Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Things I Learned, Today. Or, An Unintentional Cafe Review

"Oh, my God I don't want to go on this plane ride alone." Long pause. "What if I die? Oh my God, what if I die? That would suck for my mom." Long pause. "What if the plane crashes and I'm the only one who dies?" Her friend asked, finally, "but what if you don't?"

I didn't hear anything after that. I walked out of earshot--I thought it was a nice time to move along. It was like a quick transitional scene in a film I'd never seen.
I wonder, though, when Girl 2 decided to befriend Girl 1, did she realize that she was buoying up next to a female, twenty-something, protestant Woody Allen? Did she know the neurosis that she was in for?

I was browsing my new, accidental favorite bookstore in Wichita. I was looking at the design magazines. Design magazines are so expensive but they are gorgeous. But I loved that I got to overhear that conversation. I loved it so much that I pulled up a table and re-wrote it on the back of another hastily written essay idea. My purse: it is full of barely legible, scrawled essay ideas, quick scenes, lines of provocative alliteration. Could there be a more ominous (not to mention) obvious first line for a sell-out, NY Times best seller?
Girl 1 and Girl 2 got up to leave shortly after I sat down but on their way out, she took a piece of what appeared to be coconut cream pie to go. I get it--I'd include that in my last meal, too.

So, yeah, I was driving from the only part of Wichita with which I am familiar to a part of Wichita that I've never been to--well, I have been there once before but it was dark and I was wearing platform shoes and had two cider drinks and forgive me if it didn't ring a whole lotta bells. Mid-trip, I was getting hungry and I was looking for a drive through. But I couldn't find any. I drove through a twisty-turny residential neighborhood. Those damn suburbs sprouting up out of nowhere all of the time. I passed bistros with names that had too many vowels to be pronounceable and I passed all kinds of McDonalds but I kind of have a thing about that. I don't mind grabbing a McChicken when I'm in McPherson but when I'm out of town I don't like to do anything that I could do at home. That means no Walmarts and no McDonalds. And that's about it because my little town pretty much only has Walmart and McDonalds.

So I'm driving down Douglas and I see a bookstore and I didn't even think, I just turned in. Usually, and especially in unfamiliar driving situations, it's difficult for me (even when I'm all alone) to make a decision but today I learned that I break for bookstores. I was in town for about four hours and, in addition to my stop at the mall, The Spice Merchant, and Starbucks, I visited three bookstores. This is one of the pure delights of the singleton. I can change my plans. Go wherever I want, stay as long as I want. And today I went to Watermark Books at the corner of Douglas and Oliver and I stayed for a while. And I want to go back--to join their Modern Classic book club where they discuss Post WWII fiction. I've always thought that I had such a specific taste in literature that it was beyond genre. But I was wrong. It's called "Modern Classic". Yet another example of how I tend to think I'm way cooler than I really am.

So there's the bookstore, which is what I went for and then there's the cafe--which got me to stay. The menu is kind of perfect except that you want to order based on your food tastes but it's hard to not incorporate some literary allegiance in there, too. If I'd read the menu more carefully, I would have gone with Whitman but I ate Lolita (just like Humbert--zing! Pow!).
The Moby Dick: a tuna sandwich, obviously
The Don Quixote: A salad comprised of field greens--and black beans and corn and other stuff.
Leaves of Grass: Bruschetta topped with a green/ cream cheese spread. Clever.
The Great Gatsby: A meatloaf sandwich--I loved the idea.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Banana, peanut butter and honey on a bagel. That's breakfast at Libby's.
Like I said, I had Lolita. She was a turkey and provolone sandwich with pesto and walnuts. Friggin' delicious. Friggin'. Delicious.

I'm totes going back. Next time I get lost on my way downtown. Or next time I want to join a book club an hour away from my home.

So I learned that there's a name for my preferred genre of literature and I learned where a new (okay, so they've been around since the 70's but it's new to me) favorite chill-out-spot is and I learned that walnuts on a sandwich sounds uncomfortable but it's actually really great. Some other things I learned, today (these learning moments were digitally captured in my phone in an effort to keep you visually stimulated):

Suggestive advertising is suggestive.

Proactive is not only available via infomercial, it's also available in a vending machine.

Did you know that acne thrived on indecision? I'm not saying it's not true, I'd just like to see some sources.
Also, hundreds of years from now, someone's going to say "A Proactive vending machine--isn't the just the most quaint little antique?" And I'll be dead but I'll still be irritated.

Precious little baby bananas are sooo precious. Yes they are. Who's a precious baby banana?
I also learned, and this is one for which there (sadly, I know) is no photographic evidence, that if you ask for a free bra--sometimes you get a free bra. And it looks so good.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Three Things I Loved About This Week

You guys, I've been so whiney this week. And I mean really stinking whiney. My last day off was a week ago and my next day off is on Tuesday. Doesn't that sound way worse than just saying "seven days in a row". I can find the best ways to say things so that they sound terribly off putting and so anti-me. That's how good I am at whining. I've worked a lot this week. I'm tired and exhausted and get a little bitter every time that someone wishes me a happy Memorial Day. "That's what you think." I tell myself. But I don't need to gripe. I've gone months and months and months without a paycheck before. And now I'm gettin' one. With holiday pay, bitches! And I will, one day, get a day off. Therefore, I'ma institute a Three Things I Loved About This Week policy. For Sundays, you know. Because it's kind of a grateful, sabbathy thing to do. Yeah? So, let's make it floral and frilly and pretty girly.

1. Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde. I'm gonna be looking for this every time that I walk into a liquor store. It's all hippie-looking. What with a woman-sun-face and what not. But it's nice. It's all bright and sunshiney. You know how sometimes, you're drinking a beer and you're like, "this is nice--woah aftertaste." This doesn't make you feel that way. She's so nice.

2. Blue Valentine. I liked this. I wish I had so much space to discuss it. But I really don't. Blah, blah, blah controversy. Blah, blah, blah, NC-17 vs. Rated R. All I know is--Ryan Gosseling is incredible. I'm not saying, "Oh em gee, Ryan Gosseling is so hot and stuff and things." Because that's not what I'm thinking. What I think is that he's really clever and he plays human so well. Michelle Williams, too. Geez. It's incredible. It's so simple and it was such a basic, hugely realistic movie. It didn't have a nice, wrapped up ending. It was a lot like life in that way. It was also a lot like life in one other way: so much cunnilingus.

3. My impulse decision to take on the hottest hair trend of last summer. It's called "The Ombre" and it was totally easy and DIY and I did it before 8:00. I'm so girly this week. In the awesome ways and the off putting ways.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Day In The Life

Remember back when everyone Xanga'd and you'd log on at, like, 11:00 pm and you'd read everyone's entries that read like this:
"Today I woke up and I ate breakfast then i wento all my classes and hung out with my friends. We went to TCBY and I think i like teh chocolate flavor more then the white kind. Now I am home and i'm really upset that certain people think they can do certain things and not include other certain people and do you wanna read my terrible poem that i wrote about that incident. I'll write it at the end. it's been a long day and now i will go to bed oh wait but here's that poem i wrote it in the back of my algebra book so whoever buys this next year will totes know all my feeling."

It really was like that, only somehow it would be, like, a thousand words. Anyway, they pretty much all read like a typical day-in-the-life and so I'm going to harken the good ole days and tell you about my Sunday.

It started out that I was just kind of live-blogging, writing it all down when it was happening but then at some point I... I left my house, you guys! That happened. I did. It was a gorgeous day.

I woke up and crawled out of my bed at 7:30. After the preliminary, essential, and mostly unmentionable duties of waking up, I pulled on my little pants and a tunic and poured myself a gigantic glass of ice water.
8:15 Decide to blog about how truly uninteresting my life is--in real time!
8:16-9:30 Click around Facebook. Comment on comments. Look through someone's 115 photograph photo album of their wedding--someone I don't know and have never met but we have one friend in common and so I want to see how he looks in a bow-tie.
I went to the bathroom and exfoliated my super-dry hands using my St. Ives body polish (I recommend it to anyone who has skin as dry as mine). I sat on the edge of my bed and allergies were making my eyes itchy. I rubbed my eye and, carelessly, I scratched my eyeball with my fingernail. It hurt real bad. I let it water a bit and I thought that the irritation would go away.
I was hungry and so I wanted to make some breakfast. I looked online for a pancake recipe that used only ingredients that I had in my house. Then I cut that recipe in half, started streaming an episode of This American Life and put all my pancake stuff together. I made up a strawberry syrup and ate my breakfast with a fresh pot of coffee. It was delicious and my eyes kept watering and feeling hurty.
I kept listening to This American Life and opened the windows and laid on my couch and it was awesome but at around 1:00 pm, I decided to start looking around seeing if I had any eye drops. I knew I didn't have any but, you know, just in case.
I texted my neighbor/friend, Ryan, asked him if he had any eye drops. He went to the store to buy me some. When he showed up, I read the back. I didn't know what I was looking for but, you know, if it said something like "hey, don't put this in your eye or anything." That would be important to know. It said words like, "soothing" and "relief". So I dropped it into my eyeball. I clasped my hand to my eye and screamed and heard my friend reading the ingredients list on this bottle of Clear Eyes, "Huh... citric acid, [another kind of] acid." What? Various acids? In my eyeball? Cool. Well, now it's clear that my eye definitely has a cut in it and it's not that there's just an eyelash in an unreachable spot or something. Yep. My eye leaked but didn't hurt for the rest of the day. I just carried around a Kleenex and kept wiping.
Later, Ryan, wanted a corn dog so we went to Sonic and then to the park where he ate his foods and I drank a cherry limeade and we watched all of the adorable McPherson People do park things. They played croquet and swang on the swings, people walked their dogs and a guy laid on the ground and played with a baby. A kid flew a kite--I mean could there have been a more Sunday Afternoon at la Grande Jatte kind of day? Probably not.
We did not see Katie and Bill even though they were at the park at the exact same time as us, doing the exact same things as us, allegedly.
We came home. It was at this point that I lost all track of time and order of the day until I went to bed at 11:30. That's the beauty of Sundays. You don't even need to know what time it is.
From the bush in the back yard, I cut a dozen roses for my sister-in-law and a dozen for myself. We talked about her birthday. She's turning 30 this year and she gets a party. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be thinking about her but in the back of my mind I keep thinking about this dress that I would really like to buy and I'm wondering if I ordered it, would it be here in time for the party because if not, there's not much point in buying it because it's most certainly a wear-to-your-sister-in-law's-30th-birthday-party kind of dress. And then if it does come, will it be too short? And then I'm all talking myself up like, so what if it's too short? Pretend you don't notice. Own those chubby knees! And then I'm like, realistically though: no way.
So after that attention-divided conversation, I went back to my house. Ryan and I watched a documentary about Donkey Kong. It was awesome. Really, it was.
He cleaned his car with an attention to detail that I've never before witnessed first-hand.
I took out my garbage and Wet Swiffered the kitchen floor. It takes a lot of elbow grease to Swiffer my kitchen floor. And it never, never looks clean.
I don't remember everything else. My eye kept leaking, though.
At some point I consumed a Dilly Bar and it was incredible. At another point there was a walk to the corner store (there is, literally, a store on the corner) and we came home with gummy candy.
Last order of business, though, was watching two old episodes of The Office with the commentary. There are few things that I love the way that I love a good commentary.
And then I quickly made something to take for lunch the next day, made some plans with a friend to get together, washed my face, brushed my teeth and then I laid in bed where I journaled until I fell asleep.

It was one of those super incredible, unremarkable days.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Men are From Earth and Women are From Earth, Also

They say that to be a modern woman, there are certain things that are simply non-negotiable. Certain things that we must accept about ourselves--things that people have spent years researching which makes them indisputable facts. So, please just turn your attention to the things over which we have more control. Things like, which brand of mascara to use or which type of cocktail you will sip at a bar while waiting for a handsome gentleman to offer to buy you another. Even in this enlightened, 21st century, decades and decades post-women's-lib society--there are simply some things about being a woman that are just a part of being a woman.
  • They say that to be a woman, I will never be able to come to a discernible conclusion about anything. And once I do--then I will inevitably change that decision. It's my prerogative.
  • They say that hell hath no fury like me--scorned.
  • They say that I will always be late because of my detailed beauty regimen.
  • They say that I will never be the prettiest girl in the room.
  • They say that if I focus on my achievements, then I won't care that I'm not the prettiest girl in the room.
  • They say that I should still maintain that detailed beauty regimen or I'll have difficult time finding a man who will love me forever.
  • They say that I don't need a man in my life to be personally satisfied.
  • They write thousands of articles about how to keep the man in my life personally satisfied--lest he leave me.
  • They all sigh, collectively, if I don't want to reproduce.
  • They all sigh, collectively, if I do.
  • They say that I will always have to work like mad for an orgasm--that is one the rarest of occasions when I am in the mood for sex in the first place.
  • They say that my moods, eating habits and actions are all hormonally driven and that I am not responsible for myself for an entire week out of every month.
  • They say that being a bitch is respectable. They say that being a wallflower is cowardly.

  • They say that as a man, getting dressed is never a challenge and the fact that you're wearing more than underpants is an accomplishment to be applauded.
  • They say that you will be bold and direct and always know exactly what you want without question.
  • They say that you are the more competent driver--in all situations.
  • They say that you will loaf around the house and accomplish little more than going to work in a day.
  • They say that you're too attached to your mother and that is your primary drive in seeking a life-mate.
  • They say that you have a fear of commitment and will never remain faithful to that life-mate.
  • They say that you are a liar and that you don't mean any of the nice things that you have said to me because...
  • They say that you are directed only by your genitals and are not responsible for the things that they lead you to do.
  • They say that you will be selfish in bed and not even remotely interested in the mapless terrain that is the female body.
  • They say that she will expect you to inherently know how she works.
  • They say that you are stupid and must always be reminded of even the most basic life-tasks.

  • They say that I will want to marry you because I have an unquenchable need for reproduction and that I want to have all of the comforts of a middle-class life without putting in a day of work.
  • They say that you will want to marry me because you'll never again have to work for sex and you'll always have dinner when you come home at night.

They're ignoring a lot, I think.

It's true that I, personally, am not an incredible decision maker. That's not one of my strong points. I really don't know a lot of people who are, though. If you really think about it--hanging out with those kinds of people are kind of annoying anyway. More often than not, I sit around in the living room playing "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno. What do you wanna do?" game with fella friends just as often as I do with my girl-type friends. So either this is a human problem, or I seem to attract seriously boring types. If that's the case, though, I'm fine with it.
I have noticed, ever since my college days, that I tend to wait around for guys to finish doing whatever that it is they do before we leave. I'm generally ready (until recently--but I've gotten kind of not great at time-management in the past year or so) on time and I'm waiting around for the mail companions to send me a "im rdy" text message so we can get on with whatever it is that we have planned. It is true that the last things that ladies are doing is trying on different shoes or wondering, "wait--maybe I should put my hair up?"
Orgasms? Please.
And I know guys with more shoes and hair products than I have. I know women with impeccable senses of direction. Boys who get queasy at the thought of a spider. Girls who are in no way kind or demure.

So maybe men and women--they're just people. We're people who were born into a world--into the arms of people who were just people. The problem is that when we focus on all of those things that we think are so different about us--and they're trivial matters, really, but our expectations for one another are shaped by these supposed bits of unlikeness.

A lot of girls that I know are looking for husbands. And they're looking for the strong, bold, decisive--yet sensitive and thoughtful men who are tall and have strong shoulders and everything will be happily ever after. I can't speak to what men are looking for from the women in their lives as I only have assumptions to run on and that would completely negate my point. It's just that I think that it's one thing to be attracted to, say, a decisive personality. It's another thing entirely to assume that because he's not the first one to say "hello" that your whole life will go up in shambles if you start to kind of like him a little bit.
And I think that a lot of girls also forget the fact that they get to like whoever they're with. I know too many girls who started going out with guys (and a few who married them) that they didn't necessarily like, the guy just asked and they were like, "I guess this is it."

Sometimes boys are shy and sometimes girls are strong and sometimes opposites don't necessarily attract.

I think, and you can correct me if you think I'm totally full of it, that maybe people should look for patience and kindness from other people--from people that they want to befriend and people that they want to love and people that they have a choice in contacting. I think that after patience and kindness comes all manner of good things. Things that make trivial differences bearable and good things more awesome.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ten: The Take Pictures Edition

This edition of Ten on Tuesday from Roots and Rings takes you on a photo journey throughout my house. Sweet, huh? Well it was fun for me. It might just be a B+ activity for you, honestly. Herewego.
I think that I show pictures of my house pretty often so with this I tried to show you the stuff that doesn't get showcased that often.

1. A picture of your favorite piece of furniture:
This is my favorite chair. No one ever sits in it because it's height makes it really uncomfortable but it's visually stunning. My little brother brought it with him when he moved in and when he moved out he left it for me.

2. Your favorite thing on the wall:
I got this ordinary frame from a garage sale. One night, I got bored and I used a bottle of Elmer's glue and a package of party napkins to decoupage it all together. People love it. The owl ornament was a gift. It came from Clayworks here in town. The little note card has a quote from Cicero. It reads: Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt (Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so)

3. Your bed as it looks right now:
I really had made my bed that day. I intended to do my laundry and I like to have a nice, made bed to dump all of the laundry onto for sorting and folding. My quilt was made by my mom's grand mother and the afghan at the foot was crocheted for me by my dad's mom.

4. Your pantry:
I have a little, tiny pantry built into the wall but it's so shallow that you can only keep spices in it. I keep my food in a little cupboard. This is a good example of the staples. Canned diced tomatoes (for making spaghetti sauce), a box of Pad Thai (because it's better than I could ever make, myself), oatmeal and wheat germ. Sounds about right.

5. Your favorite piece of jewelry:
This is a gold locket (I tried to get a photo of the front but it's impossible to take an adequate picture). It has a picture of my dad's parents before they were married in 1940. They look absolutely miserable, if you ask me. No matter, it's awesome. I don't have a chain for it. I'd totally wear it, otherwise.

6. Your favorite book:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I didn't pick this because it's my favorite piece of literature, but it's my most favorite book that I own. I've probably read it 1/2 a dozen times. I taught it in college and every page has some writing on it. It's the most honest look into the brain of a teenager (or any person, really) that I've ever read.

7. Your most comfortable shirt:
I will wear this shirt until it dies. I love it. I love the cut. I love the snap-buttons. I love how soft it is. I love every ounce of this shirt.

8. Your messiest room:
The kitchen, obvi. The bathroom is pretty bad, too but it's a bathroom and I think what makes it look dirty or cluttered is just the fact that there are about 50 sq feet in there and 48 of those feet are overtaken by bathroomy things like bathtubs, toilets and sinks.

9. Your house shoes:
Flip flops. These ones are brand spankin' new. They replaced the ones that used to be yellow. It was time to retire.

10. Yourself, as you look right now:
I decided to not edit this one, as that wouldn't be fair. This is what I wore to make scrambled eggs.

I want to see pictures of your house. Please?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Re: My Family Found Out I Blog About Sex

This morning I was browsing over at BlogHer, trying to get a feel for the place and trying to decide if I wanted to link up with the network. Pretty quickly, I happened upon this article, written by AV Flox, called My Family Found Out I Blog About Sex. I don't blog about sex (or, if you ask me, anything even remotely controversial) but this resonated with me in all sorts of galleys that I can't help but respond to it. You would do well to read it but I understand that you probably won't. That's cool. I get it. (Italicized quotes were taken from Flox's article)

Essentially her article details the aftermath of her family finding out that she's a sex columnist after she sat in on a sex-panel at a BlogHer convention. They solicited that she take a surname, initially being very lighthearted about the subject and eventually snowballing into little more than "you write about smut and you're a disgrace to our family name." She went on to spell out her mission statement (in all honesty, it's a lot longer than I was ever instructed that a mission statement should be), her family still maintained that she was a degenerate and a disgrace and wondered how her parents could possibly manage to hold their heads high when this is how their daughter turned out. And then her mother responded with nothing but complete support, love and honesty. And I thought that was incredible.

I don't have family members begging me to take up a pseudonym but that could be in large part to the fact that our family name isn't particularly notable or prestigious. I have had, on more than a few occasions, people who tell me to change my style or who criticize my subject matter or have told me that they're "extremely disappointed" in something that I've written. One person wrote, "I would have loved to have forwarded this on to my aunt but your profanities keep me from doing so." I didn't respond to that, but I would love to suggest that this person's Aunt has billions of editions of Chicken Soup For The Soul that she is more than welcome to sift through. And, I mean, I have a dozen regular readers anyway. It's not like I'm pulling in huge numbers or anything here.

"Anecdotes teach. The difference between an academic text and a personal anecdote is that the latter affects us on another level. ...A story that touches your heart, on the other hand, with all the details -- details that aren't sanitized to be more palatable -- stays with you for much longer. Anecdotes have no fear of being ugly, of being inappropriate, or of breaking your heart." It's true, it's why blogs are so damn popular anyway.

I know, I know. No respectable writer would take to blogging as a realistic venue for sharing her talents. I know it's low-brow because it's free and not library bound but I haven't got a whole lot of interest in all of that. I care very little for being taken seriously. I care very much for being taken honestly, though.

I think, and this is why I write in the first place, that everyone wants to happen upon an opportunity every once in a while to say, "Oh my God, me too." You could read a study that says that X number of marriages fall apart after the death of a child or you could read Heather Sphor's blog and see how hard she works every day to keep her family together after the unexpected death of her oldest daughter two years ago. Yeah, it's sad kind of stuff sometimes but sometimes life is sad and I think that a lot of times we forget that that's okay. Allie Brosch isn't popular because her drawings are nice or deep and artistic, it's because she makes you feel like a kid again and isn't that kind of what everyone craves from time to time? She takes you into a place where you are allowed to relate to and feel like yourself. We want an opportunity where we don't have to wonder if we're normal or if maybe we're the only ones who have felt the way that we feel. Let's admit that a lot of our adult lives are spent, for the most part, being diligent, sanitized, polite versions of ourselves and we just want to let loose for a few minutes. But you are not sanitized and I am not sanitized and neither is anyone else--even though it really looks like it and that's what makes you feel like such a fuck up sometimes.
"And if one thing I write makes one person feel less isolated, then my mission is complete."

I don't write about sex (I would but what is there to say?) but I do write and I do make it public and I do get criticisms because people think that they have very delicate personalities that are not to be damaged by things like eff words and ideas about God that contradict with everything that I was trained to believe. People who continue to read what I have to say despite the numerous ways in which I have caused damage to these sensibilities. It's curious, isn't it?

"We can do without this kind of acceptance, esteem and pride, but how strongly we can grow when we have these things."

"Give me the hook or the ovation, it's my world that I want to have a little pride in."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ten: The Cinematic Adventure

1. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
And, of course, the answer is You've Got Mail. Doy.

2. Let’s say someone wrote a screenplay about you; what actor/actress would you choose to play you and why?
Ginnifer Goodwin. Why? Because I get to choose! And she is just so cute and she would make me look like somuchfun.

3. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in theaters?
I remember that our family went to the $1 theater in Wichita to see Never Ending Story 2. I don't recall much about the film but I do know that I was just blown away by the size of everything. Everything seemed enormous when I was a kid. Going to The Warren still makes me feel that way, like watching movies is an event and not some mundane activity designed to entertain you for a few hours and capitalize on popcorn. Popcorn, by the way, is the cheapest snack on the whole planet and they can sell a bucket of it with a soda for $6? I don't know how they do it.

4. Did you ever make out at the back of a movie theater in middle school/high school?
You underestimate the town I grew up in. We did have a theater but it was a deserted wreck until I was about 17 and they renovated it. Also my answer for Ginnifer Goodwin might have given you the impression that I was the type of person that people wanted to make out with in middle school/ high school.

5. Are you a Netflix-er, Blockbuster-er or a Redbox-er? (Or none of the above?)
I love Netflix because I can basically* get any movie I want. Including HappyThankYouMorePlease which I am only interested in because Jaymay provided the soundtrack so I can't imagine that I'll be disappointed (also I only just now watched the trailer and now there are actually a lot of reasons why I can't imagine that I'll be disappointed).

The only time I have ever appreciated Redbox was when I had a spare dollar and nothing to do that night and so I browsed the little machine and decided to take a chance on Catfish which I am still carrying on about as one of the best films I've seen this year.
*I still can't see Bird by Bird With Annie. It is in my queue, so Netflix knows that it exists and that I want to see it, but they don't have it for me, yet. I keep seeing it on Amazon but I don't want to pay full-price for a documentary that I may watch one time. Not that it wouldn't make sense to have in my collection.

6. Name one actor/actress who you would give anything to have a dinner date with.
Well, I can't say that I care to have a dinner date with any actor for the sake of having dinner with an actor. I don't know, I'd rather have dinner with an author or an artist that I admire. Not that actors aren't artists--I am learning that as I grow older, I'm getting better at seeing the art in performance. But even still, all I know about these people is whether or not they are attractive. I spend plenty of time with attractive people. I'd rather have dinner with someone that I know that I could have a conversation with. Do you know what I mean?

7. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
Oh, there have been some doozies. I can't think of them at all right now, though. I know this isn't the worst movie I've ever seen but this summer we went to see The Other Guys and I absolutely hated it. But I was also two beers and a xanax down and the movie started at 10:00 pm. I just wanted to be out of that place.
I promise that I am not an abuser of substances.

8. Do you sneak snacks into the theater when you go?
I used to sneak snacks in until one afternoon when I went to see The Grudge and sat behind a woman who pulled out a tupperware container of pasta salad and started going to town. Now I don't sneak anything in. I simply supply my own Reece's Pieces.

9. Movie theater popcorn: love or hate it?
Love. It. Don't put extra butter on it, though, it comes in a friggin' pump!

10. What is the all-time best Disney movie in your opinion?
Disney movie? Up was sweet. And made me never want to get married or fall in love ever in my whole life. Let me do research... yes. Disney Pixar. So that counts. I feel like I should have picked something much older but the truth is that I don't really watch animated movies. I know that I should, though, because they're really, really good lately (maybe they were always good but I'm a grown up now) and everyone gasps when I say that I haven't seen Despicable Me yet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's So Boring, I Can't Get Enough

Things that are not interesting are the most satisfying.

Today. I went to work, I sold some glasses to some older ladies who needed them. One, in particular, only agrees to do work with me. Not that she has anything against anyone else, she just likes me so much. We bonded over the ultra-thin, hi-index lenses on account of our mutual need for strong prism. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen... (get it?)

I came home and showered (I've become the type of person who showers after work) and I put on my favorite shirt. Do you know how good it feels to pull on your most favorite, soft, old t-shirt over freshly cleansed skin? It's like chocolate milk. I'm too zen, right now, to possibly explain that simile.

And then I made a bowl of Ramen (because I found a delicious, spicy kind that I might even buy when I have more than a quarter to spend on my dinner) and I sat on my couch, all by myself, and I watched arbitrary episodes from Season Two of The Office. Of course I've seen them all half a dozen times, I think that only makes it better. It's great because you can laugh before the funny parts, you don't have to pay much attention and your mind can wander. And you're just sprawled out on the couch, drinking detox tea and eating Ramen and thinking to yourself, "sometimes I can't believe that this is my life" in the best possible way. Seriously, though, I'm going to need to get out of the house soon before I fall too in love with my apartment. Drunk bowling--who's in?

There is nothing even remotely dramatic going on in my life. Everything is completely, deliciously ordinary, mundane, and incredible. Some days you feel like this and you have to drink it in because tomorrow might not be so banal and you'll miss it. You know, life may never be ordinary again.

"Party Boobytrap": Best. Palindrome. Ever.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Brush Your Teeth: Use Morrissey As A Guide

Katie challenged me to write a post about brushing my teeth. She said I could make it funny. I don't know about that but it sure did take up an entire morning and even some of an afternoon. Awesome.
And there are a lot of accidental That's What She Saids in this here post. Whoever comes up with the best wins. There may even be a prize involved, I haven't really gotten there yet.
Also awesome.
(In the original post, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger if you need to.)

Anyway, maintaining good oral health is important for you and for everyone with whom you come into contact. Brushing your teeth will keep you healthy and cavity free and it will also make people like you more. Just give it a try, I think you'll find it a delightful practice.
To brush your teeth effectively, you'll need the following items:
These supplies are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most places where they sell this type of stuff.

That's what she said.

You have to do this more than once a day.

Worth it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

When I Grow Up

I don't remember a happier time in my whole life than when my family lived in Sylvia, Kansas. Sylvia is the ultimate in small towns. A utopia for childhood. Just under three hundred residents. We lived across the street from the park. Could you imagine a more blank canvas? We lived there when I was very young. That is to say, we moved away in the middle of my Kindergarten year.

But we lived in this massive, grey house with an enormous front porch where we would sit when it rained. Sometimes we'd sit there with a bowl between us and snap green beans that my dad grew in the garden. One day, I was sitting on the front porch when the huge tree in our front yard fell over. In the middle of the afternoon. It just fell over. My mother came running outside to make sure everyone was still alive. We were. They said it was struck by lightning. I found it to be confusing at most. I remember thinking that this was one of those things that would be difficult for me to comprehend for my age, so I let the grown ups deal with it. Sometimes in my childhood I was able to accept that I didn't understand things.

Sometimes my mother would go for walks after dinner when it was not so hot and the sun wasn't so high. I always went with her, and by the time we got back to the house, then you could see the moon sometimes or the stars. We'd walk down one of the two paved roads in town. We'd walk for miles and miles and miles on my little legs. We'd walk past the pasture where two cows lived. Mom would let me pick the long grass and hold it out to them though the fence and they would eat from my hand. I was always a little scared that this would finally be the time that they ate my little hand but they never did and, besides, my mom was standing right there. What cow would have the gall to eat a child's hand right in front of her mother? So I felt safe and we would pet their faces until it was time to go inside. On the way home, we'd find the moon and my mom would sing a song that she still sings sometimes. Even now that we are both a lot older.

I see the moon and the moon sees me
Shining through the leaves of the old oak tree.

My perspective as a little girl really altered some facts. In reality, our house was grey but it was not very big. Our porch only had three steps even though I remember falling down on it and there being at least a dozen landings. I was a bloody wreck. That was probably exaggerated, too. My mom probably wouldn't have minded taking walks alone every once in a while after chasing after four kids all by herself in the summertime. We probably only walked about a half a mile at most. I probably whined the whole time. Also, cows don't eat people and if they did, they probably wouldn't have the presence of mind to care about who was around to see it happen.

Sometimes I think about what kind of person I want to be when I'm a grown up. I used to think that my ideal, adult life would involve loft apartments in urban areas. Exposed brick walls and modern furniture. Brushed aluminum sinks and stained concrete counter tops. I would be a stoic writer-type. I would wear black, leather boots. But the more I think about it. The more I live my life the way it is now, the more in-love I fall with my current surroundings and lifestyle, the more that I'd just like some simple basics. I want a space that has a porch to sit and hull strawberries and some grass and trees (even if those trees might accidentally fall over on a clear afternoon). I want to write things like this and go as barefoot as possible for as long as possible. I would love an unpaved road to walk down at night. When I think about the kind of woman that I want to be, I want to be everything that I remember about my mother from those nights when we'd take walks together.

Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.

Friday, May 6, 2011

On Pop Music and Other Execrable Things

Confession: I have a soft spot for really terrible Top 40 pop music. I like to listen to really terrible Top 40 pop music when I drive to work and when I drive home from work. If I'm going on long road trips or anything like that, I am sure to bring my own music or get down with NPR but on the average Tuesday morning at 9:00 am, it's really terrible Top 40 pop music. And I will sit in my car until Lady Gaga's Alejandro is finished but that song is so last summer or something and so they never play it. I like pop songs for way too long.
And here's a little side note. Pop music is the only type of music that is only cool for a limited amount of time. Am I wrong about that? I mean by in large, Neutral Milk Hotel hasn't done anything since, like, 1998 or something and people still love them--I keep them in current rotation in my collection. No one ever says, "You still get down with Two Headed Boy? *eye roll*" But I guarantee that if we were hanging out in my house and JLo's If You Had My Love popped up on my iPod, every one in the room would look at me with What The Fuck? Face. You know you would.

So it's that ordinary Tuesday morning and I'm bebopping to work and I hear a new song (probably not new to the rest of the planet but, like I said, I listen to this radio station for about 6 minutes 5 days a week) and I hear the words, "Call me Mr. Flinstone, I can make your bedrock." And I'm all, "Gross. Even I haven't the patience for this," and I went to change the station but I couldn't. I just couldn't. It was so bad that I couldn't not let the song finish. And it got progressively worse and worse. The lyrics didn't even seem to follow some sort of pattern. It's just... a series of lame catch phrases. I'm going to ruin my perfectly flawless Google history (right) and find the lyrics for you and if there's even a little part of you that says, "I don't get what the big deal is," then we're going to need to seriously reconsider our friendship. Please leave a comment so I'll know how to deal with you in the future, reader. I apologize if that comes across as cold but it's a fact and you'll understand. Lyrics courtesy of some ad-infested, glittery website created simply to give my computer an STD, so don't click on this link because I'm taking one for the team, here. It kills me to not go through there and change all those damn capital letters and repeats and stupid, stupid stuff. I'd love to just go through there and highlight all of the worst parts but it's too hard because it's all so bad. And also, I don't want to get too involved in there. I feel dirty. Also, there's someone in the world who refers to himself as "Gudda Gudda"? What. The. Hell.
[Lil Wayne]
She Got That Good Good,
She Michael Jackson Bad,
I'm Attracted To Her, For Her Attractive Ass,
And Now We Murderers, Because We Kill Time,
I Knock Her Lights Out, And She Still Shine,
I Hate To See Her Go, But I Love To Watch Her Leave
But I Keep Her Running Back And Forth Like A Soccer Team,
Cold As A Winter Day,
Hot As A Summer's Eve,
Young Money Thieves,
Steal Your Love With Ease.

[Gudda Gudda]

I Like The Way You Walk, And If You Walking My Way,
I'm That Red Bull, Now Let's Fly Away,
Let's Buy A Place, With All Kind Of Space,
I Let You Be The Judge, N-N And I’m The Case,
I’m Gudda Gudda,
I Put Her Under,
I See Me With Her, No Stevie Wonder,
She Don't Even Wonder, Cauz She Know She Bad,
And I Got Her Nigga,
Grocery Bag.


Oh Baby,
I Be Stuck To You,
Like Glue Baby,
Wanna Spend It All On You,
My Room Is The G Spot,
Call Me Mr. Flintstone,
I Can Make Your Bed Rock Girl
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock Girl
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock

[Nicki Minaj]

Ok I Get It,
Let Me Think, I Guess It's My Turn,
Maybe It's Time To Put This Pussy On Ya Sideburns,
He Say I’m Bad, He Problly Right,
He Pressing Me Like Button Downs On A Friday Night (Ha-ha),
I'm So Pretty Like,
Me On My Pedal Bike,
He On My Low Scrunch,
He On My Echo Whites,
He Say Nicki Don't Stop You The Bestest,
And I Just Be Coming Off The Top As Bestest.


I Love Ya Sushi Roll, Hotter Than Wasabi,
I Race For Your Love,
Shake And Bake Ricky Bobby,
I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby,
Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cauz I'm Not Just Anybody,
I Seen Em’ Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her,
I Let Her See The Aston, And Let The Rest Surprise Her,
That’s When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her,
Oh That Was Your Girl?
I Thought I Recognized Her.


Oh Baby,
I Be Stuck To You,
Like Glue Baby,
Wanna Spend It All On You,
My Room Is The G Spot,
Call Me Mr. Flintstone,
I Can Make Your Bed Rock Girl
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock Girl
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock
I-I-I I Can Make Your Bed Rock


She Like Tanning,
I Like Staying In,
She Like Romancing,
I Like Rolling With Friends,
She Said I'm Caged In,
I Think Her Conscious Is,
She Watching That Oxygen,
I’m Watching ESPN,
But When That Show End,
She All On My Skin,
Slow Emotion,
Roller Coasting,
Like Back Forth Hold It.....
She Pose Like It's For Posters,
And I Poke Like I'm Suppose To,
Take This Photo If You For Me,
She Said Don't You Ever Show This,
I'm To Loyal..,
And To Focused..,
To Be Losing..,
And Be Hopeless..,
When I Spoke This,
She Rejoiced It,
Said Your Word Get Me Open,
So I Closed It,
Where Your Clothes Is,
I'm Only Lovin’ For The Moment.

I have the almost imponderable joy of having a friend who is generous enough to provide the world with an artist's rendering of the outward expression of my inner turmoil. Also, I really hope that you didn't read all of that.

Also, I can't wait to see what phrases people will be using to get to this page in the next several weeks. Hopefully it has something to do with "sushi roll", "Ricky Bobby" and "he on my low scrunch" whatever that is. And if you know what that is, I beg you to keep it to yourself.

Have a pleasant weekend.
Grocery bag.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Can Not Read Minds Even If You Try Really, Really Hard

A Series* of Solicited Questions! You love it.

1. What's your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?Also, strawberry pancakes.

2. What does is mean when you're not someone's "type" but they want to talk to you and be with you ALL THE DAMN TIME?

I am going to assume that the other person is of a differing gender and that you are into that sort of thing because I'm not skilled enough in the department of pronouns to go gettin' my LGBT on when that's not the ultimate point. I'm getting the boy/girl vibe and I'ma go with it.

Types, if you ask me--and you only kinda did, I think, don't exist. Though, I suppose it's open to interpretation. Maybe it's not that they don't exist but they're not useful at all. All the idea of a type does is give you one more thing to feel confused about and when it comes to boy/girl stuff there's already too much of that stuff. I think that people make mental (or physical) lists of qualities that they find attractive. Then, what? They take every person that they meet, hold them up to the list and then decide how to deal with them based on how they stack up next to the list? That's gross. I don't think people really do that anyway, do they? Not to mention, type of what?

If someone said to me, "you're not my type." I would hear terrible, terrible things. Even if there wasn't boy/girl things going on in my brains. I think that most people (and this confuses the hell out of me) think that they have a type of person that they are friends with and then they have a type of person that they date. I don't know why you wouldn't want to date the type of person that you're friends with. Because, let's look at a sample. I'm the only available population so this is going to be pretty uneven but it will doubtless make my point.
Qualities That I Find Appealing In A Person With Whom I Will Consider Friendship:
Sense of humor
Willingness to lend me money
Tendency towards a silly, rather than a belligerent drunk
Good oral hygiene
Qualities That I Find Appealing In A Person With Whom I Will Consider Dating:
Sense of humor
Willingness to lend me money
Tendency towards a silly, rather than a belligerent drunk
Good oral hygiene
Flawless point is flawless. Maybe I'm different than some other people, though. You never know, peoples is peoples. I've never even had a half-way-serious crush on someone that I wasn't pretty good friends with. I mean, there'll always be Hot Fed Ex guy but I don't think we could play cards, together. Or do anything else other than banter about what day it is. It goes like this,
"How are you doing?"
"Ah, Friday!"
"Ah, yeah. Gotcha."
"Have a good weekend."
"How's it going?"
"Ugh. Monday."
"Ah, yeah. Gotcha."
"Have a good week(whispers)end... it's not the weekend. Don't say weekend. (shout) BYE!"

Anyway, you asked what it means and I think that what it means is that he's saying too much and that he has different qualifications for friends than he does for lady friends and you can tell him that I said that is going to end up biting him in the ass. Metaphorically. Unless he's into that. In which case, that's really the only thing you can ask from a true friend.

Wait, did he tell you that you're not his type or are you just assuming that's the case because that will change my answer completely. The short answer to that one is: You can not read minds even if you try really, really hard.

Love, Libby

*The answer to question number two got long enough that I didn't even need to answer any of the other questions. Replace "series" with "pair".

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A PSA in the Form of Semi-Incriminating Stories From My Past

My boss sent me an email asking if I would mind covering one of my co-worker's shifts during the time when she has to take some finals. My response, "I remember finals week all too well. I'd cover every one of her shifts if it was a possibility." There's something about finals week for a college student (especially a graduating student) that will absolutely test your soul. Even for the poor-to-mediocre student which is the classification into which I will admittedly place myself. I was not a good student. After my 4th semester, I started to realize that it would be in my best interest to shape up and maybe start going to class but even then I was content with C's. Totally satisfied with B's. If you are a friend/ lover/ co-worker/ family member to anyone who is in the last three weeks of any type of semester, I challenge that it is your duty to be extra kind, attentive and graceful during this time. I can't explain it, but I will try. You might get tired of it. That makes sense, but your kindness will not go overlooked, I assure you. It's easy enough. Just make sure you're following rule number one. Rule Number One is this, simply: don't be an asshole.

It'll test your limits and change you as a person. It will wreck your friendships, your finances, your personal hygiene and possibly even your criminal record. The one time that I back-talked a cop was during Finals Week.

Here's that story: Cindy and Sarah and I were going on a smoke break/ late-night run to Wendy's for spicy chicken sandwiches and frostys because--why doesn't actually matter. Anne Lamott always says that "why" is not a helpful question so I won't attempt to answer it. So we're just minding our own business and driving to Wendy's and I mused kind of lightly, "Oh, I just remembered that one of my headlights is out." Cindy's all, "Oh crap. We're most certainly getting pulled over." And wouldn't you know it. We got pulled over and I suddenly remembered that I wasn't wearing a seat belt so I oh-so-slyly fastened it. And when the cop approached, the first thing he said was, "Ma'am, do you think I'm an idiot?" To which I responded, "It couldn't hurt to hope!" He didn't think I was funny. Or cute. He asked where we were headed and we told him. He asked to see my driver's license. "Wouldn't you know?? I... think I left my wallet back at the dorm." "Well, young lady, how do you expect to pay for your meal at a fast food stand?" (Yeah, he said "fast food stand") Can I mention, right now, that Cindy's in the passenger seat just totally mortified like there's a camera crew behind this guy or something. "I have a ten dollar bill in my pocket... Officer." Cindy's facepalming and muttering, "Oh, Jesus Christ."
"Well, ladies, I see you're from that religious college (God, I loved that parking sticker. It was like a gold-ticket to anywhere in Olathe. Societal misconceptions FTW!). How about you just go on back home and don't stop for french fries tonight." Cindy doesn't want me to talk anymore so she's all, "Thank you officer! We appreciate it."
On the way back to the dorm I mentioned that I was glad that he didn't ask to see my insurance information because it was big time expired. Cindy: "Rolling. Dirty."
For the record, we went back to the dorms and then got into Cindy's car but when we got to Wendy's, they were closed. I was pissed.

After one particularly emotional week before Christmas break, I instituted a zero tolerance policy on hurt feelings for the duration. People are not themselves when they are under such intense pressure. Finals have a way of oppressing you in ways that blanket cover all of your insecurities. As though they were developed to strip a person down to bare bones and see if they could truly survive life in the wilderness. Suddenly you want to please your parents with good grades. You suddenly start to give a crap about your future and remember that you're going to be paying out of the ass for this "education" for as long as you both shall live. You want to please yourself with a job well done. Though you haven't realized it before, it's just come to your consciousness that you're a complete and utter failure and so you look back on 17 wasted weeks and you think, "this is my chance to be somebody!" You vow that next semester will be different. And for the first two weeks it is but then again the first two weeks are pud.
So you already feel like a failure and on top of that you want someone--anyone to feel proud of you. On top of that, each and every class is suddenly requiring 12-page papers and 20 minute presentations and countless pages of reading. And you half-ass your way through all of it because who could reasonably expect anything more? On top of that, your roommate is doing the "are you mad at me?" thing and no matter what you say, she doesn't believe that you're just a little more stressed out than usual. One night in an effort to coax you into talking, she fake-cries through half the night and finally you open up, alright. You snap and spew acid venom at the top bunk for fifteen breathless minutes and then for a second, it's quiet. And then the for-real crying starts and you feel kind of bad for screaming at 5:00 am about her particularly obvious mommy issues and judgemental attitude and complete lack of self-worth and you do recognize the irony but you don't feel too bad because she drove the both of you to this place. And you take a pillow and finish sleeping on the first futon you find.*

On Wednesday of finals week you will notice that your hair has begun to look oily and maybe kind of smell a little less-than-awesome. You dig through that part of your closet into which you never go and find that one non-stocking-cap-hat that you have. By Thursday you realize that you've been wearing the same grey sweatpants and university t-shirt since the last time that you showered. You do the mental math and decide that was probably on Monday. You will also appreciate how your shirt is super good at disguising stains because you totally remember waking up mostly inside of a bag of cheetos that morning and hardly anyone has mentioned it. Or maybe people are noticing but haven't bothered to say anything because, really? On Friday you sell your books back and buy a new pair of sweatpants and a bottle of shampoo. You don't even have to try hard for your friends to make you heavy-laden with compliments. After all of that, the standards--they have been changed. You know each other on a very human level here. All it takes is a single shower and clean teeth for everyone to notice what a beauty you really are.

It sounds horrible, doesn't it? I miss it. I miss the rules and the deadlines and the pressure and the feeling of oneness that you have with everyone. Like you're all on the same sinking ship, shoveling water out of the boat with the palms of your hands. Only it's not really like that because when it comes down to it, you can't save your friends. On Friday afternoon it's all over. Everyone is relieved and no longer afraid. Somehow the ship didn't sink--or maybe it did but you've done all that you can do. So everyone goes out to the lake and sits in the muddy bank and play truth-or-dare and laugh and laugh and laugh until someone says something particularly shocking. Then everyone will go home and feel weird about that one thing that one guy said.

I was hanging out with some people that I did not know the other night--that was fun. But someone said something about a ten-page paper that was due. There were talks of citing sources and bibliography pages that were due. I was getting such a lady boner just hearing about it. I miss it so much. I miss having to use my brain and having hard-copy evidence of something that I'd worked so hard for. In writing this post, I went through the old papers that I wrote just to see the notes that professors had written. This one is my favorite that was written at the end of a Character Analysis Essay that I wrote comparing the Grandmother and the Misfit in O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find.
"Interesting premise, Libby. I'm trying to follow it all. ... I'm not convinced about their common traits. But I'm pliable. I'll give it another read.
[Further down the page]
Okay--it's reasonable."

And if my professor hadn't been so pliable (a not-so-admirable trait in the long run, but who's going to argue?), I wouldn't have gotten that A on this paper in 2004. Not to mention, any fool who's read A Good Man is Hard To Find would totally agree with my thesis. It was such an easy concept that I considered scrapping it entirely. There's zero convincing to be done. For the record.

*That. Happened. And I am ashamed. I'm sorry, Amy.