Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another Down Home Country Christmas

So, it happened and I survived.

Went home last Saturday, a bit later than we thought, but still hours before the annual dinner. Yes, I had to pick up a little Jack (always a friend) to imbibe before I got there. The scariest thing was having to go to the hometown Walmart for last minute gifts. I made this doable by staring at everyone looking at me like I didn't belong. Good fun.

The Cuz was intelligent like that and left her Louis Vuitton purse in our shopping cart. She only realized it when we got to auntiemomma's house. My God, you would have thought she lost a boob or something, she was so crazed. Eventually, she called her cell phon that was in her purse and found that it was AT THE POLICE STATION. They dropped it off 15 minutes later. Gotta love small towns.

Christmas Eve is traditionally our big eating night. And for me, it sucked. The Cuz thought it would be funny to tell auntiemomma that I was on the wagon. So when I got there, she asked me if it would "set me off" if they drank wine. I had no idea what was going on at the time, so I said it was fine, I'm working on moderation, and would probably have a glass myself. This resulted in me getting one of the tiny glasses and my aunt watching me with the eagle eye. Thus, I couldn't even get that nice buzz where I don't care that my cuz Mike is an asshole. I ended up going to "bed" at 10 pm just to not deal with him. (this is the cuz that NO ONE likes.)

Christmas morning was lovely. Breakfast of eggs over easy, biscuits :(american kind), and salty country ham. Then we opened presents. I got the digital camera that I asked for, and apple butter and lots of bath stuff. Of course, because it was me, the cd with the software was missing. I thought I had outgrown it, but I'm still the kid who gets toys without batteries. Thank god for RadioShack, who is sending me the user's manual and cd software for free, no questions asked. Look for pics in the near future,when I figure it all out.

Then the real fun began.

We drove up over the mountain into deepest, darkest West Virginia where the Cuz's mom lives now. And we got our drink on, courtesy of homemade moonshine. Once the auntiemomma and unclepop left, we got our drink on. And it was a hella good time, in spite of the rain.

(what's up with rain in Xmas? I've lived here 35 years now and have NEVER seen that true White Christmas, where it snows overnight and you wake to whiteness)

It's funny what comes out over Xmas when people are drunk. The hated cuz Mike told me that he sees me as a little sister because he saw my dad as a father fiture. Weird shit. And wholly unwelcome. He's gross. For so many reasons I won't even go into here. Maybe later.

The day after, we woke up late. Lounged around, then went to see the Cuz's dad and stepmom. First thing she did was make us a drink. I think I love her. Chatted with them for a couple hours, which was fun. I hadn't seen the Cuz's dad in about 20 years, so that was fun. They didn 't know what to get the Cuz, so they gave her a bunch of food, including DEER STEAK.

I'm in heaven.

And that's a down home country Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More adventures in urban public transportation

Yesterday's ride home started normally enough, got on the first bus, sat down, then heard my name. WTF? Turns out a friend R was on the same bus. Quelle surprise! We chatted for a bit, then she had to get off a few stops later. Apparently she takes that bus every day, too. Very cool. And that made me feel very urbanite, running into a friend on the bus and knowing I might see her any morning or evening.

Then came the Soul Train adventure.

First of all, it was a short old bus, not one of the nice, new double buses with the nice signs and the lady telling you what the next stop is.

Secondly, it was packed - standing room only, which I hate.

Thirdly, it was filled with crazy people. When I finally got to sit down, it was next to this smelly big dude in workman's overalls who was harassing another black Carib dude across the aisle for wearing a suit, telling him he could beat him up; when he found out the guy was a lawyer, he started saying that it was his JOB to break laws and that he hadn't paid taxes in years. Lovely. Well, finally he got off the bus, still spouting his rhetoric, taking most of his funky smell with him (I think some of it lingered on my beautiful wool coat) and an Italian guy sat next to me. He was about 55 years old, and asked me what I was reading. As it happens to be City of Falling Angels (by John Berendt, the author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), which is about Venice after the fire which destroyed the opera house in 1996, we started chatting. And then, EEEUUUWWWW, he asked me out for drinks. Dude, you're old enough to be my father! (okay, barely, but still!) He took my gentle rejection quite nicely, though, and we continued chatting. He was actually quite interesting; he's a journalist working here. So then he left. It got better from there, but then another girl got the harassment. Poor thing. This drunk guy was trying to hit on her and would not leave her alone until he finally wobbled his way off the bus. She ended up riding past her stop just to avoid having him follow her.

And that, combined with my morning experience at the bus stop, was my day of adventures in urban public transportation. I swear, you can't make this shit up. I love this city.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Ghost of Me Future?

As I walked up to my bus stop this morning, there she was, looking me up and down, puffing away on her cigarette. So I, in turn, looked her up and down.

What did I see?

I saw a dumpy woman, with dyed blonde, frazzled hair and a face that held decades of stories, and few of them good. It was puffy and jowly, with the kind of wrinkles one can only get from 40 years of daily pack-a-day smoking and cheap liquor. Her makeup was overdone and her lipstick was already feathering. She was dressed in a faux fur leopard, shapeless, hooded coat with brown leggings tucked into black flat lace-up boots and had on a bright orange-ish red knit pompom hat. As she puffed away, I could see the tacky gold rings on every finger. And as she saw me watching her, she pulled her enormous cheap black movie star sunglasses out of her cheap-looking red canvas bag..

I felt like I was seeing the Ghost of Me Future if I don’t change.

What did she see, I wonder?

She saw a tallish young professional dressed for work, fresh out of the shower with long shining black hair, perfect, understated makeup, business-length nails with clear polish and a total of 3 silver rings and a beloved Movado watch. She was wearing black boots with 3-inch heels, slim, black, boot-cut trousers, long black fitted jacket, a turquoise v-neck silk sweater with matching necklace and earrings, and a long burgundy wool coat with fox fur collar framing her unlined face and sparkling pale green eyes. The young professional pulled her new book out of her red leather Tod’s look-a-like tote bag to read while she waited for the bus.

The thing that scares me most about this is that she might have seen the Ghost of Her Past. And I think I saw it in her eyes before she put on those glasses.

Time to think about those New Year's Resolutions, I guess.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How to stock up on office supplies

AKA how to live on no money

  • Coffee - check
  • Flavored creamers - check
  • Splenda - check
  • Sugar - check
  • Dish soap - check
  • Envelope - check
  • Leftovers from breakfast meeting - check
  • Leftovers from lunch meeting - check
  • Soda from conference room - check

Now I can splurge on a pack of cigs tonight. Wheeeee! (and please, you can keep your holier-than-thou crap to yourself)

This is necessitated by a massive screw up in my pay last week. As in, I didn't get it. Fucking temp agencies suck ass.

I even had to return 2 new pairs of shoes that I loved to have money for cat food, gas for the car, and public transport to work. And if you know me at all, you know how much that hurts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Celebrity Life

It's official. I'm a celebrity now.

When I went to the liquor store (closest place to buy smokes, but of course I got some beer, too), there were about 6 guys in there. One of them looked at me and said, "Hey, you're the white girl!"

Um, yeah, I am a white girl. Even though I have olive skin and am your typical American mutt mix of British, Scottish, French, Prussian, Russian and Cherokee and have olive skin, dark hair, and green eyes. Maybe it's the green eyes that do it. Who knows?

Anyway, somehow I'm now the neighborhood celebrity. I'm "The White Girl". Pretty funny. I might as well be Nicole Kidman. Now, if only I could get her paychecks. Wouldn't want to go through being married to Tommy Boy, though.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Oriental sofas

They'll never catch on here. The Oriental Sofa is low. Like on the floor low. Which is fine if you're just lounging, lying on it and watching tv. But eventually you have to get up to get a drink or food or go to the bathroom or chase an errant furball or answer the door for your online shopping purchase delivery. That's not so easy when you're 5'8" with bad knees. And try sitting with your feet on the floor on the Oriental Sofa My knees are practically in my armpits. Try typing away at your laptop on the coffee table. Not easy. Not comfortable. Not at all.

These are all reasons why the Oriental Sofa will never be a bestseller in the US. I just hope the Cuz brings some bricks back with her from home so we can prop this bad boy back up to normal height. I'm tired of feeling like a cricket.

Oh, she's bring back deer meat, too. That almost makes up for the fact that she put Bianca in a snowbank out there.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lushy McLush, yeah, that's me

One of the things that foreigners find odd about the US is that laws regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol are regulated by individual states, not by the federal government. Without getting into a whole discussion of our history and federalism and states' rights, it's a load of crap and extremely inconvenient to have it so.

When I was growing up, the age of consumption (for lack of a better term) was 18. Cool, right? But wait, the federal government decided that was too young and was causing lots of drunk driving deaths, so they forced all the states to raise the AOC to 21 by withholding federal funds for interstate highway repair and construction if they didn't. (BTW, the number of drunk driving accidents and deaths has RISEN since they did this. Way to go, government!) There was a short period of time where if you turned 18 before a certain date, you could still buy alcohol even if you were under 21. Of course, my life being what it is, I got shat on and totally missed the Virginia date, and just missed the District of Columbia date, and was therefore consigned to frat parties, sneaking into bars underage, and getting older people to buy alcohol for me. This did get markedly easier when I started working in bars and everyone working in other bars either assumed I was 21 or cast a blind eye on the situation for the big tips (the service industry is a real small world, people).

So, anyway, I muddled along and it didn't much affect my social life too much other than general inconvenience. Never even had a fake ID. And then, one day, I turned 21. On a Sunday. Could it suck any worse? Why yes, it could. I went to buy my first booze and the bastards didn't even card me!

Here's where I get to the point of this entry. (I know you were asking when that would happen, but I did warn you I tend to ramble and go off on tangents, so deal with it, okay?) In Virginia, you can buy beer and wine in any grocery store or convenience store that has a license issued for the sale, and that's 99.99999% of them. It is extremely convenient. For hard liquor, it's a little inconvenient; that is sold only through state-run Alcoholic Beverage Control stores. Their hours are not as good as grocery and convenience stores, but at least there are more of these than there used to be, and the hours are better than they were 10 years ago when they weren't even open on Sundays.

Then I moved to California, where I was stunned and overjoyed to find that YOU CAN BUY EVERY KIND OF BOOZE KNOWN TO MAN RIGHT THERE IN THE GROCERY STORE! You can pick up a bottle of Jack while you fill up your car. You can grab a bottle of Smirnoff (not that you'd want to, but still) while you wait for your sub to be made at the deli. It was like moving to the land of plenty. Plenty of booze, that is, and lots of it went right down my gullet in the 5 years I lived there. (That would explain the 50 lbs I put on living there - but I was underweight when I moved there, I needed 20 of it anyway, now if I could just get rid of the last 10! but I digress . . .)

And here I am in DC now and the rules have changed all over again. Booze is primarily sold only in licensed liquor stores, and they are very prevalent. Conversely, you don't see very many 7-11's or plain convenience stores, which leads me to believe that the ones in other states with different laws sell a lot of booze! Occasionally you will find a grocery store that has a license to sell beer and wine, but not liquor. AND you will not be able to buy ANY hard liquor on Sunday, only beer and wine. The hours of sale appear to be 9 am to 1 am, which is quite different from Virginia which was 6 am to 12 am.

In Virginia, I had my local 7-11 just down on the corner that I could walk to for beer or wine - tres convenient - and there was a grocery store less than a mile away. In California, I had a fab wine store just at the bottom of the hill, and a grocery store and gas station and 7-11 less than a mile away.

Now, I'm in need of a new local sales point. The closest liquor store is about a 10 minute walk each way, and isn't very well stocked at all. The next closest is probably a 15 minute walk each way, and it doesn't appear to be that well stocked either. And the nearest grocery store that sells beer and wine (no liquor at all) is about 2 miles away through city streets. This is not convenient at all.

What's a lush to do? I mean, obviously, I'm a lush or I wouldn't have spent all this time typing this shit out and thinking this hard about it. Damn.

And what if we have a real rager at the new place? What are we supposed to do when we run out of booze at 5 am? We can't wait until 9 am to go buy more! At least in Virginia, we'd only have to wait an hour and wouldn't lose our buzz!

What are those 12 steps again? Lots more than 12 steps to the liquor store, I'll tell you that.

Giddiness of a Geek

Amazon obviously pays attention to this blog. My books arrived home before I did yesterday evening. See, blogging really can make a difference!

(I hope they don't expect a kickback or anything now. They'll be sorely disappointed if they saw the state of my funds. Ha!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happiness is . . .

A hot shower! First one in almost 2 weeks, and man, did it feel good. This morning's shower was probably the best shower I've had since an ex-bf and I came back from 5 days of camping on the beach in Mexico with no running water at all.

Happiness also is:
  • New bedding, freshly laundered
  • New slipcovers for the living room furniture
  • Warm towels right out of the dryer
  • the order from Sephora waiting when I got home
  • the order from Domestications waiting when I got home
  • the order from SmartBargains waiting when I got home
  • painting and decorating a new home
  • the first snowfall of the season

Now if only Amazon would get off their collective ass and ship me my damn books I might just be giddy! Although, in other good news, the Zoo has rescheduled the volunteer overview for next week, when it will no doubt snow again.

I've added links over there for you if you find this too boring. I'm quite pleased with myself that I figured out how to do it.

PS - for whoever was searching on "how to get sex in Northern Virginia", dude, you've got to be kidding me. Check out any Georgetown or Adams Morgan bar on the weekend, there will be plenty of drunk NoVa chicks for you to choose from. If you can't get laid there, you've got serious problems. That's my PSA for the day, I reckon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Soul Train update

There were 2 other Caucasians on the Soul Train last night! I was shocked. It didn't feel right, it felt unnatural somehow. Dammit, get out of my neighborhood, you damn crackers!

And it snowed last night. Beautiful snow. This winter's shaping up to be a real ball buster. Good thing I'm a girl.

Goats don't like me

No, really, they don't. And that's very odd, because virtually every other animal in the world loves me and responds to me. Well, I guess I can't exactly say that goats don't respond to me, because they do. They like to chase me and butt me with their horns. For example, when I was taking riding lessons as a child from my mom's best friend, I would have to figure out where her goat was before I made a run for the barn. Only male goats, though, not female goats. I have no idea what that's all about. If you have any ideas on this, do let me know in that little comment thingie down there.

Now normally this fact would not bother me. However, I will begin volunteering at the National Zoo in the next month or so, and with my farming background, the director of the volunteer keeper's aide program reckons I'll be of best use right now at the Kid's Farm. Hmmm, haven't figured out to name these link things yet. (editted to say, yay, I figured it out, go me!) Anyway, you can see it's the Kid's Farm. It's one of the few keeper's aide positions where I can be hands-on with the animals, and can also interact with the public. Now, go ahead and click on that link up there. Guess what one of the types of animals is? Yep, it's goats.

This could get really interesting. How much damage do you think a Nigerian dwarf or Nubian goat could do? I'm hoping nobody has horns. I don't really think the keepers at the Zoo would approve of my former method of dealing with unruly goats who are coming straight at me. It involved a 2 by 4 and batting practice.

Now I'm going to wait for the google searches involving Nigerian dwarf and goat. Eeeeeuuuuwwww.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Just call me The Minority White Girl Trendsetter

I'm sooooo ahead of the times, I have to make my personal time stand still so everyone else can catch up with me. You don't believe me? Oh, ye of little faith. It's true, and I have the proof. Witness:

Every one of our gay/trans/drag friends who lives in the city has told us that we moved into the top up and coming neighborhood, the new U Street/Kalorama/Adams Morgan, if you will. They must be right, because a brand new super duper gourmet Safeway got put in this year only a few blocks away, complete with Starbucks. And you know that's the seal of yuppie approval, right? And, of course, the gays know trends, right? Right? Uh huh, that's what I thought. Right.

So I got out today and did a little exploring, including the super duper gourmet Safeway. I'm such a grocery geek; I loooove our new grocery store. It has produce that I don't even know what to do with it. And tons and tons of fresh herbs. And all kinds of stuff to make Latin and Thai and Indian and Afro Caribbean and soul food. Of course, I got to talking to an old lady there and found out the name of the neighborhood. (How me is that, to move somewhere and not even know the name of the neighborhood?!) I foresee myself spending lots of time at that store. I'd live there if I could, it's so nice. Unfortunately, I think the rent might be a problem, plus the fact that I don't think it's zoned for residential, but hey, they can always rezone! Oh, wait, I'm never moving again, almost forgot.

Anyway, this is a very multicultural neighborhood, with the exception of one thing. We appear to be the only white girls here. Seriously. I've taken the bus to and from the Metro every day this week, and every day I've been the only white person on the bus. This is the bus that one of my friends calls The Soul Train, and now I know why. But I kind of like it, in my weird way. All the ladies seem to take care of me so obnoxious guys don't harass me, and a fair amount of respectful men seem to protect me, too.

It's really interesting, almost like a cultural immersion experience. I've never been a minority before. Not that it's all good all the time; I have had two experiences with being harassed because I'm white. But it is making me much more sensitive to the kind of irrational discrimination that traditional ethnic minorities face every day. On the other hand, the protection that I feel from most shows me the incredible generosity and kindness that exists here. And that's really a nice feeling.

I do wonder how long it's going to take me to be a hardened city dweller. I'm a girl from the sticks. I grew up on a farm riding horses. I had my own flock of sheep. I've shovelled so much shit that I could start my own fertilizer business if I mounded it all up. Going from the farm to living in our small town was a huge change for me. Then moving from the small town (and I do mean small, we're talking 3000 people and 3 stoplights) to the seemingly huge metropolis of the Northern Virginia suburbs. Then to the Southern California lifestyle of San Diego. Never did I think I'd actually be living IN the Capital of the Free World (or whatever). And yet here I am.

Time to learn ebonics, I guess. Then I'll be even more multilingual: English (American, British, Aussie and Kiwi styles), hick, southern, French, some Italian and Spanish, and ebonics. The problem with ebonics is that it's not useful at all outside major US cities. I think we should introduce ebonics to major cities all over the world just so I can get more use out of it. I'll work on that. Right after I find the cures for cancer and the common cold. You know, in my spare time.

I was meant to be unpacking and organizing and rearranging furniture today. So far I have accomplished: drinking a pot of coffee, going grocery shopping (do you have any idea how hard it is to do grocery shopping for only the microwave?), hitting the liquor store for some wine, and cleaning the litterbox. Yep, a very productive day, I think. Wait, I watched The Way We Were, too. And ordered some essentials from Sephora. And checked on my other online orders. And arranged to get a free futon for The Cuz from Freecycle. Phew, I'm exhausted after all that!

BTW, a little note to the person who requested more sex and drama. Trust me, when there's sex to be told, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops. Or at least from the new wireless broadband connection. But don't hold your breath - I have decorating to do, you know!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Watch out world

I've got wireless broadband and I'm not afraid to use it!

Prepare for random posts with no meaning. Should be fun. Wheeeeee!

edited to add:

I've asked for a digital camera for Xmas. You have been warned.

(now I have to figure out how to do all this advanced blog type stuff. I wonder if this qualifies as Stuff?)

Hot Firemen!!!!

Do you know the absolute best, foolproof way to lure Hot Firemen into your seductive new apartment? I do, and I'll tell you. Here. Now. For free, even. So don't say I never taught ya nothin'.

All you have to do is arrange for your newly cranked up furnace to catch fire at 6 am. Then simply dial 911 and give them your address and, before you know it, you have about 15 Hot Firemen at your apartment just aching to do whatever it is that you need.

Of course, there are downsides to this, as follows:
  • what you really need is for them to put the fire out
  • it's cold as a witch's tit outside
  • you are half-asleep and not making any sense at all
  • you still have mascara smudges under your eyes and your hair's gone all wild (ok, we could just call that bedhead, which we all know Hot Firemen love, right?)
  • you are wearing your red satin Xmas-y pajama bottoms with the red velvet strappy tank, but the effect is ruined by your fleece Land's End huge slippers and the winter coat that you threw on before getting the hell out of the apartment

The apartment is fine, we are all fine, the furballs are fine, too, thanks for asking. I was going mental, though, because I could only find Shelby to stuff in a carrier and get out; I couldn't find Buca at all, and let's face it, Buca is the second love of my life after my old Fat Cat. Strangely, I gave not one thought to getting my purse which had all my worldly money, my credit cards, and my only identification. Thank God The Cuz was up due to druggage and heard the snap, crackle, pop - only it wasn't like the Rice Crispies kind.

You know what really shits me? We'd finally got the fucktards at Washington Gas out to turn on the gas so we could take normal, hot showers and actually cook just yesterday. The Cuz got a hot shower yesterday. But me? Noooo, that would be far too good for the likes of me.

I'm starting to think that perhaps I'm not meant to live in western-style traditional accommodation. Maybe I should move to Mongolia, hang out with the nomadic horsemen (I do know my way around horses very well) and live in a ger and drink fermented mare's milk. I hear it's very good.