C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, September 28, 2007

    Guess what I'm doing tonight...!

    SM and I are finally seeing Harry Potter -- yay! It's about time, too...

    Yes, it's still in the theaters. I bet we are among the rare few who want to see it but haven't yet. The really cool thing is where we're seeing it. At the IMAX theater.

    Oh yea!

    We saw the last one at the IMAX at the Air and Space Museum, and it was so big and in your face -- and so much fun! Not a bad seat in the house. Of course, we were among tweens and teens and their parents -- and it was packed -- but that made it all that much more fun.

    Oh yea!


    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Building in incentives

    SM and I have decided to up the ante for both of us, to give us both incentives to really do this thing...

    When SM loses 10 of the 15 lbs. that he's trying to shed (yeah, only 15, but he's doing this to support me in my efforts)... well, he gets 10 coupons for me to walk Gidget instead of him. If he hits 15 lbs. and keeps it off for 2 months, he gets a spa massage. If he keeps the weight off for 6 months, we're buying a new TV.

    As for me, the first ten gets me a haircut and color at a fancy schmancy salon, rather than my usual el-cheapo place. I get to treat myself, no guilt. I figure that's a good incentive, and it has the reinforcement that I'll probably feel better about myself afterwards. "I'll feel pretty... oh so pretty..."

    After the next 10 lbs. (at the 20# mark), I get the massage spa treatment. At 30, I get a new video iPod. I don't know what I get if I hit forty. A new wardrobe? Actually, I may still have my old one because, yes, I do hold on to things that long.

    It would be truly fantastic if I could lose 40 lbs. by my 40th birthday in early March. Since that's less than 6 months away, I think that it isn't realistic to try (not to mention probably unhealthy), but I'd like to be well down that path by then. I don't want to bring in a new decade looking like I've already given up on myself.

    And we've agreed that all of these goodies will be paid for out of our joint account.

    So there ya' have it. I'm shooting for a cut and a color. Only 7.5 more lbs. to go. I had better shake a tailfeather, though, if I'm going to drop those pounds. My complete lack of exercise (other than walking to the metro about 2/3rds a mile each way) has lead to the spread.

    And it ain't pretty.


    The Pudge Report

    H >--*-------------------------------------------< Goal
    2.5 down, 42.5 to go (ouch, that hurts to read it in print... but not as much as on the scale!)

    I don't know if that goal weight is actually realistic, but here goes...!


    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Day three of the diet

    So far, so good. I've lost 2.5 lbs., but I'm sure that's all water. And I am bloated, so all in all, I feel fatter. Oh well.

    I've been pretty good about sticking to the regime, and I haven't officially cheated yet (yea, I know, only three days, but... I've fallen off the wagon on shorter trips). Diet food aside, we are definitely eating more healthily -- salads at both lunch and dinner, plus fruit twice a day. Pretty good for Ms. (or would that be "Dr."?) carb-lover over here.

    We're both finding that we get hungry during the day, and the meals are enough to stave off the hungry and take the edge off, but we never feel full. Well, actually, I do feel full after breakfast because I haven't typically eaten breakfast on a regular basis. After each meal, I pretty much can't wait to eat again. And it's weird to come home hungry and then realize, "Hey, I can't just grab something to snack on. I have to wait for dinner."

    Yeah, I'm not used to that. And that's what got me where I am today.

    So officially, I am H -2.5 lbs. (H="heaviest"). Wish me willpower!

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    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Dr. SS!

    I've actually wondered once or twice why lawyers aren't generally referred to as "Dr." thus-and-such. After all, a legal degree is a "Juris Doctor" or "Doctor of Jurisprudence", right?

    If JD = "juris doctor" and MD = "medical doctor" and PhD = "doctor of philosophy" -- and the latter two get the degree-earner the priviledge of being called "Dr." -- then why not lawyers too?

    It's not a distinction between medicine or health-related studies v. other fields as disqualifying; one can earn a PhD in any field and still be a venerable "Dr.". Nor is it an issue of years spent studying. A typical JD program is three years. Dentists also spend about three years in post-graduate study (with summer coursework). Vets have about four years of specialized study. The difference in years of coursework for an MA program v. a PhD program is usually one year (plus independent research, of course), so a PhD can be done is 4-6 years. Okay, so lawyers go to school a few fewer years, but basically, "Dr." denotes someone of advanced study.

    So why not lawyers as "Dr."s?

    "Doctor" is in the degree itself. The work involved is certainly advanced study. In fact, a JD has very specific educational requirements, like MDs or DDSs or DVMs. Similarly, lawyers must meet state licensing requirements to practice. Neither is true generally for PhDs. There is no specific education requirement, other than a dissertation, required, nor any licensing exam to affix that "Dr.". Arguably, JDs are more similar in terms of study, licensing and it being a professional degree to MDs, etc. than are PhDs (which is viewed as an academic degree more than professional one). So what's the distinction that excludes lawyers from the "doctor" club? What is it that makes them (us) different from dentists and veterinarians and medical doctors and PhDs that they (we) don't deserve "Dr."? Is it nothing more than social convention?

    Well, apparently, some lawyers don't see any distinction and have held themselves out as such, using "Dr." on their cards and whatnot. And this has lead to scrutiny by state ethics panels and the ABA too. The verdict? Mixed. Apparently, a number of states allow lawyers to refer to themselves using the title "Dr." and others don't.

    I don't know which list MD (that would be "Maryland, not "medical doctor") is on, if my state allows it or not. More to the point... even if the state does allow it, I don't know if I'd have the chutzpuh to hold myself out in public as a "Dr.", just because of my JD.

    But it's fun to know it may be an option. "Dr. She Says" -- hmmm, sounds snazzy, eh?

    I wonder what the MDs would say?

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    Monday, September 24, 2007

    No way!

    So, I'm watching Heroes tonight... When Hiro goes back to feudal Japan to save that village, I got a big ol' shock. That village that was burning, from which the refugees were fleeing? That's where I lived in Japan! Otsu!

    Now, that may not tickle your toes, but how often do you see a place you once lived -- especially one that's in a foreign country -- fictionalized on television? Sure, I see DC on the news all of time, but I think it's uber cool that my little ol' town of Otsu (which is actually the equivalent of a state capital) was on Heroes. Otsu rocks!

    Okay, so I'm more excited about this than I should be.

    I'm a dork. Leave me alone.

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    Stupid lawyer stories (the lawyers, not the stories, are what's dumb)

    An excerpt from an email from a colleague that was worth posting (the ones I found less amusing were edited out).

    Let me crash through the mystique that the legal profession has built up around itself and reveal the truth: you don’t need to be smart to be a lawyer. You really don’t. And some of these quotes provide further evidence of that. According to the email I received, these are quotes from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, stuff people actually said verbatim in court, taken down by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were taking place.

    ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
    WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

    ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
    WITNESS: Yes.
    ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
    WITNESS: I forget.
    ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

    ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
    WITNESS: We both do.
    ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
    WITNESS: We do.
    ATTORNEY: You do?
    WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

    ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
    WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

    ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
    WITNESS: Are you shit'in me?

    ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
    WITNESS: Yes.
    ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
    WITNESS: Uh... I was gett'in laid!

    ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
    WITNESS: Yes.
    ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
    WITNESS: None
    ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
    WITNESS: Are you shit'in me? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

    ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
    WITNESS: By death.
    ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
    WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?

    ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
    WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

    ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
    WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?

    ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
    WITNESS: Oral.

    ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
    WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?

    And the best for last...
    ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
    WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
    ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
    WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law!

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    Monday morning haiku

    Up up and away
    Soaring higher than ever.
    A record: my weight.

    Yes, the diet starts today. I've had one meal on it. Is it too early to start complaining about my suffering? Yeah, I guess it is, especially since I'm reading all about horrors of World War II France. Hmmm, invading armies, your city being bombed, refugees walking to flee the city, war shortage of food? Now, there's a diet.

    So SM and I started this morning. The diet is a fairly strict regimen; it restricts our caloric intake tremendously, but we are allowed a decent amount of choice and flexibility within the restrictions. Boy are we learning how far beyond a single serving were our average meals. I mean, whoa. No wonder both of us are at our peak weights ever. Neither of us have visited this particular apex before, and neither of us are particularly happy about being here now.

    But then again, we allowed ourselves to get this way. We ate all that food and sat on our butts instead of exercising. So rather than continue to complain, we are trying to do something.

    Trying? No. That sounds like we expect to fail. We don't. We expect to lose, but not fail. We are doing something.

    Day one. Wish us luck and willpower!

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    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Been outta town

    SM and I took advantage of some cheap tickets and flew the coop to Southwestern Florida for the weekend. In truth, we had only about a day and half in the flower state, but it was nice to get out of DC.

    Basically, we ate, shopped, ate, looked at the water, ate, went miniature golfing, ate and came back. Get the sense that we like our food? In fact, we have organized entire vacations around food choices and restaurants (which we didn't actually do this time). The weather may not have cooperated (the full day we were there was overcast and rainy), but the food was quite good. We managed to have two really excellent meals down there (and one round of room service because I didn't feel up to going out).

    And we never made it to the beach, even though we were staying on the beach. I wasn't feeling so great on Saturday, so it's kinda my fault. But we had fun anyway. And we were able to sit on the balcony of our hotel and look out over the beach, including watching a beach wedding.

    A photographic recap of the weekend...

    Here is SM doing his Johnny Depp impersonation.

    Here is a shot from miniature golf. SM is posing by the elephant at my request. We considered doing a shot a la Scooter, but decided against it. Florida has some weird laws, and we didn't want to learn about them first hand (rimshot please!). But there was one gorilla, down on all fours, that well, it was tempting... but no. We're keeping this blog PG-13.

    By the way, SM won the golfing. By about 3 strokes despite my getting two holes in one (SM only got one). Clearly, I suck at miniature golf.

    And finally, ain't it romantic? A stroll, drive, cavort down Lover's Lane.

    Yeah, maybe not so much...

    (We were trying to think of alternative signs to put up... such as "no way out" or perhaps "do not enter"? But anything we could come up with still reduced us to giggling adolescents. Yeah, we're mature that way.)

    And now we're back. Glad to be home with the Gidge. Tomorrow both of us start a diet.


    No, seriously!

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    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Metro messages

    More signs o' the times from around town. Even the ads on the metro have a political edge.
    But I want to know who is #1 then?

    Well that just shows that everyone in DC has something to say about everything...

    The most recent campaign...
    So there you have it, ladies and gents.


    Proud parents?

    Our girl Gidget has been getting a bit pudgy lately. Like us. Since we adopted her almost a year ago, she's put on several pounds, which for her size, is, well, sizable.

    So recently, we've cut back her kibble. Instead of 1 cup twice a day, she now gets about 2/3rds a cup twice a day, which is a pretty significant reduction. Hopefully she'll shrink a bit too.

    As a result, she's more of a chow hound (and she always was a tremendous chow hound). She is constantly looking for food and is almost manic about it. She even paws her feeder to get more (yes, we have an automatic doggy feeder to give her dinner in case we're not home... and it was a present... which we originally scoffed at but have since grown to appreciate).

    Well, today, our girl delivered a very distinct and demonstrable and shocking message that she wanted more to eat.

    Today, she brought a dead rat into the family room. She put it down and sat over it quietly until we (that is, *I*) noticed her and it.


    When I saw it, I drew in my breath sharply, which woke up a snoozing SM. He started and said, "What, what?!" in confusion.

    I had his full attention. I said, "Look."

    He looked around. He didn't see anything. I tilted my head towards the dog. He looked again and said, "Oh" with an inflection that made it clear that he didn't have a clue what to do about it.

    We sent Gidget to her crate, and he bagged up the critter carcass. I didn't watch. He said it was recently dead (no rigor mortis), but we don't know if she killed it.

    Now everytime Gidget comes back in from outside through the doggy door, I cringe with worry that she'll deliver us another critter.

    So we've decided to feed her more. I'd rather she was a little bit chubby than have her hunting for dinner.

    (And of course, now I'm really worried about have rats in the backyard... because that's where she got it from. Shit.)

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    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    An old picture

    From the first big push to unpack the house (early August?). But I just downloaded it off of my phone camera.

    We unpacked a box and look what we found... a Gidget! Isn't she too cute?

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    One of the most satisfying reads I've had in a long time

    Not because it was particularly cheerful or uplifting. It wasn't.

    Rather because it was so beautifully written and an emotional exploration. And Umrigar did a fantastic job of exploring bonds, loyalty and tensions between and across gender, between and across generations, between and across class lines. Without being condescending or drawing caricatures. The characters were real, genuine people.

    Thrity Umrigar's The Space Between Us was just delicious. Yummm... I devoured it.


    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Seen scene

    Life and license plates here in DC (most of which were seen in front of the DC courthouses). Hmmm... makes a girl wonder.

    As an aluma of Rutgers, this one amused me.

    This one perplexes me. Check out that these "bad boys" are law enforcement?

    And this one just has me cringing on behalf of men everywhere.



    I'm not even on the board anymore for the AIDS Walk Washington fundraiser. Not the gold, not the silver, not the bronze. Right now, I'm not even in medal contention.


    Well, there's still about two weeks left. If anyone would like to help out a good cause by donating any amount, please visit my page on the AIDS walk site.

    On the one hand, it's great that there are so many folks raising so much money and awareness.

    On the other hand, I hate losing.

    Oh well. At least the Whitman Walker Clinic wins.


    For the record

    I'd just like to note that in my case, the opposite of BUSY is BUYS.
    Not busy = buys.

    Ya-huh. You know it.

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    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Monday morning haiku

    Never would have thought
    My boss really surprised me.
    Gave me a bonus.

    Yeah, whodda thunk it?

    There was a small "awards" ceremony earlier this morning to thank various individuals for their contributions on several long-term projects (all of which was actually within the scope of our jobs, so getting a bonus for it seems... unnecessary?), and I was included. Despite the fact that the project that I helped out with was really done by the time I got here. I contributed very little. Very little. And what I did, well, it's my job. But hell yea, I'll still take the cash. Considering how much I got, I can't imagine what the heavy-lifters on this project got, but it was very generous of them to include me. And I appreciated it and told them as much.

    Ooh, ebay? Yoo-hoo? Here I come.

    Actually, no. I called SM (poor guy, he's home sick today -- and he almost never takes sick days) and told him the amount. He was really surprised, too. I promised him I wouldn't use it as an excuse to go on a shopping spree (ahem, already did that) but rather just bank it to so I don't feel like I'm totally broke all of the time.

    So this week is actually off to a good start! Yippee!

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    The dating scene


    The dating scene. I thought my days dating were over. I was never any good at it, and frankly, I didn't have much practice.

    Oh, I've had a bunch of boyfriends and several serious relationships. But I never really played the field. Maybe that's why I went out with some of the guys that I did -- to have a boyfriend and save myself from "dating"?


    Anyway, I feel like I'm back in the dating scene.

    Why? Because SM and I are trying to develop "couple friends" -- folks that both of us like and can hang with, rather than situations where one of us knows one of them and the other two are just along for the ride. You know what I mean?

    So we have our first "couple date" tomorrow, although I would never say that out loud (just write it on my blog). I have invited over a woman from my book club and her fiance. I really like her, and to the extent I've gotten to know him, I like him as well. And I think SM will like him as well.

    I feel like a matchmaker.

    It would be nice to have couple friends around whom we are comfortable such that we can hang and no one feels like they have to play host or anything. Or take pains to ensure that everyone is included. Because we'll all be comfortable enough in each other's space that it just doesn't matter.

    Like I said, it's just like dating. I've got all of the same thoughts and emotions running through me...

    "Will they like us?"

    "I hope we find stuff to talk about" (that won't be a problem because the other woman is just as chatty as I am)...

    You know how it goes.

    The pressure is somewhat off because we have met and interacted before. And I think we all have a lot in common. So this is kinda just an experiment.

    But I'm still a little nervous.

    You all out there firmly planted in coupledom -- how do you meet and make couple friends?

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    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    RU Rah Rah!

    Looks like the Scarlet Knights are primed for another great season. They romped at homecoming this past weekend.

    I've never been one to follow college ball, but that's mainly because there was no reason for me to. Rutgers never had a very good football team when I was there (but the Lady Knights rocked the basketball court and lacrosse was huge too).

    Maybe I'll have to put aside my GULC sweatshirt in favor of my RU one for the season?

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    So I love eBay. And eBay loves me.

    'Cuz I spend mucho time and dinero there. Adding to my various collections and feeding my ever-expanding compulsions.

    Mostly, it's been a good experience. A learning experience, too.

    But recently, something which had never happened before happened to me. An icky something.

    I opened a package of an item I ordered. And when I was unwrapping it, a huge, darting, icky roach or water bug scurried out and across the table.


    I was so stunned that I didn't react at first, but damn if I was going to let that critter invade my roach-free house! I chased it around the table and lost it, to my dismay.

    I searched among the dishes on the table and finally spotted it -- and then crunched it -- running down the leg of the table.

    Eeew, eeuw, eeuw, eeuw.


    Maybe the lesson here is not to buy stuff on eBay?

    Yea, not gonna happen.


    Wednesday night

    I was hanging out with these guys
    and these guys.
    Along with about 300 others.

    But clearly, not with anyone who had a working auto-focus lens!

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Good news for underpaid "public" servants?

    According to this article, Congress Passes Student Loan Forgiveness For Federal Employees, ten years in continuous service gets you "student loan forgiveness ".

    Wow. That's potentially a lotta forgiveness.

    The article says:
    To encourage and reward public service, "The College Cost Reduction and Access Act", (HR 2669) provides loan forgiveness for college graduates who go into public service professions, including law enforcement officers, first responders, firefighters, nurses, prosecutors, public defenders, and others.
    Federal direct loans eligible for forgiveness are: (1) a Federal Direct Stafford Loan; (2) Federal Direct PLUS Loan; (3) Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan; and (4) a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
    I'll have to check the bill itself to see if my job qualifies or if there is a cap on salary. (Answer: not sure, and doesn't seem to be.) Also, I wonder if the forgiveness rains down all at once, after the ten years or how that's done? And is debt forgiveness taxable in this situation? It may be, but I'd rather pay tax on the forgiven debt than pay the debt itself.

    And then there's that bit about 10 years of service after October 1, 2007...

    First, serving those ten. That's hard time. But if you're inclined towards public service (which I am -- already have 15 years combined in teaching, non-profit work and da' guv), then okay. I wonder if you can combine various sectors of public service jobs (i.e., switch jobs but remain working in the "public interest") and still qualify?

    Second -- and this is a crucial point -- how much is realistically going to be left to be forgiven when the service period has been served (especially since eligibility hinges on remaining current on student loan payments)? Most of my loans are on a ten-year repayment plan (as is likely the case for many borrowers), so, um, nothing? Hmmm...

    Anyway, I don't know realistically how much impact this will have on many debtor's debts, but that doesn't mean it's not a step in the right direction, especially since the bill raised student loan amount caps (finally!). If you're interested in slogging through the conference report on the bill, go here for the full text.

    (BTW, I quickly read one section of the report, and "public servant" includes folks who work in the above-listed service professions, teachers in underserved areas, non-profit employees and others. I couldn't find any specifics on what government jobs are included, but considering I make LESS than a great many teachers [yes, it's true, I'm embarrassed to say] -- let alone private sector lawyers -- I would hope the definition is broad.)

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Are you ready for some football?

    SM is. Boy is he ever.

    He, like many other fanatics, has taken football-watching to a new level. A new, geeky level.

    Gone are the days of beer-guzzling, chip-chomping, ranting hours of transfixed cheering in front of ye ol' boob tube (which has less to do with the Bay Watch aspect of television than those who are fixated).

    Oh no, my friends. Being a football fan means a whole lotta something else these days.

    SM sits in front of the TV, not with a beer (okay, actually, yes, he does have beer) group of loud, boisterous friends dressed in their favorite teams' attire. No, not with friends. With his computer.

    So he can check the stats of each team, of each player, as the games are played.

    So he can monitor how his players on his fantasty teams are doing.


    This takes football-watching into a whole new realm. Gone are the days of group bonding and high-fives and victory dances as the scoreboard lights up. Gone are the days of singular loyalty, rooting for one and only one team. Heck, gone are the days of actually trying to go to see the game in person.

    A new day has dawned.

    SM still watches all of the games. But he has a new purpose. Not because he is so invested in the relative standing of his fave hometown team, the Patriots (because, he is still a huge fan), but because he wants to track how each player on each of his fantasy teams is doing. His team loyalty still rests with the Patsies, but it is somewhat diluted by the fact that his quarterback is Donovan McNabe. And his wide receivers are... (okay, I don't know who his wide receivers are, but he picked them in the first rounds).

    He says that it makes the whole day (Sunday) more fun because he's invested in every game. I just think it makes him more of a geek.

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    Here's a funny fer ya'...

    I don't know if he actually said this, but this quote was attributed to Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator: "There have been allegations made, and we need to find out who the alligator is."

    (Actually, the quote was probably just an eye-catching headline, rather than something someone really said. There's no allegation that Michael Griffin made that comment in the body of the story. But I was amused anyway.)

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    Monday morning haiku

    I may be at work,
    but it's vacation for me.
    And the mice will play.


    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Because this is just too cute not to post

    Gidget knows what Sundays are all about.


    Things I never finish

    And by that, I mean things that tend to get lost -- or "expire" -- before I use them up.

    1. Lipstick, lip balm, chapstick, etc. Until a coupla' years ago, I had never actually finished a tube of lipstick, despite having first started wearing the stuff in high school. I usually lost them or lost interested in them. Because I won't spend a lotta $$ on make-up, I often end up with colors that I like for a while and then never wear again or they are of such crappy quality that they just don't look good on. I think now, cumulatively, I've actually finished two tubes without first losing them. 2 in 23 or so years.

    2. Highlighters. Until law school, they always, always dried up before I used them up. That changed dramatically with law school. Regular pens too.

    3. White-out. Ditto above. I think I used up my first "pen" of white-out (new design, you squeeze it out of a pen, rather than paint it from a pot) in law school.

    4. Super glue. They always dry up or get glued shut after the first or second use. I think the tube/dispenser is designed poorly... or not? Maybe it's actually smart manufacturing. I do have to buy a new tube every time I want to use it, which increases their sales, so...

    5. Regular glue. Nope, don't think I've ever used up a bottle of that white stuff. Not even in my crafty younger days (including elementary school).

    6. Vitamins. I don't think I have ever in my life finished a bottle of vitamins (oh, that reminds me... haven't taken one today yet). I get on a healthy kick every once in a while and then, like so many other things in my life, slack off and eventually stop completely.

    7. Nail polish. I just don't wear it enough. And to the extent I do wear it, I get pedicures at a salon and use theirs. I never do my own nails. I don't know why I even have polish.

    8. Minutes on my cell phone. Maybe in the past, I have once or twice exceeded the minutes on my plan. However, I now have a roll-over plan that carries over my unused minutes each month. I don't think I'll ever use up all of my minutes, especially if we switch SM's provider to mine (which means all of our minutes to each other are free).

    I could also add "produce" to this list. We are chronic about letting good food go bad. Such a waste. But we are getting better about it too -- and we don't always let it go bad (just more often than I'd like), so I didn't include it on the list.

    I should do another list later of things I re-use. Not merely recycle (as in, put in the bin for recycling), but use more than once or find a second life for. I'm pretty creative that way. Unfortunately, the by-product of this "creativity" is piles of junk that I don't throw away because I know I'll eventually "need" something.

    Yeah, SM laughs at me about that too. And then shakes his head and lets me be.

    UPDATE: I thought about it, and I realized I have never, ever finished any kind of make-up other than aforementioned 2 tubes of lipstick... and once, a compact of cornsilk face powder. So add maybe I should change #1 to "make-up in general".


    So, I've been thinking about it

    My earlier post about films/shows that feature lawyers and give enough background that the audience knows where the characters went to law school, that is.

    And I'm stumped. For the life of me, I can't come up with more than three or four backstory law schools (without googling it). And none, of course, for my venerable legal institution.

    Here's what I came up with. Please add to this list if you think of others (but no googling).

  • Harvard: Paper Chase, Legally Blonde, Mitch McDeere (The Firm). Ally McBeal and several other characters (Ally McBeal)

  • UMich: Adam Hall (The Chamber, another Grisham novel -- can you tell there was a Grisham movie-a-thon on last night?), Billy and Georgia (characters from Ally McBeal)

  • Tulane: Darby Shaw (The Pelican Brief)

  • And, um, that's it. Pretty short list. There have got to be more school in film, on TV, right? I can think of tons of shows and movies that revolved around lawyers as the main characters, but I don't know the legal pedigrees of those attorneys. E.g., The Practice, LA Law, My Cousin Vinny, Boston Legal, Philadelphia, A Few Good Men...

    Help. There's gotta be at least a few movies/shows featuring U. Chicago or Yale or somewhere other than Harvard and U. Mich!

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    Legal movies

    One of the things I remember thinking I should do when I first started law school was to go rent a bunch of movies about law school... ya' know, The Paper Chase? Legally Blonde... (both of which featured Harvard -- what gives?)

    Well, I have now done the law school thing, the big firm thing, the little firm thing and the public sector thing. So when I noticed that The Firm was on TV, well, I had to watch it just for fun (similarly, I was compelled to yell "freak" at Tom Cruise several times during the movie).

    And it was fun. Both activities.

    And completely unbelievable on some many levels. I kept scoffing and talking back to the television. It's a wonder that SM stayed in the room with me.

    I mean, really. I know he's supposed to be a Harvard grad (are there any movies out there featuring Georgetown Law grads? If you know of any, do tell!). I know it's supposed to be a top firm (in Tennessee? c'mon...! that's the first bit where I have to suspend my disbelief). But the office he gets? Looks like something a managing partner would have. Being flown on the firm's private jet for a tax seminar? And he hasn't even passed the bar yet? Maybe that's the difference between a Harvard law degree and one from GULC. Maybe, but I don't think so. Yeah, right.

    That's the difference between reality and Hollywood.

    Sp this is another thing that law school has ruined for me: movies and shows which rely on legal premises or some aspect of the legal profession. Now, I may not know a lot about criminal law or corporate law, but law school has given me just enough to know when it's wrong, wrong, wrong. And of course, I am compelled to yell at the TV when they f#ck it up. 'Cuz I am compulsive that way. (Aren't all people who survived law school? No? Just me? Oh, never mind, then...)

    I'm ruining some of those TV shows for SM, I think. Grunts, condescending comments and generally talking back to the TV isn't conducive to anyone settling in for a good veg out in front of the tube.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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    Saturday, September 08, 2007

    I've stayed away from commenting on the Larry Craig story

    but I just can't resist saying this one thing: Larry gives a whole new meaning to "Idaho".

    Or how about, "Larry is just living up to the textualist tradition and taking the plain interpretation of the word as written."

    Or "He's doing his best to embody and represent his home state."

    I could keep going...

    When I conveyed my little pun to SM, he smiled and said, "I'm sure the name comes from some noble Native American word." (SM can be so understated that way... or maybe he just wanted to get back to reading Harry Potter.)

    So as to not to inadvertantly besmirch a noble Native American word (as opposed to definitely besmirching -- and smirking at -- an ignoble senator from the state), I looked up the meaning in Wikipedia (Idaho, not Craig), which said:
    Idaho is the only state that was likely named as the result of a hoax (the so called "Idahoax"). In the early 1860s, when the United States Congress was considering organizing a new territory in the Rocky Mountains, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing suggested the name "Idaho," which he claimed was derived from a Shoshone language term meaning "the sun comes from the mountains" or "gem of the mountains." Willing later claimed that he had made up the name himself[5][6].
    Turns out I'm not besmirching a noble tradition of anything, other than a noble tradition of talking out of one's ass. Click on the link above for the rest of the explanation.

    I don't know which is better.. Idahoax or just I. da. ho.?

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    Scenes from the suburbs on a Saturday

    Yep, that's pretty much it. No complaints here.

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    Friday, September 07, 2007

    Why?!? Why!?! Why!!???

    That was my reaction why I heard that the Today Show is going to re-air its coverage from and on 9/11 -- when the two planes hit the World Trade Center.

    I saw that coverage back then (live at the time). I was glued to the TV that day. I watched it non-stop. Fixated. I think I traumatized myself.

    And I've seen the clips countless times since, despite every effort to look away or change the channel when they came on. Those images are seared on my brain.

    So I ask, "Why?" Why would they show that footage? What's to be gained? Has anyone not seen it? Anyone who has cannot want to see it again, and anyone who hasn't probably wasn't old enough to see it then -- and doesn't need to see it now.

    Must be sweeps week or something.


    Best excuse I've heard in a long time

    So, I had the book club over last night. We barbequed chicken and burgers and hotdogs outside, but it was too buggy to sit on the deck and enjoy the evening. We would have been dinner instead of eating it.

    So we relaxed inside, and it was very pleasant.

    We read Devil in the White City this month. I admit that I didn't finish it. No question that it was interesting and educational -- and I certainly am learning a great deal that I didn't know about Chicago -- but I just don't find it compelling. I'll finish it, but it's not a page-turner. I am not chomping to know what happens next. I know what happens next. The fair gets built, and the other guy kills more women. Okay. The author does a fantastic job of researching the most minute details of this cross-section of history and beautifully weaves the pieces together. But somehow, I am not compelled.

    Others were, however, which is what makes book group fun. One of the members of our group has a background in therapy and dealing with social disorders, so her take on it was really interesting and insightful. She definitely picked up on stuff that I didn't. And it doesn't hurt that she has a background in journalism, so she understood and meticulousness with which the author researched the book.

    All in all? Worth the read. Definitely, the themes of building and destruction and obsession are well illustrated through the catalyst of the Chicago World's Fair. Plus, it is a fascinating glimpse into society 100+ years ago, the taboos, the etiquette, the food, the language use, etc. I'll keep it for my metro ride. I still have about 150 pages to go.

    Next month is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. And because that's a short, quick read, we chose a longer book for November -- with plenty of advanced notice to allow us all to start it if we finish the other one early -- Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky. I'm looking forward to starting down those journeys.

    But, for me, the most amusing part of the evening came courtesy of the newest member of our book group. She was sitting next to me during dinner when she said, "I really have to apologize."

    I asked her for what?

    She said she was sorry for missing our housewarming party last month and thanked me kindly for inviting her.

    I told her I was sorry she missed it too but that she really need not apologize.

    She said, "I'm so embarassed."

    And I looked at her quizzically.

    She continued, "Well, I did get your invitation. The thing was, I didn't know your dog's name. So when I kept getting the emails that included 'Gidget' in them, I thought they had to be porn. "


    "And I just deleted them without opening them," she continued earnestly. "I'm so sorry. Thank you for thinking of me and inviting us."


    "It was only when I spoke with [another member of the book group] that I realized it was from you. I was so embarassed."

    I sputtered with laughter. And told her not to worry about it at all, but that we were sorry she didn't make it. I also told her that that story was worth the confusion. (Now I have a great excuse if I ever need to get out of an evite.)

    Gidget. The porn star.

    Our porn puppy, Gidget.


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    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    More resume tips

    This time, from CNN.

    Not as detailed as the other post/article about building, editing and presenting your resume, but still useful stuff.

    Favorite point from this article? #s 9 & 10.

    Check it out.

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    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Suburban population explosion

    Here's an update to my urban population explosion, a.k.a., my mask collection.

    It now occupies two walls. Two reasonably sized walls. And these aren't even all of them. I've lost count of how many I have, to tell the truth.

    I have some that I haven't put up because they aren't especially special -- meaning, not such good quality or no sentimental attachment/memory associated with them or not particularly attractive. I have some that I haven't put up because they are difficult to hang, and I just haven't gotten around to it. And I have some I haven't put up because they are too nice to be lumped together on these walls and require a special grouping elsewhere.

    Notice, no white folk among them? Most of these masks come from cultures that are regarded as "of color", the few exceptions being my masks from Italy, Croatia and Switzerland. The rest? Asian, African, Native American, South American, Pacific Islander and Caribbean...

    And yes, I'm still collecting. Every chance I get.

    (I wonder if Quebec City has a mask-making tradition? That's where SM and I are going over Thanksgiving. Hmmmm...?)

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    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Wow, I got me a keeper

    So, SM and I were talking about having kids tonight. Not just hypothetically, but whether we want to do this. 'Cuz if we do, it should probably happen fairly soon. I'm gonna be 40 in six months, and no matter how young I look, my eggs are starting to go rotten -- and as much as having kids scares the hell out of me, having kids with developmental problems scares me more (not because I'd love them any less but because I'd worry that I wouldn't live up to them).

    And no, we're not talking marriage.

    But maybe a kid next year.

    Yea, that will go over well with the grandparents. But, then again, both of us have (step) sisters who got pregnant quite young and had a kid... and then had another kid by another guy. And a failed marriage (just one, not two) in there as well.

    We're not planning on that. If we were to do this, it would be a planned pregnancy. Planned absent a marriage. It might take some 'splainin' but that's okay.

    SM also told me that if we had a kid together, not married, that he would fully expect the kid to have my last name. I then asked him what would happen if we got married later -- would subsequent kids, if there were any, have my name or his? He said that he would expect the kids to have the same last name, which essentially means they'd all end up with my last name (which is, if I may say, infinitely cooler than his last name).

    I then challenged him -- "What if we were married and had kids? Why couldn't they have my last name if we were married? What difference does it make if we're married or not since I won't be changing my name?"

    And so he thought about it.

    And decided that it didn't make any difference. That he didn't have a problem with our kids having my last name regardless.

    I pushed him further to ask about grandparental concerns, tradition, patriarchical social expectations, etc. because he and his brother are the last in their line (and his brother isn't exactly looking like he'll ever settle down, much less have a family)...

    He thought about it and decided he didn't care what his parents, grandparents, etc. thought, or if they would be disappointed. He said he'd probably like the kids to have something from him, like giving his last name as a middle name or something. I told him that I too would like our putative kids to have his name as a second middle name or something. And I told him that I consider our first child, Gidget, as having his last name (we may have even put it as her last name on her papers when we adopted her from the rescue league).

    So we pretty much agreed that if we have kids, no matter our circumstances, they'll get my last name.

    I also told him to sleep on it to make sure it really was okay with him, no seller's remorse later.

    Can I tell you what I told him? I think it's totally HOT that he's so open-minded. I mean, swoon.

    I got me a keeper, fer shore.


    Hosting book club on Thursday

    Uh-oh. That means I gotta clean.


    Since we have already opened our house to hoardes of friends and family*, I don't have too too much to do. Okay, well, we do need to clear off the dining room table and vacuum and clean the kitchen and bathroom and clear out all of the clutter and empty boxes in the livingroom and de-Gidgetize the smell of the place... Okay, I do have a lot to do. But SM is so good at just doing this stuff (as opposed to me, who frets over it, getting my panties in a twist and then -- and only then -- does something about it), that I know we'll get it all done.

    Even if we had to turn down an invitation to brats on the grill and baseball tomorrow.

    But that's okay. I don't eat red meat anyway.

    Our house is a small one and probably one of the least expensive and expansive of those in the book group (including the woman who lives in two storey apartment/condo/part of a brownstone). It's definitely down-market compared to the abodes of most of the others. I'm not too worried about that, except that one member of our group recently bought a place with her husband -- and when I zillowed her address, I found out that its estimated market value is $1.6 million. Only married a year. Their first home... one might even say their "starter" home?


    It helps that her husband is a partner at a major, MAJOR firm. He's also a year younger than I am. And she's something like 33.


    No, no feelings of inadequacy here. Not me.

    Yeah, right.

    I guess that's what I get for forming a bookclub comprised almost entirely of lawyers.

    *and more relevantly -- since my standards of cleanliness and tidiness aren't really very high

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    Gift idea for the Democrat who has everything

    This cracked me up... (rimshot, please!)

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    Monday, September 03, 2007

    But TV is educational!

    I have done nothing more than putter around the house today and take care of a very, very few small jobs.

    And blog. Lots of blogging.

    In the background, the TV is playing. There is nothing on TV in the middle of the day. I learned this lesson well when I was unemployed.

    So for the past several hours, Dirty Jobs has been on. I have to say that I really enjoy a lot of the shows on the Discovery Channel.

    Anyway, one of the jobs was about pouring concrete. Which lead me to ask myself (and SM), "What's the difference between concrete and cement?"

    I dunno. He didn't either.

    So I googled away.

    And this is what I found.
    * Cement: The binding element in both concrete and mortar.
    * Concrete: A product composed of cement, sand and gravel or other coarse aggregate. When water is mixed in with this product, it activates the cement, which is the element responsible for binding the mix together to form one solid object.
    Now I know. So does SM. You do too, even if you never cared.

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    So after hanging out with my nephew and family for the birthday celebration yesterday, SM and I decided (okay, I decided and SM agreed because he's a good guy that way) to go to Michael's to pick up a few things I needed wanted.

    I had bought a necklace while on our mini-break to the Eastern shore, but it was missing a small gold link. Which got me 20% off. And a trip to an arts and crafts store to buy the piece. I also wanted to buy some needlepoint materials because I was inspired by a pillow I saw (and bought) -- I thought, "I can do that!"

    I think that a lot. And despite thinking that often, I rarely manage to complete said "I can do that!" project. And it's even more rare that the final version resembles that which I am attempting to copy. And still, that reality doesn't ever deter me from thinking, "I can do that!"


    So off we went. When I got there, I realized that I had another project in the works that I needed bits and parts for, so I spent quite some time in the jewelry-making section.

    And then on the way towards the front of the store where the check-out is, I noticed that frames were on sale. Frames! I need frames! Actually, I do. I had decided to decorate one wall in the hall with family photos, only to discover that SM had very few family pix. And the ones he did have? Couldn't hang them on the wall. So I needed to change out those frames for ones with hooks on the back.

    And then, again on the way to the check-out, I noticed plate stands. Plate stands! I need plate stands! Actually, I do. LOL. Okay, I wanted them to decorate. We have a large bookcase that we use for some of our nicer tchatchkas -- like ceramics, dolls and other decorative items. And I have several Japanese platters. In fact, I have this exact one:

    (Ain't it purty?) And I needed a few stands to display them.

    While I was perusing the stands, I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye as he walked by me. A man carrying a toddler girl, about 18 months old. A small chill went through me.

    I looked again, surreptiously.

    Yep. Uh huh. I think that's him. I kneeled down to give the plate stands closer inspection. And one more pseudo-stare across the store at the man.

    Yeah. It was my most recent ex-boyfriend. Now, "most recent" is still a break-up at the end of 1999, but he's the most recent. His hair was longish (which was interesting because I was the woman who convinced him to stop wearing a crew cut). He wore dark glasses (but then again, it was sunny out). He was carrying a child. But other than that, he looked pretty much the same.

    And I had no interest in having an encounter with him. And no, it wasn't because I've gained like 40 pounds since he last saw me and looked like crap (although that certainly didn't help). It was because after I broke up with him, he failed to act with grace. Actually, he was mean and jealous, probably because he was hurt, but well, he wasn't pleasant. And I didn't have any interest in seeing him, even 7+ years later. So I picked out some plate stands and weighed my options. He had asked a question from the staff in the front and had headed to the back of the store. I had a basket full of stuff and wanted to get the hell outta Dodge.

    What to do? Make a run for it and hope he was sucked into the massive inventory of the store?

    Well, I decided that I was done shopping and had no interest in hanging out, skulking about or hiding, so yes, now that there was no line (an anamoly at this particular store), I was heading for the check-out.

    Of course, I had the world's sloooooowest checker. She was on the phone when I came up. And then she was talking to the other checker, who was a teenager on the phone. And my checker was South Asian and spoke with a heavy accent, so the teenager kept saying, "Huh? What?" to get my checker to repeat and repeat and repeat the message. All the while, I'm waiting and hoping former boyfriend is otherwise occupied.

    Yep, he is. He's wandering around and on a cell phone, apparently getting instructions on what he's supposed to buy.

    Finally, the checker starts checking me out. She is painfully slow. Pain. ful. ly. A line is forming behind me (which is good, because it provides cover from being seen). She finally finishes. Just as former boyfriend heads to the front of the store. And I head for the exit. He's getting a shopping cart and putting his daughter in the seat. I get out the first set of doors. Phew, made it! I stop and look back. Former boyfriend's daughter and I make eye contact. She's very cute with big brown eyes. I smile at her. I leave.

    I'm glad to get out of there. SM and Gidget are waiting for me outside. We go home.

    I know I acted like a teenager there, but I really had no interest in seeing him, considering how he acted towards me way back when. I also know it's more than likely that he did see me too but was playing dumb, which is just fine with me.

    And oh yeah, I spent something like $156. Damned frames. And plate stands.

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    I guess I lied

    I'm blogging more today than, gosh, cumulatively in a week or more? Not being in the office helps with that. Yay!

    Happy Labor Day, all!

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    Magnetic meme!

    I haven't done a meme in a while, so I thought it was about time. I'm not going to tag anyone because, frankly, I don't know how many folks still read this blog on a regular or even semi-regular basis. However, I'd encourage anyone who is so inclined to meme-on brothers and sisters -- meme on! And send me a tag-back to let me know you've done it.

    Magnetic meme -- or what's on your fridge? You don't need to list them all, just the most prominent stuff. Here's mine in random order.
    1. certificate of achievement, awarded to Gidget on her completion of a "basic dog manners" obedience course
    2. Rutgers University magnet
    3. card of top ten best lawyer jokes* (which are kinda funny actually... and the card was given to my a law school friend)
    4. coupons for Giant (expired, not surprisingly)
    5. postcard from SM's friend who was visiting Tofino, BC
    6. list of "house projects and jobs" -- it's very long, and while many things have been crossed off, many, many more remain
    7. "Happy Birthday" drawing for SM from his niece or nephew
    8. CNN word magnets (like the haiku magnets but with CNN-esque words)
    9. various and sundry other magnets from places like Ikea, the Washington Post, Amazon.com, Old Navy, Access Group (student loan provider), GW Health program, one of my credit unions, Hawai`i, Fanny Mae, APPEAL, an old dentist, a quote magnet**, etc.
    And that's just the front!

    Here's the side:
    10. fast food delivery coupons
    11. list of vocabulary words for dogs (i.e., commands to use for consistency)
    12. Chinese symbol magnets (again, like the haiku magnets but since I can't compose a sentence in Chinese, they're there either to just look cool or to clutter the place)
    13. more various and sundry magnets including some from political campaigns, Starbucks, the Washington Animal Rescue League (where we got Gidget), Hawai`i, Old Navy, etc...
    Usually, I have a ton of pictures on the fridge -- mostly friends' kids -- and cartoons and other such pithy and entertaining humor. Sadly, none of these things have made it out of a "junk" box after the move.

    * The jokes:
    1. What's the difference between a dead lawyer in the road and a dead snake in the road? The dead snake has skid marks in front of it.
    2. Why don't lawyers have hemorrhoids? Because they're perfect assholes.
    3. What is a criminal lawyer? Redundant.
    4. Why don't lawyers get eaten by sharks? Professional courtesy.
    5. How many lawyers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Two. One to screw it in and one to sue the manufacturer.
    6. What's the difference between a rooster and a lawyer? A rooster clucks defiance. (I admit to having laughed at this one.)
    7. What did the lawyer name his daughter? Sue. (You knew that was coming...! Coulda also asked "What's a lawyer's favorite dessert? Tortes!")
    8. Why can't lawyers be circumcised? Because there's no end to those pricks.
    9. What do you call a feamle lawyer who moonlights as a hooker? A prostituting attorney.
    10. What's the difference between a lawyer and a hooker? At least the hooker will kiss you while you're being f*ucked.

    **And now for something completely different: the "inspirational quote" magnet, which I must have gotten as a gift. It reads:

    live with intention.
    walk to the edge.
    listen hard.
    practice wellness.
    play with abandon.
    choose with no regret.
    continue to learn.
    appreciate your friends.
    do what you love.
    live as if this is all there is.
    -- mary anne radmacher

    Now, who do you think knows me better -- the person who gave me the lawyer joke card or the one who gave me the inspirational quote?


    Monday morning haiku

    Happy Labor Day!
    Like Gary Larson's "Far Side"*
    I'm out of order.

    *I hope folks get the reference. His "out of order" cartoon is a classic. Unfortunately, I cannot link to it here because there are no copies of it online. And that's a good thing. Intellectual property law alive and working and kicking butt on the internet. But if you don't understand the reference, then I encourage you to check out a "Far Side" book -- at the library if they carry them or even by perusing one at your local bookstore.



    So Saturday was my stepmother's birthday (as well as my cousin's daughter's first birthday), and Sunday was my nephew's birthday (as well as my stepbrother's wife's birthday). We have lots of duplicate birthdays in my family. More than average, I would suspect. In addition to those two, my brothers share a birthday (four years apart). My sister and my cousin share a birthday too. There may be more that I am forgetting...

    Anyway, so SM and I were over at my dad's place on both Saturday and Sunday for birthday festivities. Our standard is to bring the ice cream cake. 'Cuz everyone loves ice cream cake, myself and SM included. On Sunday, we took Gidget with us in addition to the second ice cream cake because it was an afternoon thing for my nephew, P, who turned four.

    We also wanted Gidget to get used to car rides that didn't end at the vet's. And, we wanted her to get used to being at other houses, especially so that we can hit up relatives for doggy-sitting duties. P was thrilled to see her. He chased her around calling, "Gigit... Gigit..." trying to get her attention. She was more interested in checking out the various interesting smells (left by many previous dogs) around the house. So I asked P if he wanted to to feed her a doggy biscuit. He nodded vigorously and said, "Yes." I told him to go get one.

    A few minutes later, he came back and poked me a few times on my hip to get my attention. "Hey, hey," P said. "There are no doggy biscuits."

    Hey, hey?

    My nephew -- whom I have know his entire life and who sees me semi-regularly -- learned and remembered Gidget's name within nano-seconds. Me? The aunt who brings the ice cream cake? Notsomuch. He didn't know my name! I guess that's about par for a four-year old's priorities. Dog? High. Me? Definitely way down there.

    So we went looking for doggy biscuits, and indeed, there were none to be found. So as not to disappoint a 4-year old on his birthday, I gave P a potato chip to give to Gidget. He called her (she came) and told her to sit (she sat). Then he waved the chip around and chucked it on the ground (she gobbled it). It was somehow anti-climatic. But both Gidget and P were happy.

    I have to say that P has the best personality of any kid I've ever met. I remember his first Christmas (when he was 3 months old). He was so much fun. He literally would laugh and giggle and entertain me for hours by merely being happy. So cute. And he's growing up to be a super fun kid too. I've never seen him throw a tantrum or be more than slightly grumpy.

    In addition to his great personality, he also does a few things which are greatly amusing to me and the rest of the family: he loves high heels, wears bracelets and shiny things, carries a purse and has been known to wear a tank top t-shirt that was so long that it resembled a dress (and when asked what he was wearing, P would kinda just shrug his shoulders -- he wouldn't say it was a dress, but he wouldn't say it wasn't either). Yesterday, he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. But he was also playing with a Barbie most of the day. (Hey, Scooter, I think P and Conner would get along great! They're about the same age, too, right?)

    Now, no one in the family thinks anything is wrong with this. If anything, we all get a grin out of his wardrobe choices. P's dad might squirm a bit when P insists on carrying a purse, but no one tries to change his behavior or tells him to stop doing what he's doing. In fact, I gave him a purse for his birthday last year because P was always "borrowing" his sister's purses. A pink purse. It went well with his blond hair and blue eyes. But maybe wasn't as shiny and sparkly as he would have liked. Oh well. And all of us admire his ability to get around in high heels. He's better in them than I am. No question.

    This year, in addition to tons and tons of other gifts, P was given a GI Joe. His dad said it was a "boy doll". I said, "Oh, no. It's an action figure." But P's dad winked at me and corrected me that it was a boy doll. Later, P got a male Barbie (not a Ken doll, but a male doll that looked like it was in the Barbie line but I don't know what his name was...) that was dressed in a prince outfit. I said, "Now the action figure can beat up the boy Barbie." Someone else said, "No, they'll be friends." My sister chimed in, "Yeah, but who's going to be the beard?" We all cracked up. We amuse ourselves greatly. P did his happy dance -- which had several variations ranging from something that looked like the zombie walk from the Thriller video to a great Flashdance impersonation... he's a maniac! Guess you had to be there. We were all amused by P's presents, probably more than P himself.

    But the big present for P was a battery-powered jeep, the perfect 4-year old terror machine. I remember getting cars like that when I was a kid, but they were pedal operated. This one even had a radio! He liked it. His 12-year old sister liked it (even though she could barely get into it). P especially enjoyed trying to run people over in it.


    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    Revenge of the Chinese food carry-out carton

    Or don't let this happen to you...

    So, SM and I were lazy and didn't cook last night -- yet again! -- but rather ordered in. There are about a gazillion Chinese restaurants in this area, but we have yet to find one that we like as much as the one we ordered from in our old neighborhood, which was both yummy yummy and very cheap.

    So we keep looking.

    There's the one that is at our door with the food within ten minutes of calling in an order. But, as you might expect, the food isn't all that great. But it is hot and cheap. Overall, not a great option unless we're dying to eat.

    Then there's the one down the street which doesn't deliver but has some mighty tasty dishes. The problem is that this place is on the expensive side. And carry-out Chinese food isn't supposed to be expensive. So that's not a great option either.

    We've started ordering from yet another place in our quest to find our perfect take-out Chinese restaurant. This one doesn't deliver either, but we decided to try them again because our first order from them was pretty good and not too expensive. Last night's order? Chicken lo mein. Scallops in mixed vegetables. Green beans in hot garlic sauce.

    The beans. Those dastardly beans. I knew they might be trouble, but what I got was completely unexpected.

    It started out routinely enough. I opened the container to serve myself (using chopsticks). I started to chopstick out (as opposed to "spoon out" because I can't think of another verb to describe the action) the beans. When I moved them from the container to the plate, the flap of the lid (which had been bent back), flipped back, splattering hot garlic sauce all over my shirt... and in both of my eyes.

    No, not just one. Both eyes.

    And did I mention that it was hot garlic sauce?

    Can I tell you that it burned like a sonuvabitch? Both eyes.

    I couldn't even bear to open my eyes for at least a minute. Then I, eyes still closed, made my way to the kitchen sink to flush them out. I first washed my hands to get any residual sauce off of them. Then I cupped cold water in my hands and tried to wash my eyes out. I tried blinking my eyes in the water, but it was hard because they were still burning like a sonuvabitch. I seriously couldn't keep them open for even a second. Even blinking to get the water in to flush out the garlic sauce was painful. Eyes and Chinese hot sauce just don't go togther.

    Finally, after repeated flushing by blinking in the water cupped in my hands and after at least five minutes of trying to open my eyes, I was able to open them for more than a second. And, yes, thankfully, I did still have vision. SM said my eyes were completely bloodshot, and I'll tell ya', they continued to burn for a bit. Unfortunately, we didn't have any eye drops in the house (or unpacked perhaps?), so I couldn't do much more than blink and blink and blink. And the burning went away.

    But can I tell you how NO FUN that whole episode was? Who knew the creative accidents that can happen with something as innocuous-seeming as a Chinese food container? Leave it to me to discover new forms of self-torture. Sheesh.

    So beware the vicious Chinese food carry-out container. Don't let this happen to you!

    But the beans were yummy (when I eventually got to eat them). If only it had been the lo mein which had launched itself at me. That dish wasn't spicy at all. But, of course, it had to be the spicy one, because that is just. my. luck.

    Maybe the moral of the story is that we should stop ordering so much take-out?

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