Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A random act of kindness

Last night, a group of us piled into HotPantsEsquire's car and headed east toward FedEx Field. We were all excited about the DC United vs. Chelsea FC game - I was looking forward to seeing some real live soccer hooligans - but the energy in the car ebbed the longer we got stuck in traffic outside the stadium. The last mile or so took us about 40 minutes to drive.

So you can imagine how relieved we were to finally, FINALLY get to a parking lot. And then you can imagine how irritated we were when a car broke down in our lane, prolonging our trip even more.

Not in the best of moods, we eventually get to where we can pull into a parking spot...or at least where we should be able to do so. But we can't, because some guy decided, in his infinite wisdom, that his tailgate party should take up two spots. Apparently those little grills require a whole lot of space.

Our car is filled with snarky comments, which quickly taper off when the tailgater in question comes over, apologizes for the inconvenience, hands us a couple of icy cold Heineken keg cans, and clears out his grill so we can park.



It almost tainted my enjoyment of the free Heineken. Almost, but not quite.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

50 most beautiful...in DC

I know that this is a puff piece designed to fill up space during the dog days of summer, but COME NOW. http://thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Features/CapitalLiving/072705.html has the 50 "most beautiful" people on Capitol Hill. See, this is why I had to go all the way to Texas to get a boyfriend - this is what I'm dealing with here. Frat Boy Central, people. Ick.

And I might add that while there are quite a few gray-haired gents (presumably every member of Congress who is single), there is only one woman who looks to be over 35. Ageism is alive and well in Washington.

(Thanks to http://www.whyihatedc.blogspot.com for the link.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I am clearly in the wrong line of business

As I was staggering out my door at 6:30 this morning for a pilates class, I noticed that my WashPost hadn't been delivered yet. I made a groggy mental note to bitch about it to their subscription office, as I paid 35 cents for that newspaper - I want what's coming to me, dammit!

I round the corner and almost run into a 30-something woman carrying around five newspapers in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. She's checking something on the paper - I'm guessing looking to see who were the subscribers in my condo complex.

Right behind her is a Chrysler convertible, with its driver's door agape and engine idling.

How much is the WashPost paying their newspaper deliverers these days? Because there are some luxury items I've had my eye on for some time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A little unsettling

So I'm flipping through my latest copy of InStyle last night and I stop looking at all the pretty pretty consumer goods long enough to read an interview with Vince Vaughn. Now, I loved him in "Swingers" but have felt that he's gotten all puffy ever since, so he's already pushing it. But this interview leaves me...perplexed.

The format was a long list of questions about what was his favorite TV show, song, car, etc etc. In response to the question as to his favorite book, he puts down Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Um, okay. I guess we all went through that period, but most of us do it when we're 14. But cutting him some slack - maybe he just wanted to sound intelligent and never actually has read the book, right?

The next question does nothing to quell my fears. When asked his favorite news source, he lists "Fox News and CNN." Again, I'm hoping that he just pulled the names of a few news stations out of the dark recesses of his brain in the efforts of trying to look smart. I realize that most Americans get what they think is the news from Fox, but somehow I thought that a Hollywood type would be different.

It's the final question that's the clincher for me. He won't give a favorite government leader, since "I keep my politics to myself - I am just an actor making movies." If his other answers hadn't been so blatantly right-wing, then I'd actually appreciate this reticence. But coming on top of the earlier responses, there's only one conclusion: Vince Vaughn is a Republican. Vince, say it ain't so!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Suck on it

Got a new vacuum cleaner, bitches! I finally can vacuum like a civilized person - by pushing the damn thing around, instead of using the curtain attachment (whose diameter can't be more than three inches) to hoover up whatever fur isn't firmly attached to my carpet. Yay!

This comes courtesy of my sister who for some reason had an extra vacuum cleaner lying around. Thanks Dustbunny!

It arrives just in the nick, as we're expecting to be hit with a major heat wave that should push the heat index up to around 105. Hooray. My poor cat Shrapnel has been shedding so much it looks like little fur bombs have been detonated around my apartment. Every time you so much as glance at him, it sets off another. As a result, I have fur tumbleweeds everywhere, which can't be sanitary.

So tonight I'll take it out for a test ride. Let's see how the 12 amps ("Most power available!" according to the box) Dirt Devil thrives under pressure.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A word to the wise

Three-month-old Peeps are not necessarily solid sources of energy. In a moment of desperation ("MUST HAVE SUGAR! STAT!"), I broke down and ate what I'd previously consigned to decoration, and believe you me, I am already regretting it. Sorely. The sugar low is coming and I can tell it's going to be a bitch.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Um, their what now?

While reading an article in today's WashPost about the resignation of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan, one sentence gave me pause.

"Bandar, who was the product of his father's liaison with a family slave, had a wily ability to blend Riyadh's wealth and Washington's power for a common end." (italics added)

How could Robin Wright just throw that little tidbit of information in there and not explain it?

Just when you think McSociety has homogenized every nook and cranny of the globe, you get hit in the face with such a matter-of-fact phrase that forces you to do a double take. It is a small world after all, but we're definitely not all the same.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The agony of the abs

Last night I darkened the doorstep of my bellydance studio for the first time in, ahem, five weeks. I know, I KNOW: the classes are so blasted expensive that it's stupid to miss one, much less four. But shit happens. I was out of town, sick, out of town, and on vacation - couldn't be avoided.

Anyways, we started to learn, or for all I know, perfected what everyone else had been practicing for the past four weeks, a belly roll. Despite my (unfortunately) impressive gut, it does not seem to want to roll. In fact, it's downright intransigent on the matter. At best, it heaves. It shudders. But there is no rolling action, nor is there any "popping" (another move that I ended up watching everyone else do more or less beautifully while I flailed off in the corner).

Besides the damage to my ego, last night's dance class did horrendous things to my abs. You'd think that eating cheese 24/7 for a solid week would have given them something of a workout, if only the stretching kind. Yeah, as it turns out? Not so much. My lower abs are not very happy with me. If I were smart, I'd immediately hit the gym and attend every morning Pilates class possible in order to whip them into shape. But as a very frustrated Alitalia gate agent could tell you (I denied having a paper ticket while checking in at Fiumincino in Rome Sunday, sending her on a ten-minute goose chase until I realized that, whoops, ha ha ha, I actually did have a paper ticket), intelligence is not my strong point. I'll just suffer in dance class - why should that change?

I do love it though. My dream is to eventually work out a routine to Natasha Atlas' remake of a Screamin' Jay Hawkins song, "I Put a Spell on You." If that song doesn't want you to get your groove on, you are clearly dead inside.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Reasons why I was 22 hours late in returning to DC

1. Weather (this is the get-out-of-jail-free excuse for airlines, as they legally don't have to give you squat should you miss a flight because of it and have to sleep on the airport's floor)

2. Crew availability (for a flight that was leaving FIRST THING IN THE MORNING. Granted, I'm no model of efficiency, but they really shouldn't start off the day all fucked up like that)

3. Our plane hadn't left its departure city for some vague reason

4. Lightning on the runway precluded us from being able to use the gate (although it was sunny out - unclear where the lightning was happening. It's possible that there was lightning somewhere, at some point in the globe, so I guess this wasn't entirely inaccurate)

5. The tires of our plane were "not quite right", so they had to unload us all off the plane so that they could jack the aircraft up and change the tires. This is my personal favorite.

Despite the many, and I mean many, hours I spent sitting around airports over the past two days, my luggage still didn't manage to arrive in DC with me. Right now, I've gotten a vague declaration from the airline that my suitcase will be delivered to my work "late this afternoon". All I can say is, those chocolates I bought in Perugia damn well not have been left out on some airport's tarmac to melt.


But other than that, Italy was molto fabulouso. I ate my weight in cheese, truffles (the mushroom kind), and fresh pasta. Plus the area we were in has a very specialized grape - the Sagrantino - so there was wine-tasting a-plenty.

We alternated between trundling around various Umbrian hill-towns, which have tons of gorgeous vistas but are sadly lacking in internet cafes, and lying about our villa. The few times we went to big cities - Florence and Rome - we eschewed all museums and spent our time eating, drinking, and shopping. Italy, despite its reputation (and a deserved one, I think) of being high-fashion, was chock full of what RollerDiscoMonkey dubbed "ho-baggity" clothes. I also saw far too many examples of what quite possibly are the two scariest words in the English language: "fashion mullets." Yikes.

Still, I had a wonderful time. Even though I am now officially a "signora," not a "signorina." Damn, and here I've been fooling myself that I look years younger than my actual age. Sigh.

Friday, July 08, 2005

On the road again

So I'm heading off to the airport in a few hours. This will be the third trip in four weeks; after I get back, I will be more than ready to store away my suitcase for a while. But this vacation will be fun. A bunch of us have rented a villa in Umbria, Italy, and will be spending a week there. This is a group that has been vacationing together for years and we've worked out a good system: heavy on the sippin' and sittin', light on the sight-seein'.

It does seem like an inauspicious time to be doing anything so frivolous. And I don't just mean because Italy and Denmark were also named by the group claiming responsibility for the London attacks. When such an awful thing has occurred, it makes you feel like everything has changed and so your life/outlook/behavior should change with it.

Sometimes, though, you need a reprieve from the stress. I remember a few weeks after September 11th, the Onion came out with what is possibly one of its best issues ever. Title? "Holy fucking shit!" Among its stories was one called something like "Nation yearns for days of caring about crap." You can't go back in time, you can't hide your head in the sand, but you can try to keep on living your life as best you can given the new circumstances.

Am I just trying to justify going on vacation? Maybe. I don't know. This group is my urban family and things are changing all around us. I'm looking forward to a week where, if nothing else, we can enjoy each other's company at the swim-up bar (G&T has rigged up a flotation pillow so it can hold a six-pack of beer).

Ci vediamo, regazzi. See you guys on the 18th.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I'm wondering

What exactly is the chemical process that allows a drop of balsamic vinaigrette on my white shirt to smear green? Because that smacks of alchemy to me.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

We ARE perfect for each other

In case there was any doubt about it, we discovered this past weekend that yes, The Texan and I are a match made in heaven. Know what was the clincher? We both damn near selected ourselves out of the gene pool.

His bedroom's ceiling is fairly low, and, since it is hotter than blazes in San Antonio, has a very important and necessary ceiling fan that is constantly in motion.

Saturday we were chatting while getting ready to grab some lunch. The Texan stretched his arms up to change his shirt and immediately got butchered by the ceiling fan's blades. I felt a bit guilty, as I'm sure our conversation was the agent that distracted him enough to put his hand through the chopper. So every so often that day, I'd check to see how the wound was congealing and generally fuss over him.

Saturday night we were back at his place and prepping for dinner. You'd think after all the trauma earlier I'd be particularly careful about my vicinity to the ceiling fan. Unfortunately, I was not. This time, it was me who got distracted mid-conversation. I didn't suffer the abrasions that The Texan did, but I did get a lovely blood blister running the length of my index finger that I was sure was going to clot up and head directly to my brain. All's well and I lived long enough to type this out, so obviously no major damage was done.

And while I thought that I would see rabid patriotism this weekend, it was at the place I didn't expect. Texans were in general about as excited about the 4th of July as most Americans, which translates into red, white, and blue everywhere but the real thrill lies with the fireworks. And Texans know their fireworks, believe you me. One of the neighbors even had a mortar launcher that really shot those fireworks high in the sky.

No, the national fervor was expressed at the Canadian embassy for Canada Day. I swung by there with a colleague on Friday and was immediately overwhelmed by the preponderance of red and white decorations. You had to wear a little maple leaf sticker to show you'd gotten through security (which I wore with pride all day. Hee). All the refreshments came from Canada: Canadian beef, Canadian strawberries, and of course Canadian beer. Every third person had some sort of specialty Canada t-shirt on. Who knew that the Gap made up shirts that would explicitly appeal to Canadian nationalism? We saw mooseheads, maple leaf hats, and red and white beanies.

It got to be the point where my colleague and I began to believe that there are more Canadians in the United States than anticipated and that they've been sent to establish sleeper cells which are awaiting commands to action. It started off as a joke but the longer we were at the embassy, the more we began to believe it. Then the Canadian ambassador to the United States got up to address the crowd. He did the usual thanks to the sponsors and the volunteers, and then started talking about how Canada is the greatest country in the world and generally working the crowd up. It was then that my colleague and I started edging for the door. If there was going to be a call to arms, we wanted to get as far away as possible before they turned on us.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Heading out

Once again, I have lugged my suitcase with me to work. This weekend I am headed out West to cowboy country. I'll be visiting The Texan in San Antonio. Can't wait! We're going to bar-hop along the Riverwalk, drive down to Padre Island (college!), and have a potluck with his buddies on the 4th. Who apparently think that I'm some East Coast effete, so I'm planning on wearing my "I hate what you're wearing" t-shirt from gofugyourself.com and putting out Brie. How you like me now? Ha ha, just kidding. Well, I do plan on wearing that shirt because it's the cutest shirt ever, but I'm also going to make my wine cake and salsa verde. That should buy me some warm feelings and then my natural charm will win them over. Undoubtedly.

More importantly, the Texan and I'll get to talk in-person instead of on the phone. I'm starting to worry about the long-term effects of prolonged and daily usage of my cellphone's earbud. I'd originally held the phone up to my ear, but within two weeks was starting to suffer pangs of carpal tunnel in my wrists, so I switched to the earbud.

I am itching to leave already, before the thunder- and hail-storms hit this afternoon. But nothing I can do about it now - I will just have to cross my fingers that we get out of here roughly on time. I did schedule a 90-minute layover en route, so that should give me a fairly good cushion in case of delays. At first, I almost bought a much cheaper ticket, but they had me scheduled for a 30-minute layover. Are they insane? Who can make one of those? Not even if the flights came and left out of the same terminal would I sign up for one of those. I have been on a flight that was supposed to touch down at an airport and then leave again from the exact same gate and somehow I still managed to miss the connection.

And I'm sure there will be some sort of tussle over my shoes while going through airport security. Apparently strappy sandals and bejeweled flip-flops are suspicious these days. Getting...angry...

Okay, I'll take a step back and just focus on the positive. One way or the other, I will end up in San Antonio at some point in the not-so-distant future.

In the meantime, I've been invited to the Canadian embassy for a lunch to celebrate Canada Day. While I don't really have any ties to our northern neighbors, a party is a party. I figure a couple of Molsons should set my weekend off right. Happy Canada Day everyone!

Oh, and to my fellow American imperialists, have a great 4th of July. Travel safe, and see you next week.