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Showing posts from 2012

It's not a vacation until you've scared the locals.

Sara really wanted to see a coyote.  And the Octomom, who lives in Palmdale.  The coyotes are evasive creatures, so I'm sure we scared them off before we even knew they were there.  The Octomom... well, I don't think she's hiding from anyone.  Nevertheless, we didn't see her. Somehow I get the feeling that we hang in different circles. 

The people who say the journey is half the fun are liars. I’m a white-knuckle flier.  Usually my coping method is Ativan, but I wasn't able to get my hands on any.  In a pinch, I've found that a nice wine and Xanax cocktail works almost as well.  I always keep my cool, but sometimes I’ll come clean to my seat mates if they seem approachable.
Most people are understanding and kind enough to talk to me during takeoff and landing, which helps to keep me from panicking.  Flight attendants are also sympathetic if they recognize that I’m a bit tense (usually they’re tipped off by the pill I have ready to wash down with the wine I've …

This will always be my New York.

This was a skyline that represented so much to so many people.  It was my New York.  I photographed it as I saw it every day, many times a day, for three years.  This view was as common to me as my own reflection in a mirror, and, at least in my perception, a million times more beautiful.  Often I would walk or drive by it and completely ignore it.  On nice days, I would sit on the pier at lunch with my work friends, eating folded slices of Telly’s pizza, chatting with the women and flirting with the men, paying no mind to the city behind me.  But while I was in the city, it was my playground.  I didn't waste a moment as soon as I stepped off the subway.  Everyone has their own New York.  That was my New York.

Like my reflection, the skyline was something with which I could peacefully coexist, met most often with casual indifference, and encountering only the occasional frustration.  The moments of glory were the most memorable; like my reflection dressed up for a special event, th…

Sparklecorn Criminal

BlogHer ’12 has come and gone, and I have lived to tell the tale.
It’s possible that you’re visiting my site for the first time, having just met me at the conference, and now you’re thinking, “How unoriginal, writing about BlogHer.”  But I’d be remiss if I didn’t.  If you don’t wish to read about my BlogHer experience, click on one (or all!) of the links below to learn how I feel about other topics such as:
Cell Phone Etiquette Online Dating Relationships Black Friday The way I blogged before I had a blog The unlikeliness of my survival after the apocalypse
But back to BlogHer.  Almost immediately, it was obvious how terribly unprepared I was for this event.  I thought I would be okay; I followed all the online advice and arrived with a box of business cards jammed into my suitcase.  What those well-meaning bloggers failed to mention was the fact that I should have been lifting weights to properly train for all the “swag” I would receive and consequently have to carry around.  “Swag” is a …

Wave or No Wave

An acquaintance from my distant past introduced me to a fun social guessing game he called “Wave or No Wave”.  The game is simple: When you spot someone walking on the sidewalk as you’re driving around town, you must decide immediately whether or not you think that person will wave if you honk your horn at them.  Then, do just that and see if they wave at you.  You’d be surprised by the number of strangers who actually wave at you without even attempting to identify your vehicle.  It’s quite addictive.  This game only works in small towns, of course.  If you do this in, say, New York, your horn would be lost in the cacophony of taxis, and passersby would completely ignore you.

I’ve taken to playing other social guessing games over the years.  When in New York or other popular cities, in lieu of “Wave or No Wave”, I enjoy partaking of “Tourist or Not a Tourist”.  There are two key accessories that I look for when playing this game: The shoes and the bag.  With very few exceptions, you’…

Bring on the bullies.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t being bullied.  It started the summer before kindergarten, so some of my earliest memories involve being the victim of attempted murder.  Or at least that’s how it felt when I was five years old.
The bully was my neighbor, whom I will call Summer (only because it was summer when I met her and I don’t know any real person named Summer, so there shall be no confusion).  Summer was also starting kindergarten in the fall, so I suppose our mothers thought it would be a good idea for us to play together before school started.  I can imagine the conversation going something like this:
My mom:  “Hi, Summer’s mom.  Our kids are going to be starting school soon, and they will be riding the bus together.  Perhaps they should meet.”
Summer’s mom:  “Hi, Dana’s mom.  I think that’s a great idea.  Summer loves to make new friends.  I’ve noticed that your daughter is a bit shy, but I’m sure Summer will help her out of her shell.”
My mom:  “My daughter is sociall…

I'll be your everything.

The Mitten came into my house nine years ago, the last addition in a collection of various roommates which included two other cats, a big old dog, and an adult human male.  She was a mere kitten, and she accepted her ranking with grace and dignity, hardly ever asking for anything.  She knew that the matriarch and the prince would tolerate her but never adore her, and the human members of the pack were too preoccupied with their own crap to carve out time for the self-sufficient kitty.  She befriended the old dog, who begrudgingly shared crumbs from her treats and allowed her a space next to her while the humans were eating dinner.  She purred through it all and never defied the order of things.
The dog was the first to go, and although The Mitten retained her lonely spot on the floor next to the dinner table, she also tried to make friends with the matriarch and the prince.  They formed a furry alliance, teaching each other certain tricks, such as positioning oneself upside-down on …

My next vacation... Disney or a Carribean cruise?

I will never forget my first time at Disney World, mostly because I was 25 years old at the time.  Yes, I was a bit of a late bloomer on the Disney thing.  I never went there as a child, possibly because I don't think my sisters and I ever really wanted to go, but more likely because my parents figured a college education was more important than an overpriced trip to see a college student dressed as a mouse.  As it turns out, my parents were right all along.  College was a blast.  And Disney sucks.
Hold on, Disneyphiles!  Hear me out before you stick your Mickey ears up my backside.
I endured the trip to Disney World twice, both times really wishing I could see the glory and wonder in it that everyone else did (and I’m talking about full-grown adults here, not kids).  It ended up having the opposite effect on me, most importantly because nothing is real.  You walk through this little village in the park that is supposed to look like, I don’t know, a colonial town or something (it…

This space intentionally left blank.

I wish I had an interesting reason why it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything.  The truth is that I’ve been working a lot more than usual (fortunately it is only temporary), and by the time I get home, my brain needs to be turned off.  Besides, as a result of this overachieving, the only thing I have to talk about is work, and (trust me) nobody wants to hear about my boring job.  That’s why this space has been left blank for so long.
That phrase made me think of the blank pages in a book that you find between the final chapter and the back cover.  When I was a kid I wondered why they were there at all, because it seemed superfluous.  Fortunately, having a father in the printing business, I received a detailed explanation on how and why it was required for a book to be properly bound.  A disappointing answer, indeed, for a kid who secretly hoped that the answer would be “so you can continue the story any way you’d like”.
Book binding, I fear, is going in the same direction as th…

How I sold my soul to the online meat market.

According to the all-knowing internet, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of men who are perfect for me.  “He loves dogs!” (But what about cats, I wonder?)  “Just like you, he enjoys a nice bottle of wine!”  (No shit.)  “You are both non-smokers!”  (Well, we should just run to the altar with that, shouldn’t we?)  “He doesn’t have any kids, but he would like to have them someday!”  (So the fact that I checked the box that says “I do not want kids” means nothing to you, O Powerful Internet?)
I joined two different dating sites for two different reasons.  Reason #1 is because they let you browse for free.  It’s just like shopping on Amazon; you don’t have to pay unless you want it to come to your doorstep!  Reason #2 is because most of the people in my life seem to think that a male companion will make my life so much better.  There are so many reasons why I disagree with that, but in my usual way I allowed myself to be influenced by others.  I went ahead and created my profiles.


Sometimes when I step outside of my office, I smell it.  The smell of the desert... that dry, earthy aroma.  There's no reason why I should smell it.  My office is less than a mile from the Chesapeake.  But it's there, and I can't avoid it.  I love it.  I miss it.  It makes me think that one horrible thought that I shouldn't even be considering at this age:  I can't wait to retire so I can live there again.  But there you have it.

My original blog

What defines a blogger? That couldn't be further from the truth.  Let's try something else. That’s more like it.
One of my favorite questions to answer is “Where/when/how did you learn to write?”  It’s not an easy question, because I never really learned at all.  I’ve just always done it.  Sometimes I can't eat a meal or clean the house until I've written something.  Anything.  I’m a compulsive writer, even when I have nothing to say.  So I'll search for drama in my own life to tell a story.

This is the beginning of a five-page account of a weekend in 1999 that was, I suppose, a bit unusual for me, but in retrospect I wouldn't go so far as to describe it as "weird".  But that's just my way.  I've been a keen observer of life for as long as I can remember, always looking for the story in everything.
As a child, I used to type stories on my mom’s old typewriter until I broke it.  Rather than punishing me, my parents (or Santa, rather) gave me a toy t…

Made a list, checked it twice. Oh, wait, that was last week.

Well, another year is beginning and with it comes an excuse for me to make a list.  I love making lists because I love to draw a line through the items that I've completed.  Unfortunately, my list of New Year's resolutions never allows for me to just check something off when it's done.  I always make resolutions that are ongoing, so I can't get that satisfaction of a finished product.  That's why you'll see this list again in July when I'm torturing myself (and all of you) with my progress report.
Without further ado, for your amusement I share with you my 2012 resolutions!
1.  Diet and exercise.  This will forever and always be number one.  I am going to be realistic here and not make any specific exercise goals because I don’t like to be forced to stick to a regimented routine.  I just want to keep active by doing anything that doesn’t bore me (cardio machines at the gym, no thanks).  Let it snow, already!  I’m ready to hit the slopes!  As far as the diet p…