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:

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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!