Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hopes, Dreams, Goals, Meh.

I've been reading The Daily Love for a few weeks now. It's nice and refreshing and sweet sometimes. It's nice to have a little boost every now and again that by accepting, loving and being yourself--you're doing favors to everyone. When you have grace with yourself, it's easier to offer grace to other people. Not only that but everyone in your community will benefit from being in the presence of honesty and who doesn't want to extend that to their friends?

But you know how sometimes you find yourself beat over the head with certain themes for a while? It's kind of like how you're thinking of buying a particular car and then, suddenly, everywhere you look you see that particular car. It's a little like that--it's morning time, though, and I'm only a few sips into my coffee and maybe now isn't the most effective time for similes but I'll continue. I've been hearing about "success", "goals", "dreams" so much lately that it makes me think about my own. More particularly that I don't... I want to say this delicately. I don't really have them. I never really have. And, shocker, it hasn't really posed as a serious problem to me in my life except in the case of job interviews. When you say, "I don't really have a five-year-plan" it kind of makes you look like a slacker but what an interviewer should hear is, "I could probably be happy here forever. Never really know." It's bothered a few people in my life. Those super motivated types who never really understood that I didn't have long-term hopes and dreams.

I mean, I have things that I would like to do. Since Arryn turned 30, I've been thinking about it a lot and there are a few things that I would like to do before I turn the big 3-0 in two and a half years. Not because I feel like 30 means anything monumental but because it's nice to have a cut-off date for things. Do you want to know what's on my Thirty List? Only a few things. Okay, I'll tell you.
-I want to take a train to the North West portion of the US, pit stopping along the way. Preferably going from Kansas to California and North from there. I never wanted to visit California but Anne Lamott has made me really want to explore the San Fransisco Bay area. I want this trip to take at least a week and a half. Is that greedy?
-I want a bed that has a headboard that I can lean against to read. I've never had a bed that permitted such a luxury. If I lean against the wall in my current bed, it rolls out from under me.
-I want to maintain a reasonable vegetarian diet for at least a year. Reasonable being, not inconvenient to the people around me. I have no qualms about eating animals. It's more from a perspective of exercise in self-control. Subsequently, I don't want to be wasteful of others' resources. If you invite me to dinner, I plan to eat your meatloaf. Or whatever.

Yeah, those are just some things that I want to do but they're not goals. They're not a measure of success. They're nothing with a high-end. Just some life experiments and treats. Totally attainable.

I think when it really comes down to it my highest goal is to be helpful, loving and honest to everyone around me. That is my measure of success. I don't care about jobs or money--I've never really had much and I'm making due in a beautiful little world without it. I think I'm making due because I'm currently so surrounded with so much Unconditional. That's what I'll call it. This place--this apartment in this town with these people, my friends--the friends that I've had for a decade and the friends that I've had for a week--it all came to me exactly when I needed it as I've needed it. I'm grateful. It's hard to not choose to be happy when you're so thankful at everything that you see. That is--most days. Many times I am out of my mind with worry or insecurities. I don't want to give off some hippy, happy idea that's not the case. But mornings like this where it's dark like it's going to rain and people are mowing the lawn before it starts. The coffee is mixed exactly like I love it, I'm listening to oldish Wilco and I'm planning to make dinner for my friends, tonight--it's hard to focus on those things that can bogg down a brain.

I know not everyone feels that way this morning, and that's okay. When you feel full you can share with those who are running on empty. I hope I do that in measure. Come to my house, eat tacos. Feel the loves.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Delicious, Delicious, Cocaine

Yesterday we got too serious. Today is full of screen shots and humor. And also deliciousness.
I saw this picture over at Tastespotting, today and I have to admit that I'm past the point of being frickin' annoyed about how everyone thinks they're just adorable for putting the word "crack" in front of a food item. What the hell kind of a world are we living in? "Say 'no' to drugs, kids. But you know what's soooo good? Like, delicious. Like--ugh! I can't even describe it, it's like caramel and whipped cream only instead of eating it you sniff it up your nose. No--no--no it's awesome. But it's so awesome that if you try it once you'll never stop tasting it's sweet, sweet awesomeness and you'll die. So... like I said, say 'no' to drugs. Even delicious ones that taste like caramel corn, I guess."
I mean what the hell, you guys? So I did a quick search and took a screen shot of the stupid, inappropriate usages of "crack" as found at I didn't even try hard. I'm sure throughout the internet there are millions of stay at home moms thinking they're super edgy.

I could have accepted "Crack Cookies", possibly. If they were all crackly or something but no way are you skating by with "'Crack' Cookies."
Okay, actually better known as, "I just want to find the quickest and most delightful way to kill you a little bit." Bacon: Heart disease, Bourbon: alcohol poisoning, Caramel corn: I'm going to choke you and glue your molars together, how does that sound?
Popcorn again? Really? You at least get points for using the word "addictive". You may be dumb but you're not stupid and I applaud that.

And now, all those brownies that are "just like crack". Delicious, delicious crack cocaine.
They're not known as that, that's what you call them at your PTA meetings and all the ladies "ooh" and "aah" but you know what? They go home and they talk to their husbands about how Patty brought these brownies and seemed to know just a little too much about illicit drugs.
Look at that! Again. You guys must be in the same PTA.
Yeah, we know you didn't come up with the name but you could probably come up with a different name. Try something realistic like, "better than brownies that don't contain peanut butter" or "better than getting mocked on the internet by some girl who totes stole that recipe after she screen shot that picture". (Not true, I didn't take that recipe. I only like real drugs in my brownies.)
Oh look at that. Garlic is like crack too, huh? Wow. I like it. It's delicious. Delicious and gives me bad breath but not delicious and makes me jittery and emaciated. So, whatever. Potato/ potato.
Oh my gosh! :) Garlic again! That's so... clever or something. Ah! Careful! Don't get addicted to the garlic chips. Don't start paying for these chips by the kilo or anything. Unless you're willing to do that... in which case, I'm looking to open up shop.
Seriously? That's too far. You're kidding me. This blog is called "whiteonricecouple" well... I would guess so. These are the same people who brought you the Garlic Knots that are worth ruining your life over. Real cool, guys.
Okay, now there. You see that? That is how you describe a friggin delicious cheesecake. No crack. D.A.R.E. to keep foodies off drugs, y'all.

Have we forgotten what crack is really like? You know what's like crack??

How delicious are those brownies?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Losing a Parent: Comforting a Complete Stranger

When I go to the store and I'm having an interaction with my cashier, I don't know how you do it but I generally stick to "how are you doing, today?" and I go from there. They're doing their job and I don't really want to distract them too terribly, lest I get over-charged for the romaine that shouldn't cost nearly $3.00 anyway, if you're asking me. I know that's not the only way to interact with someone who's helping you but I like to think it's a pretty reasonable, average way to go about paying for produce.

I do work in the business of servicing customers, though, and I learned early on that customers like to get personal. I think there are a lot of things that allow them to feel free enough to get more personal with me than with, say, the lady who's ringing up your light bulbs. There aren't a whole lot of people in my section of the store and there's almost never a line waiting behind you. On top of that, it's my business to get personal with them, as well. Though on my end it's a little more from a medical standpoint than a personally invasive one.

Sometimes in life, you have to work on holidays. That's no big deal. I don't mind being the one to work holidays because I'm pretty much the only one at work who doesn't have a family or something like that.
When you work on Memorial Day people say, "What are you doing for Memorial Day??" And I say, "I'm working!" And then we have a mutual chuckle.
When you work the day before Easter (because we're never open on Easter) almost everyone says, "Will you get to see your family tomorrow??" And I... answer accordingly or something.
I learned, yesterday, that when you work on Father's Day, almost everyone says, "Did you call your dad today?"

I'll interrupt here to address my initial, blanket feelings about the fact that my father passed away. It should be noted that there are millions of complex and confusing and terrible and yes, even happy feelings that go along with losing a parent and I'll address those at other times, I'm sure. But by and large, on the whole, it's just a fact of my life. Over the course of these ten years, I've learned to live with it and accept it. When I was in college I was having a very hard time dealing with the fact that my life was progressing without my dad. I didn't know if I was grieving properly because I wasn't sad all of the time. I didn't commemorate him at every little milestone. And despite the fact that he crossed my mind (and still does) on average, every few hours, I didn't even talk about him with most people. I saw a counselor about it a few times who talked to me about walking beside my father. He said that I could hold my dad out in front of me and introduce this fact of my life to everyone that I met and let this loss define me. Another option was that I could push him so far behind me that I try to forget about him completely--and that might work for a little bit until, you know, his birthday or Father's Day comes up and then I'll be spooked by a ghost and find myself crumpled on the floor. And that would happen. Or, I could just accept the fact that he's not going anywhere--but I am, and I could bring him alongside me so that he doesn't define me or scare the crap out of me. And I think that's what I've done. That's what makes it easy to go through Father's Day like it's just another Sunday.

So, yeah, that's how I feel about it. So when people say, "did you call your dad, today?" I find ways around it by saying, "Well, I've been at work all day so far." Or they say, "How are you spending Father's Day?" And I say, "Working!" Oh, hahahaha, doy. And they take that to mean that I'll call him when I get home. That makes everyone feel better.

But then someone else came up, yesterday, who said "What did you do for your dad today?" Something overcame me, maybe it was the frustration with the fact that almost everyone that I had encountered so far just assumed that we're all the same and we all have happy, functional, alive relationships with our fathers. Maybe it was the fact that I just couldn't figure a way to weasel out of an answer but I just said it, "Well, actually, my father has passed away."

People usually respond one of two ways when they hear this news:
A. A deep, respectful nod and usually, "I'm very sorry to hear that." To which (I've learned) the appropriate response is, "thank you." And that's the end of that conversation.
B. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry!!" But they're not sorry that I've had to live my life without my dad, what they're sorry about is the fact that they've reminded me of it--as though it's something that I've ever forgotten. They're also embarrassed that they just assumed that I'm just like them. They got caught being a little, innocently ego-centric. These are people who have never really lost anyone aside from maybe a pet or a grandma when they were 8. Which is fine, and it's still a hurtful loss but it's just not the same. I would prefer that no one ever really have to go through that feeling. I wouldn't mind being the last one.

To lose someone from your everyday life is life-altering to say the very, very least. They say, "I'm so sorry" and you can pretty much watch the seven stages of grief wash over their face all in succession. I've known this fact for ten years but they're just hearing it for the first time. Over time I've accepted the fact that some people just respond that way and that's when you have to encounter the most backwards part of grieving: comforting a complete stranger. In public. You have to find a way to make them feel better.

Generally, it is my instinct to make it into a joke. Through experience I've learned that responding to "I'm so sorry" with "did you do it?!" is not funny to anyone but yourself. Don't do it. Don't ever do it. I generally try to smile to let them know that I'm not going to lose my shit or anything and I'll explain that it happened a long time ago. Then they go about the rest of their day and go out into the parking lot and text all their friends, "OMFG u'll nvr guess what s2pid thing i just sed." They'll probably tell that story for the next few weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

So Much Cake Happened to Me

Last week I didn't write much of anything because I only had complaints to fill all of the space. This week I haven't written anything because I've been so happily, distractedly busy that there just hasn't been any time at all. Which is good, because I expected the opposite of this. In honor of the deliciousness of this week I'm going to get while the getting's good and double up on the gratitude and make a list of six things that I loved. Hopefully there will be tons of pictures. I didn't take a lot of pictures but everyone else did. I'll find them. I'll find them.

1. The time that Kiki ran away but then returned after the weekend was over.
She was gone for a weekend and then she came back. It's like she went to go visit a friend and forgot to tell me. Or something. What a teenager. The internet said that she'd be scared to come out in the day time so after the night time happened, I put a little bowl of food by the door. Before I went to bed, I went out to check and see if I could call her in but there she was just sitting in front of the door. Like we do this all the time. Like she's ever been on that side of the door. She has not. She's been inside for five years. She seems like such a natural at navigating the wilderness, though, that I wonder how often she sneaks out at night. Teenage rebellion, I tell ya.

2. The time I didn't know we were celebrating Justin's birthday. Justin was all, "come over to my house and play games!" And Katie and I were all, "Um... alright." And we get there and there's guacamole--so you know something's up. There are various guests. I made some new friends. I made a just wonderful first impression, more or less, by making an insensitive joke about priests and children... it was a risky move. I'm still not sure how it went over. Not one I'd like to try again. But the best part was the dinosaur cake complete with Stegosaurus and a fully functional volcano. "Fully functional" is a relative term and what I mean by that is that if Justin would have eaten the entire piece that had the volcano on it, he would have thrown up. Justin's birthday is later this month but he had everyone that he wanted to hang out with available to him now. So he threw a tiny birthday party for himself, I guess. It was cute.

3. The time that I wore bright red lipstick all day.
It was a best day ever, to be sure. The lipstick had nothing to do with it but the fact that I was comfortable wearing it out into the public--in the day time--it says a lot about the attitude with which I went strutting about towns. It was Arryn's 2nd Annual 29th Birthday so she and Tish and I spent a supremely schedule-free day together. The only things on the agenda were to eat, at least once, get her a tattoo, watch a movie. We did all of those things in no particular order.
We went to Wichita and wandered around Old Town until we found a place that looked like they wanted us to eat their lunch. We stopped at Cafe Moderne because their gelato refrigerator (like it's not cool enough that a refrigerator dedicated strictly to gelato in the first place exists) looked like a UFO. So, naturally, we wanted a taste of whatever was in that spinning disc. We ate the gelato. We found some coffee. We got tattoo'd. Well, Arryn did but it made me really excited about wanting a new one. I ran my tattoo idea past what's-his-name and he loved it. I love it. I love it so much I'm keeping it a secret.

4. The time I learned a little bit about not being so presumptuous. You know, there are a lot of bits about me that are different than what, I assume, a lot of people would expect from me. And a lot of times I tend to kind of shirk back and not reveal that much of myself to certain people because I just don't want to deal with someone else's reactions to my disappointment of their false expectations. I wouldn't say that I act fake or put-on, or anything. I just tend to keep quieter about a few different aspects of things. Religion, politics, sex, feelings etc.--they're topics that you just learn to avoid in order to keep conversation easy. This week, though, I kind of just took a "fuck it" approach and I was pleasantly surprised by the complete non-reaction that I received. Not only that but I realized that by reigning in these parts of myself to avoid judgement--I have, really, only been passing judgement onto others and making myself believe that I'm cooler than I really am. Hypocrites: they are everywhere. They are me. Peoples is peoples.

5. The time that Arryn's birthday party got tornado'd out. Friday night we had a party in the park and pretty much invited the whole world. Only about 1/3 of the whole world showed up but we had enough food, even if we didn't have a lot of variety. We had cake and that's the important part when it comes to celebrating birthdays. With so many birthdays this week--so much cake happened to me.
Tish made this cake from scratch, though, which is something that I have never, ever attempted. I mean, you watch this girl melt chocolate down and incorporate it into the batter and temper eggs and all sorts of other fancy things that I'm always too chicken to try. Who's birthday is next? Can I make you a from-scratch birthday cake? I want to try. I've always been too chicken but now it's time to face our fears and experiment on someone else's birthday.
Oh, but anyway, we're all having a great time birthdaying. I remember noting the change in weather and saying to a man that I had just met for the first time, "is it going to rain?" He said, "absolutely not." Sidenote: Sometimes in life, people are very certain of things about which they have no idea. Those people are usually at least a little bit wrong. This gentleman, however, was a whole lotta wrong. Like--the most opposite of right that one could possibly ever be in one's life. He's never been and will never be more incorrect about anything ever. So, there's the upside, Guy. He was nice, though. He brought a watermelon.
Everything was getting cleaned up and put away, everyone was just kind of milling around trying to decide if they really wanted to leave or not when a guest drove by and yelled, "You guys! We're in a tornado warning!" I'm not certain that I've ever seen a group of people dissipate faster. Most people were from in-town and ran to their own homes but my friend, Ellie, and her family came home with us and we all squished down into the little bitty basement. The little bitty basement is home to Ryan the Delightful but he is off on holiday and so mostly we just hung out in his house where he was not. It was sorta weird, but you just accept that this is what's happening and hope that you don't get smushed by a tornado. There were five little kids and they all wrestled and made friends with one another on the carpet (they did not break or really even touch anything). Penelope traveled from one edge of the carpet to the other and back. She doesn't crawl, she scoots as though one of her legs is totally lame. One friend is quoted as saying, "she reminds me of Lieutenant Dan". I don't know if that helps with your visual or not but it is incredible to see. I liked that there were so many people all in one place just hanging out, waiting for the storm to pass. This was the first time that I remember ever actually hearing a tornado siren. Don't worry, there was no serious trouble. Just a "rotating wall cloud" which sounds like a big deal to me, but then again I'm not a meteorologist or the type of person who knows what's up with the weather when I actually have no effin clue.
After the warning was over, we went to more spacious quarters. Then my sister called, which leads to favorite thing #6.

6. The time I saved a baby like, friggin, Bruce Willis running away from an exploding building. My sister, Sarah, was driving through this direction. She called and asked me if there was any severe weather warnings in KS. This shocked me because though the warning had passed, the storms outside were straight. up. horrendous. She told me where she was and all I could muster was, "Um... you just drove through all of the tornado warnings." She was kind of panicky, her four kids were panicky and her baby was super hungry and screaming like crazy. We convinced her to drive back to McPherson and get everyone taken care of and calmed down.
Mind you, this is one girl with three kids in car seats and all the diaper bags that go along with that. And with the rain coming down so hard, we knew that she needed all the help she could get. Arryn and I perched at the front door. I tossed my shoes to the wayside--they'd only slow me down. When Sarah drove up, we bolted. Arryn went to get the kids and I went for Owen, my 8 month old nephew. He was being kind of a maniac but I didn't let his attitude sway me from the task at hand. Sarah grabbed the diaper bag and ran. I finagled the little dude out of his car seat, clutched him to my chest, slammed the door shut and then ran like hell through the downpour and the puddles. He's screaming and confused and I'm thinkin' "Go! Go! Go!" Once we got inside, we were both totally drenched but he stopped crying and just stared at me. I know he was thinking, "You're such a bad ass, Aunt Lib. Also you just saved my life and I'll put you up in a retirement home when you are too old to care for yourself." I know, Owen. I know. (I'm not going to tell you about how halfway between the van and the house, I lost my britches. That's not respectable.) Two days later, my jeans were still damp in places. The rain--it was incredible and unsettling.

And that's just a small sampling of the great things about this week. I think that the majority of what is awesome is all based upon perspective. My perspective has been adjusted and I like it this way. I'm well aware that it won't always come so easily but I'll take it when it does.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Three Things I Loved About This Week

Guess what? In true to life form, a lot of things about this week sucked a lot. So much so that it was a little bit impossible for me to think of things that were awesome about this week. In addition to the fact that I truly believed that I was legitimately losing my mind, my house has been an absolute wreck, I hadn't slept a full night in about two weeks and as of Friday night, my cat ran away. I am wracked with guilt about the fact that she was missing for about 24 hours before I even noticed that she wasn't here (she is accustomed to finding wicked excellent hiding spots). The windows fell out of my screen door about a month ago. My landlord said he would have it fixed but it hasn't happened yet and on Friday night, Kiki must have hopped out into the wild blue yonder (yeah, there's an ocean outside or something) and found something magical. Saturday night and into Sunday morning we had some pretty intense storms which only suited to exacerbate the pre-existing guilt condition. I will not bring the cat-loss up with my landlord, though, due to the fact that I'm not actually supposed to have a cat at all. Probably it would be best to not publish that on the interwebs but I'm fairly confident that it would take an act of God to get my landlord to cross digital paths with my blog.
So, yeah, not a lot of awesomeness surrounding this week. Though, that is not to say that none existed. Some nice things are secrets but some of them are not. The following are not secrets:
1. Cat-Loss Sympathy Upon my posting to Facebook about the status of my missing cat, the famous and tallented Katie and I mused that perhaps Kiki had lived such a sheltered life until this point that perhaps what she's experiencing now is a rumspringa of sorts. I hope she leaves the evil world behind and embraces our life that we have here, together. Katie doodles on her take-out boxes, though. And she sent me this photograph following her lunch.
I hope Kiki goes out and has fun like that but I also hope that she doesn't come back with any Kitty STD's. (Terrible joke about blue waffles/ kitties/ strays... I can't say it.)
I've said it before but all of my friends are allergic to Kiki but they all love her so much that they are genuinely sad that she's gone. That makes me feel good. I don't know why but it does. I am confident that she will come back but there's a bit of me that knows that she might not. I hope she loves her new, rebellious life.

2. So Many Delicious Aspects to One Simple Candy
Question: What is the world's most underrated food?
Answer: Marshmallows.
Sub-question: How can we improve this?
Sub-answer: German. Chocolate. Cake. Marshmallows.
If you see these in the grocery store and choose not to purchase them, we're going to need to have a stern talk about priorities. Eat them. Make them into a s'more or something. Eat them!

3. It's Always Spring by I'm From Barcelona I'm giving you the link so that this song will open for you in a new tab. That way you can listen to the song without being subject to that horrible, horrible, ironic mustache. There's not enough irony to cover that. But it's delightful and it kind of cheered me up this morning. "Somewhere it's summer--somewhere it's always spring." I like songs about the summertime. I like the feeling of summertime.
I feel like this summer will be one of the best of my adulthood. I can just feel it in my bones.

Seriously, though. Kiki, if you're reading this, please come home.

Update: Minutes after posting this, Kiki was on my porch. The internets: she has it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Absolute Best Tips on Dating

So you've happened upon a ticket to an event that you weren't previously aware of and are, likely, barely interested in but now your stomach is all up in knots--filled with societal expectations and self-doubt. Congratulations, you're a man now! What do you do? Well, you'd better instigate courtship. But how?! I'm here to help. Well, me and this video.

For those of you who can't watch the video--I'll break it down for you. This will also be helpful for people who need a little extra advice, some more oomph and detail that a 12 minute PSA simply can't provide. Also, while this advice is timeless--I'll try to break it down into a way that will relate to those of us who are courting in the 21st century. Ready? Let's go!

The first thing to remember is that your first date should be something that causes you great anxiety. For the most part, you're not embarking on this adventure because it's something you're interested in, after all. You're just trying to prove something to yourself.

How Do You Choose A Date?
Well, there are so many girls to choose from. It's important to pick the right one. If you were attracted to anyone in particular, it could be helpful but that's not necissarily the case. That would add an additional level of excitement that is best left for more experienced daters. Tip: it's best to keep feelings out of the equation for as long as possible. Heck, some people maneuver a whole lifetime without exhibiting any emotion whatsoever. Later, they will be labeled as "sociopaths" but, later you'll be an embittered middle aged man with a quickly diminishing retirement plan. You'll have other things to worry about.

There are three sorts of girls in this world. Pretty girls, ugly girls, and somewhere in-between girls.
Pretty girls will intimidate you because they're so aware of how pretty they are.
Ugly girls will bore you because they're so aware of how ugly they are.
In-between girls have just the right balance. They're easy to look at, but they are also so accustomed to having to work for attention that they'll constantly be craving your approval and sending subconscious signals that they give enthusiastic head. Tip: Middle-of-the-road girls give the best head. Even the narrator agrees. Before the taping of this PSA, there was a rousing game of Boff, Kill, Marry and it was unanimous: Janice, Betty, Anne.

How Do You Ask for a Date?
First of all, when you're asking for her, use your real name. It's a terrible idea to let your date's parents know right off the bat that all your friends call you Woody. Your mom calls you Woody, too but that's because she doesn't get it. Because she's a woman.

But let's get real, you're not going to call her. People don't call people. They meet on the internets. Or, if they have met in person, they text one another. Phone calls are for emergencies, or relaying quick bits of information, not for anything that would provide you with any sense of vulnerability. You'll have no technology to hide behind in the event that you need to quickly abort. But that doesn't remove the fact that you have to do it right because if you do it wrong, she'll pretend to have other plans. Real talk: she doesn't really have other plans. When you communicate with this girl on Facebook, get it right. You can't afford to screw this up.

Don't be too shy. She will reject you.
From Woody (Tues 12:46 am): I have a ticket to a thing. And it says I can bring someone else so if you don't have anything else going on but you probably do so don't feel like you have to say yes unless you want to say yes. It's on Saturday, the thing. So let me know.
From Woody (Tues 12:56 am): Obviously you aren't interested. Sorry to bother you.
From Woody (Tues 12:58 am): Oh, it's the Hi-Teen Carnival. But we won't be getting high. Unless you wanna. I could probably score something off Barry--he owes me a favor anyway. Let me know--if you wanna. Or not. It's up to you. Saturday.
From Anne (Wed 10:00 am): Well, really? No, thanks, Woody.
And then she will click "reply" and shake her head at your pathetic nature. You blew it.

But, don't be too cocky. She will reject you.
(Posted to Anne's public FB wall) From Woody (four minutes ago): U + Me = fknnn!! Saturday!
From Anne (a three seconds ago): Well, I guess I'm busy.
From Woody (a few seconds ago): Ura bitch
From Betty (a few seconds ago): Woody, I'm not busy on Saturday.

Do it just right. She will always accept. After she checks with her ma and pa.
Text from Woody at 5:32 pm: Hey, if you're not busy on Saturday do you want to meet up at the Hi-Teen Carnival?
Text from Anne at 6:14 pm: Can we go to the bar and heckle the karaoke-rs afterward?
Text from Woody at 6:14 pm: Yes. Yes we can.

And Woody will flop down on his bed and fantasize about Anne eating cotton candy.

If Anne really is busy, though, and you don't feel like waiting for a time when she's not busy. Call Betty.

A few quick tips for the ladies (because, really, your only responsibility is to show up, look pretty and laugh too much): try to dress like a substitute teacher. And not the slutty kind who gives you stickers at the end of the day. The mean ones who mispronounces everyone's names. Sleeves. Collars. Long hemlines. Leave it all to the imagination.
Also, don't be upset if your date is cheap--if you leave him with enough money, he'll be able to take you out again. Or he'll stop at Chipotle on the way home.
If your date gets a flat tire on the way to picking you up--run away. Anyone who encounters a freak accident on such a sacred occasion is a dead-beat and best to be avoided.

Sudden Plot Complication: Flowers? A do or a don't??
The rule of thumb in this video is that you should only bring flowers if it is a momentous occasion--like prom or the first time you're going to go all the way (which is obvi the case with Ed and Mary, this evening).
In real life, I don't know anyone who ever expected flowers on a date (I don't know anyone who dates). Most girls I know would rather get flowers when they've been sick or if it's their birthday. Tip: Always on Valentines day. Even if she says she doesn't believe in commercialism and yadda-yadda-yadda--she wants flowers, okay? She doesn't know it until noon on February 14th, though, so you should just plan ahead or she'll be a little bit pissed. Mostly at herself but she'll take it out on you.

On your date you will learn that all of your fantasies about Anne are true! Hooray! She throws darts. She looks to you when she's proud of herself. She butts in line at the Fortune Telling booth. And oh my god, the hot dog. She's starts out so delicately with the very tip. This is proving to be a fruitful evening.

How Do You Say Goodnight?
Sealing the deal is probably one of the most awkward parts of the evening. Neither of you want to admit that you'd like to touch each other's no-no places just a little bit before you go in the house but you don't want to give the impression that you're totally opposed to the idea. What to do?

Obviously don't just go for the kill. You know just as well as I do that if both of you have had a good time, you'll both be into it. But you can't do that--you didn't even think to buy her flowers, tonight. Not to mention her roommate is home and probably stoned on the couch and won't leave you two alone even if you drop totally obvious hints. It's just not in your best interest. Plus, you took her to the "Hi Teen Carnival", she wasn't expecting this to go anywhere so she didn't shave her legs.

Closing on a first date that doesn't involve any alcohol is totally easy, tell each other how much fun you had. Stand a little too close, and whisper something about how you'd like to do this again sometime. She'll get the shivers. Tip: Don't wait a freakin' week to call her. If you like her, text her when you get home or some time the next day, at the latest. If you don't like her, avoid her. You don't owe her anything--unless you owe her something.
When you get home, you will feel the desire to text her a picture of your erect penis. Tip: do not do this. That is strictly third date behavior.

And that's how you successfully maneuver a first date. I hate to break it to you, though, the second date is where things start to really get tricky.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Internet is a Weird Place to Spend So Much Time

This is a collection of screen shots that I've been accruing over the course of a few weeks. They will be divided into a three different categories:
  1. The Internet Robots Want to Make Sure That They Are the Only Robots on the Internet.
  2. The Internet Robots are Watching Your Every Move.
  3. Miscellaneous Things That Do Not Involve Internet Robots

Let's just dive right in, shall we?
1. The Internet Robots Want to Make Sure That They Are the Only Robots on the Internet and so they devised this flawless plan. Now I never, ever get spammed. Except when I still do.

"Captcha" is a word, now. I guess.

2. The Internet Robots are Watching Your Every Move and they report back to me. I learn all sorts of things about you. Like, a lot of you are coming from! OMG, like thanks and stuff and I'm all flattered that you'd associate with me or whatever. Let's see where else are you coming from? ...Hummer Club? What the fuck, you guys?
Sometimes I say, "I will look at the stats and see if anything weird happened to my blog when I wasn't watching."

And then I see that over the course of one hour, despite the complete dead time on either side, one day at 8:00 am, over fifty people looked at my page. Weird, Internet. Weird. It has me racking my brain trying to figure out what that was about but, nope, nothing special. Just one of those weird flukes.

Let's see what phrases people use to find their way over here, this is always fun:Someone's so smart to a) read Anne Lamott, b) know that "don't be an asshole" is the number one rule and then c) read my page. I'm certain we'd be friends.
Huh. Someone Googled "morrissey teeth". That's weird.
Someone thinks I drink too much... that's cool. I'm, you know, comfortable with my amount of alcohol intake but if you want to be judgy, that's cool. I guess.
"Morrissey teeth, again?" Alright.
Who the hell put "Bronte" and "Macfarlane" in the same search box?
"Lies told by hideous men" oh, that just makes me sad.
"Morrissey teeth"... yet again.
Bup. Bup. Bup. If there's one thing that's more sad than the search for "lies told by hideous men", it would have to be "hideous men, sex scene" directly followed by "if a girl say you are not my type". Oh, it's a pitiful day on the interwebs.

3. Miscellaneous Things That Do Not Involve Internet Robots but things that I saw that I either loved a lot, like this comment about John Green from a YouTube video...
...or things that I did not like so much, like how Netflix created a film genre based on my past movie choices? I will have to say that I don't agree with Netflix's assessment of my cinematic tastes.

And... am I wrong? Is "bong" something else entirely? Like, something that is conducive to Mommy Blogging and cherry pie and curly typeface?
This won't work. Never will this ever, ever, work:
And when I found this retweet by Zooey Deschanel from Ben Gibbard about Dave Bazan's new record and their friendship and what not, I got kind of a girl boner just thinking about it.

Enjoy your day!
Love, love, love, your friend, Libby.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How I Came To Understand Some Universal Truths or That Time I Blew Off The Interview That Would Have Made Me The Cool Kid in School

In college I wrote for the school newspaper for two semesters as was the required amount of time to endure such adversity. I was not a girl who was made for journalism. I don't like it, not even remotely. My academic adviser (the only journalism professor) had it in her mind from day one that I was a journalism major and signed me up for every single class. Granted, we didn't have a whole lot of English courses and I wanted to get any bit of writing instruction that I could so I took all of them and got sold my AP Stylebook after every semester swearing that I'd never need it again. I had to re-purchase it three more times and then once when I was in South Dakota. Finally, despite the fact that I'm through with college (for the foreseeable future) I have a copy of that blasted stylebook and I turn to it more often than I'd like to. Even still. Just for my blog. Just for you.

So anyway, I wrote for the newspaper and I was bad at it. It became evident very quickly that I couldn't write news because news was stupid and I didn't give two craps about it. Why would I want to write an article about how many millions of dollars were being spent on a new building that wouldn't even be sufficient for the need at hand when all it did was make me (and the rest of the student body) really pissed off that there were other areas that were suffering hugely? I couldn't write sports for the obvi reasons that I did not even remotely care. Finally I had a meeting with the editor who asked, "in your intro to journalism class, what did you excel at writing?"
"Obituaries." (It was true. I liked it.)
"Oh... We'll find something."

And that's when they created a section just for me. Feature writing: I was/ am pretty good at that. It's the truth stuff that news is made of but it's not boring as hell. It's about interesting things that people care about. Not that people don't care about how the budget is being spent--not that people don't care about war or who won what game when. Some people care about that but I know that I couldn't be the only person who didn't. I don't remember what my feature was called but every two weeks I profiled a student. I'd sit down with him/her and we'd interface and I'd find out what was exciting about them and I'd write 400 words or so about it. And it was awesome. I loved it.

But they wanted me to write about people on campus that everyone knew about. They wanted me to write about a football player who, I don't know, had overcome adversity to get to his place on the team. That was fine--I could have done that but he'd already spoken in chapel. They wanted me to write about the kid who danced all by himself, publicly, out on the campus mall. But anyone who had any interest in him had already gone up to meet him. And purchased mushrooms. And walked away happy. I was not excited about those characters who were happy to make themselves known. Those who went out of their way to share themselves. My editors were getting a little frustrated with my ideas but for the first one (mostly because they were also students and I was such a nice/ weird girl who never stuck to her guns except in this one case--and they didn't know how to say "no") they just let me do what I wanted.

I went to the online student directory (oh, no, Facebook had yet to make it to MidAmerica) and scrolled down all of the names in the freshman class and picked the most boring-looking, banal individual that I could find. And I called him. And I asked him if I could write a story about him. And he thought I had him confused with his roommate or something but I wasn't. Reluctantly and mysteriously (even to me) he agreed. And we met over chicken nuggets in the cafeteria and I asked him all kinds of leading questions hoping that he'd give me something to go on. It took a while but eventually we got into his heart and found the subject that made him laugh--whatever it was that took the edge off for him and I let him talk about it for about a half an hour. I snapped his picture, shook his hand and went back to my dorm where I wrote twice as much about this boy than I was supposed to. And when the paper came out a few days later, Ben was on the front page and I got to keep my feature just the way I wanted it.

Truthfully, and this is a truth that I never really spoke to anyone: I was intimidated by the on-campus celebrities. I was scared of them. I thought I couldn't write their story in a way that they couldn't tell it better. A lot of journalists find it easier to talk to anyone because they've got the notebook between them but that never helped me. I wasn't scared of ordinary people because I was an ordinary person.

One night I got an opportunity to interview Bradley Hathaway. I was writing for the paper at the time but I hadn't been asked to write this article. I was just going to write a feature about him and submit it and hope that they liked it. If they didn't, no big deal. Bradley Hathaway, at the time, was the star of the hip, Christian, white-kid community that my campus so eagerly embraced. A poet? Oh, but he wrote a poem about boobies that makes boys feel okay about being virgins because humping is an act of worship--I guess? Oh, okay then. Now they like him. A "hardcore," virgin poet. I learned that he was going to be playing a show downtown in Kansas City and I emailed him, asking if I could get a quick interview. He agreed--which surprised me and I went to his show.

And, there, I saw that he wasn't that cool. Just a guy. (Who kind of irritated me a smidge--sorry, Bradley, if you are the type to Google yourself and happen to read this, it was all a part of my growing up.)
I left.
Without talking to him.
Because I had been scared of him.
Because he was a "cool kid". Much cooler than me.
And I was deeply ashamed of myself for having actually believed that.

It still amazes me when people really, truly believe that they're something unremarkable. Ben was just a kid from a town. He didn't have any notable features. A guy of average interests who was genuinely surprised to learn that there could be anything of note to his personality. Anyone who's kind and humble and interesting should feel this way, I suppose. Anyone who's kind and humble is interesting and deserves to be known. There's fewer things to be distracted by when you're not blinded by the obviously fascinating. You can get into the real, human part easier. There's less of a guard.

Anyway, that's the story of how I kept from failing Newspaper.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I will never stop being astounded by all that goes into being a person. I hope.

If I'm going to be totally straightforward with you, at this point in the day at this point in my week it's hard for me to come up with things that were awesome. But that's just the funk in which human people sometimes find themselves. I'm sure by the end of this, I'll be completely overcome with excitement. It's 9:30 am. I haven't had breakfast and I'm only 1/2 a coffee in. Give a girl a break and an American Spirit from the yellow pack and we'll be in working order. We'll try, anyway.

1. Garam Masala and Beautiful, Gracious Friends Who Are, Thankfully, Not Picky Eaters: I have been dying to make Indian food for years. At first I didn't have a kitchen that was my own. Then, when I did have a kitchen, I didn't have money to go about buying the extravagant ingredients that go into exotic dishes (turns out, there's really nothing expensive or extravagant about it). The hard part is finding the spices but after you have them, then you can do anything. And they're not expensive. I bought an ounce of garam masala at The Spice Merchant in Wichita and it cost me $.90. That's going to make several, several dishes. I made Indian Butter Chicken for my friends the other night. Despite the fact that this recipe was created by the British to be a little more on the mild side, and that's why I thought it would be a good introductory dish for me, it was still spicy as hell. I'm such a wimp. I have a delicate palate. But I'm going to just have to push through, the same way I learned to love beer and wine. Just drink it until you don't hate it anymore because this is something you want to do. Next up, we'll be experimenting with Korma. Ooooh, thrilling!

2. Louis C.K. and His Truly Graceful Ability to Extract My Thoughts Exactly (but express them in more coherent, if not impressively raunchy ways): I'm thinking about one bit in particular that I heard on but I can't find anywhere else on the internet and I'm not going to write about it because I'll ruin it so basically point number two was, essentially, worthless. Sorry. But you can watch this (which you should have already seen years ago) and then watch this and get a gist for what I'm talking about. It's old. It's not what I heard this week but it's true--which is, essentially, the point I came here to make, I guess.

3. Really, when I'm thinking about the things that I liked most about this week it comes to mind as a sort of mental montage of these intangible and difficult to describe, pleasant things. Not only are they difficult to describe but I sort of don't want to, anyway. I don't know if that happens to you or not. There are a lot of things in my life that I want to talk about. I am a self-proclaimed over-communicator. It's absolutely the case. I mean, I keep a blog. I don't post something every day but I assure you, I am constantly--constantly writing things in this internet machine. Most things I delete because they're not interesting to anyone but me.
But something new is happening in me and there are things that I don't want to ruin with words. Words are wonderful, beautiful things but they are not perfect. They are so limiting. So many things just can never be said. There are some things that no one will know except for me. Not secrets. I'll try, but only to suit as proof that it's impossible to capture.

A whole bottle of moscatto in, I'm in the purple chair in the corner and people are all around in my apartment. Snuggled on couches, surrounded by blankets and texture and indirect lighting and perched on folding chairs because we've run out of squishy places to sit. We're eating and laughing and sharing stories. I'm happy and delirious and floppy and my eyes can't focus on much for longer than half a second before they get bored and want to see something else. I glance across the room and my friend is looking at me--at my eyes and I can hold that gaze for a few quick seconds before I get embarrassed and look away. That--that quick bit in that extensive context: that's the kind of thing that you can't write about. That's the kind of thing you can't share because it's just something that only I know. And now I've cheapened it a little bit but only because you probably think you get it, and maybe you do a little bit but you don't get it like I do.
I didn't tell you about my favorite few seconds, though. There's a better one that I'm going to keep just for me.

I will never stop being astounded by all that goes into being a person. I hope.