26 December 2010

one creepy christmas

i'm sure i've mentioned that i live smack dab in the center of urban mania. there are always people around, horns honking, sirens blaring, bottles breaking, and dogs barking. "war of the worlds" as kbd-l might quip. and i love it. it's so full of life, with diversity in people, restaurants, bars, and stores. laughter, yelling, and chatter at every turn. and in all that chaos is a genuine sense of security, a safety in numbers if you will.

much like the one i left, this city empties out at christmas time. every one heads back to whatever place they came from (cuz, no one is actually _from_ here). i said the same thing every holiday season in LA, as i basked in the beauty of an abandoned 80-degree-sunshiney city. but in LA, people were around, there were just a lot fewer of them. DC, on the other hand, is a flippin ghost town.

i've never seen anything like this. both christmas eve and last night, i was actually scared when out of doors after dark. the streets were barren land, i could count maybe one other person on any given block, and with everyone bundled up in eskimo-wear they all looked sketchy. the streets were essentially devoid of its typical sounds of life. no cars, people, screeching buses, busy stores. just quiet, empty, and intimidating. kinda like the day after war of the worlds.

made me all the happier to be spending the bulk of it indoors, catching up on the most classic of 80's movies whilst miss scarlet devoured the goodies she found in her stocking.

...until i went to bed, and spent the whole night dreaming jason voorhees was trying to kill me.


22 December 2010

dream a little dream

in the midst of a very productive lame duck session of congress (d.a.d.t. repealed, START ratified, another giant stimulus package passed), and president obama knocking some heads, a most unfortunate dream slipped through the cracks of congress.

okay, so immigration in america is a subject most don't even want to touch. sooooo many morons out there... despite the fact that we are a nation of immigrants, little seems to fire up the masses more than "mexicans stealing our jobs," "building a fence along the border," "terror babies," or whatever other racially inflammatory bout of idiocy our media and the right wing are able to stir up.

funny thing is, that our immigration policy hurts the american economy much more than it hurts anyone or anything else, save perhaps the tens of thousands of kids who grew up in america thinking their whole lives that they were american citizens, only to discover at college app time or military entry time that they're here illegally (we'll get to this in just a sec).

american immigration policy puts a cap on the number of foreigners who can legally migrate here in any given year. a lot of the folks who want to be here came here legally, attended our universities, and possess knowledge, skills, and an entrepreneurial spirit that might be a boost to our economy. if only we'd let them stay. but we don't. and off they go, back to the whence from which they came, to take their education, skills, and job-creating entrepreneurial spirit to boost an economy in another corner of the world.

as for the "mexican problem," again complete and utter nonsense. yes, there is drug-related violence on the borders, and yes, the obama administration's uptick in border patrol has resulted in reduced violence, more arrests, and fewer illegal border crossings. but the folks crossing the border illegally are also creating a bit of an economic boom themselves. they move into neighborhoods, which means they are buying housing, groceries, clothing, and other necessary life items that the job force has to create and distribute. and they are, frankly, taking jobs you and i don't want for a paycheck you and i don't want. further, they are paying taxes into social security, medicare, and state and federal coffers for services most will never use. check the stats. all true.

but americans think with their feelings, not their heads, with their fear and not their hope. otherwise, the dream act would also have passed through this lame duck session of congress.

the dream act offers a 6-year road to citizenship for kids who grew up in america, albeit illegally (often without even knowing it), so long as they finish college or complete two years of military service. these are americans, people who contribute to our society and our economy, who are being punished for the sins of their parents. it's a no-brainer bill, with bipartisan backing. but the senate still can't muster a filibuster proof 60-vote majority, primarily because republicans are unduly slapping contentious labels like "amnesty" onto a bill meant to do the right thing for thousands of innocent children who had no say in whether they entered this country legally or otherwise.

but like so much else in this country right now, it's not about right or wrong, but about the cries of the ignorant malcontents who, in this particular case, can't see beyond the words "illegal immigrant"...


12 December 2010

feeling the holidays

i have spent 13 years of christmases in a tropical paradise, give or take a coupla holiday vacations to winter wonderlands, trying harder to get in the spirit than actually being in the holiday spirit. but living in a place where it's cold (bitter bitter cold), it just feels like christmas. and christmas kinda rocks!

yesterday whilst driving miss scarlet to her photo shoot with santa claus, i saw three different groups of folk carrying still-wrapped christmas trees up 14th street. medium-sized, little, a one big tree (at least a bit big to be carrying a number of blocks), but. people. carrying. christmas trees. up the street. up the bitterly cold street, a gray sky overhead, and enough dampness in the air to wonder if it would be rain or snow when it decided to hit.

people all bundled up in, what i surprisingly find to be, fabby gear. i mean, who knew that winter was a beacon for accessorizing. you wouldn't believe the stylishness (along with its antagonist) i see. the hats: fedoras (even on girls!), beenies and berets, vintage cloches, and these super cute wintery ones with the ear muff thing and strings hanging down. not to mention scarves, coats and jackets, and omg! the boots.

the whole package. the christmas trees tossed over one shoulder, and the ones dragged by gleeful kids, the red starbucks cups, the lights, the signs of sales everywhere and the sounds of christmas tunes lighting up every shop, store and starbucks, the santas with bells and the ones sitting with dogs, it's all kinda awesome. fun. happy. charitable. the way christmas is supposed to feel.

it's almost ironic that it takes the shitbag pile of freezing rain, bitter cold dog walks, and slippery sidewalks to feel that true holiday cheer.


01 December 2010

dicks on a train

metro insolence is becoming a theme on these music box steps, but the level of chutzpah i encountered today gives fucktarded egoism a whole new meaning. i actually had to ask an able-bodied white male in his mid-30's, who happened to be sitting underneath this sign,

to move his bag so i could sit in the seat next to him.

are you fucking kidding me?


29 November 2010

wiki leaks again

i've not yet decided where i stand on this whole wikileaks thing. there is a part of me that rather enjoys the "no shit sherlock" vindication of my long-held beliefs that the obama administration is much better at chess than were the bushies (see cables between u.s. and russia over the missile defense move in exchange for a vote against iran, see cables between u.s. and saudi arabia to get china onto saudi's oil and off iran's, and see cable from the saudi king expressing anger over bush's insistence on "handing iraq to iran on a golden platter," after the king strongly advised against going to war in iraq).

on the other hand, there's something kind of fucked up about the detailed exposure of intricate and presumably diabolical manipulations the leader of the free world must engage in to maintain that salutation, not to mention the safety and sanctity of america. i mean, think about it. we are america. we are the great ones, the "exceptional" if you will. we are pillars of democracy, the tower of strength to the rest of the world, the moral compass we ask others to follow. can we really be all that whilst also playing manipulative games with this country over that, this leader over that, pulling this punch here in order to deliver it there?

for those of us with a working brain and an eye toward the reality of the modern world, the word "duh" does come to mind. but we live in a country full of simpletons who believe the words of "wisdom" spoon fed to them by the likes of glenn beck, sarah palin, and rush limbaugh. we also live in a world where mahmoud ahmadinejad has access to wikileaks (see cables from every leader around the world calling him crazy and telling the u.s. to let israel bomb the fuck out of iran).

so how appropriate is it to over-share the details of what really does go on in the game of multinational diplomacy? and can america stand tall atop the mountain of moral superiority whilst rolling around in the machiavellian mud with the rest of the riff-raff?

you decide.


21 November 2010

what if

i think "what if" is a question we've all asked. probably more than once. some of us wonder, others dwell, sometimes in and out of heartbreak and sometimes just because. sometimes out of curiosity, others out of regret, but it's one of those questions in life we can't help but ask from time to time.

i've asked a lot this week past. my dearest little kbd, hot off the midterm campaign trail, has been staying with me since my birthday. with her comes memories of the greatest adventure of my life (so far), obama's campaign trail. i started in texas, met my little kbd in indiana, followed her to south dakota, gave her refuge on the music box steps whilst awaiting her general orders, and watched her leave for florida when that call came.

so, what if? what if, instead of watching her leave for florida, i had followed her there?

i would have given up my music box steps and a six-figure salary to go earn peanuts and live with strangers in orlando. i like to fancy that i'd've been her regional deputy field director, though i may've been a field organizer (with my golden pick of turf). i would have won, and won many accolades doing so, and knowing me, i'd've followed them north to washington, where i would have couch surfed whilst banging on doors and pounding pavement so's to land myself a gig in the president's administration. and i would have.

my last two years would have been very different than they have been. they would have been mired in uncertainty, adventure, and semi-organized chaos. i would have a white house stamp on my resume instead of that of a private-sector director. i would be well on my way to becoming a washington insider, and hating it as much as i do as a washington outsider wanting to stay that way.

i would pretty much be right where i am (though living in a much less lush apartment). i would still have been in zip's wedding in chicago this past june, and i would still be in the throes of the life-changing love affair that started that weekend. and i would still be clawing my way out of this wretchedly douchey city.

so whilst i've no doubt the path would have been much different, i'd still have made my way to this place. for once in my life, it seems i may've chosen the easier path, fraught with fewer gray hairs and wrinkles (thank goodness!) and a much better resume for my next job search. i'm not saying it stops me from thinking about how much fun that other path might have been, how rewarding, how adventurous, and how exciting. but there is some comfort in knowing that i still made it to the place i'm meant to be, and to the person i'm meant to be with.

i guess in asking what if and circling about the possibilities, i've discovered that though i may have chosen the path, the destination was always here, just waiting for me to arrive.


14 November 2010

my birthday

last year, my birthday was a really big deal and an even bigger production. before whisking myself off to europe for two weeks of celebrating me (i mean, it was a really big deal for me to get to that place where i was perfectly happy with me, accepting of where and how i got there, and knowing i was due for some big changes), 25 of my closest friends and i had a fabby pho dinner and too many drinks at my favorite neighborhood watering hole. (lotsa favorites last year)

leading up to that night, and through it all, i probably said a hundred times, "this is my last birthday in LA". i didn't know where i was going or how i was getting there, but i knew los angeles and i were ready to part ways after our tumultuous 13 years together.

and here i am. away from los angeles. all the way on the other side of the country, preparing myself for a birthday of a totally different sort. good stuff indeed. my staff is taking "our big kahuna, the fearless leader, the momma of all mommas... to celebrate her 25th birthday," i'm going to treat myself to my first shopping trip since moving to the district five months ago, and then i'm having dinner with my two closest local friends, and (bless her) my kbd-litttle who's coming into DC hot off the campaign trail to make it in time for my birthday.

but i'm still sad. it's just not the same. i live in a place i just can't call home, don't have the network, love, and friendship i had on the other coast, my love is in his time zone for his own birthday without me this week, and it just kinda symbolizes everything else about this new life i so badly wanted: cold and lonely. this year i think i'll be a little more careful about what i wish for before blowing out the candles in my birthday baklava...


09 November 2010

a head of air

i've nothing to say.

the end.


04 November 2010

post-election rundown

okay, the fat lady has sung, repugs took the house, and my thoughts've been requested.

my initial thought is one of giddiness. it's no fun for me to bag on a potus i love so much. and despite the thoughts of many, i never hated nancy pelosi or even harry reid (though i do think the latter is a bit of a pussy). and as incompetent as the now-lameduck congress has been the past two years, i sincerely believe such is the nature of the game, something that cannot change without an overhaul of washingtonian business the likes of which will take a calamity so great the entire city falls into the potomac. so going nutso on the democrats and bagging them to high hell was never something i was going to do, here or otherwise. john boner and team douchebag (R-all over), on the other hand, means open season here on the music box steps.

and i'm going to start with, "day 2, boner, where are the fucking jobs?"

i also think it will make my job in 2012, to get president obama elected for his second term, a whole lot easier. i mean, the "no to everything" days are over. if team douchebag really does care about america, they're going to actually have to do something. they are going to have to work with the president. if they do nothing, dems win handily in 2012. if they do something and the economy does turn around, guess who benefits come election day? that's right, president obama.

so, my initial thoughts are all kinda good. in the back of my mind, i always did kinda hope it would go this way (though probably not this badly, and not without the hefty concern that it could start an impeachment witchhunt (which would be a very bad calculation on the part of team douchebag (and even i don't think they can possibly be that dumb (can they?)))). i mean, look how good it was for the country when this happened to reagan in '82 and clinton in '94. things got done. they became better presidents. balance was restored. and balance is a good thing, or at least it can be. i would be a little more confident in believing such if the current g.o.p. wasn't such a giant pool of nincompoops.

but we shall see, and i shall snarkily share my thoughts on what will no doubt be a most interesting two years... i might even start watching msnbc on occasion in order to heat up the vitriol. i mean, if you can't beat 'em, join em, right?


27 October 2010

a landscape painted in madness

we're six days away from the next big election. pundits are out in full force, proclamations a plenty that the downfall of democrats will amount to a blood bath. and whilst i've no doubt dems are going to lose plenty of seats in the house, and maybe even a couple in the senate, i don't foresee a slaughter of any sort. in fact, i think i'll go ahead and hold my breath till the fat lady sings.

not that i should, really. i mean, part of me wonders if the president wouldn't be better off in the long term if republicans were to take the house. and then the other part of me reminds my innder idealist that republicans in charge with a democrat in the white house means impeachment proceedings, following months and months of wasted legislating time whilst special investigators and special prosecutors search high and low for any seed that may bear the fruit of a spoiled presidency.

and i pick up my newspaper and i'm reminded of a near 10% unemployment rate (that would likely be nearer 14% sans the stimulus). of a china that's behaving a little more spoilt and persnickety about the value of its currency, its role in southeast asia, and its control over certain minerals we need for our fancy tv's. of america's crumbling infrastructure, dismal education statistics, and the lack of a progressive energy policy. not to mention a still unstable afghanistan, a slightly more stable iraq, a lunatic in charge in iran, and a whole slew of other issues that seem too important to be wasting time chasing after a fantasy impeachment (especially considering that the democrats chose not to pursue an impeachment of our last liar-in-chief (i'm almost beyond sick of democrats taking the higher road)).

we need people in washington who are serious about solving serious problems. and i don't see that seriousness coming from the witches, bigots, and big-money failures on the right. in fact, all i see on the right is the exploitation of americans' fear, stirring up fear of muslims, stirring up shit about the giant deficits we're running, and stoking the flames of racial biases. all the while, simply repeating conservative talking points via their pledge to america (ones identical to their 1994 "contract with america"), but without offering one iota of a solution, a how to, a way out of this mess. and why is that?

because republicans aren't serious enough to be honest about the level of austerity measures and tax increases that will be necessary to get us out of the hole we're currently in. we are going to have to raise the retirement age, we are going to have to reform social security and medicare, we are going to have to raise taxes on everyone - eventually. we cannot sustain the current spending without raising revenue, but no one on either side of the aisle wants to seriously discuss what that means. and it's in large part because no one in america really wants to face the reality of austerity.

it's going to take a lot more courage than i can see in either party to deal with the problems this country and the world faces right now, but talking points, nonsensical claims, teabaggers funded by billionaires whose own political ideology exploits the same people who carry its flag (i.e. "The koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that working Americans are aiding and abetting their selfish interests."), and democrats who can't even band together and brag about their tremendous accomplishments the past two years (saving the economy from the brink of disaster, healthcare reform, cutting taxes for 95% of americans, just to name a few) aren't going to get us anywhere.

the fact is, someone's gotta spend money to turn the economy around, and with main streets' credit cards maxed, banks hoarding their cash reserves, and billionaires spending all their money on political ads to buy elections, the only spender left on the block is the federal government. we wanna see real tragedy, we should see what the country would look like without its spending. and we should worry more about stabilizing our country right now with big spending on, to name one, big infrastructure projects (talk about killing two birds with one stone: unemployment and falling bridges), and then focus seriously and courageously on the necessary measures in prudency and tax hikes it will take to get us back on the right track.

and i can only hope and pray that come next tuesday, americans will pull the lever that will continue the progressive problem solving, leave the gop in the same dusty ditch from whence it pulled its regurgitated propaganda piece to take america back, and help push america forward.



17 October 2010

my sassy bitch

i am trying so hard to train my little puppy to do some tricks for treats. she's got "sit" down pat. "lie down" is another one that she responds to as's meant. everything else is a battle, and she'll do it, but totally begrudgingly. fer instance, here's a little replay of our conversation today:

~k: sit.

[scarlet sits]

~k: lie down.

[scarlet lies down]

~k: good girl.

[scarlet gets tasty treat]

~k: roll over, roll over, roll over.

[k helps scarlet roll over and gives her a treat along with a lot of praise]

~k: sit. [scarlet sits]. good girl. lie down.

~scarlet: bark bark bark bark

[lies down while continuing to bark]

~k: [laughing] good girl. roll over.

~scarlet: bark bark bark bark, growl, bark bark

[k interprets this display of haughtiness as "fuck you, mom" and gives scarlet a treat for lying down as told (whilst laughing the whole time)].

- repeat the above six lines about five times before i gave up. and just as i was going through the last round of "roll over", scarlet stopped barking long enough to shake my hand before snatching the last treat out of my other hand.

gawd i love my sassy little bitch!


16 October 2010


i'm not much of a dessert kinda gal. i don't even want cake on my birthday (though i'll never push away a fat slice of pumpkin cheesecake), any of the sweets strewn about the tables at christmas parties, or peeps at easter time. and until two weeks ago, baklava was just another "eh" in the dessert world.

but in turkey, something changed. something major. baklava happened. the kind that's dipped in pistachio crumbs. omg! and it can't just be pistachios. after considering all options, i can only conclude that the turks make their baklava with crack, as i'm pretty sure the withdrawals i'm now going through are physical as much as mental...


15 October 2010

turkish hospitality

i've been stateside long enough to start to feel human again (still can't believe how hard it's been to recover from the jetlag), reflect all things turkey, and of all the things that stand out in my mind about that wonderful center of the world, it's the genuine hospitable nature of its people.

thanks to the truman national security project and the rumi forum, i was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit real turkey (and unreal turkey). my small group of fellow truman fellows and i met with farmers and mayors, business leaders and parliamentary members, women leaders, think tankers, educators, journalists, and folks who run NGOs. we visited not just istanbul and ankara, but corners of turkey reaching as far as syria's border. we saw turkey from the inside out and the outside in. we talked about turkish culture, politics, national security, economics, EU membership, the kurds, the armenian problem, israel and iran, and the challenges it faces re: all of the above. and we did most of it whilst chowing down on turkish food, the deliciousness of which defies words.

to the turks, they are turks. turkey isn't in europe, it's not asia, it's not the middle east, but the bridge between all. and the turks we met, the ones from all walks of life, had one striking thing in common: a sincere desire to bring peace to its region and a legitimate belief that it is their responsiblity to do so. and in furtherance of their goal (see foreign minister ahmet davutoglu's "zero-problems" policy on international relations), they are building bridges.

if you listen to the american media, the story is 'turkey's newfound confidence,' 'turkey turning islamist east,' 'turkey and american relations strained as it votes no on u.n. sanctions against iran'.

but the real story is turkey as the bridge. the turks have as its immediate neighbors iran, iraq, syria, greece. instability in those countries impacts turkey's security, its economy, and its prosperity (its bustling economy expanded by more than 10% in the second quarter of this year, and has generally found itself exempted from the doldrums of the global recession). turkey has a rational self-interest in talking to iran - in extending a hand to iran ahmedinejad would be a fool to slap away, because sanctions over iran's nuclear program (a nuclear program no country fears more than turkey) spill over turkey's borders in the form of hungry refugees, crime, and greater regional instability.

turkey greatly values its relationship with america and wants to nurture its strong ties to the west (fighting for membership to the european union), but it also wants to do its part to stimulate greater stability in the middle east, to bridge religious and cultural divides, to increase tourism, and to be friends with all its neighbors.

with its infectious idealism, it's sincere hope for a peaceful future for the region and the world, its dedication to making that happen, not to mention its delectable food, wonderful people, and incredible history, turkey is a place for all the world's eyes to turn. because for anyone watching and listening, turkey is building bridges that can and should lead to greater dialogue, better foreign policy interaction, and ultimately a more peaceful, stable world.


10 October 2010

from paris

there is so much to say about turkey: politics, people, culture, hosptiality, that i got to scratch my first item from my bucket list. but i am in paris right now, blogging from an internet cafe on a french keyboard (whoa, hard!), and have more pressing things on my mind.

fer starters, why is the "a" key on the top line, where is the question mark, and why do i have to hit the shift key for the numbers? (found the question mark). the period, btw, also requires the shift key. this is hard.

i made it into paris this morning on an early flight from istanbul, spent an hour working my way through CDG, as france is on a high terror alert and i got stopped by the french army in two places (me and everyone else at the airport) so they could investigate suspicious packages, and then the RER train from the airport is under construction so i had to take a bus to the first working stop. long story short, it took two hours to get from my plane to my hotel, when it shoulda taken an hour max...

the good news is that i still love paris, and today was the most gorgeous day i have ever had in paris: warm, sunny, and as beautiful as any day could ever be, and that it is 10.10.10 is just neato. i've also had an easy time occupying my turkishly racing mind by trying to answer a question posed to me by mon amor. he asked me why i think paris is so romantic. so i spent the day observing my way to an answer, and came to this:

paris is a city where anything goes. in addition to being charming, old, beautiful, easy to get around, and full of history and light (at day and night), paris is a place where lovers just are. everywhere i look, people are holding hands, kissing, embracing for extended periods, and looking at each other with passion and affection. the energy those lovers put out into this wonderful city is both alluring and infectious. it makes me so happy i could cry, even when i am alone.

crazy thing is that i've never been anything but alone in paris. i have never been here with someone i love, and whilst there's always been a part of me that's regretted that, i am grateful today. because today i articulated for myself and my lover why it is that paris is so romantic, and how lucky for me that my first time in paris with someone i love will be with him. whenever that may be...

back to america tomorrow, where i will set out to capture all that was utterly fascinating about turkey...

for now, bon soir!


26 September 2010

peace out, peter pan

this may be one of those blog entries that gets me into trouble for speaking first here, for surprising someone i care about with some bit of info about me that i didn't warn them about first. so this time i'm going to start with the end.

there is nothing on earth i want more than the life my boyfriend is offering me: a house in the burbs of a small(er) city, complete with a long commute, another relocation, kids, soccer games, a station wagon (though i will cry the entire way to trading in my mini cooper), responsibilities out the ying yang, travel go lightly. and i want that life with him. more than anything.

but to choose that life means i have to give up the dream of the one i thought i wanted. and that part has been harder than i thought it would be.

more specifically, i saw an advertisement the other day for the management cone of the foreign service. had i started over with that process, i'd've chosen the management cone, as it's more in line with my experience to date, and would have been my in to that life i so ardently dreamed of leading. and it made me really, really, really sad. it also made me question whether or not i'm making the right choice for me (that question, for the record, took me less than half a second to answer in the affirmative). it made me realize, for maybe the first time, that that dream - that saving the world adventure life - isn't for me.

because it was a dream life. and i'm choosing a real life to share with a real person (a real person i love more than i ever thought possible), one i know will be full of a different kind of adventure, but an adventure nevertheless. when i close my eyes to try to catch glimpses of our future together, i like what i see: lots of laughing, plenty of tears, so much love and affection, sitting in his lap when we're in our 50's, making him laugh, him trying to cool my heels when i'm on the verge of a tantrum, exploring every inch of our city, and as much of the world as we can possibly squeeze in. and i love those glimpses.

even more than the ones i caught of my dream life.

which is why i know i've made the right choice.

the end.


22 September 2010

rolling through the motions

i'm lying in bed with my puppy, reflecting on the retarded day i've had, and trying to figure out how i'm going to spend my 22 hours in paris in a coupla weeks (we'll get to this in a minute).

today was one of those hazey days where i really do have to stop and ask myself whose life i'm living. as is typical for me, i had to claw my way out of bed, went through the usual morning routine (sans the clothes drama that typically robs me of half of the day's allotment of sanity), and blinked to find myself changing trains. i even took that metro paper the dudes pass out every morning. i didn't remember taking it, didn't look at it, but found it in my hand when someone was holding starbuck's door open for me even though i wasn't stopping there.

almost every morning i drop about three bucks at starbucks for an iced grande coffee in a venti cup with extra ice, but this morning i woke up with a scratchy throat so i planned to sip on green tea at the office all morning. but after the blink and wake at galleryplace to change trains, i blinked again to get out of the starbucks line. i'd love to blame it on a grand bout of daydreaming, but what about?

that it's yet again over 90 degrees in the district? that i'm not going to see my boyfriend for six weeks? that i was setting off to another day of utter hell at the day job?

i mean, i was granted the privilege of spending almost 12 hours at the office, for the second day in a row, wanting to tear my hair out. even landed myself a new project today, as though the fact that i'm already herding four fields of cats isn't enough. and now i'm fighting back my new favorite indoor sport of crying myself to sleep by thinking about my paris. and what i will do with those 22 hours...


20 September 2010

with my bitch en tow

i took miss scarlet home with me last weekend, and brought her back to the district with me this morning. on a plane.


first off, anyone who frequents these steps knows that my puppy is as bratty as her mommy. we are equally as cute, cuddly, fun, and pain in the ass. it's part of our charm. we embrace it with the same pizzazz. we are two peas in a pod.

but unlike miss scarlet, i don't cry, whine, bark, and act generally like a big asshole on an airplane. to be fair to her, though, i'm not stuffed into a little red box and pushed underneath the seat either. imagine my embarrassment at being the jackass with the screaming baby on the plane? and i couldn't hide it. those loud whines and barks were clearly coming from the bouncing red box underneath my seat.

fortunately, the flight attendants (both coming and going) took mercy on me, and allowed miss scarlet out of the little red box and onto my lap (where she squirmed, turned, and refused to let me sleep), with the caveat that i claim to any complaining passenger that i needed her in my lap for emotional support.

thing is, it wouldn't've been a lie. for her crying, whining, and barking was more stressful than any plane ride that gave me the jeebies.

and whilst i likely claim now that i'll never take her on the plane with me again, i'll be bettin' that anytime i go home to see my love or visit my family (which fortunately i get to do on the same trips) for more than a day or two, my bitch'll be en tow.


15 September 2010

miscalculating GOTV

for months, i've been listening to dems wail about how we're going to lose control of congress this fall, and republicans whoop and holler that they're destined to gain control. a story that's been told, retold, and retooled by the nonsensical propagandists we find in the 24-hour news cycle. but the thing about politics is that it's always too early to tell, when it's never going to be over till the fat lady sings.

and the thing that no one ever really talks about is that the winners will emerge not by what we hear on tv, not by the words spoken by the big mouths in politics, in commentary, or in big money ads special interest organizations are dumping billions of dollars into purchasing and dispersing. it all comes down to six little letters: GOTMFV.

for you non-political hacks, that's "get out the mother fucking vote". those of us who've knocked on thousands of doors across the country, or sent out teams to do it for us, know that wins and losses in politics come down to one thing and one thing alone: the motivation of the voter to get its ass to the polls on election day. and i gotta tell ya, the returns comin' in these past coupla days in primaries around the country are telling tall tales of voter motivation to get to the polls come november 2.

there's little more that will counter voter apathy than a teabagger on the ballot. moderate republicans and independents may've flocked to the polls to vote against a rampant news story that our country is turning into socialist france to vote for its resident republican. but moderate republican and right leaning independents are about as likely to vote for a the radical fringe right that defines the teabagger movement as they are for a liberal democrat. those folks'll be sitting on their tushies this november, cuz they don't have a candidate to motivate their asses to the polls.

dems, on the other hand, seeing a teabagger on the ballot, will be acutely motivated to vote down the radical uprising. so my great words of wisdom to those of you with blogs, political connections, any experience and interest in canvassing or helping to get out the vote, i beseech you to play your part these last seven weekends and GOTMFV!


08 September 2010

vii movement

for those of you unfamiliar with the wiley ways of the supernatural, the above is a reference to a tarot card: a major arcana card representing transition into the next phase of life. what the eff you may be asking yourselves...

i went to see a psychic tonight. i'm forever curious about those who claim vision into the beyond, and i'm hyper critical to and perhaps even "closed off" to their words of wisdom. the one i met tonight made grand claims to my inability to move forward in life, said i was stuck, unable to feel, and confined to numbness. i listened to her reasons and revealed nothing in my actions, words, and expressions. i wanted her to move onward and speak from beyond without my help.

and she failed. she failed to see me. sure, she made claims about past failed loves (not any dissimilar from a failed love any of us could claim), talked about the frustrations of my career (so generically that any of us could have had the same reading), and spoke of other generalities that mean nothing upon reflection.

and then, after telling me that i'm so closed off she can't read me, offered to clear my chakras for $700.

so why do i write of her, you might ask. because she made me stop, think, reflect, wonder, and question my life and future. so much so that i called my mommy for some perspective (for the sake of full disclosure, my mommy is a reiki master who can guage and massage my chakras from a thousand miles away).

and then i pulled a tarot card (for full disclosure, i've been reading tarot since i was in college and charged $5 per reading for my fellow dorm-mates who came back often and brought friends). the tarot card i pulled was "movement" which spoke of a period of transition in my life. it is a major arcana card that depicts a slow and steady movement into a new phase in my life.

for those of you who read my bullshit often, you know i am transitioning. you know that my love for DC is gradually turning to hate (more on this later), and that my desire to live in the fast lane is surely being replaced by my desire to be a wife, a mom, and a person _living_ instead of working.

so, after my crazy day, i think i can safely turn in tonight knowing that my mom's got my chakras, and that i've got me covered safely, sanely, and solely. and that i'm as far from closed off to life, love, and the pursuit of happiness as sayyid qutb isn't...


29 August 2010

en transiency

when i learned i was moving to washington, i promised myself to roll with whatever life had in store for me. no more fighting, searching, longing. i was just going to be. i mean, it's not just that we never know what is in store for us. it's that if we're so focused on the search, we miss what is, and i wanted to stop and smell the flowers for a while.

and i guess maybe that's just easier to do whilst living in a city known for its transient nature. i mean this is DC. the residents change with the political winds. no one is from here, and no one is here to stay. most of us didn't set our sights on the place, we're all just here because we somehow landed here. and we're all just waiting for the right exit door to open, whatever it may be and wherever it may lead.

thing is, there's a lot of time to reflect when you're in a temporary place. i've spent the past few months thinking about where i've been, what i've done with this extraordinary life i've lead with a passion often times more reckless than not, and what it is i truly want next. i made it easy on myself by creating a bucket list a few years back, and these past weeks and months i've oft peered it over with a mind more open that i've allowed much these past few years. my focus is clearing, and i'm sharpening the red pencil i'm set to take to my bucket list this year.

i want to go home. and it's time.

there's this song on a playlist my love made for me that's kinda feeling like my theme song of now. the lyrics tell my story, "another airplane, another place, i'm lucky, but i wanna go home... i feel like i'm living someone else's life... surrounded by a million people, i still feel all alone."

that's me.

it's not that i don't love my life or washington, or that i can't revel in my own bravery for starting over on another coast at my age. it's just that being here makes it all clear. being here makes it truly clear for me that a life alone will be a lonely one. i don't want to be a lone adventurer our there saving the world from all its woes. i want a rich life, full of love and laughter. and i want to go home to my love, and share a life with him, happily ever after.

but first i'm taking a little trip to sip turkish coffee in the shadow of the hagia sophia, after which i'm gonna spend 22 hours roaming the streets of my beloved paris...


26 August 2010

hating days

i rarely write about the day job because i don't think it's terribly appropriate (even though i'll never mention where i work, who i work for, and will be super pissed if any of my readers spill those beans), and in the grand scheme of things, my day job doesn't play a giant role in how i define myself as a person and my satisfaction in life.

at least it didn't until recently. because recently, my day job has become the biggest, most frustrating, time-consuming, and annoying pain in my ass. it takes almost all of my time and energy, and for the first time in my life i'm working _way_ harder than i'm being paid (up till now, the pay has been pretty equal to the output).

and for the first time in my life as a working girl, i don't know how much longer i can keep up this pace... and i can't seem to catch a break no matter what i do.

fer instance, last night i went to bed at a very healthy (and unusual) 10:30. wowsers you say. wowsers i agree. and then about 1 am or so, the fire alarm went off in my building. now, i'm not talking about that little pussy smoke detector you've got hanging over the door in your bedroom. i'm talking about this kinda fire alarm (sans the british accent). over and over and over again. so when i'd rather've been soundly sleeping away the stress i'm under, i had to pack up my dog and walk down to the street, where we hung out with the other pissed off tenants and the fire department till we got the all clear to go back to bed. after which, the alarm continued to do that shit all night...

fast forward to today. despite that i'm busy as fuck with a million other things, and even though i'm exhausted after the night's shenanigans, i was able to complete a project i've been working on for weeks. and as soon as i scratched it off my to-do list and leaned back with a giant sigh of relief, an email came through with a big giant OOPS, not an oops that's my fault or anything, but one that will likely require a complete do over of the entire fucking thing. and if there's one thing that pisses me off more than anything else, it's a do-over.

thank goodness i keep whiskey in my desk drawer. and thank goodness i have a door i can close and an office window i can dream about jumping out of...


22 August 2010

twas the perfect sunday till...

when i got out of bed this morning, i knew i'd spend much of today thinking and writing. for the first time in weeks, i feel rested. i awoke happy that my puppy let me sleep till almost noon, that i found a most lovely letter from my love, and i was super stoked to take apart both of my newspapers whilst my coffee brewed and i fired up the tele for this morning's meet the press.

what i didn't think i'd be writing about was my great disappointment with the american people. i've long and often ranted about the morons out there with voting pens, those dingalong followers who hang onto every insipid lie-of-a-word spoken by the fear-mongering right, who cannot utilize a single brain cell to think rationally through their feelings of terror and their fear of terrorists. but after making it through my favorite section of the ny times, and not knowing whether to post frank's column, maureen's, tom's, or shockingly nick's, i'm here to write my own about the burlington-coat-factory-community-center that's got the fear mongers and their herd of dipshits in an uproar.

it's all we've heard about all week, right? i mean, how many people saw general patraeus on meet the press last sunday, or listened to him in any number of the other mediums he's visited this past week to try to sell his cause in afghanistan to a weary america? i'd say a much smaller percentage than saw and heard all the nonsense about the "9/11 mosque" (such bullshit that description is!). funny how, and this is all frank rich, the same hawks who beg and scream for patience with the afghanistan war are the same ones comparing muslims to nazis: the irony being that they want us to fight a war and build a nation for those they label nazis at home. frank rich calls it "putting politics over country".

i call it fucking deceitful (which might be one of the biggest reasons he has a column in the ny times and i'm over here at blogger (the other being that i also like to write about my dog, life in the district, and all the other mundane "nonsense" that drives some of my readers to the brink of insanity)). and to what end? i'm clearly not the only person who recognizes that muslims around the world are watching this debate, with visions of sugary terrorist recruitment dancing in their heads.

or as maureen dowd poignently pointed out, using charles mackay quotes in her column today, "of all the offspring of time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder's welcome... a misdirected zeal in matters of religion befogs the Truth most egregiously."

so why i ask - myself, all of you, and the entirety of the world, is it that a respected "news organization" (not respected by me as the case may be), with billions of dollars in its coffers and millions of dedicated followers can so fervently, and without even the slightest hesitation in decency, flaunt error with such zeal to so egregiously befog the truth, to the detriment of not just democrats in upcoming elections, but the safety, security, and health of americans at home and those sacrificing their lives for "nazis - afghans i mean -" abroad?

and can we really wonder why it is that i'd rather think about and write about chicken bones, bluto, my dog, and my love?

i think not.


18 August 2010

rainy days

when i lived in southern california, a rainy day meant a day indoors. i didn't go to work, didn't run errands, canceled plans, and pretty much canceled life till the storm passed. here, that would be impossible because it rains too much to hold up a 'hold' sign.

my morning started trying to convince miss scarlet to go potty while the rain drenched her fair coat. i failed. but i did make it into the office, to a lunch meeting down the street (with a couple of bad asses from georgetown, i might add), back home to give the rain pee another whirl, and then a hop into the car to maryland for dinner.

sidebar: the car thing is probably worthy of its own blog post, as tonight was only the third time i've seen the mini since moving to the district. i pay $200 per month for the privilege of parking in the city, a cost offset by the fact that my insurance has shrunk in half and i've still got 3/4 of the same tank of gas i drove into town with nearly two months ago. i just have to remind myself to drive her around the block at least once a week so she'll start on command (tonight took a few attempts to turn over the engine).

the point here being that the rain doesn't halt life as it did not all that long ago. it doesn't even really suck. no matter how i mighta felt about the rain back in so cal, here it's just part of my life. it's something that makes getting out of bed harder, causes me to miss my boyfriend even more than usual by per its particularly romantic nature, and makes me feel like a bad ass for not letting it stop me from kicking the day's ass.


16 August 2010

afraid of my space

though i've been here several times the past week, i've written not a word. it's not that i haven't had anything to say, it's that i'm afraid to say it. afraid to be myself in my own space, observe what i will, say what i will, live as i will. as though it's my responsibility to live up to other people's ideal of me.

how fucked up is that?

like seriously, how could i let someone else's assholio comments get to me so deeply? i pride myself on not giving too much of a shit about what other people think, and here i am cowering from my own blog. in spite of the outpouring of support from those of you who love me just as i am, instead of how you think i should be, i am still here in stumble mode.

maybe getting it out here will get it out of my head, and knock whatever's standing in my way right off its post. or at least i can hope...


09 August 2010

the beauty of _my_ blog

dear paris wagon guy -

this is my place. mine. my safe place to be me, express me, and be comfortable with me.

this is where i feel free to write what i will, express whatever tickles my fancy today, put out there whatever is on my mind. this is _my_ place to do with as i please. and if you don't like what i'm writing, then peace the eff out.

if i want to write about politics, i will. if i want to write about how madly in love with my boyfriend i am, or how much more amazing life is with a dog, or how the above two loves have changed my life's priorities, i will. if i want to write about discovering life in my new city, above and below her streets, this is my place to do so.

i am not here to be original, above and beyond what's new or important to me. i'm not here to satiate your need for me to be something greater than just a girl exploring her new city. and gosh, i sure do hate to disappoint my fans, but i'm just a girl exploring her new city with her new dog, whilst exploring new feelings for a new boyfriend.

if you want to come here and read about me, you are welcome. and you are even welcome to post comments that i won't delete. but don't you dare come to _my_ place and tell me what i should be doing here. this place is _mine_ not yours. and if you don't like that, then go away...


08 August 2010

the eeriness of a city sleeping

one of my favorite things about italy is the solitude of her morning. in venice in particular. too dark still to be morning long after it should, the only sounds being the faint swish of the brooms sweeping the streets of yesterday and the mild rushing of water through the canals, venice mornings have a hauntingly romantic feel about it.

dc mornings, on the other hand, though similarly dereft of life beyond the grumbling street sweepers, are more akin to the ruins abandoned by the traveling carnival. trash and half-eaten food everywhere, broken glass littering the walkways, dead rats strewn about, the smell of garbage drifting through air bogged down by soggy humidity, and a more americanized version of the street sweeper bitching about the pigs and the trough they make of the streets. notwithsanding its eww factor, dc mornings have their own air of intrigue.

and as different as their mornings can be, there really is something captivating in walking the streets of a city so typically swelling with life and sparkle, in those rare moments when even it gives in to the allure of sleep.


06 August 2010

the irony of time

i just saw a commercial referencing "back to school," and can't get my arms around the fact that summer is nearly over, any more than i can that zip's wedding wasn't a year ago. i mean, 6 june was only two months ago, even though it feels like it was 12. kinda like the fact that monday was five days ago, when feels a month and a day ago.

and it's not just the immediacy of time that feels so ironic. maybe it's just natural to wake up one day to find it all blending together: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. maybe it's normal to count every second in one direction with such focus that the ones the other way no longer add up. or maybe it's time's ultimate riddle to always be on the other side of fair.


02 August 2010

chicken bones

when i see chicken bones strewn all about the street, there's this picture of bluto in my mind. you know the guy, popeye's nemesis. a big, fat, really mean man with a mean laugh. i picture him with a KFC bucket in his hand, inhaling one chicken leg after the other, and haphazardly tossing the bones wherever they may land.

which is where they were five seconds before my dog got them into her mouth. sometimes i even have to go in and dig deep into her throat to pull them out. and. i. just. don't. understand.

well i didn't understand. not till a coupla weeks ago, when i saw bluto's twin on the corner, wearing the biggest size emergency vest the wmata makes, with his arm cuddling an entire bucket 'o chicken. i didn't stick around long enough to see if he took bites or just stuck the meaty end of the chicken leg into his mouth and gnawed off all the meat in a single gulp, but i've stuck around the neighborhood long enough to see that bluto has a dozen twins on u street...


29 July 2010

choo choo douchebags

i take the subway to work. i love taking the subway to work because i feel like i'm really living up the whole city life thing, and i love the metro etiquette i've found underground.

fer instance, when the train is coming in everyone lines up, and when it stops, the lines move to either side of the doors so that when the doors open, the folks getting off the train have free access onto the platform, then we waiters file on.

so today, i was lined up, the train stopped, and i moved a wee to the right to open up the platform to the exiting people, and some dickface cut in line in front of me (i assume everyone reading this knows me, but in the event you don't, i walk with a cane (long story)). after everyone had exited the train, and we started getting onto the car, said dickface proceeded to ready himself to take the only available seat on the train.

i was like, "excuse me, but do you think maybe i can have that seat?" when i looked around, everyone was staring at him with a "what a fucking douchebag" look on their faces. and boy weren't they right.


26 July 2010

the hidden pieces of new

i changed my blog layout for the first time (sans an experimental phase i went through when we first went live). i haven't been feeling the old scroll look lately. it just doesn't fit anymore. like so many things that made me me yesterday.

my life is so different today than it was three months ago. i know: duh. but it isn't just the general scenery change, it's that i feel lighter. like i guess one might feel when they finally escape a life that didn't fit anymore.

there will always be a special place for los angeles in my heart, but it's the last place on earth i'd want to be. and whilst i am going to love every single second of living in the district, explore her every inch, wander far from her beaten path, and savor the rich flavors of the neighborhood i now call home, this isn't where i belong either.

i belong in the middle of the country. them's my people, and that's where i want to spend my days as a bona-fide-ish grown up (i mean, some people are never _really_ meant to be "old"). i dunno if it's the timing, the people in my life, if it's because i've truly been granted an escape and with it a fresh start, or if it's all of the above, but i have never felt more at peace with where i am and where i'm going.


18 July 2010

the oddities of dog

miss scarlet is the first dog i've ever had, so i'm new to everything "dog". which is probably the primary reason i find her so utterly fascinating.

i returned from a long bout of errand running this morning with a small bone for the little miss (her first non-nylabone), and she has been 100% occupied since the hand-off. when she finished her first round of bone-gnawing, she put its remains in her mouth and ran all over the apartment whining whilst seemingly looking for a place to bury the thing.

unsatisfied with her ability to bury her bone deep into the cushions of the couch, she proceeded to scope out her crate, the bottom of her toy box, and seemed to've found a winner of a spot underneath my reformer, way back towards the wall - away from everyone (everyone being me).

out she crawled, no bone in her mouth. ran around to the other side of the couch, jumped up onto the back of the couch and peered down into the nooks of the reformer (the high view, if you will), and then jumped off the couch, ran back around to the front of the reformer, crawled underneath and into her hide-a-bone spot, retrieved said bone, and is back to chewing underneath the coffee table.



16 July 2010

fridays should be cakedays

everything was hard today!

first off, going into today i knew there was going to be some serious work drama. so i took lotsa deep breaths and pretty effectively controlled damage. but it was hard.

and there were computer issues - firmwide. and i have such little patience for technological irritants, the amount of stress i feel (admittedly asinine) is probably unhealthy.

and the paycheck fiasco. this is no one's fault, just an unbelievably ginormous comedy of misfortune. i just moved to a new city (in case you hadn't heard). my city has no chase bank (fer reals!?). so i had to open a new bank account. and whilst my original plan involved an auto deposit this week into my old account at chase and my end of the month paycheck going into the new one, turns out there's this pesky "live" check in the middle.

so the live check could only go to the new bank cuz there are no old banks within a 50-mile radius. and apparently new banks put holds on the checks of customers with new accounts (if i'd've understood the implications of this inconvenience, i'd've cashed my paycheck at bank of america and walked across the street with cash for said new bank account). so it's friday, my very last car payment was due today, and i had access to $8.33.

the worst part about that is that i have money everywhere, just nowhere i could get to it.

so, my company (being the awesomest most supportive, understanding place on earth) gave me a check from a petty cash account for a grand as a loan till my check clears. awesome, right!? so i do all the paperwork for that (which was doubly hard with all the computer mishaps), get the check, walk over to shitibank, and they wouldn't cash the check.

i have a california id, a check from a company right down the street, a new signature, ugh. so for 20 minutes i sat there while they figured it out, which they couldn't do until i called our LA office to put the hammer down.

yay! money!

and i got into a cab driven by the nicest cabbie possible. and i got home to a big dose of puppy love, a glass of wine, good company with good friends. and cutie texts from someone i love.

all's well that ends well.


13 July 2010

busboys and poets

i got completely drenched today by an unexpected downpour, choosing to leave the warmth and comfort of a neighborhood favorite to brave the torrential rains so my puppy wouldn't have to be alone in thunder (team so cal is having a wee trouble adjusting to this whole weather bit).

i was finally dining at this fabby place i've had my eye on. such a cool place, with its loungey vibe, shelves full of books, computers in action at every turn, folks dining in a total conversational setting, and the best part is that the bar is super fun too!. i pass this place every day on at least one of my walks, finally made it in, and even got a seat in the window. a little slice of new life heaven.

until the winds brought in a monsoon. i mighta had another glass of wine or even indulged in some sugary decadence whilst waiting out the storm, but thunder cracked the sky in half and off i went to save my scarlet. and though i had about half of sonya's umbrella, and a decent chunk of the walk was covered-ish, i kinda didn't hate getting rained on.

in fact, it was kind of amazing. just giving in. to rain.


07 July 2010


my furniture came today. it got picked up on the 17th of june and arrived today. odd start to my morning, with an oil spill having closed my street, my dog rolling around in the sand that DDOT threw down to soak up the goo, and a wee-morning trip to the vet (dudes, my vet is two blocks from here. TWO BLOCKS!) before the movers arrived with my boxes of life.

my vet surprised me. he is younger than me, has removed those giant rings that stretch out the bottoms of ear lobes of former punkers, and was wearing a backwards baseball cap (i didn't catch the team) with shorts and a t-shirt. (incidentally, this is the DC i've been looking for!) he dug my dog (extolling the all-too-familiar "i usually don't like small dogs, but yours..."), explained the swampy impact of DC on pets with just the right hint of snark, and pulled up his facebook page to introduce me to his dog. in a word, my vet _rocks_!

came back to meet the movers. my firm went balls to the wall on this move. it's made a very complicated (see quick) move so much easier. but it's still moving. and moving fucking sucks. i've spent the entire day unpacking, organizing, getting my 1,000 square foot apartment into 650 square feet.

and it looks _uh_may_zing_!

i'm not done. there are still boxes a plenty, pile up on pile of , "what the fuck do i do with this?", pictures left unhung, coffee cups without a place, and more shit than i'm sure i've got space for. but the place looks great. my things look fabulous in here, and whilst we're a few days shy of _home_, we're most of the way there. and i couldn't have done it without sonya like lasagna and her beau derek.

it. all. makes. me. so. happy.

the journey into my new life is rocking: new city, new job, new home, new boyfriend. and for the first time in a really long time, it all feels right.


01 July 2010

digging the district

okay, so i'm still pretty far from settled. still no furniture, my dog is pissed off at me because she's spending all day at home alone, the new job is madness to the nth degree, and i'm still outta the loop (despite efforts by some of you to rectify my current state of ignorant bliss). but i can't even tell you how much i am loving my new life!

i think one of the biggest reasons is because i feel like i'm living in a real city and commuting like a real city girl for the first time ever!

a day in my new life:

it begins each morning when i start hitting snooze at 7. once i finally get myself into a conscious state, i get up, walk the dog, get ready for work, and walk across the street and down into the dungeons below, where i find a green line and jump on board. because my k street office is on the red line, i change trains about halfway and when it stops at farragut north, i walk outta the subway, across the street, and bam, there's my office.

after work, i'm so rushed to get home, i hail a cab and eight minutes later i'm in front of my ridiculously awesome building right in the smack of everything "urban insanity" that springs to mind. up a flight, i open my door, where i'm greeted by my bestest pal in the world who is jumping up and down and smothering me in kisses and love. it is uh_may_zing!

from there it's been anything but routine, but exploring my new town is such a treat, and spending mucho time with my pup in our new home is kicking nine kindsa ass, even if the place remains empty.

and whilst i'm jaunting off to spend this holiday weekend in the blissful company of another, i'm but a week away from getting back into the news groove, from which i will return to these pages with my snarky commentary on the latest and greatest of the current affairs...

till then, happy independence day!


26 June 2010

at home in the district

i'm not giving up on the hope that i'll be able to pirate a connection tonight. it feels like i haven't been online in weeks, that i haven't read a newspaper in months, and that i'm farther out of any loop than i've ever been.

but i'm home. i've hung my hat and scarlet her leash on u street. and even though our stuff doesn't get here until the second week in july, i am so happy to be _home_, i don't even care that we're on folding chairs and air mattresses for a coupla weeks. and out of the car...

the road trip kicked ass! we left the left coast, crossed hoover dam, spent a coupla days at the grand canyon, visited the eisenhower and truman libraries, saw friends, visited the family, and did most of it on two-lane backcountry highways, traveling through 15 states, and finally landing last night in the district of columbia. bitches, we saw and loved america!

and here we are at home, a new music box steps on a new street in a new town...


18 June 2010

the end of the music box steps

yesterday marked the end of the beginning for me. after the movers left, i swept the floor, took out the last bag of recycling, finished putting my bags in the car, and just stood in the living room of my empty music box steps apartment for a final quiet moment.

and for a brief instant i felt overwhelmed by sadness. and then gratefulness creeped in. for as sad as it is to leave my home, i'm grateful for my three years of music box steps magic.

so i turned around, locked the door, walked up the music box steps for the last time, and didn't look back.

forward only from here.

the end.


11 June 2010

my new town

i've moved to a swamp with overpriced and undersized housing. with traffic worse than LA's, douchebaggery galore, people who overdress for everything, and intellectual snobbery i cannot even describe (yet). and haysoos is it hot, sticky, and uncomfortable!

but i have never been any place (save perhaps paris) that feels more like my town. i love it here. i love walking the streets alone, knowing where i am and where i'm going, mastering the metro, savoring the smells, snarking off to taxi drivers, and feeling the vibrant energy at every corner. this city is so alive, so full of enthusiasm, and so welcoming and embracing of all that's new and old.

i love DC. i love it in places and in ways i could never've loved LA. i love how small it is, how easy it is to maneuver, how useless a car would be here, how much this place loves dogs, and how much i know miss scarlet will love it here. i love that no one is from here, and no one plans to stay (myself included), but that everyone embraces the transient nature of the place, loves it whilst here, and loves to leave her in the end.

though this isn't my end all be all town, it's my home for now, my stepping stone for what lies ahead, and there's no place i'd rather be right now (even if trying to find a place to live is the bane of my week and my greatest weekend fear). i have no idea what's next, am making no plans, and am rolling with whatever DC has to offer, whenever she's ready to make the offer.

though our time together will most certainly be short, and whatever her surprises are welcome, DC and i are going to love and be loved, like no girl and her city ever has...


08 June 2010

the joys of moving

after my girl zip exchanged her vows sunday, and a long night of fun to the nth came to an end, i hopped a flight to my new town. where, um, madness abounds.

first of all, i'm in a new job. the office isn't new. the company isn't new. the people aren't new. but the job is new. the city is new. the commute is new. the hours are new (i am used to rolling in around 9:30 or 10:00, but on this coast, meetings start anywhere from 7:30-8:30 (wtf is up with these early birds!?)). and the life is new. right now, whilst in the throes of limbo, i am homeless, my shit is strewn about two coasts, my dog is at camp, my car is in an airport parking lot, my settings on everything from email to phones to alerts are set to different time zones. and i don't know whether to scratch my hair or brush my butt. fer reals.

and home-hunting lies pretty close to the bottom of the list of "fun" i associate with this relocation. and i am a picky mo-fo when it comes to that place i'll hang my hat. i mean, my new place is going to have to match up to the magic of the music box steps, and that's not going to be an easy feat.

the good news is that i've limited my search to three neighborhoods (this may also equate to bad news) and i have a pretty liberal rent budget. the real bad news is that i won't live with carpet, there must be a DC following the comma (all you virginia and maryland lovers really should stop wasting your time trying to convince me otherwise cuz i'm a tried, true, and tenacious city girl), i need parking within a block or two, the place must love dogs and have an in-unit washer and dryer, and i have to have easy public trans access. oh, and whilst i want a little bit of ghetto in my neighborhood, i don't want to be dodging bullets to and fro my metro stop.

so please wish me luck because i won't rest or sign on the line till i can find the DC version of my music box steps...


04 June 2010

foreign service paused

i didn't make it to the next stage. and while on the one hand, that shit stings. on the other, i'm relieved. i mean, honestly, don't i have enough going on?

in the grand scheme of things, i was dreading the thought of having to prepare for the most insane interview of my life whilst starting a new life and a new job in a new city. i can start the foreign service rigamarole over again in a year, by taking the written test again. my plan now is to try again next march. but i'm not opposed to something else coming along and steering me elsewhere.

right now, i want to focus on starting a new life. i want to revel in all its joys and woes. i want to be open to whatever happens or doesn't happen. and going into a new life with no written plan means i surrender to what will be.


03 June 2010

en route to a new life

stop one, chicago. zip is getting married on sunday and i am her bitch until i continue the eastward journey on monday.

i'm no friend to chicago. i mean, zip lives here, the end. and it does house the art institute, the architecture boat tour, that super fun photo op at the top of the hancock building, and wrigley field (for the record, just because i love wrigley field does not mean i don't really _hate_ the cubs). and i'm definitely a 10 here.

but. it's just kinda ewww. the weather sucks, it's in the middle of nowhere (even though it's also the road to everywhere), 95% of the people my age never left their fraternities and sororities (and fer reals look exactly the same as they did then with a 25-pound add), and that beautifully efficient but rusted steel montrosity hanging from the skyline just make chicago feel ewww.

it's kinda nice to visit a city i don't dig. makes the better ones seem that much more so (e.g. LA, DC, paris). and even better to spend her most special weekend with my bff zip.


31 May 2010

saying goodbye

i've lived the best three years of my life on the music box steps, which makes it especially hard to say goodbye. and especially easy too.

they all come and go in waves: nostalgia, daring, sadness, excitement, fear, lady luck. and in the center of all the madness, there is a perfect calmness. because it's time. and i'm ready.

all roads i want to travel depart from washington. i'm pretty sure we all know this. and it would seem that i'm finally ready to go pick one out. if only there weren't that pesky goodbye thing involved.

there are so many things i love about LA, so many smells, tastes, sights, and places simply delight my life. and staying here forever, indulging in what makes this place so beautiful, wouldn't suck. at all. but it wouldn't be a challenge either. and i like adventure way too much to settle into the [not unappealing] facile.

so brushing away my tears, off i go.


28 May 2010

my month of may(hem)


first of all, i've had no wi-fi for seven days. talk about a walk through the gates of hell. and i only just found out yesterday that there was non-dial-up internet in the house. but of course, by then it didn't matter...

last thursday, my mom called to tell me that my grandpa wouldn't make it through the weekend. i was on the red-eye that night. my parents got divorced when i was a wee thing, and because my mom's parents lived just up the street and around the bend, they were her most reliable babysitters. and the ones i stayed with when i got the chicken pox (because granny and pa'd both had them, whilst my mom had managed to escape the damn thing). i took the bus to and fro school from their house, and took more whippins in their yard than any of my cousins or brothers for our shared antics (most probably instigated by me (turns out my mom was the same way as a kid)).

so you see, i loved my grandpa a lot, looked up to him a lot, reveled in his "pa" awesomeness. so there's no way i'd miss saying goodbye to him. and getting to do so whilst spending countless hours in the company of others who felt the same way was, like, the most amazing thing ever. turns out my relatives are about the best there ever was. which seems well-suited to a pa such as the one i had.

there was that conundrum: having so much fun watching someone die (begging someone to die until he finally did. on sunday).

and then came the call on monday that DC is a go.

i'm still trying to get my arms all the way around that one. i mean, those of you who've long read this bullshit know that i've been trying to get the hell out of LA. and who wouldn't agree that DC was the likeliest next stop (though i sometimes still wish it was the other place). i've found time and again, however, that wanting to leave LA isn't quite the same thing as coming "home" for the last time.

me heart hurts a whole lot right now, in a lot of places and a lot more ways than i thought possible. my head keeps reminding me that i wanted to start a new life in a new city, and that change is meant to be hard, but the part of me that _feels_ is too sad right now for those rational things...


19 May 2010

miss scarlet (with one t)

whilst i traveled in search of work, miss scarlet stayed with a friend of mine who has two small dogs - one of which is about scarlet's age. my girl was so excited to see her new bffs - henry and maggie, i don't even think she noticed me leaving her saturday morning. and then she went and had such a blast all weekend, going on hikes, wrestling with henry, cuddling with maggie, and playing 24/7, i worried she wouldn't even remember me when i picked her up last eve.

but as soon as i walked in, she ran up to me, jumped all over me, smothered me in kisses, and chillaxed all loving-like in my lap, while henry cajoled her to play. scarlet really is the best thing ever.

she has such a sweet disposition, loves to cuddle and share affection, and is a big fan of kisses. but she's also very sassy, isn't scared to talk back when scolded, and intentionally pushes her boundaries (which means it will be a while before she comes off the leash on hikes and at the park). she loves playing fetch with her little red ball, rolling around in the grass while making weird growling sounds, and sleeping curled up right next to me.

she isn't a big eater, but loves peanut butter, cottage cheese, rope, and the insulation around my water heater. she doesn't beg when the rest of us eat in front of her. she smells everything everywhere we go, including every puddle of pee and pile of poop she can find. she loves other dogs, is very socially adept, and quickly becomes the leader of any pack. because she's smart, confident, and sassy. and tops that package with such a cute face, she is simply irresistible.

and the best part about her is that she loves me best of all. which is the awesomest feeling in the whole world!


the bittersweet taste of beginnings

i'm back from my interviews on the other coast, and whilst nothing is yet written in stone (and until the stone tablet hits my desk, details here will remain murky), i'm about 90% certain that i walked out of LAX for the last time today.

i look all around me, and see a part of my life coming to a close. i'm done here. i no longer belong in los angeles or to los angeles. our interests, hopes, and dreams are no longer sympatico. my friends know it. my family knows it. i know it. and fortunately for miss scarlet and me, we're moving to a city much more dog friendly than this, and into an apartment that will cost nearly double what we're paying now (fer reals- YIKES!).

so, knowing as i do that it's time for me to close the book on this chapter in my life doesn't make it any less sad, scary, or stressful. i'll be starting over. in a new city, in a new job, with new friends, a new nightlife, a new day life, a new home, a new neighborhood, a new everything. and as much as i look forward to the exciting days ahead of me, i fear for my safety, security, and serenity. i fear losing how safe, secure and serene i feel on these music box steps. and i fear the great unknown in my very near future.

it's a taste in my mouth that's both bitter and sweet. it's knowing how sweet it is that i have a new adventure ahead of me, and how bitter it tastes to leave behind so much that i know and love...

but it is what it is and i know i am ready for something new...


14 May 2010


i firmly believe it is our hopes and dreams that make us who we are, and not just in the abstract, but in the choices we make and the actions we take every day in furtherance of our own personal ideal. i am a dreamer. i dream big and hope even bigger. i jump off crazy steep cliffs, and whilst i smack face first into a stone wall as often as i land on both feet, i never stop believing in my dreams. i never lose hope.

i've long known los angeles and i would be parting ways this year. i mean, how many times have i said that 2010 is my year to bounce? i've mulled over a hundred different scenarios, have made choices and taken steps in a number of directions. impatiently. impulsively. quixotically. unregrettably.

i've been collecting boxes all year, scoping out apartments in this city and that, discarding from my life those things and people that don't belong, preparing my mind, body, and spirit for my new beginning. inviting miss scarlet into my life and adjusting to how much she's changed my life, and how much better life is with her.

and while it's certainly possible that i'm no more ready now than i've thought myself all year, something really does feel different this time. it feels like the stars are lining up just right for the exit i've long sought. and even if the stars aren't quite lined up, even if i come back next week disillusioned after my interview, i'll keep on hoping and dreaming for the time it will all be right...


11 May 2010

a week without a word

i can't believe it's been an entire week since i put anything up here. it's in part because i'm in the eye of a hurrichange and i don't want to jinx my prospects (looking better by the day!), and in part because i'm so fascinated by scarlet, i really just want to sit and watch her when i'm not playing with her, walking her, or pulling shit out of her mouth.

life is good!


04 May 2010

melpomene musing

sometimes i want to blog about things i don't want paris guy to know, but i hold back or i don't publish because i know he's here. and whilst i think if i asked him not to be here, he would respect my wishes and stay away. but i don't want him to leave. and even though my ego doesn't want him to know how much i miss him, the rest of me kind of doesn't give a shit anymore.

i mean, this is my place to let it all out. the place for my rants and raves, my hopes and dreams, my dog, my heartbreak. my special place for narcissistic expression. so...

in addition to being my pal, i thought scarlet would distract me from that woe, but she makes me miss him more. paris guy just celebrated his first anniversary with his first dog, so he totally gets what i'm going through, and he gets me. and knowing him as i do, i'd bet he'd probly be having as much fun getting to know scarlet as i am. no matter the distance.

i think about that a lot. along with how much better the world seemed when he was lighting up my every day. and about trying to be friends.

but i'm me, and i know i can't.


03 May 2010

my girl

scarlet and i survived our first weekend together, and we're coming up on the end of our first regular ole day. there have certainly been some bumps here and there, and i'll bet she was not pleased to spend the day alone today, but getting to know her is, like, wow.

she's spunky. and so sweet, curious, cuddly, and playful. sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night to her growling at her toys, and it is the cutest thing ever. i believe insta-smile is the word. when she sleeps, she curls into a little ball, and if i ease in to kiss that preciousness, a little baby growl rolls from the back of her throat. and it's so freakin' adorable, i can't help but lean in a few times. first thing in the morning, and when i come home from work, the welcome is truly delightful.

the best part is that my patience with her has genuinely surprised me. i mean, i was pretty sure i was ready, and i've no doubt i'll lose it at some point, but i've yet to get mad at her (she cannot say the same about me). even though her yipping bugs. she yips at every person who walks up or down the stairs, about half the dogs we see, and every single boy (there was unanimous consensus at the bbq saturday night that she does not like boys). then there's the bit i don't know the worser, her whining or me having to ignore her whining. oh. and she smells. like a dog.

but she is so goddamn cute hopping up and down the music box steps, figuring stuff out, and telling me how it is, that anything and everything else is forgiven and forgotten.


30 April 2010

my wild scarlet dream

my girl is here. and i'm a wreck.

first of all, she is the cutest thing i have ever seen. she is sweet, cuddly, curious, and damn stubborn as hell. but she's so confused, and i feel so guilty for taking her away from her rescue mommy and displacing her into this crazy city life she has no idea what to do about (which really does break my heart, even if i am super certain that we'll be bff in no time).

but i also love her. already. when i look into her precious little eyes, staring up at me trying to make sense of the madness she's endured today, i just want to make it all better for her. right now, she's lying on the couch next to me, her head's on my foot, and her arms are in my lap, and it makes me feel like we're going to be okay.

but it doesn't mean i'm not scared absolutely shitless. i have to somehow train this girl to get used to outings on a leash, peeing in the yard, and pooping somewhere other than inside my flat (which seems to be her preference). i have to make sure she knows this is *home* and that she's stuck with me no matter what (and hope that's a good thing for her).

and even though she's only been here for about six hours, i am utterly exhausted! i'm emotionally drained from the pressure of wanting to be a good mom without having a damn clue what that means or how to do it, and feeling like i have to make sure she doesn't feel abandoned and that she's happy on the music box steps.

and for those of you who know what an anal freak of nature i am, you'll be surprised to learn that her gas and the fact that she smells like ass doesn't even bother me. not that much...


27 April 2010

multitasking tuesday

while my original plan was to work from home today because a funeral was going to wreak havoc on my commute, when i was still in bed for "morning becomes eclectic", the day seemed like it might be turning into a personal day. when i got the email that my adoption was going through and that scarlet would be arriving on friday (see three days from now), i knew a personal day was in order, as a million things were on the pre-arrival to-do list.

so i went to burbank. for gates, crates, food, treats, toys, and a leash. then i came home, put together said gates, before figuring out that they fit neither of my kitchen doors (one of the doors was too small, the other two big).

sidebar: i am no architect. and whilst i have a deep appreciation for puzzle-esque things, i was in no mood today (we'll blame it on the full moon this time), and it took every bit of self restraint i could muster to not destroy the gates. i'm practicing patience (and it is really f'ing hard!) for the arrival of my puppy. and yes, i said puppy.

i didn't really want a puppy. i wanted a dog a little bit older, a little more mellow, a little more house-trained. but alas, she chose me. she was in my flat, on the house visit last week, for less than 15 minutes when she shit on my just-washed bed. and i knew we were made for each other.

anyway... whilst battling gates today, i caught up with kbd-little. whilst driving back to burbank to switch out the gates for ones that will hopefully fit my door frames, i caught up with another dear friend (who is in the process of building utopia).

i then ran 4.5 miles.

after which, i met the judge and dr. dave for sushi (and sake).

and rushed home to find A REPEAT OF LOST!? (with only four episodes left, i consider this an abomination).

needless to say, i've had entirely too much going on today, so i think i'm going to turn off FAKE LOST and go to bed (at least i've got a kick ass book waiting for me), and dream about the mini-diplomat who will be joining my life on friday...


26 April 2010

the devastating average

i don't know when my ego will recover from the crushing blow it was dealt today, but it's really got the rest of me in a serious bout of self doubt...

turns out i'm FS-average.

this google doc went around to the foreign service yahoo group, asking us to input our FSOT scores so's to compare. and whilst i already knew i'd passed by the hair of my chinny chin chin, today i was knocked completely off my pedastal when i discovered that my scores were "average".


to a rational person, average might translate to good. i mean, half the people who took the test received lower scores than me, and only half did better (in a test with a 30% passage rate, no less). and even if it's the average of the best and brightest, it's the "average" that burns my poor little ego, a poor little ego that's spent most of its life being much closer to "exceptional".

the good news for me, i hope, is that once i get a handle on my ego (it is definitely in charge today), the humility will do us both a fair bit of good going into the OA. if we even get that far...

~k (and her ego)

24 April 2010

fearing the fsoa

in the coming weeks, i'm likely to bore y'all to tears with the acronyms that increasingly gain more relevance in my life (and i'm fer reals going to have to start a cheat sheet at some point), not to mention the fear of this "interview" process in getting my dream job in a "public diplomacy cone".

FSOA = foreign service oral assessment. think that sounds like a big deal? well lemme tell you, it's a big fucking deal. a big scary one. i've begun my preparation, prior to finding out if i've even cleared the PNQs (personal narrative questions), because, well, because i'll find out mid-june if i cleared that hurdle and will likely be invited to the OA in july. and it's probably a good idea to give myself a few months to prepare, as opposed to a few weeks.

the good news is that i know why i had that teeth-falling-out dream the other night. my subconscious was a few days ahead of my ego in getting its arms around the magnitude of not just the OA, but how scary it is to want something so badly, to see my destiny waiting for me on the other side of miles of hurdles that seem so long, so high, so out of my control.

so, in the next few months, in anticipation of my FSOA, i need to prepare myself for the GE, SI, and CM. guess i should start with figuring out what the hell those mean...


23 April 2010

an end in torment

for weeks, i've been riveted by lawrence wright's the looming tower, an incredibly well-researched and even more impressively written (see pulitzer prize) account of the rise of islamic terrorism and al queda in particular. i've had nightmares, chewed my fingernails to the quick, and relived moments of terror that truly will live forever in infamy.

i learned far too much about osama bin laden, those who came before him (sayyid qutb, ramzi yousef), and their misplaced, irrational even, hatred of america. and the more i learned, the less i understood. men from an insular part of the world, fanatically religious, separated from women, politically and socially oppressed, uneducated: with no plan, no valid worldview, surrendering to god via martyrdom, and twisting the quran to suit their moral depravity, with eyes set on destroying america because who else is to blame for their woes...

and the worst part is that we knew all this, yet foolishly turned a blind eye, in underestimating the power in devotion to cause.

we let 9/11 happen.

after the uss cole bombing in the port of aden in yemen, just under a year before the world trade center crashed to ground zero, the fbi had everything it needed to know that a larger attack on american soil was in the works. all's it needed to link the impending disaster to those set on carrying it out was the information the cia wasn't sharing. and they knew the cia had the info they needed. and the cia knew too. but they didn't share because, well, because no one wanted its toes stepped on.

on 12 september 2001, the cia handed over everything that could have prevented 9/11 had they turned it over on 10 september 2001.

i relived 9/11 today. the emotion. the anger. the sadness. the helplessness. but this time, i did it knowing it could have been stopped, knowing that but for big egos at the top of agencies that exist to protect us, the looming tower would never have been written, those planes would have landed safely as scheduled, and the terrorists on board would have been picked up long before that infamous day was carried out.

and still i weep, and weep harder still. for as senseless as war seems, even the just kind i support, it makes even less sense knowing we waited too long, trusted too deeply in ignoble egos, lost too much, and gave too little to still be stuck in the graveyard of empires osama bin laden sought to draw us into...


20 April 2010

the trouble with teeth in sleep

in light of the fact that most of my night terrors revolve around terrorists, being chased by monsters, and forcing myself to wake up just before freddy krueger plunges his knivey finger nails into my jugular, this latest sleep intrusion seems but a minor inconvenience. but i'll be goddammed if i'm not twisted into nine kindsa knots today after waking at 2am horrified that my teeth had fallen out.

seriously, i could go into the gritty details i remember spectacularly well (which likely make less sense on "paper" than the film that's been on replay in my brain all day), but the bottom line is that i dreamed my teeth were falling out, and i'm still reeling from the horror i felt at 2am.

i'm sure part of it's exhaustion, cuz it was near impossible to get back to sleep whilst so riled up. i'm sure part of it is type-a-insanity (i.e. "i wanna know NOW what it all means), and the rest is the confusion associated with why something as insignificant as a dream about my teeth falling out could have so much more of an impact on my day-psyche than being terrorized by the likes of freddy krueger.

and of course i googled it. apparently, this is the most commonly researched dream. freud would say it's punishment for masturbation (and i won't even go into what that says about freud), bible-thumpers think it has to do with me caring more about what others think than what god thinks (uh...not likely), others think i'm insecure or have trouble expressing myself (yeah, that's probable), or perhaps i'm "unprepared for the task at hand," whatever that is.

so... after my research and analysis, it turns out i still have no idea why i remain so stressed out about it or what the hell it means, but maybe it just means that it's time to go to the dentist...


18 April 2010

24 hours in vegas

yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning nursing a hangover the likes of which i've not known for days a plenty, i hopped a flight to vegas with six of my k street friends. for those of you who live lives absent lobbyists, you should know that they are some of the coolest, funnest, most interesting, lively people to ever walk the earth. fun is not only guaranteed when hanging out with lobbyists, but taken to a new level. so just think about what vegas must be like with the k street crowd...

we took a limo from the airport (awesomeness!) to the palms, and after dingdong debbie at the check-in desk finally figured out how to check seven people into four rooms, we walked the 4-mile hike to the other palms to get to our bad-ass rooms!

but picture this elevator ride. two of us were women (see young, fun, _hot_ women). the rest of us were old, white, married dudes, and whilst i love them dearly, they might, at first glance, seem a wee on the dorky side. anyway, we were all in the elevator with a hottie guy about my age, and when our boys departed the elevator on the 28th floor, young hot guy turned to my friend and me and said, "really? those guy?"

we were momentarily speechless. but it was fucking brilliant. and my girlfriend and i will laugh about it until the end of time. "really? those guys?"

for the next twelve hours, we had a BLAST with "those guys"! we drank entirely too much, ate entirely too much, and lost ourselves at the craps tables (where incidentally, some hot ass spent the whole night blowing me kisses and making somewhat inappropriate (albeit not unwelcome) comments about my own hotness). getting up this morning, knowing a flight was imminent, was, we'll say challenging; one whiff of the wrong scent and i woulda tossed my cookies from here to high hell.

but i'm home now, and walking out of LAX -from anywhere- remains one of the great joys of my life... all-in-all, the weekend was well worth the pain i feel today, and the attention from the fairer sex went a long way in my rejection recovery process.