Monday, December 31, 2007

R.I.P. Marriage, August 6, 1994 - December 31, 2007

It is done. I am divorced (ugly word) and single (hopeful word).

I met B on Sunday morning at Starbucks. I was all business and he was desperately trying to have a prolonged conversation. He asked me about every member of my family, which is amusing, given how little interest he took in them while we were married. It was kind of sad, I guess, but I was ready. He again (!) asked to come to the condo, saying he "missed" it, but I told him it wasn't going to happen:

B: I don't understand why it is such a big deal for me to come to the condo.

Me: That's okay. It isn't important to me whether you understand. But it isn't going to happen.

B: *stunned silence*

B read through the proposed final court orders and said he would just sign them on Monday (today) at our court hearing. He didn't need to come to the hearing and I certainly didn't expect him at it, so I was insistent that he sign them right there. He kind of joked and smiled and said he would do it the next day, but I was not going to take the chance of him not showing up. I told him that there was no reason whatsoever for him not to sign right then and actually put the pen in his hand. He said he would come to the hearing because it was the right thing to do. I knew as he was saying it that while he believed that to be true, he wasn't going to do the right thing.

We both signed all of the papers and I got up to leave. B's eyes were pretty misty and he said "K, it isn't like we're never going to talk again. There is no reason we can't be friends." I sat back down, grabbed both of his hands, and told him that I needed to break up with him. That I needed a line in the sand between then and now, and that line can only be created with time and distance. I told him that I still and would always love him, the way you can only love someone you have known intimately for fifteen years, but in order to keep loving him that way, I needed to really break up our relationship - all of it. I told him I wanted to keep loving him because we meant something. We did. We always will.

The only way I can keep loving him is if I stay at a distance and really move on with my life, sans B. I know this in my bones.

Today, I woke up, putzed around the house and the internets, then got divorced at 10:05am. As I expected, B didn't show up at the hearing. I put my hand up, and swore under oath that our marriage was irretrievably broken, and I meant every word. When the judge said "this marriage is dissolved," I felt equal parts relief and sadness. It is so disconcerting to feel two extremes at once.

As I walked out of the courthouse, I texted J and emailed P, both of whom extended their fondest congratulations. I suddenly felt lighter (say, oh, 250 pounds lighter) and heard this song in my head. I should be embarrassed to admit it, but am not. It was the song that played in the final minutes of the series finale of Sex and the City. I felt....hopeful.

(Ignore the video clips, it was just the song that played loudly in my head. But if you want a true sense of what I felt when I walked out of the courthouse, hit play and start again from the beginning of this post. My life has a soundtrack.)

I am so very grateful for family and fanfuckingtastic friends who walked beside me during this whole process, including the people who read this. I promise that, in 2008, I will be better to all of you. I extend the most heartfelt 'thank you' to all of them and you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Last night, I finally got a whiff of the Christmas spirit.

True to form, I decided that 1:30pm on Christmas Eve day was the optimal time to start my Christmas shopping. By 3:00pm, I was done and pleased with my choices. It was a positively glorious day in Seattle and my mood lightened. Kyle offered me a ride up, and about 4pm, as dusk settled in, we headed up to Bellingham. It was, quite frankly, a perfect drive - great conversation and terrific music. I have always believed that Kyle and I are the most alike (among the siblings) and share the most interests and tastes, and the 1.5 hour drive absolutely flew by. It was nearly the polar opposite of the drive last Christmas Eve.

We ended up going into the city of Bellingham to grab some last minute groceries, and Kyle wanted to pick up some beer at his favorite local pub. It comes in these jugs that are just fun to serve, and while we waited for them, we grabbed a pint. Kyle looked at me earnestly and asked if he could bring up a topic that was none of his business. My family is pretty no holds-barred when it comes to most topics, so I told him to go for it. He then asked me if I was going to go back to my maiden name on Monday, the day my divorce is final. I told him that I had thought about it quite a bit and, were it not for my professional career, I would. He said, "you know K, I think this is the last part of the process for you." He laughed and said he understood why I wouldn't want to retake my maiden name, as, quite frankly, it can be obnoxious. But still, this wasn't about the name itself, but rather the principle.

We talked about it for a few minutes and then it hit me. Hell, I could legally change my surname back without any obligation to change my professional surname. I could do it gradually, if at all, and just slowly start changing names on my personal accounts. Suddenly, I agreed. This was the last part of the process. This is not about going back, but more about going forward without the umbrella of B&K. This is me - just me - not B's ex-wife. This is just me. Yes. A good plan. Thanks, Kyle. I just needed a paradigm shift.

When we arrived, we immediately encountered the parents in festive hats. Yes. This was good and right. Keegan and Elisha arrived about an hour later and we all just chilled and hung out. Keegan grilled steaks, I whipped up some pumpkin crack, we ate, watched TV, talked about the wedding, surfed the net and drank entirely too much great wine. It would have been a perfect night if my sister and her daughter would have been there. They aren't coming up until Friday, for the wedding, but I did talk to her on IM and let her know they were terribly and sorely missed. All in all, a nearly flawless Christmas Eve, at least by my standards.

Woke up, popped in the potatoes for the morning brunch and took Darbs for a long walk. There are plenty of places up there where she can run without the leash, and watching her burst in the open fields was a great present in itself. For a little dog, she has a surprising amount of energy and athleticism. She went nuts and completely wore herself out, and as we walked up the steep hill back to the house, she actually stopped and looked at me, as if to ask "would you mind carrying me the rest of the way?"

Answer: No. Buck up and let's sprint, little girl. Hills are why God gave us legs. You have four. Race you to the top.

I finished preparing our breakfast of green eggs (scrambled eggs with jalapeno pecan pesto) and ham (roasted bacon) and roasted potatoes. We finally got around to the business of opening presents and everyone was pleased. My parents bought me an ipod Nano, which I had wanted once I realized that the iphone battery cannot sustain my telephone and ipod habit (and that my last Nano's battery was dead). Keegan and Elisha got me a wine chiller, which is fabulous, and I scored a couple of good books and odds and ends. Keegan loved his Seahawk jacket (I owe Kyle for the tip) and Kyle seemed to like his ipod docking station/alarm clock. I got the parents gift certificates for golf, spa, dinner and other such things (nothing they have to lug back to Nigeria). It really is more fulfilling to give than to receive.

My favorite present, however, came a few hours later. Kyle had disappeared to his old room, attempting to ready it for the guests coming for the wedding. When he emerged, he brought me a CD he had just burned for me. He told me I would like it and I thanked him for the effort. I was reading Into The Wild, which is the book he got me, and made a mental note to listen as soon as I got home.

But I got the chance to listen on the drive home with Keegan and Elisha. They popped it into the CD player and lo and behold, Kyle had made me a CD with all of the songs we listened to on our great drive up. I was grateful for the darkness of the back seat, as I was really touched that he did that. That it was as good for him as it was for me, so to speak. I had already mentally composed a soundtrack for our trip, but he was thoughtful enough to put it in physical form. I will never forget that drive with him.

It never ceases to amaze me that the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart and soul.

I hope all of you had as soul-affirming of a holiday as I did. Merry Christmas, from every part of my heart.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Sap

Oh holy hell, am I having a maudlin kind of night. The kind of night where you know better than to answer or use your phone, and to stay as far away as you can from your email inbox. It is probably inevitable that, at this time of the year, you want closure from whatever conflicts or issues you had during the course of the year. I have plenty of those, most of my own making, and I am a firm believer in the unqualified apology. In order to give a meaningful one, however, you have to really give it consideration and preparation, and I haven't done the requisite, emotional heavy lifting. I am running out of time (how very 24), but hope to do that and all of my Christmas shopping this weekend.

And see four or five movies.

Speaking of which, and for no apparent reason other than the maudlin state of mind that required me to watch Message in a Bottle on cable tonight (why yes, I did read the book, and no, I didn't hate it), I started thinking about how many terrible movies I absolutely adore. The internets are probably not big enough for me to list all of my guilty pleasure movies, but seeing as this is the time of year for lists, I hereby nominate my top 10 sappy guilty pleasures. A word of caution: there lies ahead some truly bad movies.

10. Message in a Bottle: Yes, based on a sappy Nicholas Sparks book that I probably read in tears on a plane somewhere, the movie has Robin Wright Penn, who I find positively enchanting and who sports truly kickass hair in the movie. It also has Kevin Costner, who, an old friend once argued, is never in a terrible film. Costner won me over in The Upside of Anger and Mr. Brooks, and I never saw The Postman or Waterworld, so I accept that premise. Plus, it has Paul Newman and an eminently enjoyable soundtrack. Favorite scene is when Kevin Costner realizes Robin Penn has found a letter that his late wife sent to him, but he didn't know existed.

9. Stealing Home: Yet another flick involving love and death, I can never turn this one off when it comes on cable. The writing is pretty awful, and yet the story itself was very endearing. Plus, Mark Harmon, beloved star of Summer School, gets to be Mark Harmon. LOVE. Favorite scene actually doesn't have Mark Harmon in it, but rather a young Jodie Foster, who plays a junior Ms. Robertson to a young kid who just lost his dad.

8. Men Don't Leave: Staying with the love and death theme, this kind of bleak film had some incredibly poignant moments, often provided by the supporting characters of Joan Cusack and Arliss Howard (the latter of whom is in the top five of my list of strangely but wildly attractive men). Jessica Lange completely nails the state of spiraling depression after initially sustaining a heartbreaking loss, and the film carefully paces the story of her getting her shit back together. Favorite scene is when she is hurling muffins out the window.

7. Notting Hill: I don't hate Julia Roberts. I never have and, in fact, I actually like her. More than I will ever admit publicly. I don't think she's doing anything groundbreaking as an actress, but she has a screen presence that I usually enjoy. There is a scene in this movie that I can (and have) watched over and over - when she and Hugh Grant are walking though a private garden. There is such a lovely song in the background (You Say It Best (When You Say Nothing At All)) that, for me, cinematically captures the essence of falling in love.

6. Fabulous Baker Boys: This doesn't really fall into the terrible movie category, but still has a high dose of sap, since Michelle Pfeiffer sings. Set in Seattle, it depicts the life of two seasoned but weary career city musicians (the brothers Bridges) who hire a singer to spice up their piano act. My favorite scene involves a short road trip to a resort, where they are going to play on NYE, that features the most beautiful instrumental song by Dave Grusin. I remember watching that scene in the theater and, knowing that after the credits rolled, I would be headed to Tower Records to get the soundtrack. Which is still on my ipod. This is the only YouTube clip:

5. On Golden Pond: Again, not a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination, just one that tugs at my heartstrings. Hepburn, Fondas Henry and Jane, and Dabney Coleman. I get waterworks just thinking about how simply beautiful this film portrayed families and marriage. Favorite scene is when the onscreen grandson takes the family's Centurian (wooden speedboat) out on the water, with a brilliant Dave Grusin song (I think it is called New Hampshire Hornpipe) perfectly punctuate the energy. That is also on my ipod and one of my favorite songs to listen to while running on the treadmill.

4. Goodbye Girl: I am now veering way off the path of bad movies/guilty pleasures, as this, too, is a great film. The Neil Simon dialogue (he based the story on his marriage to Marsha Mason, the lead actress) is punchy and sharp, and the lifestyle of the working actors of 70's NYC is well captured. Hard to narrow my favorite scene, but probably one with the little girl character of Lucy (portrayed by Quinn Cummings, whose blog is linked on this site) and Elliot (Richard Dreyfuss, whom I believe won the Oscar that year).

3. (Tie) Say Anything and Almost Famous: I am on record that Cameron Crowe can do no wrong, and I have avoided Elizabethtown in support of my argument. The former film is a generational landmark, and the latter was one that made me want to stand up and applaud during the credits. Cameron Crowe is such a fantastic story teller, both as a writer and director. Everyone's favorite scene in Say Anything is the boombox scene, and I certainly loved it, but my favorite scene was when Diane Court came to the boxing ring after finding out her dad was a crook. Cusack asks her whether she needs someone or whether she needs him, then shakes off the question, saying it doesn't matter. In Almost Famous, I adore the scene where Kate Hudson dances alone on a stage to Cat Stevens' The Wind.

2. Love Actually: I am not sure if this is the best Richard Curtis movie, but it is my favorite and easily my favorite Christmas movie. Every time I watch it, I want to edit out certain storylines, particularly the awful one of the London boy, going to the US to meet chicks. However, most of the writing is terrific and it somehow captures my holiday spirit.

So many favorite scenes: the opening wedding scene with Kiera Knightly and the surprise performance of All You Need Is Love; the cue cards and caroling outside Kiera's door; Hugh Grant dancing to Jump by the Pointer Sisters (Ed. Note: would hit Grant with early, often, with abandon and on demand); Emma Thompson, asking her almost-cheating husband (Alan Rickman) what she should do about his wandering ways;this isn't the clip, but still a good one on that storyline; "Liam and his kid, "let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love"); this gorgeous little girl with a crazy set of pipes, singing Mariah better than Mariah; but my favorite scene is when Laura Linney attempts to have an intimate moment with the object of her affection, while the most beautiful song I have ever heard (Eva Cassidy's Songbird) is playing softly in the background.. (Another Ed. Note: I realize the previous clip is dubbed in a foreign language. I think my description still speaks for itself) Seriously - the song moves me to tears every time I hear it*(Final Ed. Note: Go buy the goddamn DVD, as you spend $3 every time you On Demand it. Also, go ahead and get the soundtrack while you are at it. Freak.)

1. Tootsie: This isn't anywhere approaching a bad movie and, in fact, is still my favorite movie of all time. It is an almost perfect comedy and love story, with some of the best one-liners in film history. I once read an interview with Jessica Lange, who said she loved to watch this movie because she filmed it while falling in love with Sam Shepherd and she seemed to be floating throughout it. My favorite scene is easily the one with her, Dustin and Brian Dennehey on the farm, while Stephen Bishop's It Might Be You tells the whole story of the moment. Seriously, that is how you marry visuals with music. Pretty much everything you ever needed to know about me is how much I love this song and this clip.

My favorite line, in any movie, is one of the final lines of the film:
"I was a better man, with you, as a woman, than I ever was with a woman as a man."

*If you haven't heard of her or her cover of the Fleetwood Mac song, click this link, kind of ignore the fan video and just listen to the song. Also, google her - really talented singer who died of cancer in her early 30's. It is, without question, the most beautiful love song I have ever heard and she had such a simple but perfect voice.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Disjointed Thoughts

In no particular order:

1. My dad just got in tonight from Nigeria and we went to Austin Cantina for dinner, the first time for all of us. As an aside, my parents would eat at Outback Steakhouse, Buca di Beppos, Cheesecake Factory, or any other chain restaurant if I didn't insist on expanding their dining horizons. It just amazes me that after 25+ years abroad, they have absolutely no sense of adventure when it comes to dining - either here or abroad. My dad always wants to eat something here he can't get overseas, but I seriously doubt he eats anything regional while in Nigeria. For whatever reason, that means chain restaurants, which is how us kids felt, as teenagers, when we got back to the States. Lucky for him, his daughter is an irrepressible city and restaurant snob who refuses to eat in such places. It is only fair. His career expanded my horizons, so, in his near-retirement years, I intend to expand his.

The place was amazing, by the way. Probably seats less than 30 people and all of the food is scratch cooked (homemade tortillas, garden fresh salsa, margaritas sans that awful sweet and sour bullshit). I am so very full. I can't remember the last time I ate after 6pm. I have breakfast, lunch and dinner as leftovers.

2. Today I did something for my cleaning lady of which I am proud. (Ed. Note: I cannot figure out how to write that sentence in a grammatically correct fashion without sounding horribly pretentious and edited.) I told her that I was going to be in and out for the next two weeks, and if she wanted to take the time off, she could. Almost sheepishly, she told me that she was saving up for a small freezer and I left it at that. When I got to work, I called a client who has an appliance business. I found the small freezer she was looking for and my client gave it to me at substantially less than cost, and about $250 less than she would have paid. It is being delivered to my place this weekend and when she comes next Wednesday, it will be here, wrapped in a bow. If I remember to buy a bow.

It felt like Christmas to do that. Give someone I don't know that well something she really wants and needs and completely doesn't expect to receive from me. That is my version of Christmas.

3. I love tumblr and am going to make sure every member of my family creates one over the holidays. I wish all of my friends who use the internet had one. If you try it for a few days and explore it, you will understand why. Yes. Please to be making a tumblr, if only for me, and really, it is all about me. I find myself posting there in a completely different way than here. This place is text-based and more intimate and serves a completely different purpose. Tumblr has a simple, addictive interface and is more like a scrapbook.


Darby sometimes curls up like a bug on the couch.

Other times, she lounges. She was born to be my dog.

5. Related: the POOP BELL (she is trained to ring this when she needs to go out. She rings it whenever she wants to go out, which is fairly regularly).

6. View from my office (northern conference room):

7. More people care about Britney Spears' sister being knocked up than the clusterfuck in Iraq.

8. I have sent letters of interest to seven countries and received five inquires in response. I think I need some time away.

9. Related (Scene: Me on the phone with the catering director for the Space Needle, who I have a connection to because of B):

Catering Guy: You are a delight and I really enjoy working with you.
Me: Thanks and thank you for all of your assistance in arranging this. You have all of my contact information, yes?
Catering Guy: Yes. (repeats my full name, then very excitedly asks:) WAIT! You're K! B's wife. OMG! We've met! We met at (local charity event). OMG! I love you two!
Me: pregnant pause. (thinks to self: will distancing herself from B result in less favorable treatment from Space Needle, who is now waiving almost every charge?). Yep, that's me.
Catering Guy: You can bring in two cases of wine, but don't tell anyone I said that. I know B has his own wine label.
Me: Yes, yes he does.
Catering Guy: Well, we'll do anything for you two. Bring it in.

10. My brother Kyle and I recently discovered that we have the same favorite Dave Matthews Band song. I don't get the DMB haters. Dave may not have much of a voice, but he can assemble talent. In any event, I have met him dozens of times and he is a great guy. He is no Hootie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

St. Dick

It is a week before Christmas,
And all through my house,
Not a present was purchased,
I am such a louse.

I have always hated shopping. I think that is an accurate statement, although I guess I remember going to the Gap with friends in high school and not exactly loathing the experience. Earlier, when we lived in Saudi, we used to come home to the States once a year, and during that lone month, we would power shop for clothes for the following year. That was always fun, I guess, as you collected a bounty that you modeled for your friends upon your return. But since I was old enough to have to spend my own money, I just don't really enjoy it.

I am not a browser (of the IE, Firefox, or even Opera variety). I don't enjoy window shopping. I don't enjoy malls whatsoever. There is something about the fluorescent lighting that just knocks me on my ass and makes me want to get out of there as soon as possible. When I go shopping, I usually know exactly what I am looking for and I plot my course accordingly. I hit Nordstroms for makeup related stuff and clothes, Banana Republic for clothes (no need to try them on - they have reliable sizing), Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table for kitchen stuff, Restoration and Pottery Barn (and a local place) for furniture. I am not an impulse shopper, unless I am deep in retail therapy, and usually, if I see something I want, I noodle it for a few days.

Which brings me to Christmas shopping. Hate doesn't begin to cover it. B did ALL of our Christmas shopping throughout our relationship. I am, quite frankly, terrible at it, partly because I hate it, but mostly because I never get it the though that B did. He once picked out a gift for my (then) best friend that she raved and raved about for its thoughtfulness, but to this day, I never told her that B picked it out. Family and friends? B did it all. He had that ability to look and shop for a particular person. I am more of the "stumble across something and think that so-and-so would like it" kind of buyer.

If I were a more organized person, I would employ this strategy year round and just store the goods until the holidays. I suspect I will never actually become this person, but a girl has to have goals. Now, I find myself in a familiar position - a week before Christmas and absolutely no presents purchased. None. Nada. And the odds are, I won't get it done in time. Again.

Last year, I saw a w00t off (woot) and bought everyone a Roomba. That was easy. This year, I have been derelict in my online shopping and have no "one size fits everyone" gift. A few years ago, I bought everyone my favorite book of the year. I liked the idea of supporting both the author and giving everyone a great read. I may try that tonight, as I have Amazon Prime shipping and a few more business days for shipping. But not everyone wants a book for Christmas, and I just haven't taken the time to really think about gift-giving. Keegan's wedding, year-end matters, absolute self-centeredness and apathy have intervened.

My mother asked me last night if there was anything I wanted and I had to think about it. A divorce, I thought - no complications on the 31st and finality, freedom and independence. I thought a little more and said a ipod Nano or a cast iron skillet, or just a GC to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table. Truth is, what I want cannot be purchased. I want a new direction, a happier perspective, and a little more inner peace. I want better relationships with friends and family and a sense of satisfaction that has eluded me. I want better judgment in friends and lovers and to regain my confidence in those judgments. I want my dog to lighten up and not be so fearful of other people. Hell, I want a little of that for myself.

I will likely make the obligatory weekend run to the hell that is downtown shopping and buy a bunch of crap for my family and friends that will involve little thought in the purchase. I saw something on Tumblr, from a very unlikely source, that made me think. I wish my family maintained a community Tumblr, where we randomly posted shit that interested us. I find that so fascinating and interesting and hope I can set it up over the holiday.

All I want for Christmas is peace of mind and heart. I don't think it is coming in the next week, but a girl can hope.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Google This

At the end of the year, people inevitably start thinking about how they are going to live life better in the next. We read round-up lists, summarizing the year in closing, and make resolutions for the upcoming one.

I started thinking about this little online project. I started it in a state of profound pain. I had finally realized that I was going to file for divorce and end a life than I had known for over a decade. Every breakup sucks out loud and I knew mine wasn't particularly brutal or vicious, but it was my heartache. I went to therapy and it was truly helpful, if not just a little soul-shaking, but I came to realize that what I was doing in that $150 hour each week was just fucking talking about it - and other shit rattling around in my head. I came to realize that if I took the time to actually write out some of those thoughts, I might save on therapy.

Turns out, that was true. I think I am up at least two grand.

Over the year and half that I have written here, I have fleshed out a lot of thoughts, and also written about truly insipid and mundane things. I have never written this for any audience or feedback, but have been grateful and touched by the friends who occasionally leave a comment. I am, of course, aware that this is the internet and this little journal is accessible to anyone who types the right keywords. That doesn't really bother me in any meaningful sense, as these thoughts and words only have value in context. This journal is only personal if you know me personally. Although I occasionally write about things that could hurt or embarrass people who know me personally, I usually try to keep it about me and my thoughts. I have also tried to edit myself with a mind towards the semi-public nature of blogs, mindful that at any point, I could find myself on the business end of a much more public examination of the words I have written.

Why the introspection? I read another person's blog today - someone I have never met in person, but have corresponded with occasionally over the past year. She never told me about her blog and I never sought it out, but it was somewhat publicly revealed, and I followed it down the rabbit hole. She, like me, considered her blog quasi-private - yes, easily accessible, but you had to know where to look, and she considered it her little secret. I knew some of her more personal issues, although I was always careful to let her tell me, rather than ask.

She is a real writer and a good one at that, and having some context to her words, I felt strangely empathetic and like a voyeur. Empathetic because we both were dealing with the emotional fallout of breakups, and like a voyeur because I wasn't sure I was supposed to be reading it. We aren't close friends, just occasional email buddies, and I sort of felt like I had secretly read her diary. I had more context that the other people who stumbled across it and that made me feel guilty as I read her written thoughts. I almost wanted to apologize to her for reading something so private, but then again, how private is writing a blog on the internet? Not hardly.

She sent me an email today and actually apologized to me for not telling me about it. I couldn't believe it. She doesn't know about this little corner of my internet and, truthfully, what the hell would it matter? That kind of gave way to a larger picture for me and I realized that I am not ashamed of anything I have written here, even if some of it is melodramatic and immature. I haven't embarked on any character assassinations or skewered my boss or defamed anyone, although I suspect my soon-to-be ex wouldn't be particularly pleased with his portrayal here. If nothing else, this is just an experiment of sorts - an electronic document of where I have been. Yes, it is sometimes profoundly personal and other times remarkably dull, but it is mine and I own every goddamn word.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lessons Learned From My Brother's Bachelor Party

1. My brothers are always my favorite people to hang out with. Always.

2. Keegan (groom) likes his dive bars and I dig that about him. Although sometimes, there are slightly jarring sights to be seen:

(Yes, that is a very hairy ass, and an arm lovingly wrapped around him and up in his shirt. For every lid, there is a pot.)

3. Keegan is still close friends with his buddies from high school, which he attended for just his senior year and while living with me and B on a 30 foot boat. B and I had been married for just a year at that point. In hindsight, that seems almost surreal, but it was one of the best years of my life. And I love that Keegan has the ability to retain and nurture his long-term friendships.

4. Next year will be a monumental one for Kyle, and that gives me a happy. My brothers are both really happy, well-adjusted men.

5. Being called a SILF by your brother's friends is not nearly as offensive as you might think.

6. Related: Kyle has mad cockblocking skills and isn't afraid to use them. For that, I am grateful.

7. Beer is always your best option if you are looking for endurance and stamina partying. Shots are a surefire way to cut an evening short.

8. Strippers and strip clubs aren't nearly as fun as a party bus filled with friends and family. I am sort of proud that they knew that.

9. The best nights are the ones that you don't overplan and just go with the flow. You cannot organize the kind of night we had last night. Kyle and I got a ride home with the party bus driver, in his own personal vehicle. At 3am.

10. Until last night, I was unaware that my dog held me to a curfew. She feels pretty strongly about it, too.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Passion Fruit or Durian

I am in some whacked out, end-of-the-year funk and I cannot seem to shake it. Is it just being anxious at getting some, oh, major life event over done with, gone with? That's surely part of it. Excitement for my brother's wedding? Definitely. Boredom and burnout at work? 180%. Mostly, I think, no, I know, that I created this completely artificial line in my sand, where the old life ends and the new life begins. Right now, I want to jump into the new life.

I'm completely ADD about that, too. Travel back to Colombia. Maybe take a job overseas. Contemplate the idea of a new relationship. Too many potential changes, and yet I am kind of intoxicated by the possibilities. I just want to get this year the fuck over, get the final divorce hearing the fuck over, dance and celebrate the joy of my brother's wedding, and wake up to 2008 with shit behind me.

Here is what I know for certain - the status quo isn't working for me, and I alone have the capability of altering the status quo. That is both empowering and kind of paralyzing. I have this tendency to shake everything up and bite off way more than I can chew, which is why I have been so cautious over the past few months. I do so much better with baby steps and building momentum and I need to harness that skill sooner, rather than later.

What do I want most? I want to love to go to work and feel challenged and stimulated by my professional life. Perhaps that is a misplaced priority, but that is what I want most. I don't have it now, and my firm is not to blame. Well, not entirely. This is more me realizing that I do need a line drawn somewhere between then and now, and my current employment might be a casualty of that need. I am willing and eager to work 12 hours a day, but want to do it for something I feel passionately about.

And that, in a nutshell, is it. I want to feel passion again. Once you've tasted it, in whatever form, you crave it. I realize that actually desiring passion is a luxury most folks can't entertain. Hell, I am not sure that I am not being melodramatic and impractical by desiring it. My dad has one of the strongest work ethics I've ever known, yet I doubt he would describe himself as passionate about his work. He takes great pride in a day and job well done, but I don't think he is in his dream job. He takes more pleasure in hanging out with his kids when he is home and being around family. Maybe my priorities are just completely fucked, as I am pursuing an opportunity that would take me far away from my family.

The lesson I learned in the course of my breakup with B is that ultimately, I am responsible for the course my life has taken and the direction it can go. Sobering, that. It is a liberating and kind of scary realization. Unhappy? No one to blame but me. Bored? Ditto. Unfulfilled? Here's looking at you, kid. The buck firmly stops with me, and any setbacks or heartaches I have had are behind me. I can either look over my shoulder and risk running into walls, or dare to look ahead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Got Nuttin

Tired, burned out, and nothing to say.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tired of Being Blonde

No, I never really was, aside from a period where my highlights got out of control. I had the song by Carly Simon as my daily earworm and I realized I am fucking tired.

Tired of B. Tired of the story of us. Tired of rewriting history or otherwise trying to fill in some blanks. Just tired of the whole thing. B would say he has worn me down by attrition, but of course, he learned that word from me. I think he vaguely understands the concept.

So this is the face of apathy and indifference. Good to know. I haven't returned a phone call in nearly two weeks, despite his random show up at my place with his mother in tow (no, did not answer the door - have mad, stealth skills when it comes to random show ups). I cannot believe how long it took me to get here, but now that I am here, I am already bored. Let's just end this thing, Old Yeller style. Annie, get your gun.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Three Weeks

And my marriage will finally come to a successful conclusion. Although it appears that I failed at both marriage and divorce, this chapter will soon be over and chapter 37 will soon begin. Last year at this time, I was just trying to get through the end of the year and was so hopeful that 2007 would be better.

I am a different kind of hopeful now. 2007 kicked my ass a little harder than 2006, as I realized that I had many unrealistic and flat out inaccurate assessments of certain friends and relationships. I had not done the heavy lifting of figuring out where I wanted to go from here and often lost myself in diversions, most of my own creation. The most important lesson I learned is that if you aren't honest with yourself and your relationships, they will inevitably blow up when you least expect it. Actually, make that the second most important lesson I learned. The most important is one that I always knew, but forgot along the way: life is meant to be lived deliberately (deference given here to Thoreau).

I have spent the better part of the last three months just being quiet, all evidence on this blog to the contrary. Sometimes, if you just shut the fuck up and accept that you aren't firing on all cylinders, you can prevent errors in judgment. I am not ready to share my life with anyone right now, at least not romantically, and I am cool like Fonzie with that. The end - the true end - of my relationship with B has finally come about, as I have reached the state of mind I never thought I would attain - absolute indifference. Although I realize it was just weeks ago that I was crying in public, I think I was just letting go and saying goodbye to those chapters of my life. It is difficult to do that, at least for me, because those chapters were important and significant. However, I have come to realize that saying goodbye doesn't mean negating those chapters or pretending they didn't happen. It just means moving on and daring to imagine a different life for yourself - one that probably doesn't look anything like the one you once had.

Truthfully, I think I was scared to do that - scared to fully imagine a life independent of B and our former life and history together. That has only taken me three and a half years to admit, which is kind of pathetic. I was talking with a friend of mine who is also going through a divorce and it has been fascinating to hear it from the other side. To completely mangle a Tolstoy quote, all happy marriages resemble each other, but each unhappy marriage is unhappy in its own way. While all divorce stories do start to resemble each other after a while, every person I know that has gone through a divorce has their own unique battle scars and baggage.

Although I know that it takes great perseverance and commitment to work on a failing marriage, I also now know that it takes an equal, if not greater amount, of courage to leave a relationship that is comfortable but not fulfilling. I now know that there is careful choreography in figuring out when to stay and fight and when to raise the white flag. In our case, we failed at staying and fighting when change and improvement was possible, then denied ourselves when it was clearly time to walk away. As much as I like to assign blame to B for needlessly keeping me in his life, I permitted it. Was it a waste of time? I am not sure, as I don't know that I would be this peaceful and genuinely okay with the end. I made a shit ton of mistakes where he and I and us were concerned, but I am finally okay with them and ready to move the fuck on.

I am all about silver linings and mine is that I know better now. I know more about communication and bullying and that choosing your battles means more than letting shit slide for the purposes of marital harmony. I still believe in picking your battles, of course, and letting the petty shit slide, but I have found a voice that I had silenced for too long. As I am just learning to speak with this particular accent, I am going to take it slow and deliberately for a while and start listening to that particular voice a little more carefully.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Under the Colombian Sun

After my little rant yesterday about my professional malaise, I decided it was time to travel. Certainly not "quit your job and travel the world," as I have yet to put my first million in the bank, but time to plan a purely personal trip. Not to a beach or skiing or anything like that. It was time to travel, by myself, and have my Diane Lane moment.

I had planned on going to Italy, and not just because of that cheesy movie, or Eat, Love, Pray, for that matter. Both of which I enjoyed without any shame. No, I want to go to Italy because it is one of the countries to which I have never been, and exactly the kind of place I want to go by myself. I want two weeks in Italy, free to go wherever I want and on no one's schedule and agenda but my own.

As an aside, isn't it crazy how positively extravagant a two week vacation sounds? I don't even know how much vacation time I get a year, as I generally have used my vacation days as add-ons for weekend trips or extended business jaunts. No one has taken issue at the office, but my mental health is beginning to register some complaints and, as a resolution for next year, I am going to take at least one two- week trip.

So I started researching and realized that I have much to learn about where I want to go and stay, and that two weeks may not cover what I want to see and do in Italy. I know that if I am in Europe, the temptation to go to other countries will be overwhelming and again, I will cram too much into two weeks and the whole thing will be a blur. Maybe. I may need three weeks in Europe, and three weeks is two more than I have ever taken at once. Baby steps.

I started thinking about places I have been but would like to revisit now - as an adult. As an independent, self-sufficient, single woman. Ideally, it would probably be Saudi, but practically speaking, that isn't possible.* I loved Indonesia as well, but it doesn't have the same feeling of home, that, say, Colombia does. I went to high school in Colombia, although I spent the better part of it wishing I was in the United States, being a regular teenager. That kind of horrifies me now and I would love to go back and revisit the haunts of my youth while also seeing the city through a new prism.

I read this article today, and lo and behold, Bogota checks in at 21. It was a sign. Yes, this feels right. I am going to go to Colombia this spring and see what it feels like to go home. Or, at least, one of my homes. I am going to spend a good deal of time in Bogota, but am also going to hit Medellin, Cartagena and Santa Marta, the latter of which is a place of one of my fondest high school memories. I am so excited to plan this trip and to once again travel.

Traveling was something that B and I never did, aside from trips to California, Vegas, New York and Texas, and international travel was something he really wasn't even curious about. Of course, that meant that my desire to travel fell by the wayside, despite growing up overseas, and right now, that just seems utterly pathetic. There are many silver linings to divorce, not the least of which is rediscovering what pushes your buttons and inspires you to be just be fucking happy and satisfied with yourself.

Of course, if traveling to Colombia doesn't relight those fires, well, there's always all the blow.

*Well, HOLY SHIT!! We can go back! My sister just sent me this. I am not going to shitcan the Colombia trip, but damn if I might just make proper use of vacation leave next year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Legally Blind

I have spent the better part of the past two days, trying to figure out if this professional malaise is temporary or fatal.

There are things I absolutely love about the practice of law. I love intellectualizing an issue and noodling it in my head until I fully understand the nuances of the issue. As I am fond of saying, usually, the law follows logic, although in practice, that's another story. But when it comes to understanding why a particular law or cause of action exists, or the policy behind the law? I am an utter law geek. I love jurisprudence, even when I disagree with a particular jurist (and yes, I am looking at you, Scalia, although you sold out long ago).

In short, I love the law in theory. I have come to really resent the law in practice.

There are many reasons for this. As a practical matter, the whole business model of billable hours is horseshit. It encourages inefficiency, as there is little financial incentive to get an issue or a briefing done sooner, rather than later. Of course, the tautology in this is that you cannot spend too much time on a matter, lest your client bitch about taking three weeks to write a pleading, which, honestly, might be required, given the issues. I have thought about this model for years and am not certain that I have a solution. It is damn near impossible to quote an accurate professional service fee for a given legal issue, as there are just too many variables, including others I shall bitch about shortly. Still, there is pretty much nothing more unbearable than keeping track of your professional hours in five minute increments.

Opposing counsel and other attorneys are another source of burnout. I am fortunate to practice in a smaller city, where it is more likely than not that you will encounter your opponent socially or by happenstance, and if you were a blustering asshole in court or in a meeting, you will feel shame when the suits are off. LA and NYC litigators? Truly insufferable. The worst attorneys I have dealt with locally don't even approach that level of arrogance and showmanship-style theater. Still, and perhaps it is because I have never had a marginal case, in that I have always believed strongly in the merits of my client's case or defense, I have been rendered speechless more than once at my opposing counsel's position and tactics.

By far (aside from the billable hours thing), the most frustrating thing about practicing law is that judges are completely and often fallible. There is this social contract we have with the judicial and court system, wherein we believe that the judges are wise and competent and will pore through the law to levy justice. That is a highly fictional social contract, even among the most professional and intellectually engaged jurist. The court system is overburdened and even the best judge spends 1/100th of the time you've spent (arguing and thinking, considering and briefing the case) considering the matter. This is why truly great litigators are worth every dime they are paid: they can read a judge and determine where they are getting sidetracked or otherwise misguided and can redirect them to the underlying legal issue.

Yes, I am still hung up on that oral argument, as I now would give almost anything for five more minutes in front of her. I am crossing my fingers that she, too, is a law geek and, after noodling it a while, will come to our side, but alas, I have seen far too many render a lazy decision that is inevitably calculated to pass the buck (appellate court, etc.). I do this after every oral argument - second guess my performance, beat myself up on not having realized where the judge was wrong, because even attorneys have this stupid reverence for jurists and their superior analytical skills.

If I get an unfavorable ruling, I have a motion for reconsideration already prepared, and that is where I will get my proverbial five more minutes. Failing that, I will go to the Court of Appeals.

But tonight, here is where I am at. I don't like my job right now. I don't want to work for a law firm anymore. I don't want to record my life in five minute increments and I don't want to be involved in cases like this, where common sense is not even a footnote. I like being involved in projects that are creating something, building alliances, putting together deals, and not fighting over issues that any bloke on the street could mediate.

The hardest thing for me is considering not being an attorney. I knew I was going to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember - aside from a very early childhood fascination with becoming a flight attendant. I have never considered any other career, and yet now, I am. Being a lawyer is truly in your blood and that devotion pulses through my veins. I will always be an attorney, whether or not I am actually practicing law. But right now, for better or worse, the idea of not practicing law is firmly and attractively on the table.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Totally courting the pervs with that title.

I had an oral argument today that meant a lot, and, as par for the course, I am kind of beating myself up for every little thing I didn't say and should have said.

I have mentioned this client before -- 22 year veteran of a police department (not a cop) with not just an unblemished record of public service, but fucking stellar. Long story short, her boss (Chief of Police) got wind of the fact that my client -- a records technician -- was inputting the data then contained on fucking post-it notes onto an electronic (excel) spreadsheet, such that anyone who reviewed it could see departmental inefficiencies. He freaked, placed her on paid administrative leave, pending an INTERNAL INVESTIGATION, and, when he realized he couldn't discipline a records specialist for keeping goddamn records, trumped up a bunch of assorted bullshit against her in the form of "discourteous conduct."

I know this is going to sound female bashing, but goddamn if women aren't fucking catty at work. One of the persons interviewed ("did you ever have any problems with [redacted]") recounted a story from twenty years ago at a goddamn Tupperware party. And, I should add, the City used this little story ("[redacted] was abrasive") as evidence of her discourteous conduct.

Anyway, I can't say much more, but wanted to throw this out there. One of the bases for our appeal was a conflict of interest. To be concise, the City's Police Department placed her on admin leave and ultimately suspended and demoted her (for remarkably bullshit reasons that I won't get into). When such an event happens to a public servant, they have the recourse of appealing to a Civil Service Commission. The statute says that the Civil Service Commission has the right to retain independent counsel. Guess who the Civil Service Commission retained? An attorney for the City!

Again, can't say a whole lot, but the standard of review for the Superior Court is whether a disinterested party would perceive that the proceedings were not fair to the accused. Here, the attorney representing the Civil Service Commission, which was charged with independently reviewing the City's decision, was also an attorney of record for the goddamn City. That, my non-legal friends, is textbook conflict of interest. Want it to get worse? Her colleague (at a private law firm), represented the City in the proceedings. To be clear - the same law firm represented both the adjudicating body and the prosecuting body, and the attorney who represented the adjudicating body was also an attorney of record for the prosecuting body. The attorney advising the Commission was therefore advising the Commission as to the propriety of the advice given by her colleague at her law firm.

Holy fuck, right? There is no way this passes the smell test. Yet our judge, whom I admired greatly, got a little lost. She had absolutely NO QUALMS expressing her disgust and disapproval with the situation and the law firm at issue, deeming it a clear conflict of interest. Yet she drilled me, for a while, as to why WE didn't make the conflict more abundantly clear during the hearing. The hell? We are to be faulted for not drawing the diagram to the Commission that - hello, independent counsel generally means not hiring counsel for an arguing party?

I am pissy and drained and this probably makes no sense to the lay person, but honestly, I am so burned out at judges who don't do the fucking work. This, more than anything, makes me hate practicing law - judges who don't do the work. Yes, overworked, heavy case loads, all of that. I get it. But this is bright line territory. You cannot have an attorney represent an adjudicating, quasi-judicial entity who is SIMULTANEOUSLY counsel for one of the parties before that judicial entity. Textbook, first year law school shit. Fuck, right now, I just hate everything about the legal system (not justice system, by a long shot) and I have to wait to see if my judge can get a very basic concept:

If there was a conflict of interest, which the judge fully articulated DID exist at the time of the Commission hearing, then the whole process was bunk and tainted. Instead, because of the fucked up standards of review, my judge is bogged down in the issue of whether we fully articulated our objection to the dual representation. No competent judge would get bogged down in that. The issue is not whether she satisfactorily raised, the issue is whether there was a goddamn conflict of interest that tainted the process.

Yes. Wine. I know.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Very Special Christmas Post

Ed. Note: I wrote this immediately after last night's post, but held off on hitting the publish button because of the personal nature. I suspect that one day this blog will be nuked out of orbit, but you cannot erase the internets entirely. Thing is, I felt pretty cleansed after writing it out, so here goes

The Charlie Brown Christmas, together with this article in the Sunday NYT, brought up a memory that I once tried desperately to suppress, and only now and again brings me pause and consideration.

I graduated from high school a year early and was so very ready to be a normal American college student. Although I now realize that I had one of the better upbringings possible, at the time I went to college, all I wanted was to go to football games, cheer for teams other than soccer, go to frat parties and live the life I had read about in terrible teen books and magazines. Overseas, I had a shared experience with an incredible group of people, but when I came home from the summers, my US friends found my life both exciting and exotic. Conversely, I envied their lives of having the same friends for years, who didn't move and disappear forever, and the traditions of a US school year. Yes, I now realize how dumb that was.

I went to the University of Texas in some bizarre attempt to assuage my dad, who is from Texas, plus UT was a big school. I wanted to go to the biggest school possible and be the smallest fish in the biggest pond. I have a loud personality and I was then ready to observe the US culture from a comfortable vantage point. I knew absolutely nobody at UT - not a single soul, which can be daunting at a school of over 50,000. I had arranged to live in the right dorm (rich bitch, white girls' dorm, though I didn't know any of that at the time) and I entered UT with a blank slate. And no social network to speak of.

(I have many stories of that time. I learned a lot and made some lifelong friends. This isn't one of the better tales.)

I was one of those girls who didn't sleep with their boyfriends in high school. It was both an intellectual and emotional decision - every chick I knew who gave it up was a complete wreck when troubles arose in their relationships and I didn't want the drama. I also knew I wasn't ready for it and all of the shit that comes with it, so yes, I was often called a tease, frigid, prudish, whatever. I knew I wasn't, but the words still stung at the time. I developed intellectually more so than sexually, and while I greatly enjoyed a quality make out session, I was not ready for intercourse or oral sex. Heavy petting? Hell, yes. Potential pregnancy, STDs and that level of intimacy? Hell, no.

So first year of college, I had a boyfriend in WA, albeit a very shaky relationship and not one I felt particularly faithful to, unless I was being hit on by the wrong guy. My rich bitch roommate and I both pledged sororities (another long story) and I miraculously got in a good one (again, another story). Loved the girls, for the most part, and loved the sense of an instant community. One night in December, I was set up by my house president, who prided herself on just knowing who was a match.

She was right. I went to Russ' dorm formal, which was held in San Antonio, and had a goddamn blast. He was sharp, clever, funny, sexy and I spent the better part of the evening on his lap or in his arms. We had great chemistry and I liked him a lot. I drank too much that night and was too.....too. Too affectionate, too gregarious, too much of an exaggeration of my personality as a rule. When we got back to Austin and he walked me back to my dorm, we kissed passionately and hungrily. He finally told me that he had a date for his fraternity formal the following night, but that he was going to cancel and he wanted me to be his date. I think I floated up the stairs that night, I was so flattered and into him. He liked me.

The next night, I was a tad more reserved. My dress wasn't as revealing, I didn't drink as much, and I was much more "me." I remember us dancing a cloying slow dance and he whispered in my ear "I am so glad I chose you tonight." As I am wont to do when someone gets mushy, I changed the subject and whispered back "well, I did give up a the Charlie Brown Christmas to be here." I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, since we were never in the States during the holidays. He pulled back, his face excited, and said "I am recording it! Both that and Frosty the Snowman! Want to go back to my dorm and watch it?" I was bored and wanted to be alone with him, so I said yes. I liked him a lot.

We got to his dorm room and the first thing I can recall was his answering machine message - he had the Jeopardy theme and nothing else as his greeting. Loved it. We settled down on the bed and he turned on the cartoons he had recorded. We cuddled, kissed, and watched it. It was all good, until it wasn't. At some point, my usual buzzkill signals were discarded and his horniness gave way to determinedness. As far as sexual assaults go, this was fairly benign, as I merely had a pillow awkwardly but purposefully launched over my face and no other violent physical violence, aside from a penis thrusted repeatedly in me. Still, very few women imagine their first time to be punctuated with periods of trying to breathe with a pillow on their face, and all told, I have to score the whole experience on the negative scale.

To this day, the strangest and scariest part of it was him removing the pillow after he came, kissing me and telling me how good I felt. Then he asked if I wanted to take a shower. I was so out of it and freaked that I just said "no" (AGAIN) and he got up to take a shower. I grabbed my belongings and ran out of the room, convinced he was going to follow me. I actually left a shoe in his room. Cinderella!

I fled outside and got in the first cab I could, even though my dorm was only blocks away. I knew enough to go to the hospital, and thereafter, I had the most unpleasant experience of a rape kit. As it was my first time and had just lost my virginity, there was plenty of blood work, and a little bruising, but no skin underneath my fingernails or any telltale signs of rape. A city attorney had been summoned (I now know just how low such a person is on the legal food chain) and he strongly discouraged me from filing any charges. I had been drinking (albeit not much), I knew my 'alleged' attacker, no obvious signs of forced intercourse, and I willingly went to his dorm room. He (city attorney) said he was confident that if he interviewed my Russ' frat brothers, they would say I was all over him, we had been dating, I was drunk, etc.

It was horrifying and humiliating, but I told that city attorney that I would press forward and file charges. Fuck that motherfucking noise. I believed in the criminal justice system at the time and, as a future lawyer, would not be daunted by frat boy witnesses. I distinctly remember the city attorney rolling his eyes, saying he (my date, Russ) would be released on his own recognizance, and that I would regret the decision as the 'mistake of my life.'

He was partly right. The next morning, I got a call from the house president who had set me up with the fucker. She was almost hedging her bets, expressing horror and sympathy alongside subtle seeds of doubt. She begged me to recant my claims, as it would "bring disrepute" upon the house as a whole. Mind you, I knew NO ONE at UT and the bulk of my social life revolved around the house. She told me I would forever be branded at UT as a 'narc' and 'problem girl' and that I wouldn't get many offers for dates, and seeing that I was a freshman, that might be social suicide. My roommate told me the same thing and implored me to recant and drop the charges. I confess that I strongly considered it and felt like a drama queen. After all, I had been drinking (although I was far, far from drunk at the time, as I remember every second of it), I had been on the guy's lap the night before, and I had really liked the guy and hadn't been shy about expressing that.

I should add one more layer here. I have really regular menstrual cycles and was completely freaked that he fucked me while I was fertile and ovulating. I scoured the library (no internets back then -- Stone Age) and realized that he had come inside me during the proverbial three to five days a month a woman could get pregnant. I was terrified of being pregnant. Terrified. I think that terror led me to decline to drop the charges, as if I had to get an abortion, at least I had a really good excuse.

I refused to recant, and my sorority sisters were PISSED. I remember one of the sorority officers telling me "all of us have had sex we regret, but it isn't rape." I had to think about that for a long time, or at least, the two weeks between that event and Christmas Day, when I got my period (still the best Christmas gift ever). Was it regretful sex or rape? I screamed "No, stop. Please" until the pillow action, to no avail, but did I do enough? Was I clear enough? Did my actions the night before inform him the next night? Yeah, I have lived with these questions for years. I own my responsibility for what happened that night, but no, he had no right or invitation to do what he did.

Way too long of a story and someday, I will post the PS to all of this. Suffice to say, like the author of the NYT article, I was kind of thrown under the bus at my sorority. They hated the attention the month long investigation inflicted, and nearly every girl in the house implored me to recant and withdraw the claim and to "let it go." The bad guy eventually pled guilty to a lesser offense and eventually apologized, after being threatened by one of my best friends and her posse of ten guys with bats (something I knew nothing about and was horrified to learn, although in hindsight, a pretty fucking kickass move by my friend). He left UT shortly after that, but I saw him a year later and he broke down in tears when he saw me. I forgave him a long time ago.

I had a harder time with the women who wanted me to go quietly into that good night and just accept it as a fact of college life. I didn't come to resent women, as did the author of the article, but it taught me a lesson that I still refuse to fully accept: women are often the biggest enemies to other women.

One day, perhaps, women will learn that we aren't competing with each other, at least in the big picture. My harshest betrayals have been from women, and it never ceases to amaze me how positively cruel it can be, to say nothing of the irreparable nature of such acts. It also never fails to stun me that women see other women as their biggest rivals - so very short sighted. Yet there is probably a reason that most of the female friends who have hurt or betrayed me have a very small social circle and no close female friends. It occurred to me tonight that of the small group of women that have truly hurt me, none of them had meaningful friendships with other women, aside from me.

The sorority girls aren't included in this, and, unlike the author, I wasn't forced out. After all of the bullshit settled, almost everyone privately told me they admired my willingness to publicly right a wrong. I keep in touch with many of them and they aren't of the female-hating persuasion. Despite routinely becoming friends with females who hate their own gender, I still have a great network of female friends, and although I love my male friends, I count on the girls when push comes to shove.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weather Girl

I live in the Emerald City for many reasons, not the least of which is that the weather here just freaking agrees with me. Given that I grew up in Saudi, went to college for a few years in Texas, and law school in goddamn Indiana, I have no tolerance for extreme climates. I was apparently more adaptable in Saudi, as I don't remember hating the heat, but I do recall being so irritated with the heat and humidity in Austin and as far as Indiana goes, the whole middle of the country can suck itself dry and impotent. I don't understand the idea of living in a place where it is uncomfortable to be outside 9 months out of the year. Perhaps my idea of comfort is just out of whack, but if you cannot comfortably jog a few miles without your lungs crystallizing in the winter or without becoming drenched in the summer, it just isn't comfortable to me.

Seattle has about ten days a year where the temperature rises above 85 degrees, and another ten where the mercury dips below 30. For the most part, fall days are in the 50s and 60s, winter days are in the 30's and 40's, spring somewhere in between, and summer between 75-85 degrees. For all the hoopla about rain, we actually get less annual rainfall than most major cities, and the rain is rarely activity defeating. Sure, you have months of bad hair days and the gray days can wear on the seasonally sensitive, but those days just make our four month summer that much more kickass.

We do tend to get one or two days of nutty weather, usually windstorms or a freak snowfall. The local media goes batshit, the city shuts down and the locals get a chuckle. Today, however, we got wind and a shitload of rain and it was a clusterfuck. Check out the photo galleries to get a good sense of how bad it was. I think I heard that it was the second most amount of rainfall in a day that Seattle has withstood. And usually, the fallout occurs in the 'burbs and outlying areas, but this morning?

For the few of you who read this who haven't been to my place, this is approximately 150 feet from my building. The road in front of my house was closed until 4pm this afternoon and there are still workers trying to get things under control. Not nearly as dramatic or cool, but this is what it looked like at noon today (and most of the day) outside my office window:

Nasty. Still better than what the middle of the country deals with, and certainly not a hurricane, tornado or any other such bullshit, but certainly more than we usually deal with.


My work malaise continues and I am starting to make some decisions. Watch this space for professional growth.


Charlie Brown Christmas is on. Brings back a pretty traumatic memory, but not one for tonight.


Finally, last night, I got home from my weekly dinner and Dexter at the pea's and I was uncharacteristically restless. I putzed around for a while, then, at approximately 10:30pm, I got a wild hair to cook something I had seen on the Food Network over the weekend (my parties on the couch are positively rock star). It was a filling for a steak that I decided would taste great in my morning burrito, so I fired up the stove top and sauteed garlic, onions, shallots, pancetta, parmesan and drained and thawed frozen spinach. I can only imagine what my neighbors thought about the wafting smells at that hour, but I was right - it did work well in my morning burrito.

Emboldened by this success, or perhaps a wee bit buzzed by the hot water, bourbon and lemon cure for the sore throat, I decided it was a fine time to try out a recipe for smashed cauliflower, which, when done properly, tastes remarkably like mashed potatoes. Of course, I had to fortify it with more sauteed garlic, shallot and onion, so my place smelled like a bistro around midnight. I didn't eat any of it, mind you, just a cook's taste, but this morning as I made my morning burrito, it was pretty damn cool to have a few tasty add-ins. I wasn't hungry again until around 3pm, when I had a tragically boring grilled chicken salad.

Let's see, I covered weather, my job, what's on television, and what I had for lunch. I can haz boring blogger?

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Random snow today, as it doesn't usually snow in Seattle proper. It is so beautiful to observe, especially since it doesn't usually stick. I would have hated to have been driving in it, but mercifully, Darbs and I went for a two hour walk that ended about twenty minutes before it started snowing.

It didn't really stick and will be gone by morning, but still, cause for a party on the couch, curled up with a good book (finished Bourdain), a roaring fire, an exhausted dog, and Love, Actually on the DVD. After watching it today, I came to the realization that there are two types of people in the world. Those who love Love, Actually and everyone else.


I have mentioned my love of Rilo Kiley, primarily because I love their lead singer, Jenny Lewis. Their whole story is so interesting and she has such a simple but endearing voice. In any event, I heard her cover a rather unremarkable Traveling Wilbury's tune (Handle With Care) and loved it. All I could find was a live version, but if you are of the itunes persuasion, check it out.