Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oral Fixation

I have previously mentioned my love of public transportation. Next to walking, it is my favorite way to commute, and I use the term commuting generously, as I live three and a half miles from my office. Mostly, I like the anonymity of it, and because there is a great cross section of the community, albeit a far cry from those seen in NYC, SF or Chicago. I love the crazies, the nutties, the suits and the students.

Yesterday, as I was reading the Bourdain book, something rolling down the aisle, unmolested by any of the passengers, caught my eye:

A dirty, filthy electric toothbrush. That is what we city folks call colorful.


Today, perhaps inspired by the toothbrush on the bus, I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I am informed that there are two big extremes where teeth (and the pH of your saliva) are concerned. At one extreme is the concentration most likely to produce cavities, and at the other is the one where you are prone to building plaque or calculus. I am in the latter camp, as I have never had a cavity, but it takes a good hour to rid my teeth of the built up calculus. On the plus side, it comes off relatively easy, but there is quantity, to be sure.

I have a thing with teeth. Big time. I never say never, but it would be difficult for me to be attracted to someone without healthy, attractive teeth. My maternal grandfather had a thing with teeth and I thought it was weird, but I somehow developed it over my lifetime. I can ignore almost anything but bad teeth.

I should also add here that I have the weirdest teeth phobia. I get the dreams of my teeth falling out en masse on a fairly regular basis and I cannot abide any imagery (visual, text or otherwise) of teeth being knocked out or hurt. I attribute this to a freak diving accident when I was a teenager. I was a gymnast, and I used to practice my dismounts off the balance beam on the diving board, and, much like my devotion to perfection in gymnastics, I would repeat a dismount (dive) on the diving board hundreds of times. One night, while practicing a dismount thatin diving is considered a gainer, I pushed myself too long and ended up hitting the diving board on the way into the water. I was knocked unconscious and had to be pulled out of the pool. When I came to, the very first thing I noticed was the unfamiliar rush of air between my front two teeth.

My tongue immediately went to the source and felt the jagged edge of a badly chipped tooth. I freaked the fuck out. I thrashed and spazzed and had to be restrained. My fists were clenched and, when I calmed down, I brought my hand to my face and unclenched my hand. There, in my palm, was the half of a tooth that I had knocked out on my way into the pool. I had caught the half a tooth that I knocked out. Needless to say, that caused a whole new round of seizure-like freakouts and, if memory serves, I had to be sedated for the capping of the tooth.

This was in Saudi, circa 1985, and although the level of medical talent there was through the roof (no pun intended), over the years, the cap, and particularly the point of adhesion, had grown discolored. Grey. Gross. I was very self-conscious of it and most photographs of me during that period were a calculated smile to hide it.

B and I eventually became friends with Anthony, who is a very prominent Seattle dentist. After a few years of friendship, B routinely went to A for cleanings, but I was too self-conscious. Eventually, of course, I went, and Anthony told me he could fix my front tooth. I confess that the very idea of him taking off that grody crown skeeved me out more than I could ever express, but ultimately, I agreed. I cannot even begin to recount what a terrible patient I was when he did it, as even drugged and on laughing gas, I was very nearly in a fetal position. He finally got it off, put a temporary on, and I was so desperate to get out of the chair that I told him it felt fine and I was ready to go.

That night was one of the worst of my life. It didn't fit, I couldn't close my mouth, and I was terrified that I would clamp down in the middle of the night and shatter the temporary tooth. One night, and yet I remember every moment, as I couldn't sleep for fear of waking up with a mouth full of broken tooth. Even typing that skeeves me out. I slept with wet napkins in my mouth and went into Anthony's at 6am the next morning.

He was, of course, horrified. He is a perfectionist and I had assured him all was well the day before. With the drugs worn off and the swelling down, it was clear the temporary tooth was too big. As he attempted to get the temporary off, it shattered, and just like that, my worst nightmare came true - a mouth full of broken tooth. I was an uncharacteristic mess - thrashing, fetal position, sobbing - unlike anything my friend Anthony had ever seen from me. He had to drug me and pump me full of laughing gas, but eventually, he gave me a perfect crown. To this day, I have had several other dentists remark on my lone piece of dental work, as it is difficult even for the trained eye to realize I have a crown.

So huge set up for a non-story. I have to get my teeth cleaned twice a year, and that process includes scraping (egad) the plaque off my teeth. As I mentioned, this is a more arduous process for me, as I don't get cavities, just plaque. Every time I go, they numb my gums and give me a shot of laughing gas or some other drug. Today, because I had so much work to do, I declined. When she first took to my teeth, I jumped out of the chair in a mild freak out. However, I did a 'mind over matter' thing and talked myself back in the chair and tried to visualize what she had to do. I watched her grab her little tools and kept my eyes open for about five minutes. Once I could visualize and intellectualize the whole process, I was fine. I asked her, just once, if she had ever pulled a tooth when she was scraping teeth. She tried to stifle a laugh and said "K, I couldn't pull your teeth with these tools if I tried. You get plaque on the teeth, not the gumline, and you have really strong teeth anyway. Just let me know if I hit a sensitive area."

Not five minutes later, I was asleep. I fell asleep in the dentist chair and slept through an hour of plaque removal. And I should be said - I don't nap - ever. I slept nine hours the night before and the appointment was this morning. I woke up about fifteen minutes before she was done, and only because I heard laughter from another patient. Anthony came in the room and said he couldn't believe I fell asleep with someone's hands in my mouth. He checked my xrays and my crown and looked me straight in the eyes and said "you are different now, K."

And, perhaps for the first time, I agreed. Better living through dentistry, I guess.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Weekend in Portland

We had a blast.

The weather was fantastic - that kind of crisp, fallish-winter, sunny but cold kind of days. The drive down was largely uneventful and we checked into our usual Portland hotel, which is decidedly pet-friendly. Darbs didn't make a sound on the way down and we settled into our suite (which we got for $129 a night - unreal). I took Darbs for a long walk around downtown and the surrounding areas and we settled in for room service and movies.

Incidentally, Strongbad is funny, but not that funny.

The next day, we hit a great spot for breakfast that could only exist in Portland. Not often you hear Nirvana blasting on a Sunday morning, only to be followed by Michael Jackson's Thriller album. I ordered my usual protein fest, but got a side order of a pumpkin pancake.

Holy, holy shit. I won't ever forget how great that was.

We then hooked up with pea's sister Dayna and helped her with preparations. After a few errands, we hit Powells, which, again, could only exist in Portland. I got Anthony Bourdain's tome and immediately was hooked. We chilled for a few hours, I took Darbs for another long walk, then we headed out to the party, leaving Darbs alone in the room.

I was stunned that there were no calls from the front desk, as you aren't supposed to leave your pets unattended, but Darbs was too worn out to protest. The party was at the Ace Hotel, which is a hotel that can exist in both Seattle and Portland. Even though it was a Sunday night after a long holiday weekend, there were over a hundred guests there to celebrate Dayna, who, it must be said, is a goddamn treasure. We laughed, danced, visited, drank and generally had a blast. The pea's mother and sister Hailey (I know I am spelling that wrong) were there, and it was great to visit with them. Like any other family, they think they are dysfunctional and flawed, but, like almost every other family, they have a lot going for them and they genuinely love each other.

Mostly, it was truly heartening to see so many come out to celebrate Dayna. Her talent knows no end and she has really come into her own at the ripe age of 50. That family is so young, both in appearance and in spirit, and it is just a blast to be around them.

We retired relatively early, meaning we didn't stay out until 4am like the rest of them. I kind of wish we had, as Portland has a great nightlife, but we were beat. Darbs was glad to see us (understatement) and we hit the sack.

The next morning, after hitting the aforementioned Starbucks, we intended to hit Portland's burgeoning street cart scene, but after a survey of the options, all of which looked incredible, we both realized we wanted pizza. Specifically, Pizzicato, which has the most perfect crust I have ever tasted. After a festive night, it was the cure for what ailed us. The quattro formagio with roasted garlic was positively heavenly.

We finally hit the road around 2pm and again, Darbs was a perfectly quiet dog the whole way home. We had kind of freaked the night before, as we found two fleas on her, and she has NEVER had fleas, but these are the hazards of dog friendly hotels, I guess. She is back on the flea sauce, just to make sure it doesn't become a problem, but all told, it was a great trip.

Funniest part was actually today. Kimpton Group, which operates Hotel Monaco, sent me an email survey about the trip. I was 90% positive, lauding their staff (the best I've ever known), their rooms (huge), their location (perfect) and their amenities. The only thing I was mildly critical of was that our reservation hadn't made note of my requests (higher floor, etc.), the flea thing, and that our room service post-party tasted warmed over and was improperly prepared.

Within ten minutes of filling it out, I got an email from the hotel's GM, thanking me for my participation and apologizing for the few gaffes. Honestly, I had no substantive beef and was just giving feedback. His email said that he wanted me to book directly with him next time and that they would upgrade me to their finest suite upon my next visit.

Holy shit. That is customer fucking service. And mind you, I was only paying $129 a night, compared to their usual suite rate of $209 a night. Apparently, I am going to road trip down to Portland at least once more before the end of the year. Christmas shopping, I am guessing. God love Oregon and their lack of sales tax.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Despondent Dog's Photo Essay on the Starbucks "No Dogs" Policy

My dog has issues. Specifically, she hates being left alone, and yet she is left to fend for herself in my house for nearly nine hours a day. With three exceptions, every time I open the door, she is right there, stunned, delighted, and not just a little pissed off to see me. What's weirder is that she reacts the exact same way when I pick her up from doggie day care, where she plays harder than almost any other dog in the pack. Darby would be perfectly content to go to work with me every day and sleep underneath my desk.

I know how I created this situation. I got Darbs in the thick of the divorce and took her with me everywhere. I have this great travel bag for her that looks just like a gym bag, and I would sling that thing over my shoulder while grocery shopping, running errands, having dinner in a restaurant (she'd be in her little bag on the floor or a spare chair), or wherever else I was at. I confess that, more than once, I entertained the idea of bringing her to a movie theater, as she is as quiet as a mouse in that thing. She was just content to be brought along.

Somewhere along the line, Darbs grew very territorial. If anyone approaches me, even in kindness, she growls. She growls at dogs that are walked past our building. She is afraid and aggressive with kids, which is unacceptable. You kind of never know when she is going to react badly and nip. And I never, ever would have believed she would be a nipping kind of dog. When she was only five months old, I took her to a very crowded bar (that was dog friendly) and stood on my chair, cheering the World Cup, along side two hundred or so patrons. Darbs' reaction was to yawn and sleep. At some point, Darbs became kind of neurotic and certainly unpredictable, as she has nipped at (and broken the skin of) K's daughter, my niece, and my stepmother, all without any provocation.

And other than that (I sound like a battered wife), she is a perfect dog. She is mellow, loving (but not too needy for attention), loves long and furious walks and is a great companion. We took her to Portland this weekend and she was amazing - both in the three hour car ride down and back and while there. She wasn't aggressive or nippy or anything of the sort. When the pea and I went to bed, she was pretty judicious in affording joint custody to our respective beds. The pea was with me when I got Darbs and actually held her in her lap on the drive home, and I routinely pawn off Darbs to her, so Darbs truly has two mommies. I just need to get her weird and unpredictable freakouts under control.

Also need to work to get her separation anxiety in check. Case in point? This morning at Starbucks. Darbs takes issue with their nationwide no pets policy.

Dejected and alone

Sprawled out in full on despondency.

Upon making eye contact with her owner, who is balancing two cups of coffee, a bottle of water and a muffin

Friday, November 23, 2007

On The Road Again

Tomorrow, the pea and I are setting off for Portland, to attend her sister's 50th birthday bash on Sunday night. We're taking Darbs, so this should be interesting. If I didn't live here (or in the U.S.), I would probably move to Portland. I would have done it by now if it weren't for my brothers. In any event, I am looking forward to the trip. I suspect that this trip might be a precursor to my eventual move. I love Seattle more than anyone I know, but I need a break. I was actually corresponding with a recruiter in Ireland today.

2008 is my year. I can feel it.

I actually wanted to go to work today. That is a first. I worked at home most of the day and banged out more work product than I did all last week. When I leave my job, I will leave it on top.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I often forget what I should be thankful for, but right now, I know.

I am thankful for a family that, for all its various quirks, is real. We don't bullshit each other, there are no subjects that are off limits, and we interact more honestly than any other family I know. I know that for many people, our style of interaction is awkward at best and painfully brutal at worst, but I prefer a candid, aggressive style of communication. Those folks who dance around elephants in their lives -- more power to them, I guess -- but I don't want to have dinner with them. I would have dinner with my sibs or my extended family any day of the week. God, so lucky to have them and love them and have them love me.

I am thankful for friends. Friends are the family you choose, and I have unusually good taste. The pea came to Thanksgiving dinner for her fourth year in a row, and if you knew the dynamic of our T-bird feast, you would know what that meant. I only wish that all of my friends would come over and that I could recreate my great aunt's scratch dinners for them to enjoy. I am so fucking lucky.

I am thankful that I am better now. I know I have miles to go before I sleep and all that, but I am better. I feel better. I am better. I am going to be so much better. I am so fucking thankful for that optimism.

I am thankful for the past loves in my life. I was so lucky to feel that way and love that way and be loved that way back. That old saying is true, as I am a better person for having loved and been loved, and even that(tonight) gives me optimism.

And, as stupid as this sounds, I am so thankful for my dog. I know she doesn't like anyone as much as she likes me or the pea, but there is just something about that little creature that makes me feel lucky every day. She is a great companion and source of unconditional love, but more than anything, she reminds me that all you really have to do each day is get up, go for a long walk, and everything else will work itself out.

Finally, and while I write this only for my own mental health, thanks to the fine folks that read this tripe. Thanks for online friends who check in and comment to register their concerns. I don't know where this thing is going, but I thank you guys for listening. Even when I completely forget I have an audience. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


B and I had dinner tonight and it was difficult and sad and fun and heartbreaking.

I asked for this dinner date. We need to break up, even though we have been separated for years. We NEED to break up. We revert to each other when the going gets tough, but only one of us is honest. B told me tonight that he is the most "real" with me than he is with anyone and he didn't believe we could ever really break up. I became uncharacteristically emotional, in public, which I loathe, and as tears streamed down my face, I begged him to let me and us go.

I should add here that I did get his John Hancock on the documents, although I still need to get them notarized, but again, I was crying in public. Fucking A.

I cried for one reason. I loved this man for the better part of my early adulthood. I knew and know him, and our marriage didn't break up for want of love. We love each other. I will always love B. Always. I will miss parts of him and us for the rest of my life. I don't want him back - at least as we were, and I can't imagine anything else - but it is so very difficult to let go of someone who defined you adulthood. We are each others touchstones, and we can no longer do that. Not fair to anyone.

At one point tonight, B asked me about MRE. I deflected and smiled, but B said "K, I think you took a body blow. Are you okay?" Again, tears down the face, in public, and I begged him to change the subject. B grabbed me, hugged me tight, whispered in my ear that he would always love me, and I pulled back, aghast. I told him that while it was clear that I have emotions just under the skin, those were my fucked up feelings. I certainly didn't need affirmation from him. I know. I know that B fucked up our relationship and worse, rather than right the wrongs, he avoided. I know this shit. I also know that B only bears half of the responsibility for the demise of us. He feels so guilty about killing a relationship that was already buried. I owe him that absolution.

I gave B an expiration date for us. He can no longer call me to shoot the shit next year, as I know his GF would be terribly hurt to know her BF was sneaking off to call or meet me. But mostly, this expiration date is for me. I will always love him, but I cannot continue to be his touchstone, as he has long since past been mine.

I will always love him. I accept that. I just need to stop thinking of him as family.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Today was an illustrative day on why I should not be dating anyone for a while.

I woke up almost pissed off at MRE. Angry at him and myself. As Darbs and I went on the morning walk, I had this almost *pop* moment when I realized I was over it and him. In many, many ways, I dodged a huge bullet where he was concerned. I was days away from him moving in with him, when that was the last thing I wanted. Realistically, I would have walked all over him and resented him (and again, myself) for that - I will never again be bullied in a relationship, but I also don't want to be the bully. MRE and I had a meeting of the hearts and minds, but not temperaments and personalities. I was always so skeeved at his passive nature and, had we gone forward, I would have hated him and me for settling into something that was so clearly another cheerleading role. His confidence ended when his working day bell sounded and I would have been so exhausted propping him up.

Anyway - I was full into MRE-bashing-rewriting history when the pea IM'ed, excited about a book she just read. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. I immediately flashed back to when MRE gave me that book, which I still haven't read. Suddenly, I missed him so much -- I missed my friend who is no longer in my life. We actually broke up properly - we ceased all communication, which is the only way to do these things. I just wish we were still friends. I am no longer attracted to him as a lover. Hard to explain, but my physical attraction to men is strongly tied to my perceptions of their confidence and character, and MRE scored poorly on those two when it mattered most. But I still miss his wit and humor and his goddamn intelligence. I still want to hear his opinion on at least one thing a day.

And these feelings are a 180 from this morning, which is why I cannot begrudge Writer Guy for thinking me to be "a lot of work." I am so unfamiliar with these wildly conflicting emotions, especially when they vary THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Actually, I am just so tired of fucking talking about feelings. Feelings aren't nearly as interesting as what you do with them, and lately, I just seem to do nothing right where feelings are concerned.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Scene: Just had a powwow with the boss, wherein the VERY FUTURE OF THIS FIRM is in my completely apathetic hands. Am feeling guilty for responding to the headhunters, particularly since my firm indulged my weird out over the past year, but also empowered because I am the firm's chief rainmaker.

Receptionist: Writer Guy on Line 1.

Me: You know, too le tired. Send him to voice mail.

Receptionist: He actually asked me if you were in the office or on the phone and I said you were and you weren't.

Me: Bothersome. I could be out of my physical office. Tell him I am not responding and I am not at my desk.

Receptionist: I don't get you, but okay.

Writer Guy and I had, what I have to believe was, an argument last night. For a writer, he tends to eschew text based communication and likes to hash it out on the phone. The following is a close approximation:

Writer Guy: So happy hour tomorrow?

Me: Hard to commit to that, as I am equal parts hero and villain in my office. I have to do face time right now more than I like and, also, I take casual Fridays quite literally. I might be in yoga pants.

Writer Guy: (audibly annoyed): So you've begged off of dates with me for horizontal stripes and now yoga pants? You are more work than I thought.

Me: (awkward silence) I have never canceled a date on account of apparel. Just declined an invitation. Big difference. Plus, do you want to have drinks with a chick in yoga pants, albeit yoga pants that really showcase your ass?

Writer Guy: Yes, please.

Me: You know, this will sound lame, but what I want is to go home, walk my dog, clean up, catch up on my DVR and just be quiet.

Writer Guy: (awkward pause) Let me ask you something, K. If you had asked me to do something and I gave that exact same answer, how would you react? Wouldn't you think that the object of your affections didn't share the same sense of urgency?

Me: Urgency? Where's the fire?

Writer Guy: Yeah. Kind of my point. I don't think you realize how many smoke signals you are sending. Flip this whole thing around, where you met some guy you were really interested in and he kept making excuses about not wanting to see you and preferring to spend the night alone. What would you make of that?

Me: Goddamn, it is like I am [not] dating myself. No, you are absolutely right and I am a complete asshole. Which is why I keep telling myself that I wish I would have met you in 2008. I know you can't get this, but I hate the idea of not being at my A-game when we start a relationship. I am still trying to sort through a divorce, which you have been through, and I know I will fuck this up if I pursue it when I feel and act so irrationally.

Writer Guy: Okay K? Here is what I think you want. Ball is in your court. No more invites, no more calls, nothing. Just call me if you want to get together and we'll go from there.

Me: No one likes ultimatums, but you've earned this one. I am an all or nothing kind of gal. I don't like dating and I hate this limbo. I'm standing on the edge of the pool, deciding whether to dive in, and you are understandably frustrated. I adore you and owe you this -- am nowhere near ready to jump all the way in. I have officially become the female I cannot stand. That is my cross to bear. But I also hate the (admittedly romantic) idea that if you and I did work out, I acted like a throwaway character on Sex And The City.

Writer Guy: Do you know what bothers me most? I hate the idea of losing you, but you seem resigned to that if I cannot meet your timetable.

Me: If I were your best friend, I would say the exact same thing. This chick is a head case and run the fuck away. You have great nights, followed by stupid withdrawals, and you owe it to yourself to be with someone stable.

Writer Guy: are we?

Me: I am going to go home, spend the night alone, walk ten miles in the morning and beg for clarity.

Writer Guy: So dinner is off, then?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Top Ten Examples of Bad Pedestrianship

Today was a miserable weather day, although it was just peachy when Darbs and I set off around Greenlake this morning. It is a small lake, about three miles around, just north of downtown. It is kind of ridiculous that I drive three miles to walk three, given that I live on a lake that is 7 miles around that we can walk in about an hour and fifteen minutes. By contrast, it takes about ten to drive to Greenlake, about thirty around, and another fifteen to get back home.

Despite the greater distance around my home lake, I walk faster at Greenlake and seem to get a much better workout. The sole reason for this is that Greenlake is populated with fitness walkers and runners and I am ridiculously competitive. I walk faster than anyone I know (and not in that goofy speedwalker kind of way), primarily because I am always looking ahead to identify someone I want to pass. In the rare event that there are limited targets, Greenlake also has every quarter mile marked off, such that I can easily sprint a quarter of a mile, jog a mile, walk a mile, lather rinse, repeat. I should, of course, go around twice in the mornings, and did this morning, but I am often running late and won't afford another half hour.

The other reason is that I tend to get pissy at Greenlake. This is because the walkers (primarily) and runners (on occasion) exhibit the same goddamn inconsiderations that you find in traffic. My top ten examples:

1. Greenlake permits inline skaters and bicycles, even though the actual running path is fairly narrow, as evidenced by this shot. Bicycles and inline skaters are relegated to the outside lane, which is perhaps four feet wide, while EVERYONE ELSE (joggers, walkers, dog walkers, parents with strollers) are limited to the inside lane. It is the same width, such that three people walking together completely obstructs the lane.

Which brings me to my first irritation: mommies and families who walk together in a horizontal line, oblivious to the fitness folks who have to walk around them. This is not unlike those folks on the freeway who fail to realize that the cars to their right and left are all going the exact same speed, oblivious to the cars behind them that are willing to risk the ticket and get trucking. Unlike on the freeway, of course, you cannot honk or flash your lights. You can be passive aggressive about it, darting on the dirt path to the left of the lane while loudly muttering about idiots, or you can be slightly more aggressive about it by elbowing your way among them -- kind of like Red Rover, Red Rover. This can sometimes lead to confrontation, FYI.

2. Related: bicyclists and inline skaters. Seriously, who bikes or skates just three miles? You can do that in minutes. They are just there to check out the chicks running in their sports bras. Seattle has an entire and vast freeway system for bicyclists, inline skaters and runners called the Burke Gilman trail that strongly favors wheels over legs. Bikers and skaters at Greenlake are just annoyances, not unlike those idiots who drive the humongous 4x4 vehicles with oversize tires on the freeway, obstructing the view of everyone else, but somehow still thinking they are the coolest folks on the road.

3. The random chatters. These folks positively kill me. They see someone they know, which is not an unusual occurrence at Greenlake, and stop mid-path, making everyone go around them. You know those fucking idiots who drive around with a map in their hands at 10-15 miles below the speed limit, instead of pulling over and figuring it out? Same exact people on foot.

4. Dog walkers with the expando leashes who let their dog meander all over the trail, forcing you to either jump the leash or walk around. First, bad dog parenting and poor human manners. Second, I keep my dog on a pretty short leash around Greenlake so that she doesn't feel free to obstruct the path of anyone else. Your dog doesn't feel so constrained and is prone to coming up to my dog to share a sniff. A free wheeling dog has a much different mindset than a tightly leashed dog, so mine is going to be threatened when yours can run circles around her.

You know those folks in traffic that do everything but drive? They eat, talk on the phone, apply makeup, yell at the radio, all the while their car is crossing the line between your car and theirs? Same exact folks on foot, only with a dog in the car to further distract them.

5. The morning smokers going for a stroll. Hell, I am all nothing if not sympathetic that this great state has taken away all of the pleasurable spots to publicly enjoy a shot of nicotine. Yet even when we could have a martini and a cigarette in a bar, at least then we knew that the patrons among us had assumed the risk. Booze and cigarettes in a bar are a national tradition, even if unhealthy and probably shameful. However, don't fucking smoke at a place where people come to be healthy. That is just lousy smoker etiquette and gives the whole smoker subspecies a bad name.

You know those cars who flick cigarettes out their window and they land on or in your car? Same people.

6. This is quasi-related to irritation #1, but the folks who have several young kids and have the massive, multi-child strollers? Hate. They take up the whole lane. There are other paths in the city (see, e.g. aforementioned Burke Gilman trail) that are better suited for your pedestrian-style SUV. I know what they drive. They have one of those behemoth Escalades or Expeditions, with DVD players in the back for each kid as a babysitter and a tool to avoid any semblance of engaging them.

7. Random gawker guy. Hey, I fully admit to being a people watcher and can and do make eye contact with folks that look interesting. That is so completely different from the guy who stares at your chest while running or, so much worse, the guy that reverts course or otherwise comes up to you, trying to strike up a conversation. I fully applaud people taking (social) risks like that, but if I haven't made eye contact or given any indication that I wanted a running partner? You are just going to startle the shit out of me. Not unlike the guy in the car next to you on the freeway who is pacing you, hoping you look over at him. Hardly the time to get to know you.

Also, should you deign to go out with him in a moment of misguided carpe diem, he will likely be rude to the service staff of one of your favorite restaurants, such that you will feel compelled to call said restaurant the next day to apologize.

8. Grunter guy. Dude, it is only three miles. Third graders can run it with ease. If you can't make it around without letting out tennis match-style grunts every few steps, perhaps you should consider a different, more private cardio activity. Particularly if I can hear you over my blasting ipod. I think you are the same guy that overuses his horn on the freeway, expressing both praise and disgust by a tap of his hand. Bothersome.

9. Counterpart: the speedwalker. Hey, I get it. I walk fast, albeit like a runway model listening to Peaches, but I am almost always concentrating on my rhythm and stride. Whatever works for you, I guess, and no judgment on that weird fucking form, but a personal plea. Spandex is best left for bikers. I have no need to know that much about you. I think you probably drive a car with a brazillion bumper stickers, wanting the world to know your position on places like El Salvador.

10. Cell phone/Bluetooth talker person. I hate you pretty much everywhere in the city, but you really piss me off at Greenlake. First, your cell phone/Bluetooth is not a walkie talkie and you need not elevate your voice to pep rally proportions to communicate your message. I appreciate the need to multitask and cross a few things of your daily to-do list. However, while I am occasionally riveted (to the point of walking or sprinting faster so I can catch the conclusion when I pass you again) as to whether your conversation partner will "EVER FUCKING GET IT," mainly, you just come across as an idiot who thinks that people will think them VERY IMPORTANT because they cannot sacrifice mobile communication for all of 45 minutes.

Yeah. I think Darbs and I should do the local lake tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Runway Walking

Tonight was just one of those nights. I wanted to leave early, which in my line of work means before 7pm, and because I am back to public transportation, that means I am beholden to the bus schedule.

Seattle never really figured out mass public transportation - we are primarily dependent on buses. Mine picks me up in front of my condo and drops me off a block from my office. I cannot justify the expense in driving the 3.5 miles to work (gas, wear and tear on the car, parking), nor the inconvenience of in-city traffic on the way home. Moreover, the fact is that I prefer taking the bus - I usually am catching up on the NYTBR, NYT Magazine, or whatever book I happen to be reading, or, now that I have the iphone, surfing the web. Also, the people watching cannot be beat. The pea gets an annual bus pass from her work, but she drives anyway, so I use hers and incur no commuting costs. Aside from being dependent on the schedule, there is no downside to taking the bus.

For some idiotic reason, the buses run every fifteen minutes until 6pm, at which point they run every half an hour. That sounds a lot more convenient than it is, given that I can walk it home in about 40 minutes. If I miss one, there is no way in hell I am waiting around for 30 minutes when I can very nearly be home if I just hoof it.

Tonight, I decided to walk to the Whole Foods, which is about equidistant between my office and my house. I like this particular brand of cream cheese they carry and I wanted to pick up a few things. As I got up at 6:30 (to catch the 6:55 bus from Whole Foods), I realized it was raining. True Seattelites don't use umbrellas, as the rain is usually nothing more than an inconvenience, so it wasn't a big deal to walk a mile to the Whole Foods. Got in, got my stuff, and walked out as the bus pulled away. I was already quite damp and the rain had become a little heavier. I knew it would be a half an hour before another bus came, and as I was already almost halfway home, I walked.

Except I was in a suit and high heels. Holy hell, my feet are killing me. I am out of high heel-walking shape. I got home rumpled and looking like a drowned rat. And, of course, I have a dog. I think I logged close to 10 miles today, including the morning run/walk with Darbs.

I had this whole post idea about Greenlake and the idiots who inspire my morning "run rage," but I have already bored up this entry. In any event, Project Runway starts in about an hour, and I am suddenly motivated to fashion my ass to my couch. Also, Silent Bob is kicking my ass in Scrabulous.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


My sister is going to hate that I wrote this, but I am really fucking worried about B.

I know. I know. I shouldn't give B a second thought, let alone the weight of worry. But I am. He has kind of lost it.

He is blowing through cash. I shouldn't know this, of course, but we have too many mutual friends. We're talking over $50K in two months, with nothing to show for it. I considered drugs, even though he didn't do any (that I am aware of) during our marriage. I am currently on the theory that he is gambling. In any event, I am getting too many phone calls and too many signs that he is swirling down the drain. B was never good with money, but he was never this bad. Borrowing from our mutual single-mother friend bad.

I know B better than anyone. He doesn't have a confidant or anyone that he is bouncing his latest crisis off of. I don't want to be that person. I just hate that he doesn't have it and, honestly, he lies his ass off everytime he talks to me. I hate that I am more worried about him, and have expended more mental energy on that topic, than he would EVER afford me. But I was never about scorecards, and right now, I am just really worried about the man I was involved with for past decade or so. I need to learn the art of not caring, but tonight? Just worried. So very worried. And even if it isn't reciprocated, which it isn't (although there is a funny story to be told about him sending flowers to my grandfather's memorial, in both of our names), I am still worried. I honestly believe I will always worry about him, to some degree.

Drama Llama

Well, I screwed up that whole "post every day this month." Over it. This was a difficult yet great weekend and I am still sorting through some conflicting emotions.

Grandfather's memorial was 180% better than I could have imagined. It was really just an open house at his waterfront estate, and the best parts of it were getting to know my bio dad's friends and my grandfather's family. Grandpa's older sister and younger brother were there, and they were both so sharp and clever and funny. It was like Grandpa was in the room. For the second time in my life (the first being the biodad's memorial), I took a perverse pleasure in being told, over and over, how much I look like biodad. It sounds so stupid, but having a genetic connection to someone is something I didn't have growing up. It wasn't a big deal then, and isn't that big of one now, but I fully felt connected genetically this weekend.

My sister looks like my mother. My brothers look like their (and my only very technically step) dad. I never looked like anyone except Kelly, who also resembles the biodad. What truly set me aback was how.....warmly, deeply and earnestly that whole family welcomed both Kelly and I. There was no acknowledgment of the fact that we weren't legally family. Far, far from it.

I have a whole thought process on how fucked up it was for us to pretend that that side of the family never existed, but I am still putting it together in my head. Also, J remains an asshole. She wants to force a sale of her childhood home, the house that I promised my grandfather I would never allow to be sold. She wants money, which is always, ALWAYS, rears its ugly head when inheritances are concerned. If I could buy that million dollar estate, I would. May still try to figure it out.

Writer Guy and I are on the outs. I need some quiet time and he is noisy. Too noisy. I have enough people blaring in my ears. I don't want any of this drama and am having a hard time reconciling that with carrying out my grandfather's wishes. This is why the flying spaghetti monster invented the iphone. Tune the fuck out.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I went to the Feist concert with Writer Guy on Wednesday and had a blast. I had planned on going with my brother and his GF, but my scalper let me down in terms of desirable seating, so I wrote it off. Writer Guy called me that morning and asked if I had any interest in going. I hesitated for a few minutes, as I wasn't sure I wanted to go to this or any concert with him, but finally agreed.

He ended up being a great concert date, even spinning me around and dancing during my current favorite tune of theirs. We did some strange tango thing, but mostly just bounced about. The seats were shit, at least by my standards (five rows back or not at all), but it was a good time. I love this video because this is pretty much how I react when I hear my favorite Feist tune:

Afterwards, we walked to his car and, as we got in, he remarked that it was the first time I had been in his car. I shot him a sideways look and asked him if this was some momentous occasion we were meant to commemorate, rolling my eyes for effect. He shook his head, laughing, and said I was probably the least romantic woman he had ever known. He then asked me, hypothetically, if we ended up together, what would be the anniversary of our first date. I snorted and said "sometime in January, 2008." He shook his head again and told me "just so you know, this is our fourteenth date." I lightly caressed his arm and told him that he had a bright future in Hallmark cards. Also, I sputtered, "no one keeps track of those sorts of things.*"

We headed towards my place and he put on this song that was so incredibly catchy, which was hard to do after a Feist concert. I couldn't believe how much I loved it and I was sort of dancing in the car. He thought that was incredibly amusing, especially since this was a song he avowedly "associates" with me." He ended up pulling over on the side of this city street, blasting his stereo, and we rocked out on the sidewalk. Stone cold sober, I might add. It was a great moment.

Here is the tune that I have already downloaded, which is by Seal. There is apparently no video (I think the album comes out next week), but damn if it isn't engaging as all get out:

Finally, hit a happy hour tonight with the pea and brother #4 and his GF, K. I had a wicked bad craving for a burger this week and there was only one place to go: Cascadia, for the mini burgers, with white cheddar, grilled onions and black truffle butter. Holy hell, we're looking at 7 miles tomorrow morning, but it was worth every bite.

* June 3, 1992 with B.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Illegal Family

Still not particularly inspired on any given topic. My grandfather's memorial is this Saturday and I have a strange sense of.....dread, ambivalence and anxiousness.

I have a weird relationship with that side of the family. Legally, of course, they aren't family, as my stepdad adopted us, which severed all legal ties with them. Emotionally, I was very attached to my grandfather and my aunt J in the early years after the divorce of my mom and bio-dad. I looked up to J so earnestly when I was a kid and she remains the source of the single best piece of advice I have ever been given:

Well, if you're not having the relationship you want with your family, cultivate sources of support where you can find them. Life is too short to force a relationship upon someone who can never give you what you want.

J didn't always take her own advice, nor did I, and J kind of went....nutty. She married a Jewish guy, went balls-on Jewish, had kids and put them in Jewish schools, and became fairly active in the local Jewish community. This was pretty shocking, given that her family was decidedly agnostic, if not atheist. Her brother (my illegal uncle), a truly decent guy, didn't share his family's lack of faith and he was sometimes referred to as a Jesus freak. Incidentally, that brother (his only living son) wrote the obit, including the line about "going to be with his Lord." While it is entirely possible and perhaps likely that Doc developed a faith in his later years, I snorted when I saw that particular turn of phrase. I actually wrote a more comprehensive obit, but apparently didn't make the deadline.

Where J was concerned, the Jewish thing definitely wasn't the issue. She just became so different from the wildly independent woman I had long admired, and she suddenly seemed like a Stepford wife. I couldn't reconcile her wholesale adoption of a new persona with the woman I long believed would wander the earth (pun intended) in search of new friendships, new lovers, new experiences and new stories and lessons to impart to me. She went from being my role model, at least in terms of independence and feminism, to this wife-bot who bore little resemblance to her earlier self. She had been such a strong role model for me in my earlier years. I still hate Seventeen magazine because of her.

When I moved back to Seattle and in (briefly) with biodad, I saw her occasionally. I didn't really like her anymore. She was still married to the Jewish guy, who I liked, and had two beautiful daughters, but I thought she took advantage of my grandfather, who doted on his only girl. She also positively exhausted me. One night with J and I needed three alone. But while I didn't necessarily like her, I still loved her. Still, too, I was pretty removed from that clan.

I maintained a relationship with my grandfather because he was one of the most interesting people I had ever known. Dynamic. Presence. Interesting. Politically minded. Loved Husky football. And very down to earth. I told B about his death instinctively, as Doc was someone in my family with whom he had no issue and complete respect. I loved Doc because he was part of my early childhood, then adulthood, and our relationship was devoid of drama.

So this is rambling, but now, with Doc's death and the occasion to remember him, J has completely tried to reconnect. This is a very admirable and loving gesture, except J still exhausts the hell out of me. J - and her life - just exude drama. J got divorced from the Jewish guy probably a decade ago, yet that relationship is still drama, despite her remarriage. Her daughters have drama, albeit completely founded. And everyone over there knows that Doc and I had a tight relationship, at least until a year ago, and that I am pretty skilled at reconciling warring opinions. I also have reams of emails where his understanding of his complicated trust instrument is revealed to be at odds with the words on the documents.

And I just don't want to be in the middle of anything. I don't want any drama in any form and I seem to have a weakened sense when it comes to emotionally taxing people. I recoil and avoid, which is so not my typical style. Together with my tendency to assume some kind of leadership and spokesmanship role, I sort of feel a perfect storm approaching unless I disavow any involvement.

That is my current plan. Just show up like any other mourner, exchange stories and memories, then go home and remember him in my own way.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sappity Sappy Sap

I have a crush. That is all on that topic. Also, z, I take back everything bad I said about LA. It still holds true for the Valley, though.

I was half-heartedly seeing if I could do the "blog every day in the month of November" (NaBloPoMo, or some such awkward ass acronym). Right now, I don't have much to say.

On the writer's strike, however, the following kind of nutshells it:

Also, seeing this pretty much killed me. I was cringing throughout all of it and watching through my hands. And yet. It is awesome. It made me a little weepy, and I am certainly not prone to the weepy (unless I am in a dark theater). I still believe in happy endings. Yes, even those kinds.

Related: their inevitable appearance on Oprah.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Team Words

I actually called Writer Guy tonight to talk about the strike. It occurred to me that I have this friend who is on the margins in terms of making his living off writing for Hollywood and that he might have some interesting observations.

To say the least. There is definitely a disconnect between the LA/NYC based writers and those who live elsewhere. He, of course, agrees that the industry is being cagey with "new media" revenues (seriously - Jon Stewart owned that whole argument), but, like my other screenwriter client, has a hard time trusting the Guild. Turns out, Writer Guy had a similar war with the WGA and has his own battle scars.

By way of some background, writing credit is a very big deal in Hollywood, and not just for financial reasons. Yes, you can get a couple of zeros on your paycheck, but it also determines your writing history and deliverability as a writer. I obviously cannot name names, but I have a client who has a proven track record for Disney. Has delivered some sleeper hits, etc. He was called in to do a rewrite for a goddamn true story feature and the original screenwriter (who was twice dismissed for not delivering the story Disney wanted) called foul and wanted a co-credit mention. My guy hadn't even read the original script, as he did his own independent research on the TRUE STORY, but the Guild purports to taking these things seriously.

Except they stacked the deck against my client. First, they give you something insane like 72 hours to appeal a credit decision. Then, if you do make it under the time frame, they send both scripts to three WGA members, who then render the decision as to similarity. Mind you, both scripts were based on actual historical events, so of course there would be similarities. In any event, the WGA not only ruled against my client, who wrote his script from scratch, but also stripped him of any writing credit.

I can understand the Guild's bias towards less (commercially) successful writers, leaving the fate of such decisions in writers with time to spare to analytically examine a script for potential plagarism. Newer writers are often ripped off, and also easy targets for exploitation. Hell, half of my screenwriter clients are new to market and all too willing to sign their rights away, usually ten minutes before they get in touch with me. Writer Guy just told me the terms of the latest screenplay he sold and I completely cringed. He needs an attorney, to say the least.

At the end of the day, for every Paul Haggis or Cameron Crowe (both of whom can get anything greenlit and can often step behind the camera after penning the tale), most of the working writers in Hollywood live from job to job. Yes, sometimes they hit the jackpot, but more often than not, they live in a state of permanent instability.

It is beyond disingenous that the studios would be taking the position that they are, namely, that they don't know if they will make any money from direct downloads. That is clearly where the consumer base is going, as many of us watch goddamn television On Demand, on Tivo or DVR, or we download it to our ipods. If they thought otherwise, they wouldn't be selling advertising for such mediums.

I guess I am so bent because I, as my disastrous blind date remarked, part of the problem. I like films with great writing. Sure, I need good acting, but if there isn't a script worth following, I am bored beyond belief. I hate summer blockbusters. I live for the fall movie season. I can remember a great bit of dialogue longer than I could ever recall an action sequence. And I have a healthy respect and crush on the people who can create that kind of reality.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Striking Out

I am completely transfixed by the WGA strike and find myself refreshing Nikki Finke's site several times a day. As erratic as a writer as she is, she seems to be the only one doing the heavy lifting in terms of reporting. I am personally still chuckling at Jon Stewart, who managed to pretty much lay the whole thing out in typical tongue-in-cheek fashion.

I cannot believe how many non-WGA writers I know who think the Guild is being greedy and unreasonable. It is almost always a case of them not understanding the industry or the issues on the table, together with a little resentment at not being in the motion picture business. I had a friend-client (friendly client?) who is a successful (read: working) screenwriter call me today on an unrelated matter and we shared a laugh that we were both behind the Guild on this. The WGA is one nutty organization when it comes to mediating credit disputes, as he and I both learned during his dispute, but the Guild is pretty good about advocating on behalf of writers generally.

Also, I fell in love with a writer this weekend. I read this article from a link on Finke's page and was completely enchanted with the writer's voice. I have never, ever, sent an unsolicited email to a writer to praise him for his work, but Mr. Donnelly, the deputy editor of LA Weekly, got fan mail, and I now have a new friend. Wow. I have such admiration for people who can write like that. Also, my abiding crush on Sean Penn remains firmly intact. Whether or not you agree with his politics, which I do, he is genuinely and passionately opinionated, and those opinions are informed, which I find so damn attractive.

There are days when I think I could leave this city and move to the City of Angels. Today is one of those days. I think the only thing keeping me here at this point is my love for Seattle and the idea that three of the four siblings are local. I would lose my mind in LA after a year, if not sooner, but it is still something I have in the back of my mind. As between SF (and surrounding areas) and LA, I would much rather live in SF, but my interests and industry are in the most soulless city in the country.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What's In a Name?

When I first filed for divorce, oh, LAST FREAKING YEAR, I had the option of checking a box to return to my maiden name. I didn't give it much thought at the time, as I rather liked my married name, and certainly preferred it to my maiden name (which, by the way, is very close to the screen name I use here). My (step up) father adopted my sister and I shortly after he married my mother, so our last name by birth (that of the bio dad) was changed to that of our new dad. I have had three last names in my lifetime.

I didn't opt to change it back for a couple of reasons. First, I have built my career using this last name. Second, B had changed his last name shortly before our marriage. He, too, had been adopted by his stepfather when he was young, but that stepfather was no longer in the picture. He didn't want to pass that name along to me or our future kids, so he reverted to his last name by birth. Symbolically, we thought it was cool that we were both changing our last names, and because we adopted the name around the same time, I didn't think he had too much of a prior claim to it. Third, and as I said, I preferred my married surname to my maiden name. Fourth, and kind of silly, but reverting to my maiden name bothered me - like I was negating the marriage or who I had become during that time.

I am starting to rethink some of these reasons. Mostly, I am wondering if, by keeping my married last name, I am tethering myself to B for the foreseeable future. It is an Irish last name, and I am not Irish. I no longer think that retaking my maiden name is negating the marriage. I briefly entertained the idea of retaking my birth name, but I truly can't imagine a bigger slap in the face to my dad. In any event, while I am a part of that side of the family by birth and by blood, my loyalty is firmly with the family my dad and mom created, the one where we all shared a name, at least at some point.

I thought of all this today because I got a fantastic email from my dad. My dad is a very proud alumnus of the Naval Academy, and I am a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. Notre Dame has beaten Navy in college football for something like 53 years - it was the longest winning streak in college football. I needled my dad about it for years and he would usually make some remark about ND being assholes for running up the score on weaker opponents. Well, yesterday, the streak ended, as Navy beat ND after three overtimes. My dad is in the US (Houston) for a seminar, so I left him a voice mail and sent an email, congratulating him and granting him bragging rights for the year. This was his response - I have emphasized the line I loved the most:

Hope that you don’t wish that you did not make the call. You actually tapped a nerve.

Yes we won and it has been a long time. Not one of the Navy players in the last 30-40 years has been big enough or good enough to make a Notre Dame squad. Not one and the linemen are outweighed by at least 50 lbs/man. Our guys have 20+ hours per semester and no time for leisure. ND folks likely have the minimum and can pump iron all day.

And yet, intelligence and heart do play a role and yesterday it happened. Not likely happen again for a long time. In 6 months, most of the Navy seniors will go into combat. Maybe a few Notre Dame guys will actually be earning a living.

I watched all of my 4 years as we would be in the 4th quarter, ND would be ahead by 20-30 points and no chance at all for Navy to win and yet, ND did not pull the 1st string because they had to improve on their national ranking.

Notre Dame should be very ashamed of losing and even more ashamed to their past moves to run up the score on us. I have the same feeling for Penn State.

You won’t hear me brag much about Navy football but I am very proud of them and what they stand for and the impact that school made on my life. Even when we embarrass a school like ND.

I am even more proud of you and proud that you did well there.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Adventures in Dating

What follows is a cautionary tale in accepting random dates. Your mileage might vary.

I had planned on a quiet night at home with the dog, catching up on magazines, television shows and general laziness. This, for me, is the perk of single life - no accounting to anyone for my slugliness. I took Darbs to Greenlake around 4pm, as I needed an adrenaline rush, and the weather is too nice not to get outside.

Darbs is this weird attention getting dog. She has this expression when we walk that closely resembles a smile, so she garners looks of amusement. Because we do the random sprint thing (we sprint every quarter of a mile), she can get very excited and animated. Also, she is the most adorable dog on the planet, but whatever your head.

In any event, I saw this guy running around the lake and immediately noticed his shirt (certain university) and that he was into his music (mouthing the words). He was really cute, so I made eye contact and smiled. Long story short, he ended up backtracking and we jogged for about a mile. He asked me if I had dinner plans and I told him that I had planned to cook a few meals for the week, but could be persuaded.

Big fucking mistake. I agreed to go to dinner with him. He picked me up (another big mistake, as I usually don't reveal my address) and dinner was, quite frankly, horrible. He works in an industry I cannot stand, is smugly self-important about that, We had nothing in common, pop culture-wise (he loved Spiderman 3 and hates the Academy awards because they "reward the liberal directors who think the public wants to watch their overdramatic bullshit") and was generally offensive to the service staff. Bitched about the food ("I could learn to make this" was my favorite line), bitched about foodies and winos (hello, am both), and went on this weird rant about single women in Seattle being too "independent."

Yes. It was that bad. I was texting under the table and under the influence to anyone I could think of. I firmed up dinner plans for tomorrow night with the brother and the pea. I texted my sister, who implored me to stay the course and not flee to a cab. I excused myself to the restroom, where I returned said texts and made phone calls. I strongly contemplated fleeing out the back exit.

Instead, I returned to the table, tried again to initiate a decent conversation, and, upon realizing this was a futile battle, just gave up. "Hey, Greenlake Guy? we're not a match in any universe, and I am going to just cab it home." He seemed genuinely shocked and said "oh, you are one of those women that have to reject before you are rejected."

Yeah. That went over well. I said, "no, that isn't how I roll, but I think this night is over. Thank you for inviting me to dinner, it was lovely, and I have the tip, but I am leaving. Thank you for the invitation and the initiative."

I shit you not. He yelled at me as I left, calling me a "fucking self-righteous bitch who is probably a fucking dyke." I told him that I would prefer eating box to anything with him, so I thing we can surmise that this relationship is done.



This is something I have been thinking about for a few years, but haven't quite hashed out in any kind of detail. I just watched the latest Tell Me You Love Me (On Demand) and the whole thing hit me again.

When you breakup with someone, there is a ripple effect for your friends and family, and the same is true when someone in your inner circle of friends or family splits up a long term relationship. In the last year of our marriage, when things were shaky and thin, but neither of us acknowledged it, we somehow ended up reconnecting with D&K. They were old friends from the espresso cart-deli days, although they were never close friends. I never trusted D, although I admired certain characteristics of his, but I did like K. She seemed to be the kind of woman that could handle a guy like D, who had a long history of cheating (including on his former fiancee), as she would often publicly put him in his place. That was both refreshing and awkward.

D&K had one of their first dates at our wedding, and a year or so later, we went to theirs. I can't say that I had high hopes for their union, but over the years, they proved me wrong. They had a little girl, weathered some serious highs and lows professionally, and stuck it out. We lost touch with them as our lives went in different directions, but when D found himself needing something from B, we reconnected. The relationship was much as I had remembered, in that I still didn't trust D and still kind of liked K, but it was our shared history that was the glue of our renewed friendship. We had been young and dumb and poor, but were (then) older, smarter, and slightly more financially secure -- and our respective relationships were (then) intact. We had weathered the prior decade and survived.

A few months after we reconnected, their shit hit the fan. D, true to form, had been cheating on K with multiple women, and he was forced to tell her after contracting herpes. K threw him out and the separation process began. I was kind of disgusted that B had anything to do with D, and the one time he invited D to dinner with us, I actually got up and left. It seemed disrespectful to K to continue a friendship with D, who, it should be said, was pretty contrite about his transgressions and shortcomings. B and I had a few low level arguments about his ongoing friendship with D, but looking back, I realize that their breakup kind of facilitated ours.*

At the same time, another, closer (friends) couple split up on account of cheating. This was my dentist, A, and his sweet but vapid GF T. They had been together longer than B and I, albeit not married (A has endured a painful divorce), but we hadn't known them as long as D&K. Still, we socialized with them all the time, so their breakup had an effect on us. **

Before D&K broke up, we didn't have any divorced friends. Divorce, as popular as it is, just wasn't part of our vocabulary. It wasn't an option. But when D&K separated, it seeped into both our subconsciousness. If they could break up and divorce, even with all that history together, why couldn't we? The impossible became possible, and to this day, I still think, and perhaps credit, that their breakup precipitated ours. I certainly don't blame their breakup for our divorce, but I do believe that their breakup enabled ours.

I read or heard once that you should never use the word divorce in your arguments, and we never did (aside from one time, my first year of law school, when we actually went to the courthouse to fill out the paperwork, then hugged it out). Even after that, we never threatened it or even again mentioned divorce. Hell, even after we separated, it took two years before I introduced the idea of filing for divorce. To this day, B recoils when I mention our divorce and, as I recently learned, in certain circles, he still refers to me as his wife. This is probably why he stubbornly refuses to sign our property settlement agreement, despite living with another woman. A once said that B would wake up in a few years and realize he got divorced. Truer words have not been spoken.

I guess what I was trying to parse was that other people's breakups are often the catalyst for examining the cracks in your own relationship. When someone else takes the drastic action of ending a relationship, you are kind of forced to consider whether you (1) should or (2) could. It is both a blessing and a curse, but absolutely a reality.

Shortly before we separated, I watched a movie on HBO (a network that is probably breaking up marriages nationwide) called Dinner With Friends. It starred the nearly unwatchable Andie McDowell and the barely likable Toni Collette, but was redeemed by good writing, Greg Kinnear and Dennis Quaid. It pretty much nailed the whole issue of what happens when your good friends breakup. It does make you examine those things to which you can be willfully blind and can really disrupt your sense of stability, and, in my case, my shaky marriage.

Hardly earth-shattering revelations, but just something that has been stirring in my head.

* D&K briefly reconciled after his confession. That lasted a few months - or maybe a year. During that time, while B was secretly squiring his now live in GF, D&K were the only couple that were privy to the whole thing. Apparently, K didn't share my sense of loyalty. In any event, D was later revealed to be still cheating, and they went through an acrimonious divorce. K is about to move in with a pathological liar, whom I described in a prior post about crazy internet people. This is why I am not dating. Bad judgment.

** A&T got back together. It remains one of the more curiouser relationships I have ever known, but I am out of the business of judging other peoples' relationships.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I Hate Falling Back

Writer Guy called again this morning, wanting to firm up plans for tonight, but true to form, I canceled. At some point in the conversation, he used the word "girlfriend," which all but solidified my decision. It sounds so incredibly lame, but I know that any relationship I get into right now will end badly. And yet I see the end of the year creeping up and find myself realizing that I am still pretty far from wanting to start something like that up again.

On one hand, I hate these ridiculous thoughts. Fuck it - go for it, K. What is the worst that could happen -- that it ends badly? I can live through that. I like this guy and we have pretty decent chemistry, but it isn't the same as the ones in the recent past. Perhaps that isn't a bad thing, seeing as how those ones also ended badly. On the other hand, there is something to be said for realizing your limitations, and right now, I wouldn't want to date me. In the middle is the realization that I have actually been alone for quite a while and that doesn't really bother me.

I keep saying this, but I want to work on further developing my existing friendships and relationships. I haven't done much in the way of that, for all of my blog talk, but it remains a goal. I know that if I started a full blown relationship with Writer Guy and just surrendered to my natural tendency to nest that relationship, that goal would fall by the wayside, and that is almost precisely why I know I am not yet ready for all of that. It is so much easier to throw yourself into something new, rather than rehabilitate what you already have.

Suddenly, 2008 seems too close for comfort. Perhaps the better perspective is to stop with this whole mindset of "everything is going to be better" come January 1, 2008 and start living in the goddamn moment and accept my present reality.

This post made no sense. Par for the course, I suppose.

And let me just conclude with how much I hate the end of Daylight Savings Time. So ridiculous. Hate getting up when it is dark, leaving for work while it is dark, then coming home when it is dark. Hate. Hate. Hate. I also hate that goddamn "Hey There, Delilah" song so goddamn much, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Doggie Yoga

I canceled both dates. I sort of kept the door open, but can completely understand if both men write me off. I have never had any kind of anxiety about social situations, but the prospect of having a bad date just freaks me out. I hate that awkwardness and, to be honest, am kind of afraid (!) to be at the mercy of someone I just don't know. Just typing that, I realize how goofy I sound. But while I am all confessional, I also believe that, if and when the situation is right, I will just know and I won't have any qualms about going out with someone new.

And that will probably be Writer Guy. My phone rang this morning at 8am, as I was headed to work:

Writer Guy: Hey, cupcake (Ed. note: he has completely co-opted my term. Bothersome. ) - want to have lunch with me today?

Me: You know, I have a ton of things on my plate today, but thanks for asking.

Writer Guy: Doggie yoga?

Me: Among other things.

Writer Guy: Too bad. I hate going to Salumi by myself.

Me: Damn. I am totally up for Salumi, but unfortunately, I am wearing horizontal stripes.

Writer Guy: *stunned silence for about ten seconds* Ummm....what did you just say?

Me: I'm wearing one of my favorite fall comfort sweaters. Love the colors, but horizontal stripes are bad on anyone.

Writer Guy: Okay. Several things to dissect here. Comfort sweater? Horizontal stripes? If you are wearing it to work, why can't you be seen in it at Salumi?

Me: *long sigh* Some people opt for comfort food when they need it. I have comfort clothes. I have comfort clothes, lucky clothes, sexy clothes, fuck you clothes, ass kicking clothes, fat clothes, skinny clothes - basically, I have clothes for almost any state of mind. And I am wearing this sweater because I love the colors and the history of good times I have had in this sweater. I planned on eating lunch at my desk, so the universe of people who will see me in my offending horizontal stripes is in the single digits.

Writer Guy: Fascinating. I have never been turned down on account of horizontal stripes. I find myself needing to see this cock-blocking sweater.

Me: Quite an assumption you are making. But let's talk this weekend.

Writer Guy: Oh we will. Talk to you soon.

approximately three hours later....

Receptionist: (beeping my office phone) K, your lunch appointment is here.

Me: I don't have a lunch appointment. It is too early for lunch (just before 11am) anyway.

Receptionist: Well, then, your lunch date is here. I'll send him to your office.

Writer Guy enters my office.....

Me: The hell?

Writer Guy: Well, it works when I show up at your place. Thought I would test it at your office. I like your sweater, by the way. Your eyes look greener.

Me: (grabbing coat) You can't make a habit of this. I am only deigning to go out in my horizontal stripes because Salumi is involved.

Writer Guy: Yes, I have picked up on your weakness for good meat. Let's go have another non-date.

later, as we are inhaling the best sandwiches in town......

Writer Guy: So I am assuming you have diligently Googled me, but what you might not know is that I write for a few different websites on the side, but under another name.

Me: (lying through my teeth) Dude, I don't Google. If there is something I want to know about you, I will ask you. I hope you do the same and not snoop through my virtual online medicine cabinet.

Writer Guy: Is this when you tell me that you don't watch television? Of course I Googled you, and I don't believe for a second you haven't Googled me. Besides, I only Googled you because I wanted to make sure you didn't write a blog or anything.

Me: *rolls eyes dramatically* You thought I was a blogger? Jesus.

Writer Guy: Not really, but the last girl I dated, she blogged our entire, short-lived relationship.

Me: Really? What's the name of her blog?

Writer Guy: You know, I couldn't write a character as entertaining as you.

Me: All I ask is for a mention in the credits.