Friday, December 29, 2006

All by myself!

The fabulous Ms. Hee-ther (as everyone pronounces it here) is off to Ooty and I am on my own.

So. weird.

I will have tonnes of time to write tomorrow - hopefully, I'll have internet access!


We hired a car and are now in Mysore. Or, as my father called it in his IM yesterday, "Mysore, city of kings."

There's so much going on, and so many funny moments. The camera is simply not fast enough to record all of the great signs, and juxtapositions (like the signs on Chamundi Hill declaring it a plastic free zone ... followed by at least 100 plastic bags lining the side of the road.) Next time, I think that I'll bring a voice recorder.

Things here just take longer. I'm learning to keep a book with me so that I have something to do. I remember this feeling from my time in Costa Rica - things take as long as they take, and feeling anxious about it (or like they should have been wrapped up by now) doesn't really change anything. People here are also more .... assertive in restaurants. At first, I thought that we were being ignored whenever we ate out, but I'm starting to think that it is just that we are not as vocal about being ready to order, wanting more water, the bill, etc.

Visiting the Tipu Summer Palace yesterday, the ticket agent spent a good, long moment looking at me before asking "You are a .... foreigner?" (there's a difference in ticket prices.) That made me smile. The travel agent, after writing my name down, asked me if I knew what my first name meant. I was not so amused.

Today, we saw Mysore Palace. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside. The style is, apparently, Indo-Saracenic, but at least from the outside it looks like typically Muslim architecture. Also interesting: you remove your shoes before you enter. I'm used to doing that when going to temples, so this was a little odd.

Tonight we are heading to Brindavan Gardens (and are hoping to catch the kitschy water/light show.) I'm heading back to Bangalore tomorrow and out to in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivanduram - someone needs to tell the Keralites that nothing will happen if you don't use ALL the letters in one go.)

I wish that I could write more reflective posts right now, but I feel like not all of my cylinders are firing. I'm not sleeping very well, and a lot of time each day seems to be spent in making sure that the logistics are worked out for that day and the next. I feel like I am taking in a lot right now and will process and evaluate it later.

I am missing home. Like most of my trips - after about a week, I wish that I could magically transport myself home for 2 days (water with ice! movies! driving!) and then transport myself back to my travel location.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Humor: The name of British Airways in-flight magazine is High Times . Really - no one saw a problem with that?

I have arrived in Bangalore. Things were so crazy, super-hectic before I left that I didn't get a chance to post. The night before I flew out I was at work until 9:30ish. Mmmyeah - and I hadn't packed. I was up most of the night - partially because I was getting things done, partially because I knew I was too excited to sleep. Sleep deprivation served me well: I slept a good part of the flight to London, and also a large chunk of the flight to Bangalore.

When we entered the airport in Bangalore, I was immediately happy. The air has a certain smell here (and for once when talking about smells in India I do not mean something noxious.) It just smelled so familiar. Another "we're not in Kansas anymore" moment: the guy in front of me at the immigration counter was totally thrown by the Indian head nod. For those unfamiliar, it's sort of a horizontal figure eight-type nod, roughly translating as "yes", "okay", or "whatever."

There's nothing like being greeted at the airport by friendly faces, even better when it's 6 am!

Adventures/misadventures in Bangalore:
- shopping on Commercial Street. At one point, I felt like a "john" - we were walking through a sort of alley/hallway of shops, being called to from both sides by vendors. The vendors were flinging open their wares so that we could see the colors, embellishments, etc. It was awesome, overwhelming and somehow tawdry.
- getting lost in an autorickshaw, made even better by the fact that (1) we had half-dry mehndi on our hands (Indian cliche alert!), and (2) I was forced to actually try out my Malayalam and hope it was close enough to Kannada to get the job done. Horrifying, but amusing.
- being absolutely, and utterly treated like family
- feeling like the biggest tourist ever for taking pictures of the food (I haven't eaten on a banana leaf in soooo long!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I have mad love for the haiku. I love the delicate balance of it all: the dance of syllables, the threads of meaning in the pauses. I have come to think that this is something I get from my mother. Behold - the incisive guilt-induction by ma mere:

I will be anxious until you come back. Hope you will be able to contact us
now and then.

Wow. Check the precision on that - not an ounce wasted! My moms got skillz, yo.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's gotta be the shoes

I'm not sure the exact moment that it happened. It was either while leveling with a coworker that I was feeling really pressed trying to get all of my work done before Friday, and that I felt that I was going to have to pass work back to her (and her volunteering to take it back on!) or it was when I saw the giant box on the mail cart and knew that it was destined for my office. In my quest to find travel sandals, I turned to my old friend - the Internets, and it delivered. I purchased seven (7!) pairs of potential sandals and settled on the ones to the right. They are more than a little orthopedic-looking, but man are they every comfortable. Cushy sole, super adjustable straps - these bad boys are going to India with me!

And that's the moment I'm talking about - when my trip to India became real and immediate. Today, all of a sudden, I can feel the thrill. I've had to walk around the office to burn off a little energy (and to try out the new travel sandals, naturally.) I can still feel it - an extra thrumming in my fingers, slightly sweaty palms.

Perhaps coincidentally, my father has chosen this week to start planning my trip. Yeah, I'm not sure what's up with that either. I expected this, just much earlier. I am trying to minimize the amount of time I spend with "relatives" (i.e. the further out peeps that I have never met), and I am truly loathe to impose on people. (I am my mother's daughter, sometimes.) For example, I am not going to Uncle Sanju's brother Ram's beach house with his family even if they "really won't mind at all." I am more interested in visiting my dad's cousin in The Village (as my dad calls it.) Dad has promised that his cousin speaks "good English" but that his wife will only respond in Malayalam (thus improving my Malayalam - which is so moribund at this point as to possibly be beyond resuscitation.)

In a few short days (and after an inordinately long flight, etc.), I'll be in India. For the first time in eight years. Whoah.

Friday, December 15, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Season's Greetings edition

Friday makes a list and checks it twice.

She skimmed over the accomplishments : the promotion at work, the new car, redoing the kitchen, etc. She brushed off a little over-enthusiastic glitter and thought about her year. Would she have the chutzpah to put it in a letter – the petty disappointments, the malaise – and finish it all off with a cheery signature ?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mistaken Identity

Episode 1:

At my appointment with my new doctor, she told me that she had reviewed my file before coming in to chat with me. In the back of my head, as she kept talking, I thought, " I've never been here before?" Then, she asked me about the fertility tests I had done after my last physcial. Jigga-wha? I firmly stated that I hadn't had fertility tests done. She asked if I was sure, because they were definitely in my chart. I started asking her about my chart and we quickly established that she had read the chart of some OTHER maisnon. She put in my first and last names into the computer and pulled up a chart and naturally assumed it was mine. Oops! (To that other maisnon, hope things worked out!)

Episode 2:

I picked up my beloved car yesterday. The repair person said to me, "So, um, I think we have .... your husband's car, too." So many thoughts flitted through my mind as I tried to settle on exactly what to say to her. I ended up saying, "Um, that would involve having a husband, let alone a husband with a car that's at the autobody shop at the same time as mine." She was mortified, but I asked the follow-up question (which, of course, is "Is he cute???") (I think another good opener would have been to inquire after what kind of car he drove - I could have traded up!) As it turns out, my "husband's" name is one letter off from mine, maismon, if you will.


If one were feeling Indian auntie, one could draw some kind of conclusion about the universe not-so-subtly ribbing me re: my marital and maternal status. But, if one were to go Indian auntie on me, I'd tell you - the whole thing amuses me and has not moved me one jot towards wanting/pursuing either of those ends.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Anonymous said...
I love reading your blog. You are so positive and such a vivid writer.


Dear Anonymous,

You have no idea how much this comment means to me. I have been very seriously considering dropping my blog. No, very serious consideration would require more effort than I have been putting in. It's been more like benign neglect. Every time I think of my blog, I wonder what the point is - I feel like it has fulfilled its purpose, and maybe I should just let it go. I read old posts, and I don't think that I have the same energy that I once had. We are each our own harshest critic, but lately I've had to start posting without re-reading because everything sounds so ... cringe-worthy to me. I feel like "who wants to read that??" when I used to think "who cares? You're writing for yourself and a very select group of friends."

Things are still going on in my life (obviously.) I still think thoughts (again, obviously.) But I seem loathe to share them. There's just something missing between the here of experience and the there of describing it and sharing it with the Interwebs. In part, there are things going on in my life that are excitant, but that I want to keep to myself. In part, I'm going through changes (thanks, Ozzy!) and I feel like I have so much energy channeled inwards that I don't have much to direct outwards. And some of it may just be that I'm tired.

I don't believe in making decisions before it is necessary. Here is my plan: I leave for Indian next Friday. I expect that blogging will be limited while I'm away. However, I also think that I'll have plenty to say/sort out - so there should be some blogposts through at least the end of January. And, at that point, I'll reassess.

I think I need to figure out what role my blog plays in my life at this point. It used to sort of a sounding board for studying for the Bar, those particular frustrations, etc. It morphed into my moving saga (that would be a saga about moving, not, I hasten to add, a saga that was emotionally moving!) Then, adjusting to living in a new place and slowly it came to be about the little odds, ends, and minutiae of life.

Anyway, I blather (it's what I do!) Again, thanks for your comment - it meant a lot to me!



Monday, December 11, 2006


Friday All I wanted was some time to myself, and I got in spades. I can't even recall what I did, and that - that's ideal. :)

Saturday I hate being told what to do, let alone what to wear - it brings out my barely-contained inner teenaged rebel. I've had a bad attitude about our office's holiday party ever since it was announced that (1) it would be at the racetrack (THE RACETRACK!!!), and (2) that there would be a dresscode. I toyed with the idea of not going, but it was "strongly suggested" to me that I should go (which, of course, increased my not-wanting-to-go-ness.) I was determined to, at least, flout the dress code - but the shopping gods were not having it.

So I showed up at the racetrack (THE RACETRACK!!) on Saturday night in a black and bling-y dress with ridiculously glint-y silver heels on(needless to say - uncomfortable!) And.... I had an okay time. I chalk that up to mental attitude, I decided I was going to make a concerted effort to have a good time, and I managed to get to "okay."

I was home and massaging my feet by midnight. Perfecto!

Sunday So you know the morning after? The morning where you are wearing bright pink velour pants, a pink shirt, and a candy apple green fuzzy sweatshirt? And you go to the cute coffeeshop a block away dressed like that because you're so sure you won't run into anyone you know? Yeah, I did that. In the interest of embracing that I live in suburbia and not the city (at least for now,) I decided to enjoy one of the little nearby treasures - Cafe Borrone. I went bright and early, dressed.... very.... brightly. And, of course, I ran into an acquaintance.

I sat outside by the fountain and had a very enjoyable breakfast. I read my book, ate my mushroom-y eggs, listened to the fountain, watched the kids and small dogs (and the interaction between the two.) It was like being able to absorb just a little bit of things that I don't have in my life (and don't care to, at this moment.) Also, it was like being alone together. I remember telling a college friend once that I wanted to see a particular movie alone, she said, "Me too! Maybe we can go together." Missing the point a little! I like being in public spaces by myself. Having my notebook with me to scribble way, taking breaks to watch people - it's all very cozy and happy-making.

I spent the day content in my own company - reading books, napping, aiding Gia in her quest to spread cat-hair domination throughout the apartment, etc. Things are about to spike to 11, with the upcoming trip, etc., and it was nice to just slow it down.

Friday, December 08, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Toastmasters edition

Friday searches frantically for the bar.

He hated meeting new people. It made him so self-conscious. Was his laugh a little too loud? Had he maintained eye contact for too long? Monitoring himself closely, it was hard to keep up with conversation – the ebb and swirl around him. Shit! What was her name again? Maybe he should have just stayed home.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I get annoyed when I receive correspondence addressed to 'mr. maisnon.' The worst/funniest example: after going on a screening interview, I received a rejection letter addressed to "mr. maisnon." That means that, after spending 20 minutes talking to me, I stuck out in the interviewer's mind ..... not at all. (Honestly, it means that his secretary wrote the rejection letter and he didn't take much of a look at it before signing it.) It amused me, and I considered sending a picture and a follow-up letter that said something like, "I must have made quite an impression."

I've been emailing hotels in Goa for my impending trip. My email address gives you my full first and last name - my first name is identifiably female (if you are familiar with Indian names.) Fully half of the responses I have received thus far have been addressed to "mr. maisnon."

That shit ain't right, yo.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Steady as She Goes

Friday The indomitable, infamous DTG was in town and we had dinner plans. I picked him up from his swanky hotel downtown (he was in town for training.) This was his first trip to SF and he'd been cooped up indoors for three days. He, very sweetly, asked if we could just drive around. The "very sweetly" part was my first clue. DTG, much as I love him, is quite the Eeyore. One of his favorite jokes is kidding around about driving off the G.W. Parkway. Yeah, it's not actually funny (but he is 110% kidding.) It was clear that from the brief snippets that he had taken in, DTG was infatuated with San Francisco.

We drove around aimlessly (and semi-aimed) for about 2 hours. Fisherman's Wharf. The Marina (I was actually a little turned around, but I knew exactly where I was when I saw the Marina girls trying to hail a cab on the corner). North Beach, etc. etc. DTG was delighted with the hills, and how the neighborhoods changed - distinctively - every few blocks. It meant a lot to me to see him so excited about a city I'm totally diggin'.

We had dinner at Dosa. That was my second attempt, and .... not much better than the first. DTG said that his curry was "just spicy enough", which of course means it was NOWHERE near spicy enough for me. Sigh. The service was a little bitchy and pretentious, but if the curry had been kick-ass, I would have looked the other way.

Saturday I had dinner with a friend who is sliding the dial towards vegetarianish, so I picked a Middle Eastern place - Ararat. Recommend! The bar covered in winecorks is a little kitschy (in a good way) and the food was good. Our reservations were for 7:45 and we had the place to ourselves, but it had filled up by the time we left.

On to coworker's party! Our entrance was a little surreal - we were walking on the block I thought the party was on. All of a sudden, we heard it, and looked up. A party-goer inside made eye contact with us and said "Hey - there's maisnon!" Very odd. The party was crowded with little groups of people who knew each other in different ways. I like parties whether either I know a lot of people, OR where I can sort of fade into the upholestery and observe. I managed to carve out the situation I wanted.

NEXT! My friend felt it was important for me to go to a trance party before heading to Goa for New Year's. At one point in college, I was very into raves (not in the baby pacifier way.) So, ten years later - things haven't changed all that much. There is still the woman in "men's style" clothing popping-and-locking. And judicious use of hair-dye, fake fur, etc. It was a great place to observe.

I called it a night at 3:00 am (I'm getting old, I guess) and my friend walked me out to my car .... to discover that someone had broken in to it. The front passenger side glass was shattered, and they tried to take the stereo (stereo wasn't having it.) It makes no sense, but I wasn't upset: I think that I had been expecting a break-in for so long, that it seemed like a relief. Plus, the car was still THERE! Bonus! I felt a corollary to my travel maxim. Here it would be, " no one got hurt, the rest is just details."

The drive home was chilly, to be sure. Why I love my insurance: I put in a call at 4 am, and the claims guy called me back at 11 am saying, "I saw what time you called and I wanted to make sure you got some sleep."

Sunday I was, of course, stranded at home. And I couldn't have been happier. I did some cleaning, some napping, I worked out. I topped it off by walking to a little artsy theater and seeing "Little Children." Sometimes I forget how much I can walk to from my apartment (the train, the library, sushi, etc.) The day felt like a little present to myself - it reminded me of when I was in law school and would have dates with myself (Sunday brunch + matinee.)

Monday, December 04, 2006


A recent conversation with an old friend reminds me of why I really shouldn't be allowed in polite company. We were remembering a chat we had a few years ago. I usually am a good listener, but that time - yeah, I blew it. In my mind, my friend had just told me that she had ended things with her girlfriend. I decided that it was time to tell her that, in my opinion, she could do better.

Imagine my surprise when she said "I'M. STILL. DATING. HER." Awkward!

I recovered quickly and said, "Oh. Hmmm.... well, I stand by what I said!"

Elegance and grace, that's me.

Friday, December 01, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Frosty the Snowman Edition

Friday feels a nip in the air.

The end of her nose turned red and lost feeling while her eyes started to water. Despite having swaddled most of her face in her scarf, she could feel the cold seeping in. She thought of the time she had spent that morning styling her hair and makeup. What had been the point after all?