Monday, December 24, 2007

I Will Always Love You


It's Christmas Eve 2007. My family just exchanged gifts- an annual Decenber 24th tradition. My sister, Bonnie gave Dad a Dolly Parton Greatest Hits album: one of the few things he requested. Bonnie just took my niece, Grace to take her evening bath. I dropped off gifts in my bedroom upstairs.

As I walked back down the stairs, I could hear Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" drifting softly from the dimly-lit living room. I saw my parents, dancing slowly and very closely, to the music. They were oblivious to any other presence in the room and were completely focused on one another. It was devastatingly romantic.

After 35 years of marriage, children, and grandchildren, those two have been through many ups and downs together. For them to still be able to steal away a tiny moment amidst a busy Christmas Eve for one tremendously meaningful slow dance gives me hope for true love. I have just seen it.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe" by St. Mark's Players



This weekend and next (November 16-18), the St. Mark's Players are performing a play that is based on the book, "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis.

The play is performed in the worship space of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, and the Players are not affiliated with the church (although there are folks who overlap in both groups).

Producer Sherri Haddad and Director Joe Angel Babb have done a tremendous job in coordinating the cast and crew. Tonight was opening night, and the full house enjoyed the performance. Two-thirds of the cast are children. They spoke with English accents and effectively portrayed Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter, the children who walk through an old wardrobe into the magical and frozen land of Narnia. Other actors, young and old, protrayed fauns, centaurs and other magical creatures. Aslan and the snow queen were captivating as well.

One of the most charming aspects of the performance was its setting. The parish is 134 years old, and the red-bricked "Victorian eclectic" interior, with its painted iron columns, brick arches, wood floors and stained glass windows, is breathtaking. The play is acted, "in the round," with the stage in the center of the space and audience seated around it. The whole place has an intimate, ethereal feel. When the fauns are frolicking and centaurs emerge from the fog, it's magic.

Warmest congratulations to the St. Mark's Players on a great Opening Night!










Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Troubled Texan and the Test of Tears


This entry is a response to a recent note by Grits in the City on an email that we both received from a mutual friend, TxDem. She's been through at least four significant "life losses" this year, and just when she has seemed to hit the bottom, something else goes wrong in her life. It's like she has fallen into a well, and she's drowning, and the escape gets farther and farther away.

She is in despair and has been so for months. Many of her friends have walked away from the drama, intensity and sadness of it all. It has been sad, intensely dramatic at times, and frustrating to be near her. She acknowledges it, but she just doesn't have the energy to be able to do anything about it right now. She's low.

She sent a blind list of friends an email acknowledging her situation and earnestly thanking them for being friends. It was a big move, and it demonstrated great strength. My heart goes out to her.

In my life, there have been some significant relationships that I've let go because they got to a point where they just weren't good for me. And even though my friendship with TxDem lately has been more "give" than "take," I'm not keeping score because it feels good to be able to serve her. I believe in karma and Christ's example.

She's a special friend worth the sacrifice: passionate, gifted, intelligent and genuine. That combination is rare and cherished by me. Her friendship and loyalty are as steady as the promise of Bluebells in the spring.

Her email talked about the value of letting go. Letting go of baggage, of unhealthy relationships, of grudges, and even of friends who aren't meant for the long term.

I won't let TxDem go - because I know that, before long, one day she'll begin feeling much better. She'll be back to her old self and, as a phoenix rises from the ashes, she'll have a maturity and seasoning forged from fire.

Folks who have experienced and conquered this depth of grief are great folks to know, for they have a wisdom from experience, a reality of living that provides a rock-solid, sometimes sobering perspective. In some ways, I can identify with the depths she's in - but only in my rear-view mirror.

I know that she'll be okay. This is one instance in which I'll choose not to let go.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dupont Circle Drag Race







Last Tuesday night was the annual high heel race in Dupont Circle, and it was mighty impressive. There were Ladies with bright red poinsettias, a quartet of blow-up puffy ballerinas, the classic femmes fatales, a Senator on a toilet, a JFK-Jackie-Monroe threesome, a Washington Monument, and all manner of debauchery, glitz and silliness one could imagine.

And of course, there were the onlookers. "Just-Folks," like me, who came out by the thousands to witness the pageantry. This year, the weather was perfect: crisp as an autumn pear; dry; chilly; definitively autumn.

One thing that I love about DC, is that for all of the suit-stuffiness and pompous parading of Congressional pins and Executive-this-or-that business cards, some parts of the city aren't too politically correct to let their collective hot pink hair down and shimmy in a feather boa. I love the anti-culture of zaniness and liberalism, and the way that it sharply contrasts sometimes with the careful political strategizing that occurs during the day.

Long live the Dupont Circle Drag Race!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Autumn’s Hush


Tonight, I walked home in silence. Autumn’s chill had quieted the crickets, muted the frogs, even people’s voices on patios. The brick sidewalks were a pattern of gray and muted browns, and only the occasional passing car broke the silence: the tires-on-pavement long exhale of a solitary car passing by.


Brittle, drying leaves rustled in a gentle crisp breeze. I imagined winds blowing across the blue and white glaciers of Alaska, making their way along the jet stream and all the way across to Washington, D.C., where they rosied my cheeks and whispered of Eskimos and polar bears. Vintage chandeliers glowed from within bubble glass bay windows.


Shadowy Halloween characters in urban combat attire, one block up, floated across dim intersections. Muted laughter from pumpkined wrought-iron stoops wafted along swirling currents of crackling leaves. Terriers, finished with their last walks of the day, scurried with dog-nails onto glossed wood floors of sparkling warm row-houses.


Somewhere in the distance, far off, sirens wailed: a gentle warning of potential danger. A phone conversation drifted from an open window. A twig snapped under someone's show, half a block away. All were muffled by wind on leaves, sneakers padding on bricks, and sleepy mums in pots.


The sounds of Capitol Hill, in many ways, have probably been the same for two hundred years. The neighborhood, with its autumnal hush, is timeless.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Woman Who Won't Hold Doors



Just was passed by the Woman Who Won't Hold Doors For People at the Metro Center station.

After working on the Hill for 5 years, I've passed this woman in the halls and going up and down stairs many times. She's not pretty, but she has a distinctive look.

She's tall, bottle-blonde, wears ballerina flats or kitten heels, and she used to work in Cannon for a member from Florida. I'll never forget, one day, years ago, I was clearly behind her to enter one of the House office buildings, right behind her. I might have as well have been a shadow, though, because once inside, she let that door drop right behind her, with no thought to extending a basic courtesy.

Another time, she stepped on the back of my foot as we descended a Metro escalator.

DC's a tough city. At risk of sounding like a whining Southerner, I will say my opinion anyway. It's basic courtesy to hold the door for someone coming in right behind you. I also think people should wait their turn when walking somewhere and not clip folks' heels or shoulder through a crowd to get two feet ahead in a queue of five thousand.

<Sigh> I've ranted and feel better now. And a life of not holding doors goes on, for the Woman. I'm starting to learn not to expect it anymore.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

MLK on Compassion



"On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar..."

- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
from, " A Time to Break Silence." April 4th, 1967





Baggage



Tonight I’m thinking about emotional baggage. The big, big question for me is this: what percentage of people who come from broken/ dysfunctional families actually learn something and improve from the experience? And what percentage of them remain broken, themselves?


The flip side is: do folks who've never dealt with a major relationship blow-out suffer from naivite? Are they unprepared, unseasoned, for inevitable rocks in the relationship road? Will they enter a relationship with unrealistic and unsustainable expectations?




For me, “dysfunctional” means that a relationship takes on an aspect that ultimately causes its demise: abuse, neglect, lying, cheating, disrespect, mean-spiritedness, extreme jealousy, rage, passive-aggression, volatility, etc.




It’s hard for me to understand, because I grew up as the product of a near-perfect family. My parents were Christians and brought me up in a moral, nurturing household. We had family meetings to decide matters and let each individual’s voice be heard. Communication was direct and open. My parents never had major marital problems and demonstrated effectively working through the minor issues. We say, “I love you” frequently. I am still close to my parents and sister, and nowadays, I call them not out of a sense of obligation, but because I miss them and truly want to know how their day is going.




Years ago, I became very close to a person from a broken family. When he was age 15, his father had an affair and told his mother (who had struggled with dysthymia for many years and was incapable of holding down a job) that he didn’t love her anymore. The guy was a latch-key kid, and no one in his family communicated. The divorce was bitter, and none of the children, now grown, have been capable of having a relationship with the other sex for any length of time.




After the initial romance period wore off, he treated me in the same way that his father must have treated his mother: extreme neglect. Avoidance. No communication. Just left. This was, of course, very difficult for me.




So, now I have tasted a significant and dysfunctional relationship, and I can metaphorically peek over to the other side of the fence.




My answer to my own question is that it must be a mixed bag. I am sure a certain percentage of people, probably a majority, who’ve experienced broken families are dysfunctional themselves. They didn’t learn from the experience and carry around subtle but immense emotional baggage that they just can’t shake.




I also know that there is probably a small percentage of people who come from broken homes but who do just fine. One example is the case of Cousin C. She lived in a home with a mean and controlling father and passive mother. She does suffer from a serious inferiority complex, but she has remained happily married to one wonderful man for 20+ years. Success!




On the other hand, there are plenty of folks who grow up in a perfect social environment who somehow come under unhealthy influences and become dysfunctional themselves. Maybe none of the scenarios are correlated with one’s past or upbringing. But I’d wager to guess that they are.




Looking in my rear-view mirror, my hypothesis is that if you grow up in a dysfunctional family: fighting, non-communicating parents or close extended family, then you’re going to be carrying around some baggage so heavy that it starts to show after a while, despite attempts to hide it.




I stand at a crossroads. I’ve been through a heavy, pretty dysfunctional relationship, and it hurt like the dickens. Still hurts to think about giving love and trust to someone who trampled on them, repeatedly. As a result, I know that a major issue going forward is to again cultivate the ability to trust someone the way I need to in order to fully enjoy a relationship with a man. For me, trust must be earned rather than instantly granted. Anyone who rushes that process for me should prepare to see my back as I run away.




What do you think? Do previous dysfunctional relationships and/or broken homes predict future dysfunction?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Elvis Impersonators


Sighted at the Rusty Rudder on Saturday night, September 23rd, 2007. I'll let the video tell the story.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dating and the Wild World Wide Web


I need to share a dynamic duo of messages from a guy who I met on an internet dating site. I promise that I did not make this up. We "met" online and corresponded a couple times. We set a time to meet in person. My friend spied a wedding ring in one of his profile photos, and I asked him how far along he was in his divorce proceedings. Suddenly, he canceled, saying he wasn't ready to date anyone. I sent back a brief, conciliatory note, saying to take his time. However, I did ask him why was he on an internet dating site, and that I wasn't expecting him to answer.

And then.....[drumroll, please!]......I received the following two messages:


"From: H--------3
Date Received: September 13
Subject: I have a problem lying

Hi [name removed],

I need to tell you the truth. My wife and I separated on August 16, 2007. I told her that we needed to work on our underlying issues. I told her that I would go to therapy once a week to deal with my lying regarding flirting with other women, pot smoking, and cigarette smoking. I just can't help lying.

On that day, I told my wife that I would not date or see other people and I hoped she would not do the same. The separation was an investment so that in the long run our relationship would be better. The next day, after she moved, I started writing my profile for match.com.

The Friday before we made our date, my wife called and asked me if I wanted to still adhere to our guideline of not dating anyone. Right away, I told her "yes." I told her that I wasn't dating anyone and I didn't want her to date anyone either. She had no idea about me being on match.com.

I want to date girls and have my wife on the side. At a very early age, I learned what women want to hear and I tell them it. I have no respect for women. My therapist says it is because I have never developed an authentic self.

You deserve better than me. You deserve someone who is honest and respects you/women. Be relieved that you never met me.

The reason I emailed you and cancelled our date was because my wife's friend saw my picture on match.com. I got caught and had to back out quick. My therapist is so disgusted he can't even speak."


The quick followup message:

"From: H-------3
Date Received: September 13
Subject: oops one last thing

I forgot one last truth.

The first two pictures of my profile were taken on May 25, 2007 by my wife. We were in Antigua celebrating our 5 year anniversary by renewing our vows!

I am such a liar."


He works in the Cannon Building (I know for whom), and I accidentally ran into him on the street the next day. Either he didn't see me or pretended not to see me.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Homeless at West End Library

A small colony of homeless people camp on the front porch at West End Library. I happened upon them this afternoon when attempting to return an overdue book.

Unable to get away from the office during the day, and out of the continental US this weekend, I really needed to return "Sophie's Choice." (Fabu tome!)

The poor library even wrote me a nice note stating that overdue fines were accruing daily, and that I really must give it back.

I Metro'd across town from Capitol Hill in the early evening to West End. Lovely neighborhood. The Asian dude was playing his Asian instrument at the mouth of Foggy Bottom station. I headed to the library.

As I approached the building, I saw a motley krewe of 5 or 6 scruffy individuals (being generous, here!) loitering under the front awning. No one stood. All were in various poses of repose: lounging, slumped, propped-on-elbows, lying on the slates.

All were silently eyeing me.

Someone raised voice and said, "Library's closed for the day! No book drop." At that same moment, I spied the book drop, taped over, layer upon layer so that, clearly, I wouldn't be dropping off "Sophie's Choice" that day.

All I could mutter was a stunned parrot-like, "No book drop. ...oh-kay," turn on my heel, and walk away, defeated.

The dilemma remains. And book fines continue to accrue daily! Trapped like a rat.

However, the much larger dilemma is regarding the problem of homelessness in our city. The group So Others Might Eat reports that 19.1% of DC residents live at or below the poverty line -- 104,000 people. The same fact sheet states that 62% of the homeless population have a high school diploma, and 44% are employed. So let's not demean or stereotype.

Poverty, incredibly expensive housing and high cost of living make for a large homeless population, wanting of dignity and hope.

I think it is our duty as American citizens to act so that this problem is ameliorated. We should each, in some way, reach out to help our fellow man. Dropping a nickel in the guy's cup isn't enough. There should be a greater concerted effort to help our homeless population, our nation's vulnerable. That costs money - charity or taxpayer dollars -- money that many libertarians and fiscal conservatives would rather not spend. So here we sit!

See ya tomorrow at West End, fellas.

The Power of Blogging


To a newcomer, blogging may seem to be an innocuous practice. Newbies should beware of a keen bloodhound called Google.

In a MSN news article online today, I read that individuals' care-free web personas, scrutinized by potential employers, were hurting their prospects of getting a new job. The article discussed Facebook party photos ending up in the wrong hands and the cropping up of new companies, comprised undoubtedly of lawyers, to destroy slander and to protect "one's reputation."

Hm, this mouse smells a lucrative new trend in mitigation!

New bloggers: achtung, babies. After only one week of blogging away, commenting freely, reviewing restaurants and Twittering, I did a casual search of my own blog name. Many links - nay, pages and pages of links - emerged. Every comment, every semicolon had been found by Google. Sniffed out like a bloodhound. Comments to comments were even found. It was amazing.

Washingtonienne was canned for blogging about trysts at the office. I think most people in sensitive positions, gainfully employed, would not choose to do that. But consider more subtle biases and repercussions of off-the-wall comments or mean notes. Consider how a potential employer - or client- would view any of it. Or all of it. Anonymity on the web is virtually non-existent.

Now, if everyone went around censoring their blogs to oblivion, it would be a pretty dull blogosphere. So, please don't, for our entertainment's sake.

Just be careful.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Beach Sceen

Ominous clouds greeted Ms.H. and I as we trekked along the Lewes Beach sand. Not rain clouds- just layer upon layer of silver, dove, steel, mercury, and mist grays. The sun was totally obscured. Brave seafarers huddled close, in chairs, wrapped tightly in their beach towels.










The wind whipped around Cape Henlopen, and we saw the Cape May Ferry roll toward us.

Not the best day for a coastal excursion, but we were grateful to be miles and miles away from the oppression of D.C. for the weekend.

We set out my 300 year old light green sheet on the mocha sand. Seriously, I've had the blanket since I was a little girl. It's softened with age and perfect as an outdoor sit-upon.

After an hour, huddled in the fetal position, trying to keep warm, the clouds blew away.

Like the opening scene of a play, the cloud curtain opened to blue skies, singing gulls, lapping waves, and the sweetest sea breeze. "Yeah, it turned out to be beautiful!" declared Ms.H.

Thank goodness Mother Nature changed her mind.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Why Do People Blog?

This morning, Mama asked me, "Why do you think people blog?" Leave it to mamas to ask simple questions that confound us- or at least make us consider what we're doing.

I've just started blogging. My mom and dad were English teachers. In fact, Daddy's a published poet. I opted to rebel and pursued a career in the biological sciences, but the creative urge and wordsmithiness pulse strongly through my veins.

Recently, I wrote a few notes on said blog and decided to give 'em The Parent Test. Here's Mama's reaction:

"Morning,
I read EVERY word of your blog. Why do people blog, anyway? Just wondering. You are such a great writer. Words (rich ones) just seem to roll out of you in the perfect way.

I'm finishing up my coffee and just about out the door for a 30 minute walk. One parting note: Parents job: to worry about their kids. Love you bunches.

Mom"

The comment about worrying about kids, I'm sure, is in response to the "Day's End" note. I want everyone in the blosphere to know that I have awesome parents!

Getting back to the "why people blog" question. I am sure that this topic, blogging about blogging, is cliche. However, I'll slip the New Blogger card out of my left sleeve and play it.

I think some people blog because they are extroverts. They crave contact with the Outside World. They've got stuff to say and need to share it. Or just spew it out.

Others blog because they are lonely. There is no one close enough to them whom they can call and convey their thoughts-that-become-blogs, as often as the thoughts surface. [Well, maybe District Sniffer's pooch is an exception; GoGo looks like a good listener.] So they blog.

Still others are good writers, and they want to display their talents in hopes of getting "discovered."

Others are okay writers, but they have great insight about politics, news or whatever. They're not good enough or fast enough to be hired as reporters or journalists, and/or they have too much of a creative fluorish in their writing, so they just blog-it-out as a hobby.

Others use their blog as a semi-public diary, like LJ of District Belle.

Still others, such as my scientist friends, use theirs to save and share experimental protocols. Others publish their favorite recipes.

Me? I think it's a mix of the above.

So, Mama: there are many answers to your simple question. Love you.

P.S. Here's a little video of Mama, Daddy, sis, baby Grace and me a few years ago, for your viewing pleasure. Summer supper down in Georgia. M-m-m!




Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Twilight

It's that time of the day again: 8ish, August, in Washington, DC. The sun is down, a warm breeze floats between the buildings, and the lighting's just right.

It's soft, cool, hushed: soothing to the scorched monuments.

It's a sweet, blue-gray. Federal blue.

Yellow lights peek out of grand hotel windows like anxious lovers. Traffic and people slow down. Headlights on the street are gaily lined up like birthday candles. Or holiday lights.

Twilight's glow is nature's candlelight.

2 Alarm Fire on Penn

I was awakened at 5:45 this morning by the wailing of sirens. Often, I hear a passing siren or two during the night but quickly disregard it and fall fast asleep. However, I heard one rumbling truck engine, sirens blaring, pass by under my window at 4th and Pennsylvania, Southeast. Then I heard another truck, with its sirens. I heard backing up, voices on the street, pressure brakes chirping and whistling.

Clearly, something was emergent down below.

The siren-after-siren phenomenon brought me eerily back to spring 2007, when Eastern Market burned. It was the same "this is a real emergency" kind of auditory experience.

My heart stirring with nervousness, I pulled my curtains aside and peeked out of my third floor window. The street corner below was red with flickering lights. I dressed quickly, grabbed my keys, and stepped into the heat and humidity outside.

I saw three or four fire trucks, surrounding the corner of 4th and Penn, my corner. I worried that the church was on fire, and I faintly smelled smoke. I didn't see fire anywhere nearby and felt relieved.

I have a soft place in my heart for firefighters. Especially since just the week before, I got an email notifying me of the new Houston, Texas, firefighters' fundraiser calendar. Love 'em! The truck nearest me had five - and two of them were standing in the street (that was blocked off), only steps from my front door. I approached them.

"Two alarm fire," one of them said, his face furrowed and leathery for his age. "What does that mean," I asked. "Oh, it just means that if one group of fighters is at the scene, and they are having trouble containing the fire, they call in a second Unit. Then, if those two Units still have trouble, they call in a third Unit, etc." "Oh, okay," I nodded.

We shot the breeze for a few more minutes as twilight brightened into an early morning glow of gentle blue skies and smothering humidity. I thought the fire fighters looked handsome in their heavy suits, oxygen tanks on their backs like scuba divers. We talked about Eastern Market, about local bars, working on the Hill, family roots.

And suddenly, the truck began pulling away. I waved as they faded toward the end of the block.

I have such tremendous respect for those guys.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

On Walking Out Gracefully

We lost an employee in my office today.

Not one to be spreading rumors, I'll admit that I don't know whether she left because she'd found a better position or because she'd been axed. The mind does funny tricks, though. She left without telling anyone she was going. Why? Was she fired? Did she really not make friendly enough connections over the past 9 months of working with us that she truly didn't tell a single soul in our office that she was leaving? It's mighty strange.

Anyway, here is the sequence of events as I recalled them. My boss appeared to be extremely antsy and agitated today (not the best day to advocate for a raise - the subconscious is powerful, folks). I was in his office telling him today was the absolute deadline for him to renew my student loan benefit or I wouldn’t receive a payment next month. I lingered around his desk, hoping my silence and hopeful aura would spur him to say something – anything – like, “don’t worry, I’ll advocate for something good for you.” No. Instead he said, agitatedly, “I’ve got to talk to these people.”

As I turned to leave his office, I overheard him say, to Human Resources on the phone, “I just took an ‘Administrative Action.’”

What does it mean to take an “Administrative Action?” Whatever that meant, it sounded ominous to me. Who got canned???

Minutes later, the woman who later left, for good, could be overheard shuffling things on her desk. My paranoia-sharpened hearing detected the sounds of a desk being packed up, permanently. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. I listened: shuffling, packing, shuffling, papers-rustling, packing. Wow – could she really be leaving? Is she the one? What happened?

There were no goodbyes. She just walked out of the office. Calmly, collectedly took her purse and left.

My boss went into the room where our office servers are located – several times. Great; he’s killing her profile one nanosecond after her heels click out the door! Minutes later, he walked back to her desk, sat down and started going through her computer.

He said, pointing towards himself, “Guys, you’re looking at the new [her former position]!” No one said a word, not one single word, but my gosh the tension was unbearable. No one dared speak.

I heard him mumble something about losers as he punched on the keyboard. And that was that.

Working on the Hill is **TENSE,** folks! Definitely not for the weak of mettle!

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Glass Tells All

My friend in the office told me a funny story that I want to share. His friend, Jane Doe, is out at a bar and meets a good looking guy who apparently had a glass eye.

Jane didn't realize he had a glass eye at first. However, as the drinks began to add up, apparently one eye became bloodshot and the other did not. That's how she found out.

Hm...drinking as a litmus test for glass eyes. Highly effective!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Day's End

Poets and songbirds have often mused about feelings at the end of the day. As I walk home, I think about the song, "Wee Small Hours of the Morning," or about a poem, "At the End of the Day," by one of my favorite modern-day poets, Gregory Djanikian.

At the end of the work-day, especially if it has been a long day, I have a strong urge to call someone and verbally unwind: talk about personal things. Someone close to me.

Often I'll call my parents or sister; I've just about exhausted my short list of far-away friends whom I can call under the guise of "having a moment to catch up." I think my parents worry if I call too much... they also worry if I call too infrequently.

Anyway, a warm August breeze stirs my hair. The walking is pleasant. Two couples holding hands pass me on the brick sidewalk. I've worked hard today and am tired.

For me, that special time of calico feelings isn't the "wee small hours of the morning." It's now.

Losing Weight

Here is a tip for all the randos out there in blog land: be very careful how you comment to your friends (and enemies!) who are trying to lose weight.

I am not a fat person. I am within the healthy weight range, according to Weight Watchers. It's just that I've gained, ahem, a few pounds in the past months and want to return to my svelte self.

On several occasions, I've encountered the following sequence. A friend will invite me out for wine, Lemoncello, cheese, chocolate, insert your favorite booty-expanding treat here. I'll thank them, suggest a lighter-fare option, and, as a side note, say that I joined Weight Watchers to regain healthier eating habits.

Undoubtedly, the response is, "Oh, you're not fat! You shouldn't be on Weight Watchers/ trying to lose weight." Or, "Oh, I'm surprised."

The effect of this seemingly innocuous comment is me feeling like I need to provide a reason why I'm trying to lose some weight. I just don't want to go there. It's a complex answer that takes me to some dark places, emotionally. Why should a healthy diet be something one needs to explain? Sheesh.

So, friends, the next time you talk with someone, and they tell you for whatever reason, that they are trying to lose weight, for chrissakes, say something POSITIVE. Like, "Good for you!" Or "Wow, that's great! That's inspiring." Or "Cool - let's eat melon." But be very careful not to tread into verbal negativity.

Hungry people are already cranky. No need to exacerbate the situation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Facial Fake Tanning

During the summers, I enjoy tanning. Now before anyone yells at me regarding the risks of tanning, please know that I understand. It is a risk that I take.

I know that tanning will result in an increased risk of skin cancer later on, but more than that, it can lead to wrinkling and (gasp!) sagging of skin. Let the rest of me sag, but not my face!

For this reason, I am careful not to allow one single beam of ultraviolet touch my face. This creates a quandry in the summer time, because I end up with a pale face and gorgeous bronzed skin. I could always brush bronzing powder on my face to even things out -- and I do -- but what about the random overnight occasion? I'd hate for anyone to see me like this.

So my strategy is to use "fake tan" on my face (and everywhere else) to even it all out. I am proud to announce that after 1.5 months, my face has caught up with the rest of me!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Scrambled Eggs

One of my housemates, a young guy who appears to have rarely used a stovetop in his life, attempted to scramble eggs recently.

He used:
(1) high heat, all the way!
(2) no oil or butter.

I walked in on him, stirring at the raw egg layer on top of the
flaming skillet, while the layer of eggs on bottom turned dark brown and began emitting a sulfurous odor.

After a moment of exchanged pleasantries, I gently suggested that he consider lowering the heat a tad. Later on, I saw him at the sink, scraping at the skillet with a dull knife to dislodge the black, encrusted egg. To top it all off, this morning I found the "clean" skillet, (still with baked-on, caked-on egg on bottom), set atop the microwave with other clean dishes, to dry.

Poor boy!