"My Vespa"

With Congress having one and a half feet out the door for the Recess that will lead them through the election, I can feel the waves calming and my workday significantly opening up. Until about five minutes ago, though, when I looked at my to-do list and it didn't cause heart palpitations, I assumed the next few days would be just as sardine packed as the past month.

So, before I could discover that my list of things that must be accomplished today actually spills onto the next page, I decided to finally get back to nonsensical writing. Life has been taunting me with so much material, seemingly knowing that I have had absolutely no time to spend sharing the musings that bedazzle my everyday life. The reentrance pressure has also be mounting -- like when you have skipped too many classes in a row, put off a conversation that needed to be had weeks ago, not answered a call for the tenth time. It's hard to hang your head in shame and put your best foot forward.

So in lieu of a foot, I bring you an email I received. A piece of electronic mail that I have seriously contemplated submitting to the late night TV shows and hope you enjoy as much as I have. To preface the email, you must know that our new condo building has a Yahoo Group that you can sign up for and is monitored by the management company. I believe the original objective of this list serve was to spread news in the building and neighborhood, electronically ask for a cup of sugar, etc. However, as with most things that begin with the best of intentions and then are man handled by douche bags, the emails that are traded -- mind you, amongst the entire building -- have become absurd, whiny and half the time completely irrelevant.

Without further ado, I bring you -- "My Vespa."


I own a black Vespa that is parked on B2 right next to spot 47. You see it as soon as you come out of the vestibule. It's been parked there for at least 2 years now.

I just had to have someone come pick up and drive it in a truck to get it serviced, because someone had clearly been sitting/playing on it and left the ignition switch in the "on" position and it drained the battery.

You're probably thinking that I am trying to blame someone for an error I made, because I am too arrogant to think that I would know better than leave the switch in the "on" position. Yeah I would probably think that too, but I offer you this:


Please be assured that these were not my toenail clippings-- 1) I do not let my toenails get as long as these clippings were, and 2) I don't clip my toenails on my scooter in the garage.

I refuse to believe that any resident would do something like this, but rather someone's guest.

In any case, I am asking nicely to please do not sit on, play on, or otherwise conduct personal hygiene on my scooter. Thank you.

Only to be responded with -- again, to the entire building:

I am outraged for you.

Saw it being taken away and wondered what had happened.

Aren't there security cameras in the garage? Or is it only in the vestibules?

Hoping someone is caught.

Outraged? Isn't that just a tad melodramatic? What will the culprit be caught doing and what exactly is his crime? Folks, we've got a serial toe nail clipper on our hands; please enact the buddy system and keep a close eye on your things. Now, oh horribly victimized Vespa owner, are you aware that you have just informed the entire building, and I'm sure all of our very entertained friends, exactly where your vehicle is parked? Basically an open invitation to gifts of mischief and conductions of "personal hygiene on [your] scooter," I would think.

People are so much fun and so very vain. I mean, this guy really thinks someone sat down, turned his scooter on and drained the battery whilst clipping their toenails. If this criminal mastermind was really hoping to do ill will, wouldn't he or she just have driven off on the Vespa after he had turned it on? No, that's right, he probably that he would really get the owner's goose by clipping his toe nails and draining the battery.

Really?! I mean REALLY?! I too, am outraged. (Insert grinning emoticon of choice here.)

Is it nearly fall already?!

I looked forward to vacation for so long and as soon as I blinked, the beach was replaced by my desk chair again and life is more chaotic than ever. My head is filled to the brim with thoughts and ramblings to spew out into this blog and all I have time for is this: next year I will be taking full advantage of August Recess. That and I caught one of my coworkers taking a newspaper to the restroom and wasn't able to choke down my laugh. Which, I believe was much deserved on his part, no?

Here are a couple of photos from Hilton Head Island and our one year anniversary celebration... and one from the big celebration a year ago.

Ciao Ciao.

Propellers and Wine

We are finally en route to our first REAL vacation in two years. Nothing to do but relax. The feeling is surreal and even despite the propellers rotating outside of my window, I admit, I am more relaxed that I have been in years. It may be the glasses of wine I consumed while our plane was continuously delayed, but hey, whatever it takes. Again because of the time of year I am extremely nostalgic and reminiscent, which has me counting my blessings that life has bestowed upon me – or that could be the propellers outside of my window – namely the people who have morphed me into the gal I am.

Life has a funny way of bringing people into your life whom you never thought would be starting players, but nudge their way in – perhaps without even knowing it themselves – and take root in your soul. I guess the old adage, “when you aren’t looking for love, love will find you,” is true. My best friends – including the hubs – seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Even when I didn’t know I was searching for a friend. Those whom upon first impressions I assumed I would rarely speak with again and would become merely a Facebook stalk now and again are the ones who have permanently staked claim in my life.

And there are those who come back. Friends who seem gone forever and bonds that appear to have been eternally severed, yet resurface unscathed and forgiven. There is something magical about a friendship that ends abruptly and then picks up years later unchanged and untarnished. Something inexplicably enchanting when you are reunited with someone and the once harbored anger dissipates into a foggy memory.
Then there are those who appear out of nowhere.

 Those you wished for and didn’t appear, those who you dreamt of and were imaginary, those who you needed and arrived right on queue. Co-workers who become best friends, neighbors who become family, friends of friends whom you should have been introduced years ago, immeasurable. And the most rewarding feeing is to give love in without expectance of anything in return.

My Own Nostalgia

Labor Day weekend has always been a place marker for me. "This time last year..." or "Remember three years ago now..." Aside from the irony they literary symbolism, I feel the summer days fading and never fail to feel the heaviness of one more year gone by. More than anything this vulnerability of change is directly connected to our position on the globe and nine month school calendar, which has always placed me in a new situation each year at this time.

Most recently -- boarding school, college, Rome, Washington and marriage. One year ago I was prepping to add a last name and become a partnership, no longer me against the world. Three years ago, I was beginning my life as an adult, having moved halfway across the country, trading in highway driving for the Metro, and quite possibly my soul. Four years ago, I found myself landing in the beautiful country of Italy where I could not count to ten in the native language, knew no one or what to even expect. But I knew that trip was what I needed. Seven years ago, I was pulling out of my parents' drive way, both of our cars loaded down with things for my dorm room and my youngest brother riding shot gun as we blared the Gatlin Brothers. I was completely blind to the winding road of college that was to come. And ten years ago, I was hugging my mom and dad good-bye, choking back tears after lobbying for boarding school and winning, of course, and  unaware of the difference the experience would make in my life.

So here I am in the present, packing my bags for the first vacation D and I have taken together that is not to Illinois in two years. Since we are taking a bottle of the wine left from the big celebration from this time last year, I get to take a big suitcase and check it. Such a luxury that I didn't realize I have not enjoyed in quite sometime. As I grabbed my old bag out of the closet, I ripped an old airline tag off, just to find the last time I had used the suitcase was my flight home from my Italian study abroad. As if I weren't nostalgic already.

As hard as I tried, I could not throw that damn raggedy scrap away -- it even made it to the trash can for a minute, until I felt compelled to rescue it. I just couldn't throw it away. So now I have garbage sitting on my dresser because I am not ready to part with physical evidence of that part of my life. Such is growing up and the growing pains that join in on the ride -- the places you never expect to go and those you thought you would, friends that are brief and ones that enjoy the ride right along with you and the fall that inevitably greets us each September.

Nostalgia, by Billy Collins

One of my favorite poems, by my favorite poets, perfect for my mood that seems to reappear each year at this time....


Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow."
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.

The 1790's will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

For Girls Only

I was watching the Today Show one morning this week, per usual, and they advertised an upcoming segment that forced me into overdrive -- yes, I do have a fast mode when I want to -- so I could be ready to pour my cereal and devote my full attention to the television.

The information I have to share is a White Russian mix of good and bad for us gals. Brace yourselves.

The guest on the show broke the information down into days/stages of a period and while I'm sure some of the information is transient among all post-childhood, pre-menopausal (or pre-hysterectomy) ladies, bits of it made me want to reach through the TV and strangle her. So, let's begin at the very beginning, a very good place to start... I have been listening to the Sound of Music soundtrack for days now, so it is possible the lyrics may transfer over into my writing.

Days 1-5, a.k.a. the period: Little miss sunshine OBGYN claims that these are the days when women are most creative and that artisans will find they produce their best works during this time and professionals accomplish more, as well. Oh, she said, there may be cramps, but...Scccreeeech. Stop. This woman must shit tulips as well, because in my ten years of experience, during this so called "creative period," the last thing I want to do is, ummm, anything except create a pain killing cocktail to relieve me of the horrifying cramps, aches, stress, you name it. Let me uncurl myself from the couch, put down the Oreos, change out of my sweatpants and take on the world. Idiot. If you can relate to this woman, please keep your comments to yourself, because I really don't want to hear about it. Misery loves company.

Days 6-13: This is when women should feel their best, because Estrogen levels are the highest. Now this I can believe. Seven days of happiness. Or maybe this is the week following the period, whence we terrorized the lives of those around us; so now, egg shells embedded in the soles of their feet, they are tiptoeing around us. Hey, whatever works. Happy wife, happy life -- right?

Then there are the couple of days when ladies can become a mommy, but since I have knowledge to share here, I will just float along to the next phase.

Days 16-28, dum dum duuuuum, PMS: What wrinkles my my brain is that PMS engulfs twice as much time as any other portion of the cycle. No wonder women painted to be hideous creatures. Apparently, over half of the month -- we are! At least we have a good excuse, because quite frankly, our behavior, attitude and any actions are out of our control. Now for the really good news -- apparently during this Hyde phase ladies burn between 100 and 300 more calories, just because. If that doesn't make your day, I don't know what will. So go ahead and eat that whole bag of M&Ms and feel a little less guilty. Besides, according to the doctor you will be feeling up to exerting your energy in no time, when days 1-5 rolls back around.

Watch the segment from the Today Show and pass your own judgement.