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.