Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am not a tree!

After 7+ hours of travel/flying, Boyfriend and I landed in Kalispell, Montana last night, en route to Whitefish, MT and eventually Fernie, BC, Canada.

The airport in Kalispell was … quaint. Lots of wood, and displays exploring the Legend of the Americas (hint: the white man is the bad guy). Also, zip-off khakis seemed to be the dress code of the day.

So we collect our luggage without incident, and head towards the door to wait outside for Boyfriend’s parents to pick us up.

I made it as far as the automatic glass doors, and did a rather abrupt about-face. I have never seen so many damned moth-things in my life. There were thousands upon thousands of them in the lighted area under the overhang. I was having horrible butterfly garden flashbacks.

I hate flying things. Seriously hate them. They’re unpredictable and they always make a beeline for my nose or mouth or some other open orifice. They buzz around my ears and get tangled in my hair and make my skin all crawly. I don’t care if “normal” people think they’re “harmless;” moths, butterflies and all fly-ey things scare me.

After about 15 minutes of hiding in the sliding glass door entryway, Boyfriend dragged me outside to wait. I had to lower my head and dash past the moth-infested hell hole.

We settled on a bench and I was doing ok, when suddenly Boyfriend was like “you brought some light colored clothes right? Because bugs are attracted to dark colors- they think it’s a tree.”

Normally he’s just making this shit up, but this time he was serious. Naturally this ends with me shrieking and jumping around in the street screaming “Get off, get OFF! I am not a TREE!”

Fortunately, there weren’t that many people around at midnight. Only a few people got to turn and stare.

Unfortunately, two of those horrible little moth-things hitched a ride in the van on the way to the hotel, and I spent the entire ride frozen in my seat, trying to look as un-tree-like as possible.

And that was just day one of our weeklong Montana/Canada vacation. More adventures to come, I’m sure!

Friday, July 29, 2011

My life is a crappy TLC song

So I totally scored some digits on my bike ride home today. (That’s what all the kids say nowadays, right? I don’t know, I’ve been off the dating scene for 6 ½+ years.)

I’m biking home and I get stuck at the light at Florida and 1st, right near where I had the infamous bike-tastrophe a few weeks ago. An older blue Honda pulls up next to me, and cue the TLC music – dude was hangin’ out the side of his best friend’s ride trying to … get a bike ride with me.

Keep in mind I’ve already biked a mile in sweltering heat, and I’m not one of those ‘looks cute while she sweats’ types.

My hair, which may or may not still be dripping red-tinted dye, is plastered to my face/neck, sweat is dripping from my chin, my pink tank top (which clashes perfectly with my hair) is stuck to me in dark pink splotches, and I’m thisclose to dry-heaving all over my handle bars – needless to say, not at my finest.

Him: Hey girl, can I ride witchu?

Me: Umm… I don’t think you’re going to fit [Way to play dumb, Heather … that’s what you were going for… right?]

Him: Oh I’ll get my own bike, I juss wanna ride behind you. [Sing it with me: I like big BUTTS and I cannot lie…]

Me: …Oh, um, okay

Him: What’s your name, girl?

Me: Uhh… Mandy! [I was reading the real Mandy Moore before I left work, and I panicked, so sue me.]

Him: I’m James. James … 202 – 3… [Here I started humming in my head in an active attempt not to hear/remember his phone number]

Me: Oh, okay

Him: You remember that [repeats number].

Me: I’ll uh … I’ll try.

Him: 1-9-4-5

Me: Excuse me?

Him: 1-9-4-5. 1945. You got a family member born that year? That’s how you remember that.

Fortunately, the light turned green here and I was able to peddle off across the intersection as fast as my tired little legs would carry me, so I never did figure out if he was trying to tell me the year he was born, or get me to remember the last four digits of his phone number.

Why is this becoming the norm for me? Have you ever been hit on while looking somewhat less than your college-slut best?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Celine Dion makes it all worthwhile

Boyfriend and I are headed up to Canada on Saturday, and I’m mostly really excited.

I mean, it’s the second largest country in the world, with the world’s longest coastline; it gives us amazing exports such as oil (we get more oil from Canada than we do from Saudi Arabia – you totally just learned something!), salmon and Avril Lavigne (we were kidding – take her back, please?)

I may have to spend an ungodly amount of time on a tiny boat (or worse, standing in mud/muck), trying to trick stupid fish into eating glorified feathers, but there’s at least one horseback riding trip planned and I’ll enjoy the week off from work (even with no pay, thankyouverymuchforSTILLnotmakingmepermanent), so it should be good fun.

So why am I not bouncing up and down in my rolly-chair and packing and repacking 80 bazillion times to maximize the amount of cute outfits I can create for under 50 lbs? Three letters: TSA.

I get anxious about fish and butterflies. I’d rather be trapped in a tiny, dark box half-filled with water and 70 slimy fish rubbing up against my legs, with butterflies landing on my head and flapping by my ears than have one of those $24k-a-year sleazeballs at TSA touch me for even a second. Or worse, take naked pictures of me.

I can’t handle the thought of someone looking at me or touching me against my will- of invading my privacy and my dignity and shattering my tenuous relationship with my physical body.

One of the last times the Boyfriend and I flew, we flew from Miami International back up to Reagan. I’d avoided the backscatter machine leaving DC, but there were a ton more machines at Miami.

After waiting for 30 minutes in line, shaken to the point of nausea and dizziness, I was close enough to realize that one of the backscatter machines at the end of my line was not in use. A small trashcan was flipped upside down between the two panels. From there, it was surprisingly easy to end up in the line that didn’t have to be photographed naked. I simply handed over my ID and boarding pass, smiled at the $24k-a-year-probably-doesn’t-even-have-a-2-year-degree-attendant and walked to the line with the broken backscatter. Oh, you mean I just have to go through the metal detector? Sure, no problem.

Of course, how many more times can I hope to get that lucky?

Unfortunately for the criminal older lady in front of me, she had metal rods in her knees. The older gentleman watching the metal detector refused to speak directly to her, but pointed her into a corner while radioing for the female TSA agent standing 15 feet behind him. This dingy-blonde, high school educated paragon of our nation’s security came trotting over, herded the older lady into a square roped off area, and began the “enhanced pat down” process.

From what I could hear, our grandmotherly criminal was not offered a private room or a witness of her choice. She was offered a physical molestation that was painful and humiliating for me, and I was only watching.

The TSA agent started on the lady’s sides, running her palms forcefully up and around the woman’s breasts and back. There was no “patting” involved. She then explained that she had to check the waistband, and proceeded to look down grandma’s pants.

Then, the agent knelt down and began grasping at the woman’s knees and legs. Her hands travelled well up into the woman’s groin region, and I had to avert my eyes, but not before seeing numerous wrinkles in the crotch of her pants. The experience left me disgusted, shaken and humiliated, and I can only imagine how that poor woman felt while actually enduring the indignity and degradation.

I’m so scared that my pre-security panic attacks are going to one day be attributed to ‘acting suspiciously’ and I’ll be dragged off into a back room and molested at length. Of course, that fear just makes me even more insanely panicky and throw-up-y.

And I can’t find my bottle of Diazepam with the two last pills in it that I’ve been saving for just such an occasion.

Our government is crap right now. I know this – I was a political science major in college. But honestly, I had more faith in them than to believe they would let this BLATANT violation of the fourth amendment stand. Sorry to go all political on you, but really, if you believe that these TSA searches are ‘legal’ or ‘useful’ or ‘not a violation of our basic civil rights,’ then we probably can’t be friends.

Maybe while I’m in Canada, I’ll pick up a Canadian accent and just stay there permanently. Free health care, maple syrup (I would list hockey, but really, does anyone care about hockey?) and all the Celine Dion music I can listen to? Yes, please!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I can write real bad when I want to

Thanks to the source-of-all-things-that-is-news, Facebook, I recently discovered that a former editor of the college satire paper I worked for was a runner up in the Bulwer Lytton contest, in the romance category.

The Bulwer-Lytton contest is a tongue-in-cheek writing contest to find the best worst opening sentence for a novel. Some of the winners/runners up are teeth-grittingly, painstakingly awful. It’s amazing.

The 2010 winner might be one of my favorites:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil. - Molly Ringle

So now I’m on a mission to enter/possibly win (at least a category of) this thing. I mean, I read cheesy romance novels all the time […uhm, as an example of how not to write. Yes, that’s it…], so I think I can write bad like nobody’s business. Also, you can make multiple submissions and submit all year round.

So my first attempt, and no stealy stealy:

Colorless lips tilted up in a toxic smirk just seconds before spewing volatile poison (not the verbal kind, more of the methyl alcohol variety) directly into my eyes- our relationship had always been explosive, but that night, she blinded me with science.

Hmm. Sciency terms. Bad 80s reference. What do you guys think? Submit-worthy?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's our NAME?!

I am so unbelievably happy the lockout has been lifted and football is back on! I mean, not that I really ever had any doubts – there’s way too much money on the table – but it’s good nonetheless.

Now I can get back to my insane Ravens fandom.

I thought living in DC it would be easier to find intelligent, reasonable football fans [Ravens fans, duh], but it’s been terribly lonely so far.

In Austin, we had a huge Ravens Nest at the Tavern every Sunday (or Monday). Probably 20 - 30 people on any given day. There was also a small but vocal (aren’t they always?) contingent of Steelers fans (bandwagon, much?), but the bar liked us much better and we got our own whole section.

I miss that camaraderie- the thrill of climbing the stairs in my Ravens jersey [either Flacco or Reed, depending on my mood] to meet 30 other people who all love the game and want the same thing I do: another Super Bowl ring. I miss the twinge of excitement that would start up when I first saw the Ravens banner draped over the balcony railing, and grow to a crescendo as we all got silent in that instant before the kickoff was airborne.

We’d generally have 3 TVs turned to the Ravens game, and one to the Dolphins game (if Boyfriend was with me and they were playing at the same time). I’d settle in behind the pool table that they covered and converted to an extra table for us, order a corona (before I discovered the gluten allergy) and start munching on the appetizers my dad and stepmom had already ordered.

Then the game would start.

Every one of us was on that field, every game, with our boys. Struggling to hold the opponent’s O line. Fighting to move the ball that one last yard. When Ray Rice would break free, we were on our feet as one, hands in the air, proclaiming the touchdown before he ever crossed the 20 yard line. [And later, of course, proclaiming the flag that was surely coming, for some bullshit call].

My dad would lead us in screaming cheers of “What’s our NAME??” after every score, and we’d turn ever so slightly, angling our shouted response: “RAVENS!” towards the sad little cluster of Steelers whiny-fans.

I miss those days so much.

In DC, football just isn’t that important. And I mean, really, can you blame them? Their team is the Redskins. Cake or death, and they’ve been out of cake since 1991.

The closest we’ve come to a decent football experience is Sign of the Whale, with their bottomless make-your-own bloody marys, but Boyfriend doesn’t like that place because they didn’t have the Dolphins game once. Like anyone else really wants to watch the Dolphins?

I’d really hoped to have a house before football season this year, so we could throw some killer football parties, but alas, it was not to be.

The quest for the ultimate Ravens fan bar in DC will continue (or I’ll start driving up to Baltimore, but that sucks, because then one of us would have to stay sober to drive back), and maybe next season, when we’re defending our 2012 Super Bowl win, we’ll have a house in which to throw amazing Ravens parties. And you’ll all be invited :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

You and tequila make me crazy

Boyfriend and I turned on the radio last night while driving back from Wegman’s (I can’t even explain how much I love this food store), and the first line we heard was “you and tequila make me crazy.” I turned to Boyfriend and was like “Yup, that’s about right.”

I’m not a big drinker (read: total lightweight- 2 gluten-free beers will do me in), but I do love me some tequila. I prefer Patron and Don Julio, but Jose and I are buddies, too.

I discovered my love for tequila either sophomore or junior year of college (honestly, most of college kind of blurs together for me- how am I supposed to distinguish between four straight years of drinking, all-nighters and naked people?).

Boyfriend and I had been dating for a little while – maybe a few months? – when we attended a Slant party together in the Chaffins (townhouse/condo things on campus). The Slant was our humor/satire newspaper which I wrote/edited/designed for at least to some extent all four years of college. We had some crazy parties. I think the Bolshevik Bash is a story for another blog post. Anyway.

Side note: When you Google my name, XXX Schoolgirl Photos still comes up on page 3 of the results because it was somebody’s *ahem* idea of a joke to title/tag an archive article like that, and it never got taken down. Maybe that’s why I’ve gotten so few interview requests since I moved up here… whoops.

So when we got to this party, I was already a little tipsy-ish (I’d probably had half a beer or something silly like that). Some of my guy friends were in the kitchen while Boyfriend and I were out in the main living room area. The guy friends were like “hey, want to do a tequila shot with us?”

I’d never had tequila before at this point in my life (I was a goody two shoes in high school – not really intentionally- mainly because most of my friends didn’t really drink), so I was undecided. Boyfriend was like “no, you definitely cannot handle tequila.”

That decided it for me. I was trying tequila. Never give me a challenge like that – I will always prove you right wrong.

So I went into the kitchen, and they showed me the proper technique for licking the between-the-thumb-and-index-finger area (does this area have a name? It needs one. Can we call it the Salt Nook or something?) and applying salt. They gave me my lime wedge. And my shot glass.

I had no idea I could look so sexy while licking myself. (And I’m sure I looked sexy… right?)

It was so good! Ok, keep in mind, I hadn’t done many shots in my life, and seeing as we were in college, probably 99% of the shots I had done were cheap vodka. So a shot of mediocre tequila (it wasn’t even Jose I don’t think) went down like water.

So I did another one. And then when Boyfriend wasn’t looking, another one. And since I totally still felt fine, I’m pretty sure there was a fourth shot. And maybe a fifth?

At this point, Boyfriend decided we needed to leave because it was a long walk back to my dorm. I think he knew something I didn’t know.

I made it about 100 feet from the Chaffins before I had to sit down. In the middle of the street.

I have no concept of how long I sat there, waiting for the ground to stop tilting. Somehow Boyfriend got me back to my dorm, despite a lot of weaving and obnoxious giggling. I’m super quiet most of the time (at least around people I don’t know), but liquor me up, and I’m a major giggler.

I didn’t puke (I’ve only done that once, miraculously) and no hangover (I never get them. Go ahead, commence with the hating me), and I decided from that point forth that tequila was my liquor of choice.

Imagine my joy when we moved to Austin and I discovered Mexican Martinis (tequila martinis). Oh happiness in a cute glass, with a shaker of refill! Other than my horse, that may be the thing I miss most about Texas.

As Kenny says, “one more is never enough…”

So what is everyone’s drink of choice? Any other big-time tequila lovers, and if so, what’s your brand?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Of blisters, tourists and gangsta pigeons

Masochist that I am, I decided to take the bus this morning, rather than bike. I had a briefing to attend at the Senate at noon, and I didn’t want to get too disgustingly sweaty. (Hah! Trying to avoid sweaty in DC in the summer! Double hah!)

I left my apartment this morning at about 8:20, just a few minutes later than I intended, planning to catch the 8:30 bus at V St and North Capitol. The bus stop is completely hidden behind bushes, so I can’t see the bus approaching, but I can usually hear it. Of course, by that point, it’s usually too late.

I heard the squeak of the bus’ [totally up to safety codes, I’m sure] brakes when I was about 20 feet from the corner this morning. I ran (which is never a pretty sight). The bus drove past me anyway. Asshole.

But whatever, I’m meeting with Senators today! I’m Important! This will not get me down!

I decide to start walking towards the next stop (it’s not physically possible to actually get to the next stop before the bus, because of the way the light works at Rhode Island) and wait for the next bus there. There’s at least a telephone pole at that stop for shade.

While I was just about exactly halfway between the two stops, the NEXT bus went flying by.

I screamed. I chased. I looked freakin’ nuts.

The bus driver ran the red light and left me stranded on the wrong side of Rhode Island. So I missed TWO buses.

It’s now 8:35, I still have to go almost 2 miles, and the two later buses, which are supposed to run 13 minutes apart, have both passed me. Not to mention that it’s 90 degrees and climbing, with enough humidity to choke an elephant.

So I start walking. Hoping the late late bus will be early and catch me. Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

So I walked 2 miles, in sweltering heat, in a black dress, and arrived at work looking like a furious, half-drowned poodle. I flat-ironed my hair twice this morning.

I make it into the office, do damage control on the hair, clean the last vestiges of melted makeup from my face, catch up on some busywork and am finally starting to relax and prepare for the noon briefing, when my co-worker comes by and goes ‘Oh by the way, there’s a prep meeting at 11. I’ll swing back by in 5 minutes and grab you.’

That left me exactly 5 minutes to re-apply makeup, finish drying out my dress, attempt to hide the odor of stale sweat, grab my notebook, pack my purse, email my boss… etc. etc. Eek.

But I get ready, and we head out, and walk a mile in the holy-crap-I-didn’t-think-it-could-get-any-hotter sun to the Senate Visitors Center. Whatever damage control I thought I’d done with my hair was totally to no avail.

After nearly breaking my neck trying to walk across cobblestones in heels (Hi, guess who doesn’t remember how to walk in these things after not wearing heels for almost a month… oh yeah, me), I discovered blisters in places I didn’t even know one could get blisters. Like on the nail cuticle. And the lower side of the heel. And on top of other blisters. I started naming the blisters to distract myself. There was Ouchy, and Painy, and Owwie….

I spent the whole briefing looking forward to changing into my flip flops for the walk back. My flip flops that were still conveniently located underneath my desk in the office. Damnit!

So I was forced to walk hobble like a decrepit grandmother back to the office as slow as humanly possible. People on crutches were passing me. Toddlers were passing me. I was moving so slow the pigeons weren’t even afraid of me.

Of course, these ghetto-ass DC pigeons aren’t afraid of much. I keep expecting them to pull out little tiny pigeon handguns and mug me for breadcrumbs.

While I was walking, a tourist* stopped me to ask where the Capitol was. It was directly behind me. And in plain sight. And uhm, it’s pretty damn big. And uniquely shaped. I didn’t even say anything. I just pointed, and let her feel my scorn.

And so I finally made it back to my office, a soupy mix of sweat and makeup dripping from my chin, and my dress so soaked through and smelly that I didn’t even want to be near me. And ran into our Deputy Executive Director, whom I almost never see. Yes, actually, this is my idea of professional work attire.

The end of the day can’t come soon enough, because holy crap do I need a shower…

* Easily identified by their ‘I heart DC’ t-shirts, Duck Tour tickets and fanny packs. Commonly found standing on the left side of the escalator, blocking traffic. Do not attempt to feed or give directions. They’re dangerous.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend recap, with a sad tangent, but mostly happiness

This was a surprisingly action-packed weekend for me. Especially since I’m still trying to get over this death-cold from hell. I feel like my lungs have just given up and are shriveled little piles of black-ish grey lung-matter somewhere in the bottom of my chest. Every once in a while they sputter feebily when some more mucus, aided by the 12 hour extra strength Mucinex, makes its way down there.

But other than that, I feel great!

So yeah, Boyfriend’s dad is in town, so we went to dinner Thursday night, Friday night, Sunday night and are going to dinner with him again tonight. That’s a lot of eating out- I think my Joe’s Jeans are going to join my lungs in their mutiny against me after this, and just quit fitting.

Boyfriend’s dad was old-person wasted by the time I showed up to dinner Thursday night- complete with banging both fists on the table and announcing over and over again how pleased he was to see both of us. Friday night was dinner at Zola, including some of Boyfriend’s friends, and it was my turn to get drunk (off of one really strong Strawberry Basil Smash). The second drink was just for good measure. Weee Heather has no tolerance!

Saturday was spent tubing on the Gunpowder, which was fun, though we were the suckers who believed the “no beer” rule. Next time: bring beer.

As we were nearing the end of the float, a girl in the group ahead of us started flipping out/hyperventilating/generally losing it because she apparently saw a snake. This of course means redneck dude from another group needs to go investigate. This is generally how people end up in the local section of the paper under the ‘Tuber Killed in Freak River Snake Accident’ headline.

Redneck dude not only locates the snake, but snatches it up, swings it in circles several times, whapping it against the water to stun it, and then proceeds to walk down the river with it wrapped around his arm. Dude was
a walking Jeff Foxworthy punchline.

On a more serious, less snake-related note, Boyfriend and I visited my grandfather in the hospital. He’s been in for over a week now, with no release date in sight. They’ve just started radiation treatments, and the full-on chemotherapy comes next.

It’s hard to see someone who was once so strong and capable look so feeble and frail. I won’t pretend my grandfather has ever been a saint, but the thought of losing him starts the acid churning in my stomach.

I hate hospitals. You’re probably going ‘duh, Heather, most people do,’ but I REALLY hate hospitals. My first strong memory of a hospital is when I was 11 years old, in the grey, plastic-covered family waiting area at Northwest Hospital in Baltimore. Looking around at the grey, sullen faces of my family members as we waited to be told my Bubbie (grandmother) had passed.

We went back into the ICU unit after she’d gone to say goodbye one last time, and they’d finally removed all the tubes and wires and machines that had been strangling her before. She looked so peaceful lying there, eyes closed, mouth just about to kick up into that half-smile she always did just before sticking her tongue out at you. Why couldn’t they have tried just a little harder to make her get better? At 11 years old, I didn’t understand. I just hurt.

Anyway, sorry, sad tangent over. And I promise the rest is much happier.

Sunday, Boyfriend and I took Mom and her husband to see the matinee performance of Wicked at the Kennedy Center. Boyfriend and I have seen it before, but it was still absolutely amazing. In fact, I *might* be listening to Defying Gravity on repeat right now.

I rented a dress for the occasion from Rent the Runway, and it was adorable.

I got a navy blue Milly dress, with off-white nautical-themed rope piping. I’m really obsessed with Milly right now. They send you your dress of choice in two sizes, and surprisingly, the 4 was actually a little big.

The dress came with a sash to cinch the waistline (it had kind of a drop waist, which never looks good on me), but the sash wasn’t quite solid enough, so I added a thick tan belt I got from a boutique in NY. The belt made the waistline sit a little higher, which was perfect. With silver Seychelles heels and a vintage silver cuff, I felt way prettier than I have in a long time. I needed that.

And because food is my common theme, always, the show was followed by dinner at Founding Farmers with Boyfriend, Mom, Mom’s Husband, and Boyfriend’s Dad. I think things are finally starting to get less awkward when we mix the families. As long as my dad isn’t involved, that is. But he’s a whole other story.

Friday, July 15, 2011

He's baaaa-aaack!

Oh god, y’all. Hector Elizondo’s creepy twin brother was back on the bus this morning.

He got on and spotted me instantly. He froze, and he stared. He stared to the point where other people turned to see what he was looking at. He stared so hard it was a struggle to keep my eyes glued to the “Tienes la motivacion para manejar?” ad.

Dude was wearing 80s mom-style high-waisted straight leg light blue jeans, black sneakers, white socks (clearly visible beneath the ankle-length jeans), and a baggy blue button down, with stained cuffs. So dreamy.

Finally, he sat down, and kind of reclined in his hard metal seat, with his hands linked behind his head and ankles crossed. You’re not fooling me, Rico Suave.

What I imagine Creepy Dude thinks he looks like.
Yes, I photoshopped Hector Elizondo’s head onto Rico Suave’s body. I’m actually kind of impressed with it!

I spent the rest of my ride glaring at the V on the back of his head where the two greyish strips of his hair finally connected.

Sucks for you creepy man, but I think I’ll finally be back to riding my bike on Monday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Salad Nazi scares me

I go to Au Bon Pain (ABP, for those of us in the know…) to get a salad for lunch at least twice a week. You’d think being located right near Union Station would provide multiple food options, but the gluten allergy makes eating out exceedingly difficult. My options are pretty much salad or sushi, and the sushi people already know my order by heart. I probably eat there a little too often.

Going to Au Bon Pain never fails to amuse me. They hire some real winners. Like the cashier girl who almost cried when I told her I couldn’t eat bread.

Cashier: You know, you get a free side of bread with your salad
Me: Oh I can’t have bread; I’m allergic.
Cashier: That’s so sad!
Me: Umm … yeah, I guess
Cashier: That’s not right. In this day and age, people should be able to eat whatever they want!
Me: … I guess so
Cashier: [Still staring at me like I’m an orphan from a third world country] Wow, that is just so sad.

I had to resist the urge to pat her on the shoulder and be like ‘there, there. It’s ok, I’m not really suffering. See? I’m still plenty chunky…’

Or the cashier, who despite having my order sheet in front of her, which clearly listed it as a Chef’s Salad, demanded I tell her exactly what was in my salad. So I had to stand and read her all the ingredients.

But my favorite (and by favorite, I mean one whom I am most terrified of) person is the Salad Nazi. She makes Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi look like a joke.

She’s there almost every day, working the salad bar. I hate getting ABP’s pre-made salads because sometimes the lettuce is still half-frozen, and it’s kind of slushy when you eat it. So I order a Chef’s Salad with fat free raspberry dressing, because it’s one of the few dressings there that I’m at least reasonably sure is gluten free.

So the Salad Nazi. This woman will STARE. YOU. DOWN. if you don’t know how to properly fill our your salad order form. And god forbid you hesitate when she asks if you want one scoop of salad dressing or two. I live in mortal fear of guessing wrong.

Yesterday I was in there, waiting meekly off to the side for my Chef’s Salad, when the woman in front of me got her salad. Everything seemed to be going ok- the salad was handed over, no limbs were required in exchange. But just seconds after the customer walked away with her salad, the Salad Nazi barks at her “Hey! Hey you! Come back up here!”

The poor woman is rocking the deer in the headlights look, and I’m that panicked observer, helpless to stop the impending trainwreck. I’m already scared/embarrassed for this woman, and I don’t even know why.

So the woman cautiously approaches, salad in front of her like a peace offering. Salad Nazi inclines her head towards the salad.

The customer timidly hands it over.

“There are croutons on this salad. You didn’t WANT croutons.”

The woman is gazing helplessly at her confiscated salad. “It’s ok, really… I…”

But Salad Nazi isn’t having it. “NO. It is NOT ok. You didn’t WANT croutons.”

And she forcefully flings the entire salad, already packaged and paid for, into the trash can.

Fortunately, I had an hour lunch break and plenty of time to wait, because I was certainly not about to complain. About anything. And thank god she didn’t notice that I actually wanted feta cheese instead of asiago…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why do I always get hit on by creepy old dudes?

So since my immune system has decided to abdicate the throne and elope with my voice to some faraway land, I’m still stuck riding the bus. And I had to stop and rest after walking a measly 2 blocks today, so it might still be a few more days before I’m physically up to biking to work again.

The bus was unusually crowded this morning, so I ended up standing near the front. I staked out a spot against the area behind the bus driver, because there’s a slight ledge there where I can half sit. I was hoping someone would notice the bandage on my knee and the fact that I was gasping and heaving for breath and offer me a seat, but no such luck. We’re not in the south anymore, Toto.

Around the Quincy Pl stop, a smallish older man, probably in his late 50s – early 60s gets on. I do a bit of a double take, because dude is a dead ringer for Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, etc.).
Me, plus a little more creepy.

Of course, this now means I’m interested in Don Juan Deoldfarto.

I have a story for another time, about another creepy old man, who became obsessed with/stalked me. For some reason, I just seem to attract the creeptastic geriatrics.

Anyway, back to Don Juan - He positions himself directly across the very-narrow aisle from me, and proceeds to stare longingly and passionately at my chest me. It was borderline traumatizing. Like, skin-crawling, I’ve read this ‘In trouble? Call us at 202….’ ad 72 bajillion times and I don’t know where else to look bad.

So we get to NY Ave, and a few people get off, which opens up the first two handicap seats on the left side of the bus. I start to head for a seat, but Don Juan beats me to it and arranges himself in the first seat, with his arm across the back of the second seat.

Now I’m trapped. I’ve already started to move, and I’m going to look like an idiot if I stop. Also, my knee hurts and my chest kind of feels like its caving in from this stupid cold, so I really want to sit. But sitting is only going to further encourage my determined old flirt.

I’m already halfway there at this point, doing my best running man mid-stride at the front of the bus and people are starting to stare, so I bite the bullet and sit, squishing myself against the armrest and as far away from Don Juan as possible.

I can feel him staring very intently at me, and I’m helpless to resist. I accidentally make eye contact.

He lowers his chin, grey eyebrows waggling, and in the most awful this-is-my-sexy-brad-pitt-impression voice, goes “Hell …Ooo.”

Meanwhile, that carefully positioned arm is slowly slithering down towards my shoulders.

The farther down that arm slid, the farther forward I leaned. By the time we got to my stop, I had an indent on my ribs from the armrest, and I was thisclose to ending up a pile on the floor.

The woman directly to my left started making these funny snorting/choking noises. When I made panicked eye contact with her, she burst out laughing and then did that awful fake cough to cover it. Fortunately, Don Juan was so enraptured with gazing at my ear that he didn’t seem to notice.

I mumbled ‘hi’ back and spent the next 10 minutes carefully shuffling things around inside my purse. I only had my wallet and my makeup case in there, so I’m not sure how convincing I was.

I also popped a cough drop in my mouth to show him I was still sick. Don’t make me cough on you old dude! At your age, the common cold is probably fatal…

We finally got to my stop, and I’ll tell you … I have never gotten off a bus so fast in my life. I’d have gone out the window if I’d had to.

Why on earth do these creepy old dudes think that they a) are attractive/appealing to anyone under the age of 45 and b) might have a shot with me? I’m not exactly putting off desperate I-need-a-sugar-daddy vibes. I have a boyfriend, for pete’s sake!

Ick. Icky icky ick. I really need to heal/get well so I can bike again- I miss the days of just having the middle aged Hispanic construction workers hit on me...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hair dilemmas...

Assuming this death-cold clears up by then, I have a hair appointment on Thursday. I’m really picky about my hair, and unfortunately, I haven’t had a decent hair cut/color in a long time.

I colored my hair for the first time when I was 16 or 17. My cousin and I were bored after Thanksgiving dinner, so we decided to dye my hair. Unfortunately, it was Thanksgiving, so the only places open were gas stations.

We stopped at the new gas station on Owings Mills Blvd, and they had maybe 5 boxes of dye. One was Malaysian Cherry, by Natural Instincts. To this day, that’s the best color I’ve ever had in my hair.

Of course, Natural Instincts discontinued that color later that week or something, and I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do with my hair since.

One time in Nashville, I decided to dye it a really deep, dark red, and it turned out Crayola purple. I’m not even kidding – it looked like Barney threw up in my hair. And of course I had a job interview that week, so that was the beginning of getting my hair colored professionally.

Mostly I keep my hair pretty long, but every once in a while I chop it to shoulder length. Sometimes I want it red, sometimes I like it dark. I’m one of the most indecisive people you’ll ever meet, and I’m no different when it comes to my hair, which never works well in hair salons.

I went through a bunch of different salons in Nashville and Austin, and never really found one I liked, and now I’m on salon number 3 in DC. I got a Groupon for 50% off cut/color services at Nantucket Salon, so I’m going to give them a shot.

I tried Bubbles first, at the Pentagon city mall, but the dude just absolutely butchered my hair. Two days before my cousin’s wedding. It was choppy (not in a good way), and completely flat/almost black. Not exactly what I was going for. It took weeks to grow out.

So then I decided, obviously, I didn’t spend enough money on the haircut, and that’s why it didn’t work. So I booked an appointment (2 weeks in advance – it’s the only way to get in) at Bang Salon in Chinatown. My stylist looked bored and checked on other clients while I tried to explain what I wanted. Then she told me it couldn’t be done (I just wanted to go a couple shades lighter), and she proceeded to dye my hair a dark purple-y red.


So that’s been a couple months, the color has mostly grown out, and I’m ready to try again. But back to the original problem- what do I want?
Boyfriend likes it red, but my hair doesn’t hold red very well anymore for some reason. Also, it’s summer, so I want it to be maybe a lighter/brighter brown. I know I’m not cut out to be a blonde. I just … can’t seem to put it into words or find any pictures of the exact shade/color I want.

So what do ya’ll think? Any suggestions?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jesus on the bus, and a cheesy joke

Q: What’s the difference between a bus driver and a cold?
A: A bus driver knows the stops, and a cold stops the nose!

Ok, I’m sorry, that was cheesy, but I’m sick-ish and feeling rather whiny about having to ride the bus (thanks to the knee still being injured), so I needed something silly. Also, Dayquil makes things shiny.

I told my co-worker that and he looked concerned. No cause for concern! Shiny is delightful! Ahem. Dayquil may also cause excessive use of exclamation points.

Wait, where was I going with this post?

Oh yes, so I’ve been riding the bus for the past week, thanks to my complete inability to competently ride a bicycle. Lots of whackos ride the buses in DC. Especially the 80 bus, which runs up and down North Capitol.

So I get on this morning, and the only seat left is actually about 1/3 of a seat, next to a rather large woman in a neon-print dress. She looked like a day-glo colored mountain of mashed potatoes, with her hair frothed up into a sort of … point. I wish it wasn’t rude to take random cell phone pictures of strangers.

So I carefully perch next to her, on my little peninsula of seat, when I realize she’s talking to me. Oh wait, not to me, to God. She’s reading the Bible. Out loud.

So then two [probably] homeless guys get on. The bus is pretty crowded, with some people getting off, but more getting on. Homeless 1 gets a seat just across the aisle from me, but Homeless 2 is left to stand. Homeless 2 is standing near the front of the bus, and the bus driver asks him to move towards the back.

Homeless people tend to smell really rancid, liked molten garbage covered in vomit and cat feces, so I don’t blame the bus driver at all.

Homeless 2 doesn’t want to stand near the back of the bus, so he engages in a game of ‘I’m behind the yellow line, so you can’t touch me!’ with the bus driver. Homeless 2 keeps edging his toe across the yellow line until the bus driver notices it, then jerking it back behind the line real quick and proclaiming “I’m behind the line! I’m allowed to stand here!” I kept waiting for the ‘nanny nanny boo boo!’

Homeless 1 would chime in every so often to remind Homeless 2 to watch his language. There were ladies present, after all.

The neon mountain beside me finally notices the squabbling taking place, and lowers her bible rather ominously. She rocks back and forth for a bit, possibly to attempt to get up, though Lord knows that would have been a feat, and finally gets their attention. She fixes Homeless 2 with a look, and says: “Ya’ll needs to HUSH up now. I am talking to Jesus.” And goes right back to reading aloud.

And you know what? It worked.

Now if only I had asked her to talk to Jesus about this cold for me…

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Now, with more prettyness!

Update: I discovered late yesterday that Boyfriend's Mac was molesting, assaulting and otherwise destroying my lovely layout, so I had to redo some of it. I lost some stuff, but the basic design is the same, so ... meh, it'll have to do. This is why we're not friends, Apple Computers. This is why...

Yay! I finally finished a layout that I kinda sorta like! I'm sure I'll be bored with it in a few weeks, but for now... happy prettyness!

Also, designing graphics to fit in a blogger template is way harder than it should be. Blogger/Google needs to get on that.

Any thoughts/comments/OMGyou'resotalented on the design?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh what a night... and weekend, in NYC

Hold onto your hats [and fascinators, Duchess Kate fans], this is a long post.

I quite possibly have the worst luck ever. As in, the one person out of the many thousands of people in Union Station who gets projectile-vomited on by a sick middle schooler. The person who’s U-haul gets broken into on the way to college. The person who’s car gets broken into not once, not twice, but three times in a span of less than 2 years. The person who was home when a cokehead broke into her apartment. I could go on. Oh, could I go on.

But anyway, despite knowing that Murphy’s Law ain’t got shit on me, Boyfriend and I decided to chance it and head up to NYC this weekend. We were debating whether or not to go after the ‘face and knee smashed into concrete’ experience, but go we did. And for the most part, I’m really glad we did.

It started off a little rough when I suddenly remembered (after it was too late to go back home) that I forgot to give the hamster his extra food for the weekend.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a not-fuzzy picture of a hamster? They don’t stop moving!

Boyfriend and I love this hamster- we’re not allowed to have a dog in our apartment, so we rescued (yup, they have Hamster Rescues) him instead- so I’m freaking out. Hamsters love to stash/burrow food for later, so normally it would have been ok, but we’d just cleaned his cage and gotten rid of all the old stashes, so he really had nothing saved.

So now I’m doped up on Dramamine (because I’m the kid vomiting on the side of the highway on the middle school bus trip up to NY), and slurring slightly as I make all kinds of dire predictions about the fate of our poor Hammy. (The hammy was fine – he housed about 3 straight pieces of broccoli when we got in last night, and gave us death looks, but he was fine).

Bank of America saves me from a dreadful monetary decision

So we get on the bus, I manage to more or less pass out (punctuated by random snoring from the guy 2 rows up, and really bad/loud studio soundtrack laughter from the huge guy across the aisle) for about 3 hours, and wake up about 60 miles from NY. To an email from Bank of America that says: Bank of America Alert: Irregular Debit Card Activity. Well fuck. And it’s definitely not one of those ‘dear customer’ phishing scams.

I can’t call on the bus, because people will overhear my personal info – you never know what kinds of creeps you’re going to find on the bus- so I’m real antsy by the time we get into NY.

When we get off the bus, Boyfriend decides we need to rearrange our luggage and put his laptop in my rolly bag, and my pillow in his duffel bag. Fine. Of course, since this is Boyfriend, that involves showing everyone in NYC all of my pretty Victoria’s Secret thongs and bras. “Seriously, [Boyfriend]. Seriously?”

I still need to call BOA, so we duck into a shoe store to find some quiet. The TVs are blasting some godawful pop/punk crap as loud as possible, so I can’t really hear anything, but I dial anyway. I get the fraud analyst on the phone, and hear a lot of ‘blah blah blah … you won’t have a debit card for 5 – 7 days … blah blah…” wait WHAT?

So it turns out they somehow detected that an unauthorized 3rd party got access to my card number, and they need to close down the card. And since I opened the account in Texas, they can’t get me a temporary card- it has to be mailed – a la 5-7 days. Sooo … now I’m in NY, mainly to shop, and I have no access to my money. I appreciate that BOA was looking out for me, but really? This effing sucks.

They do finally let me know that I can withdraw some cash from the bank, and I can call in and get authorized if I want to make any purchases on my card. So like a moron (who thankfully didn’t get mugged), I carried over $200 in cash with me around NYC for the weekend.

The card/no money debacle probably did save me from draining my bank account at Bergdorf Goodman’s though. There was a whole room with racks and racks of size 7, 30% off, designer shoes. I’m talking Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Lanvin, Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Miu Miu … It was like being in Carrie Bradshaw’s closet. I might have almost orgasmed.

And you could just sit down and plunk them on your feet. No disapproving sales people (actually, I’m not sure – I refused to make eye contact, because then they would have known I was poor and I’d have been escorted out) – just me, and all the designer shoes I could put on my made-to-wear-designer-shoes feet.
I very nearly justified buying these. It was a close call.

The only thing that really stopped me was the pair of cherry red Gucci pumps (Saks outlet, $105, but that’s a story for another day) sitting in my closet that I NEVER wear, because I’m terrified of scuffing them. That, and the fact that I would have had to call my bank for permission, and I was afraid they’d yell at me for blowing so much money on shoes.

The hotel room

We stayed at the Park Central hotel, which is about 2 blocks from Central Park, so the location was great. The lobby, however, looked like a bad art deco interpretation threw up all over it. I’m talking black and white checked tile floors, really dark, Judy Garland photos everywhere…

But the room was surprisingly big, the bed was reasonably comfy, and our view of Hooters was practically unobstructed.

We tried not to spend too much time in the room, so it was fine, really.

Other stuff we did

We saw real life Monets and Picassos and Matisses and Dalis and Pollacks at MoMA. I’ve been to lots of museums, but it’s always kind of amazing to get that close to a work of genius. Like being in the presence of greatness. Naked, abstract greatness.

Heh, they’re naked…

We saw Jersey Boys at the August Wilson theater, which was absolutely fabulous. My boss was all “ohmygod wasn’t it a-maaa-zing!?”And it really was. SO so good. Aaaand cue “late December back in 63… what a very special time for me …” stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

We went to FAO Schwartz and seriously contemplated buying a giant gummy bear. Or a giant gummy bear on a stick.

How could this possibly be a bad idea?

We also saw stuffed horses that cost more than my real life horse. Ok, I only paid $1 for my real life horse, but he’s worth way more than that. To me at least. Most of the time.

1200x more expensive than the W horse. Also, 1200x scarier.

Then we went to dinner at a barbeque joint called Blue Smoke. We waited an hour, which would have pissed me off, except I got to overhear two really funny quotes, so that kind of made up for it.

Older lady outside (channeling Mariah Carey?): “Now she’ll definitely get skinny! What with the tumor and all.”


Guy trying to flirt with lesbian waitress: “Collard greens!? Now that’s America!”

Even with context, both of those would still have been… really?

The conclusion- in which I get into a fight with an old lady

We spent Monday morning before we left shopping in SoHo. There was a whole Miu Miu store- I had to go look at those shoes again. It’s dizzying, walking past (and in most cases into) stores for brands that I usually only see on my secret sales online – Prada, Miu Miu, Catherine Malandrino, Tibi, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry. It’s like seeing celebrities in person, when you’ve only ever seen pictures on

Then we had to go back to the hotel, grab our bags, pick up something for dinner and make it from 7th and 55th to 9th and 33rd to catch the bus at 6pm. Even with my bad knee, Boyfriend decreed we should WALK 22 blocks down (through Times Square on the 4th of July, dragging luggage) and 2 blocks over.

The handle on my rolly bag broke about 8 blocks away, naturally, so by the time we arrived at the bus depot, Boyfriend was walking 10 feet ahead of me, sulking, and we were glowering at each other. And it was 90 degrees outside. And we had over an hour to wait. And my knee felt like someone was holding a blowtorch to it and tap dancing on it for fun. Grumpy, grumpy Heather.

So we’re lined up, waiting for the 6pm bus, and I finally get to sit down on a concrete pillar in the shade (after about 30 minutes of standing in the sun). I’ve got my leg cocked out at a weird angle, and I know I’m kind of in the way, but there’s room, and I’m hurting, so it’s happening.

Then this old hag tries to come past with two rolly bags. She crashes into the two plastic bags containing our dinner, smushes our gluten-free potato chips, bumps into my throbbing leg, and as she gets past me, goes “That is obviously not a good place to sit.”

I always think I’m going to be so badass in these situations. That I’m going to be able to deliver a scathing setdown, and people are going to cheer for me and my amazing panache. That never happens.

I managed to choke out something to the effect of “yeah, well I hurt, so fucking deal with it!” Not exactly the ladylike but still caustic and cutting retort I would have liked.

Then I spent the rest of the bus ride imagining her wrinkly old self trying to start something with me, so I could actually come up with something appropriately heroic. Or just bitch slap her. Because I live in DC now, ya’ll, and that’s how we roll.*

And so, despite not getting to slap an old woman, the hamster survived the weekend, and so did we, and I look forward to hopefully returning to the big apple soon, and maybe having some more money to expand my shoe collection.

Until then, I leave you with a picture of the Naked Cowboy. Because everyone needs a little half-naked old dude in their life.

Heh, more nakedness…

*I’m still white and Jewish, and it has to be a gluten-free roll, or I can’t have it.