Thursday, April 28, 2011

I think everyone kind of dropped the ball on this one.

The preceding is an actual screen shot taken from the Stats page which is designed to let me know phrases that people are Googling to direct people to my page. This helps me to be a better blogger. For you. And so, utilizing this list, I will delve into the mind of the interweb dwellers and give you what you want.

The first three (and subsequently the last two) prove that people like it when I get my lit on. Or at least that they are looking for something that they can't find. Well, actually, my blog is pretty much the only place on the internet where you can find a full version of Robert Frost's The Lovely Shall Be Choosers and so that's where many people come from. I imagine that if they do much more clicking around, though, they get really disappointed really quickly. And to you, Lit Fiends, please know that I'm one of you. I'm one of you! Also, relax a little bit.

The next Googled phrase, though... WTF, interwebs! I can't believe that there's a whole hell of a lot of people out there who want this in their lives one bit. "Libby let's get it on webcam"?!?! I can only hope that the phrase that came before this exclamation was, "Libby! There's a bat loose in the house! Let's watch it turn into a vampire." And then after Libby (whomever she may be) says, "Okay." Then the person turns to her and says, "Libby, let's get it on webcam." Because if this is even remotely close to either of the other options that I'm imagining, the internet and I are going to need to go on a friendship time out.
Vying for internet celebrity, that I can get behind. Solitication of digitally documented liaisons... noooo, nope.

This next one makes me kind of sad. Is the world so void of delights and honest moments that someone actually typed the words, "something sincere" into a search engine? And my blog was what came to aid? I think everyone kind of dropped the ball on this one.

I'm too tired/ not interested in the rest to keep going.
I should make this a regular thing, I think. Only I'll start it earlier in the day.

Have a very sexy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We'll just start referring to it as: I'll Get to it When I Get to it

1. How many blogs do you read every day and what are they? (I’m talking the ones you NEVER miss)
There are a lot of blogs that I subscribe to. I don't really read them all but there are several that I read every time they post. But it would be redundant to link you to all of those since I talk about them a lot. Right? Oh well, you can never have too much rep. Am I right, Katie, Jenny, Hilah, Jamie, and Matt? Also, my dear Justin just started a blog and you can follow him ifins you feel so inclined.

2. How many “best friends” do you have? Do you have different “besties” for different areas of your life?
That's a hard question. I will say that I have several favorites. I have favorites for watching movies and favorites for drinking coffee and favorites for telling secrets and favorites for making secrets. And then I have favorites for everything--for every day. There are only a few people on the whole planet with whom I could spend all day every day. But they do exist. Also many of those categories all overlap. I don't have all that many friends but the ones that I do have will make you wish that all of your friends were dead and you could have mine. But you can't. Because I am selfish and I love them.

3. What’s your daily make up routine?
I try to kill two birds with one stone and mix up my moisturizer and the flesh-colored goop and apply it at the same time. Mostly because if that flesh-colored goop goes on all by itself, then it can sometimes make me look like I've been painted flesh-colored, like a dressed up corpse. So there's the flesh-colored goop concoction, then mostly just eyeliner and mascara and tinted lip balm. Unless I'm feeling like I need a lot more coverage/ get really bored and can't put down my eyeliner pen.

4. What is your ideal girl’s night?
I'm not a super typical girl in a lot of ways but when it comes to hanging out with my lady-type friends I do really love a pedicure from those cheap 15 chair situations in the mall. One pedicure will take me an entire summer.
You know, and then we'll go do all those hipster things like eating Italian food at a place where the only tables are in a back alley. And then, we are all lame so we'll probably just go home and eat whipped cream from a can, read each other magazine articles and admire our toes. It's the best.

5. Do you keep up with your nails/toenails or are they au natural?
Uh... I wouldn't say "keep up with" in regards to my toes. I try but not very hard. That is to say that occasionally I'll look down at my toenails and think "they could use a fresh coat." But then I don't. But ever since I've stopped biting my fingernails a few years ago, I have taken the most ultimate pride in my fingertips.
Yesterday I broke several nails and had to cut them all down to nearly nubs. I was sad.

6. What’s your best roommate story (assuming you had a roommate at some point in your life)?
Hmm... I know I've got some good ones. There is the one with Lieutenant Dan (which I absolutely can not tell on the interwebz). There's the night of Big Gulps of Vodka. There's that time that my roommate and her boyfriend abandoned me in a quarry (that's not even remotely close to how it happened but it's the only way the story sounds interesting).

7. What’s your “go to” outfit that you wear more than anything else?
I think that mostly Question Number Seven is saying, "Hey... what are you wearing?" And to that I will respond with, "I'm wearing my favorite jeans with the bottoms rolled up, a tank and a cardigan." This is what I wear most every day. It's easy. I don't know why but I can't feel completely comfortable without exposed ankles.

8. Do you have a beauty secret?
Surround yourself with people who like you for your guts. Also, wash the roots of your hair and condition the ends.

9. Did you read Seventeen magazine growing up?
Doy. Mostly I just read the 4-page long "most embarrassing moments" articles.

10. How did you learn to put on makeup?
Aunt Becky.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pleased to Have Nothing to Report But Much to Say

I'm going to write one of those pieces that start with, "I don't really have anything to say..." I generally dislike reading those and you probably do, too. And so, if you want to go ahead and skip this then you can. Occasionally I plan what I'm going to write about, I write drafts on paper and I edit and add photographs and work so hard to impress you but not today (I have one in my drafts folder that I've been working on for weeks but I can't guarantee that I'll ever post it). This probably won't impress you at all.

It's not that I don't have anything to say, though. It's kind of like how right now I'm sitting at the dining room table in front of two large windows that face the north. So I'm not blinded by the sunshine that's coming up (I've been awake long enough to see the sun rise). I get to see how the sun shoots through the leaves and lands on tree trunks and reflects glittery through the storm windows and how everything else still looks dark and damp from last night's rain but there's so much yellow, honey sunshine. It's like that--it's like how there's no way for me to take a photograph of it that would let you feel it the way that I am when I'm seeing it all unfold and rise and change and there's no way that I can write about it that would let you actually visualize it. So it's kind of like, "what's the point in even trying?" But the point is that there is something incredible happening and moving and changing and it can't be ignored. And on top of that, it happens every day and it's nothing special except that it is. That's what it's been like inside of my brains.

Once, when I was in the second grade, I remember being so sleepy that when I went to bed I fell asleep instantly and when I woke up I hadn't moved at all and it didn't feel like a night had passed. Hardly even a minute. Then, a few weeks later, we were reading aloud from Little House on the Prairie and almost that exact same thing had happened to Laura and it was probably the first time that a piece of literature made me think, "I can completely relate to this feeling." I mean, now I can't stop feeling that way when I read but that was the first time. I only bring it up because I've been so excruciatingly tired lately. I was not a very good hostess last night when my friends were over. I more or less kicked them out of my house using my razor-sharp lethargy. I didn't even wait for the door to close before I was turning off lights and on my way to my bedroom. And then it was suddenly morning. I woke up refreshed at 6:15 and made a pot of coffee and instead of pouring cream, I poured pineapple juice. I'm not going to tell you what to do but I wouldn't advise that. I wasted two of my favorite beverages in one fell swoop.

So, then I sat here at my table, watching the sun rise and feeling thankful to the internet for alerting me to the fact that Matt Nathanson has a new album and if rent wasn't due this week and if I didn't need to buy grown up things like electricity and gasoline and cat food, then it would have already been impulsively downloaded. I've listened to Faster about half a dozen times.

See how this post wasn't really worth much to anyone but me? Unless you like sexy songs, in which case I'm happy to jump start your ordinary Tuesday on a delightful note.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Clearly, I Am Not A Robot. But That Doesn't Make Me Not-Confused

I love/ hate these things. Feel free to share.

"Loculax:" clearly a product designed specifically to torment me.
You're a bad speller. Also, according to Urban Dictionary "ehate" is "the opposite of being loved or admired on the internet." I can only assume that "ehation" is some variation on that theme and, frankly, as a blogger I don't appreciate it--Robot Detector.

Also, at this point in the game, I just started getting snarky with the internet. Why not? It already ehates me.

I think this last one came from a deleted scene in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. That makes sense to me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Okay, So It Turns Out That Oprah and I Might Have a Lot of Similar Interests

Attention: I'm aware that the font is all weirdly formatted somewhere around question number four. If you could just ignore that for a little bit, I'll get it straightened out as soon as Blogger will let me. Yeah? Thanks.
Back to regularly scheduled programing:

I usually do ten questions on Friday. But today is my day off and yesterday, at Roots and Rings, I saw that all of the questions were about my most favorite non-breathing thing in the whole world. Suffice it to say that I'm pretty thrilled to get to gush endlessly about books. Now, let me go wash my face and re-fill my coffee and we'll just get right to it. Yeah?

And now for two side notes and a disclaimer.
Side note #1: When you live alone, sometimes you wake up and go to the bathroom and wash your hands without ever facing yourself in the mirror. Then you go about your day and take snapshots all over your house and edit them for your blog. You have two delightful telephone conversations with your sister and you feed your cat. At some point you've been up for three hours and decide to wash your face and you look in the mirror and audibly gasp at the way it looks when you forget to wash away all of the eyeliner and mascara from the previous day before going to bed. Yikes. Yikes x2.

Side note #2: When you run out of coffee creamer, you go on a mad dash about the kitchen looking for a suitable replacement. And you find it. In the freezer. Ice cream in my coffee. This simply can not happen every day but I'm just not going to fight it.

Disclaimer: Any question that asks for my favorite or best or most recommended or anything about the awesomeness of authors or writing or words or anything like that--I mean, the answer is going to have something to do with Anne Lamott. It just is. That's just the truth. But for the sake of the-opposite-of-monotony (who's the wordsmith now, Annie?!) I'll eliminate her as a possible answer. It's not fair to the rest of literature.

1. When someone asks you for a book recommendation, what is your go-to book? Gah! That depends. Is this person looking for something super challenging? The Sound and the Fury. Is this person looking for a classic? Their Eyes Were Watching God (that's the copy that I have and the cover is gorgeous to look at and also to touch). Something to make you feel nostalgic--like a kid again? The Little Prince. A really quick and impossible-to-put-down, fun read that is simple and yet immeasurably valuable? Paper Towns. Usually, I say Paper Towns.

2. Do you buy your books, or are you a library patron? Both. I love both. It's funny because when I walk through any given store, I will go on and on, over in my mind about whether or not I really want to spend this amount of money for this object. I tell myself, "do I really want to spend two whole dollars on boxed Pad Thai?" "Six dollars for razors? Ugh!" And I usually don't buy anything until I tell myself, "You will be hungry and hairy and no one will ever love you if you don't just buy something!" So then I do and I mourn that lost eight bucks. But when I go into a book store? I'm like, "I've never read this or even heard of it. Fourteen dollars? NBD!" And I generally drop thirty dollars or more on paperbacks and I experience no buyer's remorse whatsoever. Sometimes I end up reading these books.
But I also love the library. I love that the community makes reading and sharing important. Also, I can leave the library with hundreds of dollars worth of books at a time and it doesn't cost me a dime. The only time it's terrible is when I love a book so much that I don't want to give it up. Or when I love it so much that I want to underline, highlight and otherwise completely destroy it with my love. That happened with She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I didn't anticipate how much I would relate to and completely believe this story or this character. I read it in a week and I assure you, that's one long-ass book.

3. E-readers, yay or nay? Oh gawsh. I'm so torn about this subject. On one hand I'm all, "No! Please! God, don't let the books disappear!!" And on the other hand, we're living in a world where people are only happy when there's a blinking screen looking back at them. And we have to accept that. And I think that reading is so important that a little bit of me doesn't give a rip how you do it. Just read. Just read! Expand your mind. Think. Explore. Push your brains to the brink of exhaustion or just read about girls shopping and fucking their way through NYC. I don't care--just get out of your own head for a second. That's what's important. Also, I think that kids might be more apt to read when it's on a novelty item like a Kindle or an iPad and I say do whatever it takes.
But for me. For me. For me--I need the tactile sensation of turning a page. I like going back through my bookshelves and reading the things that I highlighted back when I was in college. I like finding $5 bills that I stashed inside of my old books to reward my future self for revisiting them. I need to feel the paper and the binding and I need to see how much I loved it. I can't even loan my copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower to anyone anymore because there's too much of myself all over and inside of it. I made love to that book. And that's why I'll never buy an e-reader. Borders is closing and that makes me sad. But it kind of makes me excited because everything's so damn cheap. But it's still sad.

4. What was your favorite book as a child? The Velveteen Rabbit. I was a very sensitive kid, which we have discussed ad nauseum, and this book always made me feel. I had a broken heart for that little rabbit. All the way through the end. Also, once when I was in high school, my friend Tamra read it to a group of us late at night when we were all sleepy. That's a happy thing that I think about, sometimes.

5. If you could be any character in a book, who would you be? When I read The Bell Jar, I thought I was Esther Greenwood. And that scared the crap out of me. There's parts of all sorts of characters that I'd like to be, but I can't think of any one person that I'd like to be. I want to be any girl who was bold and confident and knew herself. I want to be innocent and childlike and brave. I think that maybe it's obvious that I just want to be Scout.

6. What book would you love to see turned into a movie? The whole time that I was reading Water For Elephants, I was hungry to see it. I wanted to see the horses and the acrobats and what it looked like to have a chase-down across the top of a moving train. And after I finished it, I scoured the internets to see if they were making a movie of it because there's no way that I was the only person in the world to have this idea. All I found was one little blurb that said that there were talks to make it into a movie. That thrilled me. And now that I see the cast... I'm kind of a little less excited about it. In fact, I was a little bit pissed about it. I know it's not fair but it's true. I mean, I'll still watch it. Don't get me wrong--but I know I won't love it. I'll probably have to re-read the book again just to put that taste back in my mouth.

7. What is your all-time favorite book? So many things to consider! Obviously the asker of this question isn't aware that to even consider answering this question would send me into a tail spin. So let's pretend that this question says, "Which book have you read more than any other book?" And the answer to that question is, of course, Ethan Hawke's Ash Wednesday. You expected me to say The Hottest State, didn't you? Well, I didn't. I like Ash Wednesday better. Also, speaking of The Hottest State, I have a copy of the uncorrected proof, not for individual retail sale version that was sent out before the book was published. And I'm pretty dern proud of it.

Did you know that?

8. How many books do you read at once? I like to read one at a time because I get so into my books that I get all of the characters and things confused. Unless I'm reading a novel and something instructional. I can do that, obviously. But I don't like it. Books are too much like people to me and I don't like having a telephone conversation with someone while my friends are sitting right in front of me. It's the same.

9. What is your favorite book genre? I have such a specific go-to genre. I have to push myself to read other things but when I just need something that I know I'm going to enjoy, then I go to the memoir section and I find something that was written in the past 20 years--preferably by a man, usually with mommy issues. I don't. know. why.

10. Which Harry Potter book is the best? Or haven’t you read them at all? *facepalm*

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Maybe I'll just institute a BYO Antihistamine policy at my house. Or: Look What I Made!

There are about five people who come over to my house on a semi-regular basis. That is to say that I have about five friends who do not feel the need to make me get up from the couch, walk to the door, and open it when they knock on it. They knock and enter. That is comfortable friendship and I appreciate it.
I also have a cat. My cat is awesome and pretty and totally chilled out and everybody loves her, except for when they don't because 3/5 of my friends are allergic to cats. That's kind of a large percentage, I think. Maybe I'm wrong. I haven't done any research. I'm only an internet statistician--the kind that don't need research or fair sample subjects to come up with their findings.
And Kiki will lay just about anywhere, too. Her favorite spot is a stack of boxes that I had sitting next to my couch, one day. I intended to move them but she just loves them so much that I left them there and now it's kind of her area. She's also more than happy to lounge in the sunbeams wherever they may be--usually all over a dark-colored chair or a stack of recently washed and folded towels.
I can tell that she's just teaching me a lesson about putting your laundry away right after folding it. Right now she's laying in an open window, next to a 1980's Reader's Digest collection of stories that are all written in German. Siamese, they are so smart.
So, yeah, she lays everywhere and gets her hair everywhere and it's not so much a problem for me because I don't have an allergy and also I keep a lint roller next to the front door. But it is a problem for my friends and I thought that if I could create a nice place for Kiki to hang out--a bed of sorts, then I could deep clean the rest of my furniture and then my friends wouldn't have such itchy, watery eyes. That's just a theory, though.

So I looked at Walmart and, here's the thing, I don't have a legitimately styled home or anything but I do not want some huge pillow covered with acrylic fur in a cheetah print on my floor. And that hideous wreck was the best that they could offer. Other options included, like, little scenes of kitties scampering with balls of yarn. Not even. remotely. adorable. Not only were they hideous but they started at over $20 and I'm in no position to drop down twenty bucks on something that I totally hate. So I did what any girl with a ten dollar bill and a day off would do. I made my own. First, I looked online for DIY projects and I didn't like any of them except for this one (which I know she would love but I don't have the patience for as I know it would be easily destroyed) or this one (that is completely bad-ass but probably not worth the effort since I wouldn't guarantee that she'd actually use it). So I made up my own. Here's how it went down.

Genesis and I walked down to Java John's. Java John's is a coffee shop in town where they roast their own beans and what to places like that have for sale on the cheap? That's right, leftover coffee sacks. So we went and picked one out. The one that we really liked what a lighter shade and it had hot-pink stamps and blue markings all over it and it was from Brazil. But it was so stiff that Genesis thought that Kiki would not like to lay on it very much.
This one is still cool, though, and there's handwriting on the back of it and it's much more soft. Well, as soft as you can reasonably expect burlap to be.
Kiki loves to lay on stacks of laundry so what better thing to fill her new bed with than all the clothes that are too junky and holey to take to the thrift store? That's right. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle, bitch.

And if you're looking at that pile of laundry and thinking, "those look a lot like my pajamas", then I should tell you, Steven, you're probably not going to get those pants back.

I took the laundry and folded it up and, in neat little stacks, I stuffed it into an old pillowcase that I had laying around. Then I quickly stitched up that pillowcase just so that I wouldn't have to worry about the contents falling out as I was assembling this thing.
See? Also I should mention that it was at this point that Kiki was aware of what I was creating for her and was overwhelmed with gratification that she couldn't stop rubbing her face all over me. It is difficult to sew with a kitty all up in your face. It was funny, though, and I wanted to get documentation of it but that just adds a whole 'nother level of difficulty. Suffice it to say that I bled a little during this process. And I may or may not have stabbed my cat. I really don't know.

Then I cut off the top of the bag (because it was 1/2 sewn shut and apparently had only been half opened by some sort of hatchety device). And I was all, like, crap it's going to totally unravel if we mess with it. And I have a cat! What do I do? I decided to worry about it later. In the mean time, I stuffed that little package of old laundry down into the bottom of the bag. And there it is.
See? 69 net kilos of discarded laundry. Oh, and also I solved the problem of the unraveling by folding it all up before I folded it all up and tacked it with...
Decorative buttons! These do not serve an actual button-y purpose but I suppose that if I had means/ patience/ ambition to do so, I could do something like that. Unfortunately I'm fresh out of those things. I just have the buttons. I considered not putting them on but I'm glad that I did because Kiki likes rubbing her face on them. Cats are weird.
This picture is blurry because she was expressing her gratitude with such ferocity.
And there it is. Finished product, it really only took about an hour to do and it cost me $7. Five dollars for the bag and two dollars for the buttons. I also spent $1.50 on a needle and thread but I needed that to hem my work pants, anyway so I didn't count it into the cost.
Also, I should mention that Kiki hates her new bed. This is the closest I came to getting her to try it at all. I know, she'll come around but in the mean time, she'll stay right here.
Maybe I'll just institute a BYO Antihistamine policy at my house. Wa-waaaa.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Insecurity: I Has It

I saw a little girl today who was wearing safety-vest yellow tights and a navy blue trapeze dress with massive, vibrant appliqued polka-dots. She was walking behind her mother--pigtails bobbing up and down with every step. She was stunning. And I couldn't help but think about how, one day, she won't go near a trapeze dress because she'll be so aware of how they make your boobs look tiny and your ass look huge and isn't that just too bad? Is that what we're all nostalgic for when we think about childhood? The ability to be utterly unconcerned about the intensely important and simultaneously trivial matters. She has zero insecurities. She'll get them. When? What will her first one be? How can we keep it from happening and--let's get to the root of the question--is there any hope for me? You? Anyone? Can I go back and keep myself from ruining myself?

Is there anyone who doesn't second guess or berate themselves over the way that they look? Level of intelligence? Musical ability. Job performance. Health. What I eat. What I drive. What I wear. What I listen to. My house isn't clean enough. But now it's too clean, like no one lives here. Do I have enough ambition? Do I have any? Do I have enough money? Am I doing the right things with my money? Do I have enough of a sex drive? Is it too much? Do I think that I dress okay but when I get out in public, then people are like "who is the white girl wearing yellow?"? Are my roots showing? Can anyone tell that I jiggle when I giggle? Should I develop an interest in sports?

When did I become so self-aware and is "self-aware" even the right phrase to use since I'm constantly blowing myself completely out of proportion?

Insecurities: I have them.
Securities: I also have them.

For as much fear as I have about my body, I also have a lot of security in it. A lot of love for it. It's not so much a love/ hate relationship as much as it is a love/ feel-guilty-for-being-so-embarrassed-about-it relationship.
It's like when you're in high-school and your parents kiss you in front of your friends and you're ashamed and discount them but you, at the same time, feel bad about that because you're happy--ultimately--that they're there.

I pretend that no one can see the parts of my body that I know they can. I ignore it and I tell myself that everyone else does, too. But to be truthful, at the end of the day I could nearly worship my thighs for carrying me so many miles despite the physical and emotional abuse that I heap onto them. I rub lotions and exfoliants gratefully into my tummy and my breasts, my thighs and my relatively minuscule ass. They're not pretty. They're not traditional but they're me and I do love them twice as much as I loath them.

They say you shouldn't point out the things that you're insecure about because someone else will probably not even notice. But maybe I want you to notice. Maybe I want you to know so that I can own my insecurity in the same way that I need to own my thighs. I want to accept it. All of it. Look at myself, my body, my spirit, my mind and say, "this is my whole and this is my me."

And maybe one day I'll stop wondering what you all notice. But, then again, we may never be fixed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ten From Tuesday on Friday

Currently jamming to True Affection by The Blow from their album, Paper Television.

I'm taking the ten questions from Roots and Rings. And I'm going to answer them. You can answer them, too. Or you could answer them in your own "private" space of the interwebs. But if you do, you should go tell her because that's just polite. I did it. But I'm pretty sure I did it wrong. Onward:

1. If you work, do you drive to work or take public transportation? I drive. I have sometimes taken public transportation but McPherson only has taxi cabs (a shocking number of them for such a small town) and they charge me $7 to drive the 6 miles to work--and then I have to come home. That's mostly an emergency solution.
2. How often do you get your haircut? Do you go to the same person every time? I get my hair cut as often as I want a new style. I'm not the kind of girl who goes regularly for a trim. I've always been the type of girl who goes into the Smart Style at Walmart or to the local beauty school and sits in the chair and says, "do whatever you want." And that usually never turned out too badly. This last time, though, I did research on the internet and found the perfect picture of Scarlet Johanssan's bob and I took it into a legitimate salon and Justine cut my hair. And now to answer the sub-question: I don't ever want anyone but Justine to cut my hair. And you should have her cut your hair, too. Seriously, if you're looking for a stylist then I'm more than happy to hook you up.
3. Do you read the newspaper? If so, a hardcopy or the online version? I read whatever they have in the break room at work. Usually there's not a whole paper and it's three days old. So I get a lot of information incomplete and late--welcome to America.
Otherwise I'll read links that my friends post on Facebook if they seem even remotely to me but for the most part I'm not interested. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I honestly can't take it. We're fucked. I get it. I'd rather die reading this or this or this.
4. What is the best book you have read this year? I haven't done as much reading as I'd like to. Not a lot of new reading. I've re-read a lot. But I did read The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. I know I've talked about it so much on here that you know how much I was surprised to enjoy it. But I did. It's such a great character study. And maybe it was written and took place in the fifties or something but it's still one of the most relevant novels that I've read in a while.
5. What is the best movie you have seen this year? The Graduate. I never noticed how brilliant Dustin Hoffman is as an actor. I think I have a crush on him in the 60's.
6. Do you tend to crave sweet or salty foods? Salty. When I crave anything it's--don't judge me, I don't judge you--Ruffle's brand potato chips and cottage cheese. If I have cottage cheese, I will eat an entire bag of chips at once. It's not entirely unheard of. I don't ever let myself buy cottage cheese. Sometimes, though, I just think "why are there no chocolate chips in my freezer?!" And then I can't think about anything else until they materialize in my house.
7. Do you eat breakfast every day? If so, what do you have? I do! I never used to but now that I have a job where I get regular breaks and a predictable hunger schedule, I have learned that if I don't start my day with both fiber and protein, then I'll be worthless at work. When I was little, my doctor took me off of milk for a few years so I really missed out on the cereal-staple for a childhood breakfast. If I ever eat cereal (which is rarely), then it's at night time. I usually eat scrambled eggs (I buy medium eggs. They're cuter) and two slices of oat bread. That takes me pretty far in a day as long as I also get the standard two cups of coffee in. I'm such an adult.
8. If you celebrate Easter, what Easter treat/candy are you most looking forward to? I hate Easter time for all of the damn pastels (To quote my friend Justin, "Just pick a color already! If you're going to be green, be green! Own it! You're green, bitch!") and also for reasons that will be offensive to most of you, so I won't tell you about it. BUT I do love the egg cartons that have chocolate covered marshmallows in them.
9. How late is “sleeping in” to you? If I sleep in 'till 8:00 it feels nice. There are so many babies that live downstairs, though, that if I sleep in 'till 8:00 I wonder if the whole family has been carbon monoxided. Also, I like being up really early. Like I said: Adult.
10. Where are you going on your next vacation? I understand neither the word "next" nor the word "vacation".

I want this post to have a picture. I'll show you this ridiculous picture that I took of myself:

Sexy, no?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You're Me Except in the Ways That You Are Not

I confessed something to some friends a few weeks ago.* I didn't really want to say it because it made me sound like a terrible person. I have my friends convinced that I am a very cool, generous, funny person and while I didn't trick them into that on purpose--I sure don't want to go out of my way to correct them, you know? Don't rock the boat. Anyway, I told them this thing about my personality that I tend to keep a secret and all they said was, "Oh, thank God. Me too."
*It's not that I don't want to tell you here, or anything it would just completely derail and distract from the actual point that I'm trying to make.
I'm really beginning to learn that sometimes we like to think that we're the only ones like ourselves. And sometimes we hate to think that way but we do it anyway. People are always prefacing their opinions with things like, "maybe it's just me". I think that we humans are all very, very similar. You know, except when we are polarizingly different. We like to think that men and women are completely different from one another and it's a magical feat when they can communicate or have successful relationships. If I feel particularly insecure about something, I can let that uncertainty manifest itself in a myriad of ways. For the sake of example, I'll tell you that I tend to replay conversations. I go back in my mind and think of all of the things that I should have said or could have said to make a better point or I consider all of the things that the other person could have thought that I meant when all I was trying to say was ____. This happens and I hear people say (some joking, some not) "you are being such a girl." If a boy is particularly reserved or aloof, he's chided for being "such a guy!"

Here's something that I recently learned: that's not a girl thing or a guy thing. That's a human thing. Humans replay conversations, obsess over which jeans to wear and what time to shower to ensure an appropriate overlap between incredible hair and a lack of body odor. Humans get jealous over things that they never had rights to in the first place. Humans want to seem like they have all of their shit together even though we're all kind of just flailing in the deep end. People are people are people. And that excites me. It levels out the playing field.

We like to think that we know what the right thing is to do. We offer advice, like we have any idea at all. We say things like, "tell him [something that no one in their right mind would ever realistically say]," or "don't let it get to you." I'm going to take a minute, here, to interject that there are few things that you can say to me that can rival the physical reaction that "don't let it get to you" does. It feels like an attack on my reason. I already know that my reason is flawed, I don't need anyone else pointing it out. It's like mentioning that you'd like to buy a new couch and someone reminding you that you've got forty cents in your checking account and all you want to do is scream at them for thinking that you don't know the things that are positioned squarely in the forefront of your mind. But you can't say anything because the only word that comes to mind is a violently immature, "doy!"

Everyone is a person. Everyone is very complex and everyone is incredibly simple and yes there's a paradox in that but it's not untrue. I'm a 27 year old woman who's got an insatiable urge to run away and ignore work and spend the day in the park eating bologna sandwiches and ice cream cones and swinging until my legs ache. I think you want something like that, too.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"I'm sorry to sound harsh, but if you don't set boundaries, people will not respect you. Yes, teenage girls, it really is true."

I asked Jamie from Cultural (in)Differences to step into my shoes for a shot at the Advice portion of this here blog. She's smart and clever and, seriously, is my go-to-person in my life when I happen upon situations that are confusing or uncomfortable or leave me otherwise socially stumped.

If you haven't been there, yet, you should probably just head over to Cultural (in)Differences to read stories/ comics/ truths about living as Americans abroad. The wit never ceases to impress me. And without further pomp, I give you the third installment in the as-of-yet unnamed Advice Column.
Dear Advice Columnist Jamie,
I work in a place that is very open to the public. People come and go as they please, as they're running errands, whathave you. A lot of people stop in just for banal conversation or chit chat. That's not uncommon and responding to people in a polite and genuine manner is very important to me, personally, as well as to my job.
That being said, there is a gentleman who comes in every single day (sometimes more than once) and every time he comes in, he's trying to sell me on something. At first, it was to buy tickets to some community function for a club that he belongs to and now he's trying to get me hooked on some pyramid scheme/ social networking site. It would be one thing if he'd bring it up and then we'd talk about something else the next time he came in but every day he walks up to me and says, "did you go to that site, last night?" And I have to come up with some reason why I didn't. Lately though, and much to my chagrin, I've just been saying, "Nope" and going on with my work.
How can I tell this person, "I could not possibly be less interested in your pyramid scheme"? While still maintaining my good mood? I'm tired of finding things to busy myself elsewhere every time this guy shows up.

--Awkward in Albuquerque

Dear Awkward in Albuquerque,
First, I 100% do not believe you are from Albuquerque. No one is from Albuquerque...only cowboys (gone) and country music singers (should be gone). But, I trust you chose this name because it was a nice alliteration for awkward, so I will allow it. (I'm sorry to sound harsh, but if you don't set boundaries, people will not respect you. Yes, teenage girls, it really is true.)
Now, on to your very unique problem. I have thought long and hard about this. I've wondered whether honesty might be the best policy, or if a simple "please stop" might work, as well. Accessing my memory banks from my college sociology classes, those two methods are definitely the way to go. However, in real life situations, and especially dealing with a person such as this, I'm afraid it won't be that easy. You see, people who are always trying to sell things...amateur salesman, let's call them...they just don't realize that people hate that. Growing up, I always had some sort of fundraiser or girl scout cookie sale that I needed to hound people about. Even at a ripe age, I was fully aware of how people would cringe at my approaching, fearing I would try to sell them something...again. I dreaded fundraiser time, because, let's be honest, I grew up around a lot of republicans, and quite frankly, republicans don't like to give up their hard earned money so that some little girl can go to camp without her parents having to pay for it.
Researchers have found that there is a gene which gives people the understanding that door-to-door sales just don't work anymore.
Your friend is missing that gene, and this is the only way to handle it: beat him to the punch.
Do you know a girl or boy scout? Or someone in band? Ask them to let you help them in their fund-raising; take their tally sheets with you to work, and make sure they are in close reach. Be prepared. Be on guard. The amateur salesman is quick; they don't let a lot of chit chat ruin their prime opportunities, so they strike early. You need to bring it up while they're approaching. As soon as you see them walk through the door, stand up, hold the tally sheet high in the air and yell, "Person which must not be named! Do you like cookies?! Come LOOK at what I have for you!!" Not only does this beat them to the chase, but it may prevent them from approaching at all. Don't be embarrassed. I'm fairly certain that the people around you have also noticed this amateur salesman, and they, too, need it to stop. Perhaps you can have people help you with this?
Nonetheless, you should present this person with something different everyday, as he does to you. Tell him that you bought a ShamWow, and it really IS as good as they; his life is not complete until he has one. The next day, you should bring in some old pencils you've had sitting around your house; tell him you're selling them for $0.50 apiece. Think of as many things that could be sold and sell them; the more ridiculous the better. Like I often tell my students: be creative and have fun!

The Great and Powerful SoKoz (subbing in for Oh Wise One)
Have a hunka hunka burning question (or maybe just one that you made up on the spot)? Leave it in the comments, or on facebook, or in an email, or tied to a homing pigeon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ten On Tuesday On Friday

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

I have kind of completely abandoned the idea of getting my Ten on Tuesday on Friday questions from Roots and Rings (I'm not going to link her blog because, I mean, what if she comes over here and reads this? I'll feel really bad, it's not her fault that I'm not interested in answering ten questions all about dating. What I mean is that you are not interested in hearing my thoughts on dating--in ten different sub-topics. Let's end this parenthetical statement.). Instead I'll answer ten questions from that book that I bought on impulse that one time and haven't really done much with. I will answer the first ten questions that I land on randomly. I won't edit them depending on the level of interestingness or my ability to come up with a pithy answer. I'm giving you me, this morning. Me is a little boring sometimes and a little awkward sometimes and far too self-aware most of the times. So here we go, ten arbitrary questions from a book of prompts:

1. What is your most beautiful childhood memory of your parents? I was thinking about this the other day, actually. As I get older it's becoming more and more difficult to recall a lot of my childhood--particularly the good parts. I was a highly stressed out child. I went through a phase at the beginning of Jr. High when I would have panic attacks if I didn't get to bed before 10 because I was afraid that I'd not get enough sleep and then I'd fall asleep in class and for some reason that was a heavy fear. Anyway, when I was younger I'd walk in the living room sometimes and see my mom sitting on my dad's lap and that was always made me feel better. A little more safe. That was a nice relief.
2. You love it when people ask you... "Is your real name Elizabeth?" It makes me feel like I'm unique. It's nice to be unique in a way that you didn't put any effort towards.
3. An unfulfilled sexual fantasy: Alright, I said I wouldn't skip questions but I sure as hell didn't say anything about skipping answers.
4. If you had a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? I know it sounds like it shouldn't be a toss up but it is. In college we studied the Fjords of Norway and what I wouldn't give to see them in real life. But on the other hand, and maybe it's just because this seems more realistic to me, I want to take a few weeks and visit the west coast. Starting in San Fransisco and going north. I don't need a plane ticket for that, though. You need one to get to Norway. Trust me.
5. What is the best word to describe your current love life? If there is a word that means "romance is not really at the forefront but a heavy love for my friends and my siblings is growing deeper than I could have imagined" then I would use that word.
6. The Author who has affected you the most: Anne Lamott. Obvi.
7. Something that has been on your mind, lately: Should I do something potentially completely regrettable?
8. What is your most expensive possession? My laptop. And I got an extremely good deal on it. I don't think that I can buy something legitimate until my life feels a little more permanent. I sometimes fear that I'll hold on to things when I want to be holding on to my life. So I tend to not spend more than a few dollars on stuff.
9. On your wall hangs... my monster (photo at the beginning of this post). Well, lots of things hang on my walls but my monster makes me the most happy. When I was living in South Dakota with Jamie, we went to the Brookings Art Festival and we happened upon Sarah Kargol and fell completely in love with her collection. Neither of us had any money at the time but when Christmas came around, Jamie gave me the sweetest gift. She contacted Sarah and instead of just picking something that she'd already had and buying it for me, she commissioned this little mixed-media piece just for me. She wanted to incorporate my love for literature with a monster. Sarah took this poem, Pretty Words, by Elinor Morton and turned it into an adorable monster. I like the contrast in angry and adorable and lovable and barred teeth. I've never been given such a thoughtful gift. I miss Jamie so much, particularly today.
10. One time that you were flattered to speechlessness: The time I heard, "I'm in love with you" as opposed to "I love you."


Monday, April 4, 2011

I Went to the Zoo and the Only Photo I Took Was This One of My Friend Justin Eating a Mostly Decomposed Zebra

I don't know why they would have a statue like this at the zoo. As we were taking this photo, a little boy walked by and said, "Ugh! Is that real?!" It was not my job, but I did explain to him that it was a terrible sculpture and not actually the rotting corpse of a beloved animal. Why? Why is that there?! For this photo-op.

Dear Katie,
We're sorry that you weren't able to come to the zoo with us on Sunday. We understand that you had other things to do. Sometimes birthdays just come out of nowhere. It happens! It happens. Anyway, I'm going to give you a public (and mostly photo-free) re-cap of that time that we wish you'd gone to the zoo with us. Ready? Here's we go!

Ryan and Justin and I set out on the journey while Sarah and Nickie drove separately because they had to be back earlier than we did. For a thing. We stopped at Walmart and bought sunscreen and as far as I can tell, no skin damage for anyone! SPF for the win! On the way, Justin went through Ryan's CD collection and tried to pigeon-hole him into an easily defined person based on musical taste but failed as he did not recognize much of it. We listened to something that I had never heard but did very much enjoy. Mostly I just tripped out on my new polarized sunglasses. Seriously, rainbows everywhere. They said I looked like a badass. I still think I looked a little on the elderly side. Stopped for bottles of water and candy bars. The boys stored their huge bottles of water in my purse that I estimate was weighing in at about eleven pounds. I'm a terrible judge of weight, though, so let's say plus or minus four pounds.

First stop, the children's farms. You go to the children's farms first because when you visit vast, uncharted (except that it is way overly charted if you ask me) territory, you always go to the right and move in a counter clockwise fashion for as long as you don't have a choice anymore. This is the area where the peacocks roam around without cages (no matter what Ryan says) and they're awesome. If you don't believe me, ask the little boy who was dressed like an explorer and chasing the poor thing ferociously. At the American farm, I saw the most (and I never really thought I'd say this) beautiful, beautiful cow. This is also where you will encounter things like pygmy goats and all sorts of chickens. There's this one kind of chicken that has feathers that cover its feet completely. It's like if a regular chicken and a Clydesdale made it. Kind of. I mean, it's still little. Like a chicken. Whatever.

Later we went into the jungle! Guess what, it's hot in the jungle. Really, really humid and your glasses will fog up and your calves will sweat and your jeans will stick to your legs and you will say (for not the first time that day) that you really wish you'd worn a dress to the zoo. BUT you will see bats. Bats, when they are hanging upside down in a tree and are all wrapped up in their wings, kind of look like they're trapped in a black rubber casing. I really hope everyone forgets about what I just said before they get to the comments because I'm not changing it--they really do look like that. There's also this other bird in there that runs around willy nilly. It's a dusty blue color and looks awesome and it's got all kinds of other blue stuff pluming out of its head. It would totally beat the crap out of the peacock in a sexiest bird contest. And that's even taking into consideration the peacock's name. Yeah. I mean it. Unfortunately I couldn't focus on the blue bird's name because I was so worried about how I was smelling at that point. Not good. Not good, I assure you. I think we saw a tamarind and Justin said something like "Oh! It's like a little orange ball of cute!" He said this within direct earshot of a redheaded man wearing an orange t-shirt. That happened, but I didn't point it out at the time because, you know, he was within ear shot. Now I'm going to Google "tamarind" and see if I was right about what we saw. Nope, turns out that's actually some sort of nut or something. What are those called? Kinda like monkeys. Jungle guys. I can't Google "orange jungle monkey type things". Well, I did but it wasn't helpful. I'm going to choose to move past it. Let's go.

I don't want to talk about the reptile house because I'm not super excited about reptiles that much. We did learn, though, that some snakes have two penises. Peni? Now, that's worth Googling. The answer is "penes". I really don't know how to pronounce that but I don't care because I'm mentally surveying the amount of pene in my pantry right now. Anyway, snakes. Many penes. Like they're not phallic enough.

Lots of walking. Stopping for pee breaks. We saw a bag of cotton candy on the ground and we dared one another to eat it. But we really just left it there. Hey, Katie, wanna know what's the most uninteresting part of the zoo? The North America exhibit. It's clearly the most accurate exhibit (obvi) and it's boring. There's so much walking and so little to see and if there is anything to see, it's squirrels or pheasants or deer or other things that you pretty much only see on the side of the road in Kansas.

Judging by the amount of traffic in the area for the Tiger Chat, it's pretty obvious that the tiger is the king. No one really cares much about the male lion. What's the big deal, there? I don't know but everyone wants to see the tiger stand up on his big ass hind legs for some raw meat. I won't lie, it was impressive. But I was getting overwhelmed.

Right about now is when your focus has completely shifted. You've been walking for about two and a half hours and your primary concern is making sure that you'll actually get out of the zoo alive. Instead of "what's next?" You're thinking, "what else do I have to look at before I reach the end of this labrynth of animals that are two knocks on the glass and a Lion King reference away from completely snapping and destroying some tourists. "Jaguar. Neat." "Cool, another goose." "Elephant. Neat-o!"

We saw the hippos, though, and that led to a magical experience. At first, we were walking past the hippo pond area. There's an area where you can go down and look in and see the hippos when they're in the water or you can walk above and see them when they're not in the water. I think that we were way too tired to experience stairs so we just stayed up top and tried to look into the water to see them. Just then, Ryan's girlfriend walked out from a building and stood at the edge of the water and clapped her hands a few times and said, "C'mon girls!" And then she stood there all awkwardly and I wondered if she'd look like a complete moron when they ignore her because they can't hear her because they're underwater. I was pretty sure that she would. She clapped a few more times and said, "Girls! Come on!" And then she left and I thought, "well, that was weird." And then, all of a sudden, these two massive hippos rose up and lumbered out of the water and went into the building with the lady. That was cool. Those guys are huge. I don't understand how they just walked right out of the water and weren't exhausted. Am I the only one who feels like she weighs about a hundred extra pounds when she walks out of the water? Maybe that's not worth admitting.

We went into the building and watched the hippos eat. They vacuum the floor with their mouths. They were feeding the rhinos, too. They're huge but there's something menacing about them. I always expect them to sort of transform into some other kind of animal. Totally Transformers style. It's an armored animal! And there's also a sign that says to stay out of the line of fire should the rhinos decide that they need to make tinkle. There is a force. Such a force that there is a need for a sign to have been made. You know?! That's impressive.

My favorite part were the giraffes. They were eating and we got to see them inside and really close up. The other part that made it nice was that there wasn't a crowd at all. It was just the five of us all up close in personal, almost within reach. And we stayed there for a long time and just looked at them and I don't know what everyone else thought but I was totally in awe. Truly. Seeing their muscles move underneath their skin. Their huge, black eyes with their enormously thick lashes. They were completely gorgeous. And it was great because I'd never thought they were that great, before. Nothing special. A novelty item. It's like that scene when the boy looks across the room and sees the girl that had always been just a friend before she took off her glasses. But now, here she is in front of him without glasses and he's in love. It's like that but without amorous feelings. I'd just like to clear that up.

Pretty much everything after that was a blur of me whining about how hungry I was and how much my feet hurt. Also a goose walked up to me and took a watery, green crap and then left. Like his frat brothers dared him to do it. "Make her think you like her and then do something repulsive." I was Never Been Kissed'ed. Those geese where everywhere--along with signs that kept talking about how they might be aggressive.

So, Katie, that's how it went. It was fun but we'll do something fun with you another time. Hopefully in a place that doesn't feature as much defecation.

Love, Libby

PS Later, at Barnes and Nobel we saw that this is now a genre and it was heartbreaking. Damn you, Stephanie Meyer! (I'm not bothering to research how to actually spell her name)