I’m Not Gonna Write You a Love Song

I have nothing against Valentine’s Day, really. Yeah, I’m floating out here singly in a world that seems to more easily make sense of twos. But that’s okay. Shit happens, or in my case, doesn’t.

And the argument that it’s a capitalistic, greeting-card-company-created holiday is just silly, I think — so’s Mother’s Day and Halloween and Christmas. Name me one holiday that isn’t trying to sell you shit. And no, Arbor Day doesn’t count, smarty pants.

So I’m not going to write a post bemoaning the day or perkily telling you how much I love my family and friends, who are my true Valentines blah blah blah.

I’m just going to point you to some good writing on the subject and leave it at that.

Hannah is sweet and we’re new blog-buddies (hope she’s okay with that term).

Laura Olin pulls these two lovelies together (we’re not blog-buddies, but a girl can dream).

CribChronicles quotes Edna St. Vincent Millay, so my day is made.

And ShutterSisters asks for lovely coupley images.

So if you’re a one or a two or, hell, a swinging three or four, have a happy Valentine’s Day. Or a happy Monday. Whatever blows your skirt up.

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To Friend or Not to Friend

I am not a football fan. Multiply that feeling times four and you’ll get an idea of how I feel about the faux-patriotic corporate money-gasm that is a Super Bowl.

But everything is better when you watch it with Twitter, so I had the game on in the background on Sunday while I trolled Twitter for some fun and general snarkiness.

And during the game, Chevy rolled this ad:

Put aside the irony of people watching a football game on Twitter railing against how ridiculous it would be to check your Facebook news feed through your car’s flux capacitor or whatever. Put aside the arguments about how constantly connected we all are. Put aside the not-insignificant safety issues. Put aside the guy’s creeptacular James Franco-esque porn ‘stache, and let’s get down to brass tacks: They’ve just gone on their first date but are already Facebook friends.

I have concerns here, kittens. I haven’t done a lot of dating recently but the thing that continues to baffle me — and makes me feel so goddamned old — is trying to figure out the social media tango that goes along with dating in this day and age.

I think the Twitter follow is probably the least committal, right? Facebook is probably something you avoid until you’re fairly sure you’re actually dating dating. But what about Flickr? Or Instagram? Foursquare? Blip.fm? GoodReads? Quora? (Also, what the hell is Quora?)

As someone who has done my fair share of online dating, I have puzzled over when you switch from email through the dating website to personal email. And, if you’re using Gmail, there comes a point where you’ve emailed enough that this person will turn up automatically in your Google Talk pane. Do you leave them there?

And then, there’s the question on the opposite end of the spectrum. There’s no questions about blocking the guy who tells you on the first date*, “If we’re gonna have sex, it’s gotta be at your place, because I don’t own a bed.” But when it comes to your average just-not-quite right man or woman to whom you’ve given access to your social media reality, what do you do when you break up? Even worse, what do you do if you were just “seeing each other” and now you aren’t even doing that? How do you disentangle yourself? And what if you’ve decided to go the friend route?

As I start to contemplate walking into the fire that is online dating YET AGAIN, I’m pledging to take it slow on the social media front, if on no other. It’s a crazy world we’ve created for ourselves out there, and the Facebook-stalking car is the least of our worries, kids.

*True story. Sad, painful, and true.

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Fell Down, Did Not Break My Crown

Last Wednesday, I slipped on my way into my office building. It was one of those falls where you can’t really explain how it happened, but seconds ago you were upright and now you know with great certainty you no longer are.

Pride kicked right in and I struggled to my feet with the assistance of a very nice man who I probably scared the shit out of when I took my header. The pain was there immediately and felt similar to what I felt when I wiped out in my office last year and sprained my foot. (Yeah, I am becoming accident-prone in my late 30s. It’s great fun.)

After toughing out two meetings (Say it with me: I’m an asshole), I finally came home to elevate and ice my foot. The pain didn’t get any better — I spent the night whimpering when I put the least amount of weight on my right foot, hopping on my left foot from sofa to bathroom to bed, and thanking God my studio is only 475 square feet.

Interminable story shorter, I saw a doctor on Thursday and learned I broke my fifth metatarsal.

Mine's a Jones or Avulsion fracture...can't remember which.

One month in a boot, 10-12 weeks to heal completely. I put up a wicked fight, bound and determined to make a scheduled work trip to Tampa on Friday. Yeah, no. Pipe dream. Folly.

I’ve picked up a couple of important little lessons along the way, and because you all can’t actually talk back to me, I’m gonna share ’em with you. Suckers.

1. Everyone needs an Audrey. It’s not just that Aud drove me home on Wednesday, brought me crutches on Thursday, filled my prescription and drove me home from the doctor’s (ok, to be honest, from the bar I went to after I left the doctor’s), and has checked on me without fail every six hours for five days. Somehow she figured out how to overpower my pride, which was threatening to get in the way of me getting the help I needed, without making me feel like an invalid infant. A million thank yous aren’t enough, Aud, but here’s one more: Thanks for making everything so much easier than it would have been on my own and for making sure I never once felt alone.

2. A lot of other people suck. A two-hour trip to Georgetown today to get my phone fixed and have lunch left me gobsmacked by the number of people who are either incredibly rude or bogglingly unaware of their surroundings. No, no, don’t hold the door for the girl on a crutch. Don’t worry about forcing me off the sidewalk so you can walk three abreast on your way to the big sale at J. McLaughlin, ladies. People suck.

3. I could never telecommute. Despite how much people suck (see item 2, above), I am a people person. I cannot spend three and a half days alone. Thank God Lizzie came to make me brunch and watch The Wire (I love you, Stringer Bell) on Saturday morning or I might have ended up wandering the halls of my apartment building in search of conversation, like the lady downstairs with the parrot on her head. Seriously. Parrot. On her head. I dunno.

4. The Internet is an amazing thing. I’ve read everything in my Google reader. I’ve read long articles about Mad Men and GTD. I’ve watched Super Bowl commercials and Leonard Cohen videos. I’ve had Skype happy hours with Mom and Daddy (and the dogs). I’ve tweeted and tweeted and tweeted. (Sorry about that.)

This afternoon, I napped and showered for only the second time since Wednesday. It only took 25 minutes. Back to work tomorrow, for as long as I can hack it. Sigh.

Washington, DC, 2011

Spent a lot of time here over the last few days...

 

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The Only Thing…

…that’s gone right this Monday morning is finding this gem. Enjoy!

 

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Back in the Saddle

Happy New Year! Wanna read 300 words about my resolutions?

No?

Good, because I didn’t make any. Again. I know, I’m totally resting on my I-quit-smoking laurels.

Have I mentioned lately how much I miss smoking?

No?

Because OH MY GOD I do.

Anyway, I don’t do resolutions, but I do have some goals. I completed a big one yesterday, when I filed my application for grad school. I’m now trying to avoid making eye contact with the concept because what if they don’t want me? So let’s just move on.

Other goal: Get comfortable carrying my camera everywhere. I’m not gonna haul it to work or anything — I have the iPhone camera for that — but I want to develop a better eye and I can’t do that just reading photography blogs.

I messed around in Dupont Circle a little this weekend (with the camera, pervs). Dupont is like my campus quad, with chess players and a crapton of pigeons and, this weekend, bold, empowered conservatives who weren’t brave enough to yell at the six Wikileaks supporters gathered there until they got halfway across the park.

Don’t look for his junk — I don’t believe he has any. Pervs.

Washington, DC, 2011

I also want to be more deliberate about posting here. More thoughtful posts, not just the crap that occurs to me two vinos in to an evening, and perhaps a bit more variety, more links, more good stuff from other places.

Washington, DC, 2011

So, happy 2011!

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Here, Enjoy My Self-Indulgent Bullshit!

Y’all, I got nothing. NOTHING.

I haven’t taken a photo that features anything more than an unartfully positioned diet Coke can in weeks.

Washington, DC, 2010

See?

I don’t know. Everything this week seems underwater-y, seems round and wobbly, seems without compelling edges and forward motion. I spent the early part of the week trying to sublimate my horror over the events of the weekend under a solid layer of pissed-off-ness about not getting a damn snow day.

My accomplishments of the week? Nil. None. I fight the daily battle with the inbox, try to convince myself I am not sprouting bunions, shudder with the sense of there-but-for-the-grace-of-a-god-I-don’t-believe-in goes everyone I know and love on the Hill.

I feel like I’m dangling over a gap in time between 2010 and 2011. I haven’t made resolutions, I don’t know what I want out of the year ahead, and perhaps it shows. What do I do with this space? What do I have to share? How do I move forward?

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Unspeakable

I don’t have anything original or groundbreaking to add to the outpouring of analysis or sorrow over what happened in Tucson this weekend. I worked in the House of Representatives and I worried about the safety of my boss when he was traveling to war zones. I didn’t worry about a constituent doing anything more grave than yelling at him or voting for his opponent.

A lot has been written and a lot more will be written. These pieces were of particular interest to me.

Holding Giffords’s Hands.

America’s Reckless Political Language.

A Turning Point in the Discourse, but in Which Direction?

 

 

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This Is Not My Beautiful Wife

If I were in Cabo San Lucas tonight, as I was supposed to be, things would look different.

This would be the pool with the swim-up bar.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

This would be the man bringing me cocktails.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

(Though he is bringing me cocktails, so I am definitely not complaining. Hi, Daddy!)

And this would be a Pacific sunset.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

Hopeful that our rebooked Thursday morning flights hold. I’ve crossed every extremity I’ve got. Do me a favor and cross some of yours, too.

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Merry Freaking Christmas

Between me and my sister, I’m the one who is more sentimental about things, I think. The childhood ornaments we still have are mostly mine.

There’s this gem, the classic styrofoam circle covered in felt with foil thingers glued to it.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

This one, made at a Brownies meeting, I believe, is helpfully dated 1981. I was eight years old.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

And then there’s the timeless popsicle stick/glitter masterpiece which I like to think expresses both the hope and despair of the holiday season.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

But perhaps my favorite is the personalized teddy bear family ornament procured at the mall kiosk. Please note that the names of the men my sister and were dating that year have been removed with turpentine. My sister’s boyfriend’s name was later replaced by that of our dog. My boyfriend’s name was not replaced.

Barrington, NJ, 2010

I am proud to take a stand against revisionist history.

Also, I will likely die alone, in a gutter, like a dog. C’est la vie.

 

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Year in Review

It’s time for retrospectives and best-of lists and summations. Time for us to widen our field of vision beyond the coffee spoons with which we usually measure out our lives and take in the whole of the year.

This has been a year of many, many good things. At work, in my friendships, I feel like I’m hitting my stride, becoming more me every day. My family and friends are happy and healthy and looking forward, I think, with more eagerness than anxiety. And I am fiercely grateful for these things.

But it’s not all sunshine and clover I see looking back at this year.

I lost something this year. I lost it twice, actually. The exact contours of the relationship are unimportant, except in the way that they were–and he was–dear to me.

The first time I lost him brought out the bravery in me, I thought. I will be strong, I will stand up, I am needed. How foolish was I.

The second time was as inevitable as it was anything else. Indeed, I think I was the only one to whom it was surprising. I still have to sidle up to the last awful confrontation, to look at it only from the corner of my eye. Still hurts. Too much.

I think I’ve mostly made it though the stages of grief…twice. I’ve leaned on a few good friends particularly hard and they have been so good to me.

Most who know me don’t know anything about this–either the having or the loss. But to put it behind me fully, I feel like I need to make this reckoning:

I have loved and been loved so hard it left me breathless. And then it just left me.

There. I said it. And it’s going to be ok. I know this. And more importantly, I feel this.

I am brave. I am strong. I will stand up. I am needed.

Charlottesville, VA, 2010To those of you who have made this year, and this silly writing exercise, so wonderful, I am so very, very grateful. I am looking ahead to 2011 with more eagerness than anxiety and I hope you are, too.

Much love to you and yours.

EAH

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