Thursday, June 29, 2006

They Say Humor Is Just Another Defense Against the Universe. They Lie.

Dear Gods of the iPod Shuffle Setting,

HA! You? Are a riot. Way funnier than all of the other gods with whom I am acquainted, and that's saying something.

Like yesterday, for example? When I spent the afternoon freakingthefuckout over some stupid boy, and then got in the car and turned on my iPod, finally using that little iTrip gadget for its intended purpose for the first time ever? It was SO FUNNY how you selected Til Kingdom Come as the first song for me. NINE HUNDRED AND SIX TITLES IN THERE, AND YOU PICK THAT ONE??? Hi-LAR-ious.

And then? Just in case I wasn't convinced of your comic genius? Next you played The Wallflowers' I Wish I Felt Nothing. Ha! Ha ha ha! I mean, WHAT could be funnier than THAT? Y'all are a scream.

In short, HA. Next time, maybe just conveniently leave a bottle of poison or a dagger for me on the front seat, ok? Thank you.



PS - Please do not mention this letter to the Gods of the iPod Battery. I think they already have it in for me, and I do not wish to anger them further, as someday I might want to listen to my iPod for more than two hours in a row without having to recharge it. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Possibly the Most Informative Public Service Announcement I Will Ever Make

Do YOU know your HIV status? Washington, DC has announced a new public health initiative, encouraging all citizens between 14 and 84 to find out their HIV status through free, confidential, and fast testing.

Even if you don't avail yourself of this program, ask your doctor for HIV screening as part of your regular annual check-up. Because DC is a high-risk city, most insurance plans will pay for the test.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and go find out!

As long as we're talking publicly about private parts, I shall share with you some more wonderful information, this time about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Fun Facts (Or, How Women Get Screwed, Again. As Usual. This Time By A Nefarious Little Virus.)
  • While HPV affects both men and women, the potential negative impacts are significantly higher for women. (Hello, cervical cancer! I mean, when was the last time you heard of someone being diagnosed with penile cancer, really?)
  • No one's really sure where HPV comes from, how exactly it's transmitted, how long the typical incubation period is, or why it causes cervical cancer in some women and not others. (We'll get around to answering those questions, right after we eradicate male pattern baldness.)
  • Some women have multiple positive HPV tests; others have only one positive test. Is it the same virus, recurring? Is it a different infection from a later partner? They don't know those answers either.
  • There is no test for HPV in men. And, the HPV test for women is often only done when a Pap test shows abnormal results. So, most people with HPV and most people capable of transmitting HPV? Don't even know they have it.
  • Condoms do not prevent the transmission of HPV, as the virus is smaller than the "trapping capability" of latex. (Please excuse my totally-made-up medical terminology.)

Now, the good news: the FDA recently approved a vaccine for HPV, suitable for girls/women ages 9 to 26. If you're not too old, ask your doctor about it.

Also, this year the guidelines for Pap and HPV testing changed. The new recommended practice is as follows:
  • For women over the age of 30 -- Pap and HPV testing every three years, assuming no abnormalities are discovered.
  • For women under the age of 30 -- Pap tests every year or two are recommended. An HPV test is only necessary if an abnormality is identified in the Pap.

Not that I should have to scare you into doing good, healthy things for your body, but just in case the Don't Drink & Drive On Prom Night Or You'll End Up A Bloody Mess Wrapped Around A Tree video did the trick for you in driver's ed, I will point out that the treatment for low-grade abnormalities is cryotherapy, where, yes, the doctor freezes off part of your cervix. Good times. For moderate to high-grade abnormalities, the doctor uses a metal wire with an electric current running through it to remove the abnormal cells. Nothing says FUN like an electric current in your cervix.

But seriously, don't let this scare you. The treatments for HPV-induced, pre-cancerous abnormalities are far less invasive and scary than the treatments for, you know, actual cervical cancer.

If your HPV test comes back positive, I suggest reading this, trying not to freak out too much, and maybe e-mailing me. Also, wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

There Is Nothing So Awkward, As Courting A Woman ... Whilst She Is Making Sausages.

I am single. Yes, I know you already know that, as you have probably memorized the information in my profile over there --> since I never seem to update with real stories anymore. But it has come as quite a surprise to people lately, so I thought perhaps I should address the topic with a little treatise here. Of course, 98% of them don't read this, but let's nevermind silly little details like that.

How can YOU be single? But you're attractive and smart and nice and I'm sure you have no trouble meeting people!

Oh, no. I am single. And by single I don't mean "unmarried," I mean "not a man in sight." I mean "it's just me and the tumbleweeds out here." I mean "the last date I went on was in the first Bush administration. The George H. W. Bush administration."

(Ok, that last one may have been a bit of an exaggeration. I'm pretty sure I wasn't allowed to date back then.)

Used to be, I thought there was something undesirable about me that led to this perma-single status. I wasn't pretty enough. I wasn't skinny enough. I wasn't bubbly enough. I wasn't popular enough. I wasn't tall enough. I wasn't athletic enough. I wasn't smiley enough. I wasn't fashionable enough. I wasn't blonde enough. I wasn't cleavage-y enough. I wasn't dumb enough.

(One thing I was plenty of: intimidating. Which I found completely baffling, as I certainly did not feel like I was the alpha-anything. Maybe it was the sausage-making.)

Somewhere in the course of college and my early-20s I managed to shake most of those "not ___ enough" worries. But I realized I still didn't have a boyfriend on a regular basis. Throughout school that was just fine with me, as a significant other would have been time-consuming and would have complicated my scholastic goals and career aspirations. I knew I was moving, even if I didn't know where, and I wasn't convinced that someone would be willing to make the move with me. Even today, becoming Involved With Someone is not high on my priority list, because the last thing I want to do is tie myself to California for the rest of my life. (DC friends: "Damn it, you said it'd only be a year or two!")

But it's not just my workaholic tendencies or the geographic difficulties that keep me single. And it's not that I relish facing this cold, harsh world alone. Or that I'm some ball-busting, man-eating witch. (No, that's just at work.) I actually like the idea of a boyfriend/husband/life partner. But I hate dating. I have really high standards, and I know it. It's the little things that trip people up. Like the ability to make plans and show up on time and open car doors and use the appropriate utensils and carry on a conversation that remotely interests me and not attempt to get the waitress's phone number while we're out.

I know. I set the bar high.

Male Friend: You need to get out more. You need human interaction.
Me: I'm in meetings and on the phone all day! I get plenty of human interaction!
Male Friend: I mean human physical interaction.
Me: *Blinks.*
*Blinks again.*
*Slight shaking of head.* No, no I don't need that.
*Thinking, oh my god, the extent to which I Do. Not. Need. THAT.*

What it really boils down to is this: I have a hard time adjusting to new people in my life. Not emotionally, but just re-arranging my calendar, my commitments, my lifestyle, my life to make space for someone else. It's easier to make room in my shoe closet for someone than it is to keep my calendar flexible enough to enable me to see someone often. I'm happy to do it for someone important. (And there have been some people who are important enough, for which I'm grateful. I hope they appreciate what I did for them as much as I appreciate what they did for me.) But for someone who's less-than-important? Not a chance. I'm holding out for Mr. Right. I know how to handle Mr. Right This Second. What I can't do is Mr. Right For A Few Months Or So.

Therefore, I've gotten to be really good at weeding people out early on. Maybe too good.

Him: I'd really like to see you again. Can I buy you a drink sometime?
Me: Sure. But please realize that I'm Catholic and I work for [redacted] and those are two pretty big parts of me that aren't changing. So, if either are going to be a problem, maybe you should consider that.

Nice guy, but negotiating our work lives could have been complicated, and he's Jewish so if my being a non-Jew was a non-starter, well then let's not start anything. A friend and I placed a bet as to whether he would call. I said no; she said "of course he will!" I won.

And I could overlook those little things and I could start something, hoping that things get better and I could stop being so damn picky.

But I'm not going to. As the Bee Gees say, "Too many lovers in one lifetime ain't good for you."

I don't date. It's just not my thing.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Just Call Me Angel of the Morning

After which I may very well hurl the nearest small kitchen appliance at you, provided it's not the coffee maker.

Every once in a while, I have one of those days where I get to see How the Other Half Lives. And by "the other half," I mean you freaks those of you who do not greet the morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, just ready to start the day (insert smiling 1950s housewife face here), but instead shuffle around in silence, shooting Death Looks at anyone who dares to initiate a conversation that requires more than grunting in the general direction of the coffee. (Yes, I have lived with a number of you, and I know the ways of the Non-Morning Person. I will be over here, cowering in the corner and making fresh coffee until you let me know it's safe to speak to you. Bagel? No? Still no on the talking? Ok, maybe around lunchtime?)

Thursday was one of those days. (Please be picking up on the fact that this was Thursday and I am just now getting around to writing about it. Yes. The excuses will reveal themselves in good time. Keep reading.) I woke up and I was just grumpy. There's no other word for it. (Ok, yes there is, but I like to save "bitchy" for when I do something intentionally. Like when I'm walking across the parking lot at such a velocity that I could get out of your SUV-driving way if I wanted to, but I choose to maintain my current speed, thereby ensuring that you will have to come to a full and complete stop before you honk your horn at me from two feet away. Not that this happened today or anything.)

Anyhow, me. Grumpy. In the morning. Which is just weird. And weirder still, none of the things that ordinarily perk me up seemed to help...shower, coffee, NPR. Nope, still grumpy. Once at work I reached deeper into my bag of tricks and popped an Excedrin Migraine -- elixir of the gods, though not so much of an elixir. Nugget of the gods? Pellet of the gods? (Right now I can hear my mother grousing about the irreparable damage I'm doing to my though the alcohol hasn't already killed it.) The Excedrin helped, but didn't provide the nirvana I was hoping for.

Turns out I was grumpy because I needed a little "me time." I'm not very needy (on this particular measure. Shut up.) so it often catches me off-guard when my subconscious takes over my life for a little while and demands that I do nothing for anyone but me. I know people who need "me time" about once every 48 hours. Me? I'm un-fazed by a lack of "me time" for a good three weeks, after which it takes another week or two or three before my sanity starts to check out.

It occured to me that I *might* need a little time to myself when I realized I was resenting the universe because I would give anything for JUST THREE MINUTES to recycle the Sunday New York Timeses that have been collecting in my living room for the past seven weeks. (Also? Wednesday night? When not being able to locate the wine bottle opener nearly sparked a troop deployment, the scale of which would be appropriate for invading a third-world country, deposing its dictator and searching for weapons of mass distruction? Yes, that was a sign. A sign that I missed, apparently.)

Around this point in the "ohmygod I need some time to myself" cycle, I start looking for *A* night to myself. (If you're not using your Mike Meyers/Wayne Campbell voice here, you're saying it wrong. Try again, with a short "a": *A* night.) And, as is typical, I realized that every night last week was booked.* And every night this coming week. And that the recycling will not be taken care of until sometime in September, let alone anything that might take longer than that, say cleaning the bathroom or changing my nail polish or fully unpacking a suitcase from any of the last three trips I've been on or, I don't know, maybe watching some damn TV.

*And by booked I mean, something is preventing me from being at home, probably work. Like when I didn’t leave the office until nearly 10 pm on Monday. Or how most of my dinner plans involve getting together with people from work. To discuss work things. And possibly some non-work things. But mostly work things.

And then I hurled small kitchen appliances at everyone in my office.

Ok, not really, but I did whine to myself about how I hadn't wanted those dinner plans tonight in the first place and maybe I should quit Banana to free up my weekends and then I did a quick cost-benefit analysis and determined that wasn't such a good idea and then whined some more about why is life so haaar-ar-arrrd????

(From a similar day last summer:

Me: I just want to go home, lay on the couch, and have someone be nice to me the rest of the night.
Mom: *sounding a bit surprised* Oh! And is there someone to do that for you?
Me: No. That's part of the problem. At least he could take out the newspapers.)

And by Friday morning, I was over it. (No, I hadn't yet had any "me time," I simply managed to whine it out of my system.) I woke up at 5:00, happy to hear the sound of the alarm and intently listening to the day's news from my friends at KXJZ. I left the house early and went on my merry way. Woo-hoo! Mornings are great! And at the end of the day? I got a surprise bonus of four hours all to myself, since Banana didn't need me. I did some shopping, watched TV, and painted my nails. And no kitchen appliances were harmed in the process.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Loose Ends. Or, Pretty Much How My Entire Life Is Right Now, Thanks.

Today's theme is "Things I probably meant to mention to you at some point, all in one scrambled little mess here." It'll be fun, I promise!

Why my brother is my (comedic) hero. Oh dear god, if this doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what will.

On the subject of my perfect is decidedly not the random guy at the airport. No, try him, him, or him. And, um, if you happen to have any of their numbers...feel free to pass along mine.

Thanks for all of your advice regarding the reunion outfit. I ended up going with option 2B, The Naked Dress, Sans Accessories. Well, sort of. There were accessories, just not of the overwhelmingly red variety. You'll see pictures soon.

Discussing our national immigration policy over dinner one night, because this is what we do in my family:

Dad: We can't deport 12 million people. It's just not practical.
Me: Yeah, we don't have enough pick-up trucks for that.

I am apparently not accustomed to being in the office, as TWICE yesterday I ran into the corner of my desk. The first time it was one of those banging-my-thigh-against-the-corner-as-I-distractedly-
walked-to-the-printer deals that happen every week or two. But the second time? I managed to whack my sternum against the desk corner as I bent over to pick something up off the floor. Sheer talent, people, right here. And I whacked it's still tender and I'm watching for the bruise to show up. That's not going to help the tan!

A friend of mine commented today on the new hair. And asked if I had it highlighted. Hallelujah! The sun is doing its job!

The last e-mail I sent before leaving work today:

I've got to go home and have a bottle of wine for dinner.

Which I am currently doing. I'm enjoying what I believe the industry calls "a generous pour."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh, Happy Day

Things I am not so enamored with right now:
  • Work deadlines that interfere with my vacation plans
    Dad: Is that work?
    Me: Yes.

    ten minutes later

    Mom: Are you working?
    Me: Yes.
    Mom: Doesn't look like vacation to me.
    Me: Doesn't feel like vacation either.

  • Sinuses that feel like, given the right barometric pressure conditions, they might actually come shooting out of my face.

  • Corollary: Grocery store that is out of the generic, non-methamphetamine producing version of Sudafed, leaving my choice as a consumer to (a) spend a lot of money on the brand name version or (b) go sign my name to a piece of paper pledging that, yes, really, I will consume these drugs in their current state and not accidentally set the kitchen on fire while trying to distill the Sudafed into its finer form.

  • Other corollary: brain that cannot possibly hold onto a single thought for more than two seconds. Makes knocking out the work thing oh so easy.

  • Random, smarmy man at O'Hare who was insulted when I told him he wasn't my perfect man. Dude, twenty minutes of conversation, did you honestly think I would reach a different conclusion?
  • Chicago traffic, which dictates that we leave at 6:30 this morning to get there by 9/9:30. That light at the end of the tunnel had better be attached to a Starbucks, is all I'm sayin'.

Things I am genuinely happy about:
  • Tan in a bottle. It works! Without making you look stupid!

  • Going to Chicago to see King Tut. And Steve. But mostly a dead Egyptian guy and his stuff.

  • The U.S. Senate, which once again earned its title as our more deliberative legislative body.

  • Knowing I can sleep in tomorrow. Hurrah!

Monday, June 05, 2006

You Know, I'm So Sick of Congress I Could Vomit

Yes, all of this has been said before, and probably more eloquently than I can put it. But this is my bully pulpit and I intend to use it! Besides, writing about it makes me less likely to YELL AT C-SPAN, thereby scaring the bejesus out of my coworker. I'm nice like that.

Stop. Just stop. Enough with the gay bashing already; I'm sick of hearing it. Putting down other people just because they aren't like you won't work for you now anymore than it did in high school. (Oh wait...)

Seriously, you all need to get over yourselves.

First, marriage is -- and always has been in this country -- a secular institution. Marriage, whether conducted in a courthouse or a church, confers upon the parties certain legal and property rights. You know that "by the power vested in me by God and the State of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife" part? Read that line again. THE STATE OF NEW YORK grants the minister power to declare two people married, in the eyes of the government.

Marriages are not universally recognized between church and state. My church, for example, does not recognize a marriage performed by anyone other than a Catholic priest. That's its prerogative. Similarly, not all marriages performed by religious groups are recognized by the state. (See: Polygamy.) No church should be forced to recognize a marriage between two men or two women, if it conflicts with church teachings. But that's not what most church leaders are concerned about. They know it'll never happen.

No, what many church leaders are concerned about is the so-called sanctity of marriage. Perhaps we should review what Jesus had to say about marriage:

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.'

But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32)

Seems pretty clear to me. Divorce, bad. Adultery, bad. You want to protect the sanctity of my marriage? You want to bring morals to our amoral society? Let's start enacting new and enforcing existing adultery statutes. The gay married couple next door isn't a threat to the sanctity of my marriage; the hussy down the street is. [Editor's note: Not that there's anything wrong with being a hussy. I love hussies. Can't get enough of them. People should feel free to be hussies. Just don't act like one openly, don't tell people you are one, don't live down the street from me, and for Pete's sake, don't go looking for special treatment, like being able to love/have sex with/marry whomever you want.]

Finally, a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is nothing short of legislating bigotry. It's bad enough that church leaders are willing to rely on shaky biblical evidence, theological hypocrisy, and blatant double standards (Divorce is ok! Adultery, pshaw! But NO GAY MARRIAGE - God said so!) but the worst part of this episode is the bigotry embodied in the proposed amendment. Of course, there is the obvious bigotry of preventing gays from enjoying certain legal rights that the rest of us can avail ourselves of. But more sinister is the underlying argument that what this country needs is moral values -- CHRISTIAN values. This is insulting to anyone who does not subscribe to Christian doctrine (some 20% of the U.S. population, according to an ARIS study).

And, quite frankly, it's insulting to me as a Christian. In promoting this kind of bigotry, we are being judgy, not welcoming.

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." (Luke 15:1-2)

We are not recognizing the love that God bestows on all of us -- the same love that should be embodied in a strong marriage.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John:7-8)

And we are certainly not loving one another in the way in which we were called to.

When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking,

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:34-40)

The theological question? That's for churches to decide. The legal question? That's for policymakers and the courts to decide. But you have a decision to make, too. Are you going to remain silent, tacitly agreeing with those who are vocal and powerful? Or are you going to work for justice and give voice to the persecuted?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's Eleven O'Clock. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

At work! Of course!

Yes, people, AT WORK. And I probably will be for the next four hours, at which time I need to run home, throw some clothes in a suitcase for my weekend in LA and get myself to the airport for a 6:00 am flight. Good thing I'm all prepared 'n shit...I know, what the weather's going to be like? Still need to locate a bathing suit or two. And the rest of whatever else I'm bringing. Good times. (Where are the Packing Fairies when I need them???)

I will not freak out. I will not freak out. I will not freak out.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you...New Hair!

(I already know who among you will hate it. Ahem. Gentlemen. Yes, I am looking at you. But the rest of you should feel free to rave about it.)

(It occurs to me that it doesn't look that different from the pic in the bio corner, but trust me, it is. Also, it's considerably different from earlier this week, as you can see.)

(My god! I have more pictures of me on here this week than on my stupid eHarmony profile!)

(Totally kidding! I don't have an eHarmony profile. Or maybe I do. Ha ha ha, you'll never know!)

(How many of you went off in search of my possibly non-existent profile just now?)

Ok, enough with the parenthesis. And the blogging. Back to work.

I will not freak out. I will not freak out. I will not freak out.

You, there! Go vote!