Tag Archives: life

Here’s to 2016 and finishing…hey what’s that over there?!

The end of the year is a good time to reflect on what you meant to do…and all the things you managed to accomplish. Hopefully, the first list isn’t too demoralizing and the second list is a pleasant “oh, that is nice!”

I’ve written less than I wanted to in 2015, or rather, written fewer frivolous things. Day job required use of new skills. It’s been fun, but I was also reminded that it can be absolutely terrifying and frustrating when learning something new. You get quite good at things that you’ve done for years, that you forget the time when those tasks used to be challenging. Then, you handily pass off that experience as “youthful angst”, conveniently forgetting that much of that angst came from the whole, not-knowing-jack-shit part of life.

I live in a place which values surface youth in an exaggerated, and some might say, unhealthy manner. But really, the best part about being young, is acceptance of the fear of the unknown while maintaining a sense of optimism. This is the combination that allows you to grow and become more.

We accept this state when we’re young, and then we get older and we (and everyone else around us) expects us to “calm the fuck down.”  But fear of the unknown is a universal, timeless human condition. Embracing this, and being kind to one another would be much more sensible than trying to find someone or something to blame for a situation that is just a part of being alive.

(Unless you join a cult and prescribe entirely to their belief system and set of pat answers. )

And so for anyone who is afraid of trying something new, traveling on your own, ending a bad relationship (platonic or otherwise), getting a new job…remember: it’s okay to fear the unknown (see also, “Hamlet”), but learn to embrace it. Good things are out the in the wild.

Years ago, after another retroactively comedic relationship went down in flames, a friend comforted me by reminding me how quickly life can suddenly change. So, in the same way I had found myself suddenly devastated, I could also find myself giddily exhilarated. Now,  with someone that is so great, that years later, I still pinch him, just to make sure he’s a real person and not a figment of my imagination; I am reminded of how I couldn’t have possibly planned this.

So 2016, I wish for all of you, sublime moments of unexpected, giddy exhilaration, much love, many friends, and new adventures.

Happy new year!


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Personal Peanut Allergy

Recently, I was thinking about bias. You know, when you meet someone that you just don’t like, and there’s no logical reason.

I mean, there isn’t one if you actually sat yourself down and thought about it

But most of the time, you don’t think about it; you go by your “gut.”

And sometimes, that’s okay. Maybe your gut is remembering that the creepy dude at the bar looks like a wanted poster you saw recently.

So obviously, I’m not talking about those potentially life threatening instances. I’m talking about those random moments, when you meet someone and just don’t like that person, even though you know that they are harmless.

Here’s the thing about being human ; if we don’t have a good reason, we will make one up. We will imagine an insult, or decide that person talks too loud, or is too much of a pushover. Pretty much anything to vilify (even slightly) the other person so that we don’t have to admit that we have no real reason.

The problem with irrational biases, is they are about as difficult to overcome as they are unfair. Perhaps you really don’t like that person because he reminds you of the kid who bullied you in third grade. Or you’ve never liked tall people because they make you feel short, and you were picked on for being short.

These examples sound ridiculous, except that not everyone knows or remembers the origins of their likes and dislikes; they simply all get bundled into the general business of living.

The first step to trying to overcome irrational biases, is of course, to acknowledge that you have them. Most people don’t like to admit that they’re biased, much less irrational. But perhaps it would make you feel better to know that just about everyone is irrational about something; it’s a side effect of being alive.

Obviously, if you’re irrationally biased about entire groups of people, you really should work on it.

But what if it’s just something mild? Like you don’t hate the person, but he has an annoying tic that drives you up the wall? What then? It’s not like you’re unaware that this is an irrational bias, but if you have to hear this dude chewing loudly one more time, you’re afraid you will punch him.

If you’re like me, this kind of awareness often comes with a heaping dose of guilt. What does it say about you, that you cannot overlook this admittedly minor fault? What if you know said loud chewer regularly donates his time to saving puppies? You must be a terribly petty person! Which is another reason to dislike this person! He makes you feel petty!

This is how I manage it.

Try to think of your dynamic with this person as, say, a peanut allergy. There’s is nothing inherently wrong with peanuts. In fact, you would be the first to acknowledge that the peanut is an amazing source of low cost protein, as well as a beloved addition to chocolate and many baked goods.

But unfortunately, you’re allergic.

Not deathly allergic, but certainly enough that you need to be aware of it and limit your exposure.

What would be irrational is to blame the peanut for your allergy. The peanut simply is, it hasn’t done anything wrong. Your allergy is your responsibly to manage.*

Realizing that you are not required to like everyone, but you should show a basic level of civility (be responsible for your own reactions) is very freeing.

It also makes it feel much less personal when you realize someone doesn’t seem to like you through no reason you can fathom. Perhaps you are their peanut allergy!

There’s only a problem when people act like they’re going to go into encephalitic shock when running into someone. I do think some people really are toxic** to each other; and my advice is to never invite them to the same party.

Or if you must, see if you can also invite your social equivalent of an epi-pen.

*It occurs to me that I enjoy using food as analogies for emotional states. It gives a whole new spin to emotional eating, I suppose.

**Always keep in mind, there are also those unfortunate people who are more like arsenic, or one is bleach and the other is ammonia; two things that should never be mixed in close proximity. Avoiding these people is not cruelty; it is self preservation. Just make sure to at least ask the question: arsenic or peanuts?


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Oh my god, I’m living in the FUTURE and it is AWESOME

When I was a teen, not only did I dress like a turn of the century spinster, I was also a die hard, 2 stacks of books a day, reading until 3 am bookworm.

I know! I was soooo popular! Everyone wanted to be me!*

If you love reading, you look at a stack of books the way a chocoholic looks at a box of fancy chocolates, with delirious anticipation. Consequently, when you’re dying to read something and the bookstores are closed, you might devolve from deprived chocoholic to deprived crack addict.

So when eReaders first came on the scene a few years ago, I was thrilled. This is what I’ve always wanted! I was now the chocoholic with a 24 hour candy store at my disposal, diabetes be damned!**

I was not, however, a chocoholic with unlimited funds.

Enter, Overdrive.com.

Overdrive.com allows you to check out books from your local library without having to worry about opening hours or that suspicious looking guy in the corner that you know is just using the library’s Internet to surf for porn.

Some caveats, you’ll need an actual library card. And like a real library, not all the books you want will be in stock and there’s likely a wait list for the most popular titles.

But still, this means that at midnight, you can check out a book from the library. Also, let’s face it, there’s a lot of books that you really only want to read once, or don’t want to admit you read at all, much less spend money on.

I realize for kids today, downloading a book is simply what it means to buy a book; something wholly unremarkable. The hipster kids of tomorrow will carry around worn copies of a bound books as a sign of vintage cred. And they’ll troll around antique stores, looking at stacks of ancient romance novels, fingering the musty, yellow pages, and think “Just imagine! People used to read like this!”

Which, to be honest, is still what I think when I see old romance novels now.

*this is a lie
**I’ll just drop the crack addict metaphor here…in the interests of good taste. Don’t do drugs kids!

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Why it’s good to have smart friends with lousy memories

I once had a friend who could casually drop quotes from a famous astrophysicist, segue into a comment about Germany in the 30s, and end with his ideas about Harry Potter.

But while his memory for facts and figures was phenomenal, he had a TERRIBLE memory for personal details, about himself, about those around him, about what time he was supposed to show up for his own parties…

He continually made clever observations which he would never remember making.

So I would often impress him with his own words from previous conversations.

It generally went something like this:

ME: Yeah. I met a guy who is a spherical bastard.*

HIM: Wow! I love that quote from Zwicky! I didn’t know you were into astrophysics!

ME: I’m not. You told me about him last week.

HIM: Oh.

A few weeks later…

ME: Ok, so that guy wasn’t so much a spherical bastard, as a cubical one…**

HIM: Ha! I love Zwicky! I didn’t know you were into astrophysics!

ME: …

I haven’t seen the guy for years, but I’m sure that he still remembers me as more intelligent than I am.

I doubt he’ll remember why though.

*someone who is a bastard no matter what angle you look at him
**when I come across a good description, I tend to overuse it, like a much loved t-shirt

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have a deep and abiding love for cheese. So much so that an ex-boyfriend once complained that he wished I was as excited about him as I was about cheese.

He had a point.

(When I repeated the complaint to a friend of mine, he said my response should have been: “Because cheese satisfies me.”)


I’m not the socially acceptable version of a cheese lover, as I even like the stuff that spells “cheese” with a “z” and ends with the word “whiz”. I have regular cravings for food that belong to the group I call “the orange group.” (And I don’t mean carrots and oranges.)

Not only is cheese delicious, but bad cheese products are a useful metaphor for trying times.

For example:

Sometimes you know you want to wallow in the drama of a situation, but feel you’re too grown up to do so. Well, like Cheetos*, it’s okay to indulge once in awhile, even necessary. In fact if you try to hold back, you just make it worse.

So go ahead, swoon over that celebrity crush, admit that you just don’t like someone for no discernible reason except that she physically resembles the girl who bullied you in eighth grade, throw a tantrum because you discovered that your favorite teacup has a chip in it.

But then stop. Because you shouldn’t overdo it. Scarfing down a whole bag of Cheetos will make you feel gross afterward, and then embarrassed and dirty when you’re caught.

Don’t overindulge in Emotional Cheetos(TM), is what I’m saying.

*Edit: A friend of mine pointed out that I had spelled Cheetos wrong. I’m so ashamed. It’s like a catholic not knowing the name of the pope!


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Disney princesses

So I watched “Tangled” the other night, Disney’s newest princess movie.

While other animation studios have produced beautiful and inspiring work, none of them match Disney’s for pure nostalgia value. Not only did I grow up watching their movies, my mother did too.  That’s powerful stuff.

I really liked this movie. Sure I nitpick about where the story line pushes the boundaries of “willing suspension of disbelief”, but it hit all those notes that reminded me of what I loved as a kid.  It was like finding a picture of yourself in  a rainbow shirt and a side ponytail and going, “awwww, I remember that!” instead of “OMG! Why did I think that was an okay look?”

However, what I completely missed as a kid was how much barely controlled hormones factored in Disney romances.  The heroes and heroines are, after all, teenagers.   But even the most devout and prudish would find their behavior faultless

All Rapunzel and her prince REALLY want to do is hold hands.  And maybe kiss.  BUT THAT’S IT.  Dad can safely put away the shotgun.

But really, this expression :

is basically a subtler version of this:

Kids…that ain’t love.  That’s lust.

I suppose that’s part of the poignancy of watching the movies; when the hero and heroine fall in lust, they actually get lucky, and it is also love. Cue the happily ever after.

As an adult, you know that’s not always the case.  Which is why in real life,  the princess runs off with the dumb guy on the motorcycle, and the prince runs off with the stripper.

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The siren call of a sale

I know I’m not the only one susceptible to it; the compulsion to buy something just because it’s on sale.

Do I need it? Is it flattering? Does it even fit?

WHO CARES?!?  It’s 40% off!  I will FIND a reason to need it.

This is what I’ve learned from a lifetime of always buying on sale; you will almost inevitably have a home filled with a combination of  1) things that are almost like the thing you actually wanted and 2)things you don’t even particularly like but were such a good deal that it felt like saving money to buy it.

I’ve seen entire houses decorated in this fashion.   They are inevitably ugly and schizophrenic.   I went to an open house a few years ago, I could tell the house had been carpeted with “on sale” carpet.  I know this because there was a strong smell of carpet glue and because the carpet itself was a vivid, Pepto Bismal pink.  Only Barbie or a color blind drag queen would have found this color acceptable.

The internet has made controlling this compulsion worse because there is literally a sale every day, somewhere, and they will offer free shipping.  I am on Banana Republic’s mailing list. I need to get off of it because they write me every day. I don’t have any friends who write me as often as Banana Republic does. Banana Republic is the stalker bearing gifts (for 40% off).

My struggle this week? Tarte cosmetics is having a sale.  Are their products any good? I have no idea. But now I want some.

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