Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Barking Like a Seal Cough" Should Be a Thing

... because, apparently, whooping cough is a thing that I have to worry about now. I was not aware of this prior to yesterday. I had seen the commercials for the vaccine -- the ones with the babies who were coughing and trying to breathe? -- and by "seen the commercials" I mean "changed the channel asap when that commercial came on because it gave me the heebie jeebies to hear that baby with the whooping cough."

Poor little one.

Anyway. So, Tuesday? I was fine. I've been playing the insomnia game -- "I'll take 'Who's Going To Be Awake for No Reason at 2 AM for $500, Alex!" -- so I was tired? But other than that, totally fine.

I woke up on Wednesday with a tickle in my throat.

Not enjoyable.

I was about halfway through my first cup of coffee when the coughing started. Fortunately, I managed not to spill my coffee (again) or burn myself (again).

Swallowed wrong, I thought. Except, of course, that usually when you swallow wrong you get that drowny-chokey feeling (I'm pretty sure that's a medical term) and I didn't have that.

I was just coughing.

And then, I coughed again. And again.

None of these were polite little coughs, either (I know, you're shocked. Because I'm SUCH a delicate flower otherwise). They were loud, barking, "I'm a sea mammal" coughs.

Painful ones, at that.

So I did what any self respecting person would do: I went to Facebook and complained.

That's how I discovered that whooping cough is a thing. (I mean, I knew it was a thing? But I didn't know that adults could GET it, or that I needed to add it to my "stuff to worry about" list. (parenthesis within parenthesis: I don't have whooping cough. I also don't have whopping cough or whipping cough, both of which I keep typing instead of whooping cough and neither of which would probably be enjoyable to have.) )

Anyway, after a search of Web MD -- something, by the way, that I usually avoid like the plague, if only because Web MD will immediately tell you "OMG, You have the plague!" I discovered that my symptoms don't match anything. Web MD couldn't threaten me with any dire illnesses because there aren't any with "dry, barking like a seal in a show at Sea World" cough in their description.

The coughing, however "unproductive" (dry, not wet. Also, those are gross descriptions), was doing something -- it was blowing out my vocal cords.

This was not making me happy.

It's been a really long time since I had a cough. However, I have friends and relatives who are experienced hackers (just not, you know, the computer kind) and was quickly directed to get some cough medicine.

Some things I had forgotten about cough medicine:

1) It is vile. SO GROSS.

2) It comes with the tiniest, cutest little shot glass you ever saw.

3) It makes me LOOPY. (And I wrote this post under the influence, so I'm hoping that later when I'm not coughing and, you know, SOBER, it makes sense!)

4) It works.

I stopped coughing. Too late for my voice, alas, and I want to put my head down and take a nap (which will probably be filled with vivid, cough medicine induced dreams ... that could be fun!), but no more coughing. Which is good because I have stuff to do this weekend and have no time for sickness or coughing or any of that.

But I DO have the time to announce that if you were worried about whooping cough? Or whipping cough? Or whopping cough?

You should also worry about Barking Like a Seal Cough. But not too much. Just do a couple of shots of cough medicine and you'll be too high to care.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Do Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and I Have In Common?

... other than the OBVIOUS and really annoying paparazzi problem? (Seriously, the way those guys surround my VW, flashes a-poppin, makes navigating the streets of New Hampshire SUPER problematic...)

...Okay, well, maybe nothing.


Last weekend I went shopping by myself, which is pretty much the only way I will EVER try clothes on. I love my friends, but I can't let them see the spiral of depression that going into a fitting room generates. I just can't. It's not only that it makes me so depressed that I can barely stand, it's also the humiliation from KNOWING that this shouldn't be ruining my moment, day, ENTIRE LIFE, and yet it is happening anyway.

You might be thinking, well, if that's true, why would you want to face the Mirror of Shame all alone?

BECAUSE. It makes me sad and then I get all snappy and I want my friends to keep loving me, which they would NOT do if they had to shop for pants with me.

But. I needed jeans.


I took ten different pairs of jeans into the fitting room. In, let's see, three different sizes and multiple cuts. Without describing the agony and fury, I can tell you this: One pair fit.


Fit enough?

But this is when I started considering Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, and here's why:


I have one. So do they, though theirs are a) famous and b) probably insured by Lloyd's of London (and OMG can you imagine calling up your insurance agent and telling her that you want to INSURE YOUR ASS? HAHAHAHAHAHAH never happen).

Here's what happens when you have a curvy-girl booty: PANTS. THEY DO NOT FIT RIGHT.

Because in order for said pants to fit over the ass, there needs to be roomage in the pantalones. And if there is enough roomage in the pantalones for the bodankadonk, then there is WAAAAAAY too much roomage in the waistband. Like, you could have a party in there. (Which makes me think of this, which is kind of NSFW.) There is also too much roomage in the leg area. And they're pretty much destined to be too long, because apparently you should only have this much ass if you're a foot taller than I am, which is problematic because I'm NOT a foot taller, and I don't need more tripping hazards in my life, thank you very much (speaking of which, JENNIFER LAWRENCE FALLING DOWN AT THE OSCARS YAY CLUMSY GIRLS!) .

Now. While I freely admit that I could whittle my entire self down a bit (ahem), the butt stays put no matter what size I am.


The people demand to know.

I suppose that the reality is that La Lopez has a tailor, but let's remember that unlike Ms Kardashian, who was born with cash, Jenny is from the BLOCK, yo. Which means she didn't always have a tailor.
And which I like to think means that, like me, she tried on a zillion pairs of jeans and finally had to settle on the ones that SORTA fit, fit-ish, until the day she became famous and celebrated for her, um, ass-etts.

I am not ever going to want to be more famous from behind than I am facing forward, y'all.

But I would KILL for pants that fit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Letting Go

"I don't know when you became so ..."


"I was gonna say anal," she said, bluntly. "You used to be kind of a slob."

I used to be messy.
Well, that's not exactly true. I have always wanted things to be precise. However, I used to have the ability to shut that off and just block out the things that bothered me. This was why my room would look good, but closets, dresser, and under the bed would be a disaster.
The mess I didn't have to face? Didn't exist.
(In retrospect, this explains several of my past relationships. And an eating disorder. And also, how I dealt with depression.)
However, eventually, all messes have to be faced. You'll need to get something out of the closet, and when you reach in, everything will fall out and land on you. This is the problem with denial, as it turns out. Eventually, all of the stuff you've been pretending wasn't there will land on you in a giant heap so that you're buried and overwhelmed.
Whenever I ended up on the floor, with nearly everything I owned piled around me, my mom would say, "If you just put things away where they go when you use them, you won't have this happen to you."
She was right.
I've come to realize, though, that this is about more than closets. It's also about ... everything. Deal with it when it happens, and it won't be lurking around, waiting to fall on you when you are looking for something else entirely. Put it away in good time. When you're done with something? BE done with it. Otherwise, one day, you'll be looking for a pair of flipflops and something big and heavy and not at all flip floppy will land on your head.
Not that that's ever happened to me or anything.
"I just got tired of the disorder," I said to her. "I mean, yes, I go overboard and am a little over the top neat now? That's true. But ... I got tired of the hassle. It's easier when everything isn't so messy."
"Dude," she said, "life's messy."
"I know," I said. "But this is how I deal with it."
And then I said: "You don't have to understand."
These are the things that I thought about when I had the great Apartment purge of 2013. I donated 10 bags of clothes to Goodwill. I went to the dumpster 26 times. I have a closet that is now entirely empty. I have a dresser drawer (or two) which is also empty. I have less stuff.
Life IS messy. It's true.
But that doesn't mean it you should just let it pile up around you. And it doesn't mean that you can just ignore it.
So, I have ... less. And now? I feel like I appreciate what I have more. It's all clean. It's all visible. It's all organized. It's all DEALT with. The things I have kept are the things worth keeping.
And the things I have let go of? Are the things that needed to be released.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Going Out

"Are you coming out tonight?" she asked.

"Dude, I'm TOTALLY coming out," I said, blatantly ignoring the fact that a) girls? Are not dudes and b) a new episode of NCIS was going to be on and I was going to miss it, because even though I love Mark Harmon, I can't exactly start skipping social engagements for our fake dates (which are just me on the couch, drinking wine, and marvelling at the awesomeness that is Mark Harmon).

"Okay. Be there at eight," she said.

Which, when I agreed to it? Seemed totally fine. Eight o'clock is an hour when normal human beings might find themselves out and about on a weeknight. Completely do-able.

At four o'clock in the afternoon on said weeknight, this is what was running through my head: I'm going to have to change out of my sweatpants and I don't wanna. I can't wear sweatpants to a bar. I mean, I can't, right? Not even in New Hampshire. No. I'm going to have to get dressed. In clothes. Clothes that other people can see me in without needing to poke out their eyes. What's my hair doing? I should go look in the mirror OH DEAR GOD. Okay, I need to wash my hair. Or shave my head. I mean, my hair is CLEAN, I washed it this morning, what is it DOING? It looks like hedgehogs are nesting back there. Wait, do hedgehogs nest? They must. Because that's what it looks like. That is not okay. Ergh, my nails are a disaster. Remember when I used to get my nails done? That was nice. My hands never looked like they'd been caught in machinery then. It's ridiculous that they look like that now, actually, since I spend every day at the computer. Weird. I should put some eyeshadow on, too. I look like death. Oh well, if the grim reaper is at the bar, he'll probably sidle over to say hello. I love that word, sidle. It's sly. Ohhh sly's another good one. I mean, in terms of describing movement. I suppose you don't want actually to know people who are sly. That seems like it would be a negative trait... what was I even talking about? Yeah. Eyeshadow.

And then I thought: this is a lot of work for drinks, when I definitely have a bottle of red on the counter. And, you know. Mark Harmon.

And THEN I thought: I HAVE to go. I like my friends. I like the bar. I like adult beverages and conversations with actual people instead of my cat, who, though a delightful companion, isn't good at telling jokes or stories, and who mostly ignores MY jokes and stories.

Other people, I reminded myself, sternly, leave the house on a daily basis. You haven't left the house since ... um.

When WAS the last time you left the house?

Oh boy.

What's the weather going to do? Is it going to snow? I hate driving in snow. I especially hate driving in snow at night. Nope, not going to snow. Might have freezing rain, though. That's not awesome. If it's raining when I'm supposed to leave, should I go? Should I not go? I never drive anymore. Do I know how to drive in slippery conditions? It's not far.

It would probably be fine.

No, it will be fine.

Won't it?

It will.


ARGH. I WANT to go out. I WANT to see my friends and have silly conversations and laugh and enjoy the awesome. Why is this so complicated? THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED.

Seriously, what IS my hair doing right now? It's only, what? Two inches long? How is this level of messy even POSSIBLE?

I'm going.

I'm not going.

No. I'm GOING. I said I was going and I'm going.


I went. It was fine. There were beverages and giggles and hugs and awesomeness.

And as for the rest of it -- well, it makes a good story.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Randoms


"So then I thought, 'Okay. I could get mad about this. But do I even respect this guy?' and the answer was no, so I decided just to make the appropriate 'uh huh, okay, absolutely' noises until he was done yelling at me and then just continued on with my day."

"You're my HERO."

"Yes, and my super power is apathy and ennui."


"You know what I hate?"

"Oh boy. Let me think. Being cut off in traffic. Iceberg lettuce. Those little clip things that are supposed to keep bags of bread closed but never do.  When your hot coffee gets cold and when your iced coffee gets warm. Stinky trash. Clowns. Coming home and finding out someone took your parking space. When you're on an airplane and the person in front of you reclines her seat. Perfume ladies at makeup counters. Do you want me to keep going?"

"I was going to say that I hate it when it's Thursday and I think that it's Friday? But. I do hate all of those other things too."


"The problem is that it's easy to be strong for other people and hard to be strong for yourself."

"Did you just say something deep?"

"Oh, shut up."


"You do realize that the sudden knowledge that I could make my OWN tater tots has revolutionized my entire way of thinking."

"Yeah, some people have political or religious epiphanies, but all of yours seem to center around food and snacks."

"I worship at the altar of potatoes. Don't judge."


"So I snaked the drain."


"Are you pouring anything ... unusal ... down there? It was pretty ... black and gunky."

"Other than motor oil?"


"I'm kidding. No, I don't pour anything down there other than, like, water. I WAS KIDDING. I wasn't raised by wolves."

"That's good. Also, WOLVES would know not to pour oil down the sink, so ... yeah. Don't do that."

"I don't!"

"But you thought of it. Which means you could have."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

That's How Some Cats Roll

My cat is not smart.

Whenever I say that, people always look startled, like admitting that Beansie is a few fishies shy of a school is disloyal or unkind when, in reality, it's neither of those things. It's just honest. Some cats are fat. Some are tiny. Some are super friendly.

And some? Are not terribly bright.

I have been aware of her ... not very gifted ... status since she was a wee little kitten. Obviously I don't care that she's a bit dim. She's adorable and fluffy and I love her.

But sometimes the lack of brains is ... shall we say ... woefully apparent.

Such as the time I brought home a cat bed, and she couldn't figure it out.

Here's what happened: I brought the bed home (and I have to confess, I was a little envious of the bed, because it's super soft and snuggly and, to be honest, I thought: if this bed was available for grown-ass humans? I would buy it for myself. That's how cuddly it is) and I put it on the floor in a place where Beansie traditionally likes to curl up.

"Look, buddy!" I said, "Someplace comfy and warm for you!" (Because it makes me REALLY sad to see her sleeping on the floor. That doesn't look comfortable at all. And yes, I'm THAT crazy cat lady.)

"Brrrrpppt!" Beansie said. She was interested in the cat bed in the same way she is interested in ANY object that lands on the floor and investigated it as such. I could see her filing through her (admittedly limited) experience, trying to classify what this item was:

Is it ... food? (She sniffed it.) Nope, not food. Well, maybe food. I should lick it. (She licked it.) Not food.

Is it ... a toy? (She poked it with a paw, sprang back, poked it again.) It is not a toy.

Is it ... a friend? (She rubbed her head against the corner and made an inquisitive chirp.) I don't THINK so, but I don't know. We will reserve judgement.

"Go on," I said, nudging her butt towards the coziness. "It's your bed!"

She gave me a puzzled look. I'm not sure exactly what her language capacity entails (the word "NO" seems to be beyond her comprehension judging from the number of times I've told her to get off the table), but the look she gave me indicated that she was pretty sure that I slept in a bed, and she slept on that bed, and judging by her definition of "bed" that was not what this was.

I picked her up and put her in the bed.

She jumped out.

I put her back in.

She jumped back out.

She was NOT having it.

Mind you, this is a cat that is very, shall we say, UNDISCRIMINATING when it comes to climbing on or into things. Paper bags? In them. Boxes? In them, on them, under them. The cat carrier? All I have to do is open the door and in she goes.

The cat bed? NOT ON YOUR LIFE, my friend.

The cat bed has been on the floor for WELL over a year. She would walk PAST (and occasionally poke and sniff) it on her way to other places which were apparently MUCH more comfortable. Like, you know, my golf bag, which was a wonderful place for a nap. Or on some flip flops. SUPER COZY.

The bed just sat there. I would lint brush it periodically. She would watch me with a look on her face as if to say, "I've seen more interesting things."

But then I cleaned out the house. And by "cleaned out" I mean: got rid of many, many things and found new places to store other things. I thought about donating the cat bed to a shelter or something but didn't get around to it.

Last week, apropos of nothing, Bean climbed into the cat bed. She walked in a circle. And then another one. And then another one. She looked a bit of a dervish, whirling about, putting her feet and weight on every possible square inch. Then she chirped approvingly, settled down, and promptly went to sleep, purring so loudly that I could hear her over my music.

"Bean," I said. She opened one eye.

"Brrrpt," she said. I interpreted that as "This thing is AWESOME! Did you know I can SLEEP in it?" She happily resumed snoozing.

"Are you kidding?" I asked the empty room. She continued to purr.

She loves it. She's taken to sleeping in it every day.

Now that she knows what it IS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So That's What Happened

On Monday, I said there would be no new posts this week.

I meant it when I said it, too.

Can I just tell you, though, what happens when I'm not travelling and I suddenly announce "No New Posts for a week"?

I got this tremendous outpouring of affection. People wanted to make sure that I was okay. They wanted to make sure that all was well in Yellie-land, and that I had what I needed. They ALSO let me know it was okay to take a break if I needed one, and that they would miss me until I was ready to come back.

Oh, you guys.

I needed that.

I needed it because -- to be honest -- I'd fallen out of love with the blogging. I was fried. I didn't think I had any more stories to tell and all of the words on the screen seemed really, really stupid; I couldn't be funny, I couldn't communicate anything I really cared about, and I didn't want to play anymore. I wanted to be done.

I also DIDN'T want to be done. Because I could remember a time when I did love it, and when I did have things to say.

So, I thought, maybe I'd just take a week off and see where I was at. I wasn't going to QUIT, mind you, but I thought maybe I'd post less often, or ... something.

But then the most marvelous thing happened.

Released from the "OHMYGOD I don't have anything to SAY" I realized: I DO have things to say. A lot of things. Ideas started coming to me (do I have a list? Of COURSE I do.)

And I missed it. Even though it's only been two days? I missed nattering on, rambling about the day, or something political, or my cat.

So thank you for being patient with me, and for reading. I'm still here, and I'll continue to be here.

Y'all are awesome. But then, you already knew that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Raise Your Glass (originally posted June 15, 2011)

Here's to you.

Here's to you if you ever felt awkward or gawky.

Here's to you if you've ever felt too fat or too skinny.

Here's to you if you've felt alone. Here's to you if you have longed to be alone, just for a moment.

Here's to you if you've ever felt unloved, or unlovable. 

Here's to you if you've ever felt unpopular. If you were the last one picked for the team. If you ate lunch alone in the cafeteria.

Here's to you if you didn't fit in. If you felt like you didn't have a place. If you weren't sure where you belonged.

Here's to you if you never saw anyone in a magazine who looked like you. If you ever felt ugly. If you ever wished to be someone other than who you are.

Here's to you if you ever felt rejected.

Here's to you. Because we have ALL been there. Every single one of us. So -- here's to us. In all of our beautiful, wonderful, unique, amazing imperfection.

Here's to you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Taking a Break/ It Only Takes A Girl

I'm taking a short blogging vacation beginning today. I'm going to be re-running some of the most viewed posts, though, so you'll have something to read until I come back on 2/25. Thanks for being patient!

Originally run Dec 19, 2011

 Make a Difference Monday: It Only Takes a Girl

First? You should watch this (if it's blank, right click on it and choose show video info ... or refresh the screen. That should work for you.):

And now let me tell you how Make A Difference Monday came about.

That video? Was a link on a friend's Facebook wall. I watched it, and I cried.

And I realized that all of the things my friends and I complain about on Mondays? The whole "going back to work, not enough coffee, the weekends aren't long enough bleaaaah" routine?

It's ridiculous. It's elitist. And honestly? It's a whole lot of whining.

First world problems? You betcha.

So -- Make a Difference Monday. To remind you, and me, that to have the job, to have the luxury of a weekend, to have the luxuries that you -- and I -- and the people we know -- take for granted? That's a gift.

We can do better. We should do better.

Which brings me back to the link I asked you to watch.

If it moved you, there are things you can do to support girls in developing countries. One of them is shopping here:;jsessionid=9DDDB5431B497AF9DFC1F7120457D45E?siteId=344&site=&context=fair-trade-gifts

You can also go here:

Or here:

Or, obviously, here:

And if this doesn't move you? That's okay. Make a Difference Monday is all about presenting ways -- big ones, small ones -- to make a difference. Maybe one of them will strike a chord with you.

We can all make a difference -- any time, any day.

Perhaps today you'll make one for a girl.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Randoms -- Ask and You Shall Be Answered

1. Do you like bleu cheese?

I don't know why, but this comes up a lot. And the answer is YES. I know it smells a bit like old socks. I know it looks like something you should probably avoid eating. But here's the truth: if you dipped my 19 year old Birkenstocks in bleu cheese dressing I would consider eating them. SO DELICIOUS.

2. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?

No. Well, sort of no. The regular doctor? Fine, whatever. The DENTIST? Um. Yeah. Someone recently asked me what I am afraid of? And I forgot to say the dentist, but dental visits are horrifying and scary. Especially if you don't have dental insurance because do you know how much that shit costs? FOR REAL.

3. Do you like hot-dogs?

Not really. Two exceptions:one is Flo's Hot Dogs. The other involves bleu cheese because I'll eat ANYTHING if there's bleu cheese involved. I mentioned that, right?

4. Favorite Christmas Song?

I have two. They're both pretty depressing, now that I think about it, but oh well (one is CHEERFULLY depressing. The other is just beautifully depressing.)

Sarah McLachlan Wintersong

Do They Know It's Christmas

5. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

As much coffee as I can possibly consume. Or Diet Coke. Or a Bloody Mary if it's the weekend (but only after coffee).

6. Can you do push-ups?

Yes, but who cares?

7. What’s your favorite meal?

You know, I don't know. Not bleu-cheese dunked Birks. Oh wait, yes I do: my mom's homemade mac and cheese accompanied by ... beets. Why is this delicious? I HAVE NO IDEA. Oh, now I want it.

8. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?

I have two rings that I never take off, though they occasionally migrate to different fingers. Why do I love them so? They both have moving parts, which makes them fun to fidget with when I'm nervous, bored, or nervously bored.

9. Favorite hobby?

a) reading
b) dancing around the office like a rock star, often singing into a highlighter as though it is a microphone. Which leads me to hobby C
c) being a dork

10. Name a trait that you hate about yourself?

I am self conscious all of the time, which emphasizes the awkward, at least in my head. SO AWKWARD.

11. Current worry right now?

Is this post going to suck? OHMYGOD, it's going to SUCK. And it's getting too late to bail on it. I'm SO SORRY. It's been a long week and there weren't a lot of funny things that happened.

12. Current hate right now?

I hate that someone who I love dearly is incredibly unhappy. I also hate that this post is going to irritate people.

13. Favorite place to be?

The beach. I love being on the beach. I NEVER EVER love being IN the water though. Is that weird? (There are large bitey critters in there. No thanks.)

14. Favorite place to go?

Home. Though to be honest, I'm not quite sure where that is anymore. I know that's weird. I never claimed not to be weird.

15. What is your most recurring dream?

For as far back as I can remember -- even before I could drive -- I would dream that I was driving off of a bridge and into the water. As you can imagine, this is not a cozy dream. As a result, I hate bridges, though I am thankful for their "hey, let me help you over this body of water" functionality. (Hahaha, now I'm imagining talking bridges. Like Transformers, only with engineering and architecture. Which would be BETTER than Transformers... can you imagine if, say, the Empire State Building suddenly started walking around? That would be COOL.)

16. What color shirt are you wearing?


17.  Do you love where you live?

Yes oh yes I do. I love my apartment. I love my town (city? Don't know). Love my state, love my region, love love love it.

18. How many TV’s are in your house?
One, but I kind of wish there were 0. I'm not a big "wheeee, let's watch tv" person.

19. What is your worst habit?

I am a second-guesser. This is a problem. Or IS it? Argh who can tell?!

20. What is your favorite book?

Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen for the WIIIIINNNNN.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

So. Yeah. It's Valentine's Day, and this is my favorite love song ever. You're welcome.

(or, you know, you can watch it here )

Love y'all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just Answer The Question, Claire

In September, someone asked me what I want out of life, relationships, etc.

I kind of blew off the question. Because how the hell did I know, right?

I've been asked that question ... let's see ... six times between then and now. By six different people, in six unrelated conversations.

So, yeah. When life hands you lemons, make martinis. (Dry ones, with a twist.) And when life makes sure that you get asked the same question multiple times? FIGURE IT OUT, I say.

I mean, really.

The thing is, I don't really know. It turns out that for all of my "look at me, I'm togetherish" posturing? I don't have a handle on it.


My natural tendency is to bounce the question back to the person doing the asking. "What do YOU want?" This is an excellent technique, by the way. It fills the airtime, which is outstanding because there's very little that makes a conversation more uncomfortable than dead air.

It also lets me weasel out of answering -- an excellent feat, I confess, but one that gets me no closer to figuring out the puzzle of "What Yellie Wants" and one which also points out that nearly everyone else has a roadmap and I only have vague directions written down on a napkin in handwriting that's barely legible.


Or, not really? Or, actually, maybe.

(Can you tell that I'm conflicted about this?)

The problem (and yes, I know I have one) is this, I think: I used to feel like I knew where my life was going. When that fell apart (or, you know, exploded into ugly and sharp bits of shrapnel) I stopped caring where it was going and concentrated instead on surviving. It was necessary.

I haven't really had a plan -- or even an idea of a plan -- since.

My best friends have (gently, kindly) been pointing out that this lack of a plan is kind of a bad plan, because you can't get what you want if you don't have any idea of what you want. That's not how things work.

They also (equally kindly, but a little less gently) have pointed out that by refusing to articulate (or even know) what I want, I'm never disappointed. When things fall apart it's totally fine, because I never had expectations that they'd go anywhere anyway. "You're like the queen of self-fulfilling prophecy" I was told recently.

On one hand, YAY I'M THE QUEEN OF SOMETHING! HAIL THE QUEEN! On the other hand? Oooooouuuccccchhhhh. Valid, but ... ow.

So, in the interest of finding an answer to the question:

I want to laugh. Frequently. I want to be able to sing James Taylor's Up on the Roof in the car, with the windows down, as loudly as possible without getting the side-eye. I want to be able to have difficult discussions without anyone getting pissed off. I want people in my life who come at things the same way I do, politically. I want to feel like it's okay to be smart, it's okay to be goofy, it's okay to be super opinionated. I want to be able to chase some dreams that are highly unlikely, but are fun to chase anyway without being kicked around for it. I want to feel like what I do matters, to myself and to other people. I want it to be okay that "career" isn't my reason for doing things, but that making a difference is almost always the reason. I want it to be unexceptionable that I talk to my mom almost every day. I want someone who knows what colour my eyes are, and who doesn't freak out when I cry over soup commercials or sad movies or those ASPCA commercials. I want someone who thinks life is a fun, collaborative project and that every day is a cause for celebration and that getting older is a reward for having a successful 365 day stretch between birthdays.

I want to be able to answer the damn question.

Maybe I'm getting closer.

Let's Talk About Love*

* Did I just quote a Celine Dion song? Bet your bippy!
** I don't know what a bippy is...

Generally, this would be my "Valentine's Day is stupid" post, and I will confess, I still think it's really dumb kind of stupid, but that's not what this is about.

This is about love.

Because love, as the movie points out, is actually all around. You might not have a partner -- which is fine, as long as you're happy (and you should be happy by yourself, I think, before you can be happy with someone else) but there are all sorts of kinds of love that don't really get recognized on Valentine's Day or, you know, ever, and they strike me as being just as (if not more) important than the kind of love that is celebrated with lots of pink and red stuff on February 14th.

For example: I have lots of friends who have children. I don't have children, obviously, but I am continually astounded and reduced to mushy levels of awwwwwwwwwww when I see how much my friends adore their offspring, even when said offspring is being off the wall and whacked out. (Because kids? Are tiny, slightly insane people.) I see how much my friends love their kids and it's inspiring. There's really not a day set aside for celebrating that, is there? But there should be, because it's pretty amazing and deserves to be celebrated.

Also? Families. Parents and siblings and stuff. There's not really a day set aside to celebrate the fact that you adore and love your family.

And then there are your friends. If you're at all like me, you love your friends enormously. There's no "Wheee my friends are awesome and I love them" day.

Which circles me around to my beef with Valentine's Day. Do what you do on Valentine's Day, but also? If that's the only day you're letting your partner -- or family, or friends, or children -- know they are loved, and the only day that love is celebrated?

I think you're doing love a disservice.

I think if you're lucky enough to have love in your life -- in whatever form it takes -- you need to notice it. You need to celebrate it. On both the day designated by greeting card companies and every other day. Because this is life, and it's short, and things can change on a dime.

I'm just saying.

So -- enjoy the cards, and the flowers, and the chocolates and the whatevers you give and get. But also? Keep the idea that celebrating love -- all kinds of love -- is something that should be done every day. It's not enough to tell someone you love them once or twice a year.

If you love someone? Tell them today. Not because tomorrow is Valentine's Day, but because it's true and you want them to know. Also? Tell them on Friday, after Valentine's Day. Tell them on Saturday. Tell them every damn day. SHOW them every day.

It's worth it. I promise.

And ... for the record? You, Dear Reader? Well, I just adore you and your willing to put up with the silliness I post here on the regular. Love you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bless This Mess

Sometimes, I'm struck with the overwhelming desire to ... simplify.

(Simplify is a nice word for "THROW STUFF AWAY.")

I have some things coming up in my world that mean that I need to rearrange ye olde homestead, so I thought, Well, this would be a great time to do the nearly annual purging of the apartment.


So far, I have ... let's see ... 12 bags of stuff for goodwill/ donation. I've been to the dumpster countless times, I've filled four space bags, and ... that's just from my bedroom. While I'm not questioning my ability to be neat and clean, I AM currently questioning the following:

1) Am I a hoarder?

2) How did I EVER manage to be neat or clean or organized with all of this ... STUFF?

It is a mystery.

So. Anyway. The bags of stuff are piled up in the dining room. This is causing the cat tremendous amounts of angst, as she keeps eyeballing it and then giving me dirty, bitter looks that say "Are we moving again? BECAUSE I HATE THAT" and then running around like a whirlwind before collapsing in a kitty coma on a chair where she can survey the pile upon waking and see if it's any bigger than it was prior to her nap.

It almost always is.

This is partially due to the weather -- I've not been able to get to the donation center -- and partially due to my work schedule, and partially due to the fact that I'm really just in the mood to get rid of all of the things.

Eventually? It's going to be brilliant. Neat and streamlined and brilliant.

Right now? It is a disaster. The only room in the house that doesn't currently feel like a cluttered mess is the bathroom. (I would like to tell you I've not been hiding in there. That would be a lie, though.)

It's going to be awesome.

Right now? It's, um, in transition.

I'm learning to be okay with it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Make a Difference Monday: Easy Peasy

Filed under things that make me sad: Lately, I’ve noticed that people are suspicious of kindness.

They don’t know how to respond when someone is nice to them.

People. Really? This is not okay.

I found myself trying to justify/explain why I was offering to help someone, and so I said this:

I think that there are things you should do, if you can do them, and things you should not do, if you can avoid them. I think that as human beings, we often fail miserably at being kind to each other. I think that as a society, we sometimes shy away from doing things that might not be super convenient to us, even though they might be the right thing to do. And I think that's not who I want to be. I don't want to be the person who could reach out to a friend and doesn't do it. I don't want to be the woman ignores others because she's too busy to do something. I don't want to look past people because looking at them is too hard.

But it bothered me. It bothered me that people experience so much unkindness so regularly that being kind stresses them out, or that they’re so used to receiving a punch in the face that they don’t know what to do when they get a hug.

I believe what I said to my friend.

And I believe that you can make a difference in big ways. When I was a wee lass, I wanted to make a big difference – join the Peace Corps! Become a journalist! Save the world! – but, as you already know if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time? I didn’t do that. What I didn’t realize then, though, and what I’m understanding now, is that you can also make an equally profound difference in very small ways. They often don’t cost anything but time. Time, and a willingness to try.

 I have those things. I suspect you do too

So let’s use them. Let’s make it a point to have a surplus of kindness,  until it’s so commonplace that when you offer it to someone? It’s not unrecognizable or suspicious.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Randoms


“I like to do  a little goal setting every morning.”

“And today’s goal is?”

“I’m going to try to keep from further maiming myself.”


“Aiming too high?”

“I’m just thinking you might want to set OBTAINABLE goals.”


“I need a glass of wine. Or two. Probably two.”

“I have the feeling that between the two of us, we’ll keep many a vintner in business.”

“Hey. As long as we buy from American vineyards, we’re really just supporting the economy. And that’s PATRIOTISM, my friend.”


This is, of course, hypothetical, but … Things not to do in your lunch hour yoga class: when the instructor says, “You are a branch, on a tree” do not … I mean, really, really don’t, mutter “I am a leaf on the wind” in response. Because the person next to you? Might get the reference. And might laugh. And then you might laugh. And then you might get banned from yoga because you are not just a troublemaker, you are a DORKY troublemaker. Hypothetically.


“When I want something, I TOTALLY go after it.”

“No you don’t.”

“I know. When I want something, I pine after it silently and pathetically.”

“It might not be … you know, the most effective method? But it’s funny to watch.”


“You know, you’re SO RIGHT.”

“I know.”


“I KNOW. I can’t believe more people don’t recognize that more often, to be honest.”

“And you’re also so, so modest. I really had no idea.”

“I keep my light under a bushel. It’s true.”

Thursday, February 7, 2013


A few weeks/months/I don’t know how long, but it’s not the important part of the story/ ago, I rearranged my office. This meant, of course, that I had to unplug EVERYTHING – computers, cables, the printer, everything – and then, after the furniture had been moved and all of the electronics had been set in their new homes, plug everything back in.

This was not festive. It was one of those projects where you get halfway through and then really want to quit, but by then it’s too late and you just have to keep going.


After everything was back in its proper place and plugged in and … miracle of miracles … WORKING, I patted myself on the back and called it good.

About two weeks later I realized: I never plugged the printer into the computer.


At this stage in my life, I don’t really misplace things. I’m very … specific … about where things live. So believe me when I say this: realizing that I didn’t know where the printer cable was? DID NOT SIT WELL.

Not even a little.

In my head, the printer cable had a very specific look: thick. Heavy. At one end, it would screw into the printer. On the other end, it would screw into the computer.

I had no cable that looked at all like that. Not one. Nowhere.

I was stumped. Stumped, and printer-less.

The search would go on hold, only to be resumed at frenzied, inspired moments.

No cable.

I did, however, keep coming across a USB cable in my travels. That’s awesome, I’d think, annoyed, glad I have this useless USB cable on my desk. Great. Fabulous.

And then, one day, I LOOKED at the printer. And the computer.

There wasn’t another port that would accept a cable that screwed in.

I looked at the USB cable.

I looked at the printer.

I plugged the USB cable into the printer. I plugged the other end into the computer. I plugged the printer in. It ran. I printed something.

And I felt like a MORON.

I had been looking for that damn cable for weeks. I had an idea in my head of what it SHOULD look like? And I was so committed to that idea that I kept ignoring the reality that what I really wanted? What I really needed? Was right in front of me for … well, for quite some time. I ignored it, because it wasn’t what I thought I was looking for.

But there it was.

I have the nagging feeling that this might happen more often than I’d like.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


So. Sometimes, you’re plugging along with your life. You’re good. Things are … fine. Not exceptional, not really anything to write home about (but sometimes you do, just so people won’t worry too much about what you’re up to), but okay. You reason that life? Is sometimes highs, sometimes lows, and sometimes just this stretch of bland, level road. It’s okay with you, because you’ve had the lows – the really low ones, the Death Valley lows, and you think that some time spent on level ground? Might be just what you need.

So you set the cruise control and you coast.

On occasion, something will show up on the landscape – not an oasis, but a rest area, where you can stop, stretch, refuel. There will be a friend there, sometimes a group of them, and you get some respite from the trip. Because, you realize, you’re starting to get a little bored. The road has been so straight and dull, the landscape so bland. You don’t even have to steer – it’s all straight lines and grey skies on the horizon.

But again. You’ve been through the scarier terrains, and this? This is better than that. So you keep getting in the car and going. You just keep going. That’s what people do, you reason. And who are you to complain?

After a few months – years even – of this? You don’t even notice you’re bored anymore. The grey leeches out of the sky and into everything. The road. The land. Your skin. You catch yourself regarding colours with suspicion, because they’re not safe. You don’t recognize them anymore.

When you pull over at one of those rest stops? You need to be pulled out of the safety of your car.


Until a day when someone not only pulls you out of the car, but steers you around the rest stop to a place where there’s a door. A door that is familiar – you’ve seen it every time you stopped, but you never considered opening it – and that is not grey.

Your companion points to the door. “Open it.”

You don’t know if you want to. You don’t know if you can anymore. “Where does it go?”

“Everywhere,” says your companion, and takes your hand and puts it on the doorknob, and then lets go. You have to make a choice.

You open the door.

On the other side is a mishmash of paths. They go in all directions, everywhere. The world is a wash of colours, shapes, and vegetation.

There is possibility everywhere you look.

You smile. You laugh. You actually clap your hands together with glee. You look at your companion.

“Can I…”

“Yes,” is the answer. “But you have to go on foot. No more coasting.”

So you go. You turn around once, and your companion, grinning, makes a shoo motion towards you. "GO."

You keep going. Sometimes, things are not fine. Sometimes, you get tangled up and have to back up and find yourself places you didn’t necessarily expect to go.

But you’re not bored. You’re alive.

You’re alive and present and it’s glorious. Which is, after all, so much better than fine.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Not Cool, Audi, Not Cool

After (and actually, before) the SuperBowl, there was a lot of talk about a Volkswagen ad and whether or not it was /is racist. The discourse was interesting to me, because I am the kind of person (as you’ve probably noticed) who is interested in precisely that sort of thing.

What was more interesting to me, however, is that I didn’t hear – or see – anything about this ad:

(Click here for the link)

Can we talk about why this ad is offensive?

Like the tagline “Bravery, it’s what defines us”?

Because nothing really says bravery like walking up to a girl – who, it’s pretty clear, is not this guy’s girlfriend – and randomly planting one on her?

Because that’s okay, right? That’s totally fine. It’s especially totally fine, I think, that she doesn’t appear to object. The ad indicates that she kind of digs it. She doesn’t say anything, she doesn’t do anything, and the indication is that, if there is someone who DOES object, it’s her boyfriend – he seems to be responsible for the black eye that our Audi-driving “hero” is proudly sporting at the end of the ad.

This ad disturbs me. It disturbs me because the girl, like the car, is borrowed property that, in a moment of "power", to which the Audi driver feels entitled. It disturbs me because approaching her sexually is a symbol of privilege – like the car. Like the principal’s parking space. She’s something that is taken because he feels as though, in a moment of boldness, he deserves it.

You might be thinking, wow. You are way overthinking this commercial. And maybe I am. But the creepiest, saddest thing about this ad? Was the lack of commentary. As though we’re okay with what I’m going to call rape culture – oh yeah, I said it – to the point that the Audi driving teen should be PROUD of what he did, and as though questioning it as being inappropriate is a marker to looking for a place to criticize when “This is how people are.”

It shouldn’t be how people are. It shouldn’t be not only okay, but somehow laudable, to approach someone sexually – and let’s not be obtuse, because that’s what happens – when it’s unwanted or unexpected.

This ad? Is not okay.

What do you think?

Monday, February 4, 2013

So Exciting ...

I am in a weird place.

I mean, it’s a good place? There are a lot of really good things happening. But it’s weird to me when the stars and planets align and you start to see a path where there was previously just a lot of … stuff that wasn’t a path.

Unfortunately, this post? Is a bit of a tease, because … I can’t TELL you about everything. (Oh but when I can? I WILL. I promise.) But let’s say this: I am super busy doing things that you will enjoy. (Hint: some of them are writer things! WHEEEEE!) I am also straight out doing things that I enjoy – and, perhaps the craziest part of all? I’m actually taking the time to enjoy them. There’s no rushing from task to task. There’s no “get it done so I can move to the next thing.” But there is – finally – enjoyment in the moment.

It’s kind of a big deal, y’all.

I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Randoms

“I can’t find the thing.”

“What thing?”

“The THING. The red thing that goes on the table over there when it’s not wearing the thing it’s wearing now.”

“Oh yeah, that thing.”

“I can’t find it.”

“Where did you put it?”

“If I knew where I put it I’d be able to find it.”

“What is the NAME of that thing?”

“I don’t know. It’s … a table thing. I wish I knew where it was. I put it someplace sensible so I’d be able to find it.”

“That NEVER works out.”

“I know.”

“Where did you look?”

“Closets, bins, under some stuff.”

“Under the couch?”


“Under the bed?”


“Under the dresser?”


“Are you sure you owned a red thing?”


“I mean, I remember you admiring the red thing in the store? But I don’t remember you BUYING the red thing.”

“You weren’t there when I bought it.”


“I guess it’s not a big deal. It just bugs me when I can’t find a thing.”

“I know.”

“The thing that’s there now is fine, I guess.”

“It’s a good looking thing.”

“I can get another red one, the store still has them.”

“And then you’ll have two. “

“So when I lose the second one, I’ll be twice as likely to find it.”

“Your glass. It’s half full.”