March 30, 2010

Things that used to suck

Posted in *cringe*, I need a helmet, Nerdiness, Project: Fail, The Just a Little Sad, The Small and Petty, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 3:12 pm by Dagny Taggart

When someone you thought might be a cool person, someone you might be able to be friends with, makes it perfectly clear that she is not at all interested in being friends with you.

Not that this is something that anyone WANTS to experience – but at least I’ve gotten to the point where, unless I can think of something I’ve done to offend the person, I can let it go instead of taking it personally and stewing.

Well, at least, instead of taking it personally and stewing about it for any longer than it takes to write this post.  Annnndddd…. done!


Posted in *cringe*, Nerdiness, The Where, The Who at 9:54 am by Dagny Taggart

Someone once told me, and I was about to pass along, the following:

“When you’re looking for someone to be with long-term, you want to find someone who feels like home to you.  It’s all very well and good to want excitement and passion, but if you can’t ever be completely at ease with the person, you’ll spend a lifetime experiencing drama in a cramped theater seat.”

And that analogy makes more sense if you think about it.  Because homes can serve a number of functions.  People who enjoy excitement and drama may entertain more frequently, and so they have a portion of their home dedicated to elegance and glamour, an area that stimulates conversation and evokes passionate discourse.

But for a home to be a home, it reflects the tastes of its residents in specific, unique ways.  It contains at least a few items that bring those residents comfort, that are part of a stable routine – even if those items consist of organizational trays or travel folios set out for easy access.  A home is a place where someone is completely themselves, and is completely comfortable with that. 

So, looking for someone who feels like home sounds like a fantastic idea.  Until you remember that something like two-thirds of all accidents occur within 5 miles of home.

I realize that this is torturing the analogy a bit, but it made me giggle.  So we’re supposed to find someone who reminds us of home, and then stay 5 miles from them, lest some accident occur?

March 26, 2010

My head is a scary place

Posted in *cringe*, 8-ball - pool not narcotics, Project: Fail, The Small and Petty, The Who, The Why at 8:08 am by Dagny Taggart

So, about two years ago, I joined my second 8-ball team.  I was invited to join – scouted, even, because it was an all-female team and they needed a player with a relatively low handicap.  So I started to play a second night, which everyone thought would help my game a lot.

Except… it didn’t.  My record for that season was abysmal – I became, essentially, cannon fodder – whenever the other team put up a really high handicap player that would be a risky match for our high handicap players, I’d play, because I was probably going to lose anyway, and that left our skilled players to play matches they’d win.

The captain at the time – we’ll call her Regina, was pretty obviously disappointed.  She’d relied on two other teammates’ reports of my abilities, and seemed to think that they’d exaggerated.  A lot.  And she is, apparently, the kind of person who doesn’t see much reason to spend time on someone who can’t offer what she wants in return.

I took it personally – which didn’t help my game any, at least not on the nights I played with that team.  So when she moved away, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, glad that I’d be able to relax and enjoy my nights with that team.

Regina came back for a visit last night – when I heard she’d be there, I was on edge.  I wondered whether she’d still sit there, silently (but obviously) judging my skills and finding them lacking all over again.  Fortunately, I won my match, extra nerves notwithstanding.  I even made a couple of killer shots in order to do so.  And Regina was very complimentary.

But what struck me, was that I’d convinced myself that she was someone I wouldn’t be friends with, that she didn’t like me at all.  And that I didn’t like her very much.  And then, when she showed up, she came over to give me a hug, and seemed genuinely happy to see me, warm and friendly.  She asked questions about my life that showed she’d cared enough to remember.

It’s so easy to demonize someone – my brain is apparently quite capable of tunnel vision in the negative.  Which is kind of scary, when you realize how easy it therefore is to spend entirely too much time thinking negative thoughts, when we could all just relax and focus on what we can enjoy about each other.

March 25, 2010

Biannual Tango

Posted in But I am... le sick, I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Just a Little Sad, The Ouch at 8:39 am by Dagny Taggart

Longer ago than I care to admit, I had some minor surgery to remove some cancerous cells.

Seriously.  Compared to what other people go through when THEY have cancer, this was nothing.  In fact, the doctors all seemed to avoid saying that I had cancer, likely because the category in which I fell indicated that it was barely over the cusp of becoming cancer.

So, I had biopsies, then an outpatient procedure, and then a truckload of monitoring for a year or two after.  And then I had a year, maybe two, of apparent normalcy.

The problem is, abnormal cells don’t walk around with large signs announcing their presence to doctors.  They can hide, sometimes.  And so, the biannual tango began.

It starts with a regular visit.  And the usual tests are run.  And then two weeks later, I get phone call, and the results come back “abnormal”.  And so I go back, and get biopsied.  And then I wait a few more weeks.  And then they tell me that it’s not great, but it’s not the end of the world, and if I could just come back in 6 months, they’ll check me again.  Dip, turn.

And then I go.  And the usual tests are run.  And then two weeks later I get a phone call, and the results come back “abnormal”.  And so I go back, and I get biopsied.  And then I wait a few more weeks.  And then they tell me that it’s still not great, but it’s not the end of the world, and if I could just come back in 6 months, they’ll check me again.

6 7 8 and 1…

I have no idea what I would do with all of my spare time, if it all just went away.  Maybe some dancing lessons.

March 24, 2010

Smile, and the rest will follow

Posted in I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The Ouch, The Round at 6:46 am by Dagny Taggart

You know how they say that if you smile, the rest of your outlook, and subsequently your day, will become positive as a result?

Well, my body, fresh from a session of training, is NOT smiling.  My body is, to put it bluntly, 97% mush.  The other 3%, located in the general vicinity of the bottom of my left calf, is screaming bloody murder and spasming in a comically randomized fashion.

Thus, 97% of my brain is mush, but for the 3% that (a) registers the pain in my calf, and (b) maintains basic bodily functions such as breathing, and fantasizing about caffeine and sleep.  And chopping down the tree whose virtues I have extolled several times thus far, as I have discovered that it is a maple tree and guess who developed a new allergy to maple this season?

Except that as soon as I think about moving my arms like that, my calf spasms again, as if to say “Learn your lesson, you silly girl!”  And then my brain twitches, as if to say, “Meh.  I am too tired and mushy to learn.”

So, yeah.  There’s not going to be a whole heck of a lot of smiling positivity today.  I think the best we can hope for is ploddingly neutral.  Who’s with me?!?

March 23, 2010

“Rue the day? Who talks like that?”*

Posted in *cringe*, I need a helmet, Past, The Angry, The Just a Little Sad, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 8:27 am by Dagny Taggart

Growing up in a relatively feminist era is not without its drawbacks.  I say this because I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who, in her determined and steady way, worked her way through barrier after barrier – as the daughter of Eastern European immigrants, then a college and graduate school student, then as a woman in the world of business, and then as a female professor, complete with PhD, in the realm of academia.  For as long as I can remember, nobody has ever questioned Dr. Taggart’s qualifications, or wondered if she was capable of making decisions for herself, or thought that she “didn’t really mean” something once she’d said it.

And because she never once acted as though this was any kind of spectacular achievement, because she never once implied that her career was anything out of the ordinary, I always thought of it as a consequence of the force of her personality.  I never really considered how many people she’d had to ignore, or to dismiss as ignorant, when they suggested that a woman might not be capable of deciding what she wants in the next ten minutes, let alone achieving great things outside of the home.

And so, when I was told that “no” meant “try again more forcefully, later”, I thought perhaps it was a consequence of me not being forceful enough.  That I must have sent some kind of mixed signal.

Because it was nearly unfathomable, to me, that someone might actually believe that no meant something other than no.  That someone might be so incredibly self-absorbed that he could convince himself that “no” could mean exactly what he wanted it to, even though a plain language reading of the word indicated the opposite.

And so I put it out there now.  There are, in fact, people who think that “no” sometimes means “yes”.  And who are willing to take the chance that they are imposing themselves on someone who does not want them, who has in fact said no, and who will afterward be unhappy with the fact that her/his wishes were not respected.  They genuinely believe that this is how the world works – that women don’t mean it when they say they don’t want something – and if they do, it’s just because they don’t know better.

How do we fix that?

*Real Genius.  Of course.

March 22, 2010

When communism comes in handy

Posted in The Round, The Where at 10:27 am by Dagny Taggart

One might not expect, coming to a page authored by a woman who calls herself “Dagny Taggart”, to see a post singing the praises of Marxism.   And normally, you wouldn’t.

But this weekend, I happened to stop by a new-ish burger place (The Counter, in Reston Town Centre) in the hinterlands, and thought it was worth a try – if for no other reason than one wall of the establishment was lined with liquor bottles and they actually offer french fries, something that my beloved HellBurger has disdained.

And I really like french fries.

On the plus side, I got to order my burger via menu card with checkboxes (they have predetermined options if you don’t want to build your own burger).  On the minus side, there were entirely too many options for me to create the perfect burger in a restaurant-appropriate amount of time.

On the plus side, they have Diet Sprite available (for those of us trying to avoid caffeine while consuming Claritin-D like it’s candy, a very good thing).  On the minus side, the fries are absurdly thin.  These are not fries, they are potato strings.   I want there to be actual potato involved, when I have fries.

On the plus side, I got my burger on an English Muffin, which made me VERY happy – bun-cohesion + subtle flavor + awesome textural experience = 😀 .  On the minus side, they state that their burgers all come pink with a bit of red center – mine was decidedly more done than that, though my companion’s was perfectly cooked.

On the plus side, they have a ton of toppings and sauces and cheeses.  On the minus side, either the grilled onions or sautéed mushrooms were so heavily spiced that I couldn’t really taste the meat of my burger or the cheese I’d chosen for it.

All in all, it’s a place I’m sure I’ll try again.  Next time, however, I’ll pretend I’m in Soviet Russia, and stick to the basics. 

Well, provided that herbed goat cheese counts as a basic.

March 19, 2010

That kind of friend.

Posted in *cringe*, I need a helmet, Nerdiness, The Happy, The Who at 8:09 am by Dagny Taggart

“I’ve just dyed my hair purple.”


“It’s sort of a plummy violet*.”

“I’m sure it looks good on you.  What do YOU think?”

“Well, I thought it was going to be really cool.  But now I wonder.  Because my eyes are blue, you see, and maybe this makes my head look like a giant bruise?”

“Oh.  Well, I’m sure that’s NOT the case, because if anyone could pull off plummy violet hair, it would be you.  Nobody thinks you look like a giant bruise-head.”

“and… AND.  I’m sure you’d make having a giant bruise-head the in look for next season, anyway.”


I highly recommend getting one, if you can.

*My hair is not, nor has it ever been, plummy violet.  This friend has, however, seen me through truly ill-advised platinum blond, followed by bozo-the-clown-orange, followed by a color (to cover up the orange) that actually had the word BEIGE in it.  And she did not say the wrong thing ever, not even once.

March 18, 2010

Um. Ugh.

Posted in *cringe*, Advice I have no business giving, Darth Vaguer, Guilt, Project: Fail, The Just a Little Sad, The Who, The Why at 8:21 am by Dagny Taggart

In any of our interpersonal relationships, communication can be an issue.  I, for example, am absolutely terrible at keeping up with some friends – this can be a consequence of geography, or time, or not having as much in common any more.  And certain people are very tolerant of this, which is probably one reason why I’m majoretting for her, for example.

Other people are less tolerant of this, and every once in a while will blow up at me as a result – S.E. being a prime example of this (though as Things One and Two keep her rather busy these days, she’s been a bit less inclined towards those types of rants).  But I understand the view that if you’re not making an effort to keep in touch with someone, you’re sending them the message that they’re not particularly important to you.

So, I’ve tried to be better about it.

This illustrates a larger issue, I think – and that is, how to remind your people that you care about them with sufficient frequency?  Obviously, some people are just high-maintenance – but sometimes, letting someone know you care about them means that you do things a little differently than you might, otherwise.

So maybe (say, if you’re me) you let people know you care about them by making them cookies.  Or emailing them links to things you think might be funny.  Or by deliberately avoiding the topic of politics like the plague, because you’d rather have a great time than give them an ulcer.

And when someone speaks up about something that bothers them, it’s probably worthwhile to listen and see if it’s something that you’re willing to change.  It’s not necessarily about whether you’re wrong for doing things the way you have been.  Rather, it’s more likely about someone telling you what their priorities are, and what kind of thoughtfulness and consideration is most clearly understandable by them as a sign that you care.

And so, as hard as it is to hear that you’ve hurt someone despite your best efforts to do the exact opposite, and as easy as it may be to be affronted at the perceived lack of appreciation for the things you *have* been doing, it might be best to pay attention to the person who’s opening up to you about the things that are really important to them.

March 17, 2010

Speaking of exercise…

Posted in I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The Ouch, The Round at 8:24 am by Dagny Taggart

I was personally trained this morning.  And the thing about personal training, is that I love it because it makes me do things that I would not think of doing, because I grew up in an era of Bowflex and NordicTrac commercials, where exercise was associated with machines.

Also, it makes me do things that I don’t want to do.  And because I am paying someone to make me do them, I try harder and push myself more, because I have been *assigned* a certain number of reps and he is standing there counting them off, and I’m NOT going to be the wimpy client who whines and tries to cheat.

I really recommend this for anyone who *loves* to-do lists.  Because once he’s started to count down those last ten reps, I get more enthusiastic about the exercise, especially if it’s one I don’t like (see:  most things involving push-ups, especially push-ups with one hand on a medicine ball; see also:  squat-thrusts in their various forms).  Because if it’s one you don’t like, you’re only 10! 9! 8! 7! etc. reps away from not having to do it again at least until the next week, possibly longer if he decides that next week will involve the little wheely abdominal torture device.

Now, the real question – can I do the personal training in the morning AND go for a run in the balmy, 64-degree, light-until-7:20 evening?

What are you doing to get/stay in shape?

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