Monday, October 30, 2006

The Run-Down

Key moments from the last six weeks have included:

Three Amtrak rides

Orange-flavored Vodka and scatological humor

Creme Brulee French Toast

Four sick days (2 legit)

Four dollar hot dogs and hat tricks

Trespassing at Presidential vacation homes

Gallons and gallons of pancake batter

Eagles of Death Metal

Girl fights at rock clubs

Martinis and waffles

Raspberry ice cream with peanut butter sauce


Irate Patriots fans

62-yard field goals

Three InterAction departures

Delightful New England foliage

Painkillers and heating pads

I leave you to sort it all out.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New York

"Good girls keep diaries...the bad girls don't have time to." -- Tallulah Bankhead

In all honesty, and probably to your great disappointment, I haven't exactly been as bad as Ms. Bankhead would have liked me to be, but I have been a busy little gal. Hence the perception that the blog has been stuck at September 3. Perhaps the best and most sharable of these developments would probably be my pre-9/11/06 trip to New York City. I hadn't been back to the city since the blizzard in February which is truly, appallingly, unacceptable. It won't happen again. Happily, for the first time in over a year, this visit featured beautiful, warm weather. I walked until my feet hurt, and two weeks later I still have sores. That's bad-ass.

Whither did I walk? Damn near everywhere. The delightful $20 Chinatown bus plunked us right in the middle of Herald Square, and I immediately started marching Uptown toward 30 Rock, finding myself in the middle of the belated-Labor Day parade as I went. 30 Rock and I shared a Godiva chocoalte drink in the Promenade, and in the end I couldn't really be all that mad at the building for making me lose my eyeglasses in the ladies' room.

Then off to the obligatory Met trip. I've decided that a 30 Rock stop and a Met stop are required components of each visit. Everything else is free to vary as it may. I reunited with London pal Crissie, whose cushy job copyediting historical novels and erotica for Penguin publishing got us in for free on the corporate sponsors' discount. Sweet. So there wasn't much pressure to squeeze the admission price worth out of the visit. We ambled about leisurely until we got hungry.

We went downtown for the NYU Victory Lap from Union Square to Houston Street and off to Brooklyn, where we walked through Prospect Park in search of soul food, but settled for Italian on 4th Avenue. For our entertainment, some black guys in garish cowboy outfits periodically galloped down the avenue on horses for no discernible reason. The evening was capped off by attending a comic book signing for an author I had no familiarity with, but who was offering free beer in the loading dock. Score.

Did you know that there's a funky solar-powered Cuban lunch truck that offers brunch and a flea market near Lafyette Street in Brooklyn? Neither did I, but old college pal Theo did. I still can't tell you where exactly it is, but if you Google any of the keywords above, you'll probably find it.
I went home that night, and the next day was the first time that I've been gainfully employed and had to go to work on 9/11. I was a bit concerned how this would go off, as previous run-ins this year with anniversary-related media have triggered unpleasant and sometimes embarrassing reactions. And despite having recoiled at the announcement that CNN, et. al would be replaying the coverage from five years ago, I found myself riveted to MSNBC's replay of the Today show. Some parts were especially hard to watch, and I had to turn it off and regroup. The moments of impact and collapse in particular triggered a touch of some of the good ol' dry heaves of yore. Good times. But when I got past that and started watching again, it was fascinating to see it all play out in real time. Although I remember exactly what I did and saw that day, it seemed strange to me that I could have fit it all into the time frame. It made a little more sense watching it play out when you knew what was coming. It was also interesting to be reminded of how little anyone knew about anything. One woman on the phone at the time of the second impact swore that there must be an air traffic control problem, which sounds positively stupid now, but I remember initially thinking it must have been a crazy accident as well when I first heard. I wouldn't recommend it to everybody, but there was a bit of perspective to be had from watching it again. It's not something I need to do every year, but after spending most of the morning watching it in my office, I found that the afternoon passed much more easily than I thought it would. Who knew?


Sunday, August 20, 2006


It's not that life hasn't been rich and rewarding lately, it just hasn't been blog-worthy. I'm tickled that I rode my bike around the National Mall, went home and ate pizza and watched cartoons, and finished a very good book about Northern Ireland. But this isn't exactly material worthy of the Algonquin Round Table. It's just a decent two weeks.

That being said, I'll let the Inky do the interestingwriting for me today...

One Last Thing Start spreadin' the news...
By Jonathan Last, Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphians are different. I discovered this truth, as I have many others, while listening to sports-talk radio. It was Dec. 20, 2004, and I was driving from Philadelphia to Washington. The day before, the Eagles had beaten the Dallas Cowboys, running their gaudy record to 13-1, best in the NFL. But during the game, one of their wide receivers - his name shall not pass my lips - had gone down with an injury. So for two hours in the car, I listened to fans calling in to lament that without He Who Must Not Be Named, the Eagles were finished. The championship dream was destroyed. The season was over. Doom and calumny. The general suspicion of both hosts and callers was that the Eagles would not win another game. For my part, I agreed. I didn't think they'd score another touchdown.

Then something strange happened. As I crossed the Susquehanna River and lost contact with my beloved WIP, I picked up the Washington sports station. The Redskins had just beaten a woeful San Francisco squad for their fifth victory of the season. The D.C. fans and radio hosts were thrilled. They were talking playoffs. They were talking - this is no joke - Super Bowl. These people were crazy - but, I realized, perhaps not as crazy as we were in Philly.

Philadelphians are different. We do not trumpet our difference, the way they do in New York and Boston. We do not insist that the rest of America imitate or affirm us. For whom? For what? But our cultural presence - call it the Philadelphia Diaspora - is actually vibrant and vital and growing.

Philly is a philm star now. The latest flowering of the Philly Diaspora is the intensely perfect film Invincible. The Vince Papale story used to be the stuff of local legends, but now it has been rendered into a big-budget summer flick with Mark Wahlberg as the improbable Eagles special teamer. The movie is as much about Philadelphia as it is Papale, and it's destined to be a classic. The city also had a leading role not long ago in John Turtletaub's crowd-pleasing National Treasure and is featured prominently on the small-screen darling It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We even have our own star director in M. Night Shyamalan.

Our food is slowly colonizing the rest of America, too, as Philadelphians have begun opening bona fide cheesesteak joints in the least likely places. Tony Luke's has invaded Manhattan, as has a shop called, poetically, 99 Miles to Philly. If you ever find yourself in San Marcos, Calif., Philly Franks imports Amoroso's rolls for its cheesesteaks and Tastykakes for dessert. My world was brightened earlier this year when two Philly kids and one of their college pals opened South Street Steaks just outside Washington. They do a serious cheesesteak, and, God bless them, they're imposing Philadelphian values on the unwashed: Signs tell patrons how to order (Wiz wit', etc.) and clearly state that the owners refuse to put either Swiss cheese or mayonnaise on the sandwiches. Some would call them heroes.

Once you start looking for them, you see footprints of the Philadelphia Diaspora everywhere, from the old world (the Bavarian parliament in Munich has a giant fresco of William Penn) to the new (there's now a popular "cheesesteak" widget for the Apple operating system). Wikipedia, the giant Internet encyclopedia, even has a detailed entry for the phrase "4th and 26." Believe it.
In the end, it comes back to sports. There are Philly fan clubs all across this great country of ours, from the Eagle's Nest in Oregon to Tampadelphia in Florida. If you want to watch an Eagles or Phils game, most decent-size cities have Philly sports bars, like Famous Philly's in Port Orange, Fla., or The Shack in Santa Monica, Calif. Philadelphians abroad are never alone. In our pride and our grief, we find each other.

The Philadelphia sporting scene is beginning to take up the space in the national consciousness previously occupied by the Boston Red Sox. Where the Bosox went 86 years without a World Series victory, the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Phillies have now combined for 92 straight championshipless seasons. America is starting to take notice.

"Hasn't this city suffered enough?" ESPN's Bill Simmons recently asked. Prepare yourself for talk of "Philly Nation" in the coming years, because as our suffering blossoms, the Diaspora swells. It is a bittersweet arrangement.

Such is the power of the Philadelphia Diaspora that by the time Ed Rendell is elected president, I fully expect there to be a Philly version of the Emil Verban Society, the group of fancy-pants Cubs fans in Washington that counts George Will, Donald Rumsfeld and Hillary Clinton as members. (In case the governor's listening, I humbly suggest the title "The Randall Cunningham Society." For all the obvious reasons.)

Why is the Philadelphia Diaspora achieving critical mass now? Because Philadelphians are different. America is rocketing toward an ever more sterilized and franchised society, where nothing is distinctive and everything is safe. In this cultural flatland, Philadelphia stands out. We still have rough edges, mean streaks, and soft, sentimental hearts. We are the last redoubt of the real.

As the city enters its new golden age, the Philadelphia Diaspora will only grow in size and importance. It will be a strange sensation, but we'll get used to it. Today the cheesesteak and Marky Mark; tomorrow the world.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

A Girl's Gotta Doogh What a Girl's Gotta Doogh

.C. in August is a strange place indeed. A good portion of the locals leave town once Congress goes into recess. I know of at least one individual who got married months ago, but could only find time to take her honeymoon once there were no Representatives to pester about foreign ops supplementals. Those that are left are often occupied with visiting relatives who want to take in the nation's capital before school starts. All in all, it's kind of a drag on the social scene for the small minority of those who like to take their summer vacations in June and July.

I was all prepped tonight to attend the nicely random birthday party of a casual acquaintence's friend's girlfriend (again, it's August in D.C., you take what you can get). But, just as attending completely random house parties and mixers in strange houses and nightclubs are a staple of D.C. social life, so too are flaky, shaky noncommittal evening plans that fall through at the last minute. Too late to make other arrangements, it became clear that I was not going to a stranger's birthday party in Georgetown after all.

But it wasn't too late to go out myself. Spending a Saturday evening confined to the apartment seemed like a wholly depressing idea, so I decided to take myself out for dinner. I consulted my taste buds, and found they were crying out for, of all things, Afghan food.

But alas, unlike NYC, where there were three suitable establishments within walking distance at all times, Afghan cuisine is a bit hard to come by in downtown Washington. The only place I'd ever been to had dismal service and a bad attitude, but at this point my belly would accept nothing else. So I consulted my handy, dusty guidebooks and found that the next best option was in a strange land called Falls Church, Virginia. It wasn't terribly late, and I so wanted some delicious doogh and kabobs, and it was Metro accessible, so off I went to the leafy suburbs of Northern Virginia.

A lengthy Metro ride, a bus trip, and a lovely walk through some shopping centers later, I determined that a post-kebab night in downtown Falls Church wasn't gonna happen. Not exactly jumpin'. The restaurant itself was almost cleverly hidden along the main road behind an unremarkable exterior. But the trip was worth it. Such delicious saffron rice, such delectable scallion dumplings, and doogh, glorious, doogh. I was a happy girl. And I got to immerse myself in a scene wholly different than the lovable yuppie wonks in whose company I usually find myself. This restaurant was frequented by middle-aged Jews holding high-decibel conversations on foriegn policy ("Sure they're destroying Lebanon, but they're all asking for it"), nutrition ("The vegetarian combo is excellent, but I'm not allowed to have all that rice"), parenthood ("Yes, our son is thirty and he's moved back in with us, but he's quite the entrepreneur. He works all day on this website of his about overheard conversations on the Metro, and I'm sure he'll find an investor.") and travel ("My 82-year-old mother and I are taking a cruise to Alaska. It's really the only way to see the place. I don't do well with snow or weather."). It's nice to step outside your comfort zone.

While I don't intend on making a habit of solitary dining experiences, it was nice to be able to have the freedom to go on a mini-odyssey because I was cravin' some basmati. That said, I do wish Congress comes back soon, and brings the social scene back with them.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Somebody Help Me

This is really sad...

I've just discovered the World Series of Pop Culture trivia show on VH1 and after watching it for 24 minutes, I know I'm addicted. I can feel it in my little capillaries. It just may be the best television program ever. Maybe I like it 'cause I rock so hard at the pop culture trivia. Maybe I need counseling...

Then I saw an ad for the second season of Flavor of Love and I literally foamed at the mouth.
Maybe this is what happens when you're forced to spend eight hours a day watching CNN and writing about pandemics and natural disasters and infant mortality rates.

They're back from commercial now...gotta go. I may not be back. Tell my family I love them.


Thursday, July 6, 2006

Gettin' Sweaty with Strangers

Dear God was it hot here on the 4th of July.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that DC tends to be less than comfortable in the summer. It's a swamp. I can deal. But this past Tuesday bordered on inhuman. The heat index was well over 100, and it was muggy muggy muggy. It was not the ideal day to go watch a parade with people I barely knew, but by golly, that's what I did.

In three years in DC I had rarely done the 4th of July properly. One year we went down to the Mall to see the fireworks, and the preceding two years I had seen them from my semi-obstructed view on my roof. But I had usually spent the day hours hiding from tourists. But a new friend that I made while kayaking last month insisted on seeing the parade, and I was keen at the time. I don't think I need to do it again.

Maybe since it was my first big-city holiday parade I had higher than ususal expectations (not counting Greenwich Village's Halloween parade, which is less of an organized public event and more of an eventful public orgy -- you should really check it out), but I was underwhelmed by the DC Independence Day parade. It seemed to be heavy on marching bands from Wisconsin and Asian-American community groups, though the all-girl marching band from Taipei was incredibly intimidating, and had fabulous boots. I don't know what it is with the Taiwanese and DC civic events (see the previous entry on dragon boat races), but they like to come here to kick ass and drink bubble tea -- and they're all out of bubble tea.

They did have a lengthy section dedicated to Vietnam vets, complete with helicopters on trucks going through the streets. It was nice to see everybody cheering for the hundreds of vets that turned out to march, so that was worth enduring the heat.

Despite the inclement conditions, I was in unusually gregarious spirits, and new friends were made. One particular companion of Kayak Friend seemed to have the scoop on all kinds of get-to-know-your-neighbors events, and invited us all to a friend of a friend of a friend's house on Capitol Hill. It's not uncommon for the young singles scene in DC to include going to a complete stranger's house for some kind of potluck, so off we all went. I'm not sure I ever did meet the people who actually lived in the house, but that also is par for the course. I did run into Old High School Friend Alex Angert, whom I last met at a similarly random house party around Halloween. DC is too damn small a town.

Having partaken of somebody's hospitality long enough, it was time for fireworks. By this time we were a merry, sweaty band of people who had known each other an average of 10 hours in total, and were very chummy. We found a semi-undiscovered vantage point on the steps of the Library of Congress to watch the festivities, and all found seats on the Metro afterwards. Good times.

I have no idea how many of those people I will ever have contact with again, but it was a fun, spontaneous holiday. It sure beats watching it on PBS. And since the DC social scene has proven to be so damn insular, chances are I'll be seeing some of them at some other stranger's house sometime on Labor Day.


Saturday, July 1, 2006

Back from Aruba

This week I returned from Aruba, and re-entry has been a bit rough. It was a typically beautiful week there, wherein my days were mainly spent chasing pelicans in the ocean, eating seafood, reading Larry McMurtry novels, watching the World Cup, and trucking out my absymal Spanish and Papiamento to the amusement/irritance of the local populace. Working in my windowless nook in waterlogged DC is none too appealing this week.

As I've blogged about Aruba before, I won't waste your time with the same old tish and piffle. Noteworthy activities this year included engaging in some quality sibling bonding time getting wasted with Bobby in the clubs and pubs of Oranjestad, winning $35 at blackjack (whilst wasted, thankyouverymuch), and climbing the highest point in Aruba -- a 188m-high hill named Mt. Jamanota (but we call it Mt. Bobs, because we're strange).

This is also the first time I've been back since the Natalee Holloway debacle. Note of caution: There be some opinionated pontificating ahead, mateys. Click away now if ye be afeared. The effect on the island is very clear -- much of the downtown area is noticably more empty than it's been in previous visits. This has the Family Shepherd hopping mad. While none of us have any doubt that something terrible happened to Ms. Natalee and those responsible should be brought to justice, Aruba remains a very safe, stable and friendly place. It's not the Third-World hellhole that some of this good nation's media outlets like to portray it as. The crime rate there is very low, especially compared to other Caribbean countries. Truthfully, I feel safer there than in DC. It just so happened that one year, something bad happened to a pretty American girl, and now the whole economy of the country is suffering badly. I don't believe that the Aruban government is trying to protect anybody, because whatever power any suspect's parents have, American tourists and their dollars have way more. There's just no evidence at this point to charge anybody. I truly hope they find out what happened, but in the meantime, the entire country shouldn't be held accountable for the nefarious deeds of a few. End of sermon.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Overheard at the Airport

Good ol' boy and kin observing a pair of South Asians at ATL: What are those, Buddhists? I thought they denounce all worldly possessions. What, do they fly for free? Buddhists fly for free now? Shoot. [pause] Know what I saw in St. Louis? An Amish restaurant. Now how can that be?


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Miss Elaine is in My Head!

A quick note about my encounter with a sidewalk psychic:

After a lunch out, Beth and I decided to pay a visit to a palm reader who's often parked out on the sidewalk on 17th Street. She led us up to her to her fourth-floor walkup, which was unsettling unfurnished and freshly painted. The only thing visible in the whole place was a very nice high-definition TV in the corner. After negotiating how we wanted her to pick our brains, she sent Beth out of the room and she and I squatted on the blue carpet for a palm reading.

It started out innocently enough. She said I had a long life line, to which I said thank you. She told me I would be traveling soon -- which was true enough as I'm off to Aruba tomorrow, but then again it is June, and everyone's traveling. She told me I was centered in work (meh), and things would get even better in September. So far so good.

Then the subject turned to my love life. She looked sternly at me. "You're not so centered in love," she said. "True?" "True enough," I said. She looked again, and then she almost started yelling at me. "You need to move on! You need to let go!" she yelled. "It's not time for romance. Stop searching -- it's time for play! Look at your life line, you have enough time!!" Err...okay... "I'm trying!" I said. "I can tell you more for ten more dollars," she said. I declined, and slunk out of the room to get Beth.

I didn't tell Beth until we were back on the street. She just laughed and laughed...


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Company Picnic

Having never been to a company picnic, the initial concept had me of two minds. On the one hand, a good deal of my social circle consists of colleagues, so that's not so bad. On the other hand, well, let's say there are some folks I'm content to spend 40 hours a week with, and that's all. I'm sure the feeling is mutual.

However, morale and camaraderie being important and all that, I went out to the nearby suburbs this weekend for a barbecue at the weekend retreat of our interim CEO, Julia Taft. I was also enticed by the promise of this taking place on a farm, and there being the possibility of saying hello to some livestock of sorts.

Pulling up to Julia's farm was rather impressive. It's set back from the road by a long driveway, and the grounds consist of lots of wooded hills and tennis courts and a pool and horses grazing away. One couldn't help but be impressed with the perks that being the former head of a major development agency of the U.N. (such as Julia was) can bring, but a chance sighting on the refrigerator door provided a bit more context. As I was storing my cheesecake in the fridge, I noticed an engagement announcement clipped from the Post pertaining to Julia and her huband Will's son, William Howard Taft V. Ah. Those kinda Tafts. At the conclusion of the afternoon, I congratulated myself on not once attempting to impress Julia's husband that I knew that his great-granddaddy was the dude what got stuck in the tub. Oh, DC...

Impressive pedigrees aside, Julia and Will were lovely in letting the InterAction hoi polloi take over their nineteenth-century farmhouse. The InterAction staff are an eclectic bunch: our Iranian IT guy comandeered the grill, making Persian style meat and fuming about his team's recent loss to Portugal in the World Cup. Our Afghan and Sri Lankan admin. staff took their kaftans and hijabs down to the tennis courts for a spell. The metrosexual member services director parked his Suburban Assault Vehicle out front and played with his kids in the pool. The septuagenarian former Ambassador to Somalia, and current InterAction VP, brought a Honeybaked Ham. And the red-headed, sunscreen-slathered midget joined her fellow twenty-something wonks-in-training in prancing about the grounds, discussing the finer points of swimming pools and cheese doodles with the scion of Presidents. An unusual way to spend an afternoon, but not a bad one.


Monday, June 5, 2006

Somebody Gimme a Damn Backrub

Oh, wasn't I a productive little minx this weekend.

Take it easy -- it's not that kinda blog. Haven't you learned by now?

But I did experience the hell out of the fine weekend activities that DC has to offer. About damn time too, since I've been here for over three years and still can't tell people how to get to the Beltway. But nevertheless, I had a nice Friday evening with pals in Georgetown and saw a movie (spoiler alert: to enjoy the DaVinci Code, you must be prepared to believe that the Louvre has one retarded security guard, the floor in Westminster Abbey is filthy, albino monks are scary and not funny, and that Earl Grey tea goes best with lemon, rather than milk and sugar. Forget the Catholic Church -- that stuff presents a true test of faith). Then on Saturday, I got outside, exposing myself to all kinds of nasty UV rays, and then I Kayaked. No kidding. I got in a tiny boat, made a friend, and paddled with a big group of yuppies for three hours. I haven't done anything like that in easily ten years, but I daresay I did very well. I kayaked the shit out of that thar Potomac. And I saw ospreys and herons. And I learned that herons make horrible sounds for such pretty birds, especially when you scare them. They kind of roar and burp at the same time. Silly herons.

Not content with that, I woke up at 5 in the morning on Sunday to go volunteer at a walk-a-thon for the animal shelter. I've never been to any such function, but I understand this one is special because you can bring your dogs with you on the walk. So the quad at American University was overrun with all manner of dogs, splashing in pools, playing frisbee, and having a delightful time. The most amazing thing to me about a walk-a-thon is how early it's all over. We had tents and food and games and a DJ and hundreds of people around, but by 10:30, it was as though we were never there. That's when I usually get up. Amazing. I wonder what else happens when I'm watching VH1 on a Saturday morning.

The consequence of all this is that I am really really sore. Last night I took a really hot bubble bath, which was excellent. It's nice to rediscover the simple pleasures in life -- like poaching yourself in the tub 'till you're all pink and puckered and then drying off and slipping into cool, clean sheets. Aaahh...

Now if somebody could just give me a damn backrub I'd be really happy.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Cheeto Smackdown

Ever want a glimpse into the esoteric, sophisticated world of humanitarian work? Can you at least feign a little interest for anecdotal purposes? Awesome.

Earlier, my educated, cosmopolitan colleagues and I were engaged in a heated debate over an outrageous pronouncement by one of our number. Ms. Cassandra Kennedy declared that though it is marketed under the same brand nationwide, the snack known as "Cheetos" is markedly different, and moreover, tastier, in the Western mountain states she calls home than it is on the East Coast. The Northeast Corridor denizens would have none of it, and demanded proof.

Happily, Ms. Kennedy recently traveled back to her ancestral home in the Northwestern United States, and somewhere in Wyoming brought forth a bag of Puffy Cheetos to pit against DC Cheetos. She had clearly thrown down the gauntlet.

So this afternoon, many of my esteemed peers gathered in the communal kitchen to test this theory. Those who hailed from the West squared off against those from the East, and vowed to put their innate allegiances aside in the name of science to determine the Tastiest Cheeto in All the Land.

Lo and behold, the visual confirmation of Ms. Kennedy's statement proved true, as the Eastern snacks were clearly of a greater girth than their Western counterparts. We had to concede that they were, in fact, different, but the real heart of the matter was the tastiness controversy. So we armed ourselves with contraband sodas to cleanse the palate, and took to the task at hand.

The Western Cheetos were crunchier, and less infused with air than the puffier Cheetos of the East. However, I still found the subtle buttery flavor of the Cheeto more pronounced and delightful in the Eastern Cheetos. I forced myself to repeat the test several times to ensure my objectivity, but came down squarely on the side of the Cheeto of my People. I was pleased to discover that the control group -- our Middle Eastern and Afghan participants -- favored my opinion, as did other Easterners.

However, it seemed that those hailing from the West could not be moved to embrace the fuller texture and overall superiority of the Eastern Cheeto. They clung tenaciously to their misbegotten conception that theirs was the Superior Snack. Perhaps there are darker forces deep within the human psyche, surpassing even the beautiful scientific truth of the matter, that will forever prevent peace and understanding in the snack food aisles of America. Alas.

Documentation of the experiment can be found below:

Cassandra serves up the Cheetos

West Coast Cheetos

East Coast Cheetos -- note the wider girth

Public Policy Director -- and master of nonpartisanship -- Todd Shelton samples the Cheetos.

The Afghanistan delegation favors the Eastern snack.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

God. Dammit. (Bucks County Edition)

Goodbye, Goodnoe's

After more than 30 years in the restaurant industry, Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe is calling it quits and closing the historic restaurant and dairy bar that has carried the family name for five decades.

The Sycamore Street property in Newtown Township where the restaurant stands — formerly the family's dairy farm — will be sold, Goodnoe said Friday. But the company name, its ice cream recipes and other proprietary rights will remain in the family should anyone decide to resurrect the business.

“It's a difficult decision,” Goodnoe said. “I'm proud of what we've done over the years. It was tough to make a decision to stop, but it's been something that's been working on my mind for a few months.”

The restaurant will close on Labor Day, Sept. 4.

“We're going to have a summer-long celebration,” Goodnoe said. “We'd like to celebrate with the people who have come to us all these years and have one more summer. Come Labor Day, that's going to be it.”

Since 1955, when Goodnoe's father opened a dairy bar on the family farm, Goodnoe's has been synonymous with homemade food and, more importantly, homemade ice cream. Most of the farm was sold in the 1970s and is now the Village at Newtown shopping center.

The restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary in the fall, and at the time, Goodnoe said he had no intention of giving up the family business.

But Goodnoe, 54, said he's gotten tired of the daily grind.

“It's a tough business,” he said. “It's seven days a week. It's constant. It's a way of life, not a job. I've been doing it 33 years, and it's time for me to stop doing it.”

Goodnoe, a former Newtown Township supervisor, said no one in his family wants to take over the ice-cream business. But he'll keep the rights to the ice cream plant, in case his children or grandchildren want to resurrect Goodnoe's in the future.

“If they wanted to open up a store, they can do that and sell ice cream,” he said. “I'm not saying that is what's going to happen.”

Goodnoe said if he were to continue running the restaurant, he would have had to consider purchasing a liquor license to be profitable. “I'm happy with the 50 years we've had, and it's time to move on because I'd rather not go that route,” he said.

To celebrate the restaurant's history, Goodnoe's will feature a retro menu of burgers, shakes, fries and other specialties. That menu will remain until the restaurant closes.

Customers said Friday that they'd miss the family eatery.

“When I think about ice cream, I come here,” said Angela Wagner of Penndel. “It's original. I love the ice cream.”

Wagner, who was treating herself to an ice cream sundae Friday, recalled visiting Goodnoe's after hayrides with her children. She's also gone with her girlfriends to get ice cream after taking walks in nearby Tyler State Park.

“We figured the walk and the ice cream balanced out,” she said.

Alan and Roberta Rim often travel from East Windsor, N.J., to take their grandchildren, 4-year-old twins Hope and Brett, to Goodnoe's.

“We like it. Please keep it just the way it is. It's a nice family place,” Roberta Rim said as she and her grandkids dug into bowls of mint chocolate chip ice cream — one of Goodnoe's most popular flavors.

Council Rock North juniors Julie Ierubino, Amanda McLane, Dean Chalela and Steve Maseda mulled the restaurant's impending closure as they waited for an “Atomic Sundae” to be delivered to their table Friday afternoon.

“It's upsetting,” said Julie, whose father used to work at Goodnoe's. “It's a symbol of Newtown.”
The restaurant was the first local restaurant Steve's family visited when they moved to the area eight years ago.

“You can't really replace it,” he said. “But it's kind of hard to ask him not to retire.”

Goodnoe said he's reached a tentative agreement with Middletown developer Joe McGrath to purchase the property, which is almost 4 acres. McGrath confirmed that Friday. He said his company specializes in commercial development.

He's working on the redevelopment of the former Grove Supply Inc. property on South Main Street in Doylestown into a village-style strip center.

“We're excited about (the Goodnoe tract),” he said.

Goodnoe said he doesn't know what retirement will bring.

“I'm too young to stop doing things,” he said. “So I will look for new opportunities, probably do a little traveling and a little enjoying and find something else constructive to do that is not as demanding.”

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rainy Days and Baby Mice Always Get Me Down

After a mid-week high due to my rocking the house at the Jeopardy! tryouts (I don't know exactly how I did or when they'll call, but I feel very good about it), I've had a bit of a sink. I've been slammed at work because a bunch of people flaked on their assignments, which is annoying. A very good friend at work who I trusted with a confidence went off and shared some private information with some very gossipy people, which is fairly infuriating. I pinched a nerve in my neck while I slept, which is painful. My damn phone won't work for no good reason and I have to stay home tomorrow for the phone guy, which is maddening. And, if you haven't guessed, I'm having big time female issues that make be hyper-emotional at everything. I bawled my damn eyes out over the stupid Friends finale rerun last night. And I don't even like Friends.

So in this terribly self-pitying state I tried to buck up and go to happy hour, and flirted with a nicely built young man who late in the evening decided to mention he had a girlfriend, which got me terribly cranky. Revelry finsihed for the evening, I was walking home in defeat with my eyes cast on the ground when something caught my eye.

In the middle of the sidewalk was a tiny, shaking, almost unrecognizable baby mouse, drenched from a recent rain. It wasn't a newborn -- it had fur and its eyes were open -- but it was very tiny and very scared. People were walking all around it and disaster was imminent. I stood over it and waited for people to pass before I crouched down for a better look. He was uninjured, but barely moving. Even when I prodded him with a stick he only took a few little baby steps. I ushered him to the side of the sidewalk, and into some landscaping mulch. He seemed to like that, and kind of stood up to sniff the air, but he was a little too wobbly and fell back. He didn't try to run away, but just sat there.

So there I was with nothing to carry him in if I wanted to, and there he was, shivering in the mulch. I didn't know what to do. I felt bad leaving him there, but I couldn't take him with me. Where would I keep him? How would I feed him? Wouldn't Tippy eat him? I must have looked absolutely stricken, because a nice lady came up and asked me what was wrong. I blubbered something about a baby mouse and not knowing what to do, and she looked at me a little bit sideways, and told me the best thing to do was leave it, and then she walked away. After a bit more hemming and hawing, I realized there wasn't much I could do, so I covered him with a big leaf and went home.

A normal person would have made her dinner, put on VH1 and forgotten about it. But I'm me. And I'm crazy hormonal. So I started bloody weeping about the stupid mouse. What if he needed medical assistance? Mice don't just sit there like that. Oh God, it's supposed to storm tonight! I didn't put him undercover -- just a stupid leaf in the middle of the mulch. He'll be drowned! At this point I even started looking up caring for baby mice. How hard could it be? It turns out, hard enough to merit veterinary attention. But that would be crazy. No sane person calls a 24-hour vet about a damn wild city mouse.

I asked the nice man who answered at the vet's office if they treated mice. He said no, and I was about to give up when he pressed me for what I needed. I told him, hoping he'd call me a nutjob and let that be the end of it. But no, dammit, he was helpful, and told me a vet in Alexandria kept late hours, treated mice, and was Metro accessible. He even gave me the number. I hung up.

So now, my dilemma is that I realize I have totally crossed over into Looneyville, and yet I feel obligated to a goddam mouse four blocks away in the mulch. It's still relatively early for a Friday night. It has now been two hours since I left the mouse. I sigh. Okay, I say to no one in particular, I'll take a shoebox, go take a walk, and if the fucking mouse is still there, I'll do what needs to be done. If not, it was never meant to be.

Off I go like a freak into the muggy night with a dadgum shoebox. At the halfway point, I remember the imminent storm and that I have forgotten an umbrella. I resolve to just get the damn thing overwith. It can't possibly still be there. It's dark now anyway, I think, I'll never find -- sonofabitch.

There's Baby, sitting by the big leaf, right where I left him. I scoop him into the box. Okay. Now I've got me a mouse. Time to call the vet.

"Emergency vet services..."

"Yeah. I've just found a baby mouse..."


"Can I bring him in and have him looked at?"

"Well, you can, but if he's wild, his mother's probably nearby. The mothers sometimes leave them for up to twelve hours."


"You serious?"


"I can just put him back?"


"That's okay?"

Pause. "Yes."

"Can I at least move him in case it rains?"

Pause. Pause. "Sure."

I hang up. I am a tool.

I open the box and Baby's chillin' in the corner. I have to admit, he's wicked cute. "'Kay Baby," I say, because at this point, talking to the mouse is perfectly reasonable. "Don't say no one ever cared." I place him under some hedges, out of the rain, and just for good measure, hide him behind the big leaf.

I start home. A lot of fucking good that did, I think. It was fine all the time. It probably won't even rain. I bet it's not even a baby mouse. It's probably a baby rat. I just wasted three good hours fretting about vermin-to-be. I am awesome.

Just as I get to my block, a big fat raindrop hits my glasses. Then another. Then it pours down in a torrential downpour. I am drenched. Baby, I'm sure, is fine. Good deed done. To think on it further, like, I dunno, go back tomorrow and make sure he's not still there, would be completely and utterly cuckoo.

I'll let you know if I find him.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stealth Bombers and Tiny Dogs: A Lovely Weekend in DC

We've had lovely weather in DC this weekend, and I'm happy to say that I made the most of it. I saw many an amazing sight, including:

A space-age animal shelter kennel with soothing lights, music, and rushing water throughout to provide the dogs with a serene environment.

Seven fire trucks outside my apartment building providing me with a less-than-serene environment.

A "Buddhist vegetarian lobster" cooking away on a grill (funny, most vegetarian lobsters I know are Jehovah's Witness).

A penguin with projectile poo.

Hundreds of cap-and-gown clad GWU graduates.

A touristy lady falling down in the middle of the street trying to beat the "Don't Walk" sign (she was okay).

The Watergate Hotel!

People in canoes that look like dragons racing down the Potomac.

The most fearsome Dragon Boat team in all the world -- clad in red, possessing extremely intimidating militaristic chants, and coming all the way from Thailand to kick your amateur American ass.

A stealth bomber in flight for no particular reason.

A Great Blue Heron!

A Metro bus driver who leapt out of the bus at every stop along Connecticut Avenue and Dupont Circle to check the map and timetable.

Three dead sheep roasting on spits.

A miniature dachshund with a cast on his leg.

An enthusiastic Greek lad happily chopping the heads off the dead sheep on the spits and treating us all to a lovely anatomy lesson.

A cat in a stroller. I could give you context for all of these things, but really, doesn't the pastiche speak for itself? I think so.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day in Vegas

Despite the fact that I have been taking more vacation time than usual this year, I really felt I had little option when last month I was presented with an invitation to attend a wedding in Las Vegas. I had never been, and hadn't really thought about going myself until I was given a valid excuse. So off to Sin City I went this weekend. Of course, I was touring Sin City in the company of dear old Mom and Dadoo, but happily, we're a twisted little brood.

Considering that Las Vegas represents many things that I am stereotypically not, I kept my expectations low. It is rather an outrageous place. The real depraved heart of the place is all squeezed into a few bright shiny miles on the Strip, and it's so garish it becomes strangely endearing. Everything is fake -- fake New York, fake Venice, fake Paris -- it's like Epcot on steroids. We ourselves were staying in fake Egypt at the Luxor. If you do not willfully abandon your sense of tact and elegance, you will be sure to have a rotten time. If, however, you get in the spirit of things, you can have quite a bit of fun.

I quickly declared that as long as I was here, I wanted to get tipsy, lose money and see a show with nekkid people, consarn it. So the family Shepherd (minus brother Bob, whose birthday weekend drinking schedule could not be interrupted by any kind of travel) took in a lovely night at the theater at Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity. Fair warning: Do not look at that site at work.

Las Vegas is hot as hell (it was 100 degrees and dry dry dry), the whole place is designed to part you with your money, getting around can be so confusing and exhausting as to induce apocalyptic arguments, and Mom and Dad swore they would never pass that way again. By all rights, I should have been apalled. But I kinda dug it. I don't think I need to go every year, and three days was plenty. But I may go back someday. Next time I might try it without the parents. I bet it's a bit different.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cuisine d'Estade

I went to a Nationals game yesterday. I believe that's the first time that I've been to a baseball game since 2000 -- when I scored free tickets for interviewing the COO of the minor league Trenton Thunder and Carolyn and I danced on the dugout with the Wawa Goose and sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Ah, the perks of journalizing part-time for the Bucks County Courier Times.

Although the Wawa Goose had major B.O. That I could have done without.

No such golden stinky moments this time around, but it was a good game. I got me a hotdog and a super pretzel. Being that this was the first time I've been to a game since being able to purchase alcohol, I imbibed that a bit as well. Again, I had the pleasure of adopting a Pittsburgh team for the day, as I accompanied Beth in supporting the Pirates and incurring the wrath of pint-size Nats fans there for Little League Day. Snack it, kids...

I don't pretend to be a baseball expert. But since football season's a few months off, I'm happy for a day out. I'm also firmly of the belief that there hot dogs taste better when ingested in a ballpark, so I'm happy to seize the opportunity when I can.


Public Service Announcement

I went to the Save Darfur rally today. Let it be known that I generally avoid the numerous public demonstrations that take place down the road there on the National Mall. The last one that I went to was over three years ago, and I was underwhelmed to say the least. They tend to stray off-message quite a bit, and attract a lot of people whose preferred method of exercising their First Amendment rights is to write naughty words on placards. Nice.

But this one was a fairly pleasant experience. The many speakers stayed on message for the most part, and it wasn't a giant Bush-bashing session, which would have not only been unnecessary, but distracting. I can't say that I was as powerfully moved by the experience as the organizers may have wanted me to be, but I feel like the event did its job admirably.

If you are so inclined, InterAction's site currently has a nifty page of resources on Darfur, assembled by the most dedicated, talented, and fabulous media specialist they've ever had the good fortune to hire. The fact that there has only ever been one media specialist on the payroll does not, in this writer's opinion, detract from this assessment.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ice Cream Tastes Better When It's Free

Is it a sad commentary on my life that I was truly excited about it being Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's today?

Is it sadder that I realized that Free Cone Day was nigh all on my own two days ago -- when my internal clock went haywire after seeing an ad in the Sunday coupons and I realized it was late April, and Free Cone Day must be around the corner?

Is the saddest part of all that after all of this excitement and wrangling of co-workers and researching of new flavors (of which Neapolitan Dynamite and Vermonty Python were the front runners), that by the time we got there I had to settle for a misfit flavor like Bananas on the Rum?

I don't think it's sad at all.

It's the little things, really...


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Gee-oh-par-day, bee-otch.

It is indeed a red letter day in Shepherd family history! Anyone who's down with the Sheps knows of our unabiding love for the best of game shows -- Jeopardy! (you have to love a show that includes its own exclamation point in the title). So when they offered online tests for the first time ever, I was on it like white on rice. I took the test, and must say that I felt like I rocked it. Lo and behold, last night I got the word that I have been summoned to come to an undisclosed hotel in Washington to properly try out. Tres exciting!

If you're rolling your eyes right now, please understand how this warms my geeky little heart. I shan't go on and on, but will post more updates as events warrant, if they indeed warrant at all.



Wednesday, April 12, 2006


So we had our big old conference again this year, and if you're truly concerned about the state of foreign aid reform in the U.S. government, then you'd have found it scintillating. However, most folks are not as jazzed about that as most, so I'll break it down for you quick as I can.

First, a quick word on putting on a Forum. When an organization loves itself very much, it decides to make a conference. And although there are many people in the organization, only a few special people get to make the conference together. When it's time to have the conference, there is a lot of pain and screaming and crying. It hurts a lot. But after awhile you have a bouncing, squalling conference that everyone says is lovely and it brings you much joy to see it thrive on its own.

Plus you get to wear suits and squawk away on a cell phone holding a clipboard and everyone thinks you're much smarter than you really are when you do this. This is good for the ego.

The highlight this year was hosting President Clinton for a speech on tsunami recovery (riveting!). It was a shortish speech, for him anyway, but we did get a picture. It should be up on the homepage soon, or in the Washington pictures section. See if you can spot the former President! He is very large. Tall, like a giant. I got two handshakes and a shoulder pat. It's not quite Bono, but I guess it was cool. Some ladies were beside themselves. Meh.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Brit Bits

So the false alarm regarding the potential shutdown of NYU Home prevented me from posting a timely update of my trip to England last month. So I shall try to encapsulate the week thusly:

Despite my fears that York wouldn't be all that exciting, it is a very lovely medieval city with what a travel guide might call a vibrant young university-oriented population. It has a lot of nice pedestrian malls as well on the ground floors of those medieval houses. The old fortress walls still surround the city, and the whole quaint cityscape is dominated by the huge York Minster. If you're into history, it's a goldmine. Their viking heritage is preserved in a museum built atop an excavated village, and you tour the site via an Epcotesque chair ride that takes you through some cheesy/enjoyable tableaux of viking life -- complete with authentic 11th century smells!
York is also Richard III central. A very small museum is devoted to clearing his name in the accusation that he killed his two nephews, and what it lacks in presentation savvy it makes up for in heartfelt affection for its subject. It looks a lot like a very well-done 7t grade project. They are still wicked pissed at Shakespeare for the mean things he said. I appreciate their sincerity, but Dickie 3 totally did that shit.

Edinburgh, Scotland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Last time I was there we had 45 minutes to tour the Castle there and precious little time for anything else. This time we killed a day touring the Castle properly (it took a few hours), and walking along the Royal Mile and touring the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Palace is the Edinburgh base for QE2 and fam, and is also the Ripley's Believe it or Not of royal residences. Not only do you see the standard-issue extravagant bedrooms and parlors and art galleries, but several rooms are full of stuff like Mary Queen of Scots' hair and a cast of Robert the Bruce's skull. Excellent. I also had chicken stuffed with haggis and bacon in a whisky cream sauce. Yum.

Visiting London in 2 days is exhausting. We visited all of our old favorites -- British Museum, National Gallery, NYU London HQ, Oxford Street and the site of the old dorm, Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace -- all in the first day. We also saw the Princess of Wales memorial, which looks for all the world like a drainage ditch. Google it. You'll see what I mean. We spent the next day at the Tower, walking the Thames, and rushing to Harrod's just in time for it to close. We gatecrashed an evensong service at Westminster Abbey since it was closed for touring, and we wanted to see us some famous dead folks, consarn it. Each day was closed by getting engrossed in British TV at the hotel, including the British Apprentice. I have no idea who the Trump equivalent is, but he sure is more intimidating than the Donald.

So it was not a leisurely visit, to be sure. And my poor knees hurt something awful after all that walking and stair-climbing. But it was very worth it to see Christine again and have a little adventure.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Screw It, I'm Going to New York (Blizzard Edition)

So last Tuesday I received an invitation to a house party in Brooklyn. I had no plans to be in Brooklyn this weekend, but then I realized, why shouldn't I? So I booked a Greyhound bus and got a cheap hotel and lo and behold, I was off to NYC for the weekend.

I did, however, forget to check trusty ol' As it turns out, New York was in for a bit of snow this weekend. Not just a bit of snow, but the city's the biggest snowfall ever on record.

It was fine my first day. I paid a visit to the New York Historical Society's exhibit on slavery in New York, and then went to the Met for a leisurely evening visit before heading to Brooklyn. But by the time I left the party, the snow was really coming down and the wind whipped it into great big white swirls that felt none too good on bare skin. Luckily, I was wearing Parkazilla and big ol' snow boots. This was not a trip about looking hot.

The next morning there was 27 inches of snow on the ground, and people were positively giddy. I had seen a few inches fall on the city, but nothing like this. Cars were buried, streets were unplowed, and everything was quiet. As I walked down Central Park West, a small SUV came barrelling down the street and spun out wildly in front of me. Before I could properly react, a young college-age guy leaned out the window and said "WHHOOOOOO!!! Dude, you gotta do it!!" I gave him a thumbs up in approval.

People were pulling their kids in sleds through the streets in Brooklyn, artsy looking kids were taking pictures of lamposts in Central Park, people were building snowmen in Rockefeller Center, and everyone was generally behaving as if they had woken up on another planet. But there were still a good number of people out. One lady out with her beau was wearing heels and Capri pants. You gotta look good, I suppose.

I was very glad for a lovely snowy day, but transportation was not the most enchanting part. Greyhound basically laughed when I called about scheduling. So I took a train, along with passengers from the three previous trains before mine that had all been cancelled. Signal problems, empty cafe cars, and eavesdropping on semi-drunken bisexual college students occupied my time during the duration of the eight-hour ride home. It is not supposed to take eight hours, nor is it supposed to take 45 minutes to get a taxi from Union Station, but such is the price to pay for spontanaeity.


Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Pennsylvania Solidarity

It scarcely needs mentioning that I anticipated last year's Super Bowl far more than this year's. However, I bear no ill will towards the AFC Champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a rule, I almost never support the NFC team in the Super Bowl, unless their name starts with an E and ends with an A-G-L-E-S. Superpal Beth has been supportive of me in the past Philly-less weeks, and has invited me to her own Pittsburgh-affiliated haunt-- the Pour House on Capitol Hill -- to watch some football. So naturally, I watched the Super Bowl with Beth to feed off the vicarious joy of watching somebody else's team win.

Because seating in the Steelers bar was so very precious, I felt it imperative not to advertise the fact that I was an outsider. A sympathetic outsider, but nonetheless, I was taking up prime barstool space. So I did my best to blend in. I wore black and gold eye makeup and nail polish, and did my best to expunge any Seahawks-oriented blue and green from my person. At Beth's behest, I arrived at the Pour House at noon. So I held my perch at the bar for ten. bloody. hours. They played a Steelers fight song album ad nauseum. Aye, there is enough material for an album. Much of it has a polka theme. I now know every word, and probably will for all my days. One day there will be a very tiny, shriveled old woman tucked into the corner of some assisted living center emphatically yelling "Polamalu! Doo-Dooooo-da-doo-doo!"

Anyway, I wouldn't care to make this a yearly activity, but it was nice to feed off the crowd's energy. Beth shed a tear or two. Very nice.

Next year, I hope to host Beth at the Rhino in Georgetown, where Eagles fans gather. There she can compare the Pour House's relative civility to the drunken staff and patrons throwing empty pitchers at each other, abusing opposing supporters, and singing our ONE drunken fight song.

I later got an update from on-the-spot reporter/student teacher/brother Bobby, who told me that he saw many a couch set alight in the streets of Pittsburgh after the victory. I myself have experienced dizzying euphoria on occassion. I have been moved to sing, dance, laugh, cry, holler, yelp, spout nonsense syllables, and moo like a cow -- but never have I been compelled to express my delight by setting anything ablaze, let alone something so precious as a couch. Do people stockpile rank old couches just in case? Just wondering. 'Cuz I really like mine, and utilize it quite a bit. I'd be lost without it, really, and can't pictures torching it in a fit of joy. It's also quite heavy, and rather difficult to get into the elevator. The logistics alone would be enough to kill my buzz. I'm all for new experiences, but I'm fairly comfortable with maintaining an arson-free existence.


Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Screw It, I'm Going to England

So when you're feeling a little blue and a little lonely and a little out of sorts -- and British Airways is having a killer sale -- there's really only one option left to you.

Leave the bloody country.

After careful consideration of about 10 minutes, I went and booked me a trip to the UK this March to visit dear old Christine in York and spend some time in the old stomping grounds of London.

It doesn't hurt that the sale included a free night at a posh hotel in Kensington either. It's rather too good a deal. I should really check and see if there are any unsavory conventions in town that week or something.

Though considering that a few weeks ago a hotel in my neighborhood played host to the Mid-Atlantic Leather Appreciation Society, I think I can deal with any debauched conventioneers.
Yes it was as bad as you think. Though it did make me oddly nostalgic for Greenwich Village...


Monday, January 30, 2006

...Aaaaand I'm Back

Yes! It's a new blog record for the longest break in updates evah! EVAH! It has been an entire two months since the last entry, and since then we've gotten a new Congress, the Eagles have blown and regain a shot at the division title, InterAction has moved offices, I've seen my first live NFL game AND seen Bob Saget say filthy naughty things to a bunch of college kids, and my humble little crappy blog turned five years old. How flime does ty. If my blog were a baby back in 2001, it would be entering kindergarten now, learning to play with all the other blogs in the sandpit, bringing home finger paint drawings, eating ChapStick... ::sniff:: They grow up so fact these days...

One would assume I've either been spectacularly busy or numbingly inert to have interrupted my online habits so egregiously. Truth be told -- it's been a little bit of both. The first, and most important, is the formal introduction of a new character to the blog: New Boyfriend Mark! Yay Mark! Mark is a very smart lad from Virginny who has a black cat named after an Iron Chef, makes a mean seared tuna steak, and is a durned nice fella. He is a Washington Redskins fan, but nobody's perfect. Pictures and assorted visual aids will soon be made available to the curious.
So Mark and I have been having a right lively time of it. We've been to NYC, gone to wineries in Virginia, seen a bunch of concerts, etc. Then two weeks ago it all came to a screeching halt when I acquired the Weirdest Assortment of Medical Maladies Ever. A sinus infection turned into vertigo. Verti-freaking-o. Who gets vertigo these days, besides Liza Minnelli's character in Arrested Development? Me, that's who, and I can tell you that you don't want to be compared to a Liza Minnelli character of any sort. I still have the pleasure to have the Vert, and it kind of feels like you're always watching a movie with a handheld camera. The first few days felt like I was always riding the teacups at Disneyland, so I suppose it's an improvement. Though really, when you're in a state in which you feel the need to projectile vomit every time you stand up, you have no where to go but up.

Or do you? Because soon after coming down with the Vert, I developed a mean case of strep throat that was diagnosed as being a side effect of...mono! Yes, that thing teenagers get from kissin'. Most folks who get it are between the ages of 10 and 17. I turn 26 in two weeks. I am awesome. So I spent a monorific, vertastic holiday at home. And I still get a little dizzy and sleepy. What of it?

Short story long, my prolonged absence was due in part to excessive and welcome social activity, and in part to excessive and most unwelcome illness. No telling when the next one will be. Maybe the blog will have gotten its driver's license by then, or gone to prom, or gotten married and had little blogs of its own. There's really no telling.

More to come (or is there????)


One Should Not...

One should not be able to sit outside one's office building at lunch on January 30 in nary but a tank top, calf-length skirt, and stockings and feel perfectly comfortable and not cold at all.

It's just wrong.


Sunday, January 1, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

After a raucous New Year's Eve spent watching Pride and Prejudice and eating Thai food on Capitol Hill, it is time to turn to the more serious task of examining one's goals for the year. Here goes:

Reclaim other half of the apartment

Use ultra-sharp new knives to debone the shit out of a chicken carcass -- and make homemade broth!

Watch DVDs given as presents for Christmases 2001-5

When asking someone "How are you," actually stop to hear the answer

Bust out the roller skates

Take a morning off to see the baby panda

Dust off the passport, and actually use it

Learn how to flirt

Eat more cheese

Drink more

Fairly attainable, I think. Happy new year!