Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Liz Lemon Party: A Tribute to My Spirit Animal

I love Tina Fey. I LOVE-LOVE her. If I wasn't so lazy and unmotivated, I might stalk her and try to make her be my friend. If someone gave me the choice between hanging out with Tina Fey and hanging out with George Clooney, I would cry because that person would basically be presenting me with Sophie's Choice. Only a Nazi could be so cruel.

Tomorrow night, the last episode of 30 Rock airs and, so help me God, if you are the kind of person who watches Big Bang Theory instead...

There are so many reasons to love Tina Fey's Liz Lemon to list here, but I'll keep it to 15:

1. She understands the importance of pretend boyfriends:

2. She knows how to get out of jury duty.

3. She hates the the word "lovers." Seriously, who uses that word? Yuck.
4. She knows how to be sesual...

5. She understands the importance of the over-the-top eye roll. 

6. She would make the world's worst hooker.

7. She dances like this and isn't ashamed.

8. Her Mad Men-related fantasies are totally warped.

9. She understands the beauty of hyperbole.

10. She likes cheese.
11. She likes Hamm.
12. And ham.
13. She gives great sex advice.
14. She keeps it real.

15. She says this a lot.

Don't forget to watch the finale, because a Liz Lemon Party is...mandatory. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When You See It

I haven't looked at my blog's stats in awhile. Unfortunately, today I did and look what I found in the search terms:

You wish.

What's Your Score?

Imagine this scenario: You are on a second or third date with someone and he asks you for your credit score.

According to a trend piece on Today this morning, asking for a potential mate's credit score is the new thing in dating. (You can watch the clip on Scroll until you find the video from 9:15 am).

If you read Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, then you probably immediately thought of his satirical novel. In the novel, women wear Onionskin jeans. (Kim Kardashian has already helped usher in this harbinger of the apocalypse). If you go out in public, you can immediately see on your "Apparatus" (iPhones have nothing on this thing) the reactions of the people around you as they weigh in on your hotness, personality, and "fuckability."  The Apparatus also monitors your heart and blood pressure. It calculates your attraction to someone else based on your personal history.

Telephone poles have been replaced with credit poles. As you pass it, your credit score is transmitted to it by your Apparatus (required to be on your person at all times) and flashes on a display for everyone to see.

As the official Web site for the book reads, the near future is "let's say next Tuesday."

According to Today, there now are dating sites that are based largely on revealing and asking for credit scores of potential dates.

One man, interviewed while working out in a gym - do you even lift, bro? - said fiscal responsibility was sexy. He needs to know if a date has the credit score required to build a life with him.

Is this really what we're doing now?

What about all the other areas of compatibility? Shall we just go ahead and get all those questions out of the way on date #2 as well?

Penis measurements? (Did someone tell you size doesn't matter?)

Do you have hair on your back?

How much money is in your savings account?

Do you have a 401k?

Do you listen to Nickleback?

Do you have mommy issues?

What were your last 20 searches on Google?

Do you have a family history of diabetes? Do you pronounce it "the dia-beet-us"?

What questions would you like to ask upfront?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Not Haunted - Turn on the Lights

Today I clicked on a story with this headline: Woman Sues Over Home's Dark Secret. I clicked on it knowing what I was likely to read about, and I was right.

A Pennsylvania homeowner is suing the people who sold her the house because they did not disclose to her that the previous owner shot his wife and then himself inside the home.

I'll admit that I have a fascination with this topic and with people's reactions to it. Whether that fascination is healthy or not, I couldn't really say. I'm just a girl clicking around on the Internet trying to figure stuff out.

There is no doubt people have strong feelings about this topic. Last year, Apartment Therapy posted a question from a reader who wanted to know if she should purchase a house with a "dark history."

"The owner's young wife recently committed suicide in the house. Now we are second-guessing our choice. I want to ask other AT readers: does your home have a past? How does a home's dark past affect how you feel about it?"

That post elicited 233 comments. If you browse Apartment Therapy, you'll see that most posts don't get that many comments. A popular story might have 50. It might have 10. It might have four or three or zero. Very few have 233.

The responses were mixed. Most of the people with actual real-life experience with suicide and its effects said buy the house and make it a happy place. People with no experience and strong opinions tended to say, "No way! I'd never buy that house."

Should places where tragic things have occurred be torn down? That seems silly. The planet is quite old and tragedies happen every day. If we start avoiding places where bad things occurred, we're going to have nowhere to go.

I often say this when people express fear about a place where someone died: Did you give birth to your child in a hospital? Because thousands of people have died there. I mean, seriously, why are hospitals never haunted?

If you want my opinion, houses are not haunted. Movies have convinced you that they are, but those are just movies. Movies have also convinced you that Prince Charming will save you at just the right moment, that love conquers all, and that high-speed car chases involving gunfire are a totally reasonable response to every crime. Movies have convinced you that after sex, the same bed sheet magically leaves the man's chest visible while covering the woman's breasts.

Houses aren't haunted. People are. Last winter I wrote about my fixation on The Shining. It kept coming up in conversation for some reason. And I wrote this about Stephen King: "Sure, he's telling you a story that, on the surface, sounds like a ghost story about a haunted hotel, but it's really about people and how people are haunted. The monster you're afraid of is within."

A tragic event happened in my home. My ex-husband, Charles, committed suicide in the garage. I'll be frank. If some stranger came here and acted like it affected him or her, or that it had anything to do with his or her life, I might laugh in that person's face. No, more than laugh. I would scoff. Excuse me, but my tragic event has nothing to do with your life. Get over yourself. Buy the house or don't, but don't act like someone else's tragedy has anything to do with you.

And that is wrong. I do understand that some people feel weird about a thing like that. I realize that I have had 3 and a half years to fight the fear that comes after a tragic event. My brother visited a few months ago for the first time in several years and, when we pulled into the garage, he said his first thought was about how this was the place where Charles died.

It is not my first thought anymore. It's not even a daily thought when I go to and from the grocery store or I chauffeur children around town. And that is an amazing thing. That is called healing.

My opinion of this homeowner in Pennsylvania is that she was fine in the house before she knew what had happened there. She should accept that it has nothing to do with her and live her life. Of course, everything is about money. Will it affect the price of the home in the future? She wants money to make up for the fact that it might be harder to sell the house with the "dark history."

If I sell my home one day, am I required to disclose to strangers the worst thing that ever happened to my family? What if, every time you sold a home, you had to tell every prospective buyer the worst thing that happened to you in that place?

When the time comes, I will disclose the information if it's necessary. I have no problem with that. I can disclose how I had someone come in and burn sage. I can disclose how I painted the door that leads from the kitchen to the garage a bright and shiny shade called Raincoat Yellow.

But, honestly, I kind of have the same feeling about that disclosure and someone's reaction to it as I do about people who walk into a house and complain about the paint colors. YOU CAN PAINT IT ANOTHER COLOR, DUMMY!

And you can live very happily in a home where something tragic happened to someone else.

Do you know how I know this?

Because you can live happily in a home where something tragic happened to you. My children and I do it every day.

Here was my answer to the person on Apartment Therapy last year (posted under the name Clooney Girl, of course). I'll share it here because I think I said pretty well what I wanted to say.
"My ex-husband committed suicide in my home two years ago. My children weren't here but I was. It was the most traumatic thing I will probably ever experience. Yet we still live in our home. Every day we laugh together and love and hug each other. Every day we remember this man and how much we loved him and how much he loved us. Every day I go into the garage where it happened. At first it had power over me but each day that space loses a little more of its hold on me and becomes what it is, a place to park a car. The house you are looking at, with its "dark history", probably has a lot of light history too, days when one person told another one "I love you," days when children laughed and chased each other, days when people sang off-key while they cleaned the bathrooms, days when people cried themselves to sleep and then, more importantly, got up the next day to keep living, keep loving, keep moving forward. The days when those things happen far outnumber that heartbreaking day when someone lost his battle with a devastating disease. Give THOSE days weight as well. They are just as important. I hope this helps. I know if I ever sell this home I would love the idea of a happy family moving in and filling it with their own light."
Other things we do in this house? Randomly sing the lyrics to the Farmer's Insurance song. Give each other hugs. Have ten-second dance parties in the kitchen. Sit on the back patio and listen to music. Yell out quotes from Breaking Bad. "I am the one who knocks!" "I am not in danger. I am THE DANGER!" "This is my own private domicile and I will not be harassed...bitch!"

No matter what has happened to you in your life, ask yourself this: Why does the hurt always seem to matter more than the healing? Why does the dark matter more than the light?

Simply put: It doesn't.

This is my own private domicile and I will not be harassed, bitch.

Related links:
The Shining - Notes from the Overlook Hotel

This is my own private domicile
Woman Sues Over Home's Dark Secret

Apartment Therapy: Would You Buy a House with a Dark History

Random Clooney Praise

Steven Soderbergh has a new movie coming out soon (Side Effects). He recently did an interview that ran in New York Magazine and is now on the Vulture Web site.

Here's what he had to say about my pretend boyfriend:

Have you met any naturally great leaders?

"George Clooney. He inspires people. He listens. He’s generous. He’s loyal. He’s funny, which is crucial. He solves problems better than anyone I know. That’s why people keep telling him to run for office, but he’s too smart for that.

If there were 500 of him, you could take over an entire country—but of course three weeks later you’d lose it again because of all the parties."


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The One That Leads to Awesome

Jacob refused to go see Zero Dark Thirty with me tonight. He's too busy playing video games and not being caught at the movies with his mom on a Saturday night.

He said, "Why don't you go by yourself? You go to the movies by yourself all the time."

But, see, it's Saturday night. And I'm going to go ahead and confess this now: I don't go to the movies by myself on date nights.

Ugh. I know. I'm Charlotte from Sex and the City. And Charlotte is the dumbest one!

"What did you do last night?" 
Carrie: "Went to a movie."
Charlotte: "With who?" 
Carrie: "Myself."
Charlotte: "On date night?"
Carrie: "Are we still gonna have to call it 'date night' in our 50s?"
Charlotte: "I'd think that all the people would be looking at me thinking, 'That poor, pathetic girl'."
Miranda: "Like the way I'm looking at you right now?"

I actually have been to the movie by myself on a Saturday night before. I went to see Love and Other Drugs  while Jacob went in another theater to see Shoot Scream Murder Ball 3. Nope, not a real movie but I think I probably captured the essence of whatever it was.

And it was fine. No one pointed at me and laughed.

But I just prefer not to go to a movie by myself on a Friday or Saturday night.  I mentioned this aversion I have to going out alone on "date night" to my mother last year, and she acted like I was too old for that sort of thinking.

And I realized I AM TOO OLD FOR THAT KIND OF THINKING. Thanks a lot, Mom.

Still, here I sit watching Tyler Perry's Cheat Lie Oh No You Di'n't on Lifetime instead of seeing an award-worthy film. The only thing worse than a Tyler Perry comedy (I'm using that word loosely) is a Tyler Perry drama.

I'm too tired to leave the house anyway. I spent a good part of the day painting Kate's room. The past three years, her room has been chocolate brown. This was a compromise after she asked me to paint it black. Now it's a bright and cheery coral (Old World by Benjamin Moore).

While I painted, I listened to songs by Robyn. I am obsessed with her music right now. It is the perfect soundtrack for getting your ass moving again after a long hibernation.

My favorite:
This week was a good week. I got two pieces of good news.

And here's the thing: I found myself feeling very hesitant about it all. Or maybe nervous is a better word. I felt like I didn't want to make too much noise about it because the universe might come along and rip the rug out from under me again.

Which brings me to the wise thing my amazing friend Jen said to me this week:

"Good and bad things are going to happen whether you enjoy the good times or not."

She's absolutely right. She also said, "You have got to come to Nashville soon and go out with us.  We are going to show you such a good time!"

So I'm going to Nashville. I'm very tired of sitting on my sofa. I'm ready to get out into the world again. I know we still have February to tackle, but I can practically see spring from my backyard.  And I feel optimistic for the first time in a long while.

I used to be an incredibly optimistic person. My mom said to me last spring that she loves me no matter who I am, but she missed the girl who believed she could do anything. And I look back on that person I used to be and I wonder how she was so confident all the time and how she believed that everything would work out.

Maybe that girl just needed a little break from the world for a bit, but I think I can feel her in here somewhere. I think she might be getting her mojo back. I think she might believe again that everything is going to work out.

I think she might need to stop talking about herself in the third person.

I'm feeling so positive, in fact, that this morning when I heard some old man at Starbucks refer to Obama as Hitler, I didn't even get worked up about it. I just laughed. I mean, seriously, Hitler?

Hey, listen, if in four years we've experienced another world war and a Holocaust and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in horrific ways, I'll be the first to admit I was wrong.

But for now, I'll bet you $10,000 that in four years, a new democratically-elected president will take office. Obama will go on to lead the glorious life of an ex-president. He will do speaking engagements for ridiculous sums of money. He will pop up at awards shows for all those damn Hollywood liberals. (I mean, really, Bill Clinton has it made). He will stop graying so damn fast. And you, old dude at Starbucks, will still have your guns. So calm the fuck down, please.

Eh, OK, maybe I got a little worked up.

Anyway, if you're not feeling the Weirdly Positive Zombie Treehouse vibe, have I got something for you! If you don't love this, then you're beyond help. So watch this now:

"I think we all need a pep talk."

Take the road that leads to awesome.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday's Random Thoughts - Deceptions and Dancing Edition

All the talk this week about the evil scourge that is lip-syncing got me thinking about some other famous lip-syncers.

Watch this video and tell me we weren't complicit in our own deception.

Come the fuck on, Bridget!

Those deep voices are not coming from those two men and you know it. I think we knew it back then but we wanted to believe in those beautiful, long braids swinging hypnotically around those lovely faces. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the shallow demands of the music industry. But blame it on us, too. We knew something didn't add up and we didn't care.

Lately, I've been thinking we are almost always complicit in our own deception. We choose to believe what we want to believe. If people didn't do that, Fox News wouldn't have any viewers and douchebags would never convince women to date them or let them in their beds.

I don't watch American Idol but I have watched some of the clips of Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj sniping at one another and my only observation is this: I imagine Keith Urban calling Nicole Kidman each night and saying, "Crikey! What the hell have I gotten myself into?"*

*Apologies for assuming all Australians say "crikey." 

Did you hear? Mad Men returns in April. Here's what I remember about where we left off:

Don Draper had a toothache.
Sally Draper got her period.
Roger Sterling was standing around naked in front of a window.
Joan is officially a hooker.
Megan died in a tragic hang-gliding accident.

I might be wrong about the last one, but it's time for her to go. I like my Don Draper unmarried, day-drunk, and screwing inappropriate women. So get back to it, please.

Last night, my teenage son told me I am lame and I can't dance.

To which I responded thusly:

Happy Friday, friends. I hope you bust out your lame dance moves this weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Halftime Just Got Real

Today I came up with a brilliant idea for how Obama can make amends to America for allowing Beyonce to lip-sync at his inauguration. I'm sure we can all agree it's the worst thing to happen since the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the time Justin Timberlake showed us Janet Jackson's nipple.

Fox News declared it "Totally worse than anything Hitler did, like, ever."

So, here's how Obama can fix this. Instead of Beyonce performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, Barry and Uncle Joe will perform and they will lip-sync to a Beyonce song.

There, that'll make it all better, baby dolls.

Here's the song:

And here are the moves:

You're welcome, America.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Four More Years

I'm not saying every conservative I know acts like this, I'm just saying this made me laugh pretty hard.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Random Thoughts - Hope Springs Edition

No. 1 Hope Springs is a lovely, funny movie and totally worth your time.

No. 2 That is not actually the point of the title of today's FRT.

The actual point is that I am in a good mood.

I feel like this is worth noting after several days of darkness and a pitiful lack of perspective up in here.

I hate when I get that way. And yes I get that way at least once a month, and YES I KNOW WHY and no I am not yelling at you because it's that time of the month, dammit, but OK, maybe that's why, but you should never ever acknowledge it, you jackass.

Sometimes I am the personification of this quote from one of my favorite books from childhood, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: "Being helpless, he felt hopeless."

My mom says that quote a lot and has my whole life, because really the book is one of her favorites and then she indoctrinated me into loving it, too. (This is far superior to being indoctrinated into something like Scientology or the world of beauty pageants.)

Side note: The other story she made me love is an English fairy tale titled Master of all Masters. I read it often enough as a child that, even now as an adult, the phrase "Unless you get some pondalorum high topper mountain will be all on hot cockalorum" just pops into my head for no good reason.

Anyway, this week has been all about me moaning and groaning about how my dreams have gone up in hot cockalorum and asking myself what exactly is the point of ever leaving high topper mountain or putting on my squibs and crackers ever again.

But today the sun is shining. I got up and put on my pants.

And I do not feel helpless or hopeless.

The story of Sylvester is that he found a magic pebble but, before he could wish for something grand and exciting, he came across a lion and, in his fear, he wished to become a rock. This way he could remain still and silent while the danger passed him by. But when he became a rock he lost his ability to hold onto the magic pebble and so he was unable to change back into what he was before. He was paralyzed by his fear.

And there right beside him was the magic pebble, the key to setting him free.

But when you are stuck in your stillness, in your silent place where you have hidden because of fear, the answer can be right next to you but you just can't reach it. The thing you have used to protect yourself from the world can also leave you apart from the world.

That's as far as I'll go with my analogy about how I am a donkey who has turned herself into a rock out of fear.

Today, the sun came out and it is just a fact that I am made for sunshine. I'm pretty sure in an alternate universe I live at the beach and I am a bartender at an outdoor bar at some resort and I can do all sorts of tricks by flinging the bottles into the air.

I might be confusing Alternate Universe Me with Tom Cruise in Cocktail.

You don't realize how lovely hope is until it returns to you, swiftly and unexpectedly, after a long time spent in the dark believing that nothing good will ever happen again.

I got up and I got dressed and I went to lunch with my friend Jen, who is one of the many answers I land on when I go searching for good reasons to keep writing for this blog, when I wander around muttering, "What's the point?" Jen is one of the people in the Weirdly Positive Zombie Treehouse and I wouldn't have found her friendship if not for the blog.

Meeting a friend for lunch on a Friday and talking for three hours is one of life's many joys.

Earlier today I told my mom about something that might happen but looks like it won't (this is the story of my life lately), and I said, "For today, I'm really OK with it if it doesn't work out."

Now, tomorrow I might not be. In 28 days, I might cry about all the things that aren't working out like it's the end of the world.

But for today, hope is alive. I remember what it feels like to believe good things aren't just possible, but probable.

Keep moving. Don't wish yourself into stillness. Put that magic pebble in your pocket and grasp it in your hand when it gets dark and rainy and you find yourself forgetting how to hope.

 Life is full of good things if you put on your damn pants and get out of the house and into the sunshine.

The Sun Is Shining!

At long last, the sun is shining in Birmingham and this is how I feel:

And, of course, this one:

So I'm going to get out of my house today and enjoy it.

I hope you will, too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Here Comes the Sun

Today was a great day.

First came the snow.

Then came the long-absent sun.

Oh, Sun, how I've missed you.

This is the best, most productive thing I've done all week.

Snowcation 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Delusions of Sand and Surf

This is me.
OK, it's not, but we're pretending it is.

I have a serious case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). When the season is over, we can just go back to calling it regular old depression, but for now...

The weather here is horrible. I'm starting to believe the sun will never come out again. Ever. EVER EVER EVER.

So I'm pretending I'm somewhere else.

I'm here:

Earlier today, I was here:
In fact, this is where I was when Ryan Gosling said the most romantic thing to me. He said "If you're a bird, I'm a bird." Isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever heard?

It was really difficult to give him the bad news that we can't be together. The poor guy even took his shirt off in an attempt to change my mind.

Of course, I let him down ever so gently. Everyone knows my boyfriend here with me at the beach is this guy:
He took me out on his boat earlier.

Then we built this sand castle:

I'm going to shower and change into a sundress before we sit by the pool and watch the sunset.
Because I am here.
Yes, I really am.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays and Why I Still Haven't Watched Downton Abbey

I am considering getting in the car and driving south until I find sunshine. It's either that or admit that I am going to wear pajamas all week and never get out of bed again. I am going to become like Grandpa Joe and just lie around like a lazy bastard until someone offers me something good like a Golden Ticket and some chocolate.

The more I hear about Downton Abbey, the more I don't want to watch it. It's the contrarian in me. I'm certain it's how people must feel when they don't watch Breaking Bad and they hear us converts going on and on about how it's the greatest show on television. (Because it's the greatest show on television.)

I am starting to feel the same way about Homeland.

Also, I have a Claire Danes problem. I have sort of disliked her ever since Billy Crudup left his 8-months-pregnant girlfriend for her.

I miss feeling motivated. A friend and I met for lunch yesterday and we talked about the two major things we've both been feeling the past year:

What's the point?


Is this all there is? 

Then I had this realization that what I'm really wondering is this:

Is this all I am? 

I think I ran out of goals and I can't figure out what my new ones should be. When I was young I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to work at a newspaper and a magazine. I wanted to write a book. Check, check, check. 

I'm not sure what I expected to come from meeting those goals, but it sure wasn't this endless slog through rejection, lethargy, and existential whining.

This is why midlife crises happen. 

This is why people get in the car and drive south until they find something bright and hopeful. 

Last night when Jennifer Garner presented some award right after her husband won Best Director, I thought, "MUST BE NICE TO BE YOU!" 

I have a love/hate relationship with awards shows. The hate portion manifests itself in bitterness toward perfectly lovely people with lovely lives and lovely bank accounts who are dating my boyfriend. I'm looking at you Stacy Keibler, but not for long because you're just sort of boring. 

Oh, and last night when Julia Roberts came out to present Best Picture, I thought, "Are you fucking kidding me with this Julia Roberts nonsense?" 

Can we not be done with her already? 

Everyone has celebrities they hate for no reason and she is mine. If I had to pick a reason it is probably because she's so farging self-satisfied and she refers to her husband by his full name like it's charming. Nothing that woman does is charming. 

Every time they showed Mel Gibson on camera last night, it made me sad. Thanks a lot, Jodie Foster. I kept thinking about how he's ruined his life with his ranting, screaming drunkenness. It's like showing up at a party with someone who makes everybody uncomfortable. Then the energy around that person is all about his or her pathetic attempt to prove he or she is no longer a ranting, screaming drunk arsehole. And everyone else's energy is about treading softly because you know that AT ANY MOMENT things could veer seriously off-course. 

Mel Gibson was the elephant in the room. 

Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, was the "Tracy Flick" in the room. If you haven't seen Election, you should. 

Did you notice that Michael J. Fox's son Sam was introduced as a "philanthropist?" Get a real job, rich kid. That was my first thought. Then I realized he probably works for some organization his dad started to fight Parkinson's. So I feel bad for wanting to smack him. 

This (the 40-second mark) was my favorite moment from the show: 

The only thing that would have made it better is if they'd cut to Taylor Swift's face during that moment. 

I'm just going to assume she looked like this guy: 

Actually, Tommy Lee Jones, I totally get it. This is my reaction to waking up to more rain, feeling left out of the whole Downton Abbey thing, seeing the Julia Roberts' Aura of Smug Self-Satisfaction. 

Blerg, indeed. 

So, who wants to drive to Key West with me?