Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The claw

Last night, my dance troupe finally got the candles that we'll be performing with in a few weeks. (Did I mention that I belly-dance? Well, I do.) The candles aren't real in that they don't burn - they work off of batteries - but they are encased in glass containers. I kind of wish that they were real because I'm more worried about dropping the container and shattering the glass on the dance floor (we all dance barefoot. God, what a clusterfuck that would be) than catching on fire. Anyways, because it was the first time we were dancing with the candles, I clutched a little too much at them - I'm not sure how attractive a death grip is, but I'm thinking, it's not a good look. Should be a great performance! I also will be wearing a "tu" - a tutu that only covers half my body. Amongst other things, I hasten to add.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stepping high

I was at a trade conference a few weeks ago and got a ton of great swag. Every year, I don't know if the vendors plan it or not, but it usually ends up that there is some sort of theme. One year, everyone has fancy pens; the next year, everyone's giving away fabric bags. This was the year of the trinket. The one that I was the most excited about was a pedometer. I've been trying to take the dog on long walks lately and I'm kinda curious as to how far we've been walking (I guess I could get on Google maps and retrace my steps but that seems a bit time-consuming). So I was delighted to have a pedometer...until I tried it out. G&T had warned me that the cheaper ones can be nigh useless and hey, guess what? Freebie crappy pedometer is crappy.

So I was going to do some research on pedometers that actually work when I realized, hey, I have an iPhone now, I bet there is an app for that. Oh, is there ever. I downloaded one and decided that I'd leave it running all day today to see a) if it works and b) how far I generally walk in a standard day at the office (no meetings etc.). So far it mostly works; there are some hiccups that I am willing to believe are user-generated (one of which is that I'm not entirely clear if the pedometer thinks I'm 5.75 feet tall or 5.75 meters tall. While the latter would be physically impossible, it's plausible that the software has me measured via the metric system. I AM AMERICAN WE WILL FOLLOW THE METRIC SYSTEM AT THE SAME TIME WE ALL BECOME FLUENT IN ESPERANTO).

But the eye-opening thing is that so far, and it's the end of the work day for me, it says I've walked about 1000 steps. Now, I think it's missing some of my steps - you know, to make up for the gigantic stride a 15-foot person would apparently have - but still. That is not very impressive at all, especially when they recommend that you try to walk 10,000 steps a day. I have got to up my game.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Missing that something special

If I were in charge of representing particularly Belgian food, I would totally have the contestants go to a friterie where they would have their fill of frites (fries) with mayonnaise, The Amazing Race producers. You are missing an obvious hole. Plus I would have had them do something with biere. My Belgian roommate from Leuven never failed to remind me that his hometown is also home to over 300 beers. Of course, he also talked a lot about "Les Strymphs," or the Smurfs, which are also a Belgian creation. God help the person who stole his Smurf spoon for his yogurt. I certainly never heard the end of it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


For once, the Texan and I are the first ones on our block to put up our holiday lights. Suck on that, elderly neighbors! It was not intentional on our part- just a perfect storm of a long holiday weekend and good weather that prompted us to do it. Our MO is that we normally put up the lights less than a week before xmas, preferably during the middle of a wind storm. Ah well, there's always the trip to get our xmas tree.

(Sidenote: let's pour a 40 out in honor of my *almost* having made it through NaBloPoMo. Closest one ever.)

Although I must say that the gauntlet that we've thrown down has already been thrown back at us (...yes? How does one refer to that anyways?). One of our neighbors has a very cool set of icicles on a string that use LED lights to "trickle down" the lights so it looks like it's snowing. We may have to hit Home Depot to see what we can use in response.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We just got done watching "The Next Three Days." I have made The Texan promise to never leave the pets behind if he had to break me out of jail.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deliciously full

We went to Rasika tonight, using J-Dawg's trip to DC as justification. So delicious. I forced myself to try something different and I was not disappointed. Paneer with tomato sauce - highly recommended. And of course we got the crispy spinach which Rasika is known for.

I also have learned from other trips to other Indian restaurants: bread OR rice, not bread AND rice. That latter combo is where madness lies.

My sister has a place near where we grew up that she loves to take me to when I'm in LA called the India Restaurant. Not the Indian restaurant, mind you, but the India Restaurant. Guess what they serve? In buffet form? WITH SAMOSAS IN THE BUFFET DO YOU KNOW HOW RARE THAT IS????

Where was I? Oh yes, food coma. This should be a good week for eatin' and sittin' and sippin'. I love the holidays.

Monday, November 21, 2011

An exercise in futility

I joke about my cat Shrapnel being one of the undead as an explanation for why he is still alive and kicking (it *would* explain why I can never take a decent photo of him) but I know that a 20-year-old cat has three paws in the grave, no matter how good of a shape he's in. So to help him in his twilight years and lessen his arthritis, we have him on an anti-inflammatory that can cause liver damage if it is given long-term. Did I mention that the cat is 20 years old? How much longer is he going to be around, anyways? (A vet tech recently told me that she was pulling for her cat to make it to 30. God, I wish.) So Saturday we had to take Shrapnel in to get his blood checked to make sure his liver wasn't failing from the medicine. I understand why the vet office wanted to check, but we were planning on giving it to him no matter what they found out.*

So, to sum: Saturday we had to rent a car and submit the cat to the stress that a vet visit brings so that he could have a $150 bloodwork test done that we were planning on ignoring the results of either way. Good times.

* Got the results back today: a clean bill of health. Huzzah! May he have many more years of love-mauling** ahead of him.

** For an explanation of love-mauling, go to this oldie but goodie by the Oatmeal: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/kitty_pet.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Welcome back, J-Dawg

And not just because you're the only person in the Eastern time zone who will watch "The Amazing Race" with me (seriously, friends of Her Ladyship - you are only hurting yourself by your refusal to watch this show with me). So good to have you back! J-Dawg and I have been friends since kindergarten. So, you know, 15 years or so. Ahem. Plus or minus a few years. Holla for those who know and still miss Alpha Beta!*

* To this day, when I'm tired and speak about going to the grocery store, this is what I call it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Division of labor

When I first met and moved in with the Texan, I had been living out of my parents' house for 13 years and more or less successfully feeding myself for most of that period. However, due to the fact that I had to walk home from the grocery store and thus avoided heavy packages, and my concerns about the consequences of not fully cooking meat*, I rarely made full and complete meals. So doctoring up a store-bought pasta sauce?** Or making a salad or some couscous? Dinner is served.

The Texan, being a Texan, would not have any of that. A meal is not a meal unless it has a protein, and no, tofu doesn't count. So he quickly took over the dinner responsibility for the two of us, and I have been spoiled since then, as he is a really intuitive cook (he will smell a sauce and decide what he needs to put in there).

I still like to contribute, so I have crowned myself queen of the baking. This means that once a month or so, I make cookies or something along those lines. Today, it was banana bread (I don't think that we've ever finished off a bunch of bananas before they rotted on us). And I'm ready for another slice now.

* I was raised in a household where all meat was fully cooked. None of this medium well shit for us - well done or send it back. You can imagine how well that mentality went over the summer I lived in Paris. I would order burgers "tres tres tres tres TRES bien cuit"and they would come out just dripping blood, as opposed to spewing it. I have since learned to enjoy meat cooked to medium but by god, that's as far as I can go with this.

** Growing up with an Italian mother, spaghetti and meatballs was not an eh, I don't feel like cooking sort of meal: it was something that you started two days prior to your meal and spent a week eating the leftovers. As such, it was also something that we only had a few times a year. It astonished me as an adult that you could just buy the sauce pre-made. Don't get me started on how old I was before I realized that anyone could make mashed potatoes.***

*** Please note I am not making fun of my mom, she was a wonderful cook. But she also worked full time and ran a household with three kids and a hungry husband who'd been raised back in the day where men did not cook at home, so she used a lot of shortcuts.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Texas-sized birthday

Actually, it's probably more appropriate to say a Texas-sized case of frostbite. It's the Texan's birthday today and to mark the occasion, we thought we'd take our scooters on a long ride out to Harper's Ferry, WVa. I'd been there years ago, thought it beautiful, and figured that 60 miles would be a nice long-ish but doable ride.

It would be...in the summer.

In the winter, not so much. We had to stop every so often because my fingers would numb up and my feet would be frozen. This is with mitts, gloves, jacket, coat, and balaclava, mind you. It got to the point to where it was all I could do to stay coherent enough not to fall off the scooter. Then we hit the Beltway at rush hour. I shut down at that point because all I wanted to do was lie down at the side of the road and sob.

It all got much, much better when we got our steaks from Ray's the Steaks (although we were half an hour late for our reservation because it took us 3 hours to get back from Harper's Ferry OH MY GOD IT WAS ONLY 60 MILES OH THE TRAFFIC). And now, a long hot shower awaits to finish the defrosting.

Oh, and happy birthday, Tex!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So glad to be here. And done with the travel/networking.

When did this happen?

I am away from home this week and thus away from my DVR. Which means I am exposed to the harsh reality of TV with commercials...and having to flip around the channels to see what is on. I swear to god, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" in on three different channels over the course of one evening here. When did that show get so popular that it could be put into reruns? And why don't I get it?

PS: Just got back in from the Mates of State show. AWESOME. So glad I went!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A real sausage-fest

So the conference I'm at has over 55 speakers. Guess how many of them are women? No, lower. No, lower than that. No, cut that in half.

Four. There are four women speaking at this conference.

I work in a very non-traditional field for women, I've been doing it for over a dozen years, and even I am flabbergasted by this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Watching the clock

My ride is now 30 minutes late in picking me up at the airport. I have to be there in one hour in order to get my bag checked in for my flight. Once my ride gets here, we have to drive back into downtown DC to pick up another passenger I am traveling with and responsible for. I am trying very hard not to freak out but am not really succeeding. I have already checked myself and the other passenger in so all we need to do is drop off our bags but still...you can't fight with the computer. If it says that time has passed for dropping off bags, it has passed. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I am leaving tomorrow for work trip to Omaha. Randomly, I started googling to see when Mates of State is going to be on tour next and lo and behold! They are playing in Omaha on Wednesday. I don't think it will interfere with the after-conference networking, and it should be done in time for me to get up on Thursday for the last day of meetings. In theory, of course. But how cool would it be to see them in a different part of the world! The last time I saw them was at the Black Cat in DC, several years ago. They put on a good show - so much good energy. Now I'm talking myself into definitely buying the ticket to see them Wednesday. Can't wait! Maybe I'll get an Omaha steak before the show and really go all out. (I mock Omaha Steaks but the last time I was there, I bought a bunch of bacon-wrapped steaks for The Texan. They've got a nice little refrigerated kiosk in the airport and everything. DELICIOUS.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's art-tastic

Blame the two cocktails I had on that stupid post title. Hot Pants Esq. and I actually took advantage of living in DC and went to an event at the Smithsonian. The National Gallery of Art has a big exhibit going on showing off Andy Warhol's work and they had a special thing today where Dean & Britta (of the band Luna) had scored music to go along with a bunch of his screen tests. I wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest - it could've gone either way, and all I knew was that I liked Luna. But it was interesting to see how the subjects handled the screen tests. As the curator pointed out, it's easy to hold a pose for 30 seconds or so, but a 4-minute-long screen test tends to crack whatever facade you've put out there for the world and your true essence, such as it is, comes out. Plus Dean was able to speak about each subject before their test went on and told the audience (packed, by the way - probably 500 people in that auditorium) a little about the person. They had chosen mostly regulars of Warhol's Factory and let's just say most of them didn't end up so well. Anyways, after that much culture, I feel I can read my recaps of reality TV (how many steps removed is that from artistic vision?) with a clear conscience. Also, loved the makeup on the women - it was all 60s mode and still absolutely fabulous.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reaching new heights

I love our Wii fit system - it's a lot of fun and you feel oddly triumphant when you hit the 30-minute mark and the little time-counter dings with joy. However, what also cracks me up is how it does not shy away from shaming you. If you, just theoretically of course, gain weight between workouts, it does a fantastic trombone "wuh-whoa" of failure. If you have a low score, your character will drop to its knees and pound the floor out of frustration. And it has this passive-aggressive way of commenting, "Been pretty busy, huh?" when you let too much time go between workouts.

But tonight takes the cake. The Wii fit greeted me and noted that the Texan's birthday is coming up (true - it's one week out, mark your calendars!). Then it asked, "Are you going to throw him a surprise party or anything?" GET YOUR NOSE OUT OF MY MARRIAGE, WII FIT!!! I will make sure he has a perfectly lovely birthday, I don't need you guilting me into anything.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The sounds around me

* My 20-year-old cat snoring next to me. At this stage in the game, I have given up on him becoming a lap cat, and have to accept that his version of it means sitting near me.

* The latest dance music from The Texan's iPad. As a computer techie, he has nothing good to say about Apple products, but now we both have an iSomething. Resistance is futile!

* The dog's collar clinking against the floor as he shifts around to find a more comfortable sleep pose. He was full of beans earlier and kept attacking the cat; after about a dozen claws to his nose, he figured out that perhaps he was better off not engaging with Shrapnel tonight.

* Our grandfather clock ticking along. It is something of an enigma right now: it has been updated to reflect the switch away from Daylight Savings, but for some reason, that hasn't registered for when it gongs the hour. So at 8pm, it rings 9 times, for example. You'd think that wouldn't throw you off. You would be wrong.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Completely avoidable

So tonight I managed to add another stupid injury to my ever-growing list. This latest one occurred at the gym. I'd been swimming so my feet were wet and shifting around in my flip-flops as I headed back to my locker. I feel I should add here that I was wearing platform heeled flip-flops bedazzled with rhinestones. Just so you have the full picture. Anyways, somehow, I flipped when I should have flopped (or vice versa) and I skidded and fell down off of the platform shoes. No serious damage done but I managed to give one of my knees some serious rug-burn as I hit the ground.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

In your wildest dreams

*** 6 points to whoever can name the song that the title comes from.

Okay, point offer is over. The Texan and I have been watching "Once Upon a Time"* and even though it's about fairy tales, I have really been enjoying it. Not just because the evil queen has kick-ass makeup, but it doesn't hurt. Also, if I ever get evil minions, I want them to be male models wearing a smokey eye. Seriously, it's a good show and every week, we're all, dammit, what happens next?

* "Once when you were mine..." Moody Blues FTW!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Jumping straight into 2007....

... with my brand-new iPhone! I finally talked my work into replacing my trusty Blackberry. I actually don't mind the BB, but a) it was sooooo slow on the internet, and b) I couldn't read PDFs or really any kind of document on it. I waited two weeks after the latest iPhone came out so I wouldn't have to deal with the crowds at the Apple store and I still had to order my phone because they were out of stock (and I had to wait a week an a half - admittedly, an improvement over the 2-3 weeks that they originally had quoted me). Anyways, now I can do what I was put on this planet to do: watch cat videos on my phone, 24/7.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Them's fighting words

The Wash Post had a big article today about how DC's taxi rates are the lowest in the nation and that DC cab drivers have lost 30% of their income since we switched away from zones to the meter system. WELL. Let me tell you:

* DC's cabs also are amongst the last cab drivers in most major cities who don't take credit cards.

* I have stopped using DC cabs for trips leaving my house because they will not reliably come when they are ordered. I have had cab drivers explain to me that it's not really worth it for them to swing by Petworth on their way in to town. Instead, I have to use a car service for when I absolutely need to have a ride at a certain time, because when I've ordered cabs, and they don't show, I hear from the dispatch that no cabs are in my area. Uh, that's why I ordered a cab.

* I regularly take shit from cab drivers who don't want to give me a ride home from U Street to Petworth because it takes them away from the lucrative U Street corridor. Never mind that they can be back in Columbia Heights in about five minutes, or back at U Street in about seven minutes.

I would argue that they're not that desperate for customers, despite what they say.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

My day so far

1. Read in bed
2. Shift to the downstairs sofa
3. This post

I am really tired although I didn't really go crazy last night. It was my friend 23's unofficial birthday, so a bunch of us met up to see No Second Troy at the Black Cat. Prior to that, we had drinks with my friend Pisces, who is in town with her new man. The band was fun even though we were being bumped by a raucous group of very drunk fans. Their vivacity and excitement was explained later when one of them told us they were a group of friends of the band from law school and in fact that most exuberant one was the wife of the lead singer. Okay, that makes sense. Plus the free shot that they shared didn't hurt; nor did the lead singer bringing one of our group up on stage at the end to play the tambourine.

Even so, I feel like a truck ran over me. Maybe it's partly due to the book I was reading. I was hustling to finish The Sparrow, which we're reading for our book club. I always teased one of our members for regularly not finishing the book and yet I almost didn't make it in time. (BTW: if you're a book club member, stop reading now, so I don't give you spoilers for our meeting tomorrow.) Anyways, it was a good read but it did give me pause when I ate pork for lunch after having finished it. I won't say more but let's just say it brought up some unpleasant turns in the plot in the end of the book.

I think for me a lot of what was lost in the book was the discussion of God and faith. I am not religious, and so a lot of the reasoning behind characters' behavior was frustrating. I ran into this while reading Eat, Pray, Love as well (that middle section with the beam of light coming out of her forehead - uh yeah, I pretty much skipped that part). Frankly, I think a better discussion of faith was done in The Life of Pi. I did like how The Sparrow fleshed out how a first contact with an alien species might happen, and it was strange how much the aliens in this book resembled those in Avatar. And it was interesting to see the future as how it was envisioned 20 years ago, when the book came out. For example, the Japanese owned everything in the book. Aw, remember back when that was even a consideration? Now it's the Chinese. Plus, in the book, there were still wars going on in eastern Europe and former Yugoslavia. Given the timeframe for when the book was written, I could see someone thinking that back then.

I was telling my colleague yesterday that I was reading this book and she said if I liked it, to let her know. I don't think I could say I disliked it - it was a really interesting story with more or less sympathetic characters and I thought the format of flashing back to the key points of how they got the group together for the exploration of the new planet and their experiences there kept everything from getting too intense (when it did, they'd flash forward to the quieter time of when one of the explorers was recovering from the trip). But there was so much assumed with this: that the explorers were simply doing it for the sheer intellectual and religious fervor of finding new worlds, that no one else besides the Catholic Church would be interested in seeking out life forms elsewhere in the universe, and that for god's sake, you wouldn't send some sort of guard or military personnel on a trip 4.3 light years away from Earth. Seriously, what the hell. Have they never watched ANYTHING on Syfy?

Friday, November 04, 2011


Our dog, Che, has adapted to life in a city pretty well. The one thing that has affected him the most, though, is that he doesn't have a big yard to run around in. When we lived in SA, we lived in a corner lot in a trailer park, and our trailer was up against the far side of the lot, so Che had a ton of room to run around in. Plus there were always dogs next door with whom he could run up and down along side the fence with.

Here, not so much. We do have the luxury of a wee yard, but it really works more as an outhouse than a playground. And no dogs next door either. So the poor little guy has, um, put on some weight since we've moved here.

Which means the only way for him to get regular exercise is to take him for walks. Luckily, the mere mention of a w-a-l-k sends him into paroxysms of joy, so it's not like you have to convince him. Rather, the hard part is reining him in once you get going. We let him run out the leash but pull him back when we go past driveways or near people. It's the people that are the real question marks here.

Che has dark ears and a white muzzle. One ear flops over, and his tail is the curling-up kind. He looks a lot different from most of the dogs in our neighborhood, which appear to all be some sort of variant of pit bull. So the people we walk past don't know what to make of him. The guess is either that he is a husky (er, no) or a wolf (HAHAHAHAHA). The last part I used to try to correct people on, but then I thought maybe it's best that the neighborhood kids think that there is a real live wolf hanging out in our yard. So I close my ears to the murmurs of "esta un lobo alli!" when we walk down the street.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I heart work-bought bottles of wine, and international outreach that requires working over happy hour. Yay!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


It's 7:30pm, and I am seriously considering throwing in the towel soon and going to bed. I had to get up at 5:45 this morning so I could leave the house by 6:45 so I could pick up my Zipcar by 7.
Shockingly, I did, and I did, and I did - sort of. I got to the Zipcar and it was 7 on the dot - I was so proud, that never happens - and then I realized that I'd brought an outdated card with me and I had to call Zipcar to get access to a new one. (To be fair, they were superquick and I got a new card within minutes. But still.)

I am not a morning person. This is exacerbated by the fact that our office is separated from our HQ by 2000 miles, and I usually get up and do an initial round of email right after I get up, so I don't roll into the office normally until, um, 10 or 10:30. And if I ever have to go to a morning event, well, my philosophy is that nothing important ever happens in the first ten minutes. It really is true too! But it still makes you realize how much of a slacker you are when you realize that the last time you got up before 7 was to catch a flight. On the other hand, this job won't last forever and at some point, I will have to be in the office at a more normal hour. Why shouldn't I enjoy this while I still can? And plus my cat always seems to know exactly when I have to get up and comes to sleep with me 10 minutes before the alarm goes off. Yes, I am blatantly justifying sleeping in. I can live with that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Drips and starts

I can't quite get my mojo going on this blog again, so I figured I'd participate in NaBlaPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) to kickstart myself. Until I peter out by the end of the week, I'm guessing. Still, let the fun begin!

I guess it would be more interesting if I had something to actually report. We didn't do anything special for Halloween - I was under the weather this weekend and that, combined with the sleet/snow on Saturday, killed any interest I had in celebrating Halloween out in the bars. And last night I had dance class so technically I was in costume - a bellydance costume. Doesn't really count, I know.

A couple of my colleagues are recent grads of the place I went to grad school, and it turns out that it now has an official Halloween party. Back in MY day, we didn't get fancy school-sanctioned Halloween parties. Except for the year we were in Italy, for some reason, then it was okay. At that point Halloween wasn't that big a deal in Italy but some of the locals loved the idea of dressing up, even if they didn't quite get the execution perfect. I remember a bunch of the American students were horrified when some Italians showed up at our party wearing American Civil War uniforms....of the Confederacy. No idea where they got those from or even if they had any idea of what they symbolized. Still, very random.

At our house the most festive thing is the orange neckerchief tied around our dog Che's throat. I feel that is sufficient for this year. Maybe next year we'll dress the pets up as each other. And my transformation to crazy old pet lady will be complete.