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Monday, October 25, 2010

This Could Go Either Jay-Z or Jordan

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Flit, I Float, I Fleetly Flee I Fly

Yesterday's wrap-up wasn't just for the past 12 months. It was for good. I started this blog a year ago and it's been a thoroughly lovely experiment. But I'm calling it a day. The upcoming year looks to be a very busy and exciting one for me. Also, about a month ago I said to my Significant Other, "I think I'm running out of funny. I want to go back to just observing things for the sake of observing them." He nodded thoughtfully and said, "You just want to be able to start shopping again without having to 'fess up." He knows me very, very well and it's why I'm madly in love with him. (Like Jay-Z and Jordan, I reserve the right to change my mind on a whim, especially if someone charges me too much for a veggie hotdog or unfairly tows our car and deserves public derision.)

I hope it has been half as entertaining for you to read this blog as it was for me to write it. Feel free to keep emailing me (brunchbird at yahoo dot com) and stop to say hello when you see me out on the town. And of course you're welcome to stay and rifle through the archives. Just turn off the lights when you leave please.

Brunch Bird

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Looking Back at a Year in Brunch Bird, Or, Profiles in Naval Gazing

"The Last Brunch" a remix for Marithe & Francois Girbaud

It's been just shy of a year since I've started this blog and I thought I'd take a look back.

Number of people who called me self-indulgent when I said I was starting a blog: 1
Number of people who called me self-indulgent when I said I was starting a blog who now have their own blog: 1
People I was determined could never read my blog: my parents, my boss, my co-workers, and my Significant Other's parents
People who now read my blog: my parents, my boss, my co-workers, and my Significant Other's parents
Number of them who have found it cause for concern: 0
Total page downloads: 70,945
Total unique visitors: 51,215
Number of posts: 290
Most-read post: It's Christmas Eve
Reason why: An unlikely fairy godmother
Dumbest post I ever wrote: Verification Word Mad Libs (This was tough, because there have been some real stinkers, but seriously, that post was absolutely terrible.)
Favorite post to write:The One Where I Beat the D.C. Police Department
Number of gratuitous pictures of my dog on the blog: 3 (Here, here and here.)
Favorite Reason Why the Terrorists Hate Us: Bibleopoly!
Number of comments: 1,502 (Give or take. I was getting spam comments at the beginning and I lost track a couple times while tallying them all up.)
Most prolific commenter: Tie — I-66, Etcetera
First local blog I ever read: Rock Creek Rambler
My strongest blog influences: Sweet, Hammer, Pygs in a Blanket
Number of food purveyors I've likely angered:
I'm guessing three.
Best sport: Significant Other
Favorite discovery about the blogosphere: Heretofore total strangers willing to be genuinely chummy and supportive of the writings of some bird they'd never met.
Favorite overall month: November 2006
Only posts that got to me while writing: One Last Thing and To The Men Who...
Most commented-on post: The latter of those two
Most ill-advised post title ever: (sigh...$%&@)
Only person I ever talked smack about who would cause me to totally cave if he ever confronted me: Bob Woodward
Development that made me most wish I didn't blog anonymously: Making it onto McSweeney's
Two things I will post again, without even bothering to come up with a category: This video and this photograph.

You'll Want to Sit Down for This: Today I'm Talking About Mommy Bloggers

I subconsciously vowed to never mention mommy bloggers in this space, their very presence on the Internets a looming spectre reminding me of my own dormant and ignored but certainly relentlessly ticking inner Piaget. Yet, against the odds, two have weasled their way into my affection. One is a veteran blogger who I wouldn't know if she came up and stomped on my stiletto. The other is a dear friend with whom I go way back. In addition to being the proud new owner of two, tiny newborn babies, she has a tiny, newborn blog. I vow this to you gentle reader: were these the self-indulgent whinings of dingbat women who compare changing a diaper to arguing a case before the Supreme Court, I would not put them before you. Rather, they are the bloggers I sort of want to be when I grow up: whipsmart, awe-inspiringly hip and competent caregivers, and offbeat and creative observers of their new world. I give you:

Where's My Cape?, whose April 14 post proved that she does two things well: throws wee little parties with the coolest of themes, and, writes. (She's also a doctor in her spare time, but this isn't a post about doctor mommy lifesaving blogging, is it Superwoman?)

Snacks, Please!, whose April 11 post about having to interview with her 2-year-old daughter at a Montessori school made me simultaneously laugh and cringe, which I think is the point of good mommy blogging anyway.

And the first commenter who makes some snotty remark about this being the day that I jumped the shark gets sent to his room without any dessert. I-66, I'm looking in your direction, mister.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Pants Party Comes to an End

Remember when my sister took pity on me for my rigid attempt not to spend any money and bought me the perfect Elie Tahari midnight blue pants that I'd been coveting, as a gift for making it through the first month?

Yes, well she remembered, too, while reading about me merrily skipping through the boutiques and chains of Georgetown this weekend. Last night I answered the ringing phone and said hello, not knowing who was on the other end. The first thing I heard?: "I want the pants back!"

"The world, as a rule, does not live on beaches and in country clubs."

The weekend before last, I lounged around The Willard for their special cherry blossom high tea service. This past weekend I lounged on the lawn of St. John's College in Annapolis, munching on my parent's amazing spring tailgate spread at the St. John's-Naval Academy croquet match. In two weeks, I'm off to lounge around London. There are times when you realize how swell life is thanks largely to pure dumb luck.

For those of you unfamiliar with the croquet tradition (say, anyone not from within 10 miles of Annapolis), St. John's College--the school where students spend four years reading and discussing the Great Books and get their grades only if they request them--has only one sports team: the croquet team. And they participate in one match per year: against the Academy. To warm up for the event each team plays one practice match: against a local senior citizen's home. Dubbed "a perennial inside joke," the tilt originated when a former Academy commandant instructing a Johnnie to find a sport he and his bookworm bretheren could actually win. And every year the midshipmen don natty lawn dress while the Johnnies try to scrape together the grottiest team uniform possible. This year, they went with Budweiser T-shirts with their own "Born on" dates. The mids' waterboys are in full Navy dress. The Johnnies tote their own Budweisers around. From the Post:

The Johnnies also field a designated temptress, held in reserve for desperate moments, whose job it is to saunter over to the midshipmen with a winning smile and a tray of drinks. The mids, for their part, perennially vow to remain sober throughout the five-game match; they sometimes keep that pledge well into the second game.

Here are some pictures from the croquet event, courtesy of my father. See if you can pick out who the Naval Academy players and spectators are and who the Johnnies and their fans are. As for the dog, I believe he was an equal opportunity fan.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Statement to the Press Regarding Brunch Bird and the No-Spending Plan

"Thank you for coming. I'll keep this brief. I'm happy to announce that Brunch Bird and Shopping, after a four-month trial separation, have reconciled. Many of you have already seen the photographs taken Sunday in Georgetown. While this does signal the end of her at-times contentious relationship with Determined Resolve, I can say that that split was amicable. Ms. Bird and Shopping request that you respect their privacy during this special time. Thank you. No questions."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tech Triumph

"Help one another. Do not let this one person take away from the good things that happen on a daily basis at Virginia Tech. We must take the weakness of one troubled individual, and make sure we find a way for it to make us stronger. We must, and we will, I'm sure of it."
--Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech Football Coach, Class of '69

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Some Thoughts for Keyboard Warriors and Coaches

Someone more clever than I said we are a fast food nation. And in the last few days it's been proven that we demand our heroes served up quickly, too.

From a keyboard in New York or Northern Virginia our brave and our analytical wag their fingers at the dead and the living who appeared to have lacked the bravery and coolheadedness they would have likely had when a maniac walked into their classroom and wordlessly began shooting. They reference United 93 and troops in Iraq, as if by merely pointing to the actions of those men and women they are somewhow brave by association. (Yet somehow, they've never quite found their way to the recruiting office to fight in a war they are so passionate about.) They feel that in the aftermath of a tragedy, they can bring more to the national discourse by calling the dead 'wilting lilies' than celebrating their lives.

These keyboard warriors and coaches do not brook delays, and within 48 hours of a senseless and sprawling tragedy, demand to be tucked in with bedtime stories of knights on white horses and superheroes. When they hear of only one at the outset they whine like children sent to bed without cake. Perhaps if they had waited for more than a few days, as students shot multiple times decided it was more important to heal than spill their stories to an impatient lunatic fringe, they would have read of the bravery of young men and women who blocked doors and rushed the shooter and shoved classmates into closets in the hopes that at least their peers would find some safety. And yes, they could have read that sometimes in an instant, a 20-year-old must decide whether he wants to choose a desk under which to hide, in the hopes that he might live to be married, to have children, and to fulfill a life of promise, or at the very least, to die in a spot of his choosing. That sometimes, gasp, life is not like a movie.

No, these keyboard warriors and coaches have no time for that. They've got important decisions to valiantly soldier through today in this fast food nation of ours: Quarter Pounder with Cheese or Big Mac for lunch?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In Praise of The Journalists Covering the Virginia Tech Shootings

Since Monday, my Significant Other and other friends of ours have been in Blacksburg covering the events for different newspapers. They are journalists.

For starters, people who get paid to stand on camera and hold a microphone because they take a fake tan well and can approximate verbal gravitas are not journalists. Nor are pundits. Let’s get that incorrect notion out of the way right now. Brian Williams is not a journalist. Katie Couric is not a journalist. Dr. Phil is not a journalist. Nancy Grace is not a journalist. Some bonehead who made it to network because she was the prettiest gal on camera at WVLT in Knoxville, Tennessee, isn't a journalist. Former law enforcement officers now peddling their wares as “suspect profilers” are not journalists.

Journalists are the ones who get zero glory and have spent the last three sleepless days walking around trying to figure out how to best transcribe overwhelming pain and anguish. They’re the ones gathering the actual pieces of information that you are seeing in newspapers and online. They are the reason you knew throughout the day Monday that there was an unbearably escalating death toll in a small town 270 miles away. They are the reason you know who is responsible for the killings and that he had a history of violent writings and bizarre behavior. They are the reason you know that the students and staff killed were each in their own way remarkable and brave people. They are the reason you knew of the sorrowful convocation of the Virginia Tech family yesterday afternoon in Blacksburg, and the vigil last night, even though you weren’t there. You know all this because they found out for you.

They do a job you can’t even fathom doing. The least you could do is learn who they are, and lean toward showing them some respect or gratitude, rather than slamming them.

So This is What it Sounds Like When Doves Gag on Their Cheerios

I've just discovered that a couple years ago, Michelle Malkin wrote a piece that namechecked me in referring to something I wrote. My name oozed from MichMalk's fingers onto her keyboard. That pretty much seals the deal: I'm going to need a valium chaser on breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Show Your Hokie Pride on Friday

Just got this email, that's apparently making its way across the country:

Orange and Maroon Effect
Virginia Tech family members across the country have united to declare this Friday, April 20th, an " Orange and Maroon Effect" day to honor those killed in the tragic events on campus Monday, and to show support for Virginia Tech students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and friends. " Orange and Maroon Effect" was born several years ago as an invitation to Tech fans to wear orange and maroon to
Virginia Tech athletic events. We invite everyone from all over the country to be a part of the Virginia Tech family this Friday, to wear orange and maroon to support the families of those who were lost, and to support the school and community we all love so much.

Two TV on the Radio Tickets for Sale

I screwed up my foot yesterday and am immobile. The show is tomorrow night at the 9:30 Club. Email me at brunchbird at yahoo dot com if you want my two tickets. $25 each, exactly what I paid. UPDATE, 12 p.m.: one left

Hokie Respect

"Oh yeah, I'm sure your turkeys are going to field a great team this year. Uh, sorry, I mean 'your Hokies.' But I mean, a Hokie is a turkey right? Same deal?"

That's the type of conversation I typically have weekly during the football pre-season with my longtime friend Brian. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1998, I from Clemson the same year. When Tech entered the ACC in 2003, that only cemented the rivalry. But deep down I've always harbored the notion that Virginia Polytechnic Institute is one of the nicest universities in the nation. Even in the heat of this past football season, as my Tigers prepared to face off with the Hokies, I couldn't help but give them a nod for their generosity. (Although you'll see I couldn't help make fun of their "Hokies Respect" sportsmanship campaign.) I've harbored that secret notion about Virginia Tech because the university was the backdrop of one of the most pleasant weekends of my life, and conversely, on one of the more unpleasant days, doctors at the now-famous Montgomery Regional Hospital provided some of the best medical care I've ever received.

In October 2003, I traveled to Blacksburg to see the Hokies take on No. 2 Miami. I'd spent the day tailgating with Brian and other friends who are all alumni -- some of the most laid-back people you'll ever meet, on the most perfect autumn day you'll ever see. With the sun setting over Blacksburg's hills, we made our way to the stadium, stopping to take part in a then-fledgling tradition in which the Hokies walked through the cheering fans to get into the stadium. Inside, I found myself cheering and jumping up and down like a loon for the Hokies. And then they won. Color me impressed. The next day I had to swallow a bit of pride and ask if we could stop off at the campus bookstore. I wanted to get a T-shirt. To their credit, Brian and another friend (also Bryan) kept the smirking to a minimum and waited patiently while I bought my shirt. Then we spent the morning slowly meandering across the various fields and porticoes that make up the campus, the guys pointing out the landmarks of their collegiate shennanigans and academic pursuits. Again, I was surprised and impressed. As it's an engineering school, I'd expected unremarkable concrete buildings. To the contrary, the campus, especially in autumn, is beautiful.

This past fall, I traveled again to Blacksburg, this time to see my Tigers take on the Hokies. But because of a peculiar chronic syndrome I've got, I ended up being taken by ambulance immediately after the game to Montgomery Regional Hospital. This illness seems to rear its head when I travel, so I've logged a lot of time in middle-of-nowhere hospitals. But this time, yet again, I was impressed. The staff at Montgomery Regional was efficient, professional, compassionate, and unlike most times when I arrive at a hospital with this illness and am greeted by skepticism or incompetence, they were helpful. The doctors and nurses there had a young woman in front of them who'd been brought in from campus, had spent the day tailgating and yet they didn't question me twice when I said that I'd only had a couple beers that day and that that wasn't the problem. And perhaps most importantly, through the whole thing, Brian and another friend, Joey, didn't complain once about having to pass up their well-deserved post-game partying downtown to hang out in the waiting room of the hospital.

Today, I'll dig into my dresser and get out the Virginia Tech T-shirt I bought that morning in 2003. I'll wear it as my own tiny act of defiance against a monster, and to honor a school that I consider a class act.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech

I've poked a lot of playful fun at Virginia Tech over the years. Today my heart goes out to all of you who now call or once called the campus home.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Urgent Action Needed!

Periodically I mobilize my little corner of the internets for voting in various contests on behalf of friends who are vying for journalistic titles ranging from hottest to up-and-comingyiest. This time your vote is needed for something far, far more shallow. Another soul near and dear to my heart was a finalist in the Post's Sunday Source Peep contest. Please, if you do nothing else in the next 30 seconds (and then every 30 seconds after that for the duration of the contest), go vote for her entry: Marpeep Antoinette.

And yes, you'll see other worthy candidates when you go to vote. But there's only one way to demonstrate to all of the Post readers the power of the Brunch Bird voting block: by voting for the contestant who had the prescience to look at a Peep and say, "That thing should have a cotton ball wig on its head." Thank you and God speed.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Return to Putting on a Good Show

I've been sleeping with my TV on the Radio tickets under my pillow for about three months now. However a friend emailed me a slightly troubling dispatch from their show the night before last in Florida. TV on the Radio, if you read this blog (and really, how could you not?) please don't do this next week:

...There were THREE opening acts. [Name] and I arrived at what we thought would be the perfect time to miss them: 9:30. The third opener hadn't even begun. There was about 30 minutes of fiddling w/mics etc. before they got started. The Blood Brothers were horrendous and played 20 songs -- more than appropriate for an opener, in my opinion. TV on the Radio finally took the stage at 11:45. At one point, the lead singer sprayed the entire crowd with his water bottle, because, he noted, it was hot. Um, yeah. At least they sounded incredible. After 6 songs, they left the stage and their encore included members of the three previous bands. We left at 1, before they finished, exhausted, damp and slightly disappointed...Sigh. I hope your experience is way cooler.

Me too. Because I'm not going to be able to be a smarmy snotball about having had these tickets that have been sold out for months if not.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Diet Coke is Making Me Fat

Those who have known me for some time know that I am prone to making pronouncements. Historical examples:

Kindergarten, holding brown paper bag on which I'd written "Running Away," containing blanket and bag of marshmallows: "I'm running away."
Response from parents: "OK, be careful."

Senior year of high school: "I had a dream last night that I killed a cow by pushing it off the back deck and now I'm going to be a vegetarian."
Response from parents: "Yes, dear."

Yesterday: "I'm thinking about getting a nose job. I want a nose that could best be described as 'pert.'"
Response from Significant Other: "No, you're not."

This morning: "Diet Coke is making me fat. I'm not drinking it anymore."
Response from Significant Other: [silence, continues reading newspaper]

As you can see, my loved ones have grown accustomed to weathering these various whims. However, in an attempt to keep my batting average above .500, I believe that pronouncement No. 4 will join pronouncement No. 2 in actually sticking. Typically, throughout Lent, I don't eat sweets. This usually results in a nice, flat stomach. Ergo, I've always inferred that sugar = little potbelly, so no sugar = hello bathing suit season! But this year, that wasn't the case. I still had that little stubborn bump. Then I realized that I've been chugging Diet Cokes like they're going out of style and I made the connection. So for the last few days I cut way back and switched mainly to water. Already flatter.
Eons ago I remember reading a Vogue health article by some dame who wanted to lose weight [Editor's note: all Vogue health articles are either by a 115-pound contributing editor who wants to lose weight or a 28-year-old contributing editor who wants to get Botox] and her doctor prohibited diet sodas on the belief that the carbonation led to swelling. Do any members of the scientific or medical community reading this have any explanation for this? Is it really just because of the sodium? I'd Google it myself but I don't have time. I've got nose job risks to investigate.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Sausage for Oil! (Or, you know, whatever else you want to yell at Paula Deen.)

I don't eat meat, and I'm always looking for an opportunity to be even more smug than usual, so I'm already standing in solidarity with the folks at Justice at Smithfield. Which, according to the email I just received, means heckling Food Network star Paula Deen next week when she comes to the Natural History museum:

Paula Deen is Cookin' for Smithfield in DC
We invite you to join us at 6:00 pm on April 18 at the National Museum of Natural History to greet Paula Deen who is currently on tour promoting her new book "It Ain't All About the Cooking." ..Paula Deen, famous for her southern buttery cooking, has partnered with Smithfield Foods in a marriage of mutual promotion...This partnership ignores the organizing efforts of over 5,500 Smithfield Packing workers in Tar Heel, N.C., where workers' injuries have gone up by 200% since 2003 and where workers are constantly enduring harsh working conditions characterized by fear, threats, abuse, and intimidation. How can Paula Deen who claims to put her "family values ahead of her cooking values" support a company which, according to a PBS Now documentary, "penalizes workers for taking care of their children and leaves amputated parents who can no longer keep their jobs and therefore are fired"? ...Because you support the struggle of Smithfield Tar Heel workers for decent working conditions, let's give Paula Deen a warm welcome during her visit...Lets ask Paula to do the right thing.

Now, I like Paula Deen. I respect any cook who refers to a recipe in which she rolls bananas in melted butter as "a healthy snack." And after years in the South, her show provides a nice trip down memory lane whenever she says something like "swait puhtatuh." But Deen should know that she's shilling for a company that treats its workers in such a shabby fashion. Also, I'm wondering why she is taking her book tour to the Natural History Museum. Seriously, is she going to be slapping together a batch of ham biscuits next to the Hope Diamond, or stewing up a crab boil underneath the elephant? Because when I think "Invertebrate Room" I don't think "tasty."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Time to Get My Easter Candy On

I'm off to Wrightsville Beach, N.C., for four days of relaxing Joey-style (before she went crazy and married the dude from Cocktail) at a beachfront manse with the fam. Cannot wait. I've got Easter candy to eat—Cadbury cream eggs, jelly beans, chocolate Easter bunnies, Peeps—you name it. Especially Peeps. God knows those little yellow, sugar-covered buggers are an inspiring creation...

Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ten Easy Steps for Having a Romantic, Post-Work Cherry Blossom Date

1. Forget how much of a pain in the ass the ordeal was last year.
2. Leave work later than planned. Know this 15 minutes will irrevocably damage the entire evening’s schedule.
3. Scratch earlier plans to prepare a chic Mediterranean spread or a sumptuous Parisian picnic. Instead, dash into Popeyes and point to the first pile of chicken and carbohydrates you see on the board.
4. Meet Significant Other at work, who is also now running late. Know that this additional 15-minute delay means any cherry blossoms will be viewed for roughly five minutes in the daylight.
5. Jam onto the Metro with a bunch of cranky natives and slogging tourists. Dither over whether it’s the Federal Triangle exit or the Federal Center exit.
6. Delight in remembering that it is Federal Triangle exit that’s closest, which is the one you got off at. This is great because you now only have approximately three miles to walk to see the *$&# cherry blossoms.
7. Scramble across the Mall as the sun sets, lugging the Popeyes, and wonder what in the heck Tom Cavanagh of "Ed” fame is doing with a bunch of other ironic T-shirt wearing hipsters standing around hugging each other off to the side of the Washington Monument. (For reals!)
8. Wonder how in the heck the Significant Other actually remembered that the dude’s name is Tom Cavanagh when the best you could muster was an elbow jab to his ribs and a muttered “HeyitsthatdudefromEd.”
9. Finally arrive at suitable picnic spot. Spread the blanket, tuck into the beans and biscuits, laugh as the petals landing in the dinner and your hair, and glower at the idiots yanking on the branches for their photos.
10. Lean back on elbows, take in the pale, puffy pinkness of the Tidal Basin as the day’s light fades, and forget how much of a pain in the ass this whole ordeal has been.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dear Sir or Madam, You Might Want to Add "Customer Banter" to Your Licensing Requirements

When the weekend concludes with penning a letter to the D.C. Taxi Commission informing them that they might not want their drivers telling departing passengers, “I will f*** you in the a**," one knows that they have had quite a weekend.

Friday, March 30, 2007

No-Spending Plan Tabled, Or, The March Treasurer's Report

By now you all know the story: I'm trying to not to spend any money on myself in 2007. But remember the Jefferson Hotel sale I told you about yesterday? Um, yes, well see the thing is...OK, here's the deal*: since last spring I've been trying to find a wrought iron table for my balcony. I logged significant frequent flyer miles on Smith&Hawken, Tarjay, Craigslist, you name it. The table wasn't out there unless I was willing to pay $300. Which I wasn't. So when I pushed open a tall glass terrace door at the Jefferson and saw one of those perfect $300 tables sitting there, with a price tag of $125, I knew that I was going to have to recalibrate my principles. Make no mistake: I don't dither over whether to recalibrate my principles if the price is right. I do however feel more than a twinge of guilt about this slip now. It's really going to gnaw at me as I spend Saturday morning on the balcony, reading the paper, eating my croissant, at my new table.

Here's the damage for March:

*All phone calls to my parents for my four years of college opened with the phrase "here's the deal." It was immediately followed by a highly cogent explanation for why X-number of dollars were needed.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Even Eloise Got Evicted From The Plaza

Yesterday after work I went over to the Jefferson Hotel, which is closing and liquidating. (It was technically invitation only but anyone can go today from 10-7.) Everything's for sale, right down to the hangers and bathrobes. It was fairly quiet when I was there, giving me the chance to poke around in rooms alone. It was a somewhat maudlin and eerie stroll. Sunlight filtered into empty rooms. Stately lodgings had become disheveled, priced-to-go sums of their parts. For two years, when daydreaming, I've looked from my office window, down the street, at one particular balconied room of this hotel. Yesterday, I found my way to that room and stared out the window back at my own office nearby. The room was enormous and had once been grand, just as I'd imagined it. But now the rich wood furniture was covered with a fine coat of dust. I was simultaneously intrigued and a little bummed out to stand inside it.

Waiting for one of the tiny elevator cars that would carry me back down to the ornate and quickly-being-dismantled lobby, I chatted with a nun in full-length habit. Tired from winding her way through the maze of rooms on the eighth floor, she perched on a brocade-seated chair, resting her arm against a pile of several matching ones. "The chairs around the table in our meeting room are so rickety," she told me. "These will be nice." I liked the idea of the chairs moving from a place where rooms once cost $350 a night to providing a nice place for the sisters to sit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No Wonder People Stick With "Goo Goo Ga Ga"

While I do not tend to say the wrong things around adults, I lack the gene that prevents me from sticking my stilettos directly in my mouth when children are involved. Take the case of my former Florida newspaper’s holiday party, when I leaned over to a coworker’s little boy, mustered what I thought passed for interest and enthusiasm and said, “Hi there little guy! Are you ready for Santa?! I bet you’re ready for Santa!” The kid looked at me blankly and his father said tersely, “We’re Jewish,” before hustling him off to the secular cookie buffet.

This quirk is especially problematic now that the birthing season is upon us. There are only 16 units in my co-op, so we’re all fairly chummy. Which means that the decision of about a quarter of the building to breed nine months ago now has me standing in the kitchen every other night whipping up a casserole of some sort. (After significant time in the South I’ve learned there is one appropriate response to birth and death and it's is the same: tuna noodle surprise.)

So when I took a batch of vegetarian goulash to the two lovely women living above us who had twins a few weeks ago, I did the auto-smile, cooed and blurted out: “Ooh, they’re so tiny!” Which was great, because they were born four weeks premature. Then last night I hauled some Florentine mac ‘n cheese to the couple next door and their two-day-old bundle of joy. This visit seemed to be going well. I opened with a “He is beautiful,” (and right after saying it, I knew I meant it) and brought it home with a “So perfect. He doesn’t even have that red blotchiness that babies usually have.” And then the new mother adjusted him on her lap to show that yes, in fact, the side of his little noggin that had been turned away from me was a big pile of blotchy.

Lesson learned: from now on I’m just knocking, chucking the Tupperware at them when they open the door, and fleeing.