May 29, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized at 4:51 pm by Dagny Taggart

Considering that I’ve not been at the day job most of this week, you’d think I’d be rested and rejuvenated.

But, no.  I’ve been packing.  And today I was moving.  And now?  Now I unpack.

May 28, 2009


Posted in RHoNJ at 11:38 am by Dagny Taggart

And… so.  

I’ve been debating about how best to handle this recappy thing, since I’m not in the habit of doing them.  I think dividing it up by housewife is the way to go, so I’ll keep trying to do it that way.

Theresa is starting to grow on me – it’s clear that she’s devoted to her daughter, and just wants everyone to see what she sees.  I was a little worried about the stage-mom factor in the first couple of episodes, but it seems like she was only doing those things because she really thought it would help her daughter succeed.  And her patience with everyone else on the show is, frankly, admirable.  It also helped that they didn’t really talk about her house much during this episode.  I can get past a lot, but… that house.

Dina and her brother are hysterical, and “rooster down” has a good shot at becoming a part of my lexicon.  As far as her behavior at the botox party goes?  Yeah, it did seem like she was protesting a bit too much when she claimed to never have done anything to her face.  Though I CAN believe that she’s not had her lips done.  And her little comment about Danielle’s vocabulary?  It was a barb, no doubt, but it’s also exactly the kind of comment someone might make if they were completely relaxed after a glass of wine with friends.  An apology wouldn’t be out of the question, but it really didn’t seem like she had set out that evening with the intention of putting anyone down.

Jacqueline?  Dear.  Lord.  Woman.  Spines are nice – you should look into one!  Yes, your family is a bunch of strong personalities, but it looks like they’re at least trying to respect your friend choices… they showed up to the party, and Caroline was perfectly lovely.  I haven’t yet heard either of them tell you NOT to be friends with Danielle -those reservations have been expressed editorially, but not conversationally.  And Danielle is disrespecting you by constantly putting you in a position where you’re dealing with HER issues with other people, in ways that make you choose sides.  And if your husband buys your daughter a car, perhaps you SHOULD be the one to have a conversation with him.  If you have a problem with your sisters-in-law criticizing you when they won’t talk to him, maybe you should bring that up with them directly.  Seriously – vertebrae are worth a little effort.

Caroline – I want to be adopted by this woman.  She’s pretty realistic when it comes to what her kids can do, and gets behind them a hundred percent when they figure out what they want to do – maybe even more than they’re behind themselves.  I definitely relate to the protective aspect of her personality.  I think it’s fascinating that although she’s almost never the primary focus of a scene, there’s no question that she’s there.

And again, Danielle.  I think I said most of it yesterday – but there are some serious issues.  The attention she gets seems mostly negative – like she’s never really learned that acting out so that people will pay attention to you isn’t a good way to win friends or influence people.  Again, I really question her decision to be on this show, if for no other reason than her kids.  If you know there are rumors about you, rumors that will undoubtedly get back to your kids and cause them pain and humiliation, wouldn’t you seriously reconsider an opportunity that could cause serious emotional scars?  Maybe you should start with considering therapy.

May 27, 2009

Eh. Mah. Gawd.

Posted in *cringe*, Present, The Gnomes, The WTF at 9:15 am by Dagny Taggart

The RHoNJ recap/discussion area will formally appear tomorrow, as I only caught bits and pieces of it after I got home from teaching last night.  However I do have word for Danielle: 

You don’t get to go on reality television braying constantly about how you need to marry a wealthy man, talk incessantly about sex, do so with an unbelievably filthy mouth*, and then (1) take offense when someone calls you on it, and (2) take offense when someone questions your commitment to your kids.

Well, I suppose you CAN, but it makes  you seem a little out of touch with the “reality” aspect of the show you’ve put yourself on.


*Seriously.  I never, ever heard anyone use this kind of language back home.   Sure, people curse all the time – but sexually explicit slang is still fairly taboo.  Woman, you’re 46 – surely by now you’ve learned what the proper terms are, or at least how to avoid making yourself sound trashy and again, embarrassing your daughters when the show airs.


In other news, thank you for the congratulations and warm wishes.  I’m so excited – even more so because it looks so much better without the selling agents’ staged furniture!    I am still trying to figure out where everything is going to go, and am actually finishing up that last stage of packing, where things are either thrown out, or thrown haphazardly into unlabeled boxes that will sit in the storage unit for at least a month or two.

I mean, I’m just putting the finishing touches on my impeccably organized packing and storage system.  Yeah, that’s it. 

May 26, 2009


Posted in Present, The Happy, The Where at 8:55 am by Dagny Taggart

In a few hours, I shall hand over a piece of paper with significantly more digits to the left of the decimal than to the right.  In return, I hope to obtain some smallish pieces of metal signifying the exclusive right of entry to a particular place.  

In other words, I will be joining the ranks of the landed gentry.  Mwahahahahaha.

I hope.  Please let nothing go wrong today?  PLEASE?


*update:  Things seemed to go pretty goshdarned smoothly.  So I can either breathe a sigh of relief, or look nervously skyward in anticipation of shoe-shaped raindrops…

May 22, 2009

Northern Aggression

Posted in Nerdiness, Past, Present, The Who, The Why at 9:34 am by Dagny Taggart

When one attends Ye Merrye Olde College, one makes the acquaintance of a number of personages from the capital of the Confederacy.  And one learns that for a good part of the population, what one first heard of as the American Civil War is correctly referenced as the War of Northern Aggression.

If one is from the land of milk and honey, and has been deprived of real bagels and lox, not to mention iced tea that won’t cause spontaneous diabetes, one might suggest to such personages that they don’t know a thing about northern aggression… yet.


I’ll be spending most of the weekend sorting and packing up the things that outline my life – if I’m lucky, I’ll find the time for a barbeque and beers with friends.

In the spirit of the holiday, though, I leave you with this thought:  Northerners may have been aggressors, depending on your point of view, but dang, men from Illinois have a way with words:

“All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hinds slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation’s gratitude—the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

excerpted from General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

May 21, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized at 7:52 am by Dagny Taggart

And so, it has come to this.  The land of milk and honey has produced something both awesome and terrifying – a reality show, set in the town where I attended high school.  

Of course, it’s actually set in the teensy tiny portion of the town inhabited by the absurdly wealthy.  Overall, the county is not all that different from Fairfax County – mostly middle to upper middle class, sprinkled with tiny pockets of actual wealth.  At least some of these women seem to have a reasonable amount of money at their disposal, though I’ve heard rumors about public records indicating that for some, the giant hoop earrings are gold-plated.

Terri grew up in Paterson, which is actually kind of hardcore, and makes me a little afraid of her.  She knows a little something about not having a whole lot, which makes me think that she’s someone you don’t want to piss off.  The ones who truly understand what they have to lose, are the ones you don’t want to cross.  So, I’ll refrain from saying anything about how her desire to make her entire family match, and her house that is going to be a monument to tackiness, are fairly typical nouveau riche (read:  declassé) attempts to porcelain veneer your family into upper middle class conformity, and will simply say instead that I think it’s kind of cute that she and her husband grew up together and are still together.

Jacqueline?  Jackie got on my bad side right away – armpit of the world?  Lady, you need to do two things – one, remember that you used to live in Vegas, which has a maximum 48-hour shelf life for most people, and two, get bigger hair.  Also, it might be wise to rethink your friendship with george hamilton Danielle, as she is more than a little crazy.  But this is about you, and your daughter, who seems intent on portraying herself in the worst light possible – she might want to work on that.

Dina.  The name Dina conveys pretty much everything you need to know about this woman, whom I kind of respect and think I might want to be friends with, were I sufficiently Italian to be accepted into her circle.  Anyone who can work in a nicely detailed movie reference gets some props in my book – and I also appreciate the fact that she thought the reconciliation was over the top.  She seems secure and confident, and that tends to make one a lot less tolerant of needless drama.

Danielle:  Um.  Wow.  Well, let’s say that I hope I’m in that kind of shape when I’m in the general vicinity of my fiftieth birthday.  Also, let’s hope that my skin evidences a far higher sunscreen consumption than hers.  Also, let’s hope I never, ever say something about needing someone to rescue me financially.  Also, let’s hope I never talk about the phone sex I am or am not having when I’m on a reality show that will undoubtedly be discussed in front of my two relatively young daughters.  And, let’s hope that I’m not so grasping and desperate to be included in a group of people that I take every opportunity to insert myself into other people’s events.

I’m ninety percent sure that there is next to nothing that is likable about that woman. 

Caroline:  She actually does remind me of my friends’ moms, growing up.  I suspect that she and Dr. Taggart would either get along famously, or kill each other.  She also scares me most of all, so I’m just going to say that anyone who gets on her bad side is incredibly brave, incredibly stupid, or both.

As for what’s happened so far?  It’s been a lot of stage-setting.  But honestly, I find these women (with the exception of Danielle) a lot easier to understand than most of the other housewives.  I think that compared to the original Orange County show cast, these women are much more comfortable with who they are – even if they’re not going to be comfortable, or happy, with each other all the time.

This?  This is going to be FUN.

May 20, 2009

Now? NOW I’m starting to get pissed.

Posted in *cringe*, Darth Vaguer, The Angry, The Just a Little Sad, The WTF at 9:12 am by Dagny Taggart

And also, I’m confused, because it just doesn’t make sense.  It’s not logical.

When someone tries to fsck with your friends, uses you to do it, and then demonstrates a clear lack of regard for your feelings, as well?  It’s time to stop believing a word out of that person’s mouth and recognize them for the selfish manipulator that they are.  I don’t care how many mitigating circumstances there are – after behavior on that scale of screwy, you cut out the toxic and move on with your life.  You do so for your benefit, and you do it for the benefit of the friends who were hurt, because when you’re friends with someone, you get pissed at people who deliberately fsck with them.

That’s an essential component of loyalty, in my book.

When you decide to forgive the slights against you, that’s one thing.  When you decide to forgive everything, and maintain a friendship with the manipulator, it shows a clear lack of regard for the people who were hurt, and your relationships with them.

And then your friends are left to wonder what the fsck is going on in your head.

May 19, 2009


Posted in *cringe*, Darth Vaguer, Nerdiness, Past, Present, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Just a Little Sad, The Why, The WTF at 9:29 am by Dagny Taggart

A parent’s wet dream?  Not quite.  But I am privileged to be constantly surrounded by really intelligent and articulate people – something that I took for granted, for a really long time.

I’ve talked about my overeducated family before.  96% of my high school graduating class went directly to a four-year college, and something like ten percent of those went to some pretty old schools with impressive greenery.  I did the same, in large part because that was expected of me.  I got into a good school filled with really smart people, where I was challenged and where I had to really study in order to succeed (I didn’t, always).  But this was all just what was expected of me.  Par for the course, for a neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie.

I was sheltered in a number of ways, but this was one of the most significant.  My first encounter with a population for whom college wasn’t a given, was when I lived in Tennessee for a summer, with my college roommate.  Her parents were among the 10% or so of her native area to have four-year degrees, and she was the only one among her friends.  They showed me that it was, in fact, perfectly possible to have a successful life without an $80,000 piece of paper.  That for most of them, it was preferable.  That the path of higher education was just one of many. 

Interestingly, my most serious relationships have been with men who were uniquely intelligent, but for whom formal education was at best an afterthought.  I think I envy them both the freedom from student loans, and the freedom from feeling like one has to do something related to all of that education, to make it worthwhile.  And what I admire in them, is the decision to take a different path – something that, had it even occurred to me in high school, I doubt I’d have had the courage to try.

So, since I often wonder if my degrees weren’t essentially the equivalent of 7 years spent in a dead-end job, and since I think of them more as representative of stretches of time, rather than who I am as a person, it often surprises me when people make assumptions based on those degrees.

Have you ever wondered what would have been your “path less traveled”?

May 18, 2009

The Sting

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:38 am by Dagny Taggart

“Oh, that’s really funny.  I always thought you were the kind of person who’d choose really ugly dresses for her bridesmaids, so they couldn’t compete with you.”

She probably doesn’t even remember saying it.  But it stands out in my head as one of the most hurtful things anyone has ever said about me, ever.  I still considered her a friend, at the time.  We’d lived together for a semester, spent tons of time watching our mutual favorite TV shows and getting ready to go out together.  I thought she’d actually gotten to know me – me, who’d just as soon go to City Hall.

I tried to shrug it off, tried to find a way to blame it on the ex of mine she’d been dating.  But the truth was, that even if he’d been uttering nothing but slander during the time they’d spent together, she’s the one who’d chosen to believe it – to not get my side of the story, to swallow it whole.   To believe that I was that kind of person.  We’d been friends for a while, and there she was, willing to think the worst of me just because somebody said.  The fact that the somebody was obviously biased, was just another drop of lemon juice into the cut.

It’s another interesting aspect of trust – one that doesn’t get examined very often.  When we allow ourselves to believe that someone is a friend, we trust them to give us the benefit of the doubt – at least long enough for them to hear our side of the story.  And if/when they fail to do so, it seems as though the friendship didn’t matter nearly as much as one might have hoped, that the person didn’t deserve the faith implicit in that friendship.

**Edit:  A male friend of mine wrote and asked what the big deal was – why did this bother me so much?  And I think what I could have conveyed better is that it wasn’t so much that she thought I’d be neurotic about my wedding – it’s that she thought I was the kind of person who needed to put others down, in order to feel better about myself.  It seemed to speak to a more fundamental aspect of my character… and that’s why I still kind of want to kick her ass whenever I think about it.

May 15, 2009

Alex McCord

Posted in Nerdiness, Past, The Who, The Why at 8:48 am by Dagny Taggart

Does anyone else find her oddly relatable?

She’s presented in such an odd light, it’s easy to dismiss her as a grasping outcast, an awkwardly pretentious socialite wannabe obsessed with being in the spotlight.  “It’s always nice to be photographed.”

But, well.  Yes.  Isn’t it nice to be recognized for something – to have someone say, “You stood out to me in a way that I’d like to share with other people”?  If you had an interviewer asking you about photos of you in the newspaper, mightn’t you respond similarly?  And if you’d been to an event where newspaper photographers had taken your picture, wouldn’t you check the paper to see if you’d been published?

I have to say, that what resonates with me is not the clothes, or (sadly) the ability to wear size 2 clothes after 2 children with nary a jiggle.  Or the decision to spend the rest of my life with… Simon.

She seems like someone I would have understood in junior high.  Someone who was teased, mercilessly, for being different, and who has accepted that she’ll always be a little different.  Who’s recognized that she’s not going to be the most popular girl in school, and that she’s going to have to work a little harder to make friends with people, because she’ll invariably misstep from time to time. 

But I like that she puts herself out there, anyway.  Maybe even with the slightest tinge of defiance, she seems to acknowledge that she’s not ever going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and willing to put in the work to find those who do enjoy her – which makes me like her a little more.

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