Friday, May 30, 2008

More Hansons

I'm taking a quick break from this ...

and this ....


to let you know that there is one more Hanson now gracing this fair land. My darling new niece, Bridgette has arrived and is way more beautiful and charming than any baby I've ever seen. (I thought my brother was exaggerating, as new fathers will, when he said "she's gorgeous" but really, look at the little video I linked to and you will agree that this girl is, in fact, gorgeous. If she wasn't a baby AND related to me I'd probably be wicked jealous.)

So anyway, Bridgette and Gretchen. Good names, right? Not very similar though. It might surprise you to know that if someone doesn't remember my name is Gretchen nine times out of ten they will call me Bridgette. It's really the most amazing thing. And I always look at them, like, how in the WORLD did you get Bridgette out of Gretchen? But now, I'll just smile and say, much like Flower in Bambi, "You can call me Bridgette if you want to." Cuz who wouldn't want to be confused with such a little bundle of preciousness?

I'm thrilled about my new little niece! And I hope she likes being called Gretchen as much as I like being called Bridgette!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Weekend of Canceled Plans

I went into this Memorial Day weekend with A LOT of things on my plate. I was exhausted just thinking about all of the plans I had. But this was the weekend where one thing after another got canceled, so that by the end only about 3% actually became a reality. Instead, I've been slacking off and hemorrhaging money at various Memorial Day sales. This is what I should have been doing:

  • Volunteer at the Botanic Gardens - Canceled due to my extreme laziness
  • Hair Appointment - Canceled due to a house showing at the hairdresser's
  • Gym - completed
  • Buy a new Camera - completed
  • Grocery store - completed
  • Laundry - completed
  • Shopping for new shoes and purse - unplanned but completed
  • Buy a few new books at Borders - unplanned but completed
  • Watch The Country Girl (which is a surprisingly great movie! It's Grace Kelly as you've never seen her. I highly recommend it!!) - unplanned, but totally worth it!

  • Church - Canceled due to another attack of my extreme laziness
  • Lunch date with a fellow from Virginia - Canceled due to him taking his mom to the ER
  • Walk to the video store to return my movies - completed
  • Detour during walk to talk a nap in the park - unplanned but necessary
  • Sunburn due to nap in the park - unplanned and undesired
  • Dinner date with a fellow in town from Seattle - Canceled because no firm plans were in place and he talks about himself in the 3rd person with a Fernando's Hideaway accent. ("Armand is being in town tonight. Would you like to get together with Armand?")

All in all, it wasn't a bad weekend. I just didn't do as much as I thought I would. But tomorrow! Tomorrow is when all of the really important things are happening!
  • Gym
  • Super Fun Time Pool with Camie and Anna
  • Slurpees (can be combined with either the item above or below)
  • Pedicures
  • Possibly see a Movie
  • Drive to the Outer Banks to begin my WEEK LONG BEACH VACATION!!!
So, as you can see, there had BETTER be a higher success rate. If nothing else, there will be the trip to the beach. All hail the beach! And All Hail Week Long Vacations!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hamlet al fresco

So one of the things you're going to have to deal with if we are going to be friends is that I like routine. I tend to find the things I like and then I do them over and over again. Fortunately, since we're just internet friends you won't be subjected to things like eating the same salad everyday. But you will notice a bit of repetition in the events I attend. I'm sorry, but there are just some things that happen in this city that I never get tired of!

One such event is the Shakespeare Free for All. Every year the Shakespeare Theater Company performs a play at the Cater Barron outdoor amphitheater in Rock Creek Park. This year they put on Hamlet. And it was awesome, as usual.

I think my favorite thing about this event, besides the freeness of it, and the superb production quality, is the venue. Watching theater outside is always fun, but Carter Barron is especially fun because it just doesn't feel like it belongs in DC. It's entirely too woodsy to fit into this sheet glass and marble city. It's got a real campfire and khaki feeling to it. Every time I go there I just want to pull out my fire-poking stick and start making tin foil dinners.

My second favorite things about this event is the announcement they always make before the production starts. It goes something like this: "Parents, if your young children start to cry during the performance please take them to the wooded area." And I, little devil that I am, can't help but follow this announcement up with, "... which has been stocked with bogeymen."

Yup, I could make that joke year after year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Date, In Three Parts

So, my date on Friday night.

Y'all want a report, right? Well, the best way to describe it is to compare it to a Jr. High Spring Musical. It started off poorly, then got sort of OK in the middle, ended pretty well, but in retrospect should never have happened.

In Which It Started Off Poorly:
So Captain Awesome (that's his nickname, because he thinks he's so awesome) was supposed to call me on Thursday night with the details of where we would be going to dinner on Friday. We were planning on meeting in Baltimore. Here's a rough transcript of the call:

CA: Hi, what are you doing?
Me: I'm busy watching The Office season finale.
CA: That's cool. So I hope your day was good. This is what I did today, blah, blah, blah, blah [transaction not recorded because it was way less interesting than The Office.] blah, blah, blah, blaaaaaaahh.
Me: hmmmm. Ok.
CA: So I haven't figured out where we should go tomorrow. Have you ever heard of "Johnny's"?
Me: No. I never go out to eat in Baltimore so I don't know any restaurants there.
CA: Well, it sounds like it's a diner so I don't think we should go there.
Me: Alright, let's not go there.
CA: Have you ever been on Broadway?
Me: No. I never go out in Baltimore, so I don't really know the street names.
CA: It looks like there are a lot of places on Broadway, we could just walk into one.
Me: [getting impatient because I'm missing some really funny parts in The Office.] That'd be fine, but there will be a wait. I'm just sayin. .......... Alright. [clearly, I have to take control of this situation, otherwise this will take all night.] I have heard of one restaurant called The Blue Agave. It's supposed to be pretty good mexican food.
CA: The blue what?
Me: Agave. It's a cactus.
CA: What?
Me: AGAVE. A-G-A-V-E. Agave.
CA: Oh! The Blue Agate?
Me: No. Agave, with a V! V as in Victor. AGAVE!
CA: Oh, Agave. Ok. I'll look that one up and call you tomorrow with details.
Me: Great. Bye.
That little convo didn't win big points with me. The next day I got a text followed by a phone call that said, "Hey let's go to the Blue Agave, it's the best Mexican food in Baltimore." And I was like, Yeah, I know - I told you that, moron.

So I was less jazzed than before to go out. But I just kept thinking, Tortillas ... mmmm, Tortillas ... to keep up my spirits as I drove up to Baltimore.

I should have known better than to go into Baltimore with only roughly copied out directions. Baltimore is the equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle for me and I NEVER go into Baltimore without getting hopelessly lost. So there I was following my directions, when suddenly the street I was supposed to be following disappeared. Poof! Gone!! I drove all around the intersection where it disappeared, but it never reappeared. And then ... well, then, what was there to do besides just keep driving? With no idea of where I was going I quickly found myself deep in the heart of The Ghetto. And I'm not talking about some grungy area that white people call the ghetto because they've never seen a trash pile on a street before, but the REAL LIFE GHETTO with rows of abandoned and boarded up buildings and people out on the corner looking all shifty-eyed. Ghet-TO.

The only thing to do was to keep driving. Yes, keep driving, because if I were to stop the scene would probably have looked a lot like those Amazonian Army Ants that swarm along their path leaving only a MINI steering wheel behind.

As I drove, I called Captain Awesome to tell him how much I hate Baltimore and that I was hopelessly lost. Fortunately, he had a GPS and so he got my coordinates and came and rescued me. Which was .... embarrassing. To say the least. He thought it was great though. Like some knight in shining armor and I was his damsel in distress. Whatever.

By the time we got back to where the restaurant was, our reservation was long gone. Not willing to postpone eating any further we went to The Hard Rock Cafe in the Inner Harbor. When I told Camie this later she burst out laughing. And I was like "What's so funny about that?" And she said that she couldn't think of any situation that was LESS like me. "You hate the Inner Harbor and you hate Hard Rock Cafe." Which is true. She knows me well.

In Which it Got OK and Ended Pretty Well:

Things really picked up when I finally got to eat some food. I was starving. And irritated after my tour of the Slums of Baltimore. I ordered a salad, which was ok despite the 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the dish. He ordered a chicken sandwich with fries. I reflected on how they should really serve salads with a side of fries. I mention this because later we were talking about our eating habits and he said this: "What I ate tonight? I never eat like this. Really. I don't. Never. I can't believe I ate it tonight. I don't know what I was thinking." I made some comment about how I eat a hearty diet of junk food, but inside I was thinking, "Shoot! I should have asked for his fries!"

After eating, we headed back to our cars, and I headed home without incident.

In Which I Reflect:

So on the phone Captain Awesome talks and talks and talks and talks. Which at first was OK. But now it's mostly annoying, because every once in a while I'd like to say something. But I can't, because he's talking. I hoped that in person this wouldn't be such a problem, because he'd see from the Shut-The-Hell-Up expression on my face that I had something to say. And it was slightly better ... but when I looked back on our conversation I realized that he would let me start a story, but then interrupt and we'd end up talking about whatever he had brought up. And I was bamboozled into never actually getting to say anything.

Also, he's amazingly narrow minded and judgmental. And I've got enough weirdness in my life that I don't need anyone walking into it with a lot of opinions about how I should be living it. (He'd definitely not approve of the amount of cheeseburgers I consume in a given year, for example.)

So. As far as second date's go, it wasn't too bad. Not great - especially the getting lost part. But not terrible. Do I want to go out again? No, not really. But I don't really want to go out with anyone. Dating is just way more effort than its worth. I can buy my own watered down salad, thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


So I've got plans already, but you guys should rent a video this weekend. I've already decided what you should get because I hate it when you guys fight in the movie store - it's so embarrassing! You will rent Lars and the Real Girl!

Think a movie about a man that falls in love with a sex doll isn't for you? Let me assure you that it is. It really is. (That is, if you like love and unrequited love and the possibilities of love combined with quirkiness and bizarre clothing choices and delusions. Then, yes, this movie is definitely for you.)

And just so you don't think I'm a perv - this is rated PG-13 and is completely viewable by sensitive eyes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So many of you have asked about the outcome of the date I went on recently. Sorry I was oh so mysterious by giving all of the pre-date details and then failing to report on the actual date. This was partly an attempt to make the post a little more intriguing, and partly to cover myself if the second date never materialized.

Well here's the report, albeit belatedly. We went to dinner. We had a very nice time. He was a perfect gentleman. We laughed. He carried most of the conversation. I was glad to let him carry it. We both said we wanted to go out again. (I actually was interested in going out again, which practically never happens. Seriously. Never.)

I've learned over my long and rocky dating career, that if there's anything you want to happen you would be wise to keep mum about it. Otherwise it will never happen. And then you have to make up some excuse to tell people about how you never really wanted it in the first place and you are SO RELIEVED that you didn't end up having to deal with it, just so they can't see how disappointed you really are. Believe me, a little forbearance when sharing your hopes and dreams goes a long way in the dating world.

So yes, I was interested in going out again. But days and weeks started slipping by, and while we were still talking on the phone regularly saying things like, "we should definitely go out again soon" and "yes, definitely" somehow it never really managed to get put together.

Until tonight.

Tonight we finally made plans to go out this weekend. Friday, in fact.

Pity I'm sort of over it now. The second date I was eagerly anticipating three weeks ago has deflated like a bad soufflé. Going from the "Fairy tales do come true!" category to the "This might be slightly better than staying home watching Lifetime. But not if there's a Will and Grace marathon." category.

I've come to the conclusion that I am not desperate enough or not patient enough to be good at dating. Either way, I lose interest too fast for my own good.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My So Called Healthy Life

I'm sick. This is the second time this year I've had a cold. And you might say to yourself, well, hey, that's not so bad. But if you're me, you're not saying that. Because I don't get sick. EVER.

There's no reason for me to get sick. I don't have kids, or touch kids, or see kids. I sleep an adequate amount. I live in a hypoallergenic bubble. I can't even remember the last time I had a cold before this year's spate. It defies logic.

Especially because I started my current Ruin Your Life By Being Healthy Diet plan in January. [Incidentally, just weeks before my first cold. Hmmm. v. suspect.] For the first time in my life I am doing things like eating square meals, going to the gym regularly, and hello! I'm taking VITAMINS! Every DAY!! Isn't that supposed to mean guaranteed health for ever and ever, amen?

Well, it might be the Sudafed talking but I am starting to think this Health and Fitness thing is a scam. I'm tempted to go back to my previous habits. They were bad habits - but the results were fantastic! I lost 20 lbs by eating Chick-Fil-A everyday, for Pete's sake! (This was an ingenious little diet I dubbed the "Atrophy Diet". Miracle. Worker.) Fast food every day, no guilt for not going to the gym, and no vitamins? Round these parts we call that the Celestial Kingdom.

Anyway. Whatever the reason, there's not much I can do about it now that I'm sick. I'll just lay on my couch and say to no one in particular, "I'n thick" over and over again until I start to feel better. And then once my head is clear I'll reevaluate the pros and cons of this supposed "healthy lifestyle." Pffft.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dear Diary ...

I just got an ingenious little book: A 5 Year Diary. Each day of the year has one page divided into five sections. Just write a little blurb about your day, and as the years roll by you can see what you actually spend your life doing.

Today's entry will say:

Despite blatant fishing, I didn't get invited to the developers-only farewell lunch for two coworkers. I consoled myself by sleeping in, "working from home," and taking myself out to lunch at Wendy's. Not a bad trade off! Spent the rest of the day reading Marisa de los Santos' new book, Belong to Me, and am consequently head over heels in love with words and wish I used more unique ones like "litmus test" and "wistful" on a regular basis.

I'm excited for this new journaling approach. Heaven forbid I fail to record the monotony!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wherin I Am Awesome at Softball

For last night's game I got bumped from my normal spot in Right Field to play 3rd Base. Obviously this concerned me because I don't know much about softball, but I know that those on the left side of the field get significantly more action than those on the right. And they have to do stuff like run and catch and throw. And I'm not really good at running or catching and I'm certainly no good at throwing. I am good at swatting gnats and calling out encouraging things like, "You SUCK!" and "CHOKE!" to keep the other team in high spirits.

But, like the team player I am, I just said, "OK Coach," put on my body armor in case any balls came my way, and jogged out to 3rd base. Mainly my job was to get out of the way of the other team's runners that were rounding my base, which I did without too much cringing. But I did manage to do a couple of other good things while I was out there, such as:

I got my glove on a hard-hit line drive and stopped it from being home run.

I caught a ball - I CAUGHT A BALL!! A BALL THAT WAS HIT BY A BAT! AND WAS GOING REALLY FAST! And I got the batter out!!! I wished my Dad could have seen it ... he would have been so proud. I celebrated with a little Cabbage-Patch dance, followed by a victory lap, and ended with spiking the ball at home plate.

My batting wasn't so great as it has been in the past, but I did end up getting a run. (I think I was the only girl to get one.)

On my way to get my run, I slid into third base. (OK, that was accidental since I slipped on the bag and wiped out after crashing into the 3rd base coach. Unfortunately when he tried to help me up the Ump reprimanded him for "touching the players." Whoops! Now I understand why they wear cleats.)

Finally, I stopped a line drive with my ankle. I do not recommend this approach. It really sucks and really hurts. And I just about cried. But that was before I remembered that there's no crying in baseball, and I figure softball is close enough to have the same rule. I thought for sure my delicate little ankle was broken, but after an icing there's barely even a red mark. Which on the one hand is great because I really do have delicate little ankles and I'd hate to see them marred. But on the other hand is kind of annoying because it really hurt and how am I supposed to impress people with my willingness to sacrifice my body for the good of the game if I don't have any bruises or slings to convey the level of my sacrifice? That's what I want to know.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Despite the cheery weather (which FINALLY arrived about 3 months behind schedule, thankyouverymuch Mother Nature) I've been a tad depressed. It's nothing to worry about, it happens periodically -- in fact, it's so subtle that I barely notice it's happening.

Main symptoms are:
  1. Eating every meal at Wendy's
  2. Binge reading (strictly Young Adult or Chick Lit - nothing serious)
  3. Avoiding the gym
  4. Sleeping
  5. No interest in work

How is this different from my regular life? Answer: It's not. Which is why my depression is difficult to diagnose. And there I am being all depressed and fatting it up and not even knowing it's happening! It's hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when for all intents and purposes life is exactly the same. The general malaise hanging over me is the only real indicator. That, and my total disinterest in blogging. I guess when I'm not interested in my life I can't expect anyone else to be either.

But I'll do my best to pull it together to give you all a sum up of what cool things I've been up to lately. (And then I'll really try to get back on the bandwagon.) Here goes ...

So ... maybe for the past couple of weeks you've been thinking to yourself that something just isn't quite right in the Universe. You can't put your finger on it ... but there's just something. Well, let me help you out. Two weeks ago, Bizarro World met The Twilight Zone met Opposite Day and I joined my company's Softball League. That's right. ME! I'm participating in a TEAM SPORT! By my own will and choice! And it's like totally fun!! I know - it's just weird. And what's even weirder is that to date I have not ONLY gotten on base every single time I've been at bat - I am the only one on the WHOLE TEAM who has! If I had known I had this secret sporty side I would have honed it a little bit more and would probably be the only woman player in the MLB by now. Sheesh! Makes me wonder what other secret talents I've neglected. So anyway, that's why the Universe is all wiggin out. It's totally my fault.

In other more normal news, I went to see the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center last Thursday. They were doing an Artist Profile of Aaron Copland, who, if you aren't aware, is one bad-ass of a modern composer. He did the "Beef, It's what's for dinner" song. I overestimated the time it would take me to get to the Kennedy Center, so I had plenty of time to feel superior while I stood on the terrace and watched the crew boats race up and down the Potomac from Georgetown.

The program was really great. They had a narrator give the highlights of his life and then the NSO played portions from each of his pieces. I haven't been to the NSO for a while and I'd forgotten just how great they are! I was sort of impatient with the talking portion of the program and wished the orchestra played more. That's the former cello-playing geek in me shining through.

The only annoying part of the program was that I was sitting next to a couple who were whispering to each other. When the narrator would start talking about a famous piece they would whisper in unison: "yesssssss!" And I would look at them like, "Puh-lease. Anyone can like the famous pieces. Come back when you've got some real taste." You see, even though I have absolutely nothing to back it up with, snobbery just feels like the right response.

And that's about it. I'm trying to think of what other highlights there are from the past two weeks. But I haven't been doing that much. Unless you count eating at Wendy's (6 times) and reading teen fiction (6 books) and avoiding the gym (went 2 times). And that, my friends, is a full schedule when your life is set to "maximum slack mode". I'll try to be more timely (and interesting) in the future.