a Cheap Holiday: 12/01/2001 - 01/01/2002

Cheap Holiday

Welcome to a cheap holiday in my life. At least you get to go home at the end of the day!

Sunday, December 30, 2001

I was all set to begin my post-holiday starvation routine in ernest today, but when my stepmom is cooking things like chicken breasts baked with Italian dressing, green bean casserole with French-fried onion topping, cornbread, and white rice with pork gravy, well fuggit. I guess I'll just have to skip dinner and give up noshing on the butterscotch haystacks she made. Remember those things? Butterscotch chips melted and mixed with Chinese chow mein noodles? Damn, but white-trash cooking is tasty stuff and in my world of unagi nigiri and wasabi-mashed potatoes, the only time I indulge in it is when I visit relatives. So now I'm carrying around five extra pounds of green bean casserole weight. I feel like a happy, well-fed, Southern-drawling whale.

What has been a restful, no-exertion day for me has ended up being a workday for my Dad and stepmom. A few years after my father formerly retired, a new funeral home opened up on his block and he's held a part-time job there in logistics (i.e., driving the hearse and other necessary arrangements) ever since. Last year, he got my stepmom into hostessing for the viewings. Since death never takes a holiday, they ended up having a viewing to work tonight.

Some of my friends think it's morbid that I find my father's post-retirement vocation to be so cool. I'm not a death-obsessed Gawth chick, I swear. I think in any other community, or with any other upbringing, I would be less thrilled by it. But the reality of the situation is that it fulfills many basic needs in his life. First off, the wage supplements his retirement income, which is always a good thing. Secondly, he's prearranged and paid in full his own funeral plan. I know for a fact that when my father passes on, I'll be too much of a mental case to be able to make any immediate decisions, so I appreciate that he's taken care of this in advance. He even showed me the casket he picked out (and people call me a freak; I come by it honest!). But primarily, in small Southern towns, funerals are a major social event, so he constantly gets to see his friends. Given that I have friends whose elderly parents have just given up on building social contacts, I am not ungrateful for this benefit in his and my stepmom's life.

Plus, he lets me in on some of the arcana of the funerary industry. I asked him today - while we were eating lunch, of course - at what point the funeral director informed him that a job was coming up. When the hospital contacts the funeral home to arrange delivery of the body? When the family sets the date for the viewing? Dad said it varied, it was more about opportunity to communicate, than a specific system. However, he did inform me that the funeral home had a nifty Paul Revere-type signal set up: if the lamps in the windows flanking the front door of the funeral home were lit, it meant that there was a new body in residence. Since my Dad and stepmom have to drive past the funeral home to get to their house, this makes for an efficient and elegant communications device. Now, where the hell else are you going to get that kind of juicy tidbit except from an industry insider, I ask you? Lawd, I do feel about like Carson McCullers nowadays.
The dinner party Harbourwoman and I hosted last night was a lovely success and the video captured by a fellow partygoer should provide much blackmail material for years to come! As usual, HW and I cooked entirely too much food that will be snacked on for days to come. Jackpot - Raleigh's newest and even somewhat posh addition to the bar circuit - was most enjoyable and I tried not to make too much of a scene with my new boots. Karma is quite a bitch sometimes, though. My ankles are most unhappy today, not to mention my poor hungover noggin. At least I had a chance to provide The Hebruiser with a doggie bag from the party, which he had to miss to work the door at the club.

I finally got a chance to see Kali before she blew out of town again. She gave me the most lovely Christmas presents, I can't thank her enough. She really knows how to shop for me and I sometimes feel so woefully inadequate when I shop for her. She's so stylish and smart, I wish I could just give her a million dollars to go buy me things. It wouldn't even matter what she bought, because I know it would all be so fabulous anyways.

One of my friends said he felt '02 was going to be a good year. Well, I hope to hell so. 2001 wasn't flat out awful for me, but it had its share of boy-trauma I coulda done without. Thankfully, the Clueless Ghost of Christmas Past only reared his head briefly during this trip and quickly faded away. My New Year's Resolutions for '02 would be led by the desire to keep in better touch with all my family and friends. I sometimes bitch and moan about how my best posses are in Raleigh or SF or DC and why don't I have that in Philly yet? I have a couple of wonderful girlfriends in Philly and several acquaintances, but it just feels different and I'm not sure why. It just seems hard to meet someone around my age in Philly who has kind of the crazed spirit that I do. It's just a different dynamic and sometimes compared even to Raleigh it feels a tad, uh, I don't know, I'd hate to say "geriatric," but I'm not finding a more compelling adjective at this point.

Many thanks to Dreamboy for helping me provide Miz Rachel with something she had been searching for, her very own copy of Keith Richards' version of "Run Run Rudolph." It was nice of DB to handle the logistics on something that ended up making me look like a great friend (when I didn't really do anything).

I know I'm not always the best friend to have. I sometimes give into my hermit side and am slow to return phone calls or emails. Sometimes I try too hard to fix everyone else when I really should look at what needs fixing inside myself. Sometimes I make decisions based too much on my heart or sometimes I make decisions based too much on my head and when I reverse a decision it appears I'm being wildly contradictory, when actually I'm just struggling towards a balance. I know I've been too judgemental with my brother and we're trying to find common ground on which to continue our relationship. I've probably considered myself first, before considering the needs of others. It just sucks having to come back down to Earth, but I guess we all have to at some point.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Gawdfuckindammit, I love being in my thirties! Finally, the timidity and anxiety of my twenties have melted away and I can go out wearing a corset and a shit-eating grin and impromptu dance on a stage and be ruthlessly indifferent to cute boys because I now know - I KNOW - that I fuckin rock and I don't require a man in my life to feel complete. Boys, take a number, properly genuflect, and maybe the Goddess will smile on you.


Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Insomnia gripped me on Christmas Eve, well to 3 am. This had more to do with the white mocha latte I had in the afternoon than anticipation of the Fat-Man-Weeth-Bag. At the age my family and its children are, all the presents are under and on the tree (in envelope form - CASH!) by Christmas Eve afternoon. My nephew was allowed to open one present last night to allay his excitement for another twelve hours.

My Dad's bathroom scale indicates I've gained 4 pounds in the first 4 days of my vacation. This sounds extreme, but is pretty common with me. To maintain my current size 10 body - now precariously verging on a size 8, which is what keeps me so highly motivated - at my advanced age, I have to consume as few calories as I can without fainting on a daily basis. True, my workout schedule got spotty in the last 3 months, but I've started picking it up again. I'll actually be going to a gym during my vacation, which is unheard of in my history. Hopefully this afternoon, the weather won't be so bone-chilling that I can go for a bit of inline skating in the neighborhood.

I'm sure any nutritionist would argue that I'm slowing my metabolism down further by limiting my caloric intake. In the interest of full disclosure, I can't say exactly what my daily caloric intake is because I'm not counting every single calorie. I'm sure the white mocha lattes are packing a sugary whallop, but they also have milk, which has calcium. I just try to eat smaller portions of everything, not eat late in the day, force myself to feel a bit more hungry than the average person, and not eat out as much as I have in the past. Once this holiday Carnival of Food is over, I can be back in my regular environment and concentrate on the major task at hand, which is losing the dreaded "Last 10 Pounds" and getting some more definition into my musculature.

Tonight, Rachel, Harbourwoman, and I will be attending a quasi-private party with Dreamboy. I have to admit that the prospect of socializing out in Raleigh, especially along S. Glenwood Avenue (or GLO-SO, as some more acerbic denizens have labeled it), fills me with an amount of loathing and dread. The reason is that I seem to have developed a finely tuned ability for running into men from my past. This can be pleasant - as was the case with running into Bassman and Dreamboy over Thanksgiving - or it can be a magical dream that disintegrates into a stunning horrorshow, whose aftermath is still being felt and played out behind the scenes. That was last Christmas.

My anxiety for this Christmas is the strong possibility of running into my most recent ex-boyfriend, who will no doubt be in the area visiting his family and will likely socialize the same sorts of spaces I will. This is potentially an incendiary event, especially since the fucker still owes me $1000 AND my collectible vinyl LPs. That just sounds like a bad pop song, but I swear it's true. After huge amounts of complaining about how his friends wouldn't pay him back his loans, he goes and defaults on me. Irony, thou art my one and true Bitch Goddess.

The thing is, I'm fairly certain that if he saw me in-person right now, he'd lay on his whole charm routine, because he just can't bear to not be charming or to feel that people in the room perceive him as anything other than charming and handsome and articulate and magnetic. Screw that. If he gets in the same room with me, the only words coming out of my lips are going to be "Where's my goddamn money?!!"

As for the clueless boy last Christmas who treated my affections and feelings as if they were as common as hydrogen, he doesn't even deserve the privilege of my anger any longer. He no longer exists to me. He is the shadow of an awful nightmare that continues to fade with each passing day. I think I could almost walk by him in broad daylight now and not blink. Almost.

This theory might be put to the test in the coming week.
Revised Holiday Schedule:
Dec. 25 day: Presents, family stuff
Dec. 25 @ 9PM: Drinks with friends
Dec. 25 @ 10PM: Attend quasi-private party
Dec. 26 10:30 AM: Attend Carolina Hurricanes practice skate
Dec. 26 3 PM: Go to gym
Dec. 26 night: Attend hockey game
Dec. 26 late-night: Drinks with friends; sleepover in Raleigh
Dec. 27 AM: Recover; have lunch with Kali
Dec. 27 afternoon: Hang out with nephew
Dec. 27 PM: Drinks with friends
Dec. 28 AM: Recover; go to gym; begin shopping for dinner party
Dec. 28 afternoon: Go to Harbourwoman's house; begin dinner party preparation.
Dec. 28 @ 6:30 PM: Begin roasting chickens; prepare apps and champagne punch; dress, hair, and makeup for party.
Dec. 28 @ 7:00 PM: Begin apps and drinks service for dinner party; begin cooking risotto.
Dec. 28 @ 7:45 PM: Begin grilling London broil.
Dec. 28 @ 8:00-10:00 PM: Open main buffet service. Enjoy party!
Dec. 28 @ 10:00 PM - Saturday 2:00 AM: Maybe go out to clubs with friends; flirt with cute men!
Dec. 29, most of the day: Recover; go to gym; maybe shop some after-Christmas sales; hang out with nephew.
Dec. 29 PM: Go out with friends; flirt with cute men!
Dec. 30 AM: Go to Sunday brunch with family.
Dec. 30 @ 1PM: Make up mind about where to be for New Year's Eve
Jan. 3, '02: No matter what, report to work!
Apologies for the lack of updates. I stayed at Princess' house for a couple of days and she's an iron-clad Luddite when it comes to my online life. In her view, I'm an e-junkie in need of rehab. Personally, I've known people who spend far more time online, but I can't convince her of that.

Speaking of the online life, I came across the gorgeous boy who stood me up last weekend on instant messaging. After refraining from messaging him for about 15 minutes, I then sent him a cutey-pie emoticon, which apparently wrenched open a floodgate of guilt in the poor lad. After much apologizing, he asked what he could do to make up his malfeasance to me.

My suggestion? "Creative groveling and bribery is always considered."

And by God, he certainly gave it the old college try. He needs some work, but hey, don't we all? I think I'm just the girl to provide him the guidance he so obviously requires. Lucky boy!

Friday, December 21, 2001

Forgot that I have to make the liquor run by Liquor World in Delaware ("Home of Tax-Free Shopping"!) on the drive down. Liquor World is such a Homer Simpson kind of place. A warehouse of beer, wine, liquor, and snacks at great prices. I just want to move in and live there.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

There is a bizarro trend going on in my life right now. In the past two weeks, not one, but two fairly unknown men have suggested that I fly to another area of the country to meet them for New Year's Eve. This is one of the unfortunate side effects of Internet dating: some men assume that just because a woman is attractive, literate, intelligent, romantic, fun, and advertising via an online personals ad, that she may also be a bit whacked out of the head too.

Point 1: To begin with, it is NOT "wildly romantic" to ask a woman to spend HER hard-earned cash or extend HER hard-earned credit limit on HER precious vacation time to fly halfway across the country to meet a man she's either only been in the presence of for a maximum of 3 hours or has only sent instant messages to. That's known in the vernacular as "being a rape case waiting to happen," a circumstance that the majority of intelligent women (1 of 4 of whom will be sexually assaulted at least once in her life) try to avoid.

Point 2: It is NOT a swift move to suggest a woman has less than an "adventurous spirit" because she will NOT spend her hard-earned cash, credit limit, or time in order to fulfill the man's suggestion.

Point 3: If the guy is so goddamn adventurous, he's more than welcome to spend HIS own cash, HIS own credit limit, and HIS own time to travel to ME, put HIMSELF up in a hotel room, and hang out in MY town. I realize Raleigh is not a hot vacation destination, but it's where I'm going to be. If I'm such a hot fuckin' draw, then put up or fuckin' shut up.

I chased after men for almost 14 years and it got me nowhere. NOWHERE. So don't think about impugning my spirit simply because I won't be your fucktoy on my fuckin' dime. You're more than welcome to go fuck yourself in that case.
Now's the time of year when everything starts happening at once and I can only concentrate on the next five minutes.

First off, my dear friend Kali-the-Avenging-Goddess has finally returned from a semester of school in Europe that did not live up to expectation. I'm sure she's happy to be on familiar shores again and I can't wait to see her!

Secondly, I had dinner with a first cousin of mine and got to meet her now 19-year-old daughter for the first time in my life (unless I met her once or twice as a baby). I hope I came across as "that cool, rockin' cousin."

Finally, my schedule until Dec. 30 is just slammed. Here's the rundown:
Today: 7 hours until I'm officially on vacation. Go to gym after work.
Tonight: Buy cat food and kitty litter. Pack suitcases. Go by ATM for cash. Straighten apartment.
Friday AM: Check email. Feed cat. Load car. Drive to Washington, D.C.
Friday afternoon: Have lunch with friend. Do Christmas shopping in Chevy Chase, MD.
Friday evening: Hang out with Princess, her brother, and her husband. Try to get some sleep.
Saturday AM: Wake up to Princess' dog slobbering all over me.
Saturday afternoon: Pick friend up at National Airport (don't fool yourself, NO ONE calls it "Ronald Reagan Airport," are you kidding me? The guy fired hundreds of air traffic controllers!). Drive friend to his accomodations in Adams-Morgan. Do any last-minute Christmas shopping.
Saturday PM: Hang out with friends in D.C.
Sunday AM: Drive friend to brother's house in Richmond, VA.
Sunday afternoon: Try to visit other friend in Richmond, VA. Drive to Raleigh.
Sunday evening: Arrive in Raleigh, NC. Try to catch up with Kali in Chapel Hill or do last minute Christmas shopping.
Monday AM: Do last-minute Christmas shopping. Drive to Dad's house.
Monday PM: Have dinner with family. Try to catch up with Kali later in evening, if possible.
Christmas Day: Open presents and hang out with family. Call Dreamboy and Bassman in the afternoon.
Christmas Evening: Dress up funky and attend a quasi-private party.
Wednesday AM: Recover. Maybe have lunch with Kali.
Wednesday afternoon: Try to take nephew to see "Lord of the Rings."
Wednesday night: Maybe attend hockey game.
Thursday AM: Recover. Maybe have lunch with Kali. Try to go to gym.
Thursday afternoon: Work on dinner party preparation.
Thursday PM: Have a damn cocktail with friends, PLEASE!
Friday AM: Recover.
Friday afternoon: Go to Harbourwoman's house. Begin dinner party preparation.
Friday, 6:30 - 7:00 PM: Change clothes, do hair and makeup before guests arrive. Begin roasting chicken.
Friday 7:00 PM: Begin apps and drinks service for dinner party. Begin cooking risotto.
Friday 7:45 PM: Begin grilling London broil.
Friday 8:00-10:00 PM: Open main buffet service. Enjoy party.
Friday 10:00 PM - Saturday 2:00 AM: Maybe go out to clubs with friends. Flirt with cute men!
Most of day Saturday: Recover. Go to gym. Maybe shop some after-Christmas sales.
Saturday PM: Go out with friends. Flirt with cute men!
Sunday AM: Go to Sunday brunch with family.
Rest of Sunday: Do as little as possible. Go to gym or go inline skating. Figure out what to do for New Year's Eve.
Jan. 3, 2002: No matter what, report to work!

At least now I can print out this web page and remember what the hell it is I'm supposed to be doing for the next week.

In closing, my department had its Christmas luncheon yesterday and we exchanged "Secret Santa" gifts. My "Secret Santa" gave me a couple of splits of Asti Spumante and a couple small boxes of Godiva chocolates saying, "When I think of indulgence and decadence, I think of you."

Such high praise! I was truly, deeply touched.

Merry Christmas ya'll!

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Goddamn that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I hate it when a TV show makes me think of things that make me cry.
Excellent use of an MBA!

(I'm posting the entire link because it didn't appear to work properly when I set the a href. This links to a Powerpoint presentation, so it's going to work better in MSIE than Netscrape.)
Oh I just adore being stood up. Love it. Do it to me, baby, one more time. Actually, compared to a lotta chicks, I'm far more forgiving about no-shows. But not that forgiving. True, the poor lovely coulda been creamed into man-pudding on the Jersey Turnpike and this rant could end up being so much posthumous vitriol. Somehow, I'm doubting it. I actually did have a quasi-confirmed date stand me up once because his grandmother had a heart attack. But given that the guy worked in the mobile phone industry and usually had two different cell phones on him at all times, even that wasn't entirely excusable. It takes 60 fuckin' seconds to leave a voicemail saying "We'll have to reschedule" or "Sorry, I got too damn wasted at my friend's to drive now" or even "Uhm, I shoulda mentioned I was gay before. Better luck next time!" But apparently I'm not worth 60 fuckin' seconds of this guy's precious time.

Sunday, December 16, 2001

I'm not sure how great a Christmas I'm going to be having at my Dad's house this year. My brother called last night to let me know that my Dad's girlfriend's sister had a very serious stroke last week. She's only 58 and the doctors say she still has so much blood pooled in her brain that she's effectively brain-dead. There's a very real possibility I'll be attending a funeral at Christmas. Fuck.
The world is full of beautiful men. Do any of them love what I love...see what I see...feel what I feel?

Is there actually a man out there interested in getting to know me? Or do they just want to fuck me and have me go away?

Saturday, December 15, 2001

My friend Princess is such a dear. She called me this morning asking for my Christmas wish list and having just woken up I wasn't cognizant enough to think of anything at that time. Then she describes how she had looked around town for a corset for me, but didn't really understand corsets, didn't know what to look for, wasn't sure how to size one, and so on. It's ok, baby. After the holidays, we can go corset shopping together if you like.

Friday, December 14, 2001

I can't wait for Christmas to be over so I can finally spend some money on me. I'm mad for new boots and panties.
I had a straight male friend say to me once that when he first met me he could tell from the look in my eyes that I was "a very sensual person." I'm not sure what he was seeing or how much of that was him projecting. It's not that he's wrong, I just wonder what it was he thought he saw.
I've been contemplating buying new bed linens for some time. Not that my current bedding is nasty or torn or anything, but it is monochromatic. My bedroom definately could use some color to offset all that rental beige and white. I've also been considering a new bedside lamp to replace the one that was damaged during my move to Philly.

My apartment is neat and attractive and overly spacious, the translation of which is "devoid of furniture, color, or tchotchkes." In other words, empty. I'm basically paying rent for the damn cat to run around in circles all day long. Musing on the possibility of having sex again gets me in a home decorating mood. In my opinion, pleasant surroundings enhance both sexuality and sexual experiences. After all the mackin' and sackin' is over, you want something nice to look at or soft, fluffy bedding to lie on.

Not that I anticipate being in imminent danger of getting laid. I've only had a few one-night-stands in my life and I just don't enjoy them. I'm not playing hard-to-get, I'd just rather get to know someone, understand their likes and dislikes and predilictions.

Besides, isn't fantasy and anticipation and making out til your lips are sore a big part of the fun?

Thursday, December 13, 2001

One of my dearest friends suggested I start a blog. I had been considering it for some time, but given my daytime responsibilities as a highly compensated political analyst, I didn't want it getting around that I was a high-priced call girl by night. I'm kidding. Really. I'm a kidder.

The truth of the matter is that I do prefer to keep my private life separate from my work life. So a certain level of anonymity was required before I could feel comfortable about posting a blog. And as I told another friend of mine, what's a blog from me going to look like?

"Day 1: Life sucks. Day 2: Life really sucks. Day 3: My friends are all being sucky to each other."

My close friends keep up with me via a private intranet maintained by Joe and Jason. And since I really wanted to make that site as collaborative as possible (even though my name is still on it), I was loathe to throw a blog on to it too. But there's a certain amount of surrealism going on my life now that begs sharing.

My thing nowadays is Internet dating. I have a personal ad posted on a fairly well-known service. I'm luckier than some in that I'm photogenic. Not so much that my photos don't look like me (well, I think they look like me - I suppose I should try polling my dates sometime), but with decent hair, makeup, clothing, and posing, I clean up pretty well. I even look younger than my advanced age of 37 years, but not in a childish or unsophisticated way. I'm routinely told that the "challenging" look I have in my eye in the photo is the most attractive thing about it. I tend to get a lot of responses from guys in NYC because, 1) I live in Philly, which is only a little over an hour's train ride away, and 2) guys from NYC seem to really dig that "challenging" look in
my eye. So that's cool. Gives me a reason to get to NYC more.

Internet dating has been useful for me in a number of ways. I moved to Philly without knowing anyone beyond my workplace. My closest friend at the time was in D.C. Combine a long work commute, not living in Center City, and not being a tremendous scenester, there was no way I was going to regularly meet men or have dates without some sort of support system. The personal ad both cut down on my lag time in meeting men as well as providing a built-in screening system.

The downside is that it tends to require a bit of care and feeding, which - depending on the state of my social life - can be either addictive or annoying. To draw in new viewers, I have to regularly update my ad. Not in a major way, but just enough that the system sorts my ad at the top of a search list. And then I have to screen respondents and decide if it's worth my time or not. And if I'm interested, I have to reply to their response and begin a dialogue. It doesn't feel much less exhausting than working through the whole process face-to-face, it's just that my rate of return has increased.

This is first time in my life that I've actively dated. I've had two 6-year relationships previously, so my modus operandi has largely been fall in "love" (actually, more like an intense infatuation/lust scenario) and then spend six years making it work. I've been able to remain good friends with Love of My Life #1. Love of My Life #2 didn't shake out as well.

Actually dating - as opposed to mating - has helped me face a few things about myself. First, I've had to get a grip on my romantic expectations. I think many people dream that they're going to screen people via a personal ad until they find the "Love of Their Life" and all the courtship pieces will fall into place at lightspeed. This never happens. Never. So forget that right away. I've found myself simply being satisfied if I can get out of the house on a weekly basis, maybe have a nice meal and a conversation, and not have anything icky happen. So far, I've been successful.

Secondly, receiving regular attention from unknown men (in a safe environment) has helped me truly believe that I'm an awesome woman. That I am attractive, that I am intelligent, that I am desirable. Yes, it's kind of pathetic that validation from strangers seems more believable than validation from my friends or from within myself. But as a former roommate of mine has been known to say "It's kinda like your Momma calling you 'pretty.' You expect it from her, so you don't see it as an objective opinion."

And finally, Internet dating has helped me become more comfortable with being alone, with being my own best company. The paradox of meeting a variety of people on a regular basis is that I understand myself better, I understand the dynamics between people better, and I better realize that being alone is not such the albatross that we all think of it as being. And if the date I'm on isn't working out or really "clicking," all I have to do is just hang around and
something else will come along shortly enough.

The condensed history of my Internet dating life is that I've had about 4 or 5 first dates or meetings. In one circumstance, I dated one of my respondents (a guy from Philly) a total of 6 times (with one highly abortive attempt at sex) when he stopped contacting me. As in no calls, no email, nothing. The sexual fiasco and the NYC attack on 09/11/01 occurred at roughly the same time. In fact, the chronology went like this:

09/09/01: Attend Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control with D-. Drive him him to his house. Get into tonsil hockey match in car. Relocate to his house. Basically wrestle for an hour, without satisfaction, then pass out for a couple of hours before staggering to work.

09/10/01: Struggle to stay awake at work. Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of my mother, and I barely speak all day long.

09/11/01: I telecommute from home, because I'm waiting for a telephone repairman to show up. I'm watching the "Today Show" when they begin showing the footage from the WTC. I watch in absolute horror with the rest of the nation. When they show the second jetliner hitting the towers, I immediately know it's terrorism. What else could it be? As news reports flood in on TV and the radio, I begin emailing and instant messaging all my friends. Is everyone OK? Will people be leaving work and returning home? Are the schools being let out? A friend in D.C. tells me that I'll forever be etched in her mind as the person who first told her about 09/11/01 on AIM. Ahh, infamy. I call my Dad, who basically only watches The Weather Channel, when he watches TV at all. Of course, he doesn't watch the morning programs. I'm talking so fast he has me repeat what I'm saying three times. After I relay the news, I tell him that I'd tried to call him the day before, but no one was home. He knows why I'd tried calling the day before. As his voice chokes, he tells me that yesterday was his girlfriend's birthday. I'm not sure I ever knew that. I see his girlfriend, E-, as my stepmother. To have these two dates now linked must be painful for my Dad. I tell him I love him and hang up, returning to the news feeds for the rest of the day.

After that, no contact from D- unless I initiated it. Our last date was for a concert in Philly, because I'd already bought the tickets two weeks before and didn't have anyone else to take. He paid for them, as well as paying for the parking and food. If nothing else, he definately wasn't a mooch. But after having to initiate email and phone calls to basically guilt-trip him to responding was getting demeaning, and who the hell needs that?

But beyond that, no regular dates, no boyfriend. The status quo of singlehood is maintained.