Mighty Girl
My face.

contact: maggie at mightygirl dot net

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Bryan Mason
Heather Armstrong
Matthew Baldwin
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Heather Champ
Matt Haughey
Eden Kennedy
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Merlin Mann's 5ives
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Dear Boston,

Why are you walking so close to me? It's just you, and me, and this vast stretch of lonely sidewalk that empties into the horizon. I have my dance space, you have your dance space, and yet you're always all up in my dance space, Boston. What it is with you? You are walking faster than me, it's true, but there's plenty of room for you to pass me. Six feet or more in which to pass. The width of a small football field in which to pass.

And yet, here you are again, half a foot behind me. I cannot see you, though I can feel your hot breath on the back of my neck. Common sense tells me that no one walks this close, in my blind spot, on a virtually empty sidewalk, unless he or she is about to take my purse. But when I stop and turn to the side, forcing you to pass, it startles you. It turns out you were just plodding along, innocently, mere inches from my spine.

I know you don't mean any harm, and you seem like such a nice city, and you obviously have no designs on my purse, but please stop it. You're creeping me out.

Sincerely, Maggie

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After work, we head out for dinner. Conversation turns to the convention.

Pal 1: Who do you want for VP?
Pal 2: My money's on Edwards.
Pal 3: Yeah. But you know what bugs me about Edwards? He bends at the wrist when he's making a fist.
P1: What?
P3: You know, when he makes a fist to make a point? His wrist bends back. It looks weird. Like he's trying to make this strong point, and his wrists are all bent. Little thing, I know.
P1: But this is how people think.
P2: I would want him to lead our country, but...
P1: ...he does that freaky thing with his wrists.

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I go downstairs to take my security photo. The result is not flattering. The security guy looks it over.

SG: You know, I'm sure you hear this all the time. You look just like that one lady.
Me: ... No. Which lady?
SG: The first lady?
Me: Laura Bush?
SG: Nooo! From a long time ago.
Me: (Eleanor Roosevelt? Lady Bird Johnson? Dolley Madison?) Uhh...
SG: You know the one. The president was, like, young? And they had kids? And he got shot?
Me: You mean JFK.
SG: That's it! You look like the JFK first lady!
Me: Jackie Kennedy.
SG: Yeah! Yeah.
Me: Well, that's a flattering thing to say to a Democrat.
SG: Yeah. You get that a lot?
Me: Nope.
SG: Well, you look just like that lady.
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So, I've worked with interns and "assistants" before. You know the ones. The ones who are reduced to tears because the copy machine needs toner. The ones who surf the Web all day, because their mom is your boss and you can't fire them anyway. The overeager ones who want to take on important projects, but can't seem to alphabetize correctly.

The interns around here aren't like that. They meet you with files full of the information you were about to spend hours gathering. They say things like, "I thought you might need this when you arrived, so I've been keeping a database." They smile and nod politely when you ask them to do something mundane. They're efficient, bright, focused, and just a little bit creepy. Perhaps that's because I'm bracing for a coup.

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I've slept two of the last 48 hours. About an hour ago, I realized that I needed to start concentrating on breathing, because I seemed to be forgetting here and there. Also, I've had pizza three meals in a row.

Last night, I flew in on a red eye to Boston. I unpacked my ridiculously large bags, and headed over to the Democratic National Convention headquarters. I'll be working here for the next month.

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6.18.04 WHO KNEW?
My hosting service sends out a monthly newsletter. This month, the hosting service decided to start supporting a worthy cause, and they're enthusiastic about it. I know because the newsletter reads:

"New DreamHost Charity: Leukemia!"

Apparently, Leukemia is something we should all be excited about.

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6.16.04 SAKS IT AIN'T
Every Sunday this month, everything at the Goodwill thrift store is 50 percent off. I wait about fifteen minutes for a dressing room. Before I get in, the clerk clears everything out. Everything, that is, except for a single boot. That boot is in the corner, soaking in a puddle of urine. I notice it a few minutes into trying on clothes, and come out of the dressing room horrified. A woman with a baby stroller tries to push in after me.

"I'd wait for the next one," I say. "There's pee in the corner."

She considers this, peeks in, waits until she thinks I'm far enough away to have forgotten about her, then enters anyway. With her baby. I approach the sales clerk.

"Someone peed in the dressing room," I say. "You should call someone to come and clean it up."
"Huh," he says. "Yeah."
Then he goes back to hanging clothes.

I go home and shower twice.

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Scenario: The Starbucks near Bryan's office features Overzealous Counter Guy.

OCG: How's your weekend? Not long enough, huh?
Woman: No, I guess not.
OCG: Yeah, me too. What can I get ya?
W: Do you have any lowfat muffins?
OCG: Aw. We're out... Why not an apple fritter?
(Woman shakes her head.)
OCG: Awww, come on.
(Woman shakes her head.)
OCG: You sure? You can do it!
W: No. I'm afraid I can't.

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I remember sitting in class as a child and thinking to myself, "It's 1981, I'm in kindergarten, and Ronald Reagan is president."

I didn't know then what being president meant, and President Reagan was a symbol to me, like our flag. I associate him with the part of me that still tears up when I hear the national anthem, and the part of me that knows I am fortunate to have been born here--even as I cringe at how our actions as a country have alienated much of the world.

President Reagan was the first president I remember, and I thought of him as a five year old thinks of her parents: benevolent, wise, infallible. I now know that isn't completely true, of him or my parents, but it's the memory of that feeling I miss, as much as the man.

Ronald Reagan was my president, and I adored him. I'm sorry he's gone.

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6.8.04 FREE TIME
Best headlines from this month's Martha Stewart Living:
  • Frosting Like a Pro
  • Mum Pillow Covers
  • Setting a Course By the Homemaker's Star
  • Embellish Envelopes
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My computer done broke. Broke as in, "I sure hope you backed up your hard drive. Your computer's done broke." I hadn't. I hadn't even though I'm working on a book. For the record, not backing up when you're working on a book is the stupidest kind of not-backing-up you can do. Fortunately, Lane Becker--who is wise beyond all measure--figured out how to get the information from my hard drive before I had to give the laptop back to Apple. Therefore, my lovelies, please back up, as you may not have a Lane Becker in your life.

I went to the candy store, because Lane is a man who deserves some chocolate. The woman behind me in line was excited because it's Friday. Tonight is the night when her husband brings home a bottle of champagne, she brings home a box of chocolate, and they spend some time on the porch.

Friends, may your Friday be so sweet, and your computer perpetually hummming.

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6.2.04 BAD SIGN
Bryan calls information and asks for "the John Kerry for President National Headquarters." There is a pause. The operator says something. Bryan responds, "No. With a 'K.' John Kerry... No... It's K-E-R-R-Y."

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Two moments of note on the drive home from Memorial Day weekend:
  • A family of three is up on the overpass. They're wearing cartoonish Uncle Sam hats, and waving a huge American flag. Passing motorists honk ecstatically. We are honking for the common good. We are honking for freedom of the press, and cowboy hats, and the hope of growing rich from our own labor. Once we've passed, we stop honking and dig through the bags in the back seat to see if there's any more beef jerky.
  • Amidst acres of artichokes, this small man in his straw hat stands alone under the midday sun. He pauses to look up at the rows unfolding to the horizon, and then steps from each to each, using his hoe to clear debris from the trenches.

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My five-year-old nephew thinks butts are scary. I know this because, when asked to tell a scary story around the campfire, his stories are always about butts. These butts are massive; they darken the night sky. They produce thunderous foreboding flatulence, warning unsuspecting campers that giant feces are about to rain down upon their flimsy dome tents. Actually, according to Trevor, they don't rain down so much as "plop." But, still.

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