Hours before boarding the plane to Boston my brother sent me an IM. "It's 20 degrees here" Seemed reasonable to me, until he typed, "It's supposed to snow". That's when I realized he meant 20 degrees fahrenheit. Quickly, I opened the suitcase, and stuffed it with a down jacket, gloves, and rain shoes.

all wintry and bundled

The flight to Boston was, well, unawesome. Crowded. Delayed. The guy next to me kind of fell asleep on me a little bit. I wanted to push him off, but his wife wanted me to take pity on him. Which seemed odd. Maybe they were swingers and that was some sort of mile-high club foreplay. Regardless, it made it hard for me to sleep. I survived the flight and my brother picked me up at the airport.

My brother's self named 'wedding of the century' was in mere hours. It was too early to check in at my hotel, so he took me to the step parents' hotel. They were happy to see me and tried to engage me in conversation. I went to their couch, made a pillow with my down jacket and took a nap. They were not completely surprised. I had been a petulant child after all. Gingerly, they woke me up in a couple hours. I patted down my hair, smoothed my skirt and went with them to Cambridge City Hall for the wedding.

After the wedding, we took over a local restaurant for lunch. Still somehow awake, I had an excellent time talking to the other guests and snapping pictures. Eventually, the energy waned. I was escorted to a cab and sent to my room.

I was staying at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge. The rooms were very nice and warm and they had nightly wine receptions in the faux living room off the lobby. I tend to be a fan of the faux living room thing. I grabbed a glass of wine, some coffee table books and made conversation with the other hotel guests. It was chock full of lesbians in town for the KD Lang concert. So, I felt right at home, but with snow.

The best part of the hotel was the drapes in the guest rooms. They had the Declaration of Independence on them. Not the original, here you can see:

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of textiles

This guy at the wine reception thought they were "US Constitution Drapes". I imagine a few, cold hours walking the freedom trail will help him sort that all out.

So, the snow. It snowed all day on Friday, which makes a pretty back drop for a wedding, but means I had to wear a dress that matched my rain shoes. The roads were unsalted according to the taxi drivers and not safe. I was alarmed to think it was the kind of storm that even 'professional' drivers would not want to venture out in, but the KD Lang fan I befriended said "they're all from Ghana, how would they know how to drive in the snow". Perhaps all the above is somewhat true. It did mean that the dinner with the family, turned into me eating french fries and drinking wine in a faux hotel living room, because no one wanted to drive. Still, there are worse things than french fries and free wine.

The white powder from the sky, she burns.

Saturday, we did all manage to huddle together and make our way to a fantastic brunch. Afterwards, I indulged in some fabric shopping. Still, not past the curtain stage with the new sewing machine, but I am determined to make myself some new clothes, since this year they cannot be bought. I went to Marimekko to pick up vibrant prints for some sort of future skirt project. In china town, I went with bright silks. Something slinky, but simple. From china town we made our way down town, past all the brightly lit clothing stores that used to demand my attention and credit cards. My brother was impressed by how brave I was, barely glancing at the H&M, when we passed by. Out of pity he bought me a pair of chihuahua socks. Socks with chihuahuas on them, not socks for chihuahuas. Though, chihuahuas will indulge you:

Socks as hats!

After being gifted with socks, I put myself on the T and found my way back to the hotel without the help of breadcrumbs. After a grueling twenty minute work out at the hotel fitness center (people, I am a machine), I had a lovely dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. My french fry recommendation was well received.

The next day, I had an early breakfast with my friend Shannon and her son, Matthew. She was nice enough to drive to meet up with me and take me to the airport, even though I didn't even tell her I was going to be in town until the last possible minute. I'm glad she made it. It was nice to see her again and it was nice meeting Matthew in person. He has those fat baby cheeks that demand pinching. There are worst things.

Must. Pinch. Cheeks.

The rest of the story involves more delayed plans, more awkward seating arrangements, me spilling water on the guy sitting next to me and finally arriving home to the disco wall at the airport BART station.

Disco wall!


Michael and Huaiyu: 2/22/2008

The newlyweds!

Let me tell you a few things that I don't like about the east coast: the winter. Let me tell you what I do like about the east coast: my brother. And that, in short, is why I found myself on a crowded, miserable red-eye flight to Boston last week. Huaiyu, my brother's girlfriend, had agreed to make an honest man out of him. Finally.

After dating for a billion years and enduring the world's shortest engagement, they exchanged vows at Cambridge City Hall. It was a simple, sweet ceremony. Scheduled last minute, to make sure Huaiyu's parents caught the show before returning to China. Still, there were enough family and friends there to crowd the room. Afterwards, the couple treated us all to lunch. Now they are back at work. Honeymoon to be scheduled. I suggested Maui. A few billion times. I think they are afraid, if they actually went there, that I would show up at their hotel room, trying to crash on their floor.

Michael, avec bling.

So, snow aside, delayed red eye flights aside, lack of sleep and flat, hat hair aside. It was a good day. Sometimes seeing two people that are great on their own, even better together, and nice enough to be considered living saints, smile until their teeth hurt will just do that to you. Crazy.

Me, with my new sisters, my new brother, and my, uh, old brother.

I look tired because I am.

The day after the wedding, Huaiyu's family gathered in her small Cambridge apartment. Her dad, got out the construction paper and made a huge, red double happiness symbol for the kids to put on their wall. The way things have been going with Michael and Huaiyu, I don't know if they even need it. Still, let's all wish it for them anyway.


Hey, Hypocrisy? It's me, George!

"Eventually, this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections — and I mean free, and I mean fair — not these kind of staged elections that the Castro brothers try to foist off as true democracy." George W, talking about Castro's resignation.

Um. Speaking of elections and Florida and brothers and I mean free and I mean fair.


Tag, You're It

It is Galileo's turn to be the Bad Pet of the Month. Her picture is proudly displayed in the living room, her name on a plaque for all to see. Originally, I had considered starting a Good Pet of the Month competition, but then I realized, good isn't what my particular pets are competing for.

Galileo, was certainly the dark horse in the competition. Sneaking under the radar, to come in first. She cinched it with a couple of bold moves. One, was stealing my food. I had a salad with chicken on it, but decided I didn't want the chicken. I put the little chicken pieces in a container for potential future use. Once my back was turned, Galileo jumped on the kitchen counter and ate most of it. Two, was stealing Fondue's food. During Fondue's morning feed time, Galileo came into the kitchen. Normally, she wants (and by wants, I mean demands) fresh water. It's not enough that the water glass and bowl are full. She likes to see me, put the water in. She does not trust. So, I give Fondue food, go to fill the water glass and when I turn I see Galileo eating some of Fondue's food that dropped on the floor. Fondue looked at her with sad puppy eyes.

Lolita says: I am sadly disappointed in this month's results. I thought the fact that I scratch the beloved couch every single day would make me a shoe in.

Fondue says: She only got it because kittens are better jumpers. I tried over and over to get on the counter. Boing. Boing. Boing. Boing. Boing. But I could not reach it. I like chicken!

Galileo says: Don't hate the player, hate the game.



I know getting older is better than the 'alternative'. I get that it is natural. Still, I'm going to be bummed when my memory starts to go. It's quirky, but serves me well. I remember what you wore that night, when you said that thing. Please don't try to deny it.

Friday, between client meetings, I managed to shovel in a late lunch and pick out a new eyeshadow. It's spring-ish. I wanted a pastel-ish shade, but a solid, pastel, not a wimpy one. SPRING, not spring. Last time I went to Vega$, I had a new, greenish (what's with all the 'ishes'?) blue eyeshadow and it turned out to be a damn good trip.

So, I get done with the meetings and the BART rides and make it home to the barking dogs and my new treat. I hadn't been able to test it on my eyes yet. Generally, colors good for Vega$ are not good colors for client meetings. So, it's this chalky blue, slightly shimmery shade. Somehow it reminds me of the first 'eyeshadow' I ever wore. The blue chalk at the pool hall. The memories just came flooding back. You know, when they really hit you, and you have to just sit down and just remember?

Before I was Grandma's girl, I was Grandpa's girl. Technically, I am the oldest of 30 cousins, but unofficially, I am really the youngest of 10 kids. When your parents have you at a young age and they are on the older end of their clans, the generations get blurred. My youngest aunt and uncle (twins, please don't ask if they are identical) are about seven years older than me. About, because my birthday does fall a whole day before theirs. So, I fell neatly into the fold and since my parents were still trying to figure out what to with a baby, the village took over.

So, my kindergarten, was very close to the high school that my Grandfather coached (football, basketball, softball) and taught at. Some days, I would be dropped off at his door. I loved hanging out at the school. I would visit with my Grandfather, eat whatever I wanted at the cafeteria, and draw pictures in art class. Some days, when school let out, my Grandfather would take me to the bar with him. I know it sounds awful in the light of today's parenting standards, but this was a while ago and you know, we're Irish.

I loved it. The bartenders would give me change to buy sodas from the machine. One of those soda machines where all the wares were in glass bottles and the machine had a built in bottle opener. The bar-flys sitting on the stools, would give me money and I would buy candy. You have to remember that at this point of my life I was living in the country, with my barely of age hippy mother, no t.v., no sugar, no bath tub, no heat, no fun. Candy was beyond decadent.

They had a couple of pool tables in the bar. Every once in awhile someone would try to teach me how to play. I never was very coordinated or graceful, so I would inevitably give up. Still, I'm a helper. I would take the cue sticks, grab the small squares of blue chalk, and get everyone ready for their next shots. And, I would use the chalk as eye shadow.

My Grandfather let me. He had me on the world's longest leash. Once, I talked him into cutting my long, shimmery, blonde hair and giving me a bob. He certainly wasn't the world's best hair dresser, but he was a damned good Grandfather. I loved sitting with him, with my blue eyeshadow, ruining my dinner with candy bar after candy bar. When the memories begin to fade, I want this one to cling until the end.


Busted, Almost

So, yesterday, I left the HR Farm a little early. I figured I would let the dogs run around in the yard and finish up my work from home. When I turned onto my street, I noticed two Comcast trucks parked in front of my house and the Comcast guys kinda looking at my yard. Needless to say, I was more than a little worried that I was busted and they were there to disconnect my beloved, illegal cable.

So, I did what any other highly ethical person would do. I parked in from of my Aunt's and, without pausing, entered that house with my spare key. Then I sat on their couch and watched until the guys left.

Luckily, my illegal cable is still in effect. Even better, because I'm dense, I still haven't learned my lesson and won't be doing anything about it.


Valentine's Day

Dear Pretty Co-worker,

Thank you so much for the $.25 box of Necco Sweethearts. I felt like we had something and am happy to have tangible proof that it is mutual. I'm happy that you want me to be your valentine. I'm a little sad that, judging by the amount of boxes of sweethearts that you brought in today, that you want everyone else to be your valentine as well. I still feel special, but in a slightly used way.



Cashmere Lipstick

1. Cashmere
2. Lipstick
3. Cat
4. Other Cat
5. Dog

Not only are cashmere and lipstick the top two items on my 'What I want with me when I am stuck on an abandoned island' list, they are the keys words in the titles of two lame ass t.v. shows.

I know, it does seem weird for me to offer t.v. critique. I schedule my Sunday activities around watching Rock of Love 2 and reading the NY Times. In that order. But even I, apparently, have taste limits.

I hate to start getting all feministy on you, especially with my history, but Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia are just backlash shows wrapped in shiny, Prada bows. So, here is why these shows make me grit my teeth and get all frowny when purely crap shows like Rock of Love 2 don't.

LJ and CM try to act like they are all empowered and then just force the same broken-sisterhood shit down our throats. I get it; career girls are lonely and their men don't love them. I get it; women are too nice to do 'hard' things like fire fucked up employees. I get it; men don't like to hire women in high positions because they have babies. I get it; girls can't wipe their asses without asking the other girls if it is okay.

Let me just say that these things all still happen in the big bad world. But, if most sexism was this transparent we should all be so lucky. The real shit is layered and it's the under currents that can pull you under.


Pet Updates

Galileo has decided that her over priced cat food is just not enough. In the past week she has stolen food from both me and Fondue. She really isn't the food stealing type of pet. That is Fondue and sometimes, Lolita.

Garcon, the menu please.

While I am still going strong on my goal to not buy new clothes or even new, old clothes, or even shoes (ay dios mio!), Fondue has a new winter coat. People, she was cold! Chihuahuas get cold! It's for health.

I used to be cold, but now I am hot, hot, hot.

Lolita says no pictures please. He is sleeping on my New York Times and he would like more treats when he wakes. That is all.

Yes, You

Hey! Why are you wasting your time reading this? Go out and vote!



It is a fine day today. Yesterday, you may be aware, was Super Bowl XLII. That is 42 for those of you who do not read Roman. You may not be aware that yesterday was also my second (annual?) 'Super Bowl Party for People Who Don't Watch Football'. It's the social event of the season. It involves me making enchilada casserole and watching the game on my smallish t.v. with other people that don't actively follow football. We get easily confused by the rules of the game and spend a lot of time switching to The Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. I started the tradition last year when my uncle's team The Chicago Bears made it to the Super Bowl. I knew there was no way I was going to get away with not watching the big game and still be considered part of the family.

So, this year, my other uncle's team made it to the Super Bowl. Did you know I was related to so many football coaches? Look at how broad my shoulders are; how could I not be? Unfortunately not everyone in my family has the drive and determination needed to be a highly valued HR Professional. Some of them are forced to take high paying jobs in professional sports instead. Still, I try not to rub it in their faces when I see them. That would be rude.

So, for the second year in a row, I was forced to watch sports on t.v. (for the record I love going to see games, just not into the whole game on t.v. thing). I took the enchiladas out of the oven, gathered the pets, and cracked open a beer at 3:00 on the dot. Twenty hours later the game really took off.

Even if you are not a sports person, you still need to find someone who got that crap on tivo and watch the fourth quarter. Amazing. I got up when there was about five football minutes left in the game (note: one football minute equals one hour of real time) to go to the bathroom and never made it there. I just stood, staring at the game.

And best of all. We won. We really won. Take that other East Coast football team that also wears red and blue. Take that.