Howdy! I had every intention of posting yesterday, but life took over – okay, more like work took over, and I was up until the wee hours this morning finishing things, and packing for my trip to Indiana tomorrow.
I planned this trip months ago, so I could participate in my second “Take Steps for Crohn’s”, which I am still looking forward to, but the trip has also transformed into something else.
It may come as no surprise that I have some pretty strong feelings for a guy in Indiana. It’s not someone new, in fact, he’s been a part of my life for years – but we’ve really been on a roller coaster.
Without going too much into it, I will say that we’ve managed to be there for each other through some very tough times, especially as of late. I’ve had a tiny crush on him since I was 15, and have been fairly honest about my feelings over the years – him, too, even though he hasn’t always felt the same way.
Recently, he quietly admitted he had feelings, too – something I never, ever thought I’d hear him say. And that’s just it: it’s the first time I’ve liked someone so much, I’d accept it if he didn’t like me. I’d rather have his friendship than nothing, and I want him to be happy, even if it’s not with me.
Strong words, I know.
And that’s the other part of this entire thing: I’m in uncharted territory. I’ve never liked someone who was quite so nice to me; never been able to actually talk to someone on the phone (especially about nerdy stuff, like politics and food); never had any sort of relationship that didn’t involve around sex, talking about sex, or planning for sex. It’s refreshing.
But, it’s also scary AF. What exactly is going on here? I can’t answer that right now. And I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer it after this trip, either.
Because if you’ve been here before, you and I both know how this ends (read this, this, this, this, and this, and this, for examples). I’ve done this. Of course, this is someone different – biologically, and in many different ways. But it has ended poorly for me before. I’m bracing myself to get on that plane next week with a broken heart, and no need for a phone.
A long time ago, I concluded I like Indiana boys because they are familiar, and because, well, I live 19 hours away and don’t really have to subject myself to the intimacy that would happen in a real, face-to-face relationship.
But what if the distance was eliminated? I always say I have stayed in the South to benefit my career. I’ve banked on the story I’ve told myself that I will always be single. But what if I put something, or someone, else first this time? What would my life be like?
There is a huge part of me that already knows the answer. My life would probably be filled with a lot more love, and a little less stress. I might actually get the thing I’ve always wanted: love. A partner.
All of that just scares me. I don’t know if I’m ready, but on the other hand, how can I NOT be ready?
I don’t want to bank everything on this trip, but I am hoping it will show me a little taste of what my story could have been; what it could be, if I choose that path, instead of the one I’m on now.
PS. The blog will be sparse next week as I’ll be vacationing and mind-questing 🙂 Promise I’ll be back.
Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely. There’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely, because, well, I’ve been alone for a greater part of the last 14 years. Most of that time, though, I haven’t felt lonely.
After two tragedies struck my friends and family in Indiana over the last six weeks though, I started to feel homesick. I left Indiana at 18, headed South, and really never thought I’d turn back. And yes, I’ve had some great times in these parts, and met some great people – but is anyone ever quite as great as the friends you’ve known since middle school? Doubtful.
I still don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Indiana, or the Midwest, other than for quick visits. Although in times like these, I can’t explain just how much I wish I could hop right on over to Indiana, to spend a Friday night with people who know me; people who make me excited to be alive. Regardless, I’m trying to make the most out of my life in Austin, and I know it’s one of the most entertaining cities in the country.
But my attempts at making friends here have left me feeling more lonely than when I started. People have flaked for things I’ve invited them to do – movies, concerts, brunches – and even things they’ve invited me to do. Everyone is looking for the Bigger, Better Deal (the BBD), and apparently I am not it.
After years of suffering from breakup after breakup, I quickly learned that a man was not going to be the source of my happiness, and I’ve basically given up on that part of my life. I know I can still live a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life as a single person.
But I can’t do it alone, can I? I suppose I pictured my life as a single person much like the lives of the women on “Sex and the City” – only, minus the sex and designer fashions. Or perhaps like those on “Girls” only minus the sex and easy-going careers. You get the picture: I need a few friends to do shit with.
Because you know what? No matter how cool I think I am, hanging out with just myself gets old. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to surprise myself with yet another great, home-cooked meal. These days, I’m so over myself that I buy all of the organic, pre-made goods I can because then at least I have time to read or to build a plan to get friends.
During the week, I don’t have much time for social outings given my job, my dance schedule, and this blog. Some weekends, I am busy with chores or writing projects, but other weekends it would be nice to meet up with friends for drinks, a sporting event, or simply a movie.
Holidays, though, those are the worst. I hate admitting this, but I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas by myself last year, and as much as I tried to make it pleasant for myself – baking a pie from scratch & mixing craft cocktails – it was a very depressing time.
Because the truth is, when you’re not close to family, and your friends live 19 hours away, it almost seems as if I’ve built so many walls around myself that my only choice is to be alone, even for the moments when being together is all that really matters.
This is not the first time in my life I’ve felt lonely, of course. In fact, it is during these times when I have fallen into a dark pattern of meeting friends, or sometimes, men, who are terribly wrong for me. Because of this, I am very weary of my actions during these times – I don’t want to fall for the wrong people out of desperation.
But it is also during these times when little things hurt even more than they would on a good day. The cat call of a construction worker (“You have a fat ass”) on your morning walk to the Texas Capitol stings more; being ignored by a crush cuts a little deeper; and getting ditched by a girlfriend calls for a bottle of wine to keep all to yourself.
I struggle with gathering the courage and confidence to do things alone, or to simply just curl up on my couch and accept my fate.
After a week of debate, I braved downtown Austin and went to see Big Freedia in concert, alone. I put on my best twerking outfit, dark lipstick, and treated myself to a beer (or two). As I was standing at the bar alone, a few ladies approached me and asked if I’d come alone. Yes, I did, I said.
So had they. All of our friends had ditched us. And so, we danced the night away, together. It was great, and just the night I needed. I had done it for Freedia – her positive attitude and awesome music got me off my couch, and her presence sent me floating into the night.
I am still trying to make friends; and to figure this whole thing out. Until then, perhaps I’ll just live by a new set of words: What Would Freedia Do?
“All I can do is do what I do and make it do what it does.” -Big Freedia
Last week, I mentioned that I’ve been suffering from extreme fatigue lately. As promised, I spent the weekend, and each night this week really making an effort to get quality sleep in hopes of pinpointing the problem (you can expect a progress report next week).
Part of solving the problem involves taking a solid look at how I spend my time, and if I can devote any extra time to rest. The conclusion thus far? My life is… kind of plain.
I know I sound like Coolio (see: “Gangsta’s Paradise”) right now, but I’m starting to wonder if this is it for me. I’ve been religiously watching this season of “Girls”, and Sunday’s episode involved a laundromat, Hannah’s mom, and a giant bag of weed gummies.
After choking down several of said gummy worms, Hannah’s mom is trying to set the record straight on her future: “I’m alone. This is it. For the rest of my life.”
I swear everything but that line was ringing in my ear for the next hour – hell, I’m still thinking about it. Because this is the most single I have ever felt.
Ever since I can recall, I’ve had some sort of guy in my life – even if only in “crush” form. And it’s been a long time since even that has happened.
My new job has come with several opportunities to travel, which means I’ve had lots of time to bond with my coworkers. “Holly, why don’t you date??” They ask. “You’re cute!”
As flattering as it is, that’s part of the problem. A majority of the men I’ve dated haven’t seen beyond that – and it’s resulted in a lot of relationships that aren’t trusting or healthy. It’s left me so cold, that at times, I don’t even want a male waiter.
Monday morning, a guy called me. I was washing dishes and missed the call by accident; but when I saw it on my phone, I thought certainly it was a mistake. I hadn’t talked to a guy on the phone in six months (yes, six months), and I didn’t even know if I’d have anything interesting to say. After all, I was cleaning my kitchen at 7 am on a Monday morning.
I took a leisurely drive across town Sunday morning and I got to thinking about dating. Most of the people I know who are my age are married, many of them have been married for years, and have children. I look at their lives from afar and sometimes it seems as if they’ve lived entire lifetimes while mine is just strolling along, very similar to how it was three or five or even ten years ago.
Maybe once you hit a certain point in life, you just end up single, I thought. Because the thing is, I don’t ever put myself in situations to meet a suitor. I’m very aware of this, partially because I don’t think I’m ready to date, and partially because my hobbies: dancing, reading, blogging, and cooking aren’t really conducive to meeting straight men.
Every week, I go to work, the dance studio, the library, and the grocery – give or take the laundromat, and that’s pretty much my life. And I have a feeling I’m not alone in that routine (or rut, you make the call); we’re not in college anymore, not really hitting the night scene, or not putting ourselves in new social situations on a regular basis.
Obviously, I never planned on being single at this point in my life. I honestly thought I was going to be married before I was 25. I’ll be 32 in July. However, I have always believed that my life can be fulfilling even if I don’t have a partner.
But what exactly will that life look life? You know when you first start a relationship and everything is so exciting and nearly perfect? I definitely miss that feeling.
The sad part is, much of the excitement I’ve experienced in the latter part of a relationship is the fear of losing it entirely. The last relationship I had was turbulent, I hardly slept, and it thrived on abuse of the alcohol, sexual, and verbal variety.
I’ve never really known what a real, healthy relationship looks or feels like, which leaves me to often associate dating with a sense of weakness within myself. That if I even have the desire to date, then I must be feeling weak, as if I’m not enough on my own.
Somehow, I survived watching every minute of Nick’s season on “The Bachelor”, and in the finale episode on Monday, Vanessa had a heartfelt conversation with Nick’s father. She asked him if love was enough to make a marriage last, and he told her no. That outside of love, it takes sacrifice, compromise, and the realization that you will no longer come first.
I am certain that show is scripted, but DAMN. #TruthBomb
Maybe that’s it – maybe I’m just not willing to put anyone else first just yet. But I have always imagined being in a relationship where I get to do things for my partner; even if it’s just the little things like bringing him coffee or baking his favorite dessert.
Sure, I’ve done those things. But they went unnoticed and I was often taken advantage of.
There are days I feel really strong and proud of myself for building a life where I’m generally happy, and I’m making things work. But I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t very, very cognizant of that fact that I slip into bed each night alone; with no one beside me, no one on the phone, and often, no one on my mind.
There is no path, or standard, for how a single person lives a fulfilling life – because everyone is just waiting for your “Save the Date” card to arrive. I suppose this is a path I’m going to have to make, on my own, of course, and I’m probably going to have to stop for naps along the way given the current state of things.
Don’t worry, I’ll make my own coffee.
It’s true… I am obsessed with the show “Summer House”, and I just want to BE them. It’s very “Hills’-like to me, and I cannot get enough. Here’s the description of the show from Bravo.com:
Affluent New Yorkers have been fleeing to the Hamptons for generations to get the ultimate luxurious experience, but Montauk, a breezy beach town on the easternmost point of Long Island, has become the summer playground for young professionals who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. “Summer House” brings together a group of nine friends who work hard making their money and building their résumés during the week, but on the weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they share a summer house to let loose in a big way that speaks to their exclusive, high-end lifestyle.
For years, this group of friends has summered in Montauk with a variety of people, but this year they’ve put together the perfect group to share a rental for an epic summer filled with drama, boozy brunches, beachfront thrills, rosé parties, charity galas, bonfires, and jaw-dropping hookups. This close-knit group includes Kyle Cooke, the life of the party who must decide whether it’s time to grow up or to remain the quintessential bachelor; Ashley and Lauren Wirkus, fun-loving identical twins who have reached a crossroads in life; group newcomer Carl Radke, a flirtatious ex-model who has caught Lauren’s eye; longtime friends Everett Weston, an ex-Army Iraq war veteran, and Lindsay Hubbard, the ultimate alpha female, who throw everyone for a loop with their newfound love; Cristina Gibson, Lindsay’s roommate, a freelance reporter who grapples with her friendships; Stephen McGee, the wild card of the bunch who isn’t afraid to speak his mind; and Jaclyn Shuman, a flirty, newly single girl-next-door type who is looking to be distracted from a broken heart.
The show focuses on these incredible weekends in Montauk – the house is huge, beautiful, and has all of the amenities for a great party: pool, beach access, hot tub, bar, and lots of room to crash. This group of friends (and probably most New Yorkers) live for the weekends, leaving early on Friday to get to the house and sometimes not leaving until Monday morning to head back to the city.
Of course I’m super jealous of anyone who has a summer house, a weekend house, a winter cabin – whatever – that is the life. Secondly, of course everyone that lives in this house is pretty hot and successful. This leads to hookups (and drama) within the house, but I’m still jealous!
On the one hand, I feel so grateful that my single life has lead to a life of very little drama and no heartbreak. But seeing all the fun at “Summer House”… makes me want to jump right into the pool with Karl and say oh well, I’ll deal with the consequences later, amirite??!
There probably aren’t many episodes of “Summer House” left, but I hope this show gets a second season; because between this and “Below Deck” – I’ve pretty much got my bucket list set.
It’s Taco Tuesday!!! …And also Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I kept forgetting that Valentine’s Day was coming around this year, which is one reason why I didn’t partake in my semi-tradition of making and mailing Valentine cards. I’ve been pretty busy with my new job, working out seven times a week, and watching lots of TV, per usual.
When I saw it on the calendar as I was planning my blog posts, I pondered for about two weeks on whether I should write something about this holiday or not. Why? Because I’ve written about it for the last ten years – why stop now?
Last year, I wrote about “How History Screwed Singletons“, but I also concluded that although I didn’t have a romantic partner, there were things – material things that I loved – so I also wrote about that. Want to know a little secret? Last year, I was totally, completely heart-broken.
In 2015, I wrote “Even Singletons Have Love“, because not all love has to come from a significant other (which is totally true). In 2014, I wrote “A History of Valentines” looking back at all the ways I’ve spent the holiday (really sad), and I also wrote a “Survival Guide: Single on Valentine’s Day“, because I know there have been some years I really just wanted to be in a black hole for 24 hours.
I’ve written a lot about the relationships of my past, and how my February 14ths ended up because of them – there have been years of complete content, some years have seen love, and others have seen me on my own living room floor, crying, and overeating chocolate cupcakes.
In 2013, though, it was a champion year in terms of Valentine’s Day, when I purchased a $6 heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s and enjoyed it, by myself, with a bottle of wine. You can read all about my philosophy that year in “The Heart [Pizza] of Matters“.
So, this year, I can truly say, I don’t even care. I have finally reached the pinnacle of my existence and am fresh out of fucks when it comes to men, dating, sex, and Valentine’s Day. I do believe this is actually what I’ve always wanted: to not be sad, not be wearing black, not be pretending to be happy and going out anyway, not be celebrating my singleness with wine and takeout… but instead to just be how I am every other single day.
Now could I go for a box of chocolate truffles or a heart-shaped pizza? Yes, because I’m on a hardcore diet and would eat juuuust about anything right now. But instead I will probably eat leftover vegan tacos I made this weekend (seriously delish, recipe here), and drink a sparkling water because YOLO.
On Saturday, I went to my local library for an event I’d marked on my calendar: A Romance Reader’s Social. I didn’t even link the fact that this was probably timed as a celebration of Valentine’s Day, until I arrived and saw all of the red and pink decor.
Nevertheless, I waited in line amongst retired women whom, I imaged to be of the sort that sat in well-worn recliners and read stacks of romance novels week after week.
Attendees were treated to cupcakes and heart-shaped cookies, several craft stations, and tables full of books and their authors available to sign copies. There was also an author’s panel where they discussed writing routines and answered questions from the audience.
I was alone, as I often am, and for possibly one of the first times, I didn’t feel awkward about it. I jumped into the crafts, and made a Valentine card using patterned washi tape, and I also colored a page from an adult coloring book that was of a scene from a romance novel – a hunky dude embracing his lady – and his shirt is ripped off. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s currently hanging on my fridge (you can get your own coloring book here, you know, for your next ladies’ night).
I don’t have a map of how I got to this point, but if I had to guess, it’d be the perfect balance of sleeping with men who don’t care about me, and as a result, learning to take charge of my life via a rewarding career and awesome hobbies. And, well, listening to lots of Drake.
For Christmas, I asked for an actual pair of headphones, as those awful earbuds were really starting to hurt my ears since I was listening to podcasts 8 hours a day! I got my headphones, and even though I have my own office at my new job, listening to podcasts has become a little bit of an out for me – a way for me to listen to fun or interesting things while I’m working on political things. And so, I’ve got another batch of podcast recommendations for you, if you’re looking…
Making Oprah – I kept seeing this one on the top charts, and finally decided to dive in. I have never been a huge fan of Oprah; I think she’s cheesy, and quite full of herself, if you want to know the truth. But this podcast made me understand just how important Oprah was to daytime television, and to the overall conversation in our culture. Here’s the scoop:
The inside story of a TV revolution. In this new WBEZ podcast, Oprah Winfrey tells the behind-the-scenes story of her iconic TV talk show, along with producers, staffers, TV executives, and ratings rival Phil Donahue. The three-part series chronicles the show’s scrappy roots in Chicago, its rise to daytime dominance, and the powerful sway Winfrey came to have in American life.
Yes, you saw that: “Three-part series”…I listened to it in about a day. But, there are several bonus episodes to prolong the goodness. Listen to the episodes here.
In the Dark – This is for my true crime lovers! No matter how much scary movies freak me out, I think I’ll always be a fan of crime mysteries. I hear about this podcast on another one, and it was one of those end-of-the-year roundup things. I made note of it and started listening last week, so I’m only a few episodes in. Here’s what it’s about:
Child abductions are rare crimes. And they’re typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, led to the nation’s sex-offender registries and raise questions about crime-solving effectiveness and accountability.
When I was a kid, I was so afraid of robbers and getting kidnapped. And THIS was the case that scared us all – whether we knew it or not. It put laws in place that are still followed today. Now, I will say that some of the content in this podcast is difficult to hear. After all, an innocent child was the victim. However, hearing about the investigation is the part I really like – why, and how, did they miss so much? You can listen to episodes here.
Nerdette – I’m pretty sure I came across this podcast by searching for “Issa Rae” (sorry, I’m obsessed). There was a great episode where the hosts interviewed her, but then I started searching through other episodes and got to listening. While the show has great sound quality, and the co-hostesses are really good – the show is about lots of different things, which I enjoy. The “Nerdettes” are particularly known for their recaps of “Game of Thrones”, I haven’t listened to those episodes since I don’t watch the show. Here’s the overall gist of the show:
A safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to and encountering in real life. Hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen talk to people about their obsessions: from science to science fiction, great lady nerds of history to Beyoncé. Because what the world needs now is not another superhero, but for the glasses-clad alter ego to make you a podcast.
The Minimalists – I’m honestly not sure how I came across this podcast, but I do know it’s ALWAYS on the top of the charts. I started listening to it around Christmas and have really learned a lot about the minimalist lifestyle, and have even started a “donate” pile in my apartment as I sort each corner of my place.
The hosts, Josh and Ryan, have really spread the word on minimalism, as they have a documentary on Netflix, two published books, and are always on “tour” hosting events around the globe. You can listen to episodes here.
What podcasts are you listening to? Any I should add to my list? I am always looking for more things to listen to, so let me know!
The term “self-care” has been swirling around the interwebs since at least the end of 2015, which makes me a little late to the game, per-usual. The truth is, I never really gave it much thought until recently – and for good reason.
I know I’ve been alluding to “tough times” lately, and I’ll explain. If it isn’t blatantly obvious, I’m a democrat in every single way. I try not to make this a political space, and I won’t go too deep here, but yeah, shit has been pretty rough these days.
When things happen, as in things that are reported in the news, I debate to myself whether or not I should say something on this blog. Some readers say this blog IS their news, so I don’t want someone to miss out on anything big. Do I do a little, “Uh, hey, Trump has fuuuucked things up again, TODAY” – memo?
Let me back up a little. I have always loved watching the news, keeping up with things, and in general, just being informed. And I know the 24-hour news circuit has haunted our world since the Jon Benet case, but I really didn’t feel the effects until last week.
You see, I work in a political field, and I do digital communications, i.e. I monitor Twitter, a lot. So, I’ve seen alllllll the Trump Tweets many times over. At the end of the work day, I was starting to feel really heavy, like my shoes were filled with cement.
To combat this, I have been watching “The Daily Show” every single night. I need someone to make light of this, of anything, something to make me laugh and tell me that I’m not going to blow up while I sleep.
But the night that Trump fired Sally Yates, “The Daily Show” didn’t touch on it, because obviously it’s taped during the day, and the Trump administration is so entirely insane, that even in just two hours, the world can be completely flipped, border patrol and protestors with handmade signs, included. How the hell does this happen?
I decided right then and there that I’ve got to do something to take care of myself. Because I see things going on, and I’m trying to make the change during my 9-5, and although I want to jump into my car and protest the shit out of pretty much every damn thing coming out of that White House, I must take care of myself first.
And so, I need a self-care plan. For many, part of their self-care plan is to stay off social media, or to only stay on for certain chunks of time. I don’t have that option when it comes to my job. Luckily, there are other things I can do to avoid going insane.
Here are some ideas I came up with:
- At-home manis and pedis
- Intentionally schedule “me” time
- Clean out the closet and donate the unwanted items to a place that does good things
- Spend less time with the phone/iPad/computer, etc.
- Take a cooking class
- Take more walks – even if it’s just around the neighborhood
- Attend a local high school sporting event
- Take an online class (I’ve still go to learn screenwriting this year)
- Get crafty/artsy (hello, Pinterest)
- Listen to this song more often:
When I was looking up ideas for self care, turns out, I actually do a lot of these things already: write a blog, spend time with a pet, cook, dance, sleep in on the weekends, write letters…
I’d love to know what you’re doing for your self-care plan – perhaps reading this blog is part of it, which is another reason why politics are generally not invited here. So let’s hear what you’re doing for self-care; or ideas you have for those of us who need it.
Okay, John Mayer fans! Tomorrow is the day we get to hear some new stuff, finally! While I don’t really have the inside scoop (as much as I wish I did), we can discuss what we know so far.
1. The title of the album is called “The Search for Everything”, which John said in a Facebook Live feed that the title basically explains his life.
2. The album will obviously feature the single we’ve heard, “Love on the Weekend”, which I love – but John said, also on Facebook Live, that the song does not represent the entire album. Guess we’ll see.
3. The album was among some greats on The Rolling Stone’s list of the 63 most-anticipated albums of 2017. However, the release date isn’t mentioned there, because…
4. John Mayer is releasing his album in 4-song increments, monthly. WHICH IS THE WORST IDEA EVER.
Let’s just discuss this a little more.
Now, I know artists have released their music in increments before. Kanye West did it with his G.O.O.D. Fridays, where fans were rewarded with a free download as long as they kept visiting his new website, and Justin Bieber did it with his “Journals” album, releasing one song each Monday in a “Music Monday” campaign.
When Kanye did it, it was genius because no one had ever done it before; when Justin did it, it was pretty fun.
But, seriously John Mayer? The first reason this sucks is because the initial 4-song drop we get includes the single we’ve already purchased, “Love on the Weekend“, so we’re actually only getting three new songs this month. Here are the tracks we’ll see tomorrow:
- Moving On And Getting Over
- Love On The Weekend
- You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me
The second reason this sucks is because am I honestly supposed to listen to a 4-song loop for a month and then download another 4 songs? Let me make this clear: I love me some John Mayer, but I’m not going to be putting it in my calendar every month to “Download the next 4 John Mayer songs!!”
Here’s my other question: how many songs are there in total? According to Mayer’s Instagram account, “The album will be released four songs at a time. Every month. There were too many songs to ever get out the door at once.”
There’s several issues with this statement. I hate to be that person, but it’s the digital age, right? So what does it even mean that there’s “too many songs”? Like is it 25? 40? Because anything 20 and under is a pretty standard album length.
This just makes me wonder, what’s the real story? Like are the songs not done? Because if they’re not, don’t tell us there’s an album coming. If they ARE done, well hand ’em over, ’cause frankly, John Mayer, you’ve put the fans through too much! Just hand us the SONGS!
Am I the only person pissed about this? Le sign… I know there are bigger problems. I’m just greedy and want all the songs – besides, I’ll be in the car road-tripping for a minimum of 10 hours this weekend and I could really use some new tunes (more than four, BTW).
At the very least, I have a feeling these are going to be some GOOD songs… I mean, what we’ve heard so far is fantastic. Here’s to “The Search for Everything”!
Hellllooo! How was your weekend? Mine was… eventful in an unexpected way. I spent a majority of my Saturday running errands – mostly for Christmas presents – which was hectic, and to top things off, it was cold and rainy. I came home around 6, got things put away, and settled into bed to watch “Orange is the New Black”. I was about 5 minutes in when Blanche comes running into my room, chasing a mouse.
Yep, a real mouse. With a tail.
Longtime readers may recall this exact thing happened to me last holiday season – you can read about that incident right here.
Last year, after screaming bloody murder and finding refuge standing on the back of my couch, I coaxed myself into my car, drove to the nearest Walgreens, and bought all the traps they had. I set them that night, and then locked myself, and the cat, into my bedroom, in hopes the traps would solve the issue.
I never saw the mouse, or any mouse, again until Saturday night, when one ran through my bedroom, heading toward my Christmas tree, which is in the living room. I said nothing, grabbed my keys, went to Walgreens, set the traps, and locked us back into the bedroom.
Apparently, we’ve got a new holiday tradition. Holly, Blanche, and the Christmas Mouse. Look for it in Barnes & Noble, nationwide November 2017.
Despite being terrified the mouse was going to jump out at me, much like the squirrel in “Christmas Vacation”, I spent Sunday cleaning, wrapping gifts, and watching Christmas movies.
And of course, I was counting down the hours until the premier of “Mariah’s World”! Sooooo who else watched it? Let’s get into this recap.
The show started off with what I assume was a preview of what’s to come on this 8-part “event”… and in this 3-minute series of clips, I had no freaking clue what was happening. There were so many different people, lots of arguing, and lots of audio from “Fantasy” on repeat.
Right off the bat, we’re taken to Italy, where Mariah is vacationing on her yacht, which is across the water from her then-fiance’s yacht. I noticed immediately how vocal Mariah is about material things. It’s not enough that she’s on a lavish yacht, wearing diamonds, as she’s about to jump in the ocean, but she has to say it outloud that she’s wearing a dress and diamonds and is about to jump into the ocean.
I don’t know why this surprises me, but it certainly does, and it’s kind of annoying. She acts like she’s new money, when sure, she came from nothing, but that was many, many years ago (not a knock to her age, but rather a nod to how long she’s dominated the industry).
The residency in Las Vegas has just wrapped, and for some reason, Mariah’s assistant Stella, is scheduling a 27-stop European tour, that’s going to start in just two weeks – around the same time as her wedding.
So there’s lots of scrambling, lots of yelling on the phone, even a bridal fitting (super awkward), and eventually, Stella hires a person named Molly, who seems to have no experience as an assitant, yet she’s going to work on this European tour.
Seriously, HOW DOES THIS SHIT HAPPEN?
But nonetheless, that’s not the high point of the episode. Instead, it’s the first side of Bryan Tanaka – one of Mariah’s dancers, but also her now boyfriend.
Bask in the shady palm trees, my friends.
Like, let’s lay this out, because in the show, she’s PLANNING a wedding with James Packer. But during these dance rehearsals, she is ALL about some Tanaka.
Here’s my other odd observation. Why are the dance rehearsals held in her home? Better yet, why doesn’t she have a rehearsal space in her home? She’s literally practicing beside a pool table, and then when they go to rehearsal, there’s no real equipment – she’s using a water bottle as a mic, and they’ve set up gymnastic mats and plywood as a makeshift staircase.
Did anyone get the memo that it’s a Mariah CAREY reheasal?? That just seems odd to me. She doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to cut corners, but shit.
By the end of the episode, Mariah has pushed back the wedding, strictly in the name of the tour, and she’s a whopping 3-hours late to rehearsal.
This… should be an interesting 8 weeks, folks.
I know I say this every Friday, but seriously, this time I mean it: I’m SO glad I’ve made it to Friday! Between my blog class, the film festival, prepping for the dance showcase next weekend, and general business at the office, it has been a CRAZY month that has not allowed much time for rest. Whew!
Although I do have a few things to accomplish this weekend (hair cut and color, scheduling a spray tan, dance rehearsal, and general errands), I am planning on setting aside some quality chunks of time to lay in bed – and watch some “House of Cards” and catch up on some HBO goodies.
But anyway, we’re here to talk about books! I am so excited to share with you the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club, because it’s by funny guy Aziz Ansari, his book, “Modern Romance“. I had this book on reserve at the library for several weeks and I was ecstatic when I got the text saying it was ready for pickup. Here’s the scoop:
At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
I know it’s long, but I wanted you to have all the details. This book is pretty genius in that it combines Ansari’s humorous tone, with actual facts and experiences. And while reading the book doesn’t change the current dating landscape for us singletons, it does explain WHY we go through what we do, and more importantly, that we’re not alone in this.
While I loved reading this whole book, there were two takeaways I found really interesting. The first was the research done about how dating was before technology came along. The book provides charts and graphs to show just how many people dated and married those within their neighborhood – and most people did.
Why? Well, because marriage was seen as a way out. People, especially women, weren’t moving out of their parents’ homes just because – they moved out once they were married. And, many times, women weren’t pursuing educations or careers – so it was marriage and then creating a family.
Once people started going to school and focusing on their careers, marriage started happening later and later in life, and it placed people further apart, physically, which is why less people marry within their hometowns.
Interesting takeaway two: Straightwhiteboystexting.org
Thank you, Aziz, for sharing this with me, as I didn’t know it existed prior. And it is a gift from the universe, in the same way that @Textsfromyourex on Instagram is. It is glorious.
Straight White Boys Texting is a submission-based website that captures and publishes the agony that is being a woman having to deal with dudes in today’s dating world. We get gems like:
…And there’s many more where that came from on the site.
Modern romance at its finest! You’ve got to read this book if you’re dating today, or if you’ve been dating within the last ten years. It’ll all start to make a little more sense (and keep us all inside for eternity).
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial” by Rabia Chaudry. We’d love for you to read it with us! Simply start reading and reach out for discussion at your leisure – after all, it’s the non-committal book club.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
I was sporting my #CatLady trucker hat (for sale in the merch store) last month, and a guy asked me if I really was a “cat lady”. Yes, I said. “Well, how many cats do you have?” he asked, half disgusted, half intrigued. “Just one,” I said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
It was then I realized that I’ve never really explained my personal campaign to celebrate cat ladies, everywhere. Let me spill my story.
Let’s start with where this all came from. So, here’s the Wikipedia definition of a cat lady:
A cat lady is a single woman who dotes upon her pet cat or cats. The term is usually considered pejorative, though it is sometimes embraced. A cat lady may also be an animal hoarder who keeps large numbers of cats without having the ability to properly house or care for them. They may be ignorant about their situation.
So, there’s that. In general, to call someone a “cat lady” is an insult. Why? Well, way, way back – there were Egyptian goddesses who had cats, and even religious symbols who had cats, but eventually cats came to be synonymous will the devil. So…yeah.
And then came the movie “Clockwork Orange”… *rolls eyes* – the movie that all pretentious English majors obsess over. This is when the more modern-day crazy cat lady appeared in pop culture. And then, Eleanor Abernathy was born as a character on “The Simpsons” – and she is a true cat hoarder.
When you think about it, the cat lady stereotype goes beyond just a single woman with a lot of cats. She’s often insane, out-of-sorts, and generally dirty. She’s cranky, and no one wants to be around her. How terrible, right?
And so, I’ve embraced this stereotype in the opposite way via my merchandise, and the use of #CatLady. Being a #CatLady has nothing to do with the number of animals you own, or cats, at all. It’s about celebrating who you are and not being ashamed of any aspect of your being.
A true #CatLady is confident in herself, in her life, and she’s more interested in doing what she wants than worrying about what others think, or following societal norms. Maybe she is married, maybe not. Maybe she has kids, maybe not. A #CatLady has no age, no holds, and basically gives zero fucks. #CatLady – celebrate it!
Because when you think about it, this whole “Crazy cat lady” stereotype is just another way to degrade single women. It’s an easy way to dismiss emotions, a simple way to label someone we don’t know, and a socially acceptable way to insult someone that isn’t “typical” in terms of American culture.
And I’m over it. There’s no male equivalent, because single males are accepted and rewarded in our culture. As women, there’s so much expected of us, and at times, we give so much just to be treated equal from others, and we still aren’t satisfied.
So, I’m sticking with my #CatLady ways – yes, I do have a cat, and yes I am single, and I live alone. Am I crazy? No. Am I a spinster? No. Do people piss me off? Sometimes. But I have a successful career, great friends, know how to laugh, and I’ve got a few kitchen skills up my apron. So, yeah, I’m a #CatLady – for life.
A few weeks ago, I was telling a guy friend about a semi-talking-dating-ish thing that was happening to me, and that I just wasn’t feeling it, but I wasn’t sure why other than just sheer mental exhaustion due to the fact that it’s constantly a game of hot and cold with the guy in question.
“Yeah,” my friend said. “He missed the boat.”
Is that a thing? I suppose it’s just another factor of timing, and if you don’t strike when the iron is hot, then that’s just the way the chips fall (let’s just make this post full of cliches, shall we). But, typically the term “Missed the boat” refers to the fact that it’s OVER, completely. Dead.
So, then I got to thinking, wait… have I missed the boat?
Typically, missing the boat is associated with age – people have that number in their heads of when things are supposed to happen. I definitely thought I was going to be married by 25. That was six whole years ago, and I can’t even fathom the thought of going on a date, period.
If you’ve been ’round these parts for a minute, you’ve probably noticed that the tone of this blog has made a clear shift from dating and guy drama to food, book reviews, and lots of TV. That shift in content is due to a major shift in my life: I’m no longer interested in finding a partner, as I’m much more interested in enriching my life in other ways; filling it with the things I love, i.e. cooking and baking, reading piles of books on my patio, watching hours of TV as I study up on screenwriting, and exploring the city I’ve spent the past year in – Austin!
The guy friend I mentioned above, said something to me about my “shift” in attitude: “You’ve changed,” he said.
And yes, he knew me years before, when I was desperate for a man’s attention, nearly always had a boyfriend or at least a person of interest, and probably had very little of an original personality. I wanted so badly to be in a serious relationship that would lead to marriage, and a family. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I did nothing for myself, and instead, I did a lot of desperate things in hopes of finding true love.
In return, I spent a lot of time crying. My dating history is full of complete failures that left me trying to find myself, and figure out why these things happened to me. After years of weekly therapy, I found answers: I had no self-confidence, and no self-worth, and because of this, I attracted men that wanted to take advantage of me. And they did; in the form of verbal and sexual abuse, and manipulation.
Years have passed since I’ve been in a relationship, and sure, there are times I’ve felt I’m ready to date someone, and then times I’m okay being single. I’ve met guys who seem cool; they seem different from those of my past, but it ends up being the same scenario in a different costume, and that’s just not the game I’m willing to play anymore – I know I deserve more.
A few months ago, a guy I really liked when I lived in Baton Rouge sent me a few messages on SnapChat. He’s very handsome, and always has a way of making me laugh. We chatted some, and I found out he’s finishing law school in Boston before moving back to Austin, where he’s originally from. Wow, I thought, timing sure is everything – maybe there’s something here.
He was planning a trip to the city in just a few weeks, and wanted to see me. I envisioned us going to a baseball game or hitting up one of the many delicious BBQ joints Austin has to offer. But he told me he had other plans, which involved coming to my apartment and something physical happening between us.
“Are you planning on breaking in?” I asked him. “Because I never invited you to my apartment.”
When I made it clear I had no intentions, or even desires to sleep with him, he stopped talking to me, and even came to town without so much as a “hello”.
Sure, I was frustrated, and even a little offended that all he wanted was sex from me – I know there have been many times where that’s all I am to a man. But this time, like many times over the past three years, I was able to spot it before anything happened, and before I got as hurt I would if I let him into my apartment, my body, or my life.
I don’t think every guy is like that (at least I hope not); but I’m not going to be dating until I find someone who truly is interested in me; my life, my stacks of books, my cat lady tendencies, and my crockpot creations. Sure, maybe it’ll be a little rusty, but I’m worth the wait.
And for the sake of myself, and anyone out there who’s feeling like they’ve “missed the boat” on dating or on dreams or whatever it may be, I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s bullshit. There’s no proper age when love happens for everyone. We all have different stories, and if we’re sticking with the boat metaphors, we can’t all hit the deck at once.
One of my favorite advice columnists, Polly from NY Mag’s “The Cut”, had the same views when a reader wrote in asking if she’d missed the boat on dating at 36 years old, despite having a very full life (read the entire article here). Here’s her (partial) response:
But don’t give up hope. Why wouldn’t you feel optimistic? You’re already pretty happy. You’re going to rock this out and have the life you want no matter what. So be your dangerously girly self, without apology. Be her forever and everywhere. Shout to the sky, “I AM GIRLY. I LOVE KIDS. I LOVE BUILDING FIRES. I LOVE BAKING CAKES. I HAVE FEELINGS. I AM NOT COOL. I WILL NEVER BE COOL. I AM MADE OF MAGIC.”
You haven’t missed the boat. There are boats everywhere. Maybe you’ll like one of them and maybe you won’t. I think you will. But in the meantime, savor this moment. Be exactly who you are, and savor it. Even true love doesn’t come close to feeling as good as that.
Me, personally? I’m holding out for the captain’s suite, the surf ‘n turf formal dinner, and the sun deck with coconuts for cups. Until then, I’ll be on the beach writing boat puns and singing Drake songs to Blanche, like Controlllaaaaaaa. Controlla.
At approximately 10:21 am today, the fall season will officially be upon us. So, you can all stop saying it’s too early for pumpkin-spice everything, and Halloween decor. Because it’s not, fall is HERE! In my house, the arrival of fall signifies a fresh start, and it also means turning off the AC and dragging out the crockpot. Who doesn’t love that? Here’s a few more things I’m looking forward to this season:
The food. As much as I love the light and fresh flavors of summer, there’s something to be said about the savory flavors of fall – just think about all of the colors that will be at the farmer’s market! There are certain recipes I cook up each fall, including turkey and bean chili, pumpkin mac n’ cheese, sweet potato soup, and hearty Mexican dishes fit for a football game (last year, I made enchiladas for the first time and fell in love). I also love making apple cider – right in the crockpot – as it smells delicious and tastes amazing.
The entertainment. Of course, I love fall television, and fall reading. But there’s also fall sports – football is back, and hockey season is upon us! Yes! There’s also some fantastic movies coming our way. Me, personally? I’m looking forward to the film adaptation of “The Girl on the Train”, along with four Hallmark Movies to be released during the month of October. And who doesn’t get a little excited for the Macy’s Day Parade come Thanksgiving??
The fashion. Even though it’s been a whopping 112 degrees in Austin this summer, my office has been around 60, so I’m well-past the stage of wearing scarves and flannel. But now I can do it without looking like an asshole. Flannel, boots and booties, scarves, jackets, faux fur, vests, and beanies, I’m on it.
The indoors. Okay, so maybe a little bit of outdoors, too. Afterall, now that it’s finally not hot as hell outside, a good hike would be nice, and I have yet to see the bats in Austin this year before it’s too late. But I also don’t mind the thought of closing the sliding glass door, lighting a few pumpkin candles, and cozying up on the couch and getting in some much-needed relaxing, while wearing my favorite slippers.
The holidays. Yes, I know the fall season is not officially the holiday season, but there’s Halloween (which I basically hate), and then we’re rolling right into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so forth. This means time off from work, a reason to host parties and decorate the house, and you know, all the yummy food and drinks. Cheers!
What are you looking forward to this fall?
Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for the week’s final installment of “Hand-Picked” – it probably won’t be the last time ever for it, because, well I only went through maybe 1/4 of all the little mementos I have stuffed in boxes in my tiny apartments. But nonetheless, I do hope you’ve enjoyed all of my memories this week! I’ll be back to my regular posting next week, and this gave me a few days to unwind (very much needed) and think about the next direction for the blog.
Okay, first picture (above) is a few pieces I kept from Baton Rouge’s first Fashion Week, hosted by the one, the only Ryan Auld! Ryan was a contestant on Project Runway, and while he didn’t win during the standard season, he was later a contestant on Project Runway All Stars, where he completely knocked the socks off everyone and WON!
One cool thing about Ryan is that he’s from Louisiana! I actually met him while he was still in college, studying fashion at LSU. He was winning fashion competitions then, which is how I met him, because I wrote a story on him, and he got to study in Paris due to his winnings. I later ran into him again – as we unknowingly lived in the same apartment complex. He told me then that big things were happening for him, but he couldn’t tell me what. It was Project Runway.
The other cool thing about Ryan is that he is a two-time cancer survivor. Plus, he makes amazing clothes, and now he has a store in San Antonio. I have had a great time following his career, and cannot wait to see all the cool things he does in the future.
There are many cool perks to being a bartender, and one of them was the annual Christmas party. This particular party was always dressy, and included bottomless drinks, of course. That particular year, I loved the dress I bought – white and black color-blocked satin, with leopard-print heels. I even got my makeup done; and had asked my date by rewriting the words to “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” and leaving it in a Santa hat outside his apartment. We had a blast!
This is about 1/4 of the tickets I’ve got from John Mayer concerts – this is the downfall of digital tickets; that there’s nothing cool to show for it unless you print it. But, as John Mayer would say, we’ll remember it by seeing it with our own eyes.
In 2012, a few attorneys I respected started a team for Race for the Cure. This was prior to my sheer hatred of anything benefitting the Komen Foundation, but giant, pink margaritas were at the finish line, so I was in. My best friend had come to Baton Rouge to visit, and we did the race together. I’d never done anything like that, and it was fun!
Many years ago, I was party of a Mardi Gras Krewe for a short period of time. One of the cool things they did each year was a Murder Mystery Christmas party – I’ve never gone to one of those, but I’d always wanted to after that Murder Mystery weekend episode of “Saved By The Bell” – no, seriously. My character was Sandy, and I was a lifeguard. I wore a whistle, and lots of bronzer, and was carrying sunscreen. I was NOT the murderer.
When I was in college, The New York Times hosted a writing contest for college students, which asked contestants to write about an aspect of their college experience. I entered, and although I did not win, my piece was featured on The New York Times website, which was a very proud moment for me. I have entered many-a-writing contest, and probably will continue to do so (I’m actually working on another entry this weekend), and they are always an interesting challenge.
My best friend’s sister gave me this note – and I thought it was too sweet not to post! And yes, she IS a good friend and sister!
Cheers to the weekend, guys! I’ll see you right back here on Monday!
Whew! I’m so sorry I’m just getting around to posting this, and it’s almost Friday, when a new post will be up, but yesterday was a crazy day and I barely even made it home before midnight. So, yes, I know this picture above is hardly legible.
But, when I found this note, it’s the whole reason I thought about doing this series in the first place. It’s a letter from a guy I went to high school with, Evan, and I had a crush on him for what seems like FOREVER! I’m actually just now sort of getting over him, which probably seems crazy, but hey.
So I found this note in my filing cabinet; it was handwritten by him, but it has no date on it. I’m pretty sure it’s from college, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, it says that he hopes all is well with my boyfriend (so I was obviously dating someone at the time), and that if my boyfriend isn’t treating me right, to let him know.
He also says, “Thanks for taking this shirt” – so I was obviously bringing a shirt to someone? I also don’t know why I don’t remember this better! I blame it on the alcohol.
This is another one of my “notebooks” I kept with a friend, obviously in 1999, which was the latter-half of my 8th grade year. I do love the glitter on the cover, but I don’t understand Ben Affleck.
After I started my class, “Blogging for Beginners” at LSU, I was asked by many different groups to speak on blogging best practices. It has become one of my favorite things – teaching and speaking to others about my passion for blogging – and now my course is offered at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as online.
When I was in college, one of my best friends and her husband moved to San Diego. I’d never been, but flew there for Thanksgiving and we had a BLAST! For starters, San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. We also went to Balboa Park, ate a delicious dinner (complete with caramel apple martinis), and even got to see “The Grinch” as a play. In Balboa Park, they do not play when it comes to this annual production – they turned the entire theatre area into Whoville, and it even snowed inside the theatre! I bought a little Grinch doll while I was there, and place it inside my Christmas tree each year. It is one of my favorite memories.
Yep, I still have my od iPod (the original) and my Blackberry. My iPod definitely doesn’t even turn on anymore, and it was loaded with 10K songs that were lost on a computer during a hurricane. I was able to listen to it for a little while afterward, but it was eventually just too old. If anyone knows how to get it to work again, I’d owe you FOR LIFE.
Ah, I will be an advocate for Blackberries until I die. I only recently switched to an iPhone (within the last two years), when it became necessary to have apps and be able to blog better from my phone. But my heart is still with the Blackberry, and I’m not ashamed!
I’ll have the final batch of “Hand-Picked” goodies for you, right here, tomorrow!