Monday, June 30, 2008

DC recap

"Hey, just like in Forrest Gump!"

I heard this a few times in Washington, DC whilst visiting my brother last weekend. The first time was on the double-decker tour bus. A father - who insisted on speaking over the trivia announcements - was explaining to his daughter what is the significance of the reflecting pool at the base of the Washington Monument. I also heard a lot of references to the movie when my brother and I were walking from the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial. "Jenny! Jenny!"

Another moment of patriotic ignorance happened when we were driving through embassy row in said bus. We passed nations from Africa, South America, Iraq's embassy which has since been shut down (someone remarked, "Uh, duh, I wonder WHY!?") and Asian embassies. While we were passing South Korea someone in the bus said, in a very thick Southern accent, "That there is CHI-nese." Yikes.

Despite these instances, the trip was really fun. I got to DC later than expected. My brother picked me up and we headed back to Sliver Springs, MD. My brother is subletting a room in a great house in a neighborhood that has lots of Ethiopian restaurants (we ate at one on Saturday night, and it was delicious) and a cute downtown strip.

His roommates were very nice and responded well to the cupcakes I brought for them from Buttercup Bakery. My favorite roommate was Penelope the hound. This dog is the friendliest I've ever met, other than my old puppy Summer. Penelope wags her tail, smiles and needs lots of attention and affection. If your hand stops scratching her back for a few seconds she rests her snout on your thigh and just sighs until you start up again. This pup is the canine equivalent of my neediness in the affection department.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed back into the city and saw SO much: Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, The Mall, Georgetown, Smithsonian Air and Space and Natural History (dinos!), White House, The Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Arlington Cemetery, we at lunch at the National Gallery and walked through a Texas/Bhundi festival. Saturday night we got Ethiopian Food went to see Wall-E, which I really, really liked.

It was a really great trip and I love hanging out with my brother. We got very lucky in the family lottery.

Here are some photo highlights:
Mastadon at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

The National Cathedral where MLK, Jr. gave his last Sunday sermon, and where there is a sculpture of Darth Vader.

The great emanicipator:

Even pirates (or Piratz, according to the name of the restaurant) need a break:

People soaked their feet in fountains all over the city. It was such a hot weekend, my brother and I put our feet in the fountain near the National Gallery and WWII Memorial fountain - my grandfather would be so proud he served to cool his grandkids' feet.

Play or Get Played

I can't stop watching The Wire.

Friends have been recommending this show for awhile, and now it's off the air. My library surprised me by having this show there, but it is Queens after all - so it's informational survival skills practically. They only had season one, but I'm already very invested.

I watched five hours worth the other night and I'm afraid my roommate might think I'm engaging in other nocturnal activities because I'm locked in my dark room exclaiming, "Oh my god!" and gasping very loudly. But, maybe it's better that way; it's certainly more respectable than, "Oh, I was just watching The Wire. Can you believe Omar kissed that other guy? Is that what they mean by "down low"? Oh! And then some guys RIPPED OUT THIS DUDE'S EYE later - wow, he really DOES have heart!!"

In elementary school I wasn't allowed to wear certain colors or Raiders gear to school because of gang violence, so I clearly understand what the characters are going through. You know, and the drug culture: I've smoked pot probably five times - the first time with an Eagle Scout. There was also this one time that I was working at a retirement home dining room and some hoodrats gave me what they said was a Metabolife, but I didn't remember an entire shift or a heartbeat for three hours. And then there was that time I got into a fight in Queens.

Today the show even interferred with work. I had set my alarm for 6:30 am which would give me plenty of time to snooze, shower and then move my car for street cleaning and make it to work by 8:30 am. I even slept with the curtain open to let the sun light in. I took all these precautions because I had come home from a very fun, but exhausting weekend in DC and an equally exhausting bus ride home (which involved driving by Baltimore!). Well. My alarm FINALLY woke me up at 8:24 am and I had three minutes to gather all my work stuff before getting a ticket on my car. Thank goodness I still lay my clothes out like my mom did for me in pre-school. I didn't even have time to brush my teeth (ew), drove around for about 20 minutes looking for a spot and got to work 45 minutes late. All day I was dressed ok, but I had an awful feeling in my mouth and my hair was nastily slap-dashed into a pony tail with an office rubber band. But, here I am, finally showered and writing this and back for more.
I'm just glad to have an HBO show, other than Sex and the City, that accurately portrays what life is truly like. I definitely recommend the show, who knew I would like it so much?

Friday, June 27, 2008

W a-s-h i-n-g t-o-n, baby, D.C.!

I'm off to DC this weekend to see my bearded big brother. He's living down there for a few months to do research for his dissertation.

I've never been to that city before so I'm really excited to walk around in the near 100 degree humidity it has to offer. I'm anticipating some swamp-like conditions, and I don't think brother has air conditioning either. But, he does have two roommates who apparently have a strict "No Shirt" policy enforced in their house.

To get down there I'm taking the Bolt Bus. My brother kept telling me it's such a steal, you can get fares for a dollar! I think he was living in a lands of a freaky, freaky dream. Forty-three dollars later, I will be zooming south in the lap of luxury and free wi-fi.

Our plan is to take a bus tour around the city, and hopefully we'll be able to stop into the Smithsonian or the Spy Museum at some point.

This weekend kicks off a few REALLY busy weeks of travel: July 7, business day trip to Atlanta; July 11-13 weekend business trip to Atlanta; July 15-16 business trip to Chicago; July 30-August 4, home to Los Angeles for a few days and then down to San Diego for good buddy's wedding. Phew.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mama Bear

I talked to my mother last night who is in rehab. Not that kind of rehab, but physical therapy rehab. She's trying to learn how to walk again, she's learning how to dress herself again. I feel completely helpless in this situation because these are all things she taught me how to do and now I can't repay the favor because I'm out in New York getting into bar fights and walking on beaches.

This is a woman who has so selflessly taken care of everyone else around her and now her biggest fear is people abandoning her when she needs someone to return the favor. Speaking to her is so heartbreaking because she is very confused and groggy and her vocal chords may have been damaged through all of this. She doesn't even sound like my mother anymore.

Thankfully, she has not lost her sense of humor, and from what I hear, her craftyness. For Father's Day she made my dad a card from her lunch tray placemat, some crayons and some Littlest Pet Shop stickers she had.

Here is some vintage artwork I have hanging in my office:

In case you're a Philistine and need a little help, it's her hand (disguised as a turkey) wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My girlfriend knows Tae Kwon Do.

I almost died Friday night because I was wearing leopard print shoes.

Before I get into that, I'll set the scene. Every few weeks my closest girlfriends and I host a dinner at one of our apartments and then plan a bar crawl in our neighborhoods. This was my turn to host "Ladies who Munch;" I made a delicious meal of skirt steak, arugula and asparagus salad over puff pastry and for dessert ginger-poached pears with vanilla bean ice cream and blueberries. Over the cheese plate, dinner and dessert we drank FIVE bottles of wine among four girls. Our bellies full, we started to dance in my apartment and attempted to learn Michael Jackson's Thriller dance. We took a ton of hilarious pictures that captured the true innocence of the evening that was about to be shattered. After our choreographic success, we headed over to a bar in my neighborhood on 30th Avenue, Fleming's - also known as the bar I'm never going back to ever again.

We got to the bar which was nice and divey, chatted up the bartender, met some young men from Seattle and had a nice time. Then, a friend and I went to buy cigarettes for another friend and went outside to check on her because she wasn't feeling well. That's when the trouble started brewing. Yes, I was wearing leopard print shoes - clearly provoking a fist fight, yet imagine my surprise when a Queens gentleman said, "Did you kill a fucking animal to get those shoes?" I'm not sure of my exact response, but I'm pretty sure it involved me rolling my eyes. Queens men don't like this. They ALSO don't like it when you throw a book of matches in their face, which is exactly what my friend did to protest his dislike of my shoes.

But, what DO Queens men like, you ask? Well, they like dating girls who know Tae Kwon do. That's exactly what he said as he went back into the bar to get his girlfriend to come out and beat us up. This mannish woman came outside and got right in our faces saying we should go back to where we came from, "what, Massachusetts?" she says. My buddy said, "I'm from Manhattan and I live in Park Slope," which certainly did not HELP the situation, but she was just being honest. Ever the middle child, I tried to diffuse the situation, but she wasn't having it. It ended with us apologizing profusely and her telling us that Fleming's was her bar and we can never go back there.

After the butch who came within in an inch of my face (and I within in an inch of my life) went back into "her" bar, I completely lost control and started crying right away. I was so shaken up, definitley drunk (ahem, FIVE BOTTLES) and absolutely tired from only getting four hours of sleep the previous night. (I went to a Modest Mouse secret show very early that morning - they played from 2:30 am until 4 am in Brooklyn)

I clearly don't respond well to confrontation, but if she had punched one of us, I probably would have fought back ... or curled into the fetal position and thrown my wallet or a sandwich at her so she would go away.