Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Leaving the gym last night, I went up to the wrong red car in the lot (mine was a few spots over). The other car was cherry red; there were cherries hanging from the rear-view mirror; the steering wheel had a cherry-embossed cover; and there was a t-shirt with sparkly cherries protecting the driver's chair. Which leads me to wonder, who exactly dedicates their lives to a fruit?

1) Born-again virgin proclaiming her chastity

2) Regular virgin using it as a selling point

3) Someone who reallllllllly likes cherries

4) A poor soul who feigned politeness when once given a cherry-related trinket and is now forever doomed to receive them for birthdays and other gift-giving holidays

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

105 with the heat index

Summer has arrived in SA. Hooray.

I didn't plan it, but hey - lookee there, a two-week break. No, I wasn't suffering from heat exhaustion and unable to get to a keyboard. It was The Texan and my one-year wedding anniversary last week and his gift to me was a trip to DC, where we had met three years prior. It was a wonderful week: we got to see a lot of my friends, visit a lot of my favorite haunts, and I even got my makeup done by a makeup artist (for free! Sort of. I had bought a LOT of makeup from him on previous trips, so I guess I paid for it in product. It was still cool). Plus it was in the 60s and dry. Heaven, I tell you.

Now we're back and trying to stay cool. I haven't put up my suitcase yet because the cat loves to sleep on it and I hate to disturb his slumber. You know how sleep-deprived cats are, right? Plus there's the fact that I'm lazy.

At least I'm set up for the summer: I have not one but TWO new bathing suits. My previous one was three years old because oh god do I hate shopping for new ones. But Friday's shopping expedition proved surprisingly pain-free. The Texan went with me and showed himself to be a champion shopper. He willingly ran from rack to rack of suits to bring me ones that he thought might work. And lo, there were a few that did. Now I can spend summer in Texas the way one should: submerged in a swimming pool.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our fallen honeymoon

(Our one-year wedding annivesary is next week - holy crap, we can finally eat the top layer of cake that's been clogging our freezer for the past year. Huzzah!)

After the usual questions were asked about our wedding - where was it, how was it, who came - the first thing people asked when hearing I recently got married was where did we go on our honeymoon. My answer always provoked the same response: Phuket, Thailand (an approving nod); Shanghai, China ("Oh, I hear that's really cool"); and Chengdu, China. This is where you get the record scratch noise and a polite, "Um, what's there?"

Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province and home to spicy food, giant pandas, and over 10 million people. It's also about 60 miles away from that horrible 7.8 earthquake that occurred this week. It is by American standards a ginormous city, filled with grey skyscrapers and buildings whose structural integrity didn't look that good before being rocked by a giant earthquake.

We went there because it's the hub of China's burgeoning IT corridor and The Texan had thought that he might want us to live there after he gets done with school. Five days of breathing in their awful pollution cleared us up of that idea real quick-like.

But the people we met there were really cool and welcoming. Our tour guide was this cute 23-year-old girl whose fractured English nearly gave us a heart attack when she told us while checking in at the airport that the penalty for having overweight luggage was $600 (turned out it was $60 - we were ready to abandon our bags until that little correction was made), but god love her, she tried her best. The bar manager of our hotel was a stylish woman in her early 30s who'd spent time working on Alaskan cruise ships, spoke wonderful English, and very kindly took us to an authentic "hot pot" restaurant so that I could get my fill of spicy food. The owner of an ex-pat bar comped us a few drinks, gave us a free CD of music, and introduced us around to what seemed like every American teacher in the Sichuan province who filed in his bar the night we were there.

One year after our wedding, I guess it's natural to look back at what happened this time last year. I hope that the people we met who made our honeymoon so special are okay.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thank you, Bartleby the Scrivener

Who knew that a terribly boring story you read in high school English would continue to have such relevance in your life? I know I've referenced "Bartleby" when discussing a previous job that was soul-suckingly awful. Now I am using his words - "I would prefer not to" - on what feels like a daily basis.

I am really irritated that nowadays, any time you want to conduct any kind of business transaction, you're expected to hand over your personal information. I'm not discussing data needed to verify your identity so that you can use a credit card - that, I have no problem with, I am big on cutting back on identify theft.

What I'm talking about is the insiduous need by companies for us to do their market research for them. How many times have you been asked for your zip code while trying to make a purchase? How often are you asked to hand over your contact information just to redeem a coupon?

For me, the breaking point came yesterday. GI Jane and I had gone down to the new museum here in SA, the Museo Alameda. It's affiliated with the Smithsonian and is supposed to "explore the Latino experience in America" (per their website's front page). It was free to get in, as it always is on Sundays. The front desk person handed us a slip of paper and asked for our last names and zip codes. When asked why, she demurred and said that it was for marketing purposes. You know what? You don't need that. Do your own goddamned research. And as always, when I politely declined to hand over my personal information, I was met with hostility on the other end and derision that I think "they" are monitoring me. You are taking my personal information down to track patterns of behavior, so yes, that is the definition of being monitored. Assholes.

Turned out that the museum is between exhibits, so there was only one room that actually had things in it to look at (an interesting perspective on protest posters). Of course the gift shop was chock-full.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Alone and vulnerable

I lost my crutch for dealing with time alone while out in public: my cell phone. Yes, my beloved hot pink Razr* that was last year's birthday gift from The Texan up and died last week. After several days of increasingly frantic battery-jiggling and rebooting, I took it to the TMobile shop near us, where the clerk helpfully informed me that it was dead.

Now, most people would just buy a new phone and be done with it. However, I am rather paralyzed by the buffet of choices. Should I stay with T-mobile? Should I get a crackberry? Is it cheaper for The Texan and me to go on a family plan or keep on our separate cell phone paths?

I'm leaving for a trip in a few weeks back to DC - DC in the hizzouse! - so I need to have some way of communicating with my friends once I'm there. So that would be my deadline, I guess.

In the meantime, I never realized how much I text-message people when out and bored or just play around with the phone. The silence is...frightening. Plus now I have to uber-organize everything before I leave the house since last-minute changes are not an option. And even though the phone is dead, I still carry it around with me. You never know when reincarnation will kick in.

Worst of all, I have been leaving hostile messages on friends' phones, wondering where the hell were they and why weren't they returning my phone calls. Until I realized that they probably were calling my cell phone, not my home phone, and why would they do the latter, as most of them don't have that number. Sorry guys!

* While I hate the fact that companies tend to think, "How can we make this product female-friendly? Slap a coat of pink on it and we're good!", it does tend to work on me. If it's pink and/or sparkly, it's all mine.