Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Late Friday night my cell phone started beeping. I had a new message. And it was from The Homeowner. He wanted to know if I was free for dinner.

Lesson Learned: Never let a cell phone company ruin a relationship.

We had dinner last night. And as we drove around the city trying to find a parking spot, I asked if I could have a sip of the soda that was in the cup holder of his car. He said it was kind of old and FLAT. (If he only knew...) He grabbed the soda as we were getting out of the car, and he tossed it into a nearby trash can. Which was exactly what I was thinking.

Dinner was GREAT. He is GREAT. I am... an over-analyzer. But I think I'm closer to reaching peace. I don't know if this relationship is going anywhere - Hell, I don't know if I want it to go anywhere. And (because I'm immature and I've been reluctant to ask him what HE thinks about all of this) I don't know if he wants it to go anywhere, either. But I think it's perfectly acceptable to classify "Dinner" as a destination. Dinner is one destination we're definitely heading towards again.

And that suits me perfectly. It's always great to re-fizz.

A Very Sac-Town Christmas

Very little in this world leaves me speechless. But 100+ people, mostly middle aged, alternating between the chicken dance and bumping to Tupac with their twenty-something children, all the while nearly black out drunk, on a Sunday night, while wearing designer jeans in the suburbs is just a little hard to wrap my head (which still hurts) around.

Additionally, very little in this world paralyzes my plans of action. However I stood at this party not knowing what to do with the rest of my life. Do I marry a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur, make beautiful blonde children who grow up to play water polo at Cal or Stanford, and retire at 40 so that I can also throw very large insane parties on Sunday nights in my gated community? Or do I...

Wait a minute. Plan of Action still very much in tact.

I love California.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

She's Leaving Home

She drunk eats vegetables late at night. She makes me scream, "Saki.... BOMB!" in loud, small, crowded Japanese restaurants. She has a nearly unhealthy obsession with Friends. She eats Oreos and milk for dessert almost every night. She cries while watching The Biggest Loser. She agrees that the Cala grocery store, a mere 3 blocks away, is quite a hike. She debates the issues. She brings new, intelligent perspective. She calls, "Bye, Love!" to me each morning as she leaves for work.

She has packed up her room. And she has emptied all of her food from her shelf in the pantry. She has moved out of our apartment.

And although she is only moving 8 blocks away, I cried as I watched her pack. Out of sadness that I will no longer see her every day. And although odd, I think I also cried out of a little bit of joy. Joy that I have been here long enough to have really grown to love a new friend.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Sweet, fizzy, and refreshing. Like a Fountain Soda. A Cherry Coke! Man, I LOVE Cherry Coke. That's how we started out. And every week throughout the past couple of months, we'd have another fountain soda together. That's what our dates were. Every one. A Cherry Coke. Sweet. Fizzy. Refreshing. And good. Really good.

It's just that
I barely drink soda anymore. It gives me gas. And it so often has a really bad after taste. And to be honest, I haven't had a REAL fountain soda in - man this is embarrassing - since junior year of college which was about 5 years ago, now. And in a lot of ways even THAT soda wasn't a REAL fountain soda.

So now, given that it's been a while and I'm actually doing quite fine without the REAL stuff, I'm kind of picky. I mean, THIS was fountain soda. He - Me - we aren't crappy cans of storebrand pop that's sold individually. We're both pretty high end. Gourment, if you will. It just turns out that neither one of us is that big of a
Chery Coke fan.

He called tonight. But I missed the call. He didn't leave a message. And it hurts more than I thought it would.

I guess that the only way to explain it is that last week, when we poured another soda, neither one of us felt like having much to drink. And as the days have passed, it has just sat there. The bubbles have stopped floating to the top. The fizzy has mostly fizzled flat.

The part that I hate the most about this flat soda is that it doesn't taste bad. Flat soda is still really sweet. It's just hard to drink it without the bubbles. Without the fizz. Without the excitement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Domestic Goddess

At 2:00 p.m. this afternoon I entered early retirement. And what better way to celebrate than to cook dinner for my roommates? Yes, you read that correctly. I cooked. And because so few of you will believe me, I am posting the pics to prove it. Strangely enough, I enjoyed both the cooking and eating... Looks like I just may have a chance at being a Domestic Goddess afterall!


"Not Exactly." That would be my usual response to the often-asked pre-move question, "Do you have any friends who live in San Francisco?" And by it I meant that while I didn't have REAL friends there YET, I had plans to make some people I knew lived there become my friends. In particular, an older brother of MMG.

I have been hearing about the Three Brothers G since Day 2 of Friendship MMG. I have known I would like each of them even before I ever met them. And since it took almost three years of stories and forwarded emails before I actually met Cowboy, #2 in the lineage and ten years the senior of MMG and me, I basically felt like I did already know him before we met. So much so that I actually forgot to introduce myself to him the first night we hung out. I just started talking...

And we proceeded to have a few beers. PBR's, no doubt. And then I told him a few bad stories. Pointless, bad stories with long awkward pauses in the middle due to lost trains of thought. I think MMG forgot to tell him about that unique trait of mine. A few days later, with MMG still in town visiting us, we brunched at his apartment. And I took a "nap" on his sofa, whilst the rest of the brunch party continued to... well, party.

Time has passed. We've had a few more PBRs together, the most recent ones consumed on Sunday night. After a dinner party, red wine, and some kick-ass biscotti. And when I awoke with a headache at 7:30 Monday morning, the first thing I thought I needed to do was call MMG and tell her a) how much I love her, b) how much I miss her and want her to move to San Francisco, c) how grateful I am that she has an older brother who lives in San Francisco, d) that she Grandfathered him into my friendship circle.

It is certainly great to have reclaimed my dignity with Cowboy after the Introductory Meet Nic Weekend. And it is really nice to have gained a Big Brother figure in moving to San Francisco. But mostly, it's great to share a new San Francisco friend with one of my best friends from home.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I know I should have called him. But if I did, how would I have ever found out if he would have called me? And I know I should not have played any games. But without one, how was I ever going to find my way through this way too straightforward relationship?

When you boil it all down, dating is really no more than one big game. Right? The more I think about them, the more I marvel at how suprisingly accurate are the Theories of LCJ. Slurring-ly dispelled to me on a balcony in Charlottesville - in between sips of a Nattie Light and drags of a Marlboro - she taught me one of the most important lessons of college: Love is a Crapshoot. (It is also a battlefield, but that lesson was taught while standing in beer sludge inside a fraternity basement, NOT on a balcony...)

And so by not calling, I found out. By playing a game I got my bearings. Since he always bought dinner, the only money I lost during this crapshoot was on a couple cups of coffee. And the emotional wounds from this battlefield are relatively small. They can be healed with a small band-aid.

I am sad. But willing to anti-up again. Not willing to bet hard sixes that he'll call again, but I'll venture a bet on the pass line. Because thing best thing about craps is that the house advantage actually isn't that terribly out of wack. In the short run, we CAN win at craps, and hopefully, in love.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Underwear in the Kitchen

Standing in my kitchen. In my underwear. Singing,"Bring It on Home to Me." Loudly. While ironing my pants.

My roommates are out. And I am getting ready to go to a dinner party. It is being hosted by the one person here I have actually befriended on my own. Sort of. And while I am genuinely excited to go out tonight, I can't think of another time when I have been more homesick for Washington. For my old apartment. And for my old friends.

I haven't stood in a kitchen in my underwear for over four months.

As I wipe away a tear, I laught at the ridiculous crap I miss. And the nonsense that makes me realize I miss it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What Do You Do?

I'd have to venture that the most frequently used run-on sentence in DC is, "What's your name what do you do?" (A close second within my circle of friends may be, "I'm a Democrat you're a Democrat, right?")

With slightly less confidence, I'd bet that the most frequently used run-on sentence in San Francisco is more like, "What's your name do you want to go hiking/skiing/boating/eating/drinking/shopping /loitering with us this weekend?" (With a close second being, "I'm OBVIOUSLY a Democrat you're OBVIOUSLY a Democrat, too, right?")

The difference in these two sentences is definitely one of the reasons I love San Francisco. While I do genuinely WANT to know what people I meet do for a living, I really love that asking and responding to "What do you do?" is not a San Francsco mingling standard. I love that the people of San Francisco are more likely to find out that I have run 3 marathons before they learn how I afford the entrance fees.

But today I OFFICIALLY accepted a REALLY awesome new job.
With a growing, vibrant company. And a nice set of perks. No longer consulting to the government. Instead managing the development, customization, and implementation of software to manage data collected during clinical trials. Being part of a product development team. And traveling all over (the world!) to introduce the product and work with users to make that product better. It just may be that dream job I have been trying to communicate to someone outside of my brain since I was in college.

So tonight, at RLP's bar-thday party, if someone asks me "What's your name what do you do?" I will buy them a drink and tell them the ENTIRE story.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Quitters Sometimes Win

The graph below depicts my 9-5 mood the past six weeks.
I wonder if the nadirs have anything to do with my job? I wonder if the peaks have anything to do with the days I wasn't working and was hanging out with my friends and family? I wonder if the surge to 100 has anything to do with the fact that I went on a great interview on Tuesday? And that they offered me a job on Thursday? And that I QUIT on Friday?

I wonder who made up that stupid cliche that quitters never win... Because this quitter is winning. Definitely winning.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Triple F Night

"Come on, we're going to DKE! It's grain night!" they cried.

"But Cedric Diggory is DEAD!" I sobbed.

How could they expect me to go out on a night like this? I know, it was the night before our last first day of classes at UVA. Fourth Year Spring and the last first day of classes in our undergraduate career were only hours away. Just like we had done seven times before, the girls were going to DKE. To drink copious amounts of grain alcohol chilled with chunks of dry ice. To show all the rushees how cool Pi Phis were. To make it home (if we were lucky) to barf our brains out and awaken hung over and ready to start our last semester of college.

In the end, I wiped away the tears, put on my black srat pants, grabbed my srat cup, and went to DKE. I had to drown my Potter-based sorrows in something.

I have basically been waiting for the Goblet of Fire to be made into a movie since that night in early 2002. So I of course jumped at the opportunity to go and see it with the family for our annual Thanksgiving Forced Family Fun night. Triple F Nights are those rare occasions when Mom, Dad, Brother and I spend time with one another, sometimes against our own will.

Lately, FFF events involve a trip to see Harry Potter. And I gotta admit, since the advent of the Harry Potter movies, FFF night has gotten a lot better. I really have to hand it to J.K. Not only are her books getting kids to read, but they are also getting families, like mine, to spend time with one another. Without arguing. Even though we're sitting in a dark theater not speaking to each other, we're not arguing. And that's a start.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

7.9 Days of Thanks

When JBB came to town, he told my roommates that we met at a Phish show. He told them that I wasn’t always this preppy. That at one time, I had dreads and didn’t shower for days. That a few years ago, it wasn’t unlikely for me to drive cross country and settle down in San Francisco. Most likely, with flowers in my hair.

The truth is that I never really liked much Phish until after I met him. (Hmm…) I certainly didn't meet him at a Phish show. And, with the exception of seventh grade, when I loved Pear Jam, Vans, and flannel shirts, I actually HAVE always been this preppy. And when it comes to music, I have to be honest. I believe I arrived at UVA with 4 Dave Matthews Band CDs, the soundtrack to Rent, some cheesy pop music, and a collection of mix tapes full of Jay-Z and Wu-Tang from my then boyfriend, RED.

Now I am proud to brag that I have 11 GB of music on Wilson. And most of it - save my Cheesy Pop playlist of Justin, Britney, Christina, Avril, and Kelly - would not make my music-buff friends dry heave.

And so on this Thanksgiving I would like to take some time to be thankful for those of you - mostly my ex-boyfriends, but also MJC and MMG - who have supplied part of the 2870 songs (7.9 nonstop days!) that comprise my musical collection. I apologize for all of my freeloading. And for rarely being able to return the favor.

I doubt that my endless commentary on the talent of American Idol contestants, not to mention my non-stop kitchen tap dancing is as beneficial to you as your CDs are to me. But perhaps one day you WILL want to see a one man show of Rent. And when that day comes, you know I'll be ready for you.

Friday, November 18, 2005

When In Rome

Three months in San Francisco and I know that there is no weather here that cannot be managed without several layers. I know the Super Shuttle is the best way to get to the airport from my apartment. But I still fear for my life as the shuttle rolls back on Jones Street as it attempts to make it up the hill at Green. I know UVA alums are all over the place, but I’m still excited to sit next to a UVA hat on the plane.

Three months in San Francisco and I’m back in DC for the first time since I moved.

Three months away from DC and 40 degrees is borderline unbearable. Forgetting to pack gloves and a scarf is assanine. But LEF still insists she can get to the airport to pick me up in 15 minutes. MMG is still as hot as ever in her hot pink blouse. The salsa at Lauriol Plaza is still tops. KJS is still the sweetest ass hole guy I know. And MJC still greets me with my all time favorite, "Hi Dahlin."

They ask me if I'm still happy that I moved. This night is fantastic. Almost everyone who matters is here. In DC. And it is kind of hard for me to explain that yes, despite this entire night, I am happier in San Francisco.

Because I think the only reason I was ever happy in DC was because of all of them.

And I'm not the type of person who likes to rely on others for happiness.

But while we're all here together... Let's have one more round of drinks!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Spoon Me

I have two crushes right now. And today, on my last day in San Francisco before I head back to the East Coast for two weeks, I spent time spooning with both of them. #1 up close and #2 from afar.

The morning session with #1 lasted more than 3 minutes without bribery. Damn I am liking this guy. And the evening session with #2 (all 4 members) was two hours long. Session #2 was also at The Warfield. My first San Francisco concert.

The crowd was barely out of the theater and I had already rushed home to scour #2's website to see when they come into town again. I'm not even gone yet and I already can't wait to come back to see #1.

Excitement. Anticipation.

"That's [just] the way [I] get by."

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Going

The Monday to Friday "Going" has been a little tough lately. My running Going has also been tough lately. Aside from a pretty impressive marathon out of nowhere, I've been mostly sprint-sputter-stop, the running equivalent to hurry up and wait.

But today my running tough got going again. I don't know if it was the playlist Wilson orchestrated. Or if it was the scenery of Chrissy Field - the Golden Gate, the waves, the pelicans. Quite possibly it was the thought of Sunday's cheeseburger and french fries
settling on my saddlebags. Even more likely it was just me trying to run away from my Monday. But today, 4 miles turned into 8. And I finally got my high again.

The absence of high didn't stop me from reading Runner's World cover to cover the day it arrives. It never stopped me from drinking bottles and bottles of Propel. It never stopped me from lacing up anything but a pair of Kayanos.It never stopped me from thinking that the sliced bread cliche should be updated to reflect the mother of all inventions, BodyGlide. The absence of the high really didn't stop me from acting like a runner at all. You know, except for the running part.

The lack of high has however, spurred self-doubt. I haven't felt like much of a runner for a long time. Which lead me to think about what it even means to be a runner. I'm not sure I know anymore. I don't know if it's
running races or finishing marathons. I don't know if it's owning all the gear. Adoring Fuel Belts and shunning cotton socks. I don't know if you even have to LIKE running all the time to be a runner.

But maybe, being a runner is just having the gumption to lace up again. No matter how long it's been since that last run. And to keep going. Even if it feels bad, but especially if it feels good. Maybe being a runners is
about turning that 4 miler into 8 without even thinking. Looking up at the street sign and saying, "How did I get here?" Or maybe it's getting back to your front door and forgetting why you didn't want to go out on that run in the first place. And maybe it's feeling for just a few minutes that you can't wait to run another 26.2 miles. Or 3, or 5, or 10, or 13.1... It's looking forward to lacing up your Asics, sucking on some Gu, and getting The Going going again.

Guess I'll be buying some more Gu tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dream Date

Today The Homeowner and I had a daytime date. We went shopping for new furniture. And rugs. Some would say that this Dream Date is a little intense. Are WE/THEY picking out furniture together already? Are WE/THEY even a WE/THEY?

I don't attempt to answer those questions. The furniture and rugs wer for HIS apartment. My role was really quite simple...
  • Yes, the dark brown wood is better.
  • No, you don't want that living room set. It doesn't include a TV stand.
  • No, you can't turn a wine rack into a TV stand. Not when you're going to put a 42" plasma on it, anyway.
  • Yes, I'm having fun. You can't tell?
  • No, don't get a rug that sheds. You don't have a vacuum cleaner yet.
  • Yes, that's the rug. The other one is too brown to match the couch. This one is perfect.
  • Yes, I think a lavendar floral bedspread will look AMAZING in the master bedroom.
  • No? You'll lose focus if we look at artwork today?
  • Yes, check out Pottery Barn for a bedspread.
  • Yes, of course I was kidding about the lavendar flowers bedspread.
You can only begin to understand just how perfect of a date this was for me if you have seen me in action at IKEA. Sometimes the shopping trips make me squeal. Imagine my pure delight to be shopping for furniture that I won't have to put together! That I won't have to cart out to Honda by myself! That I won't even have to pay for!

Again, excited for another date. And hoping the furniture arrives sooner than later. Because the only thing cooler than shopping for new furniture is setting it up and testing it out at home. Er, HIS place.

I wonder if he'll let me paint...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Corner Store

The problem with The Corner Store is that you get to know the guys working at it.

They take pictures of you on Halloween, accept packages in the mail when you're not home, and give you a hard time for buying a pint of Ben & Jerry's every Wednesday night just before The Apprentice Martha Stewart starts. And when you get a new California license, for example, they are sad that they can no longer make fun of you for being from DC, which, "isn't even a state!"

(Note that the REAL state from which I come, PA, isn't a state either. It's a Commonwealth. But people on the West Coast don't know about Commonwealths.)

So back to why all of this friendliness is a problem...

One day, you get a really bad stomach virus. And you hobble down (and then back up) a small hill to the corner store to buy soup and Saltines. You stand at the counter and realize you kind of need to purchase some Pepto. Or Mylanta. Or Immodium. Or all of them. And Corner Store Guy, who isn't bad looking, is going to have to know that you've spent the past three days lurched over a toilet, crying for your mom.

But then, with a sarcastically concerned look he says, "Are you sick? Do you have a cough?"

"Yep," I reply. "And a wicked head cold."

He smiles, and scans my gastic medications, and I realize that he doesn't give an ounce of shit that I got the shits and barfs.

So, I guess that's actually what's so GREAT about the Corner Store.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I have certainly done a lot of growing the past few months. Packing up my apartment in DC. Driving my car through the middle of Texas. Sitting alone on the beach staring out at the Pacific Ocean. Going to that party alone, not knowing anyone. Pushing myself through Mile 22 of the Nike Marathon. And then carrying myself all the way up the hill back home.

Last night, a little after midnight, I realized that in my life I tend to do the most growing while perched over the toilet on all fours puking my guts out. I have learned how capable I am of taking care of myself when I have to go get myself a glass of water, the thermometer, the ginger ale, the tea, the toast, the soup, a new trash can for my room because I actually didn't make it to the toilet...

Of course I always follow these growth spurts with tears and moans for my Mommy.

One step forward, two steps back...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ain't No Sunshine

Since I've moved to San Francisco, there has only been one sunshine-less Sunday. That day is today. I'm sure I could drive across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County to soak up the rays that are shining down out there instead of in the city, but I did that yesterday. Check out the pics...

And so today will be spent on the couch and in bed. And I'd like to take a brief moment to all those who are making this day of sloth possible...

1) I'd like to thank the guy downstairs for being quiet for 2 whole hours. Without this unexpected silence I never would have been able to sneak in an afternoon nap.
2) I'd like to thank the team at Comcast, without whom I never would have been able to use On Demand to watch three old episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher.
3) I'd like to thank the team at Tivo, for prompting Comcast to add DVR service options to my already ridiculous cable bill. Without you, I never would have been able to watch The Sandlot on TBS without all the annoying commercials.
4) I'd like to thank the team at Netflix, for crafting this amazing unlimited (or 3 at a time) movie
rental deal for only $14.99 per month. Yes, I do get 200+ channels as part of my cable services, but when I STILL can't find ANYTHING to watch, Netflix, you are there for me. I cherish you.
5) And finally, I'd also like to thank the milk products, or whatever it is that is tearing up my stomach right now, for further fueling my desire to do nothing but be slothful. I really guess I owe all of this lack of accomplishment to you.

Thanks again to everyone.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Card Me

I often wonder how old children and teenagers who pass me on the street think I am. Because I don't think I could conceptualize being 25 when I was a child.

For the life of me, I can't remember ever wanting to be anything but a 14 year old when I played House or School or Office or Barbie. I always wanted to be 14. I wanted to be in eighth grade, I wanted to have braces, and I wanted to wear a training bra. I think once or twice I wanted to be 19. Not because I would be away at college by then - who played College as a child? I simply loved eating Kellog's Product 19 cereal.

But I daresay I never imagined being 20. Or 21, even. Let alone 25. Well, not unil I was 19, anyway.

Do children see me and think I'd be a cool babysitter? Or do they see a grown-up? When I smile at a cute little kid and he runs away is it because I'm old enough to be a STRANGER and someone he shouldn't talk to? Or Trust? Am I the crazy lady who may put razor blades in his Halloween candy?

Do teenagers see me and think I'm another teenager? I'm short enough.
And although I'm starting to notice lines around my eyes, I do have a young face. Or do they think I might old enough to buy them beer? Or old enough to at least buy them cigarettes?

I guess that little biotch at United Artists in Arlington who carded me when I went to see Sideways obviously thought I was about 16. Not even 17? At 25 I don't even look like I'm 17? What 17 year old girl goes to a movie by herself? On a Sunday? Without make-up?

For a while I was slightly upset about that carding fiasco. Getting carded was getting old. But m
y new California driver's license arrived yesterday. I must say it is my favorite license of all time. I've had PA, VA, and DC now, and CA is definitely the best. No, I don't think it has anything to do with my long hair, tan skin, or Glamour Shot photo. Although those qualities do help. This IS my best license picture by far. Must be something in the air...

I wish you all could be a California Girl.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Decision's Right

"I love capers," he said.
"I know," I repliled. "Do you want some?"
"How do you know I love capers?"

I laughed. I have been having dinner with this Man for three years now. An affinity for dishes with capers, jalapenos, and single malts, but an adversion to chocolate made its presence known very early in our dining relationship.

When Man comes into town, he whisks me away to a dinner I can't afford and we catch up. Eventually, the conversation rolls around to his story, or bits and pieces of it, and I listen. And although I've now heard this story and its fragments and spinoffs countless times, I always listen to each telling as intently as I did the first time I heard it. I try to apply it to my life and my career. I try to explain that I want his job and his life without sounding like a groupie. But it never comes out eloquently. He laughs, and states his hopes to still be around when I hit my professional stride. For a few moments, awe,
my self-confidence, and drive are in equilibrium.

His story can make anyone study a little harder. Work a little smarter. Play out that childhood dream. It has challenged me to figure out what I really want. It has
embrazened me to leave my comfort zone. At times, it has even comforted me when I have failed and felt directionless. It has forced me to confront several of my professional and personal ruts, while empowering me to make the necessary changes. On some levels, I think the story, the conversations, and the entire relationship, have helped coax me through somewhat of a personal transformation. Because I don't recall always being bold enough to have the guts to pack my life into my car and drive it 3000 miles away from familiarity.

Last night was the first meal we've shared since I made the possibility of being bold a reality. Since I merged my life and my dreams onto a new path. This new path that is suddenly - and kind of unfairly - encountering unexpected curves and bumps and junctions with major freeways. This path with perfectly beautiful scenery but heading to a destination I no longer control and at a rate I can't predict.

And given the mentoring role he's played in the past, I expected guidance last night. What should I do? Will this work out? Should I be worried? Is this hopeless? Last night, there were no answers. If anything, light was shed on a few more bumps, curves, and junctions that I had not yet seen.

"It's difficult, huh? knowing you have so many options," he slyly commented.
"That's a start, sure," I replied as I gulped my wine.

Then he leaned in as if he were about to whisper something secretly, but said, "Nic, I don't know the right answer. And I know you don't know the right answer. So pick an answer, and make it the right one. You've done it before!"

My eyebrows furrowed as I attempted to review my mental catalog of my good decisions.
"When?" I asked.

He raised his glass and retorted, "We're here, aren't we?"
"Ha Ha!" I laughed. "One for me. To San Francisco!"

So yes, to San Francisco... and to making another decision
right. Soon. Very soon.

Monday, October 31, 2005

T and A

I encourage everyone to experience a San Francisco Halloween at some point. Until that day arrives, please enjoy these pics. They hardly sum up my evening, which lasted until 4:00 a.m. (that includes the clock rollback) but they are all I remembered to document...

Picture #1:

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Apparently these men know something about the female anatomy. SO life-like! The nipples point in different directions. And the breasts themselves are different sizes. One even sags more than the other. I hope these guys got to put their anatomy knowledge to work on Saturday night, but I imagine macking on a woman while dressed as a breast is kind of difficult. A for effort, though.

Picture #2:

Posted by Picasa

I think this guy was trying to make fun of the assless chaps that run rampant around parts of San Francisco, most notably The Castro. In the end, I think we made more fun of this guy's ass than he did of the assless chaps phenomenon. Are those stretch marks?

The holidays are here! Happy Halloween to you and yours....

A Berkeley Break

On Friday, Honda and I became official San Francisco residents. We went to the DMV not once, but twice to obtain our official documents. A California driver's license for me, and a registration for Honda. She is SO excited to no longer have to hide out in the Presidio. And I am elated to have passed my first driving test in nine and a half years.

Yes, a driving test. It was only written, though. But I would have killed to show off my parallel parking skills. When I was 16 I nearly overheated my dad's Camry trying to parallel park between two trash cans ouside my parents house... If Duncan's School of Driving could see me now.
Three years of city living, not to mention a few months in San Francisco moving my car almost every two hours and I can practically parallel park with my eyes closed. On hills on the left side of the street, even. Not that I'm anxious to try that out anytime soon. Honda is still recovering from The Trek...

Anyway, on Saturday, I celebrated my new license and registration by taking my first drive since I moved to San Francisco. Seriously, I have been here for two months and only accumulated 50 miles on my car. Mostly from driving around the block moing my car every two hours. It was nice to cross the bridge and not have to worry about hills for a few hours...

We went to Berkeley, walked around town, and checked out the campus. There were no Adam Duritz sightings, but I spotted a lot of future Chrismukah presents for many of you. I hope you like hemp and cheesy t-shirts.

Until then... check out the pics!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gee, Mat(h)

I graduated high school with about 900 other students. That was a SMALL class. Despite the large student body, it wasn't really a place where you just blended in. Everyone had a clique, and everyone knew everything about everyone. (Kind of like most high schools, I assume.)

I "belonged" to a few cliques. The Newtown Girls, The Cheerleaders (sigh), The Girlfriends of the Baseball Players (another sigh), and The Smart Kids (laugh, sigh). During Senior year I befriended VK, who went on to Princeton undergrad and then Harvard law school and is probably going to start running the country any minute now. He's wicked smart. And when we met, he said he already knew who I was. I apparently showed my Geometry class how to prove a very difficult triangle theorem one day sophomore year. Apparently, My Mathematical Mind was LEGENDARY. Oh, how The Smart Kids gossip!

All the calculus and engineering I endured in college aside, I should be acing the Math portion of the GMAT. Instead, I am horrified to learn that I just missed 6 out of 14 questions on a Data Analysis practice test! I am pretty effing irritated. Not with myself - like that'd ever happen - rather at ETS and the whole standardized test industry. Just read my essays. Look at my resume. Talk to my boss. Send me on The Apprentice! But please, don't make me do another Data Analysis question!

For now, I will take solace in knowing that after December 5, I will never ever again need to evaluate if I can determine if 2x is a multiple of y using the information in A, B, A & B, A or B, or not A and not B at all. I won't. Ever. Well, at least not until I have a child in seventh grade. Which at this rate, is about 20 years from now. If I'm lucky.

Oh yes, I plan on getting lucky.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Faraway, So Close!

It is foggy and freezing here right now. I'm wearing my fleece jacket on top of my pajamas and my 1974 Eagles snow cap on my head. However the comments and emails you have all sent my way the past few days are bringing me great warmth and comfort.

Thank you all so much for the support. The realization that everyone is simultaneously far away and so close is overwhelmingly wonderful.

Now if only my legs would get the message...

Monday, October 24, 2005

26.2 and a Half

By the time I was a few blocks from The Start, right in Union Square, at 6:30 a.m., I knew I was going to finish this race. The excitement of 11,662 women (not to mention 920 men) in shorts and fuel belts made me jumpy. Chub rub and boobs 100% coated in Body Glide, Gu shoved down my pants, and my lucky wrist-sweat band around my elbow (because it looks cooler that way), I danced in place until the gun sounded at 7:00 a.m.

11,662 women (not to mention 920 men) scream, "WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!" And we're off! Down Post Street. The Black Eyed Peas are blaring. And I am singing. "Running-running-and-running-running! Running-running-and-running-running! Let's Get It Started, HA!" I am running with JG, a new friend I've met here. She's training for an Ironman, by the way. I know the whole, "running your third marathon without training" thing is kind of crazy, but training to swim 3 miles, then bike 100 miles, and THEN run a marathon is crazier.

We cross Mile 1 at Washington St. & Davis St. We are at 10:00 pace. A good, slow first mile. As we pass people passing out glow sticks, I think to myself that I love San Francisco, and we quicken our pace to reach Mile 2 at The Embarcadero & Bay St. in 21:30. (That's clock time.) Through the wharf, we pass Mile 3 at Aquatic Park 9 minutes later. We breathe in the sourdough that is rising and the seafood that is frying and think that if the Wharf weren't so touristy, we'd come back for a post-run treat...

By the time we reach Mile 4 at Marina Blvd. & Fillmore St., we have finished the first up-hill ascent. The clock says 38:00, and we realized we're now averaging 9:00s. On the uphill! After a quick down-hill, we enter The Fog, and we watch a man (one of the 992) pick up a woman running ahead of us. We pass Mile 5 Mason St. & Halleck St. and the clock reads 50:00. We complain that the clock is off. Everyone complains that the clock is off. We did not just run a 12:00!

We reach Mile 6 at Mason St. & Long Dr. and the clock reads 56:00. We are glad the clocks are back on pace. There is barely time to celebrate before we approach our first serious hill. At the top, before we hit Mile 7 at Lincoln between Washington and Kobbe, there is an Oxygen bar. I pass on Oxygen, but accept a Luna Bar. Never pass on a free Luna Bar.

It's downhill from here. Along the Pacific coast, overlooking Baker Beach. Towards Mile 8 at El Camino Del Mar &25th Ave. Then on to Mile 9 Clement St. & 34th Ave. There is a huge crowd and they are NOT being supportive. I run by, waving my arms up and down to get them to MAKE SOME NOISE. The crowd responds, and I hear the runners laugh. I am pleased.

Another uphill. "These hills are killing me," a lady from Florida proclaims. As I pass, I tell her, "We'll run Chicago next year. It will be CAKE!" She doesn't really get it, but soon enough I am speeding down hills to Mile 10 at Point Lobos Ave. & Merrie Way, then onto Mile 11 at JFK Dr. & 47th avenue. I am still at averaging 9:30 pace.

Into Golden Gate Park and past Mile 12 at JKF Dr. & 30th Ave. Before I realize it, I have a decision to make. Or confirm... Half or Full? I can hear CLG's voicemail. "You don't have to prove that you can run 26.2. You've done it already... But for some reason I think you're going to do it, so PUMMEL!"

And so I pummel past Mile 13 at JFK Dr. & Stow Lake Dr. and then Mile 14 at JFK Dr. & Over Dr. When I see the marker for Mile 15 at Middle Dr. & Metson Rd. I allow myself to take my first of three walking breaks. I cross the marker after a few minutes of rest, and I've only lost 10 seconds. I'm more or less still running 9:30s. I decide I need to slow down if I'm going to finish.

Mile 16 at Martin Luther King Dr. E of The Great Hwy. I hang a left. I am now committed to the Marathon. The waves of the Pacific Ocean are breaking on my right. It is foggy and almost cold. I pass Mile 17 at Great Highway & Ortega St. I think to myself, only single digit miles left! (9.2 instead of 10.2...) I then think to myself that my father would say something like that. I next think to myself that Mom will roll her eyes when she learns this. I miss my family cheering for me throughout the race. But there is a DJ station coming up again, and I recognize that we're finally hearing a good tune.... "...hustle to the mall, to get me a short set." SUMMERTIME! A little taste of Philly is always around the corner. I speed up, and rap along.

Just before Mile 18 at Great Highway &Wawona St. there is a Cingular Cell Phone Tent. A poor Cingular rep runs with me as I dial home and briefly talk to my brother. I pass the zoo and head out to Lake Merced, where we complete the four most BORING miles of the race. Mile 19 at Skyline Blvd. & Lake Merced Blvd. Mile 20 at Lake Merced Blvd. & Clearfield Dr. The only highlight of these four miles is that the Mile 20 clock is an hour off, as it says I've run 20 miles in 2:20. I know that it should read 3:20, and I can't believe that I'm about to finish a marathon in under 4:30 without training.

Up ahead! Mile 21 at Lake Merced Blvd. & Higuera Ave. And a family in EAGLES jerseys! E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! And oh, what's that? Just beyond Mile 22 at John Muir Dr. & Lake Merced Blvd.? Viriginia shorts! "WAHOOWA!" they yell to me. After I pass them, I turn around to see if they're still watching me. They aren't, and I sneak in a few more minutes of walking.

Mile 23 at John Muir Dr. & Skyline Blvd. I meet a woman who is experiencing quad cramps. This marathon is her first, and she is struggling. I talk her through it. Gu! Gatorade! Water! Stretch! This is going to be the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE! Only 3 more miles to go! YOU CAN DO IT! I am giving myself a pep talk at this point, too. It helps.

I hang a left and head towards Mile 24 at Great Highway & Sloat Blvd. My mind is tired. My legs are OK, though. I confirm that The Marathon is an exercise in mental stamina more than lung capacity and lactic threshhold. I play the alphabet game with my friends, LAST NAME only. A = LGA. B = EAB. C = MJC. D = KAD. E = CCE. F = moi! G = MMG. H = ... I can't think of an H. I get distracted and walk. But then I realize there is no walking in the last TWO MILES! I can do this!

Mile 25 at Great Highway & Pacheco St. I am smiling. The fans are cheering me on. SO STRONG! HEY, SHE'S SMILING! LOOK AT THE SMILE! 17 years of dancing and you learn to keep your chin up and show those teeth even when your feet are bleeding, which I think mine are at this point. I wager I've losts a toenail. Something doesn't feel right.

I'm almost at Mile 26 Great Highway & Lincoln Blvd. I know this race is almost over, and I can't wait to be done. At the same time, I want to suspend myself in this moment. With the crowd cheering, my legs throbbing, salt on my cheeks, filled to the brim with a sense of pending accomplishment and excitement. I cross the 26 mile mark and take off....

Only 0.2 miles to go. All for The Queen! I sprint past several runners. No one says, "GO COLE!" But I do hear someone say, "LOOK HOW FAST SHE'S GOING!" I cross the finish line at 4:25 clock time, 4:23:05 chip.

Like I do at the end - and throughout - every marathon I run or watch, I cried. Because I'm a sap. And because marathons are a big fucking deal. And because I miss having my family at The Finish. And because I don't have any friends greeting me. I collect my finisher's gear - which includes a Tiffany's necklace and a Nike dri-fit shirt - wrap myself in my space jacket, plop down on a curb, and cry.

It wasn't really that sad. It was pretty good, actually. I placed 199th out of 1011 runners in my division. And I placed 860 out of all 4279 females. Why that's nothing to be ashamed of at all!

After the race, I boarded the bus back to Union Square. I hobbled off the bus and walked the half mile home. UP UP UP to the top of Nob Hill.

Now THAT'S something to be proud of.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. "
-Marianne Williamson

I know it's a little cheesy. What else would you expect from a quotable magnet purchased at Whole Foods?

Or from someone who just finished her third marathon?!

26.2 miles. An average 10-minute pace for a final time of 4:20 - 4:25. I think my clock time was 4:24:30, and I'm still waiting on my chip time. This was my worst marathon time-wise, but a PR nonetheless.

I will write more later.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Raised Eyebrows

The orange and white backgrounds of My Bib meet to form a picture of the San Francisco skyline. There is a girl - a woman - running in the upper right corner. She is flexing her arms more than she is pumping them. She is strong.

1066. What a good number. An embarrassingly good number. I should be up in the first coral at The Start. Standing next to women who are going to run tomorrow's race at 6:30 - 9:00 pace. The strong women.

My Bib is suspicious of me. She (My Bib is a she) is giving me the eye. The "66" part of the "1066" looks like some eyes with raised eyebrows. And those eyes seem to be asking many questions...
  1. Are you going to embarrass us tomorrow?
  2. And where do you think you'll be in twelve hours? Sitting on the bus back to Union Square or running with all of your heart towards Mile 18?
  3. Are you a total idiot?
  4. Why are you about to DO this to yourself?
Because Phase Five has been about taking risks. Plunging head over heels into that which is new and scary for me. Doing what makes me feel uncomfortable. Focusing less on being "prepared" and more on being READY. Making decisions and not second-guessing. Turning heads. Raising eyebrows...

And thus, Phase Five has produced the Holy Shit Moments. Those moments that are scary and awesome. Those moments that render me near speechless, save the muttering, "What have I done?" Those moments that instinctively cause MY head to shake. MY eyebrows to raise.

I am actually quite calm considering all 26.2 miles that lie ahead tomorrow. This calm may very well prove to be the calm before the storm. Alternatively, it could just be the calm that has developed throughout Phase Five - the calm that stems from knowing that no matter what, THIS is going to be good.

My Bib, we must go to bed. So please lower those eyebrows until tomorrow...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The 1-2 Punch

The two worst break-up statements of all time are definitely:
1) "It's not you, it's me."
2)"It's just... well, the timing is really bad."

I met him the weekend after I decided to move to San Francisco. On a black and white, zebra-striped, party bus.
Clad in 80s attire, my hair was fashionably secured in a side ponytail with a scrunchie. There were coolers of beer and Jello-shots and poles. Whether or not the poles were meant to fucntion as props for dancing or instruments for safety remains to be determined. But he did know all of the words to "Since U Been Gone." And he even sang them, without holding back, each of the three times in a row I requested the driver play it for us. And yes, we both still wanted to kiss each other after those 9, sweaty, glorious minutes of Kelly. And so we did. On the bus, drunk people falling in every which direction around us, my side pony blowing ever so seductively in the muggy DC night air.

Now that I'm out San Francisco, we don't talk very regularly. Our ability to whip out 9 paragraph emails in seven or eight minutes makes up for that,though. And today he included me on an email to his crew in DC inviting them over to his apartment for a party on Saturday night. It will be a fun party, and I won't be attending. But actually, that's not why I'm sad right now.

I'm much more saddened by the the fact that I didn't meet him a weekend earlier. Or a month earlier. Like on that rainy night when I wasn't feeling well and I skipped out on dinner. When LEJ did some dirty work for me and pronounced him as, "Strong to Quite Strong." I'm not saying that an earlier encounter would have generated a different outcome between us. I have only recently been welcomed into his circle of heads, and only recently have I learned that he had reasons for his own #1 and #2 back then.

But still, I wonder. And I realize that #1 and #2, although entirely awful to hear and say, are increasingly pertinent to my attachment status. Which can be examined and explained in a couple different ways.

1) Single. Yes, still.
2) Not settled down. Not yet. No fucking way not yet!

I am thankful that there is a friendship ahead for us. There's already an 8 hour day of catching up planned. And I think it's proof that break-up lines #1 and #2 don't always have to be sucker punches. As for questions about my un-attached relationship status, however, well those punches just need to be dodged accordingly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


What's excellent about my next marathon is that it is now only five days away. What's also excellent is that I'm ready for it.

I am. Just look at my running log. (See below.)

If you'll notice, I have clearly been completing PLENTY of runs in preparation for this upcoming feat. Go ahead and count those red squares. That's right. 5 times. Just this month! How DOES she do it?

Let us now turn to exhibit B.

Do you see those weeks with 50+ miles? Are you thinking how the hell did she accumulate those miles when she's clearly running less than 3 times a week? Me too. I must have been exaggerating the miles I've spent walking up and down these damn hills.

I do want to justify the measely 4 miles I've logged thus far this week. I'm totally tapering... You CAN call it a taper week if you've never completed a high mileage week, right? Aren't those pesky 20, 21, and 22 mile runs optional? I guess it all depends. I did complete my first marathon three weeks after having strep throat and weighing 15 more pounds than I do now. But I got a 16 miler in that year. The most I've run this summer is 10. And it wasn't pretty. Even with Gu, a Fuel Belt, and a visor, it wasn't pretty.

Oh, CLG. You were always so instrumental in helping me lace up the Asics and pound the trail.
Why don't you reconsider that move to SF? We can run together all the time! Without having to "swim" through the humid night air! Without having to fear that we'll melt somewhere along the Rock Creek Parkway between the P Street Exit and the Watergate Building! And did I mention that the bikers in San Francisco are nice! Plus, Bay to Breakers is much more fun than the Army Ten Miler. No terrorist threats on the 14th St bridge. Just plenty of booze and costumes. Or no costumes...

Nike Marathon, I don't know if I'm going to finish you. But I will try. I will go to the starting line with 4 Gus and my entire body covered in Body Glide. I will wear a visor and shorts that are embarrassingly short. I will pretend that CLG is right next to me whispering, "Bastards. I'm a Kenyan. Really. I just look Italian. Corral 18 is BULLSHIT!" I will pass mile 6.2 and laugh as I recall our first race together. Before we prefaced 6.2 miles with the word, "only." I will make it to mile 9 and remember the running Elvises with Super Soakers at our first Rock and Roll Half. I will make it to 13.1 and I will try not to quit. I will try to remember mile 13.1 at Philly last year while the crowd cheered outside of the Art Museum. I will try to persevere to mile 16 and envision Philly in 2003, when seeing Mom and Dad for the first time in 10 miles was better than coming home from college that first time. I will try to keep going to mile 20. I will pretend the water is Yuengling, like it always is, in Manayunk.

And if I make it to 22 and 24 and 26 and then 26.2, I will likely barf, shit, cry, and smile. I will think of you, CLG, when the stomach pains sink in. And I will vow to do everything again soon. Very very soon. The right way. You know, with training. And even if I don't finish - rather, especially if I don't finish - I will vow to do it again soon. Because 2 of the top 5 days of my life involve running. And because that goal I have to eventually run Boston? Well, now it is more or less official.

Monday, October 17, 2005

All Over the Maturity Map

My cell phone rings, and when I see his name on the caller ID, I immediately drop the phone. I'm glad he called but for some reason I'm also nervous. A little. A lot? I don't want to answer. I'm apparently still a fourteen year old, sometimes.

By the time I decide to answer I have missed his call. Now I'm nervous that he won't leave a mesage. I stare at the phone and wait for the the message indicator to beep. It does, and I am giddy. His voice mail is funny. My roommates laugh at me as I giggle. And that makes me feel even younger. Like a twelve year old.

I call him back and we agree to have dinner. He picks me up right on time. I'm wearing jeans, heels, and a button down; and naturally, I greet him by slipping down my front steps. He asks if I'm OK, but I'm not hurt. The fall wasn't too bad, so I am laughing at myself. I'm not always smooth, but at least I'm not embarrassed.
Had I done that at 16, my cheeks would have burned. But I am mostly over myself by now. I am back to feeling twenty-five.

He is older. Not by too much. But old enough to have a really nice car. And old enough to ask if I want to stop by the new apartment he just bought. It is gorgeous. And humongus. We unpack a box of wine glasses and as we toast, I try to remember when I got so old.

We go out to dinner at a place around the corner. I already know that he is funny, but I learn that he is also sweet and kind of quirky. A perfect combination, actually. I think I might like him. He refers to me as a woman, and while he means it sincerely, I am left feeling more like a little girl. Until the kiss good night. The kiss good night brings me back and I am 25 and all grown up again.

Except now, my heart is beating in all different directions as if it's trying to break free from someone tickling it. I can feel it squirming and I can almost here it say, "STOP I HAVE TO PEE!"

(Sigh.) Once more, a little school girl.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I am often confronted with questions concerning how or why I became an engineer. I don't really remember the whole chain of events that lead to the decision. I think I toyed with the idea of becoming an architect and a math teacher as well. I have always liked math and I like to invent things. I also like to ask all the HOW questions. Plus, it was 1999 and I had to pick a major and people who were building software were coming out of college making $50,000+ a year. I thought, $50,000 sounds good. I can do that.

The WHOLE truth, though, is that I had this teacher in 9th grade - Mr. Cole - who told me I was a lousy writer. In fact, Mr. Cole told my ENTIRE Honors English class that I was a lousy writer. He photocopied one of my papers and distributed it to 29 other people in my class. He underlined what he thought really sucked so that he could SHOW the entire class that I was a lousy writer. I spent that 55 minute period hiding behind my stringy hair and pink wireframe glasses, silently sobbing over my first D-.

I remember working my ass off on
the assignment that followed. And I remember the big, red "A+" Mr. Cole had placed in the upper right corner of my three stapled pages. I remember beaming. I also remember - how could I forget - that seconds after returning the paper to me, he accused me of cheating. In front of the entire class. He waited for my answer. Embarrased and 14 years old, not yet having the confidence to tell him to Fuck Off, I mumbled back to him, "I wrote it." I swallowed the lump in my throat, let a tear sneak out of my eye, and headed out the door to my locker, intent on dedicating the rest of my life to math and science. I remember thinking there is no good or bad in Algebra 2. Mrs. Fogarty only does right and wrong. Much simpler.

Ten and a half years later, I still don't think very highly of Mr. Cole. But I do wonder what would have happened had I not endured the public ridicule of a sub-par English paper. I wonder if I would be a lawyer or a journalist or a teacher. Or maybe a novelist... I produced some
killer short stories about unicorns back in the day.

And so today I submitted an application to tutor at 826 Valencia. The application was more involved than I expected. I'm wondering if it is hard to get a volunteer position there. It may be a pipe dream, but I have ALWAYS wanted to teach.
And I don't want anyone else to become an engineer because someone once told them they sucked at writing. And I've made it this far, right? If it doesn't work out, I guess I can offer to help with their computer network. Being a systems engineer and all. I was kidding about the routers...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

8:30 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time

It was one of those miserable Sundays during February last year. The Superbowl had passed and I did not have an Iggles game to watch. I didn't have a boyfriend or a Valentine's Day to plan. I wasn't training for any marathons or half marathons. I rose early, sans hangover, and had nothing to conquer except a pot of coffee and the Washington Post.

Most of my friends were in relationships. And my parents, 150 miles away, were probably playing golf or at the movies. My brother rarely calls to begin with, and my phone didn't ring the entire day. I held the phone and stared at in disbelief a few times, but I didn't do my part by locating someone in my address book and hitting send, either. I did not leave my 400 square foot apartment - not even to do laundry downstairs in the basement or to walk the trash to the chute - for an entire day.

My transformation from a child who wore a "Motormouth" T-Shirt into a woman capable of (and kind of enjoying?) a day without words was completed that Sunday. And ironically, still naive as ever, I thought I had conquered loneliness.

But tonight JWC, my roommate, rocked the GMAT. She was taking it for the second time and really needed to do well. She did. And I'm really proud of her. She got back home at 8:30 PM Pacific dying to call someone with whom she could share the good news. But they are al back East. In Boston, New York, DC and in her case, Rhode Island. And at 11:30 PM Eastern on a "work night", they are asleep. I so desperately wanted to comfort her, being able to empathize with her completely. Sometimes every hour of my day feels like 8:30 PM PDT. But that was just it. Despite my best intentions, I am not her best friend from college or high school. Or her neighbor from home. And I am not her sister. I am an acquaintance of an acquaintance of a friend whose monthly rent check won't bounce.

"Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters." I am desperately trying to get Dave Matthews out of my head.

I have only been here six weeks. Six weeks at college and all I really had was LEF. I had not yet even met LGA or EAB or HEG or ACN. I had only exchanged an occasional good morning with GPSH. I had quasi awkward conversations with AFS and CLG and LCJ. I was not so sure I liked LEJ. I had sort of developed a strange crush on ESB and JRW, but it would be another entire year before I'd fall head over heels in friendship love for MJC. And KJS and CCE. Another two before I'd develop that awkward love for JBB.

Six weeks in DC and I had not yet learned how loyal and loving MMG is. EMI wasn't even there yet. And SKB and I were just getting started.

The memories of college sometimes feel more like a great two weeks at summer camp than four years of my life. And it is easy to forget that it took time for those friendships I found there, as well as those I found in DC, to congeal into what feels like my second family. Conversely, in this city of East Coast Transplants that is always on the move, a place where the weeks seem to fly by, it is challenging to accept the slow passage of time.

And I am far from having conquered loneliness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Picture Page

Did anyone watch Picture Page? With Bill Cosby and that marker that made all the funny beeping sounds? I can't get that damn theme song out of my head right now.

Stay seated, you don't have to go and get your crayons and your pencils or anything. But please DO stop by Pics by Nic. I just posted a HELLA large quantity of San Francisco pics from Fleet Week and the past three days I wandered the city with JBB.

Did you know there is an effing GAP at the corner of Haight and Ashbury? I need to go back and document that one...

Once Bitten Twice Stoned

"Yeah, Mick and the boys are old farts, but they can still rock and roll with the best of them. John Mayer was their opening act…he kinda sucked…"

Word up, Mom! Monday night she went to see the Rolling Stones. Again. 40 years after her first concert ever. Mom attended that show with Pop-pop on May 1, 1965. She was 13 then. Sunday night, Uncle Jim called with two extra tickets to the concert in Philadelphia. In her words, my brother, a man who tunes into the hip hop and rap stations rather than those playing classic rock, was a "good sport" and agreed to go with her.

Are you kidding me? I am left with a few nagging thoughts and questions...

1) Damn, I am jealous.
2) Did Mick sing Painted Black?
3) What did Anthony wear to the concert? Did he wear a jersey?
4) What did Mom wear to the concert? A cardigan sweater set?
5) Sweet! Mom and I now agree on 3 bands! The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and now John Mayer.
6) Dad is such a dork. I can't believe he didn't want to go.
7) Mom rules for not even asking him...
8) Mom is having a rocking year. All this on top of the Italy trip.
9) No offense to Pop-pop and Anthony, but Mom needs to hit up one of these concerts at some point with someone who is another fan.
10) For that someone to be me, do I have to move back East?

Just joking, Ma. I think it's pretty cool that you got to share your first and most recent Stones concerts with your dad and son, respectively. Do think you might be able to pick ME the next time you plan on hitting up a good show? At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if Mick is still at it in 2045. You'll be 96 years young, so no excuses.

Consider this a Save the Date!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Right On Time Four Years Late

Wrapping my arms around my chest to both warm and comfort myself, I felt the lump in my throat starting to form. And then swell. I just left a voicemail on my only real friend in San Francisco's voicemail. And I realized I had no one else to call. With those 3000 miles bulldozing over me, I sat waiting for the bus at 16th and Mission. On a Tuesday night at 9:00 PM, trying to swallow the overwhelming emptiness that his recent departure was leaving behind.

I did NOT plan it this way. His visit was not supposed to induce tears.

He showed up on my doorstep Sunday morning. With a single backpack and whiskers at least a half inch long. We had an incredible three days. The kinds of days that make you remember why you fell in love with him.
His goofy smile. The look on his face and the dilation of his pupils when he gets excited. The way he sleeps. And laughs at himself. And the way he always bites his tongue and sticks it out of the right corner of his mouth when he concentrates. His sweet yet awkward interactions with others. You remember why he was just what you needed back then.

I am sitting at the bus stop remembering the flowers. And the Zazu's. The first time we held hands during that car ride with JRW asleep in the back seat. The red Gatorade that was all over his face when I couldn't muster the courage to invite him to Formal. And the email over Christmas break that pretty much changed everything.

I begin to feel sick as I also remember that fight. All the fights, actually. The shouting and tears. The uneasiness and borderline misery the relationship added to my personality. The fights aren't making sense, though. And how we ever DIDN'T get along feels foreign. Three full days and two nights of smooth sailing intermittently mixed with new adventures and nostalgia have invoked a touch of anguish. Because he has finally grown up. His immaturity has evolved into something more child-like than child-ish. He is kind and endearing.

He doesn't complain like he used to complain. Incessantly and about nothing. And I'm no longer neurotic and sensitive to it like I was four years ago. He articulated what he was thinking instead of making me guess. I planned a great tour of SF and when it all didn't work out we both calmly shrugged. I didn't apologize. And he didn't ferociously grit, "DAMN IT! GOD DAMN IT!" We turned to something else and kept going.

I continued to wait for the bus. But I fought frustration and sadness. Clarity overtook my emptiness as I realized
It is kind of hard to miss what never really was. Four years late and yet right on time, I finally accepted that for me and JBB, nothing is better than something.

Eventually, I boarded the bus back to Nob Hill. It was probably right around the same time he boarded a plane to Australia. Finally. Just like he used to threaten all those years. And by now, he's already a sixth of the way there. I hope he is so excited he can't stop bouncing his knee.

I am so happy for him I am smiling through my tears.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Very Significant

As a child, I always doubted my parents when they said that they loved me and my brother the same. The EXACT same? How is that possible? We learned in chemistry and physics that there are always margins of error when measuring quantities. Remember Significant Digits? 1 is NOT the same as 1.000000. Hell no. And remember that pesky algebra proof that 2 equals 1? Quantities are really a load of bullshit.

Enter my two children, Murph (rest, dear, rest) and Red. And I totally get it. Murph, the eldest, taught me what it means to be a pet owner. I learned just as much raising Murph as Murph did growing from a young Beta fish to a three year old Beta fish.

Red is different. Everything is new again with Red. When I feed him, he gets excited and flaps his fins. He doesn't swim to the top of the bowl to eat his food immediately, like Murph did. He prefers to lurk mid-bowl and dive for the little Beta Morsels one at a time. I have to chuck them in there kind of hard so that they sink instead of float. It's great exercise for us both.

We say it all the time, but it really is funny how two pets with the same owner can grow up to be so different. Murph was definitely an East Coast fish. Always on the move, too busy to play catch with his food. Red, on the other hand, is living the good San Francisco life. He's all about playtime and basking in the sun.

It's good to be a proud Mama again. I love you both the same. (Give or take a couple ten thousandths of a percent.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mr. Saturday Night

So I have these new pants. They're hot. And they're of the ass-pants variety, meaning they both highlight and assist in acquisition. And I *forgot* to mention it before, but on Saturday night, they delivered.

When the female bonding at Porkapalooza subsided, all eyes turned to the meat. Err, to the sausage. (EW. I couldn't resist, though.) What I'm really saying is that all eyes turned to the eye-candy. The males. There were lots of them, and we were on the prowl.

HEG would have been in heaven in this alterna-sea of men. I was as well, but I of course stumbled upon a nice preppy. He bought me a Coors Light (is that a step up or down from the PBRs we drank earlier?) and we started talking. I learned that he is actually from San Francisco - so few ARE, it seems - and that he has lived in San Diego and New York before moving back here. After I told him that I'm from Philly, he apolgized for living on the East Coast for five years and never visiting the Next Greatest City. Forgiven.

He works in finance. I win, I guessed that. But then he wanted to guess my occupation. Advertising? Public Relations? Marketing? Sales? Not SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT... Really? Software Development? Do you know COBALT?

Yeah, I was hooked after that line. Man, I love the dorks.

Maybe something was in the pork, or the PBRs, or maybe it was the tequila - it does make me crazy - but soon enough we were out to dinner. Then back at his place. (He has his own place in Pac Heights! Um, yes please.) It was fun, actually. But I had to put myself in a cab around 1AM because I was starting to feel a bit like Samantha Jones. Honestly, I was being more Charlotte York, but I was starting to sort of freak out. I really just had to get home. To safely remove the ass pants! I had overdosed on ass! Who knew I could ever max out on it?


I wasn't sure I'd hear from Mr. Saturday Night after my melodramatic runaway. But he called tonight... And I'm now staring at the phone contemplating if I should call back and give Mr. Saturday Night - now Mr. Waits Three Days to Call - the chance to be Mr. Saturday Night again.

I hate dating.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Dirty Jersey

He said "wooder" and when he "laaaaafed" (laughed) he drove me to hysterics. We discussed The Iggles at length. He wasn't wearing a wife beater at the time, but I know if he did I'd be a mess. 100%. (I am not afraid to admit that I still do find guys in wife beaters to be attractive.) And when I meet a guy who wears hair gel, I am drawn to him. It all just reminds me of home.

Oh Philly hoes.

His last name has five syllables and ends in a vowel. And he's everything my father has ever waned me to find.

Which makes it that much more distressing to have moved all the way to San Francisco just to develop a crush on someone from South Jersey.


At least we're repeat offenders. Plus a sober encounter tonight.

It means nothing to very little. The opposite of strong to quite strong. But I'm embarrased to admit that I'm sad he's going out of town for two whole weekends.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


NOTHING beats daytime drinking. Even in San Francisco, where weekend daylight hours are full of physical activity and cultural absorption, sometimes we all still need a bit of pulled pork and PBR. Sometimes we all need a less sophisticated Saturday. No wine, just swine. And so we did. At Porkapalooza 2005.

Hosted by MMG's brother, I have been waiting for this party my entire life. Or, at a minimum, all of my life in which I've known MMG. (Which the more I think about it, have been the best years of life.) Because technically, one could pinpoint that the reason I moved here was because of Porkapalooza 2004. An excerpt for yas:


Porkapalooza 2005 delivered. Two pigs were carved. I saw the spinal cord. And that didn't stop me from eating some meat that "Meat" carved up nice and fresh for me. (MMG's brother is aka Meat, as noted by his nametag, which was planted firmly on his chest, because why wear a shirt under your overalls? How unnecessary is that?) After pork, I coleslaw. And then potato salad. And finallybaked beans. I really did eat in that order, although I don't know why. I also consumed 3 PBRs spliced with a tequila shot. Or two. Then we moved onto Coors Light because the PBR kegs were tapped. When's the last time you ever heard of a PBR keg being tapped?

Perhaps better than the pork were the people. I was probablly the youngest and preppiest of the crew, although I was wearing my new navy blue ass pants, so I think I'm forgiven. Guys with colorful tatoos and hair to match replaced dudes named Chad who live in The Marina. And people who are just out there and very interesting replace the Jen's who twirl their hair and still use Daddy's credit card to buy rounds of shots. I even spent some QT with the Gynecologic Consultant. His occupation is fictitious, but he does have cards. They state, "Your vagina is my business." (I'm not shitting you.) He thinks this line is a legitimate test for weeding out women. If you're offended, he wants nothing to do with you. If you laugh, beware. He'd like to buy you dinner, and afterwards, YOUR VAGINA [will be] HIS BUSINESS.

I also hung out with The Dentist. She's really cool, and I'm mildly obsessed. We exchanged phone numbers, and I can't tell you the last time I was so excited to give my number out to someone. Swapping numbers with fellow females is a way bigger deal than swapping with males.

The day was long and carried over into the night and got a little sketchy. I didn't get porked. In that sense. But I did get porked by Porkapalooza. And now I'm gearing up for 2006. Already.

MMG, book your flight!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fug Off!

She and I normally bat it out for the top Mommy position on college reunion trips with the girls. She always has her camera ready. She's always on time. She always looks so put together. She normally drives us everywhere we need to go. I compliment her skills by being the planner and always having Advil and Benadryl on hand.

So today, when I was in a bad mood, LGA told me fug myself. And just like mom's home cooking, or a trip to the ice cream store, or after a good workout, I felt better.

Go ahead and try fugging yourself now.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Lose

I love lists. More importantly, I love to check things off of lists. I love checking off so much that I write things down I just did just so I can check them off. It's sick. I didn't check a goddamn thing off today.

True to form, though, I'm actually performing quite well at being such a waste. It started when I woke up at 5:45 a.m. with every intention to go to 6:00 a.m. yoga. The alarm sounded, I turned it off, walked down the hall to pee, and then got back in bed and slept for two more hours. Note that sleeping in my yoga clothes did nothing to help me get out the door this mornig. I lose.

Then I spent the bulk of my day not doing any of the work I should have done. I responded to an email here and there, yes. But I hesitated starting the project I needed to start because I was supposed to have a meeting at 11:00 A.M. Don't know what happened to the meeting. The dudes back in DC didn't even call to let me know it was canceled. Rather than just get started on my projects anyway, I spent an hour and a half (more like 3...) on iTunes creating new playlists for Wilson. I lose again.

And if we're being honest, I lose double on the meeting because I was actually looking forward to it.

This afternoon, I tried to finish up what I thought would be a very quick little exercise in Excel. Have I ever mentioned that I need to remove Excel from the list of applications in which I am proficient from my resume? I love 'puters and informaiton systems, but when it comes to adding and subtracting and multiplying, from here on out I'm sticking with a No. 2 Sanford American and some lined paper. If it gets tough, I'll hunt for my TI-83. It's still around here somewhere. Even having to go to the store to buy a new one would take less time than it took me to figure out what cell in my spreadsheet had the the wrong formula in it. Again. What am I, 0 for 3?

More like 0 for 11.

1) Go to the Post Office.
2) Set up wireless network in apartment
3) Call LEJ.
4) Renew renter's insurance.
5) Complete expense report.
6) Buy new printer cartridge.
7) Pick-up new pants from Banana.
8) Order new charger for Sonicare.

Soy un perdedor.

Actually, I did make it out to the television to watch the lovely SKB on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. 1 for 11. Go Me! And go Sarah! It WAS a LEGITIMATE looking flower shop. You rule!

So for tomorrow, we will attempt to re-do Wednesday. With an additional To Do item at the top of the list: BUCK UP, NIC!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Welcome Back, Wilson!

Sometimes I don't know how I ever functioned before Wilson came along. When he acts up, I am overcome by anxiety. I can't breathe. I can't concentrate. I have actually already been sweating each time he has done this before, but the glands always kick it into high gear in these situations, obviously in the form of upper lip and boob sweat. As if Wilson's lack of performance isn't bad enough, the Italian in me has to come out. In full bloom.

Mostly, though, my mind races. It tries to remember if I dropped Wilson at all. And then it tries to think about how to cover up those droppings. Because those "Geniuses" make you buy new Wilson's if you drop them, and I don't have $299 + 8.5% sales tax to get a FOURTH Wilson. I'd figure something out if I had to, of course. I certainly can't be expected to survive without 20GB of music in my pocket for more than a day or two, can I?

Luckily, Wilson's most recent crap
out, during today's afternoon run, wasn't fatal. He has an identity of his own now, and therefore can cling to life. Before, when he was just, My iPod, there was no point in holding on. Today the electronic CPR - a nice factory restore - got him going again. He is currently resting in the ICU, connected to Matilda, my 'puter, drinking in 2716 units of tunes. Next time, I will make sure to share my Gu and Propel with him. No more bonking, Wilson!

Now that it's over, I do feel a little silly for the way I handled the recent scare. It's just that today I added a TON of old school rap to the collection... and some Eminem and Kanye. Not to mention some Ween, in honor of The Deaner's 25th birthday. I'm feeling totally left out of the celebrations tonight, but now that Wilson's almost up and running again - he's slurping up tune #2215 now - I will pretend I'm there with the crew.

Welcome Back, Wilson!

And Happy 25th, Dean. You have more Phase Five pseudonyms than anyone else, by the way. Yikes... Let's not over anlyze that anytime soon. I REALLY hope you wore that shirt tonight, by the way.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

How It's Really Going

Exactly one month ago, I arrived in Caliornia. I spent the night at a club in L.A. with Paris Hilton and Wilbur Valdemera. OK, they were there, but I wasn't WITH them.

Since then I have gone to fabulous beaches. I have driven through fantastic scenery. I have walked the steepest of hills and taken amazing runs and become a regular yogi. (Almost...) I have gone to exciting parties and captured beautiful photographs. I have started to frown upon sandwiches that don't contain avocado, and I have had multiple Pizza Orgasmicas. I have found the most interesting bookstores and flower shops. I met new, interesting people. I have stood on my roof and looked at the Golden Gate Bridge and said to myself, "I did it."

When everyone from home - a region loosely defined as Boston-Richmond - called, I said I was doing well. And that I liked it here. And that it was fun. And yes, that I'm still glad I moved.

This weekend, though, I actually started to believe myself.

During our walk through the farmers market and craft fair. After purchasing the most amazing new crochet hat. While talking to homeless people. Because I bought a $3 Hershey bar to support AIDS research. While watching the curb-side dancing at the Love Parade. And while doing my own dancing to Golddigger with my roommates on Saturday night. During a lovely Sunday brunch with HBP at the Crepe House. And when I realized I had a NEW FAVORITE BRUNCH spot. And later when we just walked around all day and knew where we were going. Most of the time...

This weeknd, my apartment felt like home for the first time. And I saw the people with whom I've been living, as well as the others with whom I've spent most of my free time, as friends. New friends, but friends, nonetheless. With a smile, I identified with the old man dressed in a fluorescent yellow track suit who said, "You live in this city long enough and you start to manufacture your own sunshine."

So really. I am doing well. I like it here. Hell, I love it here. There is so much to do and it is all too much fun. I'm REALLY glad I moved.

And I posted a lot of pictures, so stop by Pics by Nic when you get a chance.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

[I] Love [a] Parade!

Summer is over everywhere but here, in San Francisco. And to celebrate the fact that it's finally warm enough to leave the jacket at home - for most of the day - the city had a parade. OK, that's not why Love Parade was staged, but it's definitely one of the reasons I attended.

Essentially, Love Parade is an 8 hour, daytime, outdoor, moving rave. I'm not really a fan of raving, or of techno music in general. Love Parade didn't inspire a yearning for a set of glow sticks and E, but it did make me want to dance, and it did make my heart pound.

Because it gave me an opportunity to really
see the people of San Francisco. The people with lots of tattoos. And the people with fluorescent colored hair. The people who wear crazy outfits and the people who wear nothing at all. At the risk of looking like a tourist, I did bring my camera. Words can't describe it. Have fun.

But Love Parade also delivered heart pounding olfactory amusement. The parade route, brimming with marijuana, could have easily been confused with my favorite mirror-ceilinged room at my favorite fraternity house at UVA. Or this old white Volkswagon Golf in which I used to ride shotgun in high school. Doesn't the
smell of pot make everyone think about high school or college? It's not really spurring those types of flashbacks anymore. Now and likely forever more, as affimed again by Love Parade, the smell of pot will make me think of my time in California.

I didn't really taste anything at Love Parade, so I guess the parade coordinators did overlook one of the senses.

The appeal to the sense of touch was not missed, however, and was actually my favorite aspect of the event. Couples of all colors and sizes and "preferences" held hands. Families laughed and danced as mothers and fathers deliverd liberal education lessons to pre-schoolers. Yes, pre-schoolers. Back in Philadelphia, pre-schoolers go to see Santa Claus at the Thanksgiving Parade and to listen to string bands at the Mummers Parade on New Year's Day. In San Francisco, small children accompany their parents to parades of trannies. And nudists. And pot smoking artisans. And
ravers. And everyone else who just doesn't fit the mold.

Tolerance. It begins at a very young age out here. I effing love it. And THAT'S reason for a parade.