making cars takes a backseat to making beetle dung levitate.

Well if that’s the case, I said, then you can take off the accoutrements like those Ginsu knives and the Maxim subscription and the trunk mat and cargo net, because we don’t want them.

“Tell me why you don’t want them.”

I’m sorry? I need to tell YOU why we don’t want a fucking ferret hammock in the trunk?

He proceeded to open the trunk of the floor model to extol the virtues of the mat and cargo net. “If you spill anything it will get on the mat and not the trunk floor.” Genius, I tell you. “And the cargo net holds things,” he said, actually putting his hand in the netting to simulate it holding stuff and objects and materials. “It keeps things from rolling around in your trunk.”

Really? Like groceries and stuff our working businessman husband brings home for us to cook? That’s funny, because I always assumed they were for holding our newborns as we carpooled to Tupperware parties.

At one point during our floor model inspection he actually put his arm around me and said something about how I clearly tell my mom how to make her decisions. I wanted so badly to hurl him over my head like one of Charlie’s Angels might do, to the applause of all the shiny and smiley car saleswomen in the dealership. And I would have done it if I had any upper body strength and any clue as to how one hurls another over her head.

Finally, we tried to negotiate on price, armed with aforementioned market values and Edmunds info galore, and at one point he chuckled at me. “Tell me where you got this information,” he said as if I had just gotten my multiplication tables wrong. “There seems to be some misunderstanding about your research.” My mother placed her hand on my leg, the button that tells me she knows I want to impale him on his own knowledge erection, but that prison pinstripes do nothing for a Likey woman’s figure.

We didn’t buy the car.

Thank God Opening Day is Sunday. Maybe someone can explain to me that baseballs are hit with bats.

March 26, 2008
Analyze this, or the post that required a BP cuff and a jar of olives.
Did I mention that I was diagnosed with hypertension two weeks ago? I don’t think I did. I was. I’ve lived my life as one of those people with freakishly low blood pressure and it’s something on I which I prided myself. When I was at urgent care for an unrelated ailment (read: leprosy or some other old-timey disease), the nurse took my BP twice and failed to give me the usual high five either time. She told me the reading (something like 1700 over 20) and then hurried to get the doctor, who then stood outside my closed exam room door and shouted alarming phrases like “highest ever seen!” and “silent killer!” and “smoke the evildoers out of their holes!” My HTN apparently accounts for my frequent migraines, the ones that differ from hangover headaches in that they make me want to lock my kitties in the freezer for their incessant purring. Not really, but migraines do make me want to eat bowlfuls of olives and pretzels. And what do olives and pretzels have in common, class? Olives and pretzels are covered in glorious, glorious sodium, God’s finest mineral next to the diamond. So I’m supposed to avoid salt and smoking and alcohol and sex and happiness, the doc says, and this sucking the joy out of life will result in lowered blood pressure and an increased life span without salt and smoking and alcohol and sex and happiness.

I’m also supposed to avoid stress, which is a task I consider similar to those special kids having to steer clear of sunshine. Is that realistic? I’ve done my best this week, reducing fights (although I’ve been in at least two) and drinking (didn’t imbibe for five days straight, my longest stretch since infancy), and minimizing the glorious, glorious sodium. I haven’t had a migraine in a week.

And then my Daily Buddha-mail arrived. It came after lunch yesterday, as usual, despite Stacy getting it earlier on the West Coast than I do in the East, which makes no sense given that she’s not even awake to read it. I generally love my daily Buddha bit, the gentle love in my in box reminding me all about and acceptance and not freaking out because Stacy got her email like seven hours ago already, and warm fuzzies about being present in the moment. But in this moment I was angry; for the first time in seven days, I felt a pang of pain in my temples. Because the Buddha message was all about validation and love and sunny skies, and I get that, but it was also about accepting yourself as a good person when you do bad things. And putting that bad choice in a little Tiffany box with a bow and just getting on with it, already, because self-acceptance and a love of you trumps all, sugar! Come again?

Let the record show that I am not a believer in rubbing the dog’s nose in it when you come home to a mess on the kitchen floor. I used to adhere to such a philosophy, with dogs and boys and mothers, but I’ve since learned that such behavior does nothing but make the dog and boy and mother run and hide in the closet. Which is rewarding for a short - and so very sweet - sliver of time, one only made sweeter if your captive is hiding in the closet in some form of Underoo. I am a believer, however, in self-analysis accompanying this self-acceptance everybody is toting around like a brand new Burberry. I know I’m sounding a little unsympathetic – and quite possibly a little Golden Girlish – but back in St. Olaf a dose of self-judgment was always in order, as it should be. Life isn’t a series of after school special moments of “Gee, what I did was really shitty and not even the cat will look me in the eyes,” followed by a thumbs-up, “But I’m a good person deep down in the bowels of my soul, so it’s all good. Let's go for ice cream sundaes!”

My psych friends will boo and hiss at me for encouraging labels, but at times people are bad people. It doesn’t mean they always are, but yep, for this stretch of the life highway, they are what they are. When we subscribe to the “I’m a good person who does bad things” way of living, accountability is gone. We can simply go about our business as if nothing else - and no one else - matters. Why attempt to figure out why you do certain crummy things, and more importantly how not to do them again, if you’re a good person after all? So I cheated on my husband; why think that through? It happened, it’s donezo. It was a bad decision and I’m moving on. Really? I’d hate to see the choices she's making at 60. What about something more subtle? I said something belittling/lied/joked at her expense/didn’t tell the full story. And I know it hurt her feelings. But I didn’t mean to. Ugh. Without some sort of introspection to accompany blanket self-acceptance, what will discourage him from going through life wearing interpersonal blinders? We’re left living life doing what feels good in the moment. We’re left with Petri dishes of Get out of Jail Free cards. And no one likes to play on the swings with a Petri dish. Just ask Eliot Spitzer.

No, I don’t think people should label themselves as good, bad, mediocre, fantabulous, or any other lame adjective for their entire lives; that indeed can be crippling. Your mistakes should never define you long term. But there are times when you should be thinking about your actions and their consequences, even in hindsight, before simply accepting them as part of the beloved and accepted and most cherished! YOU. I lived without doing so for many years, and lost more than one loved one before snapping out of it. So trust me on this, no matter how much you want to buck the statement: Sometimes, this you just being you? No. It isn’t all good.

March 23, 2008
Month thirty-six
I spent numerous hours this weekend combing the Interwebs for site design ideas. Nothing fits. It all seems too fluffy, too bare, too cartoonish. Alternatively, it’s a great, clean layout and also clearly someone else’s brain child, and I’m not big on theft or time in the clink.

The occasion? My little wino turned three this month, and she’s getting a new look for playing quietly while mommy has one more grape juice. We celebrated her actual birth date with a party at Chuck E. Cheese, but given that in most photos I was caught groping the mascot, I thought amends to my little girl were in order. Let the record show that it’s Mr. Cheese’s own damn fault for serving the adult beverages.

In other news, I spent so much time with the television on today that a kid actor from my morning House showed up on a 4 pm Cold Case. I think I’ll get out for a while.

Happy Easter.

March 21, 2008
simply stated
I’m working on a travel journal. It’s retrospective, I guess you could say, because I was either too lazy to write as things were happening or too young to know that without flash cards I’d soon forget it all. I started with the U.S. If I’ve been to your state, here’s the first thing that came to my mind about it.

Alabama – I-10.

Arizona – Sedona. I had never seen anything quite that color red before, with the exception of the odd clay tennis court in New Jersey, and I thought I would start crying on the spot.

California – The Villa Florence hotel in San Francisco. Cabernet, Aveda, lobby chatter, the creak of the white wood on the second level. I smile just thinking of that place.

Colorado – Being cut off at a bar at the Denver Airport.

Connecticut – I recall physically aching from the envy I felt at the beauty of the waterfront homes there, the ones with windows that somehow escape the sea spit and the manicured kelly green lawns. I reassure myself regularly that the whole world doesn’t live like this; it’s just everyone in Connecticut.

Delaware – Visiting the University of Delaware, thinking that quite possibly I was on a television set made to look like a college, where there’d be one nerdy guy in a sweater vest, one buxom sorority blonde, and a kid in a wheelchair all in one shot.

Florida – A Seminole, I ended up sitting in the UF section at a Florida/Florida State game while wearing a bright blue sweater.

Georgia – First witnessing one of my same-aged cousins call my mother “ma’am.” Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Jersey anymore.

Illinois – Walking riverside in Chicago in the springtime, thinking that there would be no better place to live on the planet. For three months of the year. (Although now, ever being on the river in Chicago instills fear that the Dave Matthews Band might ruin the moment. I don’t even want to link that reference.)

Indiana – Indiana makes me think of a 10th grade Presbyterian retreat at Purdue University. Back in the years before cellulite, when I still had evidence that God loved me back.

Louisiana – Taking a picture of a mammoth David Duke campaign sign to prove to the North that the rumors were true.

Maine – in all honesty, no recollection.

Maryland – Getting our asses kicked by the Terps in 2004 and enduring some serious ridicule as we schlepped to our cars.

Massachusetts – I’m pretty sure “Boston” is olde English for “my tea bags are frozen,” because a few days spent there in January were colder than, well, you know.

Michigan – I loved those stone ducks on everyone’s front lawns, which you’d think I’d hate given genetic snobbery. If I owned one, its winter outfit would include Chucks and quite possibly a pink hoodie, which I’m guessing would less than charm the ladies of the Bloomfield Hills Garden Club.

Mississippi – It will sound ridiculous and just a teensy weensy bit stereotypical, but I remember visiting quite possibly the largest Wal-Mart I have ever seen. There might have been angels singing. Angels wearing flip flops.

Missouri – I absolutely loved the few days I spent in Springfield. I also consider the Branson craze to be one of the more interesting social phenomena of our time.

Nevada – Staying at the Nugget in Reno, I walked out of an elevator at 7:30 am to see a blue hair playing nickel slots in last night’s sequined outfit, or as I now call it, my tomorrow if I don’t quit the Pall Malls.

New Hampshire – Not gonna lie, NH. No memory of it. Nada.

New Jersey – Sitting on the beach with my friend Kevin the night after my senior prom, running my fingers through the cool sand. My hands were very tan and my nails were very white, which I’m hoping was the trend at the time; it was also my only lifetime manicure prior to last week.

New York – I get two! In Manhattan, watching in horror as a street vendor picked chestnuts up off the sidewalk to return them to the open fire. Upstate, going to an Albany River Rats game with my sister. I’m not sure how we ended up there, but I do recall thinking that the entire populous of this capital city was in attendance. The ones that weren’t frozen.

North Carolina – When my grandfather was dying, my sister and I drove to Miami to surprise my mother and grandmother with some much needed support. When we arrived at my grandmother’s home, my mother saw us through the peephole and shouted, “Oh shit!” Stellar. Fayetteville, NC was our stopping point on the way to Miami. We stayed at a Days Inn there, spending Thanksgiving night in our room eating munchies we bought from a gas station down the street.

Ohio – A visit to Muskingum College, where I saw both my first 1) gazebo and b) adult virgin.

Pennsylvania – Ugh. It’s an awful thing to admit, but my immediate memory is of sneaking behind a boyfriend’s back to visit another guy at a college in Philadelphia – a guy I had so very tritely and regrettably met on Spring Break in Cancun (not so regrettably, long before the debut of the Girls Gone Wild series). They don’t make a font small enough to reveal that comfortably to the Interwebs.

Rhode Island – Providence. I remember the name, but the face . . . can’t quite place it.

South Carolina – Driving past South of the Border, screaming at my mother and father to pull over, just as Pedro the Signage Whore had been encouraging me to do since Baltimore.

Tennessee – the Memphis Airport.

– Margaritas on the Riverwalk – extra, extra salt – and the brilliance that is the outdoor mister.

– I don’t think I’ve ever seen landscape more sublime. It might not exist on the planet. Glorious.

Vermont – yeah, New England? I’m not gonna lie. I even called my mom on this one, and she remembers nothing remarkable. We agreed on: colorful leaves.

Virginia – My first week in DC, 1995. Arlington. Driving around my block repeatedly, squeeing each and every time I reached the top of a hill on Route 50, because from there I could see the Washington Monument.

West Virginia – the outlets in Martinsburg. Anyone ever been? You can buy Pyrex bowls and a blue suede miniskirt all before 9 am. Genius.

Wisconsin – I was there for a wedding with my ex, a man who is now long married to another woman from my graduate program. The day after the wedding, he and I drove behind the groom to his family’s home in Appleton. I remember the beautiful green countryside and rolling hills, and thinking just how unbelievably lush it all was, and how I was glad I didn’t live there, because all that quiet and open space might just kill me.

March 20, 2008
Proof positive
I was at once excited and disturbed to see that I met all the “Signs You’re an Adult” criteria on the last page of this month’s Redbook.

It’s not lost on me that I was reading Redbook at the time. Or that I actually have a subscription. And have since I was 28.

Don't judge.

March 18, 2008
The bride is registered at Taco Bell
I wish I could have my reception this weekend. A full wedding reception, one at which I’ll put the money others would invest in butter cream frosting into more hors d'oeuvres. There will not be a sit-down meal to waste our socializing time, impinge upon our tipsy dancing. There will be tiny stuffed mushrooms for Mom and spanakopita for me. And spring rolls with peanut sauce. A cotton candy machine that will turn our hands and fingers into sticky pink messes; fine linens and heavy silver and a fair amount of taupe in the room, and most definitely almond hand soap in the bathrooms. The lighting will be kind. And there’ll certainly be more wine than I can shake my old maid fist at. Sparkling, cabs, pinot grigio. And the infamous fountain soda machine I so desire. Those who want beer will have to get it out of a cooler in the parking lot.

I’ll be tan, sprayed on or not, and wear a white strapless dress. No tulle, no crinoline, just a cotton beach dress bordering on seersucker. My highlights will be recent and my PMS nonexistent. Aimee will be in charge of music, and when not mocking my play lists she’ll be blasting Thriller and early 90’s pop that will be sure to prompt me into embarrassing motion. I can say with some certainty that my arms will spend a fair amount of time over my head, the way they do when I’m dancing after one too many. Stacy will snap photos of said movement for blackmailing purposes, and in my tipsiness I’ll beg her to Photoshop my chin. Erika will bring me Stoli Vanil and Diet Cokes and express disbelief at the Meximelts on the buffet. Holman will insist on buying rounds of shots for the entire room despite my assurances that the bar is indeed open. You'll probably make out with the bartender, just as you did at the last wedding. Jenny will beg Aimee to play something, anything remotely resembling rap and Kim and KB will giggle and dance to it anyway. The lovely Mrs. J will pass her husband to me for a slow dance, and halfway through I’ll change out partners to dance with her. Between glasses of red, Heather B. will live blog the whole damn thing.

There won’t be a groom, obviously, just me and my mother and sister and my people. San Francisco, Seattle, Tallahassee, Toronto. New York, New Jersey, Mass, DC, a smattering of less popular states and all parts Northern Virginia. They’ll arrive with the hope of a wedding, the belief that Kris finally found someone who appreciated her sick humor and tendency toward watching Oprah during bouts of insomnia, and there I will be, alone and shoeless in a sundress getting my triumphant groove on.

And I’ll stand by my white lie. Because while people love to plan to get together, nothing makes them actually follow through like a funeral or the promise of nuptials. I’ve had enough death this year; seems like a bottomless platter of puff pastry and some Village People might do us all a little good.

March 14, 2008
Almost home
The view from the train is decidedly bleak. It's not particularly surprising, but these sights are more disturbing and clear than you'd expect them to be at 70 mph. It seems that nothing that backs up to the tracks is ever in working order, save the pristine depots that were once the gateways to their respective small towns. The northeast corridor is a series of warehouses with those tiny broken windows they don't even seem to make anymore. The hills are full of garbage truck vomit, of plastic tubing and dolls with sooty faces and fully intact toilets thrown over the backyard dropoffs that frame these single family homes. There's a woman dragging a large branch down the middle of the street with three men around her. Two men meeting in headlights in a remote parking lot at dusk. The graffiti that swallows these buildings is more destructive than beautiful, like an acid wash on the model faces of these hardy brick buildings. One has to wonder what these places looked like in their heyday, when women wore heels and hats on these urban streets. Next up, a mid-city billboard that asks residents to Experience God. Which is interesting, because looking around, I'm not sure I see him anywhere.

And no, asshat, I don't know my exit
I’m headed to the motherland today. I haven’t been in years, several, to be exact. I’m pretty sure Bush was president, at least one of them, but like the thought of Steve Guttenberg having sex, I try to put that out of my mind. I’m excited for taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwiches, infinite jughandles, and being in the passenger’s seat as my mother drives by the cul de sacs where I used too much tongue in parked cars. I’ve always been a classy girl.

I’d like to say that I’ll welcome running into old pals, but I’m much more of an introvert. The avoidance will start on Amtrak, when I board with strategy in mind. All who travel the northeast corridor by train know the drill: find a seat, look disgruntled, perhaps diagnosable, and don’t make eye contact. Insert iPod buds, begin reading a pamphlet on “Menstruation and You: Perfect Together”* and hope to sweet Jebus no one starts telling a life story that necessitates a trip to the café car for a bottle of white zin. I’ve done otherwise before. I’ve been forced to listen to tales about visiting a new grandkid outside of Philly, about how the guy from spring break in Richmond was SO AWESOME, about how the Man doesn’t respond to repeated letters and how he’ll get his from a shack in Montana. No one ever wants to join the foot-high club on the Acela.

The avoidance will continue on Saturday at the SuperFoodtown, where I’ll whine when my mother asks me to run in for a loaf of bread. I’ll unsuccessfully feign first cramps and then an aneurysm. She’ll force me inside with a five, stopping just short of calling me a pussy. And I’ll make a beeline for aisle 3, dodging anyone who looks remotely like the weenie who dumped me a month before the prom, or the 11th grade English teacher who denied flirtatious eye blinks made over the top of a hardcover Great Gatsby. Ah, Mr. Lamb, where art thou now?

And this Jersey girl wonders why she’s single.

* Please tell me someone else is old enough to get this Garden State reference.

March 11, 2008
It’s long past due, and I’m sorry about that. I wish they made an electronic “Interwebs, thanks for your support during my father’s death, and the really, really tough months that came just before and after it” card, but I haven’t found any of those to send to you. Just so you know, if I were allowed to design one, it would surely be one of those black and white cards with children dressed as adults on it, only on this one the little boy in the top hat would be putting a single red rose on top of a casket, and the girl with the pink lips would be bawling uncontrollably next to him. And it would ruin those cards for everyone who keeps them in production and spoils my trips to Hallmark stores. Just as it should be.

I’m not sure many of you really knew what was happening up until my dad’s death. I kept it quiet, mentioning it only in a few posts. Even then sometimes I’d try to capture the part of his life that remained funny, like I did with the Oreos escapade. Because much of our lives was really, really funny. Or he and my family made it so, mostly because we had to, because the alternative of thinking about the imminent or openly moping really wasn’t even an option. We save most of that kind of drama for our friends and boyfriends, anyway.

The truth is that it was pretty awful, those last months, maybe longer, although I don’t think any of us knew it at the time. I know from pictures that my father was on oxygen for our cruise to Belize in 2005. At that point it was hard for him to make it down the hallways of the ship, and we’d stop with some frequency for him to catch what little breath he had, making it look like we were staring at the ocean or discussing the cheddar eagle atop the buffet. He was hauling around a newfangled oxygen container then, one which finally didn’t make it look like he was about to fill dozens of children’s balloons, and it was the envy of many on the ship. It’s sad even to think about that. He was on oxygen 24 hours a day, even then, more than two years before he passed away. So I guess it was pretty bad for a pretty long time. It just didn’t seem that long to us.

I was afraid for some reason to write in depth about my dad and his illness, afraid that I would be doing a disservice to his privacy and what I perceive to be his legend as a father. Always thin, something that irritated all three of his closest girls, he was still always incredibly strong, particularly in the upper body. In the summers of my childhood I can remember him being able to lift tools and wood and furniture that he probably shouldn’t have. I recall him working under cars until the late hours of summer nights and holding a three-year old me on his shoulder for hours in the airport. The hospice nurse would comment on this remaining strength the day before he died, actually.

He was also ridiculously bright. An engineer, my father almost couldn’t comprehend what it was that his two daughters didn’t adore about physics. I would sit kitchen tableside under his tutelage, crying with frustration because I didn’t understand – and frankly didn’t care – about the velocity of a bullet shot into wood. Or was it the velocity of the wood we were concerned with? I remember him demonstrating the principles of lift and drag to us with pieces of paper. I still don’t understand it, but man was it cool that he did. He loved science and math so much that he still had many of his college textbooks. I loved that. And he was funny. He laughed so hard at bad jokes and great greeting cards that he would be forced to wipe away tears. And I was in awe of him. I continued to be, even in those times when his illness would sneak a little of his lucidity. The father I knew remained intact, questioning medication amounts and laughing with hospice nurses up until his death.

And by not writing about it so much, I think I allowed things to stay that way. For the most part, I don’t feel that I need writing to remember just how awful things were, how his body was disintegrating and refusing to cooperate with his unwavering optimism. I have a surplus of those mental images, and a few concrete ones, and those should suffice for a lifetime.

You didn’t know my father, this man who convinced me I could learn Algebra at an age when it likely wasn’t legal, who wore jeans in the summertime, who cheered for every Florida State game even when many on the team were in jail or on the verge. And most of you don’t know me. But when my father died, I knew I had to come here to post that it was so, partially because I needed to put it into print, but also because part of me needed you to know. And you were completely gracious. You commented, sent flowers, sent private messages, many of them sharing with me your personal experience with losing someone who was a crucial part of your world. I checked your comments and emails during those days with somewhat alarming frequency. I wanted to hear what you had to say, to be close to this community of mostly faceless folks who have been accepting of me and my 12-13,000 neuroses. I needed that support in the face of losing that man, the mathematical wonder, the lover of puns, éclairs, and Peeps, the inexperienced father who once let me throw up in his cupped hands because he couldn’t find a garbage can fast enough. Poor thing.

I loved that man more than I can capture here, and although you didn’t know us, you knew that. Thank you all so very much.

March 9, 2008
Post Cheating
Don't judge! This is a bona fide entry!

Not really. But I'm so intrigued that I couldn't help myself, much like the pull I feel to both the Titanic soundtrack and men with wayward eyes. Word on the street is that the most recent Powerball jackpot was more than two weeks' salary for any of us, save The Oprah. Like 200 million duckets. Or 200 gazillion Meximelts. Topped with fat full sour cream and a cubic zirconia.

The death of my father has made me an expert in both the workings of the IRS and polite ways to tell well wishers that I don't feel that God was doing the right thing. I'm choosing to focus on the former.

If I were to gift you $12,000, what would you do with it?

March 6, 2008
Reason #1,040

The totality of my Target purchases from last night, which I’m sure were not lost on the adorable single guy in front of me in line:

No fewer than four Weight Watchers meals, of completely limited variety, which of course reveal my affinity for romantic fireside dinners.

A bright blue vat of cat food. Which of course reveals my affinity for impromptu fireside coitus. Stopped mid-motion to remove stray cat hair from his mouth.

Cheap face cream + an alphabetic combination lock = I’m old enough to 1) worry about becoming a leather bag and 2) forget simple number codes. Crying shame that “early onset dementia” is more than four letters.

A three-pack of ankle socks, which I will wear while watching the director’s cut of the Joy Luck Club. Right after I’m done with Hope Floats.

Men’s deodorant, because occasionally a woman does need something strong enough for an indentured servant.

Also note the coupon in the far right, good for $1 off a Kraft cheese product of my choosing. Because hot is a stray squirt of pressurized cheese landing on your three-legged cat.

Come get me, boys.


March 4, 2008
Yes, you.
I’m talking to you. I know you don’t know me, but I know you.

I want you to leave her alone, to stop this mess you’ve lured her into. To stop dangling the carrot in front of her face knowing full well that you aren’t enough for this woman, knowing full well that you keeping her at arm’s length only draws her in closer. I want you to man up and tell her to move on, tell her you’ll never deliver, because you won’t. Sunday crosswords and hands held tightly at the market and wine over dinner with friends – it isn’t in the cards. She will never meet your parents or be your date for the wedding you’ve talked about for the year, a picture of celebration and friendship you’ve painted repeatedly, although never with her in it. She will never see the Maldives with you and your favorite couple. You will never agree to hit the favorite haunts in her hometown.

And you know it.

You’ve known it since the beginning, since well before any synonym for commitment ever entered the conversation. You’ve known it since you hesitated the first and the tenth time to introduce her to your friends, since you turned down the first of many invitations to meet up with her girls at their bar. The excuses are lazy ones and the truth even lazier. You've known it since you first saw her face flush when you gave her hope of something more.

Tell her you’re back together with an ex, that you never loved her. Tell her the truth: that you’re a ridiculous coward who doesn’t care enough about her to let her live her own life.

She deserves better than you, and I only wish she knew it. I wish I could fast forward to the day when she’ll have him, the one who won’t want to make a vacation plan without her in it, who will think to bring her to meet his friends within a matter of days. He’ll be without her and wish she was picking up her cell so he could share a silly observation. He’ll be in awe of her and on some days stare at her when she isn’t looking. He'll know that sex isn't always about the orgasm and he'll check on her when she's sick. Oh yes, they’ll fight and there will be weeks when she won’t remember what she saw in him to begin with, but he’ll love her deeply and treat her with the respect and adoration she deserves. And there will be Sunday crosswords and knowing how she takes her coffee and the occasional envy of her friends.

And you know that part too.