Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See

Whenever I get sick, my mother asks me the same thing: Why?

And it annoys the crap out of me every time. (It goes without saying that if I'm sick, I'm already crankypants to start with.) The last go around, I told her "well, a microorganism has invaded my body, and my immune response is staging a rousing defense. Thus, elevated temperature, increased mucosal secretions (resulting in post-nasal drip, i.e. sore throat), etc. etc." She amended, "I mean, what are your symptoms."


I woke up this morning with that odd little tickle, like a nagging memory of something you've forgotten to do. I had to close my eyes and knit my brows together a little to figure it out: my throat did not.feel.right. Shit. Work is going to go to '11' next week, and as pretentious, ridiculous, and self-centered as it sounds - I don't have time to be sick right now.

I believe deeply in the power of the body to heal itself. Given the raw ingredients of water and sleep, it can work miracles. A lot of my "fighting off illness" measures are probably placebo effect - but if it works, who cares? Thus, I am guzzling Airborne® ( grapefruit flavour!) and echinacea (which a friend calls Ganesha.)

Citrusy effervescence, meet elephant-headed god. Make me well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Happy, happy, happy

Why the new look, you may ask?

Because I've had the same one for a YEAR now! That's right - my blog has been around for a year. How bizzah. In that time, I have prepared for, taken, and passed the Bar exam (and been sworn into the California Bar.) I have remodeled and sold my home in the DC area. I have re-established myself in the Bay area - moving, buying a car, finding an apartment, locating the nearest Target, etc. And, oh yeah, starting a new career.

The blog has chronicled the emotional topography of the past year (for the most part: not surprisingly, there is some schtuff I keep off the Interwebs.) It has been an absolutely fabulous way to connect with and meet like-minded people. As much as my friends from high school, college, work life, etc. are wonderful people - my fellow bloggers also occupy a place in my heart. I'm a sucker for good writing and magnetically drawn to good storytelling, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I find the blogworld so sympatico.

What will the next year bring? Will she ... buy a new place? Start doing races again? Moderate her Target addiction. Tune in next time!

Monday, May 29, 2006


Dateline: Miami

I was swirling a glass of shiraz at dinner when I jokingly said, "I'm making it an early night - I'll go to one bar, but I'm not coming home at 4 am wearing someone else's shoes." Famous last words. I know better than to make simple, declarative statements challenging the universe to prove me wrong.

After dinner (and drama)en famille with the rest of the firm's litigators, some of the cool kids hopped over to the Hotel Delano. A lot of people had noted that South Beach reminded them of L.A. in terms of the vacuous pandering to appearance. I don't think I really understood what they meant until we hit the Delano. I saw people (I'd say "women", but I'm not sure) in shapes, sizes, and colors not known to Nature. There was one woman who, I swear, was the exact shade of Crayola Crayon's Burnt Sienna.

We settled around a table near the gorgeous pool. The weather was perfect, the conversation was kickin' and before you know it the lights went on, the international symbol for "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." We headed across the street to the 24-hour Cuban food joint. Trust me when I say that it was the best food I had during my entire trip to Miami. We hailed two cabs and headed back to the hotel.

And here's where the misadventure starts.

Our cabbie was .... a little odd. He didn't pull over to the curb when we hailed him, and then quietly admonished us that he could get in trouble for stopping in the middle of the street. This was a bad sign, but one we didn't really notice at the time. Hint 2 might have been when he ran the red light and nearly T-boned another car. I'll let that sink in. The best part was that he started questioning us as to what had happened. Each of us said some version of "dude, YOU had the red." At this point, he had slowed down to about 15 mph, and was sort of clutching at his chest/feeling his forehead. (He was a young guy, so no real worry of a coronary.) I realized that the situation was getting desperate, so I tried to console him and said that running reds happens to everyone at some point, etc. How insane is that? But I just wanted to get back to the hotel and get in bed.

Driving, driving, driving.....slowly realizing that the guy doesn't know where the hotel is. And that he didn't/wouldn't radio to find out where it is. Finally, the associate from NY took charge and declared that we were close enough. We piled out of the cab and started walking. Walking. Our faithful 'Papa Smurf' led us in the direction and everything was going fine until we ran smack into a fence. Ladies and gentlemen, we had to hop the fence. In my case (and Amiga's) this meant hopping a fence in a dress and heels. I hate hopping fences in the best of circumstances, and this certainly wasn't ideal.

On the beach, it was magically quiet. The ocean, the stars, the stacked beach chairs....everything just seemed still, suspended. We set up some beach chairs, and the Parisian associate stripped down to his boxers to take a swim. It turned into a game of Marco Polo, every few minutes, one of us would raise our head off of our chaise lounge and call out "Antoine?" and he'd respond from the water. The insects started biting and we gathered ourselves for the home stretch.

Finally, finally in our hotel! Amiga and I shared the elevator. When she fumbled for her room key, I told her she should just sleep on the other bed in my room - it was 6 am for pete's sake. As she pulled the key from her purse, she said that she would have just gone down to the front desk for a new one if she hadn't been able to find it. We parted ways and I sauntered down my hallway, feeling the carpet underneath my toes, dangling my heels in my left hand. I slid the key card in, and .... nothing.

So, I headed back to the elevator, down to the reception desk. I used my best model walk (head high! shoulders back!) to glide across the lobby. I imagine I was a bit of a sight: dress, heels, full makeup, sand clinging to my ankles. Not surprisingly, the desk clerk asked for picture ID. I floated back to the elevator knowing full well that I looked like a "Walk of Shame." The whipped cream with cherry on top, for me, was calling back down to the same desk clerk to schedule a wake-up call and having him say "Have a good night." We both knew it was 6:15 am!!

The next day, we found out that the other cab was back at the hotel by 4:30 am. Nice.

So what happened? I joked about not coming home at 4 am wearing someone else's shoes, and I ended up coming home at 6 am wearing no shoes at all. Lesson learned: do not thumb your nose at the universe, because it will thumb right back.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. On my last trip there, I memorialized it by taking a picture on the street I stay on, Kloveniersburgwaal Straat (along the Kloveniersburgwaal Grachten - the Cavalier's canal.) In it, I can see a few bicyclists (cars are verboten in the city center), two of which are riding and holding hands. The street is lined with amsterdamers - knee-high metal posts designed for colliding with tourists. The picturesque bridge, and the canal itself complete the picture.

I used to keep that photo on my desk before law school (and, I might add, before the advent of digital photography.) Whenever I was stressed, I would pick up the picture. I would meditate on it until I could place myself on the street, feel the weight of my backpack, hear the guttural Dutch being spoken around me, smell the Bloomenmarket around the corner.

The picture above is of sunrise as seen from the beach on Key Biscayne. It was my last day in Miami, and I spent it doing "the circuit": ocean, pool, hot tub. The "photo op" found me curled up on a chaise lounge, wrapped up in a fluffy terry robe, and thinking deep thoughts. I've always had a thing for the beach, but not in that tan-tastic way. The ocean humbles me in an oddly comforting way. It existed before me, and will continue after me. My problems, fears, insecurities, anxieties, hang-ups, concerns, etc are but a drop in the ocean. With my feet firmly planted on the beach, I still feel absolved.

I think this picture may be my new Amsterdam

Monday, May 22, 2006

Can I get an encore?

I averaged 2 hours of sleep a night while I was in Miami (more on this later, I promise), but I still had the sense to stop at Trader Joe's on my way home from the airport. Imagine my surprise when the cashier carded me - HARD!

cashier: I.D.
maisnon: REALLY?!?!
cashier: Yeah, for the wine.
cashier [smirking subtext]: You're so busted
maisnon hands over the license
cashier: Vir-gin-ya.......Hmmm.... '85, you're okay
maisnon: Uh, SEVENTY-five. I'm THIRTY-one.

As if!

Monday, May 15, 2006


Recently, a spate of people have approached me to chat about law school. The teen director at the Boys and Girls Club was the first. (He is not, in fact, a teen - he's a college grad in charge of teens.) He told me that his friends were encouraging him to go to law school, but he thought that he would end up starting a non-profit. I gave him my contact info and offered to chat with him about lawschool whenever, and also put him in touch with a friend who started his own nonprofit: Sangati, the Community Center for South Asian music. (I know, right? How cool is that?)

The second person inquired indirectly. My fabulous eyebrow artiste asked me if her son could contact me and bounce some ideas off of me about law school. (Incidentally, she told me that he was very into music - and I passed on the Sangati information. Worlds intersecting - it's just crazy.)

The last person was a fellow associate's secretary's mom's nurse's daughter. "Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly" enough for you? Basically, this nurse asked a legal secretary if she knew any South Asian attorneys who would talk to her daughter about law school, help her figure out what classes she should take (HA!), etc. When my fellow associate told me the requesting party was an Indian nurse, I told him that she was most likely Malayalee. He was incredulous that I could tell where in India she was from just from her occupation. When I told him she was probably Christian, he was beside himself. (We have money riding on this, so we'll see if I'm right. A N N A, Krusty - back me up on this one!)

It's been a few weeks now, and no one has contacted me to have the "should I or shouldn't I?" conversation, which is fine fine - I'm a leetle swamped at work as it is. So far, my "helpful chats" have talked one paralegal into going and one into not going (she's decided to try her hand at writing children's books - to which I say, write on! Ouch!)

I have a weird sort of luck: serendipity and knock-down randomness are old friends. Over the weekend, Tanya was workin' her magic on ze eyebrows, when she paused, looked at me in the mirror and said, "Oh, by the way, my son reads your blog." I, of course, shot right up and yelped, "WHAT?!" "Yes, he looked at your email address and said, 'Oh I know her, I read her blog all the time.'"

Not that we hadn't established it before, but the world is teeny, tiny. (Hi Jay! Leave me a comment already!)

This post could have been titled, I'm famous, Part IV. (Parts I, II, III.) Part I is the old chestnut of how Heather of Two Timig' the Cosmos and I met; it 110% proves my random serendipity assertion.

Friday, May 12, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Nonfat latte edition

Friday needs caffeine.

What a terrific smile! Their kids wouldn’t need braces. And he’d remember that she preferred lilies, not roses, when he surprised her for “no reason at all.” She’d learn to make red sauce to rival his mother’s. “Tall macchiato extra-hot.” With that Mr. Thoughtful aimed his perfect smile at the barrista, turned, and was gone.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Drop it Like it's Hawt

maisnon17: i'm still not totally clear on what your job entails
MattC: hearings, gang taskforce meeting, and traveling with the AG
MattC: my life is consumed by gangs. which is cool, because i have an even BETTER insight into rap lyrics!!!

maisnon17: HA HA HA!
maisnon17: hmmm...i have to say, knowing more about fiber optic networks.... doesn't help decode the lyrics

MattC: don't worry, i'll share my gang textbooks with you
MattC: i actually had to use the "blue flag hanging out the left side, yeah that's the crip side" in a community presentation the other week

maisnon17: HA HA HA HA HA
MattC: i felt like i was betraying snoop and pharrell

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Haiku Movie Review

Thank You for Smoking

Quick, black comedy
DC lobbying done “right”
Katie Holmes – why? WHY?

The Inside Man

Clive Owen hidden
That’s a travesty, I say
But – you GO, Spike Lee

Out of Africa

Michael Ondaatje:
You stole scenes from this film for
The English Patient
(1) See here for previous haiku movie review.
(2) Ondaatje is a fellow Queen's alum.
(3) The Katie Holmes (I mean... Kate Cruise) article is much more extensively footnoted than you'd expect!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


So. A financial planner called me out of the blue yesterday and suggested meeting me later that afternoon because she was dropping by a client in my office. Trying to turn back to my work, I asked her to give me a call when she was done with her client and I would see what my schedule looked like.

She called me that afternoon and I went downstairs to meet her hoping to pick up her business card, and maybe a shiny folder with useless, if colorful, brochures. Yeah, not so much. She clearly planned for us to have a sit-down, so I found two unoccupied chairs in a hallway. She started asking me about my background, where I grew up, how many siblings I have, etc. etc.

I think I'm an open person (hello! I have a blog where I share the various and sundry details of my life with the whole Internets!), but I found it really jarring and it made me massively uncomfortable. I have no poker face, unless I really, really focus, so it must have been blatantly obvious that I wasn't enjoying the process. I was also irritated that she wasn't respecting that I had told her that I had a full schedule.

Questions that really bothered me:

"Tell me what your father, the economist, and your mother, the accountant, taught you about saving."

Umm, what??? As you've summarized, my parents are all about the dollar, dollar bills, y'all. Like I'm going to be able to summarize what they spent 17+ years teaching me. As I ended up telling her, they are IMMIGRANTS! The saving mentality is basically "SAVE! Don't spend!" As my mother has told me a hundred times, you never know when circumstances may change. (My dad, being an economist, is a little more aggressive in terms of return on your money, but same basic idea.)

"Where do you see yourself 5 years from now....personally, professionally, financially?"

I don't think my best friend has a solid grasp on that question. Hell, I don't think I know what I want 5 years down the road - why would I want to share that with someone I just met who is horning in on my time? I told her that if someone told me 5 years ago that I'd go "cold turkey" on my software engineering career, go to law school, and end up moving to California - I would have called them crazy. I'm much less about medium to long-term planning now. I point myself towards a goal, but I check in often to make sure that it's what I really want.

And now for the kicker:

"So, it's just you then, is it? No kids? No husband?"

To which I said, "I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate me having a husband." Actually, that's what I wish I had said. I experienced a mix of "Mom, is that you?"; "if you just had to ask, why would you phrase the question that way in the BAY AREA?"; and "how does someone younger than me manage to sound so Aunt Bee?"

I go through phases: once a year for a month or so, I suddenly experience a lot of interest in my personal life. (I'm not counting trips to the nail salon - happens every time I go.) Individually, these episodes are really funny (ex. owner of the "bridal shoppe"where I purchased my maid of honor gown, "Sometimes you need to hit someone over the head." Good to know) - but, overall, it leaves me a little anxious. Should I be concerned? Am I so outside the norm? Do I really care if I am? Ultimately, I decide "no, maybe, not really." Aside from the pure humor value (woman at the doctor's office taking a blood sample, "You're not married?! At your age?! But you're INDIAN! You need a plan!" Important to note - she was not Indian), maybe I should be happy with the (externally-inforced) yearly opportunity to consider what is important to me, and the way I'm living my life.