May 29, 2008
My laptop is broken. Broken like Shania's heart and my first corks. I gave it to the Wise Men today and silently wept as they took her and her limp black cord to the back of the store to parts unknown. I picture her in bits now, an introverted tech passing by without a thought, preoccupied by a lunch order at Quizno's and getting yet another inch taken off of those khakis. I'm lonely without her and hadn't realized just how dependent I was on electronics for entertainment. What to do with endless hours once spent screen shopping on Bluefly, reading random Wikipedia pages, feigning coy with boy scouts in whittling chat rooms? Ah. Maybe this is when the rest of the world meets real, live people.

May 28, 2008
sounds like a plan
There are days when so many things seem like a good idea. Like giving yourself a pedicure without your contacts in or cutting the cat’s hair with your kitchen scissors. You think through the details, the process, if it’s doable, within reason, will it be painful, exciting, at the very least bloggable? If it makes it past this first set of criteria, it’s almost a go. But I’m a big outcome girl, too. So then I consider pretty much every possible result, good and bad and otherwise acceptable. This part of the process seems a curse of therapy, one even further ingrained given that I’ve been on both sides: “And if that happens, what would it mean? And would those thoughts help or hurt me? And is madras ever really appropriate on a man?” If the angst on this decision tree limb doesn’t kill me, I fold my thoughts nicely like I do napkins at anxious family dinners, and promptly choose to do something I wish that I hadn’t.

On those days, there should be a panic button that should fall from the ceiling, just like an airplane oxygen mask, and when it knocks me in the forehead it should summon minions to lock up my cell phone, my laptop, and my memories of my mother giving my sister the bigger bowl of ice cream when I was 7. The minions should cage me in comfortable clothing that does not make me feel fat, allow me out in five-minute increments that do not involve emotional segments of the movie Rudy, and steer me away from mirrors and whatever box of carbohydrates made it home with me after work. Phone numbers/pictures/memorabilia of dead loved ones/ex boyfriends/transients will be stowed away swiftly to avoid nostalgia and/or having a heart. Properly bedazzled muzzles will be used as appropriate. And all alcoholic beverages, including cough drops and fancy chocolates hiding that demonic nectar, will be removed from the home. At least overnight. Or until I’m only cutting my own hair with the kitchen scissors.

May 26, 2008
in a dc minute
Roses. Capitol Hill.

Patriotism. Barrack's Row.

Interesting. Eastern Market Metro.

May 21, 2008
the sad, sad state of affairs
I made the mistake of watching the Bachelorette on Tivo last night. If this is all that’s left in the dating pool – men who special order briefs with your name scrawled on the ass, boys who get so tanked that they rip off their shirts to expose chests that should not see the dim light of night, and dudes who kick lemons off another’s head rather than just marking their territory with good old-fashioned urine – take me out back, pour boxed wine down my gullet, and put me out of my misery.


May 20, 2008
Evasion 101
If you've read more than three of my posts, you know that at some point I stocked up on fear multi-packs on special. As a child, I had a diagnosable dread of someone finding my underwear while at a sleepover. It mattered not if they were dirty or clean, I made sure I buried those suckers in the bowels of my bag, past the mouse traps and land mines to which I imagined crafty 9-year-olds were resistant. I'd fake cramps and other teen illnesses so I wouldn't have to play in my piano recitals. Because it is a well-established fact that screwing up Clair de Lune has ruined many a young life.These days, I'll pop you a good one should you make fun of my fear of roller coasters, as everyone of sound mind knows that there's no real reason to propel yourself to Mach 5 wearing little more than a purse strap. And group sports? When I know I'll have to play softball, I hope for locusts and leprosy and yes, even pregnancy – anything that will prevent me from having to get up to bat, assuming a position of failure for all to witness. My hands sweat and I silently invite a pitch to the temple, anything that will get me out of the line of sight and into a more comfortable place, like the dentist's chair. Ah, the calming hum of that drill.

I will also admit to having a pathological fear of people. Not just the cell phone, which we all know I wish would die the horrible death of any period piece starring Scarlett Johanssen, but of real, live people, the ones who breath oxygen and steal labeled food from group refrigerators. I absolutely hate how I feel
when meeting them. Any of them. I'm clammy, I feel clumsy with my words, I'm wondering until just how long I have until it's polite to use the restroom. Then while in the restroom, I'm likely drying my armpits with a toilet seat cover and wondering what I have left on Tivo and just why everyone else in the world is that much better at this than I am.

This, my friends, does not bode well for finding a life mate. I've only realized recently that I have a pathological fear of dating. I am under the assumption that, upon meeting a man, he will deem me insufficient and way too chunky and funnier in email than in person. Whoever I am won't be quite right. That all of it – the straightening of the hair and the current highlights, the carefully scheduled post-work meet up and the cab fare in the oppressive humidity so as to avoid your normal level of disheveled, the search
for a venue that's not too loud but not too quiet and has enough wine should you need to drink your weight in it – all of the blah blah blah
will amount to little more than a blog post. They'll want perfection or what they saw on a page, and I won't be able to deliver. I've already failed before I've even gotten up to bat.

I understand what this means. Avoidance virtually ensures the life I don't want, of solo attendance at Celine concerts and sad efficiency at stamping Cricket's paw onto homemade cards. But like daily leg shaving, it's just so damn hard, and truthfully, I just don't want to do it.

May 19, 2008
agreeing to disagree
I tried the snake comparison with a friend the other day. It's the one I pull out when trying to convince a particularly doubting Thomas or Theresa that not wanting children is a completely rational choice, like hating brussel sprouts or Dancing With the Stars.

"Do you like reptiles?"

He's a good sport. He laughed.

"Would you like to own a snake?"


"And if your wife loved snakes, would you really want to have one?"

"Sure. I could have a few in the house if that was really important to her."

"I'm not talking about keeping them in a cage." Because seriously, if we could cage them, wouldn't everyone want their own damn Brady Bunch? "What if you had to strap a snake to your person 24 hours a day? And you were responsible for feeding it and carting it around to Safeway and stuff?" Because we all know just how devoted I am to shopping for the freshest of foods.

"But babies are so cute!"

"So are snakes! They have those sweet tiny faces! And have you seen their wee little tongues?"

I believe he remains unconvinced.

May 16, 2008
Here today
He's not here. I keep waiting for something to tell me he is, and he's just not here.

Life has gone on, there are plenty of deadlines and paperwork stacks to keep us busy, appointments with people he supposedly knew would keep us afloat. None of it matters, and it still doesn't make any sense. I'm a child of film, movies in which a chill let's you know that your loved one is still watching only those moments you'd want him to witness. It isn't taking for me. He isn't there.

I drive his car to work every day, drive it to softball and the dry cleaners, and I still don't feel him. The radio stations don't play anything to remind me of him. I haven't heard his favorite song since he died, and I have no belief that I'd know he was there if I did.

I watch television shows that I know he'd enjoy, but in my mind he's still strapped to a tank and not able to enjoy them for their actual meaning. Pictures confirm my thought that he's wondering when he'll next take his inhaler, when he'll have enough breath to walk the 15 feet to the bedroom. It isn't true what they say about your memories bringing you comfort. Nothing brings you comfort. The illusions of him as a strong, living being only exist in curled photographs and are as far in the past as those of you in your skinny jeans. It's history. It's a 2D memory that fits nicely with a caption and nothing else.

This must be the reason that people keep their distance when someone gets sick, at least one of the reasons, the one that's not about their own mortality. When there are only images of illness and frenzy, it's like your brain shuts off in an attempt to save itself. I'm not sure why, because the tradeoff doesn't seem worth it. But right now I'd take him visiting in any form, him warning me about obsessing about a failed relationship, him asking again and again for the chair to be positioned just so in case he needs to move from the bed. I'd take him any way he came, but he isn't coming.

I am struggling. I cannot believe it's possible to leave this world for good, leave without having some connection to the important ones. I feel so little. I'm ashamed to admit that a friend I hadn't seen since his death asked me how I was doing and I wondered what he meant. It took more than a moment. It's just that one minute he was here and another his things were whisked away to the truck that first brought them or a dumpster that would suck them into oblivion and cleanse every memory that he was so sick. Finality.

I miss him so much and can't figure out why I don't know that he's here. He wouldn't leave for good, so he must be somewhere.

May 14, 2008
In a mood
I am filled with love today. Courtesy of Benadryl, I had fantastic Peyton Manning sex dreams that also oddly involved swimming. The kind done with big, broad, tanned shoulders in water that pools only in the right places, like on big, broad, tanned shoulders. Bolstered by a new spring outfit, I am a woman who rolls down the window to tell another she loves her beautiful eyeglasses, who lets an antsy driver into traffic before she is due.

So help me Oprah, if someone snatches the last Diet Coke or takes my mom to see a dirty bird porno passing as mainstream pop culture fare - which she only later realizes she thought was Made of Honor - I will kick him in the hammy and contact his exes armed with those photos.

*straightens skirt*

Enjoy this beautiful day.

May 13, 2008
She went to a party last Saturday night
I recently sent one of my infamous mix CDs to t2ed. This one was a variation on my all-time favorite summer 2007 mix, a mix made for an old friend that to this day trumps all of its kind. t2ed's is still a compilation of Music That Only the Kris Still Admits to Enjoying, but has the added bonus of some special ditties thrown in that I knew would make him cringe extra special like. Ah, the Spice Girls, Night Ranger, Air Supply, Chicago . . . and who can resist the subtlety of a voice like Lita Ford’s?

He first played it last night on his car ride home. This morning, I received this:
Dearest Kris:

There is nothing sexier than having your top down (on the car, perv), having the stereo cranked because you lurve Mr. Petty, having eye contact with the milf in the Porsche Boxster next to you and then suddenly realizing that the Spice Girls are now blaring from your stereo. Break eye contact and then continue to stare straight ahead for the remainder of the drive home.

I'll tell you what I want. What I really really want? I want you skanks to shut the hell up. If I want to get with you, I have to get with your friends? This doesn't sound like the start of a very stable long term relationship. You want to zigga zig zig a cow? I don't think I like where this is going. We can still be friends.

Seriously, was I exposed to REOSpeedJourneyStyxFuckRangerSupplyWagon? Those bands were all the same to me. And dead to me. I can't begin to calculate how many hours of slow dances/bear hugs I spent my formative years being emotionally crippled to while that music played over a shitty sound system in a school gymnasium adorned with crepe paper.

I can't wait to return the favor. I think I'm going to have to broaden things from just beyond my heinous prom experiences. Don't worry, they'll still be plenty of hair bands, big hair, pre-packaged popcrap and dancers who think they can sing and singers who think they can dance. I have a truly huge collection of CD's. I know, it's not the size of your collection, it's how you use it. Just remember that I was in high school, college and law school during the 80's. That a long span of crappy music to choose from. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Bring it.

May 11, 2008
On discovering 57 new English language terms for the penis
I recommend many things in celebration of Mother’s Day, not limited to flowers, brunch, and apologizing for all the things in life you still don’t really believe you did wrong.

I don’t recommend granting your mother’s wish to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as there isn’t enough bleach in the world to cleanse memories of sitting in a darkened movie theater with a woman in a dress skirt and hose while viewing a penis 100 times its actual size. I prefer most days, in my good daughterly haze, to fool myself into thinking my mother has yet to see even herself naked.

Here’s to full frontal nudity at brunch.

May 9, 2008
Damned if you do?
I don't think I've written about this before, but it's quite possible that I did and don't remember it, like most of my 20s. I kid. My Philly filly wrote recently about trying out ads, like one might try out male capris, to see if they are bearable and if people don't ridicule you openly in the streets. I wholeheartedly believe one should be mocked for the man-pris, but can't wrap my mind around what is offensive to folks about a blogger having ads on the sidebar.

It may not seem like it, given the occasional misspellings and completely lack of current event coverage or, let's face it, even remotely relevant content, but I put a good amount of time into writing for this site. I'm not an author, per se, but I'm a writer; no, you can't cart me around in hardcover, but I'm guessing you can't do so with much of what you're reading these days. I think about the "professional" sites I visit on a regular basis - the Washington Post, MSNBC, and ESPN to see how much the Nationals lost by this time - and it never occurs to me that the folks writing for these online publications shouldn't get paid for what they do. Does it lessen a writer's passion for petit fours or Portugal or the pitfalls of one Austin Kearns if she makes gas money off of it? Does it increase a writer's legitimacy if he refuses to play that game, instead blogging for his expectant masses pro bono?

I won't hold it against you if you disagree. Statcounter doesn't tell me exactly where you work.

May 7, 2008
Pregnant pause
A friend of mine is pregnant. To me, it’s the good kind of pregnant, that involving hopeful anticipation and a committed husband and financial stability. It’s not the bad kind of pregnant – or my kind of pregnant, as I imagine it might be – that involving a sobbing mother and my sister throwing me down the Exorcist stairs.

Upon learning the news of her pregnancy and first ultrasound appointment, I followed up my immediate exclamation points and congratulations with a request for the pictures. Shocking, I know. I had no plans to use them as a dartboard or to line the litter box, I assure you. She expressed disbelief at the interest everyone had in seeing the blurry images; why was anyone other than her and her hubby so excited to see their little being?

I really don’t know. When I meet her baby for the first time, I’ll try to talk college football with it, and when someone asks me to hold it, I’ll do so for the cameras to prove to my feline descendants that I am human, and then sit it upright on the couch and return to the cheese dip and my Cabernet. But there’s something about seeing the little tadpole as a part of her, of this woman I have known for years as a friend and a fellow student and as owner of one of the most amazing bodies known to man. It’s her, and therefore, it’s special simply because it is.

It’s also because it defies explanation in its magnitude. Well, there is a very basic explanation, but images of her and her wholesome husband in a series of compromising positions will leave me catatonic, so I’d rather not go there. The very fact that she is nuturing a human no larger than my palm, one who I’ll meet when I’m in Florida and see in Christmas pictures until I’m the oldest resident at the convent, simply boggles the mind. In an instant, everything is different. She is already more than a doctor, a wife, a friend, a counselor, an athlete; suddenly, she is a mother. It’s amazing and thrilling and almost unbelievable. I just want to witness it.

And it’s also because they’re so damn cute. Kittens and puppies are an outrageous kick to the soul, what with their neediness, their incessant howling and prancing at 4 am, their inabilities to learn schedules or that humans do in fact have pain receptors in all of the places they seem to think it’s fun to poke. Raising one certainly isn't for everyone. But they are sweet when they sleep, aren’t they? I remember our Yorkies when we first brought them home, the two of them fitting in the bottom half of a shoe box. Unbelievable. It’s similar for me. You almost can’t comprehend that something so small and perfect exists, a miniature slope of the nose, a forehead the relative size of Texas, a trace of two lips that someday will part - just as their mom's do - with riotous laughter. Almost, pretty, somewhat . . . ridiculously cool.

I swear I don't want one. Back to the cheese dip and Cab.

May 6, 2008
Herding Cats
I emailed my mother to see if she needed any help before the weekend. There is still post-death cleanup going on in the land of the Likeys, you see, forms and a plethora of “This page intentionally left blank”s that seem neverending. I don’t recommend the death of a loved one for many reasons, but forms rank in the top 10.

“No, I’m ok. Thanks for asking. The house was cleaned yesterday. Now if I could just get the cat to behave.”

Mom’s cat scratches the furniture and the flooring and the thousands of suit skirts she dons for trips to the opera and Safeway. Nothing she tries seems to dissuade this persistent kitty, and apparently none of the Tasers I bought her has been of any help.

I don’t get it. What is this lack of control people have over their cats? Sure, Cricket is morbidly obese and may require a crane extraction by ’09, but other than that, both she and Bug do just what I tell them. If I want them to go to another room, I simply bring out the vacuum, and after a series of hisses and hateful statements about my chin they both retreat to the farthest corner of the apartment and cover themselves with the mattress. This is truth. I can also call either or both from the other room and they'll come running to me. This, actually, is truth. They know their names, when to come up on the couch, and that lying on the bathmat whilst I shower guards me against the evils contained in tap water. That last one? That seems to be a cat truth.

The real evil? The real evil, I want to tell Mom, is the adult softball player. If you thought herding cats was bad, try herding a team of grown, human, opposably-thumbed, completely amateur softball players. Two months ago, I sent out an email asking a) what shirt size they wanted, b) what name they wanted on said shirt, and c) what number they preferred printed, also on the same – not a different! – shirt. This wasn’t a 1040 written in haiku or a MENSA exam. Admittedly, I neglected to include a flow chart or an IKEA mini wrench. This was my mistake.

I received approximately three emails containing all requested information, and the rest were for the record books.

“Where is this week’s game?” Come again?

“Do you have time to swing by my place and pick up my money?” No, I have to wash my hair and ridicule babies from my apartment window. Oh, also? You’ve seen those blue boxes on street corners, right? They don’t only take the mail to Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Lick it and put a stamp on it.

“I want number 13.” Someone already picked 13. “But 13 is what I had last year.” You’re a grown man with a grasp of whole numbers. Pick another one. [Insert dumbfounded silence here.] And what nickname do you want on your shirt? “I think a nickname should be given to you, don’t you?” After beating my head against the wall and Tasering both the cats, I chose Asshat.

“Kris, I’m having problems reaching you by phone. Can I drop the money by your place?” I asked explicitly for the check to be mailed to me. “What is your address again?” I gave it in the first email. “How ‘bout I just mail you the check?”

Pure genius, I tell you, an exercise in frustration and newfound appreciation for those tutoring tee ball teams in the English language. Even Bug knew how to ask for a three-armed jersey.

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May 4, 2008
Likeableus Boyfriendus
Every so often a friend picks a good one. He’s not a player. He doesn’t talk about his job ad nauseum with a puffed chest. He doesn’t hit on her friends when she’s in the bathroom. Every once in a while you like a friend’s new beau and want to pull her aside and tell her so, encourage her to hold onto him not because the single life is exhausting, what with all the giggles and hair coloring and leg shaving, but because he seems like a great guy, one of the last of his order who should be tagged and put on display to confirm the existence of his genus.

I met my friend E’s boyfriend on Friday night, as I arrived late to the Nats game, staving off a migraine with commemorative cups of soda and beer. I had the seat next to his, which would normally have me irritated, what with my hating the small talk and the human race and what not. But he was a talker. There was no pulling teeth, no wondering why this guy was ignoring her friends when he should be making even miniscule efforts to know the people important to her. He was funny, kind, and knew odd facts about players on both teams. I happen to love people who could take the series on Worthless Facts Jeopardy. Check.

But a girl knows the truth isn’t in the persona he puts on for the crowd, as evidenced by every bad apple we dumped to the disbelief of the masses. It’s not in the expensive clothes he wears or the people he makes sure you know he knows. It’s in the way he treats her. He treated her. They stole kisses when they thought the spinsters weren’t looking. They whispered to one another. He reached for her hand as they walked a few feet behind the rest of us and made sure she didn’t want for a beer or surprisingly hard soft pretzel at any time. And he introduced her to a friend, which any woman knows means they’ll be buying a king bed and Peapoding their groceries within the year. Check. Check. Check.

The cautious singleton in me wants to tell her to enjoy with limits, to savor each moment while keeping her heart tritely protected, but the romantic in me is clearly winning this thought wrestle. I’m excited to hear her stories about the possibility of an early move-in, about how she now knows what I meant years ago when talking about how the good guys treat you, about how they call when they say they will (and often before) and are proud to have you as their date at each and every wedding. She is over the moon that she found a keeper and has every right to be screaming it from the upper deck. And this spinster is simply thrilled by the confirmation that they’re not yet extinct.