Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Unexhaustive List of My D.C. Fears

So I'm definitely not in California anymore. Gone are the beaches and uninsulated apartments, flip flips and 70 degree winters. Come 5 o'clock eastern time I will have resided in the District of Columbia for 72 hours and although that does not qualify me for in-state tuition or allow me to compete in the Miss D.C. pageant, I have already compiled a list of East Coast fears. And more specifically, since I have yet to venture anywhere outside this stretch of land along the Potomac River save Georgetown, D.C. fears.

North Face - After walking around for two days I became incredibly aware that EVERYONE sports a BLACK coat and a North Face at that. I looked through the 10 coats I packed with me in my red thrift store suitcase and realized I do not own a black coat. Long or short. I have a black and tan coat and a black and white coat. Green, purple, brown, white, floral, flannel, you name it! But not a black one. This place is like a cult full of trendy mountain wear and I, well, I have been against trendy since forever and therefore refuse to conform and purchase such a jacket no matter how warm and superior they are to what is in my closet. I am determined to make known to everyone that I was born and bread in California and I will forever and always have Golden State blood running through my veins.

Adams Morgan - Well, I found D.C.'s version of P.B. I know you are thinking that I probably shouldn't be afraid of such a place; that I should be thrilled and feel at home, but that is exactly what I'm afraid of. Pacific Beach was a fabulous place to live and Adams Morgan resembles it only in that it is lined with bars and pizza and hookah and burgers for say six continuous blocks. Sounds like a great time right? But if my nights out here are anything close to my nights out in PB - filled with too much tequila and whiskey - then not only do I have something to worry about but my dear roommates do as well.  It definitely isn't a 5 block walk home or a 10 dollar cab ride. It's escalators and metros routes and walking unfamiliar streets. Unlocking two front doors and scaling 3 flights of stairs. And then it's remembering not to undress in my bedroom with the light on...

My cousin and current floor mate, Lo-Baby - She is quite possibly one of the sweetest 18 year olds maneuvering her way through the end of high school in anticipation of receiving her Dartmouth acceptance letter, but I feel the need to be cautious around this little one when it comes to details of my social life. "Mommy, can we dress Taylor when she gets asked out on her first date?" were the words uttered out of her mouth as we browsed a less than stylish store in Georgetown yesterday. Dress me? What would she dress me in anyway? One of her many formal gowns in my 15" closet? A pastel pant suit? A pair of flats and a bright colored scarf? Not only do I refuse to let this little lady dress me for a date or any other occasion but I am adamant about keeping my California style, which leads me to my next fear:

Preppy Attire - Four words --> Polka dots and stripes. This is what the world is coming to. Although we still have another six weeks of winter here nearly everyone has released their spring lines which are full of vibrant pastels and shorts with embroidered dogs on them? For the low price of $99 you can purchase a headband from Vineyard Vines - as in Martha's Vineyard. Never in my life have I spent $99 on a piece of clothing let alone an accessory and I swear I'll never be caught dead in pink shorts, a polo shirt, and loafers. Come May you'll find me in jean shorts a strapy tank top and, yes, you guessed it, Rainbows from our very own San Clemente.

So there you have it. After 72 hours I'm afraid of the mountain wear cult which will soon turn into preppy rich kids in silly shorts drinking booze down in Adams Morgan while I stay home fending off Lo-Baby's attempts to dress me. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Empty Walls.

It isn't quite as cold as the days past. The space heater is turned off yet the windows remain closed. The wall opposite me bears a reminder to make myself necessary to somebody. Emerson. He who spoke the phrase. One of my very favorites. Because who are we without another? A mother or father? Sister or brother? Stranger or friend?

The words will endure with the worn carpet long after I've gone.
Perhaps they'll be painted over; erased. Leaving behind nothing for the next occupant to ponder.

The pictures I've hung have begun to fall. The adhesive wearing thin from the textured walls and inconsistent temperature. 61. 82. 74.  One by one they are released, sliding down the white walls soon to be lost amongst the contents scattered under my bed.

I see my mother's inspiration and my father's unfailing love. In color schemes and photographs, stuffed creatures and a pile of discarded make up.

Blind to you but overwhelmingly clear for me.

And then there is John. His black eyes, so dark so still, haunt me at night. Positioned left of my door, this aged-spotted portrait older than I. What I would give to experience the 70s.

Love, freedom, and experimentation of a far greater sort. A little rebellion. Ecstasy.

Littered all around are books. Novels and memoirs. Research and biographies. Paperbacks and hardcovers containing another's imagination, history, life's work.

And one holding the contents of my own.

A not so little black book full of unanswered questions, relentless ramblings and contradictions. Nothing compared to the words of Faulkner, Woolf or Hemmingway. But so much more valuable.

Like my room this little black book tells a story of years past and of a promising future.

Nostalgia and passion, love and reflection.

I have but 6 more days here. In this 12x12 foot room in the far corner of my Pacific Beach home. 6 days left to take in the lasts 5 years here. But as I stare at my empty closet  and glance around my becomingly empty room I know my time here is done. A new adventure lies ahead of me in a distant land 3000 miles away.

There I will have the opportunity to Make Myself Necessary to Somebody New.

Monday, December 5, 2011

This Time Around.

Sometimes it means relinquishing control,

             giving up on rationality

and deciding that today will be different.

And sometimes it requires faith in the universe;

                                     choosing to believe that maybe,

                      just maybe,

This world isn’t quite as heartbreaking as it seems.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I argued that you couldn't get hung up about guilt or responsibility for what had already happened. That what mattered was the moment, who you were now, how you lived in this place, at this time. 

      Sue Miller, While I was Gone

Sunday, November 6, 2011


It was 2:30 when I turned the final page of my latest read
A book I devoured cover to cover for sleep wouldn’t come

Wrapped in blankets and clinging to my stuffed tiger
I laid on my back listening to the sounds of the night

My window rattled from the wind’s strong and weary song
A warning of the storm quickly approaching

A homeless man rummaged through the dumpster in our back alley
Searching for bottles
The equivalent of change
                                         The only form such a man will ever know

Sometime during the early morning I dozed off
And woke to the anticipated rain pouring down

I rose with a sleepy smile and stepped into my clothes 
Eager to venture outdoors into this seasonal weather

As I ambled through my favorite of nature’s miracles
Accumulated raindrops soaked through the torn soles of my shoes

            With wet socks and cold toes I headed toward the library
                        There stood a man taking refuge inside a black trash bag
                                    A homeless man – perhaps the one from last night

            From the warmth of my car I looked on and shivered
But I lack an understanding of what real freezing feels like
                                        Indoors and piled under a mountain of fleece
                                                Layered in cotton until my skin disappeared 
                                                            Comfortable. Secure.

Today I cherish the rain a little less. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Although taking place before this albino monster even existed, one of my earliest memories naturally holds my pretty little sister at it's very core. 

I am 3 1/2 sitting at my mother's feet as my father breaks the news that we will soon have a baby sister joining our family. At such a young age I was ignorant of his bewildered happiness and the underlying worry in his voice. But to get us excited about this new addition to our family (a little girl who would soon invade my bedroom, my closet, and my life as I knew it) my mother suggested we throw out possible names for said baby. After patiently listening to my brothers, 2 and 3 years my senior, suggest the names of their grade school crushes I saw my opportunity and declared with confidence, "How about we name her Triscuit?

Yes, like the cracker. 

To my disappointment my parents didn't name their little gem Triscuit. 
She was christened Morgan Elizabeth, but I prefer to call her Margo, among other things.

For the first 6 years of her coherent life my brothers and I had Margo convinced she was adopted. 
Cruel? Maybe. 
But she was such an easy target. 
Her blonde hair and pale skin resembled no one of immediate relation causing her to stick out like a sore thumb. 

And by replacing me as the youngest she has fared far worse forms of torture. 

Blankets thrown over her head during games of Blind Man's Bluff. 
Jump ropes tied around her neck to imitate a puppy on a leash. 
I once locked in her a suitcase and wheeled her throughout our house for fun. 
And although I have no recollection of ever doing so, she swears on her life that I put her in the oven.
(This is entirely possible considering we used to play witches and make potions out of crumpled leaves). 

I may have grown up picking on my little sister, using her as my scapegoat, and cursing her for being the taller, thinner, and cuter one, but I cannot possibly image a life without her.

Because we shared a room for 11 long years and when we finally moved to a bigger house, where she was granted her own bedroom, she dragged her mattress through our joint bathroom and slept on my floor for an entire week.
Because she never fails to answer her phone when I call her crying at 2:30 in the morning because I consumed too much tequila and therefore hate everyone who has recently crossed my path.
And because she sang The Rocket Summer's Brat Pack out my car window at the top of her lungs and survived the hellish ordeal of high school cheerleading with me. 

Love you Baby Sister.

Post. Script -- Drunk Margo likes to play limbo with herself. Yes, with herself and not by herself. She uses her arm as a limbo stick and attempts to crab crawl under it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Nostalgia

I remember a different kind of Halloween.

Before booty shorts, booze, and blacked out nights.

One of hand made costumes, tears shed over carving pumpkins, and plastic jack-o-lantern candy catchers.

I remember a Halloween of Trick-or Treating for hours on end, of skirts falling down to ankles in bursts of excited sprinting*, and parades around the outdoor auditorium.

Of angels and butterflies, flapper girls and cavemen, black cats and gypsies.


My dedicated mother planned our costumes months in advance and worked on them daily.

Sewing, gluing, and painting.

Littering our house with sequins, fringe, and glitter.

She helped dress us in the morning before school.
Undressed us in crowded bathrooms during the afternoon.
And redressed us in the evening.

All to be sure we didn't rip, tear, or ruin her beautiful handiwork.

This wonderful woman poured herself irish coffees, force fed us through giddy chatter, and snapped a million photos before hitting the streets.


I remember the year we retired our pumpkins and paraded around with pillow cases.

The year 7-year-old Lo-baby marched up the street in her clown costume innocently screaming "Hail Hilter" as the adults giggled in embarrassment.

The year of the anthrax scare when we came home with a years worth of candy due to the lack of parents shuffling their children around the neighborhood.


These are the Halloweens I remember.

The Halloweens before the age of alcohol consumption and recreational drug use.
Before one tequila shot too many, walking 16 blocks opposite home in drunken confusion, and rescuing hysterical sisters from overcrowded parties.
Before skin baring costumes, hangovers, and nights only wished to be remembered.


I carved a pumpkin Wednesday night with my Mommy.

*I didn't cry or accuse her of murdering my orange friend.

I reminded my dad to purchase candy for the trick-or-treaters.

And today I woke up, made some coffee, opened my journal, and smiled at my Halloween owl.

(A gift from my daddy a few years back that serves as a reminder of the Halloweens I prefer to remember.)

Happy Halloween :)

*My skirt really did fall to my ankles one year as I ran down the street after my brothers.

*And I really did cry and scream at my dad for killing my pumpkin. He never carved one again.