Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A brief respite

I take up my pen (in a manner of speaking) to bid you a temporary farewell. I will be taking a break from this blog for a couple of weeks as I will be busy...moving to Texas.

Yup, I decided it was time to tint that red state with a hint of blue. Also (and the real reason), The Texan is there. So my cat Shrapnel and I shall be moving to be with him and his dog in San Antonio.

While I will miss my friends in DC tremendously, thanks to the internet and cell phones, I know we will keep in touch. And now I get to sniff out all the fun places to hang out in a new city. Plus, I'll have a great excuse to buy real-deal cowboy boots.

I've been in DC for eight years - the longest I've lived anywhere in my adult life, by far - and I've got this place down pat. But it never hurts to shake things up; and The Texan and I will be back, hopefully when there's an administration change in a few years. This kind of change is scary but also liberating. For example, I've been culling things out of my office and condo for the past couple of months, which is something you should do every so often anyways. Lighten your karmic load, if you will.

Probably the biggest lifestyle change is that I will - gasp! - have to buy a car. The thought of no longer being a prisoner to WMATA's whims is a good one, but I will miss walking to work every day. SA, however, isn't a walking kinda town: one needs wheels in order to get anywhere. So after the dust has settled from my move, I get to go car-shopping.

Best of all, I get to be with The Texan. While we've been doing the long-distance thing just fine, I'm tired of it and ready to see him every day.

Anyways, it seems rather appropriate that this is happening right around the time of the one-year anniversary of this blog (that's the paper anniversary, for those of you out frantically shopping for my gift) (Hello? Anyone?). Things are changing. See you in a few weeks.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Today I espied with my own eye two things that were a bit discombobulating.

1) The building kitty-corner to my office (where, conveniently enough, HotPants Esquire works) had its fountain gushing...with bright blue water. As in, dyed an electric blue that had nothing to do with the lighting or the sky or the basin or anything else that normally gives water a hue. This was 100 percent artificial and 110 percent confusing.

2) Ripping out of the elevator at lunchtime - when I get hungry, I get hungry - I nearly knocked over Jack Valenti. Thinking it was a starvation-induced hallucination, I mentioned later to one of the building managers that I thought I'd seen him. Turns out, I had. He's just a little doll-man - so cute and well-groomed in his little (and undoubtedly extremely expensive) suit. I should shut up now, as he could buy and sell me about a million times over. Guess his presence in DC was that nexus of Hollywood and Washington that I hear so much about.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My nasty little addiction


So they finally, FINALLY left the United States in last night's episode of TAR...and went all the way to Panama. Well, at least they didn't wimp out and take them to an English-speaking country. I really, really wish they would go to India as there always is a major meltdown at that portion of the race, but I have a feeling they won't do anything nearly as exotic.

Panama looked gorgeous but humid. I can feel the contestants' pain of running around a humid swamp on very little sleep - that's generally life in DC during the summer. I had a feeling that this would be a non-elimination round, since they've culled down the herd nicely and they have to have at least three of them. But they need to stop taking the last team's possessions and refusing to give them money for the next leg. I'm sure I've prattled on about this before, but it bugs me tremendously. Sure, take away the money they've managed to save up - that seems fair. But to make them become beggars does little to add to the show's excitement and usually treats the viewers to scenes of very uncomfortable-looking contestants hitting up locals who can ill-afford any handouts. It hasn't had any effect on previous shows; if anything, the losing team who has to panhandle for money usually comes out ahead. SIGH.


I'm not sure why the other teams loathe the Weavers. For some reason, while I'm quick to judge others and can pick on the lamest things as reasons to dislike someone, I kind of like the Weavers. I think they've done pretty well in difficult circumstances.

The Gaghans, on the other hand, just about lost it this episode. They made a serious tactical error in hoping that the Paolos would biff the Fast Forward, they were rather shrill on the boats across the Panama Canal, and overall seemed to be dragging.

And who'd have thought that the Paolos would still have been around at this stage in the race, much less coming in first? Although Mama Paolo needs to rethink things if she honestly believes that this race will cause her son to openly declare his love for her. While that is a lovely goal, there probably were easier ways for it to occur than to drag your family halfway around the world. I did snicker when their prize for coming in first was a trip for four...to Panama. Heh. Good thing they haven't already been there. At least the second time around they might get the chance to look around a bit. The only thing funnier was last week's episode, where the Bransen family (consisting of a middle-aged father and three daughters who are in their 20s) won a trip for four to Disneyworld. The forced enthusiasm over their "prize" was highly entertaining.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

All henna'ed up with nowhere to go

In a manner of speaking, of course. I always have TAR on Tuesdays!

But I am henna'ed up. This arose from a happy hour a few weeks ago. I was hanging out with one of the girls from my bellydance performance class and one of her friends. There was bhangra blaring in the background and someone came up with the idea of hiring a henna artist to come paint our hands. I think the actual conversation was, "Wouldn't it be cool, if we, like, got someone to come to the house and, like, do our hands?" And you would have to slur it in order to capture it exactly.

Like many ideas at happy hour, it seemed like a no-lose proposition (one time, I got all worked up about taking an all-day class on how to operate a sewing machine), and like many of my brilliant ideas, I failed to follow through. However, my dance class friend did not. She emailed the rest of us, asking if we were serious. With someone (soberly) planning things, it seemed like it could work out. And it did.

We had about ten women at my apartment Friday night, sipping wine and poring over designs Sahar (the artist - www.laylashenna.com.) brought with her. She had cool designs from all over the Arab world. I almost got a Tuareg one (largely because I remembered that damn car commercial), but ended up with a traditional pattern that starts off on my index finger, snakes down to create a floral pattern on the back of my hand, and whirls up to my ring finger. It's quite purty and I find myself often distracted while typing.

I remember reading that the original reason behind henna-ing a bride's hands was that she wouldn't have to do housework for as long as the dye stayed on her. While I don't have that kind of incentive to make sure it lasts, I'm still taking care of the tattoo and keeping it properly moisturized so that I can be mesmerized by it for as long as possible.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A sucker born every minute

I think that the last-ditch nice fall weather yesterday went to my head, as I found myself spending liberally and indiscriminately. The worst part was, I finally broke down and bought a pair of sweats from Lucky Jeans. Yes, I realize that they're known for their denim clothing, but these? Are awesome. They're fire-engine red, and have embroidered flowers along the side and the Virgin of Guadalupe on the, ahem, back.

I've been coveting them since my friend The Shopper got the whole set last month. Normally I don't even like ordering the same food as my friends - seriously, I have dining companions who won't order until after I do because otherwise I'll throw a fit if we ask for identical entrees - but I had to make an exception for these pants.

(I just did a web search to see if I could link to them so you could all bask in their glory but they appear to have been taken off Lucky's website. Which means that they are three seconds away from being marked down. The fickle shopping gods strike again.)

Friday, October 21, 2005

A word to the wise

While corn starch does an outstanding job at absorbing the greasies of unwashed hair, it does not react well with rainwater, turning into a mucky, ashy sort of paste. Just throwing you a heads-up there. (Note to self: buy some shampoo already!)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I have some furniture I'm trying to unload and, looking for the easy way out, would like to have one pick-up date arranged (hence my strenuous avoidance of putting anything on craigslist, which would require far more effort and salesmanship than I'm in the mood for currently). You know what? Donating things is far more complicated than you might imagine. The latest kink is that the Salvation Army refuses to make pick-ups in my neighborhood. Come on, it's not that rough! Comparatively speaking, that is. I mean, have you seen where their stores are located? Not generally in the swish parts of town. Sigh. You try and do well...

Anyways, enough griping. If anyone has recommendations for organizations that will come to your house and pick up, ahem, gently used furniture in the DC area, please drop me a line.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Just got back from a quick jaunt to the bank (you'll never get another penny of mine, Chevy Chase Bank! Mwa ha haaaa! I'm a PNC gal now) and I ran into a mysterious character on the street. I noticed this guy painfully shuffling across 18th Street, using his walker to propel himself forward. His progress was impeded by the fact that one foot was firmly wrapped up in a cast.

"Poor guy," I thought.

Then I looked more carefully. His hands were covered with a white chalky substance, which I marked up to maybe making it easier to use the walker. You know, like gymnasts on parallel bars? I dunno. He crept a little closer to me, and I realized that hanging off one arm was a thin plastic bag through which I could see a container of plaster of paris.

Intrigued, I gave up all pretenses of social niceties and stopped to take a good look at him. His foot's cast wasn't the nice smooth kind that you get from a doctor, but instead was all lumpy and misshapen, much like those arts and crafts mobiles you make in the third grade.

I'm wondering if he made his own cast and then decided to walk the streets with it? Was he another uninsured American who had to make do on his own, outside the medical community? In which case, why would he buy plaster of paris, make a cast, and then go home? Or maybe he made an initial cast, ran out of supplies, and went out for more? Or possibly he's a performance artist recording how indifferent Washingtonians are to other people's plights. I'm trying to find a logical explanation for what had to be an uncomfortable endeavor - the poor guy was all out of breath and whatever it was, it could not have been much fun. Color me perplexed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wedding bells

No, not mine. My friend Dr. Eye married The Chef on Saturday, and they kindly asked me to be a bridesmaid. So off to LA I went. It was a gorgeous wedding - held in Palos Verdes, which is a spit of land that hovers over the L.A. harbor and is bathed with breezes off of the Pacific. The bride looked regal and beautiful, the groom was dashing in his tux, and both were deliriously happy.

The only sad note was that a member of the bride's family was struck ill the week before the wedding. But we're hoping for the best.

And I'm glad that Dr. Eye had a lovely wedding - she deserves it. I've known her since we were five. While I was home this weekend, my mom dug out blackmail pictures of us from when we were in elementary school. They weren't so bad for her - Dr. Eye always had a cute little bow in her hair - but I had an ill thought-out perm that gave me an extremely unflattering afro. Despite my prolonged awkward years, we've always been close and even managed to arrange things so we'd be roommates in college. While we haven't lived in the same time zone for going on nine years now, thanks to the glory of the internet and my semi-annual visits to my parents' house in our hometown, we've been able to keep in touch. She's one of those people who you can see maybe twice a year and pick up immediately where you left off. It's nice to watch your friends grow up.

Also memorable this weekend was introducing The Texan to my family. He flew out to LA so that they could put a name with the face. All went swimmingly - everyone was trying to be friendly and accomodating - and The Texan endeared himself to my dad by being able to talk photography and to my mom by enjoying her cooking. It worked...I think a little TOO well. While we were running errands in my dad's car on Friday, my dad told The Texan that he could smoke in it. Now, I don't smoke, but you can be damn well sure that if I did, I would not be allowed to bring an ash in the car, much less a lit cigarette.

Oh, and allow me to be slightly bitter about the fucked up bridal industry for a moment. What a scam the whole thing is. I ordered the bridesmaid dress (which was quite pretty - cherry red, long flowing skirt, crystal beads on the waist, V neckline) off of the manufacturer's website, asking for the size that they recommended for someone with my measurements. Of course, I got to LA two days before the wedding and found out that I could not zip the #%!%!# thing up. Luckily, I found a tailor that was able to add some fabric in the back. She did a good job, but it was an extra $75 that I shouldn't have had to pay. Ah well.

And it took FOUR people to figure out how to configure the convertible bra so that I could have a back low enough that it wouldn't show any straps when I wore my dress. This included two store employees who theoretically should know these things. Didn't realize that I would need a degree in engineering to wear a bra.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The red-eye is a bitch

And that's all I have to say about that.

My eyes - the burning, the burning...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I think The Amazing Race is stalking me

Paranoid? You be the judge. They show up at my hometown of Washington DC and then conveniently track me to Huntsville, Alabama, where I went for work this past summer. I think that somehow they've hacked into my financial records and are shadowing my every move.

Or else they just coincidentally happened to go to two places that I've been lately. I suppose that's an option.

I did get to go to the rocket museum in Huntsville while I was there. It's surprisingly expensive - $18 for a single adult - which I guess is how NASA is funding its manned space program these days. But they do have a lot of nifty stuff, both on space and on rocketry.

They also have Space Camp there, which when I was in elementary school was the end-all coolest place to go. (When I found out that a friend at college had attended Space Camp, all I could do was gape at her in open-mouthed awe.)

During my trip there in August, I didn't do much besides walk through the exhibits, eat at their cafeteria what was possibly the oldest hot dog known to man (seriously, that was just wrong. And I knew better, but I still went ahead and chowed down), and then stroll around their "Rocket Garden," which was where Phil did his Phil-limination during last night's episode. They have a Saturn V mock-up, which is gigantic, and then they have an actual Saturn IV that they're working on for an exhibit. It's also huge.

Of course, I found much to love in their gift shop. I came *thisclose* to buying a Space Camp Barbie - she wears a sweatshirt with "NASA" on it! - but managed to talk myself out of it at the last minute. I still kinda regret it though. Instead, I purchased glow-in-the-dark glitter nail polish. Why that's considered a space thing, I'm not sure. But I've managed to scare the bejesus out of myself several times since then by waking up in the middle of the night and seeing glowing floaty things in my bed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Now THIS is the happiest place...

...well, you know where.

Last Friday, to kick off my Columbus Day weekend in appropriately high-falutin' style, I went out to the wilds of Maryland to visit my friend GI Jane, who works for The Man at the Army base in Aberdeen, Maryland. The trip was partially just to hang with someone who was the first friend I'd made at college (we bonded over our love for MAC lipstick), but also so I could check out with my own eyes something magical, nay, glorious that I'd never seen before.

See, for whatever reason - extreme isolation, preponderance of lonely soldiers, an ill-thought out attempt to diversify the local economy - there's a stretch of Highway 40 that is all porn stores, all the time. It's kinda strange, actually: you'll be driving along an empty highway, surrounded by fields, and then you'll pass a trailer advertising its XXX wares. Then, nothing for a mile or so, and then again, another trailer with its sexxxy goods for your pleasure. It's like Aberdeen's red-light district, if by "district" you mean "one road stretched out for miles."

Anyway, in my mind, the piece de resistance was the trailer that was bifurcated into a porn store on one side, and a U.S. POSTAL OFFICE on the other. That's right, all your errands can be taken care of in one quick trip! I guess that the Postal Service is running out of ideas for how it can compete with UPS. For those of you who, like me, thought such perfection was not of this world, go check out the U.S. post office for Belcamp, MD, 21017. It shares its walls with "Express Video," which offers preview booths, rentals, novels, and magazines for the discerning customer.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Lockjaw Lane, here I come

I need to learn that sometimes the road to slackerdom is paved with tetanus. This week, I ran out of dry cat food for Shrapnel, and instead of walking the five minutes (FIVE FREAKING MINUTES, people) to buy him a new bag, I dart across the street to the local liquor store for some canned food for him. No big deal, I figure - he can use the treat.

Thing is, my can opener is not long for this world. To be honest, it's been on life support for the most of the past year. I keep putting off buying a new one because clearly the $2 would break my bank. As such, I've been struggling with the rusted-out old one for far too long.

Anyways, yesterday morning, I'm running late for work...again...but I decide out of guilt to take the time to open up a can of food for the cat. (Don't judge me, he had food in his dish. It just wasn't fresh.) I start working the can opener, and working it, and working it. It keeps rolling to a halt, forcing me to have to lift it off the can and start worrying a new section of it. Meanwhile, Shrapnel's going nuts since he deduced that breakfast was coming, so he's running figure eights around my legs and meowing excitedly the whole time.

To recap: flurried woman + hungry cat + rusty can opener + sharp metal edges = you can guess what happened next.

Lamely enough, it wasn't even a deep laceration or anything sexy like gushers of blood (for that, go here http://www.missdoxie.com/archives/2005/10/honestly_the_th.html). Just a sorry little slit that wouldn't even be comparable to a paper cut. However, I did bleed a little bit, and combined with the possible rust from the can opener, I began to worry that perhaps I needed a tetanus shot.

I put that thought out of my head on the way to work, but then I made the mistake of reading up on tetanus on WebMD, every hypochondriac's favorite website. Objectively speaking, it doesn't seem like a pleasant way to go, so I decided I should call my doctor's office and get their take on the situation. In turn, they sent me to the emergency room.

Imagine how stupid I felt when there were people there taking care of real problems and I'm there with this little cut that you need a magnifying glass to see. Oh well. At least now I'm set for tetanus for the next five years and can run barefoot across rusty nails with impunity.

And apparently the symptoms for tetanus set in "within hours to days," according to the resident who cleaned my wound. So I'm on Tetanus Countdown, Day 1. I think if I can make it symptom-free until next week, I should be golden. Knock wood.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

So close

So I about fell out of my chair last night when I saw that the Amazing Racers were going to DC. How was it that they were so close and yet I didn't get to see them? Really, considering how obsessed I am with that show (just ordered the Season 1 DVD. huzzah!), you'd think that my antennae would've picked up their presence once they were in my vicinity. Maybe I don't deserve to call myself the show's biggest fan. I think that actually they were here when I was on vacation last summer, as I remember they had a casting call right about then. Perhaps the producers wanted to kill two birds with one stone.

And no, people, Washington DC is nowhere near the state of Washington. Weaver Family, I like you guys, but your geographical knowledge (or lack thereof) tries my patience. And Papa Roger: take that moral rectitude and stick it where the sun don't shine. It was kind of sad, to see how much his son already hates him (and if he acts normally the way he acted on the show, I could see why). SPOILER

Okay, everyone gone who hasn't seen the show? In the final interview, after they got eliminated, Brock's face was all scrunched up with anger, which made for an awkward interview. Also uncomfortable was seeing how much he physically resembled his father. Not that we're slaves to our biology, but it was a reminder that he may end up following his father's footsteps in other ways as well. Fight it, Brock! You have potential.

Good news/bad news

Good news: Poste, the bar/restaurant of the Hotel Monaco, serves truffle fries that are unbelievable. If you go at happy hour, $4 can buy you so much joy, it's unseemly. Imagine a newspaper cone chock-full of crispy fries that have shaved white truffles and sea salt liberally scattered all over them, and you will have barely begun to wrap your head around their magic.

Bad news: I apparently can eat my weight in truffle fries.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Birds of a feather

Last night, a conglomeration of friends, relatives, and hangers-on met up at the Black Cat to see the Raveonettes show. I couldn't help but notice that out of our group of eight, fully half of us were decked out in black t-shirts and jeans. Alas, I can include myself in that illustrious bunch. I guess us free-thinkers aren't quite as independent and open as one might hope.

BTW: While the Raveonettes were great, their opening band, Radio 4, rocked the house. Definitely am going to have to buy their CD. Plus it was such fun to watch their band members convulsing along to the music with completely straight faces.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Resistance is futile

The other day, I was trying to check out a friend's brother's band on MySpace.com, one of those Friendster knock-off sites, when Big Brother reared his ugly head. In order to register, I had to answer all sorts of personal questions. I realize that with all the time I spend on the interweb, a no-doubt scarily-complete profile exists of me - my purchases, my alma mater, my thoughts on The Amazing Race (sidenote: thank GOD they finally came out with a DVD of season 1 - about fucking time), etc. But I see no reason why I need to help them out with their marketing/plans to control the universe by cheerfully rendering tidbits about myself simply because I was asked.

So when MySpace.com decided it wanted to know when I was born, I made up a date that included this year. Big mistake. Denied! MySpace.com rather pissily informed me that users under 14 are not allowed to become members, and since I clearly would be capable of pulling myself out of the crib and getting to the computer as a six-month-old, I did not meet their exacting standards for membership.

The whole point of my registering would be so my friend's brother's band would get credit for MySpace users having checked them out. So I decided to swallow my moral umbrage and just register with my real birthdate already. No dice - still got the "no members under 14" message. I figured that it was tied to the email that I'd initially tried to register with, so I logged out and then gave it another whirl (with my work email. Very professional of me). Again, not allowed. Apparently whatever cookies it read on my machine were narcing me out to their system.

I guess I could have cleared out all my cookies and started all over, but that frankly seemed like more work than it was worth. Besides, that would necessitate me having to sign in again at all my websites and my precious, precious time cannot be wasted on the seconds that would require. So I just shuffled on and checked out the band as a second-class, non-MySpace.com member.

The band is pretty good though: Finkbinder. If you happen to be one of the exalted few with a MySpace.com membership, go give them a look-see.