Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas spirit

I promised to be more cheerful and watching White Christmas always does that for me this time of year. I'm notoriously picky about my Christmas favorites. A Christmas Story? Meh. It's a Wonderful Life? Lies. But I love me some White Christmas.Vera Ellen was my style icon growing up.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A recent comment (from this post) inspired me to talk a little bit about my post-breakup goals: 

Anonymous said...

If you get lucky enough to snag another guy, stop acting crazy. Don't do drugs, and give a lot of head. You might want to lose a little weight too. Walking a lot will make the depression go away.

While I know this commenter is just being an total asshole, he/she raises some excellent points. I've been working on getting my head on straight and the best way to do that is to set some goals. Spending more time exercising is one of them. Over the past five years I went from vegan to vegetarian to mostly-vegetarian-plus-some-poultry, and it's amazing how the pounds have added up. Really, they're probably mostly cheese pounds. (I went for SIX YEARS without it!) A daily walk or some yoga/Pilates won't just get me back into my size smalls, but will improve my overall mood. I used to be a fanatic about exercising. It's just a matter of getting back into that mindset.

Another important goal on my list is to get more involved. I'd love to start volunteering on a regular basis and now I have the time to do it. So I'm going to make it a New Year's resolution, and start sending out resumes. I'm super excited about this already!

As for not doing drugs and giving more're an asshole, anonymous commenter, but we've already established that. I would absolutely be "lucky" to "snag" another guy. I'd consider myself exceptionally lucky to find love again, and that guy will be exceptionally lucky, too. If you'd like to stop hiding behind the internet and share some more of your kind advice, feel free to email me at

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This is the first time I’ve ever really lived by myself, which is odd because I’ve always felt like a very independent person. But now I’m realizing that I’m kind of a baby about certain things. In the wee morning hours today, I either woke up and saw a bug on my quilt or DREAMED that I saw a bug on my quilt and shot out of bed like whoa. I spent the next twenty minutes whimpering, shaking my quilt, and wondering if there was ever a bug in the first place. And hating myself for being so easily unsettled. If I had a boyfriend or a roommate, this wouldn’t have even been an issue. When someone else is there, the bugs (real or imagined) are way less intimidating. 

It makes me wonder if I’m cut out for this solitary existence. Don’t get me wrong, I love having alone time but not 24/7. I miss being able to turn to someone and say, “Hey, you-know-who’s acting CRAZY again,” or, “A Doctor Who movie!?! I don’t know how I feel about this!” I miss having a constant sounding board, whether romantic or platonic. My girl friends are stepping up to the plate in amazing ways to fill the void but they aren’t physically next to me, sharing a home. There’s just nothing that compares to that.   

I’ve always been a nester. I love the idea of creating a safe space with someone and having it be, “us against the world.” I know that one day I will have that again, but its absence today is a bummer. I want someone to come and give me a hug and tell me they’ll keep an eye out for that scary bug, even if it was never really there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can't cry anymore!

We’ve all been in a place where we’re kind of on the verge of tears at all times. I’ve called that place home for the past, oh, six months. SIX MONTHS. Six months of shedding tears at the drop of a hat, for no logical reason. It’s gone on so long that it’s become normal and that is depressing (or is it “depression.” Probably a little of both.) I’m kind of sick of my emotions being so close to the surface but am not sure what to do…other than to just wait it out. How does one deal with a volume of grief that just seems to grow? Right now I’m trying to immerse myself in it by reading novels that deal with loss or sadness. My thinking is that maybe revelling in it will help, in a Zen way. You know, “BE the sadness.”

What would you do?

Oh, the guilt.

Having grown up very very Catholic, I feel a crushing amount of guilt on a daily basis: guilt for the way I look, the way I (sometimes) act, the way that I’ve dealt with certain situations. The list goes on and on. Is it just me or is guilt the most counterproductive of all emotions? I mean, sure, if you do a bad thing intentionally, you should feel bad…but if it comes from simply being yourself, that isn’t healthy. I have guilt down to a tragic science. One of my goals for this year – the last of my twenties – is to minimize unreasonable bad feelings. I’m no psychiatrist, but it seems like that can be accomplished in a few steps:

1.       Acknowledge the guilt
2.       Identify its source
3.       Calmy and firmly release yourself from it.

There’s something effective in just saying out loud, “I am no longer going to feel guilt over this.” It might not disappear immediately, but you’re starting to reprogram your brain to respond to more positive commands. Like training a dog. Guilt is bad. No guilt is a treat. (Just as long as I don’t start rewarding myself with actual treats, like candy or something. That’ll mean weight gain and SURPRISE! Guilt.)

I look back at my relationship with my ex and am consumed with remorse for a lot of different things. I feel shitty for having dragged us both through the mud. I feel like a fool for having ignored things that didn’t sit right with me, things that I can’t believe I didn’t identify as red flags. I feel like a jerk for having taken my friends and family along for the ride on the emotional roller coaster (even though I’m sure they didn’t mind…much.) In general I feel like I did just about everything wrong, right up to this very day. I’m missing him and missing our connection, and am not sure how to go about handling it. 


There’s either a giant glass of wine or an hour on the stair-stepper in my future. Maybe both at the same time. Mmmmm…and I refuse to feel guilty about that.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Komplete Kraziness

Most people are probably rolling their eyes and shrugging at this whole Kardashian/Humphries divorce debacle, but it kind of pisses me off. I may not be entirely sure about marriage for myself, but I believe in the sanctity on marriage and that it shouldn’t be, for lack of a better term, pissed on. And the fact that she made a statement saying that it was a “difficult decision?” Give me a break. A difficult decision is not made this quickly. The entire marriage only lasted 72 days (after they started dating in December of 2010, which means they haven’t even been together for a whole year.) This is craziness! When my now-ex and I decided to end our relationship, it definitely was not something we took lightly. We worked hard to try to salvage things, probably for about a year. Longer than the Ks were even together!

I just don’t get it. Here are my personal “rules” for marriage (and commitment in general.) They are simple:

·         If you’re not 150% sure about someone, you shouldn’t marry them.
·         Once you’re married you should try like hell to make it work.

The end.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An embarassment of...embarassments.

This post has nothing to do with romantic or platonic relationships, but rather what a freaking spaz I am. I really should be followed around by a camera crew, because at least once a day I act like an ass, say something completely insane, or physically fall down.

A few days ago I was walking towards my house and saw my landlady on the front stoop, doing some transplanting of her potted flowers. Her back was to me so I said, “Hi [Landlady]!” then I took a breath and as I did, I snorted so loud and long that it reverberated off the cobblestone street and the buildings around us. The snort hung in the air like a cloud of gnats before moving away down the street at about 1/100th the speed of sound.  She was gracious enough to pretend that I hadn’t just made a sound like a human jackhammer, god love her.

There’s a woman I work with who lives close to me and from time to time she’ll offer me a ride home. When she pulled over to the bus stop yesterday afternoon I ran up to the car, thrilled that I would escape public transportation. But as I opened the door I could hear her groan and say, “Ohhhhhhhhhhh no,” under her breath. She was pulling over for someone else, and obviously didn’t want me tagging along. It doesn’t appear that she likes me too much, either, so that was even more embarassing. Probably because I said something 100% off the wall to her during one ride. She was telling me that both of her kids were asking for laptops: her son wanted one for graduation and her younger daughter wanted one just because. In my head I thought, “A laptop for graduation makes sense, but the daughter’s request is a bit too much for no occasion.” Of course, what came out of my mouth was, “Shouldn’t he get something…more…for graduating?” In the intonation of C. Bing, could I be any more presumptuous? It’s not even what I meant! I’ve been kicking myself for that one ever since.

And just to round things out, this morning the wind blew my skirt up above my waist while I stood waiting for the bus (with several other people.) Good morning, CDTA riders! I’m going to crawl under a rock and die now.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Pattern Language

Someone (Oprah maybe?) once told me that the story of a relationship is written almost entirely during the first few interactions. Right off the bat you set patterns for how you relate, how you love and fight each other. From a psychological standpoint, I guess it’s pretty difficult to break out of those patterns once they’ve been laid down. When I think about the inception of my friendships and past romantic relationships, it really stands to reason. People I’ve met in bars will forever be drinking buddies. Friends I met in college will always want to break out an acoustic guitar and chain smoke. And the people I’ve loved at first sight will always be loved, no matter how nuts they may have turned out to be (specifically this one friend that I adore even though he’s a little on the self-destructive side. He’ll always be a delight in my eyes.) 

In the same way, when you start your relationship off on an adversarial foot, it’s probably going to be a fight all the way along. However it happens, your brain/heart seems to remember and it will never let you forget. Early in my twenties I dated a guy (I’m a total masochist, by the way, obviously) who introduced himself by saying, “You look like a real piece of work.” He was right, but what an ass.  Stupid me, I was charmed. We fought that day and every day during our tortured two-month “relationship.” We’d set the pattern and certainly followed through with it, to the bitter end.

These days I pay much closer attention to those first few interactions. It’s almost like looking right into the future of a relationship. Being in tune with those clues will save you a lot of heartache, trust me.  

(The title of this post is a blatant rip-off of one of my favorite books on architecture, A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. If you're into that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Burn Notice

A few years ago I heard a story about a woman who unwittingly gave a sexually transmitted disease to one of her partners. She worked in a call center and when the guy got tested and found out about the disease, he embarked on a campaign to humiliate her. He called the 1-800 number dozens of times and when a representative answered he'd say, "Hey, do you know Amy? Does Amy work there? She burned me." The office was small, about thirty people all in the same room so everyone knew Amy and pretty soon everyone knew she had "burned" someone. The guy continued to call all day long, even after Amy went home, mortified and in tears.

I tell this story because it shows that we are only as good as our reactions to shitty situations. Sometimes you get burned and you want to lash out, but if you go about it the wrong way you'll lose all your credibility with people who under other circumstances would have totally been on your side. So no matter how upset you are and how slighted you feel, you can't make a hundred phone calls. You can't mount a campaign to make someone else's life a living hell, just because. We all get burned. Slap some salve on that thing and move on.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Fluff

Going through a breakup will make you question just how marketable a commodity you are. Especially when you’re like me and have never been a master of positive self-esteem to begin with. I’ve been so down in the dumps that I thought I’d do a little shameless self-fluffing and talk about what I believe makes me a catch. The list does not include, “breathtaking beauty,” or, “oozing sexuality,” but there are some other positives. At least I think they’re positive:

I was born and raised to be a caregiver. This is totally my mom’s fault. Slap a set of pearls on her and hand her a vacuum and she could star in her own 1950’s family sitcom. There’s nothing I enjoy more than cooking a meal for someone, shaking up a few martinis and giving a good solid backrub. I don’t mind doing dishes, LOVE to grocery shop and if you want a fresh, homemade pie, just say the word. This doesn’t mean that I’m a doormat of course or some sort of anti-feminist but I like to make people happy and comfortable. 

I have hidden talents that range from weird and useless to totally enviable. Under the weird and useless category would be the ability to write backwards and forwards at the same time and name all 50 states in alphabetical order. (Admittedly very very useless.) The enviable ones include my musicality, which I think is the best thing about me and my ability to recall the name of just about any entertainment personality under the sun. (For example, what was the name of the actor who played the father on Family Matters? Why, that would be the irrepressible Reginald VelJohnson, of course. )

I wouldn’t say no to a threesome. No need to elaborate on that one.

When I love someone I love them totally, unconditionally and forever. We may fall out of touch or get into a fight but if you need me I will be there, ready to give you my last cent or gasp of sweet oxygen. I’m also generous with my drugs.

Gosh, I feel better already! That might just be the drugs, but whatever. Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We Know We're Crazy*

The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. We ladies sometimes do crazy stuff that we (hopefully) know is crazy, but we do it anyway. Perhaps because you all drive us to it, perhaps because we just can’t help ourselves. So how about a little group therapy. 

We know we’re in the wrong when we:
  • Get rid of your stuff. When my now-ex and I moved in together, I was fascinated by his “stuff.” Maybe due to the fact that our belongings meshed really well and we have similar taste, but whatever the reason, I loved it and never wanted to pare it down. Women seem to have this compulsive need to find the one thing men love the most (comic book collections, the comfy t-shirt, porn) and annihilate it. Don’t ask me why. If it isn’t yours, leave it be!
  • Fill in our own blanks. The blame for this one is definitely spread equally between genders. Men, you tend to give us information on a ‘need to know’ basis. Just the talking points. We want the whole story and if you don’t include each and every minor detail, we’ll convince ourselves that you have something to hide. We’ll write our own story, complete with the wildest ending imaginable. We’re creative like that, so do us (and yourself) a favor and just tell us the whole story.
  • Snoop. I’m guilty of snooping, but never unprompted snooping. One time I was using my (MY) laptop and discovered that an ex had visited a dating website specifically geared towards casual hook-ups. I did some more digging and saw that there was a fresh new profile he was still signed into! So I made some fun, informative changes to that profile. See how you make us do crazy things? That one was totally not my fault because I mean, c’mon. If you’re dumb enough to use my computer to find, “Local sluts who want to f&*$” then you deserve what you get.
  • Tell you what you want to hear. “I don’t want kids, either.” “You’re the best I’ve ever had.” “Size doesn’t matter.” OK so some of these are little white lies that probably won’t hurt anybody but when it comes to the big issues, we need to stick up for ourselves a bit more. The real answers are, “I'm not sure if I want kids. I think you’ll make a great dad but don’t want to scare you away by saying it.” “You’re very good at taking care of business, but there’s room for improvement,” and, “Size only matters when it’s small. You don’t have anything to worry about.”

*Case in point. God, I wish I didn't have such a great example of me being crazy to share, but...yesterday I called my ex to say hi and the call was sent to voicemail. Not immediate voicemail, but the "ring ring ring voicemail," that lets you know the person has CHOSEN to send you to voicemail. Today I texted him, "Are you pissed at me for some reason?" No response. So I call again. Voicemail. Call again. Voicemail. Third call (affectionately know as the "You're truly crazy" call) he picks up and now he is kind of pissed...he was taking a nap.

I'm crazy.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    I'm Bushed

    I’ve been having a few kind of desperate days, feeling so sad but not having any outlet for it. I think the people in my life are tired of listening to me moan about my ruined relationship. Heck, I’m sick of listening to me. In general I'm just tired of being sad. Last week I had cocktails with a friend who told me she wanted to introduce me to someone. I was hesitant, internally, but tried to put on a happy face. “Even if you guys can be friends, it’s a good thing,” she said. I couldn’t argue with that. 

    But there’s nothing that makes me more uncomfortable than a set-up. So when she invited me over this weekend my first thought was, “Is this an ambush?” I was scheduled to show up a little late and when I told her I was on my way she responded, “Oh [your ex] is here, just FYI.” Immediately a wave of relief rushed over me. Not an ambush with a new guy that I wasn’t ready for, but a nice afternoon with friends and the guy I felt so comfortable with. The one who was the other half of me for so long. I thought I’d be able to slip into my old skin, if even for a moment.

    So, so wrong.

    Monday, October 3, 2011


    Doing my laundry and thinking of you.

    I gulped, then deleted the text message and dropped my phone onto the table like a hot potato. I stared at it as if it was a living thing that might pop up and sink its teeth into my neck. Mentally (and possibly out loud) I repeated, “No no no. Nonononono.”

    Throughout my dating history, I’ve had several visceral reactions like this. The first time it happened was in fourth grade, when a classmate tried to kiss me on Valentine’s Day. To this day we laugh about how I bit him right through his winter coat. *Nervous laughter* I’m not even joking. So basically, I know when I like a guy and when I don’t. When I don’t like someone, my stomach becomes a mess of knots and I feel like a caged animal. In the past I would run like hell in the opposite direction, avoid the situation, blow the guy off or ignore his advances until he gave up. I know that there’s nothing mature about that, but you have to remember that the last time I “dated” I was 24 years old (and painfully immature.) This time I figured I’d approach the situation differently.

    That’s flattering! But I’m so emotionally unavailable right now.”

    His response was a cop-out, something about me having misinterpreted his initial text (yeah right, dude) but I let it roll by. We exchanged a few more texts about other things and there seemed to be no awkwardness. I was shocked by how easy it was to stop him in his tracks. God, if the younger me had known this, I would have saved, like, months upon months of stressing over how to “let someone down easy.” Turns out there’s nothing hard about it. Now that I have this tool in my belt, I might use it more often. Who’s next?

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Maybe usually means no.

    About a month before we broke up, my ex and I went to a weekend-long wedding out of town. It was so lovely: a quaint resort in the Catskills, a room in the cutest bed and breakfast ever, ponds and streams and barns. We were both pretty enchanted by the event. One night while we were there, he turned and said to me, “Maybe we could have something like this.”

    My heart swelled.

    Early on in our relationship (and throughout it) we discussed marriage. He was adamant in not wanting it, I was adamantly ambivalent. Coming from a divorced family, I just don’t think it’s necessary. Commitment is necessary, not marriage. And I see NO reason for a big day filled with hoopla. But of course every one wants someone to want to marry them, right? I wasn’t looking to get married, but when the man I love said, “Maybe we could have something like this,” how could I not get all gooey inside? I remember waking up the next day and thinking, “He wants to marry me.” It was like Christmas morning or something. I didn’t realize how big a deal it was to me for him to have the intent. We could have gone on happily for the next 40 years without actually getting married but the fact that he wanted to seal the deal, even just a little, meant a lot to me.

    Funny how quickly things fell apart after that. You could analyze it any number of ways: maybe I realized that he wasn’t serious. Maybe he realized that I wasn’t the right person to marry. Maybe he realized that he had said that in an emotional moment and "maybe" meant "no." I don’t know. But now that I got a taste of the metaphorical wedding cake, I think I want more. I don’t want the planning or the presents, the big day or the spotlight focus. I don’t want a weekend wedding in the Catskills. I don’t even know if I want any wedding. I just want the intent; the, “maybe we could have something like this.” Because we really could have, and I still can.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Virtually real.

    A lovely anonymous commenter posted this a few days ago:

    I've been interested in your posts about the breakup...going through a pretty awful one right now myself. Do you find the blogging therapeutic? I feel like I just want to crawl into a cave and not talk about it, acknowledge it, allow it to be real.

    Trust me, if there was a cave nearby and it was socially acceptable to take, like, a two-month-long sabbatical to said cave, I’d totally be there. In the dark, wrapped in a bear skin, clutching a mag of red wine and a hanky. There’s still a part of me that can’t wrap my mind around the fact that we’ve really broken up. Even though I’ve physically moved to a new apartment that’s my own place, it still feels like our lives haven’t entirely separated. And they really haven’t. We talk every day and spend time together (we even watched “our” TV show premieres together the other day.) That contributes to the unreal feeling, for sure. 

    Writing about it is therapeutic, for the most part, but there’s another aspect of it that makes it seem…I dunno, somehow fictional. Like, I’m just telling these people’s stories and, hey, maybe there WILL be a happy ending! So I constantly have to push that feeling away while I’m writing about the break-up.

    One thing that did make it realer was that very very shortly after we broke up, he was already hooking up with people. Not sure what level of hooking up, but at the very least making out with people in public places. I know that’s pretty much what guys do. They don’t give themselves enough time to grieve (whether they know they need it or not) and jump right into something else. Obviously that’s his prerogative now that he’s single, but it felt like a total bitch slap. A bitch slap that snapped me back into reality, at least a little bit. 

    Anonymous, I’m bummed to hear you’re going through something similar. It truly sucks so hard I can’t even put it into words. I wish I could give you a hug.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    You break it, you bought it.

    It’s nearly impossible to not start looking at least a little bit once you’ve broken up. I’d spent the past four years not looking at all, happily and naturally, because being in love pretty much blindfolds me. I could never cheat on someone because I can’t see anything worth cheating with. It’s like every other guy on earth ceases to exist. I am physically incapable of being into two people at once and have never done the “soft” breakup. You know what I mean: you’re dating someone that you want to break up with so you find someone else, start dating them and then breakup with the first guy.

    Ew. No. 

    But now that I’m free as a bird I can’t help but look. There are lots of nice, funny, talented guys out there who seem ripe for the picking. I could name five local men right now I’d be LUCKY to be in a relationship with. Even if I could trick them into wanting to do something so crazy, though, it would be pointless because my heart isn’t in it. I didn’t realize this until last week when it seemed like the potential was there for a date. I like the guy, for real. But I’m still in love. It was kind of a lightbulb moment for me…

    Still in love. 

    Certainly not because I want to be. It seems so unfair that you can’t just make the conscious decision to fall out of love with someone. I’m so good at controlling other emotions, but not love. Every time you try to turn it off, it redoubles itself and laughs at you. Makes you feel foolish and helpless. Makes it hurt allllll over again.

    I have always loved the phrase, “You can’t get over someone until you get under someone,” but for all its pith, I don’t think that’s going to work for me.  So I have to hand over my heart to that cosmic doctor: Father Time. It’s totally cliched but so true. It’ll just take some time. Until then I’ll be looking but not touching.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Mildly Questionable Things I'm Allowed to Like Because I'm a Girl

    Sex & the City: If I was being honest, I’d tell you that I originally started watching SaTC for the graphic nudity and sexual content. But because I’m a lady, I can say things like, “It really reflects the cultural zeitgeist of the millennium and the complexities of female relationships in a world where gender roles are on such unsteady ground.” It’s really about the enviable boobs and man-ass, though.

    Coldplay: It’s not popular these days to like Coldplay and I can understand why. Chris Martin kind of jerks and minces across the stage in a way that’s both unattractive and humorous. They write decent songs, though, and there’s nothing wrong with pleasant music that doesn’t need too much “work” to enjoy.  So while I’ll never be on the Train track, I’ll girl it up with Coldplay every so often. I mean, Fix You? C’mon. Beautiful.

    Baby anything: This kind of goes without saying. No one’s ever going to question why I’m cooing and fawning over pictures of puppies and chicks (or puppies and chicks together omgggggsocuteIcoulddie.) And I appreciate that. 

    Musicals: Even if I’d been born a man, I’d have been a broadway baby. Growing up we were limited to basically Disney movies and old classics (White Christmas, Funny Girl, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Court Jester, State Fair, etc etc etc) so it was kind of inevitable that I love them.  Don’t EVER say to me, “December 24th, 9 p.m. Eastern standard time,” unless you want to hear the entirety of Rent from start to finish. Seriously.

    I could go on and on…I’ll probably add to this list because there are a million examples. Feel free to add your own.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Dates and Figs

    I realized this morning that I'm probably going to be alone forever. Not because I want to be. The thought terrifies me. But rather because I hate dating, and especially first dates. A friend recently mentioned a local restaurant that he'd had several good first dates at, and it sent chills up my spine. Not just a good first date, but a bunch of them. My worst nightmare.

    Honestly, I've only gone on three "first dates" in my entire life. I'm 29-goddamn-years old and I've only been on three first dates. I'm talking about real dates, here, where someone picks you up and takes you somewhere. I've "hung out" with guys and that leads to a relationship, but as for serious first dates, only three...and the last one was four years ago. I truly thought it would be the last one because I never anticipated a break up but shit happens. And now I'm afraid it's all over for me.

    The idea of signing up with a dating website, chatting with random guys, meeting up for coffee...I'd rather lay down in an intersection. I'm not being overly dramatic about this, it's just not me. I'm sure people will say, "Oh, get out of your comfort zone. Try something new!" You're all nuts, I say. Pure torture. Some people enjoy playing the field, but I guess I'm happy on the sidelines. We have Gatorade, here.

    P.S. You're probably wondering, "Where do the figs come in?" I recently got an ice cream machine and am going to make fig sorbet, because my friend Richie made it for me and it was the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. And that's the end of that story.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Thank you, I think?

    I once read somewhere that men remember the positive milestones in life while women remember negative moments. Maybe “remember” isn’t the right word, maybe it’s more about what’s formative to us as people. Men are formed by positive, women by negative (according to whoever said that.) Thinking back to my childhood, the moments that stick out are ones where I felt cut to the quick by someone I cared about. Moments that shamed me. It’s funny how those never disppear, in fact they seem to intensify as life goes on.  So I thought I’d share three moments that formed me, in hopes of exorcising the demons:

    I was a shy kid. When I realized that I had a talent and passion for music, it took me a while to work up the courage to join into school-based musical activities. To get a little positive feedback in fifth grade, I told my best friend at the time that I was thinking about joining chorus. Her response was, “You!??! SINGING?!?! *evil laughter*” The way I remember it, there may also have been a thunder clap and a cold wind. I didn’t actually join chorus until freshman year of high school, and didn’t try to enter any NYSSMA competitions until even later. 

    The Skate Factory was simply the coolest place to hang out back in middle school. It’s where we went to hug boys, eat crappy pizza and pretend to care about rollerskating. I loved it passionately.  One weekend, on a family excursion (or one of my sister’s birthday parties, perhaps) I took a pretty bad fall. Went right down like a sack of bricks. I got up and scooted over to my mother, who was with my aunt at the snack bar. “Did you see me fall?!” I asked. “No, but we could feel it all the way over here,” was my mom’s response. She laughed and I frowned, then went off and sobbed in the bathroom. I mentioned it to her recently and she kind of brushed it off, saying, “Oh I’d never make fun of your weight!”  Revisionist historian, eh.

    One final painful moment: In high school we were crazy about the movie Empire Records. I could recite that thing from start to finish. The soundtrack is still one of my favorites, including the absolutely classic ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’. Long before the movie came out, I would spend hours laying on my living room floor, listening to Beatles albums. They’d covered the song and so did the Flying Lizards, which was the version that appeared in the movie. I mentioned to a friend’s mother that I’d always loved the Beatles version and she rolled her eyes. “That is not a Beatles song. If you think the Beatles ever did anything like this, you know nothing about the Beatles.” I think that moment made me cry, too. 

    I’ve probably said a billion insensitive things to people over the years, without realizing it. That’s what all this really makes me think about. When did I cut someone to the quick? Do they remember it to this day? If I tried to apologize, would it make a difference? Would it bandage a wound that’s been festering for years? Probably not. I don’t think someone apologizing to me would change anything. I’d still be me, and those harsh words would still be woven into the fabric of my personality. So maybe apologies aren’t necessary, but rather sincere thanks.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Dream house

    No, I'm not going to fantasize about 'My Dream House,' though that would be tons of fun. Maybe tomorrow. TODAY I'm going to talk about a house that I continually dream about. Perhaps together we can do a little analysis.

    The dream started maybe a year or two ago. It's been with me in various forms for longer than that, but only recently has it solidified (as much as a dream can) into something I'd file under "recurring." Certain details change, but the layout of the house in my dreams is usually immutable. The dream often begins with me realizing/remembering that I live in a two-story house. I've forgotten/never knew about the lower level, which is a partially finished basement divided into two halves. Each half has its own storeroom.

    I've constructed a floorplan:

    When I realize that my house has a lower level, I always explore it even though I know it's going to scare me. The bedrooms are always nicely appointed and look as though someone has been living in them. Sometimes I feel like I have been living there, or at least using the bedrooms to store my stuff. The living area is totally lined with bookshelves. In one of the bedrooms there is a gigantic open shower, the kind that someone who uses a wheelchair would have.

    When I go into the storeroom, I know there is something there. I've never seen it or run from it, but I feel it. It's disappointing, I think in my dream, because I just remembered all of these rooms and now I can't use them. I'm always either cleaning or packing this space, getting ready for a visitor or a move.

    Sometimes I wonder, "How am I affording to live in this giant space?" Sometimes I think that even my landlord doesn't know it's there. Sometimes there are people living there, other times the entire lower level is empty.

    So what does all of this mean? A Google search turned up some similar dreams that others have had. People suggest that it could mean you feel an emptiness in your personal life (YAH. Now more than ever) or that you are missing love. That actually makes a lot of sense. It probably explains the housekeeping, too. I need to straighten things out in my personal life. Could it really be that simple? What about the haunted mirror-image rooms? What's hiding in there?

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    What do YOU want?

    Being single again after so many years leaves you at a bit of a loss. You look around and think, "What the hell am I supposed to do now?" The safety net is suddenly gone. There's no one to talk to. I really and truly spent the first night after he moved out watching Antiques Roadshow and drinking a Four Loko. My first ever. Fruit punch flavor. It's actually kind of delicious in a 'I can feel this killing me from the inside out,' kind of way (just what I needed.) And hooo lordy all you need is one. 

    It's disorienting and sad, but it's as good a time as any to step back and think about what you really want out of life. A girl can fantasize a bit, right? What do I want?

    Gender rules

    In soooo many ways, I'm not a girly-girl. Never have been, never will be. I'm hopelessly maternal, and love dresses and jewelry and pink, for sure, but am also into rather traditionally masculine pursuits like science fiction television and action movies. I play video games and would rather cook (in heels, mind you) than bake. I could live without makeup. I'll take an extra dirty martini over a Cosmo any day. I sing high soprano but would choose to listen to System of a Down over Maria Callas. I could go on but I won't, because you get it. I don't really follow the rules when it comes to gender roles.

    My childhood was rife with contradictions. As a toddler I refused to wear anything other than skirts, but also desperately wanted (and was ultimately given) my father's Swiss army knife. I didn't carry a purse until I was out of high school. Everyone was probably confused. My third grade teacher famously told my mother, "She's a good kid, she just takes a little getting used to." In retrospect, that teacher was a bitch, but her statement resonates through the years. She was right; I was and am...weird. On the gender spectrum I'm probably smack dab in the middle, perhaps just ever so slightly on the feminine side.

    This makes dating difficult, as if dating needs to be more difficult than it already is. I tend to go for guys who have a similar mix of masculine and feminine, but they are few and far between. More common is the popped-collar bro who's looking for blonde and boobs. The boobs I've got. The blonde-ness (and all it entails) eludes me. I just can't BE a girly-girl. Obviously there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but there will always be people like my third grade teacher who call it like they see it and label me as weird. After almost 30 years on this earth, I think I might be okay with weird.

    Please stop being so nice to me!

    When a relationship falls apart, the pieces can go in one of a few ways. You can rage at one another, throwing around words like, “hate,” and never wanting to see eachother again. OR you can do what we’re doing, which is to be sad…heartbroken…devastated…but not necessarily angry.

    Sure there was plenty of fighting towards the end and there have been moments here and there where our tensions have come to a head, but we made a promise to one another to try to keep it civil. Luckily it’s been better than civil. We’ve been able to mourn together for something that’s gone and isn’t coming back. We still love eachother but it didn't work. Sharing that sadness is healing, for some reason.

    Since everything comes back to either Seinfeld or Sex & the City, do you remember the (gut-wrenching) episode where Aiden moves out? During that final conversation – his bags packed – he fixes Carrie's toilet and tells her he wants her to keep the engagement ring. She says something along the lines of, “Please stop being so nice to me.” 

    While I appreciate the kindness that we can show to each other, even now, part of me wants to say that. Please stop being so nice to me.

    My now-ex (*sob*) has been something of a prince. He’s leaving behind a lot of his belongings that we shared, to make things easier on me, and he’s been a lifesaver dealing with our landlady. She can be an intimidating personality and after a recent incident, he said, “No one’s going to push you around. No one’s going to bully you.” 25% of me wanted to melt, while the other 75% steeled itself. I tried to remind myself that there were times when I felt pushed around and bullied by him; that we made this decision together for a reason and that it was still the right decision. All the niceties, it feels like too little too late. It is too little too late.

    Hungry Girl Creeps Me Out. But is She Right?

    (Note: This was originally posted a few months ago, but for some reason it reverted to the Draft copy. All the comments disappeared too! Disappointing. I hope I didn't anger anyone's lawyers!)

    I am soooo conflicted about this Hungry Girl character who recently invaded my beloved Cooking Channel. I do appreciate how she tries to maximize portion sizes (and thus, satisfaction) by bulking them up with fruits and veggies, but that goodwill is so quickly lost when she reaches for box of something powdered and awful. Her recipes are usually quite simple; only a handful of ingredients so that's not really where her creativity comes in. Her shtick seems to be in her, "swaps," where she takes something great (like kale or squash) and bastardizes it into something it's really really not (like 'potato chips' or 'french fries.') Why can't kale just be kale, I'm wondering?  Do we have to trick ourselves with food in order to be satisfied? That's what Hungry Girl is trying to tell us.

    For some reason, the whole show has a vibe of, "Welcome to my personal hell." Lisa Lillien is obsessed with food and calorie counting, and wants you to be, too. She wants you to know that zero calorie non-stick spray should be used sparingly, because if you spray too long, there will be calories. And that you can make "macaroni and cheese" with frozen cheesy broccoli, whole wheat spirals, and several 35 calorie wedges of Laughing Cow cheese. an abomination.

    One recipe called for canned pumpkin and she put on a very serious face, saying, "Now, don't get the preseasoned pumpkin pie filling, because that would be a disaster. Sure, it would taste good, but..." That makes me think that, should the pure canned pumpkin have been disastrously replaced by pumpkin pie filling, Lisa Lillien would spend a good hour crying about it. "A disaster?" Come on. Counterproductive to her cause, maybe? A bad mistake that leads to an extra six hours on the treadmill on the 'San Fransisco' setting tomorrow? I would assume so. But it's not a disaster.

    And don't think that the Hungry Girl stays slim simply by taking out all the, "stuff you don't need," (like nuts and raisins, as she reiterated several times during a granola recipe. Nuts and raisins.) because she also belongs to Weight Watchers, according to this article from 2010. Also in that article she claims to live in the middle of the supermarket, which we all know is where the most packaging and preservatives live as well. Iiiiieeeeeejustdunno.

    It just seems like this woman is a junk food junkie who is also dominated by body image issues. From the telltale puffy cheeks - which betray a history of anorexia - to the bizarre lusting over things she won't actually eat. In a recent episode, the line, "I could read diner menus all day long," oozed out of her mouth like the honey she replaces with, "sugar-free maple syrup." Ugh. Before going to commercial break, she'll ask you a fun little question, like, "What food do you dream about the most?" Are you kidding me lady? Have a freaking french fry. I enjoy a bit of food lust as much as the next woman, but I'll indulge every one in a while.

    OK, always. But, what do I know? In my world, kale can just be kale.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Brash Wednesday

    A couple days ago at work I heard the question that I hear all the damn time.When are you guys going to get married?” Aside from the impoliteness-factor, it’s really annoying to have to produce some sort of explanation when the subject comes up.  In the past, I’ve told people that I won’t get married until everyone can get married, but that’s kind of a cop-out. Even if there was marriage equality in New York State, I’m still not sure I’d be on board with the institution personally

    It made me consider other similar odd questions. Close your eyes (no, wait, don’t close your eyes. You won’t be able to read this with your eyes closed.) With your eyes (and your miiiiiiind) open, imagine you’re walking down the street when an acquaintance approaches you. He says:

    “What are you doing?! Why aren’t you at Easter mass?”
    “Well, not going to Easter mass is just, it’s just WRONG!”
    “It’s not, though, because that’s not my belief system. That’s part of your belief system, which makes it wrong if you don’t do it, but I’m fine.”

    The marriage question feels like the same thing,  to me.  I mean, you could swap out a few words and it’s the same conversation:

    “What are you doing?! Why aren’t you getting married before you live together?”
    “Because…we’re…not religious?”
    “Well, not getting married is just, it’s just WRONG!”
    “It’s not, though, because that’s not our belief system.”

    People rail pretty hard on cohabitating prior to marriage, saying that it’s somehow morally wrong or backwards. Just because it’s not part of your belief system doesn’t make it right or wrong or anything, really. It’s just different. And not adhering to your beliefs doesn’t reflect upon me, as a person. If anything, it reflects upon you. Why is so important to you that I be married, when it doesn’t matter one whit to me whether you marry or go to Easter mass or have an egg salad sandwich for lunch or wear a flower pot on your head, “because it’s the right thing to do.”  It might be for you, and that’s great. Let’s all decide what’s good and right for ourselves. Come to think of it, wearing a flower pot on your head would make you look like a terra cotta Darth Vader, which is hilarious. Do that. If you don’t, it'll just be…wrong.

    Friday, March 4, 2011


    This is basically going to be free advertisement for some website,, but can we talk about this picture?

    OK. I totally get the American Apparel-ization of...everything, but what the hell? "I'm just hanging out in my tighty whiteys, aviator shades, BLACK HALF-SOCKS, and my fave 'Meh' t-shirt. You know. Whatever."

    I can't even deal.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Oscar Fashion Wrap-up

    So I decided that I'd like to start talking about fashion...a little...sometimes. I really really love clothes and grand fashion statements and especially awards season gowns.

     My favorites from last night were, in no particular order:

    I have a soft spot for Natalie Portman, because I once saw her at a book signing in Brookline, MA, when I was living in Boston. Jonathan Safran Foer was there to read from and sign copies of Everything is Illuminated and Ms. Portman was there, man. She was freaking there. This was back when she was attending Harvard, and I hadn't seen her in anything, but I loved her right from that moment. The book, on the other hand, not so much...anyway, I have a feeling that I'd like the color of this dress way more in person. Not that I don't like it here, in pictures, but people reported it being more fuschia than eggplant. That pleases me. She just looks so happy and rosy and I love the tassel-earring craze of the moment. The matchy-matchy shoes were slightly disappointing, but I'm not hating.

    Ditto for Mila Kunis, because, dude, she's Meg Griffin. She also looked like a HOLLYWOOD LEGEND in this dress, which may have been cinched a little too tightly around her waist, which is so tiny to begin with, why must you push it? I loved the cut of the top. Her decolletage is parfait. Actually this whole thing has an edible quality to it. NOM.

    The second Amy Adams appeared on the screen, I was, like, "GASP. CHOKE. GORGE. US." This is both sparkly and colorful, two of my favorite things. I do kind of wish that the cut was just slightly less demure, as we've already established that I am a fan of Amy's chest. Plus it would have set off that unbelievable necklace. Boobs + necklace = YOWZA.

    For some reason, I just can't get on the Anne Hathaway bandwagon, but I thought this Valentino was glorious. The material looks a little cheap in this picture, but on the red carpet she was every bit a superstar. If only her hair was super, too.

    You'll notice that I did not include any nude, white, taupe, beige, or pink dresses, because I hate them all. Well, maybe not all of them, but all the ones I saw last night. Can that trend be over now?


    Have you seen this State Farm commercial? The basic premise is there's a couple who get into a car accident and the magic State Farm jingle brings them their insurance representative, then turns them both into the others' physical ideal. It's cute, in a superficial way...I guess.

    It's fun, sometimes, to dream about a make-your-own boyfriend. Like, he has the charm and smile of Gyllenhaal, the casual brilliance of DeGrasse Tyson, the truthiness of Colbert, the ab-fabulousness of Bale...I could go on all day cutting and pasting qualities from all my favorite guys onto the blank slate Dream Guy. But, of course, the fantasy doesn't go very far. Or, more specifically, I always start identifying those qualities I love in the person that I love:

    Well, he's just as cute as Jake and he knows a hell of a lot more about sciencey things than I do. And now that I think about it, he's the one who owns I Am America (And So Can You). OK OK, so he's not Christian Bale, but whaddya gonna do?

    So, yeah, fantasies are nice sometimes but reality is better. I want to write an alternate ending to that State Farm commercial where the couple poofs back into the people they used to be, and then  they realize that their fantasies can't hold up to the real people that they're in love with. Because isn't that even nicer?

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    In My Next Life...Amy Adams

    We're so bombarded by images of physical perfection it's hard not to be a wee bit jealous sometimes. OK, always. I'd like to kind of turn that jealousy on its head and make it a positive thing, so whenever I feel those envious pangs, I will write an, "In My Next Life..." post that will celebrate the perfection, rather than turn it into some masochistic impetus to eat a whole bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Because, I mean, isn't that how everyone deals with envy? (No? Awkward...)

    In my next life, I'd like to have these breasts and this hair. You go, Amy Adams. No one will peg you as, "innocent," in this get-up. Hot!

    And I'd like to put it out there that I can't go a day without reading It's brilliant and hilarious and self-deprecating and all those good things.


    The bone-chilling cold we experience this time of year is contagious, it seems. I’m afraid I’ve caught some of its bitterness. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that my personal life has been on such shaky, unsure ground. When I’m secure in love and life, the temperature could drop below zero and I’d still be warm and rosy as a radiator; happy to be inside cooking soup for my sweetie and catching up on my reading. But at the moment I feel like all my goodwill and inspiration and empathy have seized up like a frozen stream. There’s no desire to cook or write or sing. No motivation to show love to anyone or anything. I feel like love, in general, is kind of a lost cause.  

    This mid-winter funk is usually only shaken by spending some time focusing on myself, so that’s just what I’m going to do. For the past four years I’ve put myself second (at most) and the results are pretty evident. My time-tested steps for breaking out of a minor depression are:

    1. Exercise – There’s no better mood elevator in the world than a good old fashioned work out. If you can’t get a work out the old fashioned way (*wink wink*) then you had better lace up those sneakers and get a’walkin’ (or a’runnin’ or a’yoga’n’ or whatever workout you can stand.)

    1. Forced creativity – It might sound like an oxymoron, but it works for me. Sometimes my best creations come when I’ve set some parameters for myself, whether it’s to sit down and write a story or a song or just to do some vocal warm-ups and improvisation. It’s like a self-assignment and you always get full marks. (ha.)

    1. Eat more fruits and vegetables - No, I’m not really trying to diet but the vitamins and nutrients in fruits and veggies always make me feel better, inside and out. A salad and an apple is as good as an anti-depressant, in my book. Well, OK, maybe not as good, but a great natural alternative. If after a week of veg-loading I’m still feeling peckish, I’ll invest in some St. John’s Wort and melatonin.