Thursday, November 30, 2006

Love Thursday: The Space Between Edition

You know when someone invites you to dinner, and you're not sure if it's a date or not, but you don't want it to be a date, so you unilaterally decide it's a non-date? I do that a lot. I've always been a pretty solid non-dater, but I find myself non-dating a lot more out here. I know I have a tendency to exaggerate sometimes, but it is not hyperbole when I say that the only guys I know work in my industry or are gay. Seriously. (Ok, a couple of boys at BR are not gay, but they're like 20 or something, and me dating a 20-year old is actually more inconceivable than me dating a gay man.) The beauty of the non-date is that, typically, after a non-date or two, the would-be dater figures out that this is not what he/she wants, and the relationship, as it were, fizzles.

I, however, am much more talented than that. For the past eighteen months I've been going on non-dates with this guy. A couple of guys. Ok, I've been juggling a freaking handful of them. Sheesh! You're so particular with your fancy "math" and all. I've maintained a firm non-date stance, by laying out for them, in no uncertain terms, on non-date #1 that we will not be dating, ever, due to my job vis-à-vis their job and the extent to which I NEVER WANT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH MY BOSS ABOUT WHOSE BED I MAY OR MAY NOT BE SLEEPING IN, AND HOW SUCH INFORMATION MIGHT AFFECT MY WORKLOAD. (Mental note: Do not run for public office. Or, get used to having that conversation. On camera.) Also, I cover half the check. That should kill any romantic intentions being harbored by my non-date, right?

The other night I was out on one of these little non-dates, everything was fine, nothing out of the ordinary, in fact, things were less date-y than some previous non-dates we shared. We fought over the check, as always. He walked me to my car, as always. We exchanged goodnight pleasantries, as always. Life was good.

Then I kissed him.

Which, I know. I KNOW! Not necessarily the best idea in the world, but, god, a year and a half and I just HAD TO KNOW.

And thus followed the year's most awkward conversation. I didn't have a transcriptionist handy at the time, but I think you'll get the idea.

Me: [Pulling away] I'm going to go now.
Him: Good.
Me: ... [Good? GOOD? I was prepared for "ok" or "no, don't" or "come back to my place," but "good?" WTF?]

I walk around my car to get in, deliberately not making eye contact. This also means I don't realize he's followed me from the sidewalk around to my car door. Whoops. I get in the car, barely noticing him, which he naturally interprets as me ignoring him. Before I close the door...

Him: Are you ok?
Me: Just fine, thanks! [I said, perhaps a bit more brusquely than I needed to but, DUDE, ARE YOU SOME KIND OF GIRL? Do we really need to TALK about this??? I don't WANT to discuss this. I'm following my patented rule for handling slightly awkward male-female situations, and that is WWGD? -- What Would a Guy Do? And the answer generally is, IGNORE THE EVERLOVING HELL OUT OF IT. IT'S NOTHING. NOTHING HAPPENED. MOVE ALONG. Then I shut the door.]
Him: [clearly unhappy with my response] Don't do that.
Me: Don't do what? [rolling down my window, since we're apparently going to have an f-ing conversation]
Him: I mean, isn't it better? This is...[indiscernible]... better ... either/or. Right?
Me: [having no earthly idea what was just said] Huh?
Him: [more words strung together that don't sound like they form complete sentences, let alone paragraphs] ...and it's better than not knowing, you know, where things stand, being in-between somewhere.
Me: You mean, like things have been for the last eighteen months? [On purpose! They were this way FOR A REASON! No, NO, NO! No reason to change anything!!!]
Him: Right! And I've wondered what was going on, and nearly read you the riot act on several occasions... [Me thinking, which I totally deserved, but was more than happy to avoid.] ...and yes, I would like to see you, romantically, but I'm conflicted. And I know you're even more conflicted.
Me: Yes, I am. [I've realized at this point that my left elbow is leaning on the edge of the rolled-down window, with my hand pretty much covering my mouth, and damn if my body language doesn't tell you everything you need to know right now.]
Him: So, it's good. Now everything is out on the table.
Me: Okay. [No, everything is NOT out on the table. Primarily, we are missing that part regarding HOW I FEEL, but I will not be sharing that any time soon, so we need to wrap this up here.]

Somehow the conversation ended, on good terms, despite the fact that there was exactly zero resolution to anything.

The thing is, I can envision what a relationship would be like, with plenty of doting attentiveness and fancy dinners and champagne brunches and snowy weekends away in Tahoe and, yeah, a girl could get used to that lifestyle in a hurry. But I have to say no. And OH DEAR GOD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?????

The aforementioned career concerns (and those are some pretty hefty concerns for someone whose self-worth is comprised of approximately 98% career, 2% other) pretty much dictate that I won't be dabbling in anything. If you're the man of my dreams, I MIGHT be able to overcome those concerns. But anything short of that? Not so much.
Which is why I had to kiss him in the first place. Because I had to know. And it's a tricky thing, because, by kissing someone, of course, they start to think they have more of a chance than they did last week, whereas actually I'm using it as something of a litmus test to determine if they have a chance, period, which pretty much serves to make me a bad person. But, you know, if one could take all of the love and lust and angst that exists among the entire cast of Grey's Anatomy and somehow translate it into something you can feel, physically, well, then you will have created what a kiss is supposed to feel like. And until I get that, I'll continue to have a social calendar full of non-dates.

Read other Love Thursday entries here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I hope you all survived Thanksgiving salmonella, no fisticuffs at the mall over the last wool sweater, no crazy relatives with Dick Cheney-like aim and access to firearms.

As for me, I made it through the 10k healthy enough to stuff myself full of Turkey Day goodness. I'm sure you've been on pins and needles, waiting to hear all about the race, and far be it from me to keep the people waiting.

The race itself wasn't very exciting, no good stories to tell, so let's do it by the numbers, shall we?

[The mildly entertaining moment of race prep came last Friday, when I went to Fleet Feet to register for the race. In the course of conversation, the sales guy and I were discussing appropriate breakfast choices for the morning of the race. At one point he suggested a couple of bagels. I pointed out that was approximately four times as many calories as I usually intake. He then suggested a banana, which I readily agreed to. And a Power Bar. (which puts us back in the 450-500 calorie range) Okay, um, well, thanks for your help!]

Where was I? Oh, right. 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 30.1 seconds. Pace of 11:42/mile. 2169th place.

I felt good, probably could've pushed the pace a little bit, but my goal was 12-minute miles, which I obviously did. The funny thing is, I was happy with my time when I finished the race, but when I checked the results page and discovered I was 2169th...well, buncha ignorant sluts I was a smidge less than happy. (Never mind the fact that the winner ran it in less than half an hour, a feat which I not only cannot match, but do not even aspire to.)

Eh, onward and upward, right? Just after my knees finally stopped hurling tiny little daggers at me from the inside out, I started looking for a 10-miler. Which, apparently, no one puts on. Or no one who lists their events on sooooo, I'm left with only one option for increasing my distance: a half marathon. Dammit. Perhaps before that race I won't find myself negotiating the breakfast menu!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


There are a million things to be thankful for this year, but here are a few highlights:

  • That my family and friends still love me, despite my moving to the end of the earth. Or the end of the continent.
  • That here in Sacramento I've got enough close friends to necessitate accepting TWO Thanksgiving dinner invitations and turning down a third.
  • A Democratic Congress.
  • That I finally got to enjoy that bottle of wine from Indiana in the celebratory manner for which it was intended.
  • That all of you come here to read and comment on my musings, mishaps and rants about the world.
  • Wireless internet everywhere. Please, someone give the inventors a Nobel Prize...they deserve it!
  • That I have enough -- no, way more than enough -- and have the opportunity to share it with others.
  • That there is not a pumpkin pie sitting in my refrigerator, begging to be eaten for breakfast every morning for the next week. Because I totally would.

What are you thankful for?

Operation Turkey: 2006
There's nothing like giving strangers a turkey that's been basted with an entire stick of butter. Heart attack waiting to happen? Sure.
But, mmmmm, tasty!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More Reasons to Question My Sanity (As Though You Need Any)

Thank you all for those lovely, supportive comments. Most days I'm really happy with my life, but some days I just need to kvetch a bit, and I come here to do it. Therefore I feel like I should clarify my position a little bit, and relieve you of the duty to continually reassure me on this front. (Oh, who am I kidding? Please keep reassuring me.)

For starters, I do not particularly want to be married Right This Instant. I am definitely not equipped to care for crying, helpless beings these days, and that extends past husbands all the way to small children. As K pointed out, such a life would seriously deprive me of the freedom to travel, volunteer, campaign, work 60 hours a week, etc. -- none of which I'm currently willing to give up. Rather, it is the uncertainty that kills me. If God would please just send me a little save-the-date postcard, I could quit fretting that it will never happen.

And then there's the fact that I am picky as all get-out. (See samples from the reject pile here, here, here, here, here, and here. And those are just the ones I've blogged about!) As Clueless suggested, I am waiting for my perfect match. (Please note: I did not say I'm waiting for the perfect person. He does not exist. But maybe there is someone who is perfect for me. I'll take him, thank you.) And I may have to wait indefinitely and maybe that perfect match doesn't exist, and that will just have to be ok. If I'm going to end up alone, I would rather not take a detour through couple-dom. I am firm in my conviction that spinsterhood beats marrying the wrong person, both for emotional and financial reasons. There are lots of things I want to spend my money on; a divorce attorney is not one of them!

[As an aside, one of my biggest, most irrational fears is that someday some guy who I do not want to marry is going to propose to me, at Christmas or some such, surrounded by my entire extended family, while we're opening gifts or something. And I am going to have to figure out how exactly to say "um, no thanks" in a delicate yet decisive manner. It will not be fun. It will also be the Christmas no one lets me forget. And every year when the jewelry stores start running their holiday ads with people gathered around the tree and the guy with a sparkly thing in a velvet box, I am reminded of this fear anew. Cease and desist, Zales! Cease and desist! Please let me watch football the way God intended -- filled with ads for beer and pickup trucks and maybe the occasional power tool.]

Finally, and I said this last week but perhaps I didn't focus on it enough, my angst was caused more by the I-don't-fit-in feelings than the I-suck-no-one-will-ever-marry-me feelings. Because, really? I'm pretty awesome. Everyone should want to marry me. Even people I will crushingly reject in front of my entire family, thus ruining a major holiday for the rest of his life and possibly mine.

So. Now that we've dispensed with all the heavy relationship crap I can handle for one day, let me tell you about the other insane ideas my brain has recently come up with.

Numero Uno -- I am cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving. No, I'm not hosting the big event, nor do I have to take anything with me to the meal I am attending. No, I volunteered to cook a turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by a local shelter (said shelter is affiliated with the Junior League, so our combined efforts will yield the entire meal). Feed the hungry, be involved in the community, generate some warm fuzzies, yada yada, sounds good in theory but when the heck do I have time to cook a freakin' turkey? I foresee at least one late night this week.

Numero Dos -- I am running a 10K on Thanksgiving. Right. Because apparently I just can't stand to have a day off with nothing to do. Or nothing to do but eat. The race goes right past my house, and I vaguely recall seeing these people last year as I went for my pre-Thanksgiving-dinner jog. I signed up for this 10K on Friday, leaving me exactly five days to train. Excellent staff work, huh? My accelerated "training schedule" consists of a long run Saturday, a day off Sunday, short runs Monday and Tuesday, off Wednesday, then race day. This is not exactly the recommended preparation, and in fact, I made it up myself, but whatever, it'll have to do. I don't think I've actually run six consecutive miles before, but there's a first time for everything, right? I figure it's got to be easier than a 7-mile hike up and down a mountain.

Numero Tres -- I headed back to the salt mines (a.k.a., Banana Republic) last weekend. (See above re: morally opposed to having a day off, ever. Moron.) So in addition to being tired from foregoing sleep to cook the turkey, and sore from all the running this week, I have a lovely day-after-Thanksgiving to look forward to. Hopefully all the crabby people will have left the mall by the time I get there. What do you think the odds are on that one?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Love Thursday: Friends Rock (As Do Martinis) Edition

I've been thinking about how to write this for a few days, because I hadn't figured everything out yet and I didn't want to be overly dramatic or anything, you know? But, here it is: I hate the Junior League.

Of course, I really don't. Life is never that simple. Rather, I love the League and I strongly believe in its mission of promoting voluntarism and developing the potential of women and improving communities, all while wearing your best strand of pearls. Junior League was one of my favorite activities in DC and I met several women who are just to-die-for, both on a personal and professional level. Oh yeah, and we did some amazing things for the community, which is why I joined in the first place.

But out here, it's a different story. I've been to seven general meetings now and each time I leave, I am just SAD. (Ok, one time I left and wasn't more than two steps into the parking lot before I started sobbing.) The women are perfectly nice people, it's just that they're married and have children and stay at home and drive expensive SUVs and my god I was in a room with thirty of them the other night and there had to have been fifty carats worth of diamonds on display. And it's not that there's anything WRONG with that life, in fact, it's a life that I very much want (yes to the diamonds, no to the SUV), and I don't begrudge any of them that life, but IT'S NOT MY LIFE, and while I am fine one-on-one with people who are married and having thriving families and whatnot, I cannot take the overwhelming, smothering effect of being in a room with that many people who have what I want but don't have and may never achieve.

And it's that part about "may never achieve" that feels like a weight bearing down on my chest, right over my heart, that causes the cloud of sadness and is, as I write this, enough to bring tears to my eyes. And then I feel guilty about being whiny and sad about it, because you know what? Life's not fair. You get what you get and you don't get to cry about it. (This has to be my second-most common mantra, after "We all make choices." Which, yes. Moving to California was a choice. Deal.)

As if that weren't enough, there is the added bonus of feeling that I DO NOT BELONG HERE, which is a pretty tough thing to accept, as it implicitly casts doubt on my decision to move to California in the first place. And doubt is simply not allowed to be a part of my life. Finally, I end up feeling like a terrible person because if the worst thing I have to worry about is that there are too many moms in Junior League, well then I've got it pretty damn good, so just shut up already.

And then, 24 hours pass, and I get to hang out and drink martinis with one of the four unmarried, unchildrened women in Sacramento and life is all better, even if I can't prevent myself from spilling things. Twice. Thanks, darlin'.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Because I Am Just That Awesome

Ok, so remember when I actually had a weekend to myself and I went hiking in Yosemite?Just barely, huh. Me too.


I figured out how to make the music work with the video because I am a frickin' genius. The scary thing is that I finally figured this out in the middle of putting together the music played over the PA system while the candidate walked into the ballroom to give his victory speech. At midnight, on the eve of the election, somehow it was I who was doing the multimedia crap. Because I am good at it??? No. But maybe because I am better at it than anyone else in the room, which is a frightening thought. (Ok, there I go doing that girl thing of minimizing my accomplishments. No, dammit, I AM good at this crap, once I figure out how to make everything work properly. Apple QuickTime, you've been pwned.)


I went to Yosemite. I spent Saturday hiking the Upper Yosemite Fall trail -- 7.2 miles round-trip, 2425 foot elevation. It was challenging, but not as painfully strenuous as I expected. My biggest concern was making it up and back before nightfall. The Park Service says the trail takes six to eight hours to do. Considering I started around 11am and the sun sets by 6:00, I knew I didn't have much leeway.

I reached the top in 2:20.

(The only thing worse than the pain of hiking uphill for three miles is thinking about how much more painful it's going to be on the way down. My poor, weak little knees hate me.)

My plan for Day Two was to take it easy, maybe do a mid-distance trail without too much elevation change. Trouble is, there are no such trails within the Park. In the national forest surrounding Yosemite, yes. Actually in the park, no. I needed to leave around mid-day, so I found a trail and promised myself I'd just go an hour in and then turn around and head out. No problem.

Right. Except the trail I selected was the Mist Trail -- 3 miles round-trip, several hundred feet of elevation change, culminating in 600 steps to the top of Vernal Fall. Of course I did the whole thing, because I am just that kind of idiot. And because it only took me an hour and three minutes to reach the top, and I said an hour in and an hour out. I just didn't know that was going to include 600 steps, oh my hell.

I hurt like you would not believe on Monday. And Tuesday. And still somewhat on Wednesday. But, the trade-off for not being able to walk down stairs comfortably for a week was the gorgeous scenery, which you can now view below. Set to music, even!

Ok, shutting up now. I am clearly not awesome enough to make the video box look pretty below, but for now it'll do. Must sleep.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Snapshots from Canvassing

  • You will spend the entire hour's drive to your canvassing location drinking coffee, thereby needing a bathroom break before you've even started. Of course, there are no bathrooms in close proximity, so you're S.O.L. until halfway through the morning when you take a three-block detour from your canvassing route to cross a busy highway and borrow a scary restroom at the local Dairy Queen.

  • More people have little yippy dogs than should be allowed by law.

  • You will be cat-called. Chalk it up to the fact that he's never seen a woman in a wool coat and pashmina before.

  • Despite meticulously planning an efficient route, you will invariably miss a block somewhere and have to walk through half the neighborhood to access it. Again.

  • People will answer the door in their underwear. Yes, really. Be glad there's underwear involved.

  • The voter on your list identified as "Ricki" is not the Indian woman you expected. Rather, Ricki is the husband of the chain-smoking woman who just answered the door. In retrospect, you'll realize that if she were Indian, it probably would have been "Rikki." Also, she probably wouldn't live in rural Indiana.

  • Following this episode, you'll spend the next fifteen minutes with the text of Tikki Tikki Tembo* running through your head. Wonder why your brain sees fit to remember a book from your childhood, but almost let you leave the house without packing underwear.

  • Because elections only come every-other year, know that you'll forget all of this until the next time you're out canvassing.

*Also known as "Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo." For those of you who don't remember, the crux of the story is that he fell into a well.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Love Thursday: Political Junkie Edition

Love is being awake in Hour 20, running on less than two hours of sleep, in the middle of a three-star hotel ballroom that smells of stale cigarette smoke, thinking, "It just doesn't get better than this."

Alas, there was no Election-Day-stuffing-of-the-ballot-box, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. So, that's that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

More Subtle Commentary from Yours Truly



I'm stealing wireless internet access from some nice person in the middle of Nowhere, Indiana to send you this message. That's how important it is!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hear ye, hear ye.

Hi. My name is Kate, and I have a type.

Hi, Kate.



I think it's official.

I mean, I thought it might be official several months ago, but now I am above-and-beyond convinced.

I? have a type. I never thought of myself as the "type" kind of person, but, yup, I am.

So, um, yeah. Not that this story is going to make sense to anyone but me (and I may possisbly be oh-so-slightly intoxicated* as I type this, so really, really, I may be the only one who understands it but...)

We were out tonight, drinking, as every good campaign staff should. I almost passed on it, as I still have a lot of website work to catch up on, but whatever, ya gotta accept the social invites when they come along, you know?

The communications director (who was at a dinner event with the candidate) called to let me know that his cousin would be joining us at the bar, please keep him entertained until CD arrived. Ok, no prob. Maybe half an hour later, a guy walks into the bar. I had not been paying attention to most of the other patrons, but him I notice. (And by "notice" I mean, mentally note that, hey, there's someone who's boots I wouldn't mind seeing under my bed. Ahem. Not that I currently have a bed, but whatever. Details!) He keeps walking, so whatever. Several minutes later, he comes up to our table to ask if we're the campaign staff. Ummm, yeah. He's the cousin. And? He looks an awful lot like the communications director. Who looks an awful lot like an ex-boyfriend.


Soooooo, that about settles it, now doesn't it?

In case you're wondering: Brunette. Dark eyes. Slight-to-medium build. Probably Jewish.


I should move to New York.

*Three words: Leinie's. ON TAP.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Love Thursday: Out of My Head Edition

Today about the only thing I'm enamored with is the fact that my commute is so much easier when done at 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. than at regular 9-to-5 times.

No original picture for you today, but if you need a visual representation of my life right now, I think this does it:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Night of the Living Dead

Darlings of the Internet,

I know you don't want to hear tales of woe. I know you come here for the funny and the foibles and the flat-out crazy that I have to offer. Oh yeah, and the shoes. But today, the only thing on the menu is woe.

Y'all, this campaign is EATING ME ALIVE. It's like a barnacle that has attached itself to me and is slowly sucking my brains out, day after day, night after night, turning me into a zombie. I have SO MUCH work to do for it, I need a day off from my real job to get it done. (What? Oh, yes, of course I'm still volunteering. You think I can leave a project unfinished? Oh no, my friends, not me.)

I know. A week to go before the election and I KNEW there would be a lot of campaign events and I KNEW that would mean a lot of pictures to edit and website stuff to update. And yet, I still had NO I-DE-A how much it would be. Holy cripes, I got home from dinner last night to TWELVE e-mails full of pictures from yesterday's events. (Today's events yielded six more e-mails.)

It's no exaggeration to say I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. I finally sent myself to bed at midnight last night, only to DREAM ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN, causing much tossing and turning and WAKING UP AT 4:30 THIS MORNING. Which is sick and wrong, even in my book. (And, apparently, cause for a lot of capital letters.)

On top of the mountains of pictures waiting for my attention, there is something completely totally annoying going on with the server on which the site lives, such that it routinely kicks me out of the admin/content-editing portion of the site. And by routinely, I mean I'm lucky to go five minutes without having to log in again. And of course, any work done in the past five minutes that wasn't saved? Gone. Sucks to be you. I hate hate hate it with a passion I thought was reserved only for Blogger. Uh, no. Compared to this thing, Blogger looks like it was painstakingly developed for use by NASA.

I've been putting up with it for a few weeks, thinking that it was a limited thing, that it would blow over, that I should be patient. It's a constant struggle for me -- the hope that things will magically fix themselves, if maybe I give them two seconds to do so, so just CHILL OUT, KATE vs. the gut reaction that says I should just cut my losses and end things once and for all, and, yeah, maybe we're not talking about websites anymore.

So, tonight I finally called the web peeps because I COULD NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE. It was nearly 11 o'clock on the East Coast (where this company is located), so when no one answered I just convinced myself to plow ahead and call them tomorrow, because, my god, even the IT people probably aren't at the office THIS late.

God bless Jonathan, who returned my call 15 minutes later, without my leaving a message. (I'm guessing the number showed up on caller ID.) No fixes yet, but he promised to run some diagnostic tests on it first thing tomorrow. And to call and yell at the hosting company. So I've got that going for me.

I'm headed back to Indiana for the final push before Election Day and I promised myself that tonight would be the night that I pack my suitcase. I avoided social commitments. I cleaned the house and made sure all the laundry was done in time.* I went to Target to pick up a few vital items (sleeping mask, Airborne tablets, half-price Halloween candy, etc).

It's 11:30. Any guesses as to what hasn't been accomplished yet?

Yeah. Because despite my best efforts to plan ahead and manage my paid-work workload and get my home life in order, what happens? Oh yes, one of my work projects blows the hell up. At 3 p.m. this afternoon. And needs to be remedied by 9 a.m. tomorrow, after which I will be in a meeting all day. Why, god, why???

I desperately need to go for a run, but unless I can figure out a way to simultaneously be updating the website while I tear through the neighborhood, I just don't think there's room in the schedule for that.

To re-cap: Last night was my night to get all rested-up before diving headfirst into the last seven days of the campaign. Um, no. Tonight was my night to get organized and pack and I don't know, get caught up on the web stuff? Definitely not. I can't wait to see what doesn't get accomplished tomorrow.

*Well, all the laundry that's safe to toss in the machine. Haven't touched the pile of hand-wash only items, which I'm now remembering means I have no clean nylons so I guess I'll be stopping at Target tomorrow. Again.


Addendum the first: I will TRY to capture for you the madness that will surely ensue over the next five days, but the hours dedicated to sleep will be precious few. You might lose out to my pillow once or twice. (Also? Wireless internet access is not guaranteed. The nerve!)

Addendum the second: If you get a call on Election night that's full of incoherent babbling and lots of excited screaming in the background? Yeah, that's probably me. Politely hang up and plan on having a real conversation with me the following week.

(If you need to do some excited screaming and incoherent babbling of your own, feel free to call me, as I'm sure I'll be up long after the polls close.)

Addendum the third: I promise you'll be the first to know if any noteworthy Election Day activities take place.

(Mwah ha ha, ever the politician -- look at me promising you things I know I'll never have to follow through on!)