Monday, August 25, 2008

love at first sight

i'm a superstitious girl. i fully believe in jinxes. i refuse to acknowledge whenever a tigers pitcher goes more than three innings without allowing a hit. i dared not mention to b, when our best friend chris was crashing on our couch the weekend after the bar exam, that he wasn't snoring (i love chris, but that's not normal). i don't mention if the weather is good on a winter drive from the west side of michigan to the east. i just don't mention.

which is why the previous post is not the whole story. i just couldn't dare to mention it.

what i wanted to write was how, just one measly week after i finished the bar exam, on the next wednesday afternoon - i was skipping. i was leaving our real estate agents' office, a binder with condo rules held close to my chest. i was grinning like a damn fool. jesus, i thought. there's no WAY it's only been one week.

you didn't know we were looking for a condo? that we had a real estate agent? neither did we, before monday. well, maybe sunday. sunday, we dropped chris off at the airport, and took 395 to eastern market to grab a coffee. i was trying to convince b that we should get a new car. i want a new car. our car is small and it shakes at 63 miles per hour (one of the tires is slightly bent - from parallel parking, no doubt) and what better way to celebrate taking the bar? we were thinking about it. and then b mentioned that this condo he'd seen on craigslist was having an open house that afternoon, just down the street.

now, let me be clear. though we weren't looking looking for a condo, we've been avid real estate stalkers for a couple of years now. i've watched virtual tours online of nearly every house or condo on the market in dc. it's how we unwind: look at houses, daydream about what we'd do and how awesome it will be when our real life has begun, and we can look look. so when we walked into the newly gutted 1930s building on sunday, we were not completely uneducated.

but even still, i was totally overwhelmed by the idea that we might live there, what with the teak floors and cesearstone countertops and patio. and doors that separate both bedrooms from the rest of the place. and windows. oh the windows. they open. windows that open. and a dishwasher. can you imagine?! a dishwasher. i'm sure we left looking like cartoon characters, with our eyes mysteriously shaped like hearts and walking two feet off the street.

the next evening, we sat in the office of the only real estate agent i called, who was recommended by DG, and who by chance was already representing the people who have the unit above the one we wanted under contract. we sat there, and i felt a like giggling or pinching myself, what with all the talk of closing dates and elfa closets and offers. and i spent the whole of our anniversary on the phone with half the mortgage brokers in the metro DC area, waiting for the call that those folks on HGTV are always prepared for - when the cameras turn on and the phone conveniently rings. we sat at a sports bar in cleveland park waiting for the phone to ring, though we left without getting a single call.

it has not been an easy few weeks. i spent much of the saturday night before last in a hospital in troy, michigan, hooked up to a heart monitor, my heart skipping a beat once nearly every minute. we watched the olympics until 2am on a miniature television, while the doctor sat across the hall and watched my heart beat. i've been stressed, i've been sick to my stomach. i've seen the new home slip through our fingers more than once. i've talked to more mortgage brokers than i can remember, and i've shed a few tears.

and today, finally, i scheduled the movers. we take up residence at our first home a month from tomorrow. so this fall, you'll find us on the back patio, grilling and relaxing and grinning.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

done waiting for my real life to begin

i thought i would do cartwheels out of the roanoke civic center last week. i thought i'd skip, or maybe even fly, back to my car. a week later, those days are a blur. but the sensation i felt as i quietly pushed my chair back from the table, stood up, and looked over the hundreds of poor compatriots - that sensation has not left me. i thought i'd shake it as i dropped my scantron in the huge bin, my exam book in the next, and my bar exam id in the little box. i thought maybe as i passed through the doors, through the lobby where i felt as though i'd spent hours waiting for the doors to open, unable to bear standing outside in the brutal heat in my requisite court attire. maybe i expected it to suddenly be 75 and breezy in roanoke. as i walked back to my car, i tried to muster .... something. joy, fear, something. but i had nothing - i was numb. i called b as i waited for the a/c in the car to kick in, and his joy at hearing my voice, knowing i was done, far eclipsed what i was feeling.

OH MY GOD! how does it feel? does it feel awesome?

not really.

not really?

i don't really feel anything.

oh it will sink in.

and then i could hear his coworkers: is that s? is she DONE? OH MY GOD SHE'S DONE! YAY S!

and still, nothing. i stopped about five miles from the civic center, realizing that i left my victory/reward dunhills in the back of the car, thinking a celebratory smoke or two would help it sink in. it just compounded the dull throbbing in my head.

i couldn't have been more than 30 miles outside of roanoke when i first started to think i might not make it home that night. dark clouds moved in fast, and the transition was quick from sprinkles to a downpour so heavy i could barely see 10 feet in front of the car, even at 5:30 in the afternoon. i slowed to 30, as did everyone else around me, our blinkers all on, and forced my exhausted brain to focus. my knuckles were white as i tracked the progress of this monsoon on my odometer. three miles. five. five and a half. five and three quarters. ultimately, it ended up lasting for 13 miles - which at 30 miles an hour is too fucking long to be driving 30 on the interestate after just taking the bar exam and wanting nothing else than to get home to your husband and a nice glass of wine.

i think at about 11 miles i started wondering if it was going to stop. i could feel the exhaustion rising, like the heartburn i had saturday night after ethiopian food. i was afraid i was driving the length of the front, that it might last forever. i could feel the lump in my throat and knew no one would hear me if i cried, but that then i really wouldn't be able to see. and no one heard my whining - oh my god this is never going to end. what do i have to do for this to just be fucking OVER?! there was even a little yelling, a little you have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! and then, it was over. the rain completely stopped, the evening sun was there, and i realized how tense every muscle in my body was. i took a few deep breaths, pushed in my cigarette lighter, and cracked the window. it's over. thank god.

as i said it to the empty car, quiet since 14 miles prior when i had turned off the music so i could concentrate, i didn't know what i was talking about - the storm or the Exam. the numbness, i realized, was relief. an enormous, heavy relief, the likes of which i seriously have never felt. a lawyer friend told me some time ago that this summer was going to feel a lot like banging my head against a wall for ten straight weeks. but he promised that it would stop hurting instantly and relief would immediately follow. i leaned back in my seat, turned coldplay back on and enjoyed the dunhill. and my god was i relieved.

*****

a couple hours later, the sun was falling. the smell of cigarette smoke was pretty much cleared out of the car, since i had been driving with the windows down. on the happy side of the front, it was less than 80 degrees. i drove with the windows down, in my suit, comfortable. at some point i switched from coldplay to colin hay (after about 15 CDs that just didn't do the trick). i smelled the air. i mean, actually smelled it. i was telling b this and he said, it smelled like the South, didn't it? and oh god it did. whatever that smell is, they need to bottle it and sell it at pottery barn with little sticks (that are a mystery to me, seriously, what are those little sticks they put in the bottles with the perfume for your house - anyone?) and they should just call it "the south." and it was gorgeous. the rain had left the trees and grass a darker green, and a strange fog clung to the treetops of the mountains. the blue ridge delivered. i found myself realizing that the last time i had genuinely smelled outside was back in may, when the first magnolias bloomed and i went out of my way to walk on streets where i knew i'd find them. i spent so much time locked in my english basement, stuffing my brain, that i had no time all summer to even smell outside. that is fucked up friends. it really is.

i probably listened to the colin hay album three times, though each time i came to my anthem, waiting for my real life to begin, i'd go back and listen once or twice more. the difference was that unlike all those other mornings, i woke up that morning and suddenly something happened. something actually happened.

i decided not to treat the next three months before i start work as waiting, but as a victory lap. i'm going to soak up the time spent as an auntie extraordinaire back in michigan. i'm going to read books on the beach alone. i'm going to nap in my parents' hammock. i'm going to try like hell not to fight with them, and to not think about what a disaster the last summer i lived with them, a decade ago now, was. i'm going to remind myself that my real life has begun.

don't worry, i'll tell you all about it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

i've got you under my skin....

i was barely awake this morning as b was getting ready for work. in the fog of sleep, i remember suddenly having this pressing need to ask him about eminent domain in the district of columbia. congress has its hands all over dc (stupid constitution) and i was convinced that there must be some special congressional approval for eminent domain.

let me be clear: i'm not taking the DC bar exam.

so i'm lying there, thinking about how in virginia, localities can exercise eminent domain, and it can even be to give the land to a private party!, and what if they ask about DC because it's so close, or what if they ask on the multistate exam ... should i know this? how can i find this out if b doesn't know?

of course i was still so asleep that i couldn't make my mouth form the words to ask him, though now i wish i could have because i'm sure he would have laughed hysterically at still-asleep me, asking him urgently about eminent domain at 7:15 in the morning.

i've been having dreams about the bar exam for a couple months now, though not the typical fear dream where you show up to the event naked (which would be especially problematic in virginia since i have to wear a court appropriate suit). nope, they've been dreams where i've fallen into a ditch after dark and wondered what the city and contractor's duties to warn were under standard tort law, and if by jay-walking i had assumed any risk. or i'm looking at a house with b, and it's called blackacre (all property questions call a piece of land blackacre. or whiteacre, or greenacre, if there are multiple plots). and yesterday i was walking down florida to CVS and saw a garbage truck with "aggregate" on the side, and my brain immediately lept into an analysis of when multiple claims can be aggregated in federal court under diversity jurisdiction to meet the amount in controversy requirement.

my brain has been hijacked by bar preparation.

obviously, this is a fantastic thing from now until 5:00pm wednesday afternoon. but what i'm looking forward to most is the feeling once i get in my car wednesday afternoon, shimmy out of my suit and throw it over the seat, roll down the windows, light a cigarette (you had better believe i'll deserve a celebratory pack of cigarettes - besides, it's VIRGINIA), and let the hot july air swirl around inside the car, pulling out the smoke and emptying my brain of all this information as i head back through the blue ridge mountains and home.

UPDATE: after telling b about the eminent domain episode, he told me that last night he had to wake me up because i was doing flashcards OUTLOUD in my sleep and i woke him up. he said he could tell i was doing flashcards, because i have a certain rhythm in my voice when he quizzes me, but it actually sounded like i was talking in tongues and it totally freaked him out.

wow. it is time for this thing to be over.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

despite the fact that i've spent ten weeks and - at least for the past ten days or so - 14 hours a day in preparation, i'm really trying not to think about it. no, seriously. i'm trudging through my ridiculous to-do list every day, marching across the volumes of practice essays, learning because that's what the calendar from barbri says i'm supposed to do. it's all i do, it's all i think about, but i'm not thinking about it. i'm studying for the bar exam. i'm not actually taking it. yet.

it's less than a week from d-day. i type that only because it appears my body, from whom i've been trying to keep this secret, found out. i've decided some asshat of a cell realized over night just how close It is, and started telling the others. based on the fact that the entire left side of my back is tied in knots, i think he resides over there. he's a trouble maker, getting everyone riled up. and i think they chased out all the cells that were all, she's cool, she's ready, everyone REMAIN CALM. those cells have become refugees in every sinus cavity in my head. it feels awesome.

so now that my body has found out, i suppose i can put it out here as well.

the bar exam is next week. and even after a lifetime of school and tests of every variety, i honestly don't even think i know how to be nervous for this thing.

before i allow myself too much time to actually think about it, i'll return to the coffee cup stained to-do list for this week, the one with the words "HOMESTRETCH" scrawled across the top, and start working my way through wednesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

duped

in hindsight, there was something a little fishy going on, but i just didn't put two and two together soon enough. what's more, the clues were all clumped up closely to the culmination of events, too close for me to have seen the writing on the wall. the lightening fast response when i noticed a text on his phone from his boss, the excessive hours, the shower saturday evening after "work" even though he'd taken one that morning - but before we left to have dinner at her house with her husband. i'm an extraordinary snoop - and what's more, i didn't think he'd have the patience to tiptoe around my peering electronic presence.

and so it was, saturday night, when we walked into his boss' house, me dressed a bit more formally than i thought appropriate for a small dinner party. it's why i especially resembled the proverbial deer caught in headlights when the crowd of friends that under normal circumstances would not find themselves in the same room came into focus - their smiles and shouts rendering me completely disoriented. this man has never once successfully kept a secret from me, let alone a party to which 75 people were invited to celebrate the end of law school ... including countless friends that, i'm sure, have smirked a little and winked at him in my presence without my noticing, even listened to me complain about my disappointment over him spending all saturday at work. it's why even now, a few days later, i find myself smiling and shaking my head thinking about it - not quite believing he really pulled it off.

it's why, as i stood there in front of everyone, trying to remember when my birthday was, he had to lean in and whisper, it's for your graduation. that was right before i punched him in the arm and his grin stretched from ear to ear.

before saturday, the whole graduation experience (except for the actual walking across the stage and first putting my hot little hands on my JD) had been markedly underwhelming. for some reason, the heavens didn't open and angels didn't sing the praises of my intellect, i didn't grow four inches, i'm still spending all day at the law school, and i don't yet have a house where the windows actually open and i can sit outside and drink coffee in the morning. i had found myself cursing law school me, for all those days when i'd reassure myself under my breath, if i can just graduate, it will all be ok.

i know now that in a few months, when the bar and the months off before entering the real world like a big kid have faded much like the long days spent answering phones and shooting death stares at my boss, and for a long time afterwards, what i'll remember about graduation won't be the graduation eve fight with the parents, but the moment on saturday at which i realized that man had been making all those plans and doing all that cooking to bring all my friends together for me. i'll remember the smiles on everyone's faces - both because of the satisfaction from having duped me and because of my accomplishment. i'll remember a night full of congratulations and laughter and general merriment, which is really all i ever wanted.

i'll remember that i really do have the best husband ever. and that he can be a sneaky, sneaky bastard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

you leave big shoes

i have hit a bout of writer's block the size of montana of late - and i would apologize, but i honestly believe you are all probably better off without my less-than-sunny disposition taking up space. maybe there's a post a-brewing about the potential pitfalls of counting down to an event and thinking that then, then ... then things will be ok. but this is not that post.

this is a post about tim russert.

i did not know tim russert, though i spent many a sunday morning with him. maybe i felt like i knew him. maybe i just can't imagine the election without him and his whiteboard. maybe i related to his passion for seeing how current events mesh with the fabric of american history or his unbridled glee over this election. maybe seeing someone so many people loved and admired die reminds me of my own mortality and - more importantly - the mortality of the people i love and admire. whatever it is, i am sad. watching the commentary and memorials, interviews with his son - they've all left me in tears.

so this afternoon after my mom interrupted my bar study to yell at me for being a terrible daughter, i figured - what the hell? why not turn on msnbc? why not watch the memorial service? my studying was already shot to hell, and i was already in tears. i think i caught the second half of the memorial. it was lovely. luke russert's musings on a special edition of meet the press this sunday, with aaron burr and alexander hamilton - or JFK and goldwater made me smile, but as tom brokaw thanked the crowd at the end over the israel kamakawiwo version of "somewhere over the rainbow" playing in the background i was in tears again. (how can a song be so happy and sad at once?)

i sat on the couch watching msnbc fade out to the song, ignoring my stack of bar review notes to be summarized (and learned, whatever), and remembered i had to pick up some stuff from the cleaners before they closed. wiping my eyes, knowing full well (but not caring) that i was about to go out into public not only without make-up, but looking like i'd just spent an hour crying, i slipped on a pair of flip flops, grabbed my wallet and umbrella, and headed out the door.

one of those crazy late spring storms was passing, the kind where rain was coming down sideways - and then not at all - and then from the opposite direction. the umbrella was the perfect cover to lower over my bloodshot eyes, and i sort of enjoyed the rain on my toes.

i was walking back down columbia, hiding my face beyond the umbrella, eyes fixed on the sidewalk when the rain stopped. i turned to look over the adams morgan skyline, east, in the direction of the clouds. and there it was. a rainbow arching across the sky. i imagine it was about the time that most people - certainly, i hope luke russert and maureen orth - were filing out of the kennedy center.

i don't care what any of you say, i wholly believe it was tim russert, smiling over DC and thanking us all for mourning him more than i'm sure he'd ever have imagined. or maybe he had saint peter take care of it for him. he might have been busy preparing questions for hamilton and burr.

godspeed, tim russert. you leave big shoes.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

i'll cross the finish line. it won't be pretty. but i'll cross it.

so you know that dream you have, where you're about to leave work on a friday night and indulge in a few cocktails and pomme frittes - and right before the end of the day, your professor's secretary emails you wondering where your take home exam is? the take home exam you thought wasn't due for another week? the one you haven't started? the one you could have easily done before if you hadn't spent your day in front of the television making baby blankets? the one that may have actually been due the previous day, and a late submission of which could derail graduation two weeks from now?

and you know that other dream you have where your cool gay landlords' houseguest is locked out with their dog, and asks to cut through your apartment to get to the backyard ... where you can't say no, but your apartment is embarrassingly messy, what with your dining room table covered in open boxes from packages you've gotten over the past two weeks, the laundry basket out of which you've been living all week sitting next to the couch, and the suitcases from a trip two weeks ago still strewn about your bedroom? and you know that despite your apologies for the messiness, he's totally going to tell them later over a pomegranate martini that their tenants are slobs?

and you know that dream where you walk out of the dressing room to show your husband the dress you've tried on, and you don't realize until you're in the crowded aisle that the back of the dress is tucked into the top of your panties? and not only does everyone see you, but a little kid says really loudly, mommy i can see her butt!

totally my weekend. ok not that last one.

but whatever, i was at the argonaut by ten last night. also, i think the landlords may already know we are have moments of slobbery.

Monday, April 21, 2008

rest in peace, friend. you will be missed.

I often see flowers from a passing car
That are gone before I can tell what they are.

I want to get out of the train and go back
To see what they were beside the track.

I name all the flowers I am sure they weren't;
Not fireweed loving where woods have burnt--

Not bluebells gracing a tunnel mouth--
Not lupine living on sand and drouth.

Was something brushed across my mind
That no one on earth will ever find?

Heaven gives it glimpses only to those
Not in position to look too close.

-Robert Frost

Sunday, April 13, 2008

peaks and valleys

i knew yesterday was going to be one of those days well before i actually knew why. when i checked my cell phone at 9am and found three missed calls, i had a feeling. two of those numbers were the mishmash of numbers i've come to associate with my brother's calling card. the other was from my mother. and she left this message.... nearly singing, really.

good mooooooorning! it's your muuuther. i don't know if your bruuuther has called you yet. if not...... you should caaaall me. i luuuuve you!

my brother's not going to iraq.

my brother got himself transfered to an air force base on the kuwaiti coast, where he'll be working as a paralegal. for the duration of his deployment. nowhere near a convoy, nowhere near a roadside bomb. he won't need a flack jacket. he might get carpel tunnel, you know, from working at a computer. he leaves thursday. i think my mom cried for almost an hour after getting this news. i didn't cry nearly that long, but i did suddenly feel like someone had finally loosened the invisible rubber band around my lungs that has been keeping me from taking full breaths ever since this deployment thing became real. and that first email i get from him once he's moved, maybe then i'll take in one very long, deep breath and really exhale.

but it was a call about another younger brother that is the real story, even as happy as i am with the news about mine.

b's phone rang at about 11 last night. he looked at the number, not recognizing it, and then looked at me. for a second i could tell he thought about not answering - but not for the usual reason, that he thought it was a wrong number or something. i think because he was afraid of who was on the other line. but he answered.

then, jonathan...

i turned off the television. and the silence as he listened, and drew in that breath so sharply that told me what i already knew, was so so heavy around us.

i've made a lot of calls for my brother in our lives together, announcing the birth of his first-born when he and his wife were still wide-eyed over the little guy being the most memorable. but the idea of having to make that call, the one telling a friend of 20 years that your younger brother is dead - that is a phone call i never, ever want to be tasked with. it's a fear that has been terribly real to me, with my brother going to iraq. and on the day i found out that won't happen, to know that jonathan is making that call for his younger brother - the enormity of that pain is not lost on me.

and so here i sit, mozart's requiem and the smell of roasting potatoes filling the apartment, my bell's appropriately at my side, and tears in my eyes. i'm thinking of our best friend, again on a hastily-planned flight from ethiopia. i imagine him staring out the window, unable to sleep, trying unsuccessfully to push down his grief with wonderful memories (isn't that what we're all trying to do?) ... i'm thinking of jason's parents, of his wife. i'm thinking of the army of friends that have marched to the front lines of his hospital room, only to stand helpless before him. but i have to tell you, i can't stop thinking about jonathan. my grief, b's grief, pales next to the reality of bittersweet beautiful moments in jonathan's life he'll see without his younger brother. it's a reality i've occasionally, briefly considered in the middle of the night, peering over the edge of that cliff from my bed, b sleeping soundly beside me, hoping i don't wake him with my crying. it's a terrible, terrible reality.

last night, though, that's not what i did as b slept. instead, i pressed the side of my face, cool and a little wet from tears for jason, against his warm back. i could hear his heart, and all i could do was softly, in rhythm with its beats, whisper adamant directions - don't stop. don't stop. please heart. don't stop. don't ever, ever stop.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

my laziness has clearly permeated even my blogging

i kind of have senioritis with my life right now.

because i can't seem to piece together a funny blog on my own these days .... this is a recap from my gchatting in elder law class this afternoon. enjoy.

Joe: amazing that bea arthur came out of retirement to teach this class
me: HAHA! you're going to get me in trouble!
Joe: "you're a pal and a confident!"
"thank you for bein' a friend!"
schuster [a male professor] looks kind of like betty white, no?
sally is rue mclannahan
and tom osbourne as "granny"
me: JOE!!!
Joe: ma!
"my stan had a reverse mortgage"

...
Joe: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/jkubicek/bea_arthur_rotj.jpg
me: that was mean
also, hilarious

...

Joe: yeah - one was this chick who strained so hard when she was giving birth that the veins around her eyes are now 100% visible - it's like something from x-men
sorry - that was meant for another window
me: now you're just testing me
Joe: ;)

****************************************************

ej: i congragulate you on having one of the weirdest facebook status messages ever.
me: thank you. i appreciate your recognition
it's not actually bea arthur.

...

ej: omigod, the exit to "big beaver road" is #69
http://wonkette.com/375146/thrifty-senators-husband-only-spends-150-on-prostitute
me: HOW DID YOU NOT KNOW THAT
you didn't know that?
ej: no!
me: they're not even making that shit up. that's for real.
ej: hahahahahahha
this is awesome.
me: the hotel where we had our guests stay for our wedding and our wedding reception - both on big beaver. i thought people would think my wedding map i included in the invitation was some kind of sick joke.
"take exit #69 and make a michigan turn to go west on big beaver"
ej: HAHAHAHAHHAHA
me: i toyed with adding language like - you'll go down on big beaver for 2 miles ... but ultimately my good manners go the best of me.
ej: on your wedding invitation! love it!
me: and if THAT doesn't make your tumblr, i will be mightily offended.

******************

if only i could gchat with my blogging self. that would be funny. and it might indicate some sort of mental illness.

Monday, March 03, 2008

the only way to punish a newspaper for baseless, degrading and irresponsible journalism is to hit them where it hurts. that's why, friends, i am canceling my years-long subscription to the washington post today.

there's no eloquent way to respond to a piece of garbage that reads more like a 15-year-old boy's rant than an opinion piece to be run in any newspaper, let alone the washington post. there's no way to argue against bold-faced lies about clinton's campaign. there's no way to refute the scientific facts that allegedly support the premise that women are an inferior breed when those facts aren't presented. oh, except that part about how women are in more, though significantly less serious, car accidents. and i don't even think she represented that study accurately.

even if i could refute it, who cares? does the post really care if a bunch of people are yammering online about how irresponsible they are? it does get people talking, right? and reading the newspaper?

i think everyone who was as shocked by charlotte allen's dribble as i was should cancel their subscriptions. hold this newspaper to a higher standard. frankly, they've not even risen to a standard i would have expected in rural michigan 20 years ago. let alone here, now, from this paper.

doesn't this speak to how our society has still not moved past gender stereotypes that we've long since decided were inappropriate based on religion or race? doesn't this deserve the same outrage we'd give a similar article making these gross generalizations based on religion or race? doesn't this deserve an end to whatever patronage you provide to the washington post?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

so i'm walking home from the bus stop last night, down my quiet street in adams morgan, when across the street i see this guy with a ski mask run up behind this woman and try to take her purse and her ipod. she fought back a little, and before i really thought about what i was doing, i ran across the street and just started beating the shit out of this guy with my big as umbrella. it's one of those with the big curved handle, and i was swinging it from the other end and just nailing him with that thing. the women stepped back, grabbed her purse and her ipod from the ground and - obviously a neighborhood resident - starts running towards that 7-11 on the corner of 19th and columbia where one can always find a cabbie and a cop or two and yelling for the police. so now i'm here with this guy, just beating on him with my umbrella. at that point, he reached for his belt, and i thought i was in trouble. thankfully, under the street light, i could see that the gun he pulled out was a toy, something he had bought at target for a kid. and he knew i knew, because i started laughing and asking him if he was going to shoot me with a dart or some shit. then he decides to try to pistol whip me with this thing, this little plastic gun. i'm sure it was quite a sight, me with my big polka dotted umbrella hitting him - he trying to pistol whip me with a toy gun. he grabbed my umbrella and was pulling me closer with it so he could hit me, when the cops came running down the street and yelled Police! we both turned around, and this asshole steps on my foot.

GODDAMN IT! THAT'S MY FOOT! JESUS!

Oh, wow, I'm really sorry. I didn't mean ...

so the police grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground.

you're brave for a little thing, the cop said as he finished putting the cuffs on the perp, looking me up and down.

oh no, i just did what anyone would have done...

at this point, a few cop cars pulled up, and the new cops were asking who stopped this guy ... and i heard some of them talking about whether this was the guy that had been mugging people all over the neighborhood for the past couple of weeks. i was feeling pretty good, knowing that i had helped catch some serial mugger. i gave my statement, got a few pats on the back, and limped down the street to my apartment, realizing my foot was killing me.

that, or i stubbed my toe on the coffee table.

either way, i have a broken toe. and it hurts like a mother.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

i am many things. i am a wife, a sister, a daughter. i am an auntie. i am a student, i am almost a lawyer. i am (i hope) a good friend. i am a pretty decent cook. i am a good parallel parker. i am a lapsed violist, and a lapsed christian. i am wondering if i drink a little too much wine for my own good. (i am convinced i do not, for now.)

i am currently considering drinking right from the bottle.

i am seriously thinking about staying in a hotel tonight.

i am not sure why i called my parents about this intruder, whose droppings i just found in my kitchen. i am not surprised that they laughed hysterically at my near-hyperventilating. i am surprised i did not scream when i realized what those droppings were. i am not sure i did not scream, come to think about it.

i am positive no fewer than 10 people walked past me laughing, while i stood on the corner of 19th and columbia as my parents tried to convince me i don't need to get traps if the exterminator is coming tomorrow.

i am now the proud owner of four No View, No Touch (tm) mouse traps.

i am not sure whether i want to find a mouse in said traps in the morning or not.

i am totally sleeping with socks on.

i am now stomping and singing when i take more than two steps in the apartment.

i am considering naming this thing yacobina poppertof to make myself feel better.

i am not feeling better.

i am not going to be happy until that fucker is dead.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

reading dutch's triptych on the early morning after his son was born, (also, yay little gram!) i was thinking about my own quiet early mornings lately. in the past couple of months, we've had two 5am saturday cab rides to national. both times, though i wasn't thrilled at having to get in a cab at that ungodly hour - on a saturday, no less - and was also pretty annoyed that the cab company decided not to honor their promise to send a cabbie and left us to our own devices ... both times, i found the trip strangely soothing. there's something about seeing this city in darkness - and quiet, not just after dark, with the college hangers-on stumbling down my street after a long night of drinking. there's something so calming about the victorian facades, no steady wash of headlights running over the bricks - about the monuments lit, and knowing even from a distance that they aren't being swarmed by an unrelenting army of tourists. both of those flights i was going to national to catch at that ridiculous hour were to michigan, not for playful romps with nephews or wine festivals or for vacation. not for those things i love michigan for. the first was for christmas, where i knew i'd hug my brother for the last time until god knows when. the second, to spend the weekend in a cancer wing, reminiscing about college and ignoring the staples in jason's head.

but for the 20 minutes we spent basically alone on the roads of dc, silently gliding past the kennedy center, admiring the inky waters of the potomac, i felt calm and strong. this city has seen tragedy and joy that eclipse my spectrum of either emotion. on those mornings, i could almost feel the strength of this place as we passed the golden statues guarding the memorial bridge. i'm not sure what this year will bring, but i'm sure that a 5am cab ride 9 months from now will offer the same calm. i'm sure i'll stare out the window, allowing my forehead to rest on the cool, dank window, too tired to be concerned with how grimy it is, smiling slightly at the beauty of lincoln's memorial and the dignity of the kennedy center. i'm sure i'll find it comforting, and i'll know everything is going to be alright.

i'm trying

i am a little hesitant to blog about the delightfully normal and bad-news-free weekend we've just enjoyed, fearful that the fates will think i'm taunting them and put me in my place. there was a happy hour full of friends, a saturday with starbucks and shopping, an attempt at grilling that may or may not have nearly caught our house on fire, a trip to the woolly mammoth to see no child, brunch, and a monday holiday that was - for a few hours at least - deliciously warm... breakfast was eaten at a sidewalk cafe, and midday beers were enjoyed at a restaurant where the windows had been thrown open and the fresh warm air tickled the freshly painted toes in my flip flops. until the cold front and the pouring rain, of course. but even walking the few blocks home in the rain, me in my flip flops and b in short sleeves, was done with laughter and smiles. it was a good weekend.

it's been a rough few weeks. and to say i've been in a funk puts all previously claimed funks to shame. but i'm trying to pull myself out. i'm trying to remember that things that affect me often don't involve me. i'm trying to remember that there are plenty of problems i cannot fix. i'm trying to remember that there are plenty of problems i should not fix even if i can. and i'm trying to remember that i graduate in less than three months now, have only 12 weeks more to deal with one of the most insufferable people i know and put an end to my long and storied secretarial career. i'm trying to watch more movies, walk with an extra bounce in my step, and notice the buds as they begin to appear on the trees. i'm trying to distract myself with homework, though i know that will surely be short-lived. i'm trying to embrace the fact that 2008 is shaping up to be a year of transition, and that transition isn't always easy.

maybe i should have given up worrying for lent.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

this is totally turning into the most depressing blog on the Interwebs.

the last time i voted in person was actually in a primary as well. i've been voting absentee for a half dozen years, clinging to my parents' address - though it wasn't the one at which i grew up - long long past a time when i would have considered living there. it was a primary in the summer of 2002. it was my brother's first voting experience, and we two piled into our parents' 1957 chevy (a beloved prop in our family that has been in my parents' garage for 28 years now) with them and drove with the windows down and the beach boys up to the elementary school assigned to us. i remember it well because it was a scene from much earlier in our childhood, the brother and i, cruising around with our parents in the same cool car listening to the same band ALL THE TIME always with the windows down. and because it happened either right before or right after (that i don't remember) we all learned our family was about to grow exponentially. i remember thinking about it a couple weeks later though, how precious i found that one last car drive before everything changed, when it was just the four of us, and it was simple. it was so simple. because the adoration those four people in that car had for one another then, and still, is unchanged even as the family itself is not.

it's true that i'm emphatically happy with my life, and with - i can say with absolute confidence - every single decision i've made for myself in the six years since. i know that version of me would be thrilled with this version of me. but on this election day, after voting in this primary, with the heaviness on my shoulders of helplessness brought on by four grave situations simultaneously, the worst of which being my desperate brother lying in a hospital bed two timezones away while they scan his brain and back and stick needles in his spine to see if his damaged body is still well enough to be sent to iraq, where his job will be sticking his torso - and soul, in effect - out the top of a hummer with a machine gun ... today, i cannot think of one thing i wouldn't give to find myself back on that primary day instead of this one. i think i would gladly make all those tough decisions again, i'd even go through the torment of law school again, if doing so would replace the hope and joy i remember in his laugh from that day. but alas, though big sisters are good for things like explaining to brothers voting for the first time the difference between a primary and an election, there are apparently some things that sisters cannot make sense of and some pains that sisters cannot heal.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

file under: life is not fair

let me just start by saying that whole foods at 9am on a saturday morning is a delight. full of fresh food but not yet yuppies, well-staffed in preparation for the oncoming slew of said yuppies ... i was thinking this even as i realized they did not have any israeli cous cous and the raspberries were approximately $12 a pint. when i reached the beer section, though, things took a turn.

i planted myself into a conversation two employees in that section were having right in front of where my beloved two hearted ale *should* have been waiting for me. 'twas not, dear readers. and since i couldn't find any last weekend either, i was pretty disappointed. i politely waited for their conversation to wane and politely whined that they were again out of my favorite beloved beer, goddammit.

when i asked for it they both grinned. oh we have some two hearted ale. we're just keeping it in the back so only the real fans get it. it was bottled four days ago. it's so fresh, it's like you're AT bell's!

ah, to be enjoying a pint of bell's at bell's ... i literally put down a pint of bell's (perhaps two hearted ale, i don't remember) on the bar at bell's on a cold fall night years ago to greet a couple of college friends with hugs before turning to introduce myself to their handsome pal. i usually can't help but think of the night i met b over a glass of bell's every time i lift a glass ...and it always makes me grin. but as we drank our wildly fresh bell's this weekend, and i saw the concern-induced wrinkles on b's forehead as he consulted with various people on his cell ... i thought of that evening in a totally different light. now those two college friends, also married, are holed up in a hospital room in detroit. he's fighting a rare leukemia after two bouts with cancer in less than a year. he's got a hole in his skull, through which radiation is being pumped with questionable success. one of his best friends, who was the best man at my wedding, is right now en route from ethiopia to detroit, where we'll see him when we fly in this weekend too.

and of course, this particular friend is one who would never harm a fly. he's the least judgmental, most accepting, happy-go-lucky guy. sure, he's got his quirks, but that's bound to happen when someone is happy in their own skin and doesn't really care what other people think. and honestly, i found him a breath of fresh air when we first became friends, back in those days when i was dealing with the loss of all my friends, a group supposedly bound by a lot of ideals none of which jive with acting as if a friend had never existed without even so much as considering listening to her side of a particular story. (the excessive eye-rolling i'm sure many of you have witnessed at any mention of organized christianity? bingo.) but i met this guy and became a part of a group of friends that took me in without hesitation, and had no interest in judging me. he was part of a group of friends from which i learned for the first time what it genuinely means to be someone's friend. for what it's worth, he played a role in making what should have been a crappy time in my life not so awful.

i hope those of us converging in his hospital room this weekend can do the same for both of them - and make an otherwise crappy time in their lives a little less awful.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

new hampshire, new hampshire, new hampshire.

what can i say? somewhere belva lockwood is smiling down on us all.

i love you, new hampshire.

Monday, January 07, 2008

is it wrong to scream for ice cream by yourself?

my last first day of classes, a 70 degree day in january, and the fact that my brother left michigan early this morning and i don't know when he's coming back. to those of you that know me well, the fact that i stopped in at ben & jerry's on my walk home today should be no surprise, given those things. and sure, i got frozen yogurt, but when you put chunks of brownies and cookie dough in vanilla frozen yogurt, and then you pack it into a delicious waffle cone ... let's be honest. that yogurt didn't make it better.

so i was walking through dupont circle, starting work on my delicious cone of goodness, and i noticed people were full-on staring at me. i checked my zipper, i made sure i wasn't exposing a nipple. everything was in place. it was the cone. there's something about a person eating ice cream alone, i think. had i been with b or a pal, strolling and eating ice cream, it would have seemed normal. but alone? i couldn't tell if people were a) wildly jealous they hadn't thought to get ice cream on this balmy january day; b) thought that i was a glutenous fat ass who'd need to walk 3 miles today to work that shit off (ha! i'm one step ahead of you people!); or c) thought it looked like i was performing fellatio on that ice cream cone.

whatever. it was delicious.

as a bonus, a text i just got from b, that cracked me up: "on my way blocked by hanna montana." i'm imagining him in a cab, hanna montana in the middle of the street in front of him singing, thousands of tweens running around screaming. also a bit surprising that he knows who hanna montana is.