Wednesday, February 28, 2007

my neighbors may not like this ...

some of you may know that i used to be an orchestral musician. i spent 6 years in college studying viola and freelancing with symphonies. there were times it was a lot of fun, but ultimately just not what i was cut out for. you know a profession is not for you if law school seems more manageable.

being a violist is not all concerts and getting drunk on cheap wine, though i'll admit that is a healthy portion of it. it's hours on end stuck in a practice room that smells like feet practicing the same four bars of music, and then getting verbally abused by a conductor, chamber music coach, fellow musician and/or professor. towards the end, i often spent 6 or 7 hours a day with that big hunk of wood on my shoulder, twisting my arms and back into completely abnormal positions and wondering why the hell i hadn't quit years before.

don't get me wrong, it's a great life if you can do it. and there are some amazing, beautiful moments. for me, those were mainly on stage with symphonies, where i found myself at least two or three times a month. that part of it, i truly loved.

i've only been to one symphony concert since i stopped playing. a coworker had a couple of tickets to the national symphony she couldn't use, and i took them at the last minute. i had no idea i'd react the way i did, not even when the musicians started meandering on stage, fudging around with bars they still hadn't perfected, winking to friends a few stands over and folding over certain pages of music for quick turning during the concert. but when the hall went dark, the concertmaster entered the stage and the strings silently tapped the tips of their bows on the music in lieu of applause, my heart sank. and as the oboe gave that first A for the brass, the tears came with a vengeance and dripped onto my lap.

i'd be lying if i said that wasn't the reason i haven't been back. for me, there was nothing more glorious than those saturday evenings or sunday afternoons, knowing that there would be no verbal abuse, only applause. no words, no scolding. no going back to things i had messed up - just music. those hours with the hunk of wood on my shoulder didn't feel uncomfortable. ultimately, it couldn't make up for the unsettling feeling that i was supposed to be doing something else with my life, but it came close.

towards the end, i was really unhappy with it all, and for four years now, that expensive and beautiful hunk of wood has basically been sitting in my closet. i briefly toyed with selling it, but i know i could never do that. that hunk of wood was made for me, stained a red to actually match the shade i was dying my pixie-cut hair back in 2001. i could never let it go.

the unhappiness left a strong impression, a bad taste in my mouth. for a long time, the thought of playing conjured up stress that i couldn't put my finger on. i just couldn't do it. also toward the end, before i realized it was time to exit the stage, i was preparing some pretty obscure orchestral excerpts for auditions ... pieces rarely played but chosen for how brutally difficult they were - and by difficult i mean impossible. tonight i heard a piece on the radio that i just *knew* i had spent a lot of time on, but i couldn't for the life of me remember what it was. i knew each entrance, and in my head played along with the viola part. it was fun, i'll admit, imagining myself back on stage playing along to this beautiful music ...

when i got home, i quickly googled "viola symphony audition materials" and pulled up a standard list. there it was. as soon as i saw the list, i knew. i had heard strauss' don juan.

listen: i hated don juan. i spent hours on that shit, and it was the bane of my existence, my nemesis. i thought strauss was satan incarnate for what he'd written. i'd cursed him, literally sworn on his dead name. if you'd brought me to his grave, i would have spit. i am not exaggerating. the mere thought of that music used to make me shudder. maybe even throw up a little in my mouth. it could cause me a nervous breakdown. and it did. a few times.

but not tonight. tonight, it was just lovely music that i had once played. tonight, knowing that i'd never have to play that, or have to play anything i didn't want, again, i think i turned a corner.

so if you see me with one of these sometime soon, please don't tease.

Monday, February 26, 2007

metro monday xiii: please don't dress like kim jong-il

all the oscar fashion talk had me paying extra attention to the commuter ensembles this morning. and while there many worth noting, since i got sideswiped the second i walked into the office, i can't remember all the witty descriptions i had lined up.

i do remember, however, that none of the men on the train had appropriately tailored pants.*

gentlemen of the orange line: many of you insist on wearing your trousers like kim jong-il. he is a dictator, and no one is going to tell him his pants need to come up an inch or two.

but that doesn't make it right.

one of you was even standing on the bottom of your pants, they were so long. you really thought this was ok? really?

please, fellas, this is not a good look. especially given that many of you are not terribly tall anyway, and nothing adds to frumpiness (aside from big ol' pleats) like poorly tailored, too-long pants.

i'll make you two promises, orange line gentlemen:
1. having your pants taken up is not expensive, and
2. any tailor you see will have diagrams of the appropriate trouser breaks for your reference.

let's put an end to poorly tailored pants, shall we? i know if we work together, it can be done. let's leave the next generation with a better world, one where men know when to see the tailor.

*b of course the obvious exception. his pants break just right on the top of his shoes.

Friday, February 23, 2007

an open letter to the women who work on my floor

perhaps this will come as a surprise, but - can i be honest for just a moment? here's the thing. i do not like hearing you urinate, or hearing the toilet flush, or hearing you wash your hands from my desk.

i know it's strange that the ladies' room door doesn't have hinges. it's not my fault. it's because that weird lady on the floor claims to be too weak to open a hinged door. or smell flowers. (no, for real.) so please don't punish me with the sound of your pee for one of her many idiosyncrasies (or ability to get the university to bow to her ever-so-strange requests).

please close the fucking bathroom door.

i even put up a sign that says please and thank you in relation to said fucking door in about 12 different languages. i was being cute, sure. but really, i was being a bitch. because the old sign that just said, please close this door behind you clearly wasn't being understood.

ladies. seriously. i honestly can hear you peeing from my desk. and we all know the last thing i need is one more thing to drive me nuts at work.

thank you,


i should add though that my day hasn't been all listening to women pee and then having to angrily stomp across the hall to slam the bathroom door, oh no.

this morning, as i was getting ready and b was filling our thermoses with coffee, he said to me

uh, i just opened the half and half, and a little crusty thing from the cap fell into one of the coffee thermoses. and i'm taking that one. i thought you should know.

now if that's not love, folks ...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

enough already! an open letter to the media: UPDATE

dear liberal and non-liberal media:

while i'm consistently disappointed with all of you (stewart and colbert excluded, obviously), i thought i had just about figured out how obnoxious and inaccurate you all could be. but friends, you have shown me. i'll say it. uncle. you win. anything. just. stop. please.

i have yet to hear a single person, even those (myself included) who happen to follow celebrity news with some regularity, profess any interest in this anna nicole story. but you all continue to beat this thing into the ground. it's as if all the people who decide what stories to run decided to jet off for some crazy nudist caribbean getaway together, and stammered as they ran out of the office, uh, i don't know. just go with this anna nicole thing. be right back!

two weeks later.

please. i implore you. stop with the anna nicole story. how about this: in a year let us know what happened. because the thing is that we really don't care. please get back to reporting about what americans really want:

astronaut love triangle.

thank you,

UPDATE: i have met someone interested in the anna nicole story. this homeless woman that struck up a conversation with me for 20 minutes outside of the starbucks at 20th and penn was dying to talk about anna nicole. she's pretty sure it was the diet pills. we may be seeing her interviewed as an expert (or as the only person not in the media to care) on cnn sometime soon. heads up.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

just in case: on recreating modernity

last night, b and i realized that we have no idea how anything works. anything. we're smart enough people - he could talk to you about theories of regional development and no child left behind, and i'd be happy to discuss reassigning agency to slave populations or class action lawsuits, but aside from that, we really don't know how to do much.

  • change the oil (take it to the place around the corner, right?)
  • something stuck in the drain (call the management company?)
  • install recessed lighting - or any lighting (call my dad? or just buy a lamp?)

sure, we probably can get by without knowing how to do those things. most of the stuff we need, rk knows anyway. but what if. i mean, what if everyone else is lost in some nuclear holocaust and we're the only two people left on the earth? here's a a list of all the things we don't understand that we might want to work on just in case we end up somehow being the last people on earth and have to recreate modernity.

  • electricity
  • how to make toilet paper
  • harvesting cotton
  • indoor plumbing
  • how to prepare meat after it's been killed. (oh, probably need to learn how to use a gun or something, right?)
  • do nuclear warheads need to be maintained?
  • am i going to have to milk a cow? hm. and does anyone know how to make cheese? (i bet rk does)
  • soap
  • painkillers (because, friends, if i am going to personally birth humankind from my loins, i am going to need some drugs. for real.)
  • oh, god, and alcohol!
  • (computers were on our list, originally. our recreated population really should know about those. and airplanes. but i'm going to have enough trouble milking a cow and hunting for toilet paper while trying to repopulate the earth without trying to figure out how a damn computer works. i barely know how a computer works anyway. ok, not barely. i don't.)
  • printing press. easier than a computer. wait, i guess we'd need to figure out how to make paper.
of course, we can take solace in a few things, should this actually happen:
1. no more going to class
2. no more going to work
3. we'll probably have keith richards and pete dougherty around to entertain us (you know those guys will survive anything)
4. we will be able to live in the white house as squatters (sweet)
5. no more oil dependency
6. hopefully the ice caps will stop melting and drowning cuddly polar bears

will we spend our entire lives roaming from super target to super target, living off the contents therein until we've drained them all? it would be really helpful if we at least had a horse and buggy or something to take the loot from the super target to the white house or whatever other mansion we've decided to squat in.

so i was thinking maybe it'd be a good idea to print off all of wikipedia to use as a guide to modern civilization. i'll make a binder. with a nice pretty cover and some helpful tabs and an index, just in case. oh, and if one of my readers is the last person on earth, i'll leave the binder under my bed. it will look like this:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

re anne frank

following our impromptu valentine's dinner (my class was canceled tonight too! yay!), b read my blog.


b is very sensitive to wwII. his grandfather fought in it. he is in fact obsessed with it. and he thought my use of the anne frank quote was totally unacceptable.

even with a few glasses of wine in him, he thought it was unacceptable.

so i've been ordered to either:

1. remove the anne frank quote or

2. blog about how b totally disapproves and thinks i should remove the quote.

i'm totally not taking it down. i know it's bad taste, but that's why i have an anonymous blog, suckas.

so that's that. i'm a bad person who's definitely going to hell because i use anne frank quotes to describe my torment over not getting a snowday like a brat. b wants karma and god and all the powers that be to know, via the internet, that he does not approve.


b is also concerned about the almost-snow-day phenomena that results in people dressing like absolute slobs to work. what is with that? i noticed it today too. anyone have any ideas?

it's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. (anne frank)

i may never forgive you, sjt.

there are times when i don't think the overreaction to weather in dc is ridiculous: when i might get to stay home. and after evening classes were canceled last night, and with all the newscasters promising the worst was yet to come, i was giddy with the promise of a mid-week laze-fest.

i woke up this morning and headed for the computer. i pulled up nbc 4's school closings list, the screen burning my still sleepy eyes, and hoped. american? closed. georgetown? closed! surely my school, blocks from georgetown, wouldn't be open! oh. wait. yes it is. sonofabitch. delayed to 10am? what is that?

all i wanted to do today is lounge around in my velour sweatpants (ok for home, not for work. you know who you are.) and interlochen t-shirt from 1995, and call it a day. watch a little ellen, maybe indulge in some days of our lives, and then a nap before oprah.

i do not think this is too much to ask.

apparently sjt thinks it is. apparently the dreams of a long-time, loyal student can be swept away by a bureaucracy that (just a guess) probably doesn't have to show up. probably gets to sit around and watch daytime television in velour sweatpants! (sjt in velour sweatpants. that makes me giggle.) i can almost taste the injustice! i just wanted one day, one day in the middle of february to lay around in the middle of the week and recharge my batteries. today off, coupled with the long weekend ahead, could have really catapulted me through the next month or so ... but noooo. i have to go to my campus job, and then to class, while those georgetown students are watching soaps and calling me a chump.

b's evening class has already been canceled. his school cares about its students.

(the anne frank quote may have been a bit much, i realize. but DAMN did i want to stay home today!)

Monday, February 12, 2007

metro monday xii: the devil wears houndstooth

here i am again, lamenting the rudeness of metro riders. it's about a want for chivalry, sure - but frankly, i'd just settle for some decent manners at this point.

metro monday almost didn't come to pass this morning. it wasn't until we were pulling into courthouse that b grabbed my arm and said, eyes wide, metro monday, s! don't forget! we then instantly looked around to see if there was anyone wearing a leopard print coat and a cowboy hat (i saw her on thursday, and it was special).

an unusually high number of riders exited at courthouse, and a bespectacled gentleman with a houndstooth cap and wide courderoy pants pounced. no, literally. one of the seats reserved for handicapped riders was vacated, and he actually pushed the women, young and old, around him out of the way so he could sit down.

our jaws dropped and through the clear plastic divider we couldn't help but stare. he looked up as we started to laugh and gave us one of those what? looks. but i could see in his eyes he knew he'd just acted totally inappropriately.

ah, metro monday. you never let me down.

Friday, February 09, 2007

and you thought i married him for his rugged good looks....

S: i extended a dinner invite to my new friend christ

CHRIS! not christ. oops

good. I've always wanted to have Christ over for dinner. Let's have fish.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

my new favorite phrase

if i were starting a band, i would so name it astronaut love triangle. i'm not gonna lie: i find this to be one of the weirdest and funniest news stories in a while. largely because i get to say or hear astronaut love triangle whenever it comes up.

stalking usually isn't funny. neither is attempted murder and having all those latex gloves in your car. also, adult diapers = gross. but somehow, magically, when you add the word astronaut into a conversation about any of those? hilarity. if she had actually kidnapped or killed the florida prong of the astronaut love triangle (snicker) then it wouldn't be funny. but luckily, the florida prong of the astronaut love triangle (snicker) wasn't fooled by the wig and the trench coat ...

but does anyone else find it a little strange that there's all this analysis about her clear emotional insecurity and distress, and how this happens to successful people, blah blah blah ... i mean, listen. i'm pretty sure a scenario fairly similar to this has probably occurred amongst three wal-mart employees. unrequited love, ending a decades-long marriage for a co-worker who ... turns out ... has a girlfriend, and then confronting the said girlfriend with tears and pepper spray in a parking lot in the middle of the night. i mean, aside from the humor, why are we so obsessed - and why are we spending so much time on her psychological well-being? if it were a wal-mart employee, i'm sure she'd be called crazy as they locked the jail cell, but i doubt there would be the same level of psycho-analysis.

yeah, she's off. clearly. she wore diapers. but i'm sure the wal-mart employee who does the same act and is probably more crazy (wow - the stress of being a friggin astronaut which is every kid's dream versus the stress of making minimum wage and having no health insurance ...)

why don't we give all alleged criminals the same sort of psychological analysis? i don't mean to imply that psychological distress can't cause people to do crazy and criminal things. i most certainly do. this just seems like one of those instances where the criminal system shows its glaring inequalities ....

[stepping of her soapbox]

try saying astronaut love triangle three times without laughing. go on. go on. can't do it, can you? i didn't think so.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

...and i'm not even hungover...

the whole day has been a blur to me. i've been floating around from place to place with my eyes barely open, finding myself somehow on the train at the right time, in class at the right time, in the right room ... it was almost as if the much aligned rolly bag* was propelling me from classroom to classroom. my own mother could have walked right past me and i wouldn't have noticed today.

i realized how out-of-sorts i've been today at about 2:45, right before my third afternoon class began. i left rolly bag in the classroom (perhaps my error?) and headed to the ladies' room. the classroom is in an area of the law school in which i have spent very little time, and as i was entering the restroom, i stopped dead in my tracks.

you know that southwest commercial ... the one where the woman has something in her contact and realizes once it's been fixed that she's actually in the men's room?

well, it didn't happen. i was in the right one, but it looked different from all the restrooms on the other floors. but i'm not gonna lie, i left and checked the door before i entered any further.

also, in a fix to stop the shaking from all the caffeine i poured down my throat after that class (after all, i have a 3-hour bankruptcy marathon tonight) i grabbed a bottled water only to find out that it costs $2 because it has electrolytes in it. what the hell are electrolytes?

*because i have so many books and a fear of falling down the escalator (again) with them all, i use one of those computer rolly bags ... which is frowned upon much more by full-time day students than it was with the night students i studied with last year. but now i'm stuck in my ways, and i refuse to get an effing locker. i mean, it's not high school.

Monday, February 05, 2007

metro monday xi: you can take the girl out of michigan ...

i usually walk around dc rolling my eyes and guffawing at the general attitude towards temperatures below 40 degrees and the threat of snow in a 200-mile radius.

you think this is cold?

let me tell you a thing or two about snow ...

my school never would have closed for this.

but i'll admit it. this morning was cold. i'll give you that. but that's fine, i just pulled out a lined coat, a big scarf, some knee socks, a big warm hat and some gloves ... and that's that. after bundling up and getting an assurance from B that my hat wasn't ridiculous, i headed out, wondering what kind of get-ups would be waiting on the metro.

i guess i wasn't expecting all the fur. i was expecting fresh new parkas, bought in a frenzy yesterday after everyone read in the paper it would only reach 23 today. and those silly earwarmers that just slide onto your ears. but i really had not anticipated the fur. there were five fur coats on my car alone.

and i realized that don't know what my stance is on fur. my initial reaction was disapproval. strong disapproval. i thought of cute little beavers splashing around near their dams or cute little minks ... doing whatever it is minks do. these woman should be ashamed of themselves. but the problem is, they looked good. real good. i mean, what would i do if B decided to buy me a fur coat for christmas one year? would i make him take it back? or would i put it on and reluctantly admit that i looked like one classy broad?

it was at this point in my inner dialogue that i happened to glance at my reflection in the metro window, and two things occurred to me:

1. i have a long way to go before i need to worry about the moral dilemmas associated with receiving a fur coat for a gift; and

2. B totally lied to me when he said this hat does not look ridiculous.

Friday, February 02, 2007


today, it appears, the planets have aligned and the nemesis is being served a hot steamy dish of comeuppins. nay, multiple dishes. this is a full 7-course feast of comeuppins.

truly, i'd wondered if a day like this would ever appear, when weak assurances and bold-faced lies about work never done would be finally questioned firmly. it's like what would happen if reporters dared to ask W the type of questions they're more than willing to throw at laura (anyone else see the today show this morning?) ... he's crumbling like a stale chocolate cupcake.

oh and speaking of chocolate, he bought her a pile of dark chocolate at lunch, which she then distributed to everyone else in the office save the nemesis. sir, dark chocolate is miraculous, i agree. but you are asking a lot of this delicacy. it will make her happy, sure, but won't make her blind.

i wish i had a big bowl of popcorn to enjoy while watching this show. if it were a movie, it'd be called finally OR HA HA (a la nelson muntz).

everytime the nemesis comes out after another helping of comeuppins, i flash him a big shitfaced grin, the kind he loves to give someone who's walked in 90 seconds late as he stares at his watch and informs us that the boss was asking for us.

that dark chocolate was sweet, but this my friends ... this is sweeter.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

well i'm just glad she didn't inherit any of her mom's absentmindedness ....

an email from rk this morning about a cute dress that she ordered before i got the chance to. and obviously now i can't buy it. because the two of us have enough of our wardrobe coincidentally in common for us to both show up somewhere in this dress.

i got home last night at about 9:30. i was cold (and tired) i unwrapped the dress and decided to try it on. it buttons in the front (to the waist only) and doesn't have any back zipper, so i unbutton and figure that i have to pull it over my head. a little snug goin over the boobs. it fits, looks great actually. ok time to jump in the shower and get warm.

so, i unbutton the dress and start to pull it over my head. wow this is snug. this is not really that practical. finally after about 5 minutes of contortionist moves around the bedroom -- it's off.

good lord, i won't want to wear that dress if i want to get out of it quickly (like if i plan on getting laid!) 'cause there doesn't seem to be a sexy way to get out of this thing.

i'm kinda bummed. oh well. as i'm going to sleep i think to myself, i'll take it to the tailor and have a zipper put in. kinda overkill - i'll spend more on the zipper than i did on the dress, but if it makes the dress easier to remove (in emergency situations, like the chance to get some), then i don't mind.

i fell asleep knowing that the issue was resolved (also knowing that it was going to take me 6 months to get the dress to the tailor).

this morning i looked at the dress again.

there's a zipper on the side.