Author: hipstermother

Kate Langsdorf is an arts administrator and the co-host of 'The Savvy Observer' podcast. She's been living in the Washington, D.C. metro area with her husband and two cats for quite a while, and fairly recently added a tiny human and a live-in father-in-law to the household. Every day is a weird adventure.

The Romantic Getaway of My 8th Grade Dreams

I’m about to embark on the romantic getaway that I’ve fantasized about since I was in 8th grade. I knew, without a doubt, that when I got married, I wanted my sweetheart and I to honeymoon at the Pink Flamingo in fabulous Laughlin, Nevada.

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It’s as beautiful as I remember it. (Not my picture. I found it on the Internet, specifically here.)

I went on a family trip and was dazzled by the neon lights and white wine at the most adult place I’d ever beheld. One day, this would be for me, with no adult figures to run the show and no younger kids for me to keep an eye on. And no other 8th graders, because they’re terrible, too, and Christy thinks she’s such a big deal because she’s allowed to wear a bikini top. And at the casino, I wouldn’t have to stay on the red part of the carpet, approved for those underage, as I made my way from my hotel room to the seafood buffet.

I would drink all the Jack Daniels Lynchburg Lemonade I wanted. And I bet I’d want like three of them. Who’s to stop me? I could wear a swimsuit with no XL t-shirt over it. True, no one was stopping me from doing that as a 13-year-old, but I assumed that as a honeymooner, I would be more beautiful, confident, and generally radiant in my one-piece (but maybe French-cut!) swimsuit. It would be black, because I would be classy, and because I was less than thrilled about what I dubbed my Amazing Technicolor Dream Suit, a tie-dye looking number with a high, mock-turtleneck-style neckline that I had to special-order for swim team. (It was theorized that my big boobs were slowing me down and keeping the Greentree Gators from attaining their full glory. Alas, the special-ordered suit didn’t keep me out of the slow lane.)

Did I mention the high level of romance in this magical town? A lot of people take their Sea-Doos to the river, but frankly, with the amount of fancy dinner I’m going to be eating with my sweetheart, I doubt we’ll even get down to the river. I will of course bring my fancy black one-piece just in case. I will probably find some kind of a cover-up that isn’t a t-shirt, because of the sunburn potential and also I don’t want my handsome new husband to see my legs. By the way, he’ll definitely be taller than me, and I envision him having dark brown hair that’s kind of poofy, but it doesn’t really matter as long as we’re happy and all the other girls are jealous of how handsome he his.

I’ve already envisioned what I’m going to wear in *the evening,* if you catch my meaning. The after-dinner part of the evening. On my honeymoon. In the hotel room. I will for sure have big curls, which now that I think about it causes a logistical challenge because here in the future I no longer have access to hot rollers. But still. Big curls. I will wear the sexiest thing I can think of: A full-length, black, satin slip, with lace trim on the bottom (to add a little extra length, so my sweetheart doesn’t have to see the tops of my knees or God forbid my upper legs), and lace on the top as well. Not see-through lace, but lace sewn over the satin on the top. It wouldn’t show any cleavage, but you could still see my collarbone. It would have spaghetti straps, because when you’re on your honeymoon, you can’t get sent to the Vice Principal’s office for wearing something sleeveless. It would not be too tight, because that would probably be unflattering. So basically I’m describing a loose-fitting sundress, the most romantic nightwear of all. We won’t do anything on the first night but kiss, because we’ll need some time to get comfortable with each other. Plus we probably won’t want to have a baby straight away, and I don’t know of any methods of birth control besides abstinence and sterilization. But I would look awesome in my satin sundress/nightgown, and I would drink a white wine spritzer. And there should be chocolate-covered strawberries in the hotel room, because this is a special occasion. And then when we went downstairs for mochas the next morning, maybe people would look at us like they knew we’d been kissing the night before, but we wouldn’t care. Our love would be stronger than their judgement.

Well, kids, the time has finally come. Sadly, we didn’t make it to Laughlin for our honeymoon, but twelve years into a marriage is as good a time as any to live the life of your dreams.

Andy and I have been absolutely terrible at planning date nights since Charlie was born, but we’ve done a fantastic job of planning quarterly, out-of-town fuckfests. It’s hard to make out when you live with a toddler, turns out.

So while I might not have the full-length romantic sundress/nightgown I envisioned, I may not have the hot rollers I require, and the goddamn Pink Flamingo may have betrayed me by closing down, by I’ll be damned if I’m not going to get the Romantic Adult Vacation I’ve been dreaming of for the last two decades.

Next up on Teenage Kate’s Romantic Getaway Roster, I aspire to go to San Diego with my sweetheart. But I will only go to Sea World for maybe a really fancy dinner. The rest of the time, we’re going to go to walk on the beach, where I’ll wear a giant floppy sunhat and linen pants. And a sleeveless top. Because I’m a sexy and confident grown-up out on a romantic getaway.

The Sleep of Champions

Last night I had a dream that I went to a yoga retreat on a tropical island. And you were there, and you were there, and you were there. We were checking in for the meditation competition and warming up, like you do. We were catching up and laughing, drinking pre-game cocktails, and waiting for our spouses and boyfriends and girlfriends and partners to get past TSA so we could all enhance our calm together. At the competitive level.

We couldn’t see what happened from our lanai, but we could see the water rising and the people running. We were all safe, those of us who had already checked into the meditation competition.

The recovery effort was grim. Four-hundred local children had been swept into the river, plus many of our friends we had hoped to meet after the meditation competition. The recovery effort focused on the children. We hoped that our missing friends had found shelter. Brenna was caught in the deluge. But rescuers were still able to resuscitate some of the children. They aren’t healthy after recovery. They can’t eat or drink. We can tell the babies are dehydrated because their diapers are dry. They seem like the only try thing in the city. There will be a second wave of tragedy when the starvation sets in, unless we can figure out a treatment for the bacteria they picked up in the river. I offered to take up praying again, but the baby’s dad said it wouldn’t help.

We’re walking the walls around the river, looking for friends in the alcoves and children floating in the water. We’re safe, but we the guilt was consuming us. We couldn’t stop writing 8,000-word think pieces about what we saw.

Anyway, Happy Inauguration!

Top Hipster Baby Names of 2016 Probably

The third annual list not based on any official data. It’s just what I think you should have named your baby this year.

It’s still a little early for the Social Security Administration to release its list of the top baby names of 2016, but you can read this instead.

11. Fisher

Hipsters and non-hipsters alike pay homage to Carrie Fisher’s legacy while acknowledging that “Carrie” is a real so-so name for a kid. Unless it’s a boy-kid. Then go nuts with that “Carrie” business. “Leia” is an excellent substitute if you don’t want your child to be known as “Fishy” or “Care-Bear” all through high school.

10. Lillet

It’s an aperitif I tried for the first time tonight. It’s pretty good. Like a fancy Muscatel. “Egg Nog” is an acceptable alternative, as is “Kirkland Signature.”img_3942

9. Vladimir

A bold choice that’s sure to pay off in coming years.

8. Dandelion

Beating “Kale” for the first time, enjoy this fresh take on classic hipster greens!

7. Rocket

Named for the kind of arugula, not for the engine. More kick-ass than “Dandelion” without being as on-the-nose as “Kale.” Just do me a favor and don’t name your kid “Chard,” okay? It’s a combination of “Chad” and “Shart,” neither of which are appropriate names for a human.

6. Old-Timey Typewriter

Pretty self-explanatory.

5. Zoloft

It’s been a rough year, but you’re still here.

4. Football

You want to love it, you really do. But can’t quite get the bat off your shoulder. You’d use an appropriate football metaphor instead of “get the bat off your shoulder,” but you don’t know any.

3. Pillow

Probably named after one of the Palin kids, but who can even remember the 2008 election cycle at this point? It’s a name that harkens back to a more innocent time, one way or the other.

2. Raytheon

Because “Monsanto” is played out. But you’re still kind of winking at it, you know?

1. Patriarchy

It goes great with any last name and ensures that your child can be the front-person for an indy band: Patriarchy Jones. Patriarchy Muñoz. Patriarchy Pence. Patriarchy Langsdorf. Say them aloud. Listen to their power. This is the name of a winner.

An Interview with Angela Gulner of “Binge”

A pleasantly surprising number of our readers here at Hipster Mother are childless. Thanks for being here! From those of you who’ve shared your reasons for reading, I’ve learned that you come for the existential dread and stay for the parenting mishaps. Some of you have shared things you struggle with — from postpartum depression, to eating disorders, to chronic pain, to self-harm, to too much awesomeness. (No one’s mentioned that last struggle yet, but I assume it’s only a matter of time.) 

Because of what I know of y’all, deciding to cover Angela Gulner’s new darkly comical pilot, Binge, was an easy “yes”—even though it’s nothing to do with parenting. Fortunately, she was kind enough to  grant an email interview, even though this is ostensibly a mommy-blog. (Side note: Anyone else find that phrase patronizing? Or just me, and just when dudes I used to date are like, “Oh, I see you’re a mommy-blogger now?” Anyway.)

The project premieres today, November 29, and it’s yours for the watching! See the full episode here. Angela stars in the pilot, which she co-wrote with Yury Baranovsky of HLG Studios.

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Angela and Yuri on set in amazing, matching robes.

I’d recommend this show to anyone except my husband, who is a sympathetic vomiter. He also hates to vomit more than anything else maybe in the entire world. If you, however, are not Andy and you like solid comedic performances, excellent music, and shit that’s a little dark. This is for you.

My very lightly edited interview with Angela is below. She opens up about what it took to get this episode made. I’d hoped to get enough information for a few pull-quotes, but she gave me the gift of interview gold. Enjoy!


photo-nov-16-6-09-38-pmKATE: When did you start working on this project? What made you decide that this was the right time for it?

ANGELA: I started working on BINGE about two and a half years ago, shortly after I was discharged from treatment at The Bella Vita, in Pasadena, for bulimia. I was coming off of 10 long, eating disorder-filled years, and was looking for a way to simultaneous drop back into the creative world and move forward with my life post-rehab. Yuri and I had been friends for a few years, and he knew all about my experiences with and recovering from bulimia. I’d often entertainment him with the darkly hilarious stories of my time suffering from the illness, and my time in treatment. We both share a love for irreverent, uncomfortable humor, and I asked him to write the pilot with me. He agreed — and about a month later, we had a draft complete.

We spent the following two years trying to get the script into the right hands — and while we were successful in getting some great meetings and securing representation, the Hollywood machine is a super-slow moving one, and we stopped being willing to sit around and wait.

2016 has been a pretty shit year across the board for basically everyone I know, so this summer, we decided we’d give ourselves the gift of making this thing we both loved so much. We had a super short time frame to work with, between the team’s busy schedules, and basically no budget. But Justin Morrison, Dashiell Reinhardt, and the support team at HLG were incredible. They shared Yuri’s and my passion for the material and put in crazy long hours to give us the pilot we are so proud of today.

Thanksgiving — and the Holidays as a whole — are incredibly difficult for those struggling with eating disorders. We couldn’t resist the irony of releasing it now, when these communities need laughter, understanding, and connection the most. Especially after such a horrifying election, we need art more than ever. Now is the time to lift each other up, and to make room for messy, diverse, and female voices.

photo-nov-16-5-56-19-pmKATE: Do you have a “day job?” What do you do when you’re not filming fabulous pilots?

ANGELA: I wait tables! It’s as glamorous as it sounds. I also work with Much Ado About Shakespeare, a program that teaches Shakespeare to home-schooled kids. It’s freaking awesome, and I’m a huge Shakespeare nerd, so it really soothes the burn of the food service industry.

I also write basically constantly — when not with Yuri, I write with my amazing feminist writing partner Lindsay Stidham (of Sundance and Slamdance fame). We are currently developing our feminist satire feature film with a digital production company, and aim to start production on it mid-2017.

And I play the slots — I mean, audition, when I’m lucky enough to get the chance to. Maybe some amazing casting directors will see BINGE and hit me up…????? 😉 Here’s my IMDB  and personal website for funsies.

KATE: What audience would you most like to reach with this?

ANGELA: We made this pilot for young women, young woke men, and those struggling with or recovering from eating disorders. I think they’ll be really jazzed on it, give us support, and want to see more. We need those likes, clicks, views, and shares in order to get the attention of the gatekeepers of the industry. Folks who like GIRLS, BROAD CITY, CALIFORNICATION, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, INSECURE, LOVE, or LADY DYNAMITE — they’re our target for BINGE. 

But I think it would be a huge bummer to miss out on those audiences we didn’t specifically target. There is such little real, honest, open talk about eating disorders done in mainstream media, and I’d love to reach those demographics that may not know much about these illnesses. I think much of what we depicted will shock those groups (hell, maybe even shock everyone), and I think that’s a good thing. An important thing. This pilot really isn’t an exaggeration. I didn’t have an affair with my own therapist, but everything else you see happened, and then some. And mine is only one experience. These behaviors and patterns and cycles might be happening under their own roofs, to their daughters and sons, and they may not have any idea about it. We specifically did not want this show to be an after-school special, or feel preachy — but we do think most people will learn something by watching. 

And then, of course, we hope to reach those ever-sought-after Queens of Hollywood. Hey, Netflix! Hi, FX! Well hello, Showtime! Nice to meet you, HBO! Didn’t see you there, Amazon! You’re looking fabulous, Cinemax! Yo yo, Hulu!

A girl’s gotta dream….

KATE: Who helped you make this? What was the process? 

ANGELA: Yuri is part of HLG Studios, a digital production company that has had some very cool success. They own a lot of great equipment, and have access to amazing, generous friends who sometimes lend them equipment for free (THANK YOU!!). That’s a huge win. 

We had no budget, so we worked strictly from favors. Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro and Vanishing Angle Studios in Atwater Village were amazing to us, and let us shoot in their spaces for free. Our production designer Marie Jach  and her roommates were trusting enough to let us shoot in their living room until 5am. We shot outside my apartment until we got yelled off the street. Stuff like that. We scrapped things together.

I can’t brag enough about our DP, the FABULOUS, GENIUS Justin Morrison, who often worked alone, set up his own lights, never tired, constantly cracked jokes and stayed positive. He worked like a mad man and did a BEAUTIFUL job. One night, he and I shot all night, just the two of us. He spent hours rigging a camera to hang up and over the top his car with duct tape and C-Stands, and we just drove around my neighborhood shooting beautiful shit, hoping we wouldn’t get pulled over or hit a mailbox. 

We also had the support of some amazing HLG besties — Arturo Ochoa, Matt Wozniak, Spencer Sacks, and many more I’m sure I’m forgetting right now.

We shot about six days, completely bare bones, with whatever help was available to us at the time. It was a crazy, intense, whirlwind of a process! But an absolute joy. I am so grateful for all of the time, energy, talent, and passion that this amazing group of people put into this project. It really makes my heart swell. This was the most fulfilling creative project I’ve ever worked on.

And I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t talk about the music provided to us.

Up until a few days before we locked a cut, we had no music. None. It was really important to me that the majority of the music be created by a female musician, but we didn’t have time or money (and I, personally, know nothing about music), and so we weren’t sure what we were going to do. And then, the magical place that is Facebook put me in touch with B. Squid — a stunningly talented and unique female hip-hop artist. She was so kind to donate her new album to us. As you can hear in the pilot, she absolutely makes the world of BINGE what it is. The show wouldn’t be the same without her. She has such a distinct sound and style — and it melds perfectly with the tone we sought to create. She gave us so much texture and life. I truly don’t know how we got so lucky. I can’t thank her enough. Buy her album immediately — she’s a badass genius, and really gave us such a huge gift. 

Our other two musical providers are close friends of HLG, and just as talented. Emma Fitzpatrick of The Mots Nouveaux provided beautifully upbeat music to bring out the irony and humor of the piece, and Vlad Baranovsky — Yuri’s brother — gave us an indie love song to help bring forth the protagonist’s isolation. 

These three musicians, man …. I’m grateful for them beyond words. 

KATE: What other projects are you working on right now?

ANGELA: I’m developing the feminist satire I mentioned above, #SUPER$LUT, (you can view our teaser online!) with Lindsay Stidham and a digital production company (their name is in transition right now, or I’d tell you which one!) We hope to start shooting mid-2017. And I’m always writing. Lindsay and I have a pilot about a ghost-seeing former child star we’re hoping to get off the ground, along with a feminist bio-pic we’re stoked about.

HLG Studios, and Yuri, are always up to trouble — they’ve got a plethora of hilarious scripts at the ready (hit them up, producers!), and do all sorts of branded content when they aren’t doing narrative. You can check out their company reel here.

Most recently, they made the show DAN IS DEAD with Maker Studios — the eight fully shot episodes are currently looking for their home. The series stars Drake Bell, and me! 


Keep up-to-date on with Binge on its Facebook page or at www.bingetheseries.com. Many thanks to Angela Gulner for making neat content and then talking to me about it.

I Voted! And My Toddler Helped! Kind of!

We walked as a family to our polling place today. My East Coast friends (who live three hours in the future) had a lot of posts about how they cried at the polls. Making history! Feelings!

I didn’t cry, but Charlie almost did. As we left, it became apparent that he wasn’t going to get to meet Hillary Clinton OR Donald Trump today. This voting experience was not what he signed up for.

“Where’s Her-Larry Cinton and Donald Trump?”

“They’re voting in New York. Everyone votes close to their house.”

“Okay, let’s go to New York now.”

“No, buddy, we’re going to go home after this.”

“BUT I WANT TO SEE DONALD TRUMP!”

Last night I asked Andy if he knew what the J stood for in “Donald J. Trump.” He said, “I don’t know. John? Jerk?”

Charlie was within earshot and thought this was the greatest comic masterpiece since Tartuffe. So obviously, he marched out of the polling station chanting, “Donald Jerk Trump! Donald Jerk Trump!”

We told him that we weren’t allowed to say what we think of the the candidates inside the building. So he went back to his previous talking point: “But where IS Donald Trump? Let’s go see him.”

“We’re not going to see him today, honey.”

“Okay, let’s go see Her-larry Clinton.”

So far, it’s been an awesome day and I’m glad I got to share it with my guys. But now that he mentions it, it is pretty disappointing that we don’t get to meet Hillary Clinton today.

Maybe tomorrow.img_3445img_2411

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Regaining Hipster Cred: 12 Steps Back, 5 Leaps Forward

I’m not gonna lie; I’ve been in danger of losing my hipster status as I slowly moved into Regular Mom Territory. I think I’m back.

When the term “hipster” started being applied to me in about 2008, I was perhaps the only person on earth to embrace the title. Of course, denial of one’s own hipster status is one of the universally acknowledged criteria for hipsterdom, so I was already on pretty thin (locally sourced, artisanal) ice. But I was so flattered to be seen as hip and/or young! Over the last several years, my hipster identity started to slip. Here, in no particular order, are the things that have happened since 2009 that made me think about changing the name of my blog to just “Mother,” or whatever iteration thereof hadn’t already been claimed by the Internet.

  1. I stopped relying entirely on public transportation and my bike. I purchased a used 2002 VW Jetta.
  2. I stopped acting. More about that decision here.
  3. I settled into a full-time job in arts administration. This is less hipster than my previous full-time job doing administrative work for tech companies because arts administration made me feel like as long I was facilitating the production of art, I didn’t really have to make any art of my own. When I was an accounting assistant at Defense Technology Or Whatever Incorporated LLC, you can bet your sweet patoot I was out of the office and on my way to rehearsal at 6 p.m. When I worked in the arts full time, I ate/slept/breathed my job. I had good health insurance. That’s not hip.
  4. I stopped smoking. Please note that I’d been smoking American Spirits, which rival only Parliament Lights in hipster cred.
  5. I started walking with a cane. It’s a stylish cane, but that first old-lady cane with the pink roses on it from CVS was a real humdinger. (Which actually ended up working for me––Plenty of people thought I was using it ironically. Yay?)
  6. We bought a house, moving out of our c. 1925 apartment in the cool part of Capitol Hill and into a ranch house in the affordable part of Hyattsville.
  7. I stopped buying clothes at thrift stores, as there was no Goodwill by my new suburban home. I started shopping in the maternity section at Target.
  8. I had a baby.
  9. I dressed that baby in predominantly unhip clothing, leaning instead towards a wardrobe that was cheap or free. Circo hand-me-downs all day, son!
  10. I kept wearing my Liz Lang Maternity collection, because I’m not gonna spend all that money on clothes that I’ll only wear for four months. Plus, once you embrace jeans with elastic waistbands, it’s real hard to go back to the oppression of standard denim.
  11. Andy and I stopped podcasting, instead spending our free time living with our child.
  12. After the well-worn Jetta broke all the way down (on the side of the road, at midnight, with our 8-month-old in the back seat), Andy and I bought a brand-new Honda CRV. It has room for Charlie’s future sports equipment in the back.

So there I was, in my maternity jeans, driving my SUV from my office job to my suburban home, clinging to my chunky glasses frames for dear life. BUT DON’T WORRY:

  1. A year ago, I left my longtime employer and started freelancing as a writer/copy editor/social media consultant while I finished up my M.F.A. in creative writing.
  2. As such, I spent most of the last year being a semi-impoverished grad student.
  3. Just under two weeks ago, we moved into our cozy c. 1925 apartment in the cool part of L.A…
  4. …So that I can pursue writing full time. I’m that girl working on her pilot with her laptop at the independently run artisanal coffee shop in Eagle Rock.
  5. I smoked three Parliament Lights on my new balcony. Don’t yell at me. They were awesome (and then disgusting).

I haven’t gotten any younger, and youth is an asset to any would-be hipster. However, I think I can classify myself as at least an “aging hipster” without running into a branding problem.

In conclusion, if you’d had concerns over the last year or so that this blog wasn’t meeting your hipster needs, let me assure you that the record player is up and running, and that we just moved in across the street from a vinyl store. Plus a used book shop, a sassily named antiques place, 17 coffee bars, a few regular bars, a fish taco stand, and a Jack In the Box.

Two tacos for 99 cents. I’m living my best life.

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DON’T WORRY. I’m obviously taking my child to art installations as I strengthen my hipster cred. He might even be the first owner of the non-Target-brand shirt featured in this picture.

A Failed Bucket List For a Soon-to-be-Former Washingtonian

We’re moving back to Los Angeles. Soon. Like soon enough that my chances of completing my “1000 Things to Do In D.C. Before I Die” is looking pretty grim. At summer’s outset, when a fall move back to L.A. was officially decided upon, my list began to take form.

  1. Take Charlie to the Air & Space Museum
  2. Take Charlie to the College Park Aviation Museum.
  3. Go see Hamilton on Broadway. Not a D.C. thing, but L.A. will not have $13 Bolt Bus rides to Penn Station.
  4. Bring Charlie to Fredericksburg like 12 weekends in a row so he could play with various cousins and doting adult relatives.
  5. Eat dinner at Jaleo with Andy. We’ve been meaning to. Small plates! Iberian-style! With octopus! It would be like our favorite thing.
  6. See a burlesque show at that place on H street. (Wait– Just looked it up. The Palace of Wonders, later renamed Red Palace, closed at the beginning of 2013. Double-damn!)
  7. Have a quality Sunday brunch with each of my beloved D.C.-area friends and colleagues. (Maybe at the Red Palace! Wait–)
  8. Host a swingin’ house-cooling party, for more quality time with beloved D.C.-area friends and colleagues.
  9. Read all my Real Simple and Sunset Magazines, which I’ve just been putting in a beautiful stack since Charlie was born.
  10. Bike trail!
  11. Take Charlie on the recently restored carousel at historic Glen Echo Park.
  12. Have a beer with Joe Biden.
  13. Get invited to a State Dinner. I don’t even care if it’s for a country known for their great food.
  14. Spot a bald eagle in my neighborhood, close enough to take an identifiable picture of it.
  15. Have happy hour at McClellan’s Retreat, because California will never favor me with a bar whose name is a one-percenter Civil War joke.
  16. IMG_2316

    This is a for real boundary stone, right? I found it in Friendship Heights. It’s a stone marking the District boundary, so I feel like even if it’s not official, it should get me points somehow. UPDATE: This is way too fancy to be original.

    Find all the District boundary stones. (I think I found one on my way home from the doctor’s last week, so just like 39 to go!)

  17. Take a solo trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. My previous visits have been tours with colleagues or youthful field trips wherein I had to keep my shit together. I just want to not tell anyone where I’m going one Tuesday morning and spend some time sobbing by the confiscated shoes.
  18. Eat everything delicious. Ben’s Chili Bowl was once high on this list, but Bill Cosby’s muraled face smiles at me every time I walk by. While that used to be charming, these days it puts me in no mood for a half-smoke.
  19. Go get my nose pierced with my friend Cynthia, like we swore a year ago (over wine) that we would.

As the summer has taken shape, my revised bucket list has become much smaller:

  1. Have literally 11 vein-repair surgeries on my legs, plus some ultrasounds to make sure said surgeries are working.
  2. Rest between those surgeries and allow you, my beloved D.C.-area friends and colleagues, to come over and drink wine with me in the evenings. Double points if you bring a casserole or entertain my child.
  3. Yard sale to end all yard sales! (This Saturday, August 20th. If you know me in real life, come on over and take four book cases, two sofas, two futons, and ~150 theatre books off my hands. I’ll provide the wine, and I’ll give you a sweet deal. Like probably free.)
  4. Pack. HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO PACK THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN HOUSE WORTH OF CRAP AND SQUEEZE EVERYTHING INTO AN L.A. RENTAL APARTMENT. And I’m not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds until September.

The comparison between these two lists kind of makes me want to drink myself into a coma and pass out on the steps of Smithsonian Castle. But I do have a pretty goddamned great list of the things I’ve done while I lived here:

  1. Worked on a U.S. Congressional campaign (from that time my cousin Adam ran as the Democratic candidate in VA-1).
  2. Visited all the Smithsonian museums, sometimes even getting paid to give tours.
  3. Lived on Capitol Hill. Like right on Maryland Avenue, no foolin’.
  4. Lived in Arlington, close enough to the National Cemetery (during the Bush administration) to hear taps in the still of the morning more often than felt reasonable.
  5. Been invited to the White House, as a guest, to greet a foreign dignitary. Therefore: Have occupied the same space as President Obama and (at the time) Secretary Clinton. I took pictures. It was great.
  6. Have on two separate occasions been close enough to Defense Secretary Colin Powell that I could have grabbed his butt. I OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T, but both times it crossed my mind that I theoretically COULD.
  7. Been in a room with Joe Biden. Too far away  for us to lock eyes and recognize our shared humanity, but still good.
  8. Stood at the foot of every major monument and felt feelings of awe and patriotism and purpose and responsibility.
  9. Visited the Korean War Memorial at night enough times.
  10. Spotted senators and cabinet members in neighborhood restaurants. (Usually it was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and usually he was wearing a bolo tie.)
  11. Birthed a baby at Sibley Memorial Hospital! That’s an advanced achievement.
  12. Lived, for a brief time, in the attic of a house in Alexandria that was older than the whole country. (Just by a couple years. It smelled like Revolution up in there.)
  13. Commuted on my bike through the Capitol grounds and down Pennsylvania Avenue. (I never managed to ride the bike back UP Capitol Hill, though. That was a life goal that I couldn’t quite manage at the end of any given work day.)
  14. Soaked in so many of the moments, saying to myself or to Andy, “How is this our life?”

Washington and its surrounding environs has been wonderful to us, and now it’s time for what’s next.

Murder Veins 2: Revenge of the Great Saphenous

Charlie’s on day 2 of summer camp (woooooooo! Best $150 I’ve ever spent!) Yesterday he went swimming, which I didn’t know was going to happen or I would have properly fretted in advance of the trip to the pool. The day school didn’t pull one over on me: I signed a theoretical release form saying it was okay to take him on whatever field trips may happen this summer, up to and including a pool visit. I packed him some swim trunks and sunblock on the off chance they might come in handy this week.

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Me with correctly timed Valium and the dope shades they give you before they turn on the lasers. Procedure #4 of 10.

I’ve been going through a bunch of vein surgeries. I’m halfway through a set of 10(!) of them, and I’m in an insurance-mandated, three-week rest period between the “Cut & Thread & Zap” and the “Just Cutting or Whatever Because I’m Not Going to Google What a Phlebectomy Is Before I Get One Because That Sounds Gross.” There are five of each genre. There should have only been four of the Cut & Thread & Zap.

It was advertised as an easy procedure.The room wasn’t big enough to accommodate me, three health-care practitioners, that big blue sheet (like from when I had a C-section), the zapping machine, and a husband to hold my hand. So the husband fell off the guest list. Hell, there wasn’t room for my purse. I put it, along with my shoes, on the medical scale wedged behind the operating table.

Maybe 45 minutes into it: “Katherine, we are going to stop. We will try again in a couple of days. I will write you a prescription for Valium, and your husband can come in here with you.” I’m super-tough in a lot of circumstances, both physically and emotionally, and I’m often surprised by what things hurt so much that I break down. Getting a catheter woven into the vein that runs from my knee to my groin, even with a few shots of novocain, broke me down in all the ways. Apparently my veins are thicker than most (though the assistant with the thick European accent said they were “very sick,” and it took some back-and-forth for me to understand what was going on). “You mean it didn’t work?” I asked.

I was nervous, and that made the vein seize and stutter (and another word I can’t come up with right now but means both of those things at once). Crying didn’t help the matter, and I fucking cried. Those factors, in conjunction with a general Bad Case of the Leg Veins, meant they only got the catheter about halfway in, all told. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. I said it over and over, until it made sense that none of what I had just gone through will make me any better.

Two days later, we tried again, with a husband and some Valium. I took the medication too early, I think, because I was stone-cold sober and anxious as fuck by the time we started. But I had Andy holding my hand. We got through it, and the doctor noted what a remarkable husband I have, because “none of the other husbands do that. Well, okay, one other one did.”

By the fifth surgery, we had it dialed in. It hurt, but whatever. I took my Valium at the right time, so I found the affair stressful and painful, but there was nothing akin to freaking out. To keep my mind off the leg stuff, Andy had his phone and was searching Zillow for houses in L.A., where we’re moving this September. Occasionally he’d say, “This one has a pool. That would be nice.” Whenever he said “pool,” I saw an image of Charlie’s little blond mop, his shoes and clothes still as on he floats face-down in the water. “I don’t think I want a pool.”

Andy dropped off and picked Charlie up from summer camp yesterday. All at once, I got the report that it was Pool Day, and that Charlie had literally jumped right in. He had a great time and talked about it all day and as he was falling asleep last night. Got a little sunburned on his lower back. Big success.

How did he know to jump right in? How did he know how not to drown? How do pre-school teachers not feel terror with the notion of just taking a big group of two-to-five-year-olds to the pool for a little swim? How was he not scared?

Maybe he takes after his dad.

When I picked him up today, Miss Ann let me know that when it was time to pick up toys, and they turned the lights off and sang the clean-up song, he got very upset and started hitting himself. His teacher said she walked him over to the toys and helped him pick them up, but she seemed concerned about the hitting. I said that over the last month or so, when he’s been very upset and seems like he wants to hit or bite me, he instead bites himself… kind of hard. He’s doing a good job of being gentle with everyone else, but he seems like he’s turning his frustration inward. Miss Ann said I should talk to his pediatrician.

Maybe he takes after his mom.