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[about the author]

i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish, eh?

i work crossword puzzles in ink.

i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie izzard. can't decide, really.

i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really good aunt.

i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.

i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.

i never play dumb. never.

i am way too hard on myself.

i am a change agent.

i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.

i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.

i am militantly pro-choice.

i am pro-adoption.

i know a little bit about alot of things.

i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.

i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it. hard.

i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.

i have been known to hold a grudge.

i have hips.

i am not my sister.

i am lousy at forgiving myself.

i am an indoor kind of gal.

i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.

i am 32 flavors. and then some.

[the ones people ask about]
Rittenhouse Review
Investment Banking Monkey
Cheap Ticket News
iPhone News
Hotels and Travel News
Latest on Retirement Planning
Consumer News and Reviews

[in case you were wondering]

[the blogger behind the curtain]

[100 things about me]

[the old stuff]


<< current

[all content copyright 2007 by tequila mockingbird. seriously.]


a list [not intended to be comprehensive] of things for which we gave thanks - compiled with assistance from my niece, samantha, age 3

- yogurt. but only strawberry or strawberry-banana kinds.
- ho ho*
- singing barbies
- shrek
- deviled eggs
- gum
- gammy**
- ariel and belle and jasmine...but not snow white
- mateo***

*aka "santa claus." please note the stratgery of placement here. the child does not name ho ho first on the list, as that would appear to be blatant sucking up in an attempt to gain favor for the upcoming holiday, yet still places ho ho high enough on the list to make it clear that he is very important. brilliant.

**that would be my mom. the best gammy in the world.

***mateo is a pony. but not the mean one who is a "chomper." that is oreo. totally different pony.
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wednesday was a tough day for transport in dc. the cab drivers were on strike. the metro was more problematic than usual. and the 6 pm bus that would take me to love cafe in time for the 7 pm start of fray day simply never showed up. usually when faced with such a situation, one simply hops a cab.

see: cab drivers on strike.

so, i ended up sharing a ride with a total stranger, both of us commiserating about our transportation woes and then getting the shaft from the cab driver who made us both pay full fare.

i didn't have time to debate the matter, though, as i didn't want to be late. i arrived to find bill and tom already there, and thought this might be a good time to decide what story i wanted to tell.

that's right: decide what story i wanted to tell. twenty minutes from then. in front of a room full of people.

oh yeah...i'm a planner.

i was in the middle of pondering my choice when the door opened. with each swing of the door, i looked up to see if it was a familiar face. a dc blogger i know. maybe someone who spoke at last year's fray day event.

but the familiar face that walked through the door wasn't in either of those categories. the face belonged to someone i never expected to see.

my cousin, michael.

michael lives in delaware with his wife and two amazing kids. it was only this summer, during my family's trip to atlanta, that michael found out about my site. and, since then, he's been reading every day. that alone is touching. but the idea that michael got into his car and drove to washington just to come an dsee me tell a seven-minute story? well, that's just about the best belated birthday gift a gal could get.

michael and i are different in a lot of ways. but we're alike in almost as many. we were always close growing up, and were the only two grandchildren in our family for a number of years. out of respect for the fact that michael is in the military and that he needs to have a certain degree of dignity as a father, i will refrain from scanning and posting the cutest picture ever, in which michael and i are in the bathtub wearing pirate hats made out of bubbles.

after i got over the incredible shock, i bought us a couple of slices of the best cake ever, and we settled in for some storytelling.

there were some new faces this year, which i love. it's great to hear new voices.

we heard julia [not this one, another one] remind us how love finds us all, usually when we least expect it. we heard dan utter my favorite phrase of the night: "possible std...question mark, question mark...frowny face." lisa knows more about bob dole's scrotum than you do...and we're all okay with that. we listened as bill recounted that universal truth we all know so well, but never seem to remember: "mom and dad will find out." emily made us laugh so hard we almost peed our pants...just like her customer in the wine shop. tiff ran down the extensive checklist her family uses to evaluate her boyfriends: "male. doesn't beat me." we rallied around tom in his demand for flying cars. we felt a little guilty when warren told us about his bout with exhaustion, shamed by the fact that, if he has to be exhausted to keep making that cake, then...well, maybe that's just the way things have to be. and we heard dan [not that one, another one] wax rhapsodic about the intimacy that comes with anonymity.

there were other storytellers whose names escape me, and for that i apologize. your stories had no less impact on me...i'm just getting slippery in remembering names, i guess.

"open mouth. insert leg. repeat." was the story i decided to tell for fray day this year. the trick is to find a story that tells well...and some of my stories read much better than they tell. and fray day presents an unusual challenge for me...stage fright. now, i'm sure you've seen that note at the top left corner of this screen about how i enjoy speaking in front of large crowds, so you're probably thinking, "huh?" but the key word there is large. fray day isn't large. it's intimate. and the people are close. and you know some of them. so it's...different. but, nerves or not, i love it. there is absolutely nothing like hearing people tell their stories. the inflections. the hand gestures. i love reading a good story, but hearing it is transformative. and being able to share yours and hear the response from the crowd? the laughs [you hope]? the gasps [if appropriate]? it's like heroin.

or, in case my mom is reading this, it's like what i imagine heroin would be like. instantly addictive ecstasy.

as the evening moved along, tiffany opened the mic for a second round, to those interested. and, really, before i even thought about it, i told her i would tell a second story. turns out it would be the last story of the night.

and, that's how i came to stand in front of a microphone and tell "lester."

i had toyed with the idea of telling "lester" when i first got invited to be a featured storyteller. but, i just didn't think i could get through it without heaving sobs. i test drove that theory at the blogger meet up in atlanta, and, sure enough: heaving sobs. what surprised me so much about my test drive was how soon the sobbing came. i figured i would make it through to near the end. but, that's not how it worked out at all. i crossed the story of the list of candidates, telling myself it was all for the best -- the stories at fray day tend to be more lighthearted and, rally, there's nothing lighthearted about "lester."

so, on wedesday night, i took a shot. i didn't tell all the parts of it...self-editing for self-preservation. but i told most of it. and i didn't dissolve completely. and that's probably the best i could expect of myself.

there was at least one appropriate gasp.

and at least one person reached for a napkin to dab their eyes.

but the best response for me came afterward, when my wonderful cousin wrapped his strong arms around me and simply said, "i love you, jules."

he drove me home and we sat in the car and talked for what seemed like fifteen minutes. when his cell phone rang and it was his wife asking how things went, we realized it had been closer to an hour and fifteen minutes. we talked about how he has grown and changed. how we miss the closeness that our family had when our grandparents were still alive. we vowed to find a way to get that back, and be the glue that holds us all together. he encouraged me in my writing, and told me that reading my stories had made him consider writing himself.

"you should," i said. "start a blog. it's free. i'll link to you. you could be internet famous!"

if you had asked me wednesday morning what i would be doing an hour after fray day was over, i probably would have told you that i would be doing a post-mortem. analyzing what i liked -- or, more likely, what i didn't like -- about how my stories went. replaying in my head the stories of other storytellers and thinking about what i particularly liked about their story.

but two hours after the last word was spoken, i hadn't thought once about fray day. i was wrapped up in laughter and memories of family, and a conversation with the last person i expected to see.

as michael drove away, i waved good-bye with a smile on my face. and, although he couldn't hear me, i told him, "i'll see you soon, mike. i promise."
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what's your story?

just a friendly reminder to those of you who are in the dc area that tomorrow night is fray day here in our nation's capital.

if you're not in the dc area, be sure and check out the fray day calendar to see if there's one in your area.

so, you wanna know what story i'm going to tell? me too. seriously, i'm struggling with a choice this year, so this should be...interesting. it'll be a little surprise for all of us.

also: mmmmm...cake.

come early, and put your name on the list to take your turn at the mic. or just come out and enjoy some laughs and some habit-forming cake.

get on up. tell us. what's your story?

hope to see some of you there.
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things you missed out on this weekend, and you're gonna hate yourself for it
you didn’t come to the blogger meetup weekend thing in atlanta, so there’s a lot of stuff you don’t know. i mean, a lot of stuff. it wasn’t just a weekend all about drinking and strip clubs.

that was just mostly what it was about.

so, i hereby present the cliffs notes version for those of you who missed out on the best blogger meetup weekend thing ever in the history of blogger meetup weekend things:

- styro is the shit. don’t even question it. she is nothing but the bomb, and there is no room for discussion. things she can do better than you include, but are not limited to: decorating a pineapple, charading “ticker tape parade,” etching the fucking coolest martini glasses in the entire universe, and writing vin diesel haiku.

- larry mac has a way with the strippers that boggles the mind. the strippers love larry so much that they feel compelled to write short stories for him. seriously. and then give him copies. and these aren’t just any short stories. these are short stories about demon-possessed vampire strippers. at least i think that’s what it was about. anyway, it was awesome. furthermore, larry is the consummate blogger, shaming all the other faux-bloggers by actually real-time blogging the event…something that, apparently, didn’t cross any of our minds. we are not worthy of carrying larry’s laptop.

- snowy is hotter than you are. she knows the universal hand sign for “kielbasa” and she’s not afraid to use it. additionally, she makes the best disco compilation cds ever and she will trash talk you during a jenga game until you're on the verge of tears. she can use the word “titration” in a sentence. correctly. when she isn’t putting bob vila to shame by putting up some drywall, she is a superhero. and, you might not know this, but she’s from sweden. or finland. or one of those nordic places. please make a note of it.

- michelle and her non-blogging [but we love her anyway] sister, julie, are so sexy that if you look at them for very long, it will burn your retinas out. seriously, you can’t handle it. none of us can, we’re only human. they look equally good sporting a pimp visor, and they have a secret language that they use to communicate with one another so that, even though you’re in the same room with them, they’re having their own conversation and you can’t even hear it. also, if either of them tells you that they have to leave the room because “you’re making us laugh so hard that our head hurts,” what they really mean is that they’re going downstairs because the massage chairs are open. they’re just trying to be nice.

- mark is a man of hidden talents. many of which are now no longer hidden. among these no-longer-hidden-talents: chugging a martini that contains absolutely no trace of a mixer whatsoever; making a veggie-pizza-thing that is so yummy that you can’t help but eat it the next day even though it sat out on the counter all night and might give you food poisoning or lockjaw; taking artsy pictures of booze and cute dogs; kicking ass at soul calibur even though he has never played before. your first instinct when faced with someone so multi-talented might be to hate them just a little...but he’s so damn nice, you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

- scott is a mixologist. a mix master. mixerrific. he can mix you any drink you want..as long as it doesn't require lime juice. hell, he can even make up a drink for you. on the spot. just like that. a brand new drink that no one has ever heard of because he just invented it right there in front of you. and, lest you think his mixiliciousness is limited to booze, it’s not. he can also mix a cd like nobody’s business. and, in case you were wondering: fantastic hair.

- k is such a rock star that she makes mick jagger look like lawrence welk. she can rock the old english blingified initial choker necklace in such a way that keith richards weeps because he realizes just how rock star he isn’t. she knows more about tattoos than you do. and she will gladly join you in making fun of the drunkest guy ever as he attempts to eat his french fries, but keeps knocking them off of his plate because he’s just too drunk to get them the eleven inches from his plate to his pie hole.

- cw has the following things that you do not: the world’s most patient wife, who happens to make the best waffles you’ve ever tasted. the world’s cutest dog. the world’s largest collection of flavored vodkas…although we might have lost that title for him, as we decimated it in one night. the most kick-ass massage chairs known to massage chairkind. a whole separate refrigerator that has nothing in it but beer. the foresight to save on tivo the best moment in reality television ever, and the patience to indulge me as i beg him to play it one. more. time.

we drank. we laughed. we drank more. we ate red velvet cake and s’mores. we tried not to think about whether those were cigarette burns or pox on that one stripper. we decided that the internets are good places to meet some cool people. and, we all shared something we had written.

reading someone's blog is an interesting thing. sometimes it is easy to believe that you know who a person is by staring at the pixels they cobble together. by reading their "100 things about me" list. by finding out what music they're listening to, or what they did over the weekend.

but hearing the voices of these people as they share with you the words that poured out of them and onto the screen, you realize that those pixels -- no matter how they moved you when you read them -- just don't do these amazing people justice.

all in all, you missed out on one helluva weekend.

and, when i say "you missed out" this means you.
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of cabbages and kings
i voted for john kerry. and i am sad that he didn't win. and i feel disheartened and disappointed and several other words that begin with "dis" about the whole darn thing.

but that's not really what i want to say.

what i want to say is why i voted for john kerry.

i voted for john kerry because i don't like what's going on in our country.

it's just that simple.

i think we're getting it all wrong.

and, no, i do not know if john kerry could have gotten it right. but i know that when you keep doing what you've been doing, you keep getting what you've been getting. so, if you don't like what you're getting, you have to try doing something different.

i've always been a political junkie. for a very long time, i wanted to work in politics. i had ambitions of being a spin doctor, as they were once called. or a speechwriter who would write things that would become part of a collective memory.

the day i turned legal, i went with my best friend to the voter's registration office and registered to vote. and when i filled out that card, i registered republican.

that's right. you heard me. i said republican.

what can i say? it was the 80s. it was reagan. it was bret easton ellis and cocaine and bmws and yuppies.

but, over the years, i've changed. for a long time now i've explained to people, "you know, a lot of people get more conservative as they get older...but i think i'm getting more liberal."

but, lately, as i look around, i'm not sure that it's just me that has changed. i think that the nature of partisan politics has changed. and the republican party, as an entity, has changed.

the party i once considered my own seems to me now like my first boyfriend.

everything seemed rosy, but then one day he just turned mean. and self-righteous.

the bottom line for me is that i don't support hate. nor do i support hatemongering. nor do i support judging the personal choices of my fellow human beings using my own morals as the yardstick.

and, quite frankly, i find myself absolutely baffled by why any of that has even become part of politics at all.

i heard it said by many pundits that people in this election voted out of fear. i'm just sure that they meant fear of terrorists.

well, i voted out of fear, too.

i am afraid.

i am afraid of bigots. afraid of homophobes and xenophobes. if the terrorists plan to destroy us from without, then these hatemongers will destroy us from within. pick your poison.

i hear talk that this election was a referendum on "moral values." and i say "whose morals? whose values?"

what is moral about a man who is so judgmental and self-righteous that he would say that gay and lesbian teachers have no place teaching in public schools? that women who live with their boyfriends are unfit to teach because they don't represent "our values"?

and how does such a judgmental and self-righteous man win the majority of the votes in a state in this country in the year 2004 and find himself a us senator?

i am afraid of the ever-blurring line between church and state. stunned by how a man who asserts that our constitution should be amended to require school prayer earns a seat in the united states senate.

i am afraid for the young men and women who are dodging rpgs in iraq in jeeps they have bolstered with sheets of plywood because they don't have any armored vehicles while we're getting $300 checks so that our government can proclaim that it's giving us tax cuts.

i am afraid that we're forgetting that there are things in this world more important than our bank balance. things worth paying for. i'm willing to pay for clean air. clean water. government funding for cancer research. aids education programs to stop the spread of a disease that is destroying an entire continent. necessary equipment for these young men and women to come home alive. take back my $300, please.

i'm afraid of living in a society where the average person is so inundated with warped messages that they get scared into thinking that changing the constitution to ban gay marriage is a more pressing issue than the fact that it's not safe to eat fish in 19 states in this country anymore due to toxic levels of mercury. when did it become more important to get tax cuts than to do what we can to ensure that every man, woman and child in this country can afford the medication they need to live a normal life? when did we stop caring?

i am increasingly afraid to speak my mind for fear of being labelled "anti-american," which boggles the mind when one considers that a fundamental part of being american is a right to free speech.

i am afraid to my core that my supreme court will soon decide that my body is no longer mine.

i am afraid of the devil i know more so than the devil i don't.

i am afraid of who we are becoming as a nation. as a people.

i am afraid of what looks to me to be the erosion of common decency and common sense. the death of tolerance. the end of respectful disagreement.

but maybe what scares me most today is that, yesterday, more of us weren't scared.
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overheard while waiting in line to vote this morning
"i think all the ones with the white headphones are voting for kerry."
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