Saturday, July 28, 2012

Internet Vacation

Inspired by my friend The Great Chris Talley™, I've decided to have a week-long Internet vacation, starting tomorrow. I already began by deactivating (temporarily) my Facebook account. If I left it up, I think I'd feel too tempted to check in and too obligated to respond to messages and comments and horrible photos (uploaded by my sister Katie) of me doing an ill-advised shot on vacation.

Awhile back Chris and his wife Heather took a break from Internet and television. Eek. I'm not so sure about the television part of the experiment. I mean, I really can't go without watching Breaking Bad tomorrow night. So I'm still going to watch a little TV but I'm going to stick to shows I really care about and can't wait a week to watch. Actually, now that I think about it, Breaking Bad is pretty much it at the moment.

Of course I'll blog about it when my self-imposed hiatus is over.

I'm hopeful I'll get all sorts of productive things accomplished. I'll get the kids registered for school and stock up on school supplies. I'll clean the bathrooms. I'll fold all the laundry and put it away. Maybe I'll clean out the garage and finally donate a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. I'll clean out Kate's room and clear out all the little girl clothes that no longer fit my pre-teen. Maybe I'll work out twice a day and cook amazing meals every night. Maybe I'll write another book.

Perhaps I'll have some sort of amazing epiphany during the week, some insight into who I am and what the hell I'm supposed to be doing with my life.

Or maybe I'll just take a lot of naps.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Public Service Announcment

I have decided to deactivate my Facebook account for a bit. I know, I know! Where will you get your daily dose of sarcasm and wit? The reasons are simple and complicated and stupid and wise all at once. I'd explain further but I'm typing on an iPad and there is little worse than typing on an iPad. So don't worry. I didn't go on a mass unfriending spree. I think I just need a break from things for awhile. It was either this or move to a cabin in Montana. And I really hate moving.
My stepmother bought me this plague today, the perfect gift.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Many Calories in French Fried Judgement?

There's a lot of talk about Chick-Fil-A this week and how they use a portion of their profits to support anti-gay groups. This isn't news. This has been going on awhile.

The only new thing is that Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy said, "Guilty as charged." Oh, and that Dan Cathy is a your typical bald, doughy, white, sanctimonious prick.

Two things:

Number one: I am sick to death of people using the term "family values" to refer only to a man married to a woman with 2.5 kids, a dog, and an SUV in the driveway. Unless, of course, the term "family values" means "conforming to societal norms."

My aunt has been with her partner almost my entire life. I have never forgotten the time I visited them when they were in college at Ball State. I wore what, at the time, I called a "habba top" and I was four years old. (It was a halter top. Oh, and I am now 39 and these two amazing women are still together.)

You damn well better believe these women are family and we have values. Those values are rooted in kindness, understanding and love.

So I understand that Dan Cathy has a right to his opinion and I will kindly choose not to eat at his restaurant. Frankly, I choose not to eat there much anyway because the food is bad for you and has way too many calories.

The chicken sandwich alone has 440 calories and 16 grams of fat. The peach milkshake has 720 calories and 19 grams of fat. 720 CALORIES in one Styrofoam cup. Hmm, I guess gluttony is one of the things in the bible ol' Dan could care less about (along with "judge not lest ye be judged").

Number two: Did anyone else notice that in the interview Cathy, very pointedly, said "We're all married to our first wives."

"We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy told the Baptist Press. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

Well, good for you. I guess that means you can sit in judgement on those of us who have been married and divorced. We must not be as good as you. We must be horrible sinners with no "family values."

Also, Dan, I hate to get technical on you, marriage as sanctioned by the bible goes way beyond a man and a woman  and a house in the suburbs. For example, a rapist is expected to marry his victim. A man is expected to marry his brother's widow to provide an heir. Etc. and so on. So please, stop waving your bible around to defend your pick-and-choose method of religion.

Maybe we divorced people understand that marriage can be extremely difficult, that sometimes you work as hard as you possibly can to save your relationship and yet you find that you must remove yourself from a situation that is unhealthy and that is destroying your mental health and your emotional strength day by day.

I'm thinking, along with those who support gay rights, that perhaps divorced people shouldn't eat your disgusting waffle fries anymore either. (I know I'm in the minority but your fries gross me out.)

You have every right to your views and to donate your money to whomever you choose. I support your freedoms.

But I am so very tired of wondering why people use their freedoms to hate others, to attack the rights of people who don't conform to their narrow view of life or religion.

How can they hide beneath the banner of "family values" while they attack people who ARE families?

It makes no sense to me at all.

I just keep thinking about this wonderful quote from the talented and insightful writer Anne Lamott.

"You can safely assume you've created  God in your image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grandma says "YOLO"

Is it just me or does this image really not go with the text on this postcard?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Scenes from a Walmart

I'm pretty sure this is the ugliest shirt in America.

It is also the perfect polyester representation of the land of the grease and the home of the fries.

I haven't read this classic but, based on my knowledge of the inexplicably popular Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm going to guess the CEO is unexpectedly proposing to fist her.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday's Random Thoughts - Rise Up Edition

The kids were trying to talk me into going to the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises last night, but I said no. I think they were shocked since I usually say yes. We have gone to three midnight premieres this summer. They have been the most fun evenings of the summer.

But I just couldn't do it last night. I was too worn out. I haven't been sleeping well lately. It's that time of year. As the anniversary of Charles's death approaches, I tend to wake up in the middle of the night. I turn on the light. I stare at the wall for awhile and hope I'll fall back asleep. I think weird thoughts like this one: Soon, he's going to be dead again.

This thought makes no sense. I cannot explain it to you.

He is always dead.

Ironically, the kids were both in bed by ten and I was up until 1:30. Sleep eludes me.

This morning, I watched the news about the mass shooting in Colorado and felt sick to my stomach. I watched the interviews with the people who were in the theater. They're all in shock and this is why they can answer Matt Lauer's bull shit questions. In a few weeks, the shock will wear off. Things will get really difficult then. I hope they have good friends and loved ones who will be there for them when their brains stop protecting them from the sharp edges of their memories. My heart breaks for them because I know they are at the beginning of a journey that will not ever end.

Facebook seemed relatively quiet most of the day. I expected more idiots to start whining about their gun rights. I suspect I've unsubscribed from most of the jackholes whose first thought is that everyone should be armed. Do you know why they think this way? Because they like to imagine themselves as the hero. "If I was there, I'd pull out my gun and save the day. Oh, and I have a big penis."

No you wouldn't and no you don't.

But whatever. Keep your damn guns. (Keep them away from me. I will never live with a gun in my house again.) Honestly, I don't want to hear a bunch of debates about guns. I want people to talk about mental illness. Debate that. Discuss that. Wear a fucking colored ribbon that indicates that you give a damn about that. (Until we start talking about mental illness in this country like we talk about cancer, we will never get anywhere.)

I did see this on Facebook from someone who thinks (foolishly) that having a gun will make it easier to go out into the world: "I want to maintain the freedom to walk down the street, to let my son play at the park, to go watch a movie with friends - today we lost another small morsel of that freedom."

While I understand why he believes this, I am also sort of stunned by this kind of thinking.

If, until today, you didn't realize that the world is a dangerous and unpredictable place, then you must have been asleep in a tub of Matrix goo. Mass murders have been going on since there were masses of people to murder.

Oh, the humanity, you say? This IS humanity. This IS the world. It is no different than it has ever been.

I do not see this as cynicism. This is reality. Don't fool yourself that the world was better/safer/nicer/more innocent in another era. If you believe the stories of the bible, then you know that the third person on this planet killed the fourth person on the planet.

But here's what I want to say: Your freedoms were not taken away today.

You are still free to move about this world as you see fit. The only reason you wouldn't is because of fear.

Here's a story for you. When I came home, ten days after my ex-husband died in my garage, I thought I would not go in there for quite some time. I had friends who asked if I needed to rent an apartment, if I needed them to move me out of my house so I wouldn't have to return to the scene. I am nothing if not practical and that idea seemed ludicrous. Who would pay for my apartment? When would I come back to the house?

I said I was fine. I could go home. Luckily (luckily is the wrong fucking word), Charles died in the garage. I could shut the door to that space and I could avoid parking my car in there. I did worry about the kitchen door that leads to the garage. I worried about the corner of my dining room, just outside the kitchen, where I stood with my back against the wall and spoke to the 911 operator that night. In that corner, right next to the doorway to the  kitchen, is where I spoke to a woman who told me not to move. So I stayed on the line and I stared at the blood pooling onto the kitchen floor through the open door to the garage. How would I avoid that area? I couldn't. I had to deal with it.

I could, however, avoid the garage. I could shut that door and lock it.

But when we got home for the first time after Charles had died, the first thing I wanted to do was go into that garage.


Because fuck fear, that's why.

Fear is the favorite tool of the devil and Fox News. It is made to keep you inside, to keep you small, to keep you silent, to sell you guns.

I waited until the kids were distracted in their rooms and I went in that garage. I stood where I'd been when Charles destroyed himself in front of me. My knees - my weak, cliched knees - buckled beneath me and I reached out and grasped the white wire shelving to steady myself.

I stood there for several minutes. I looked at freshly painted walls. Friends had been busy here, trying to make things OK. I looked at the ceiling, cleaned but not painted. Patches of the ceiling had been scraped away, forming a discolored constellation that was (still is) proof that this horror had really happened.

After I looked at this place and saw it was real, I went back into the house and shut the door.

I didn't park in the garage for awhile - weeks, maybe - until one day it was raining and I was sick of parking outside and I was sick of being ruled by worrying about the unthinkable thing that had already been thought, that had already been done.

So I pulled the car into the garage.


Because fuck fear, that's why.

Today, I took the kids to the 3:15 showing of The Dark Knight Rises. There were two security guards at the entrance. We handed over our tickets. We bought soda and popcorn and M&Ms and Mike & Ike's and I handed over a small fortune in payment.

Here's the thing: Anything can happen at any moment. Things that you could not have even imagined will happen in this world because someone is out there imagining it for you. Are you going to stay inside? Are you going to only go to the park if you have a gun in your pocket? Are you going to stay in your home? Because I'm here to tell you, the worst shit you can think up can happen in your home. It can happen anywhere.

I don't say this to frighten you. I say this to free you.

This is your life. Your ONE life. Your one brief moment on this planet. In 125 years, everyone who is walking the Earth right now will be gone. A whole new set of people will have taken our places.

So go to the park. Go to the store. Go to the mall. Go to the movies.

You are here now. This is all you get. Do not willingly hand over your freedom.


Because fuck fear, that's why.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Born This Way

I was recently going through a big box of old photos my dad sent me for Christmas and I figured out something.

I was born this way.

So I thought I'd share a few photos of my favorite facial expressions.

You love to read, too? Please, tell me more about how Stephenie Meyer is your favorite author.

Fox News is fair and balanced? You're shitting me, right? 

You couldn't put down Fifty Shades of Grey? Oh my God, you're an idiot! 

I got a new book! 

I'm reading. Leave me alone. (My cleavage is also exactly the same.)

I'm reading again. Leave me alone. 

Oh, bitch, you did not just say that. I am totally writing that down. 

Screw You, Viacom

My reaction upon realizing that, as Directv customers, we can no longer watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
TV Banned
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Monday, July 16, 2012

Parade of Douchebags

I have been all caught up in The Bachelorette this summer. (Yep. I'm a complex woman. I'm obsessed with truly great shows like Breaking Bad but I also enjoy watching this silly shit.)

Tonight is the very exciting "Men Tell All" episode. I cannot wait to watch these douchebags rehash all their super-sincere and serious feelings for Emily.

I might even live blog it, which is just another way of saying I might watch it while I type up snarky comments because I'm home alone and the damn kitten never laughs when I say hilarious things. She just looks at me like I'm so totally stupid. She has quite an attitude for a creature who depends on me to feed her.

I'll begin with this gif of Arie and Emily making out. I watch the show mostly to watch Arie making out.

"You weren't there for the right reasons."

Right away in the promo of what's coming up, we get the phrase these people love. The right reasons. People on reality shows are always obsessed with the "right reasons" but if you were that worried about sincerity you probably wouldn't be looking for "love" on a reality show.

"Most dramatic." Chris Harrison has said those two words so many times it should be put on his headstone. "Most dramatic headstone EVER."

To keep up this standard of always getting more dramatic on the show, someone is going to have to kidnap Liam Neeson's daughter or something during the next Rose Ceremony.

Yes, let's start with Ryan, the biggest douchebag of the season. This dude is gross. Here's an awesome picture of him in his super-manly tank top.
Oh, God, they're showing the clip of Doug kissing Emily when she was breaking up with him. That was the most painful, embarrassing, awkward moment ever. Eek. The lameness makes my chest hurt.

"F*ck, y'all." Oh my gosh, I wish they'd shown Emily spilling her wine and cursing in the original show. "And I said fuck in front of my date." Emily is adorable. Just for the record, I curse in front of all my dates. For the right reasons.

ARIE! First sighting. Of course, it's a clip of them making out! And Arie's brothers are spying on them.

Now they're making fun of Bachelor Chris's dancing skills. Can't they see how emotionally unstable that man is?

Chris Harrison offers Emily $4 to do the running man. $4? Serously, Chris, I'm pretty sure you make enough money to pay more than $4 to see Emily do the running man. Cheapskate.

Ew, a promo for Bachelor Pad. So gross. At least on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, the people can pretend they aren't in it for money. (Spoiler: They're in it for the fame.)

"You didn't earn your spot here," says some generic blond. Really, bimbo?! How did you earn your spot here? By passing an STD test?

The promos for Bachelor Pad, much like commercials for Dance Moms, make we want to look into what exactly someone would need to build a huge bomb that would destroy the entire human race.

Isn't it time God sent another flood or something?

Thirty minutes into the show and the men are just now being introduced. Man, this show is magnificent at wasting time. I mean, it's called "The Men Tell All."

Sean looks cute as ever. And of course the first comment is about Emily looking like a goddess. That's all these guys ever say, how beautiful she is. Because you know what the right reason is to be here, right? To land a beautiful babe.

Look, there's Chris looking all crazy-eyes. That guy freaks me out.
"I was freaking out."

Yes, dude, you were.

Chris is not redeeming himself at all here. He seems like someone with no sense of humor about himself at all. There's nothing worse than a person who doesn't have a sense of humor about himself.

Kaylon, am I spelling that right? Are there women who are really attracted to people like that? He's so, what's the word? Slippery? Slimy? Embarrassingly greasy?

"The right reasons." There's that phrase again. Apparently all these guys instantly want to be the dad to Ricki. I have to say if I started dating a guy and he was all about becoming a "dad" to my kids, I'd be weirded out.

I need another cocktail.

Back from commercial break and it's time to showcase the villian, Krypton.

I truly loved when Emily told him to "get the fuck out" after he called her daughter "baggage."

"I don't think anyone would have held it against you to pull yourself out if you knew you didn't want that in your life?" Understanding Therapist Chris says to the villain.

You really should pull out if you don't want a child.

"I like to hear you talk but not until I finish." That line that K-lawn said was the worst. You could see on Emily's face that she wanted to murder him with one of her stiletto heels.

Ryan. His facial hair reminds me of this Ken doll I had when I was a kid. He was a shaving Ken doll. He came with a brown marker so you could draw facial hair onto him. That's what Ryan's face looks like.

I have to say this for him, Ryan does have a sense of humor about himself. You'd have to have one to wear that tank top.

I wish they wouldn't show Crazy Chris anymore. I think he needs therapy.

Honestly, Ryan makes sense to me. All these guys seem offended that Ryan didn't instantly think Emily was the woman for him. That seems more genuine than 24 guys who were convinced Emily was the one for them when they didn't even know her (other than her looks, of course. Let's not forget the priorities here).

Have I had too much to drink or did Ryan just do pretty well? I like that he laughs at himself.

Oh no. Here comes Crazy Chris.

"Thanks for starting this on a weird note." Host Chris says. How else did you expect it to start? I want to cover my face in secondhand embarrassment right now.

On a somewhat serious note here, I really wish there was a way to know what these guys think love is. How do they actually feel? It'd be nice if it could be calculated scientifically, charted and measured and explained. Because I really can't believe that what most of these guys felt is love. Lust? Sure. Strong like driven by pride and fear of rejection on national TV? Yep. But love? Real, actual, first 15 minutes of Up kind of love? No way.
Yes, I realize I just used a fictional example of real love, but you know what I meant.

They're really dragging out this footage of Sean getting the boot.

Lady crying in the audience, please give me a break.

Sean seems like a genuinely good guy.

I can't believe I'm typing this sincere shit. I'm embarrassed. I'll try to think of some way to make fun of him. Hmm...

I could think better if he'd take his shirt off.

Oh good, here comes Emily.

Sean handled it like a champ.

Crazy Eyes Chris needs a sedative.

This part is really, really pushing all my secondhand embarrassment buttons.

Apparently, Krylon has a Twitter on which he posts bad jokes about Emily and baggage so she's ripping him a new one.

Oh come on, Emily, Kayladashian has plenty of klass and kharacter.

Commercial break: I truly do not understand a Jason Bourne movie without Matt Damon in it.


I like how much Emily curses. No surprise there, I guess.

Why don't they show some of the funny stuff during the episodes? Would that ruin the rampant douchebaggery?

When they come back we get a sneak peek at the "dramatic finale." Chris Harrison needs a thesaurus. Here, let me visit
Main Entry: dramatic  [druh-mat-ik]
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: exciting, moving
Synonyms: affecting, breathtaking, climactic, comic, effective, electrifying, emotional, expressive, farcical, histrionic, impressive, melodramatic, powerful, sensational, startling, striking, sudden, suspenseful, tense, theatrical, thespian, thrilling, tragic, tragicomic, vivid
I'm pretty sure all of America isn't waiting for next Sunday night, Chris.

Ooh, Arie sighting!

I know she's going to pick Jef, the guy who lost his second F, but I'd pick Arie if I was dating a bunch of guys on a reality show.

Which, obviously, I wouldn't be because I roll my eyes too much and my boobs aren't big enough for reality TV.

Also, I would die of embarrassment if someone read a letter they'd written to me and I had to sit there and be filmed reacting to it. It's kind of like having someone write you a song and then sing it to you in front of other people. Eek. No. Too much. It's just TOO. MUCH.

Well, I guess we're done.

Oh, wait, Emily is talking about her cats and making cat videos. See, she's so much more than a pretty face, isn't she?

Thanks for dropping by for the most dramatic live blogging yet.

Note: Bachelorette contestant Kalon was referred to as Kaylon, Krypton, K-lawn, Krylon, and Kayladashian in this post.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yeah, Bitch! Magnets!

In honor of what was probably my favorite line from tonight's premiere of Breaking Bad, I gathered five magnets you should buy for your fridge, yo.
1. Designed by the one and only Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess and author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), this is the perfect magnet for the family that understands the beauty of psychological warfare. Go here to buy a magnet that will show your family members that you are not in danger. You are THEDANGER.

2. "We need to cook, Jesse!"
So shouldn't you have a periodic table for easy reference? Respect the chemistry. Go to ThinkGeek for this chart you can conveniently put on the fridge.
3. You know who you are. 
Buy it here.

4. Walt Jr. is hungry. Somebody better make some breakfast

5. Let everyone know you're in charge, just like Mr. White. 

Ridin' High

You might assume the person who drives this vehicle is a pharmacist or a pharmaceutical rep.

But I live in the real world so naturally I assume she's addicted to Oxycontin.

Happy Breaking Bad Day!

It's here, it's here! July 15 is finally here.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chicks Dig Scars

Today is Harrison Ford's birthday. He's 70 years old.

The scar on his chin is 50 years old. (The result of a car accident when he was 20. Yep, I can do simple math.)

I was reminded of the scene in Working Girl when Melanie Griffith asks Harrison Ford how he got the scar on his chin. He makes up a story at first (bar fight? I can't quite remember) and then admits that it happened when he passed out while a girlfriend was piercing his ear.

Chicks really dig those sensitive scar stories.

My friend Chris always says, "Chicks dig scars...and assholes."

And he's not wrong.

When I was 20, I dated repeatedly hooked up with a guy who was good-looking and had beautiful blue eyes and six-pack abs and had a scar near one eyebrow. I remember one time I asked him how he got the scar and he rolled his eyes and said, "Girls always ask me that."

Well, excuse me, douchebag.

That's what I should have said. Seriously, the guy was not a nice person. Unfortunately, I was still only 20 and still mostly stupid when it came to good looking assholes.

Nearly two decades later, I dated another good looking guy with blue eyes and a scar on his chin. Every once in awhile I would think about asking him how he got it. But I never did. Leave that cliched pillow talk for the next dumb girl.

Anyway, I bet Harrison Ford gets tired of the scar question.

Here's a video of David Letterman checking out one of his scars and Harrison's excellent reaction.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday's Random Thoughts - Pride (No Prejudice) Edition

Sometimes I write serious posts and then I worry that people who love me will worry. So don't worry. I'm fine. Occasionally I stay up too late and I listen to sad songs and I pour my feelings onto the virtual page. I have some spectacularly dramatic shit to deal with but I can handle it. I'll keep on keepin' on. I don't know how to do anything other than that.

The kitten is driving me nuts. Why does she only want to sleep stretched out on the sofa right behind my shoulders, like a scarf with a constantly running motor?

I have no food in the house so I ended up making a peanut butter and bacon sandwich, like I'm Elvis or something. It was delicious. But here's why I'm brilliant: I had no paper towels on which to drain the bacon so I used the heel of a loaf of bread to sop up the grease. I know. I'm like the Martha Stewart of pathetic dinners for one.

Today, Tina texted me to say that she hates the episode of Sex and the City when Carrie goes on and on about the scrunchie in Berger's book. I texted her back and said, "I'm totally watching that right now." That's the same episode with the famous (and best advice ever): "He's just not that into you." SATC is full of plenty of silly stuff but that one thing is the best thing any woman can ever remember. If a guy doesn't call? Doesn't make a second date? Acts like he doesn't give a shit? He DOESN'T give a shit. He's just not that into you.

Tina also pointed out that the scrunchie episode is also when Carrie wears the most ridiculous little hat.

What is it about SATC reruns? I've watched them a ridiculous number of times. The other night, for what might have been the 75th time, I watched Big go to Paris to tell Carrie he loves her. I'm certain there are more productive ways I could be spending my time.

 I'm super excited about the premiere of Breaking Bad's fifth season Sunday night. I'm trying to remember the last time I loved a show this much. I'm so glad my son introduced me to it. I wish he was going to be home to watch it with me. We had such a good time during that week when it was just him and me here and, as soon as the week was over, I missed it. I'm in such a weird place right now where nothing seems to be happening and, at the same time, everything seems to be passing by too quickly.

I'm reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and I'm reading it really slowly because it's so good. Right before this, I read Dark Places and Sharp Objects also by Gillian Flynn. Discovering Gillian Flynn has been almost as awesome as discovering Breaking Bad. I'm just bummed this is only her third book. I hope she's out there somewhere pounding out her fourth fantastic novel. She used to be the television critic for EW, back when EW was really a great magazine. It's OK now but it used to be better. Whenever I pick up books, I always look at the back inside jacket first, the author photo and information. I'm fascinated by these published authors who broke through somehow. She looks like someone I'd be friends with. It's not really envy I feel anymore when I look at author photos. It's really just like I'm trying to solve a mystery. How did you get someone to believe in your book?

The other night I finally watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the American version). Much like the book's first 100 pages, the movie's first half hour or so had me wondering what the hell was going on. (I could never get past those first 100 pages, it was just so damn boring. Did Stieg not have a decent editor, for Pete's sake?) It was a good movie (I fast-forwarded during the rape scenes), but the end made me terribly sad. Like I-woke-up-the-next-morning-thinking-about-it sad.  Poor Lisbeth. I'm not going to describe it in case you haven't seen the movie yet.

It reminded me of this thing that happened when I was in college. An ex-boyfriend who I had not completely gotten over called and invited me to hang out over the weekend. I was pretty excited about it. Like stupid excited. He was house sitting and he said he'd call me Friday and we'd make plans. He never did call. I stupidly called him Saturday morning. A girl answered the phone and, as she passed him the phone, she said, "I didn't realize you guys were still talking." I don't even remember what he said to me exactly. He was hanging out with these two girls (one of whom he ended up going out with); he'd call me later. He never did call me back.

I realized who I was then. I was some girl who he thought was an easy lay. He'd called me for that reason and then someone else had come along. I knew then, or felt then even if it wasn't totally true, that anything we'd been to each other before didn't matter. I wasn't special. I was convenient. It's a really shitty feeling to have about your first love. I hated him for years after that. Hated him in a way that felt like protection. I cried all weekend. I talked to my mom and I don't even know what I told her exactly, but Sunday night she came to my dorm and brought me a Calvin and Hobbes book, a collection of comics called The Lazy Sunday Book.

It was one of those moments that defines you in a way you don't really recognize until later. Twenty years down the road, I can see it, of course. I'm a hard person to get to. (That's not quite right. I'm easy to get to. I'll just be damned if you're going to know when you've gotten to me.) When it comes to men, I never get my hopes up. If someone doesn't call me back, they will never hear from me again. I will never call to see why someone hasn't called me when they said they would. I will say a big ol' fuck you in my head and that will be that. Maybe people get wiser with age, but I can't really see this changing about me. Once you start protecting yourself, it's hard to give up your armor. It's such a shitty pride thing. I sometimes envy people who just put themselves out there all the time.

Sometimes I think about Kate and how she'll be a teenager next spring and she will eventually have all these experiences and all this pain, pain that feels like it will never go away. And she won't believe me when I tell her that it does go away, that eventually you forgive people even if you never forget. You grow and you move on. But you also carry it with you and you see all the little experiences and how they make you who you are. And that it's hard not to be that person who is the sum of her broken parts. I worry that I won't even be able to teach her lessons about putting yourself out there or any of that crap. I'll only be able to teach her stuff like DO NOT let someone make a fool of you and "He's just not that into you."

Maybe I can just hand her a Calvin and Hobbes book.

Breaking Bad and It Feels So Good

Jacob sent me an email today that reads: How I feel knowing Sunday is so close.

Then it had this fantastic gif. 

Go Jesse, it's your birthday.
His email also included this: 
If you're not as pumped about the Season Five premiere of Breaking Bad as we are, I feel sorry for you, bitch.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Waiting Room

A few months after Charles died, I wrote something about how much I loved waiting rooms. Those bland rooms at the dentist's office or orthodontist's office or counseling center were judgement-free zones where I could do nothing but sit and stare into space.

It's been almost three years now since the first August 3 that ever mattered to me and I feel like maybe I have trapped myself in that waiting space.

I have fallen into a habit of waiting for something to happen that will show me what I'm supposed to do next. I think I used to be better at figuring that out. I'd get a feeling about a thing and I'd just know, without a doubt, what the next step was.

I came home from my job at the newspaper one Friday nine years ago and I said to Charles, "It's time for me to leave." I was crying in the bathroom, I will tell people now, my shorthand explanation for how I knew it was time. And Charles had said, "Yes. Definitely. Do it." And I resigned on Monday.

When I made the decision to leave Southern Living two years ago, that felt right, too. I felt sure in my decision, in my next move. I would write a book, I said, and once that was done, the next right thing would reveal itself to me.

Now, I have no idea anymore what is supposed to come next and I realize that all those times before when I was so certain of myself and the next step, I was probably only fooling myself. I mean, really, look where it got me, all that certainty.

Charles is dead and will remain dead. I have been waiting for that not to be true. I have been waiting for this phase to end and the next one to begin, when he would come back and we could scold him for his horrible act and then hug him close and cry into the fabric of his collared knit shirt.

Now I know that I might one day be 90 years old and he will still be 38. I am older now than he was when he died and that will never not be true.

One day not so many years from now, my children will have the same thoughts. "I am as old as Dad was when he died. Now I am older than Dad was when he died. I might one day be 90 years old and my dad will still be 38."

I think, even before he died, I was waiting. I waited for him to stop taking pills. I waited for him to realize what he was throwing away. I divorced him and I waited for him to be OK so that I could move on with things. Something in me knew what I wouldn't admit aloud, that there was danger in moving forward.

So I waited.

Sometimes, like a good girl, I prayed. I did not ask for specific things. I dropped to my knees on the white tile floor of the bathroom - for some reason I was always standing at the sink, brushing my teeth or drying my hair, when the feeling would hit me - and I would ask for whatever was right, whatever was good, to happen. Please.

Like a good girl, I wouldn't presume to know what the right thing was. I have never been one to ask for what she wants, not from humans and not from some God I barely believe in anymore. This was my chosen weapon against disappointment. If you don't say out loud what you want, you can pretend you never wanted it in the first place. That boy you loved who didn't love you back. That miracle you needed to save your marriage. That relief you needed from carrying the weight of someone else's unbearable pain. That key that would set you free.

Sometimes the answer is no. Someone said that to me about prayer and I wonder when the answer is ever yes. Yes, here is your relief. What happens if your relief is someone else's death? What then? How the fuck do you live with yourself then?

You wait. (You curse too much.)

You grow very still and silent so as not to attract the attention of the cruel universe. In your years-long stillness, you think that maybe you have hit all the major plot points and nothing will ever happen again. You have graduated. You have married. You have given birth to your sweet baby boy. (Not necessarily in this order.) You have gotten a job in your chosen field. You have given birth again to the most beautiful girl in the world. You have moved. You have bought houses and sold them. You have divorced. You have watched as someone tucked a shotgun under his chin. You have grown still and silent and you have worried (hoped?) that nothing will ever happen again.

This is ridiculous, of course, but being ridiculous has never stopped thoughts from being nurtured and preserved in dark places.

For awhile I had a goal I could focus on. Put these words on paper. Choose the proper font for your bleeding wounds and tender scars. List the things that you wrap yourself in while you wait to heal. List the songs for your every mood, the lyrics that fit into Chapter 8 when you were crying yourself to sleep, into Chapter 17 when you needed to curse. Look for the good. Look for the end. Breathe in and out. Tell your story and believe it has meaning.

Get up every day and treat it like a job. Go to the coffee shop and type so that you can make something happen. Listen to the sound of people stopping for a moment on their way to somewhere else. Listen as they order their drinks and pass over their five-dollar bills, as they drop their change in the tip jar. Find comfort in the white noise of the people behind the counter chatting about weekend plans and trips to the beach, discussions regularly interrupted by announcements about tasks they will perform next - "I'm going to take out the trash" - about the inventory - "We're sold out of bagels."

Eventually, you will worry that all this writing and believing and striving for meaning is only a stopgap while you wait for whatever will really heal you.

For months and months, all I have done is wait to hear back from agents, people who say nice things and then say no. I have waited to hear back about jobs. Often I hear nothing. In this new world of easy communication and high-speed Internet, very few people can be bothered to send an email, a quick no, a form letter, a "thanks, but no thanks."

I have waited for people to read my book and tell me something, anything. I have learned that if you ask 10 people to read your book, five of them will do it.

When someone does get back to you, it can be so surprising that you end up sending that person a thank-you note for her rejection email. "I've been on that side of things more often than I've been on this side," she will say. And you will thank her again.

Because, God, all you want is an answer, something to put an end to all your waiting.

I feel like I've been floating in the middle of a vast lake. It's smooth as glass and the skies are clear at last, but I have no idea which direction I'm supposed to go, which section of shoreline I'm supposed to paddle toward.

A friend of mine, another member of the unemployed masses, wrote me about his plan to travel around Spain for a few months this spring, aimless wandering in between the last job and the next job, whatever that might be. I wonder if it's as much fun as it seems like it'd be or if it's one of those things that begins to wear on a person.

Is aimless wandering ever really aimless? Aren't you looking for something along the way? A story to tell. A person you can fall in love with for a day or two. A sign with an arrow on the road to somewhere. An arrow that points clearly toward the thing that will answer the screaming question that lives not in your head but in your twisted gut. What next? What next? What next?

The trick is to appreciate the journey, right? Insert inspirational quote here about wherever you go there you are, happiness is a journey not a destination, don't let the elevator break you down. Sing a snippet of What a Wonderful World. Take a photo of a cow in a field. Drink yourself into a stupor.

Fuck it, you say. Whatever, you say. You quote a line from a Meryl Streep movie. "Oh well, boo hoo. Now what?" You talk a good game and you keep sending out letters and then you give up again for awhile. You apply for jobs in other cities and you picture yourself wandering new streets and seeing new faces and following all the right signs. When nothing happens, you stop picturing yourself in those cities.

You picture yourself doing the next right thing. You breathe in and out in the place you're already in, still and silent.

And you wait.

Related posts:
Winter Blues

Let Neil Talk Some Sense To You

I love this man's brain like I love Matt Bomer's face.

Matt Bomer's face:

I Hate Myself When...(Laundry Edition)

I want to go to bed and I realize the bed's not made and the sheets are still in the dryer in the basement.

I realize I left a load in the washing machine so long that I have to run it again.

I have to dig through the pile of dirty clothes to find the clothing item I need and have failed to wash because I left that one load I bothered to wash sitting in the washing machine for days on end.

I don't put away the clean clothes in a timely manner and everyone digs through the basket so much that all the clothes eventually have to be refolded.

What does a girl have to do to get someone else to do the laundry around here?

Happy Flibbity Bibbity, Bill Cosby!

Today is Bill Cosby's 75th birthday. So here's a little collection of Bill Cosby stuff for you to waste some time on today:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WWJD? Downward-Facing Dog

This is the most ridiculous shit I've ever seen.

Go here to read a whole bunch of bull shit.