Sunday, March 29, 2015

a little trip to iceland

Friends, I went to Iceland recently. When the phone rings and your friend says, "I found a Groupon for a trip to Iceland and I think we should go," say yes. You call your currency guy and pack lots of warm clothes and go to Reykjavik. 

How to make the most of your little trip to Iceland: 

Get cozy on the plane with a blanket and Icelandic lullaby. 

Marvel at the difference between Best Western in Iceland and in the US.

Learn some Chuck Norris facts at the Chuck Norris Bar & Grill. Naturally.

Decide on a hashtag for the trip. #alittletriptoiceland

Go to The Icelandic Phallological Museum. Learn that the 2008 Olympic silver medal handball team was honored for their contribution to Icelandic pride.


Check out the geysers.

Everyone is taking a selfie at this spot so jump on the bandwagon?

Suffer way too much cold, wind, and rain but damn, that view.

Ah, traveling outside the US has some perks. 

Go to the Big Lebowski themed bar (OF COURSE THERE IS) and try the local beverages.

Take an accidental photo of your carry on luggage.

Say hello to Greenland.

Take an unexpected detour to Pittsburgh instead of your planned detour through Boston. (You're on my list, JFK*.)

*The airport, not the president. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Worst Kind of People

Forgive my absence, friends. I have been brimming with anger for well over a week now, but I have also been fiercely battling a full calendar. 

I ventured into public on Valentine's Day. I realize this might be viewed as a rookie mistake, but it was in the pursuit of brunch! And for a breakfast cocktail, I will brave most of the elements, including the arctic temperatures, howling wind, and myriad couples that plagued Detroit on February 14th. 

Brunch was surprisingly free of PDA--way to go, fellow diners. (And if you're in the Detroit area, I seriously recommend Selden Standard--I've had both brunch and dinner there and it's fantastic.) But then...things took a turn. I went to the Detroit Institute of Arts, fully expecting to be assaulted by couples having a romantic afternoon, gross. And while yes, that did happen and it was gross, there was a definite high point and low point to the visit. 

The DIA itself was excellent as usual. They were doing this really cool activity--they gave all the guests a red foam heart and asked them to place it in front of their favorite piece of art. It was awesome to walk around and see where everyone left them. 

A heartbroken museum-goer expressing their feelings? No, just an undecided museum patron. We found the other half later in front of another piece of art. Two favorites--that's fine. I felt better--because sure, hate on love...but who could hate art? 

You know what I could definitely hate? The terrible event that I encountered next.

A wedding. A WEDDING. 

I wandered over to the Rivera frescoes and had to stop because there was a goddamn wedding party taking pictures! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM. In the middle of the afternoon on a Valentine's Day Saturday! The museum was crazy busy and the Rivera room is arguably one of the most popular spots at the DIA and this bridal party is taking picture after picture after picture, right there, because they're the most important people in the world. They were lucky I was content from brunch, because that was basically the only thing stopping me from jumping in some bridal party portraits. Selfie with the bride? Almost happened. 

After my initial rage passed, I was struck by another thought, perhaps even more irritating than blocking a museum for your pictures. 

They got married on Valentine's Day. I mean...seriously? Somewhere, there were dozens* of dressed up people waiting for the reception to start! ON VALENTINE'S DAY. Now, the holiday is not important to me, and I would be very likely to schedule a root canal on February 14th without batting an eye. But some people, God knows why, actually like to celebrate Valentine's Day. It's not exactly a secret underground holiday. It's pretty publicized. How selfish do you have to be to decide that your love is such a special unique snowflake, that you're not only going to be the center of your spouse's attention that day, but all the important people in your life? Sorry friends, family, loved ones...your love is great and all but today is about me and MY relationship! A Valentine's Day anniversary, how original. 

(And, on top of all that, you've now combined present holidays! Anniversary gift? Valentine's Day gift? You only get one now, sorry.) 

UGH IT WAS THE WORST. It's one thing giving up a weekend for a wedding, but a holiday weekend? SELFISH AND UNORIGINAL.


Monday, February 09, 2015

I'm trying to help you.

Valentine's Day is this weekend. 

Yes it is the worst.
Looks like I'm headed right, then. 

I know some of you celebrate the holiday, though. It is, after all, an obligation holiday. And no matter how casual or young your relationship might be, it feels like a dick move to ignore Valentine's Day. Because you're not dicks (at least, not all of you), many of you will end up browsing for a greeting card that expresses the perfect sentiment sometime in the next few days. And because I care about you**, I decided to check out the selection while I was shopping, in hopes of giving you some suggestions. 

Yikes. Guys, it's real rough. Every single card I picked up featured the L word. They're all predictably sappy and wordy and WE GET IT YOU'RE IN LOVE, but at least I expected that garbage. But they're alllllllll about love. And I realized that a lot of you can't give that to your partner, for various reasons. Mainly, that you haven't said that yet or that you don't mean it anymore. So...two reasons. But those are two big reasons! And you can't very well get a card shouting the L word in those situations! What's a Valentine shopper to do?!

Chill out--I've got your back. Knowing that commercial greeting cards seldom cover the range of emotions the average shopper is looking to express, I've created a line of cards you can use. I think they cover the ground missed by Hallmark and their competitors. I hope you'll find them useful. They're suitable for printing or texting. 


**sort of. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Single Women and Single Men

Did I ever tell you I work in a library now? After I quit teaching, I switched gears a little and now I'm in a library. It's pretty great, even if middle aged men call me honey a little too often and I hadn't realized how attached baby boomers are to Internet Explorer. 

Working in a library has been cool for finding new books, though, that is for sure. (Like the Love Birds book.) I found a couple books recently that I thought you all might appreciate. 

The first is Are You My Boyfriend? by C.B. Bryza. It's an adorable and relevant parody of Are You My Mother? and it's fantastic. I liked it, even though --spoiler alert-- it gets a little sappy at the end. Considering how often we talk about "is this a date?" around here, I had to read it. The single main character wanders around, posing the title question to all the men she encounters. 

Picture books for grown ups. Yes please. 

The second book is Haiku for the Single Girl by Beth Griffenhagen. I cried laughing. I would like to tell you about my favorite but I had at least a dozen. Just read it. I assure you, you'll find your spirit haiku. 

I've been pondering these books for a few days. (I'll admit that like, 10% of it is why can't I accomplish something kickass like that?) This pondering is not about the trials and tribulations attached to singledom. I consider that plenty, thanks. 

Friends send me all kinds of self-help relationship books**, websites and blogs, and personal anecdotes, so I am positive that women struggle to find a decent, available, adult man.  (Women who are seeking men, that is. I I haven't heard much from women looking for a decent, available, adult woman, so I won't speak to that here.) We rant about it with our friends, joke about it on sitcoms, cry about it in the shower, drink about it at family gatherings...single women looking for love is an industry. Look at the books I checked out from the library. Sure, there are plenty of women who are content being single, and plenty who enjoy casual dating without the dreaded emotions that come along with relationships. But some women are seriously unhappy with their search for Mr. Tolerable. 

So fine. There are sad, lonely women out there, waiting for the romantic comedy portion of their lives to come to a conclusion. I get it. We all get it. So...what about the dudes? I have fewer male followers on twitter and facebook, and fewer male blog commenters, so I assume fewer male readers. And I suppose that makes probably has a no boys allowed clubhouse feel around here sometimes, since I do so often complain about men. (STOP ACTING FOOLISH AND I WILL STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT YOU ALL THE TIME.) But let's be real--men are single too. At least, I'm guessing some of you are still single, even though I only seem to meet the married ones. Yet we seldom hear about your quest for love. 

Are you not miserable in your search? Is it easier for you to find decent women? Are you suffering in silence or not suffering at all? Are you consuming books and movies and sitcom moments where men commiserate and wish for nice women to come along but keeping them from us? TELL ME. Because I don't come across a lot of books for men trying to be better at relationships. I don't get many letters from men asking why women are so confusing. Am I truly supposed to believe that for every miserable woman trying to get a nice man to ask her to dinner, there is a contented bachelor hoping he can sneak out of her apartment before she wakes up, as television and movies have shown? 

I want answers. 

**I have an alarming number of self-help relationship books, guys. AND I LOVE THEM.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Here's to the new year.

Some of you may recall that despite some fun adventures, 2013 was not my best year. I had high hopes for 2014. 

And let me tell you--2014 delivered. I started a new job and was promoted shortly after. And I'm really enjoying it. Like, I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy your job without waking up in the middle of the night convinced it was time to get up and eat breakfast or take a shower before your twin tells you that no, you have like 4 hours left to sleep and please go back to bed. I don't miss that sort of job stress. 

I had a lot of fun adventures. including five days in Guatemala and a trip to Disney World to cheer on my BFF. I hung out in Pittsburgh and Washington DC and Boston and Smith College and Dallas and Maine and Bloomington and a shocking number of places in Ohio. I'm really grateful I have the kind of job and family that are very understanding of my desire to leave all the time. 

I only went to three weddings. This is huge. SUCH an improvement over last year's five. I mean, the 2015 invitations and engagement announcements are already pouring in, but at least last year was light. Also,I only got tricked into one bouquet toss--and that was through an inappropriate use of Beyonce so really I can't be blamed. 

There were babies! AND NOT MINE, which is also a huge win for 2014. Two wonderful friends and my nephew all had babies this year and I'm mapping out strategies for taking the Best Aunt title. (Unrelated question: what's the age where it stops being weird and inappropriate to buy alcohol for minors and becomes a cool thing to do? Nevermind, I definitely have at least a couple years to figure it out.)

Lots of family members are getting engaged or married or having babies, and while this is by itself is not necessarily exciting for me, it means that they have the attention of all the aunts--who are therefore NOT ASKING ME when I'm getting married. 

My boyfriend didn't break up with me by ignoring me! Hooray! This is totally a win for 2014 AND YES THAT IS NOW PART OF THE CRITERIA. One thing is for sure here, and that is that standards were a little lower at the onset of 2014. Things like, did I cry in the shower every day or just occasionally? became important indicators. 

Yes, 2014 was pretty great. And I have high hopes for 2015. Why is that? Because it's already January 6th and I haven't cried in the shower ONCE. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BREAKING: Terrible Marriage News

Here's some shitty news about marriage. 

No, I'm not talking about the divorce rate. This is much worse than that. I'm talking about remarriage. Some study found that 40% of marrying couples have at least one spouse who has already been married. FORTY PERCENT*. And apparently, it's becoming increasingly common for those 55 and older to get remarried. 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS? MORE WEDDINGS. I hadn't even considered SECOND marriages yet! I'm still deciding if I want chicken or fish at your FIRST round of weddings! But ohhhh no, it's not over when I'm the last single one standing! Then I'll have to console you over your divorces, which I'm sure will suck and I'm sorry about your emotional roller coaster, etc. But then you jerks will fall in love AGAIN and have ANOTHER wedding and you'll send me ANOTHER save the date and WHEN WILL THE CYCLE END? And on top of that, it seems you'll be continuing to plan weddings well into your 60s so I'll be attending weddings until the end of time. 

I can tell you one thing, friends. I'm not fucking around at your second weddings. It will be my opportunity to fix all the mistakes I made at your first wedding. I'm wearing my converse. I'm snapchatting and tweeting everything---for your scrapbook or whatever. I'm bringing a onesie to wear on the dance floor. I'm appointing myself flower girl. Oh, your daughter is the flower girl? Fine: HEAD flower girl. I'm choosing my own seat. I'm sneaking drinks to the slightly underaged children from your first marriages. I'm not getting up for the fucking bouquet toss, even if you call me out. (IT WILL ONLY BE ME ANYWAY, JUST HAND ME THE FLOWERS.) I am coming to party. And since I'll be the only single human in attendance, I don't care about impressing your groomsmen. (But if any of them are divorced please shoot me an email in advance. Be a doll.) 

You better hope your first marriages work out, friends. 

I'm not making a scene, you're making a scene.

Good news: this article got me on Huffington Post's radar and they keep asking me to sign up for their divorce newsletter. So...there's that. 

*I found it on Huffington Post, guys, so I have no idea how they conducted the study or who they polled. Just go with my righteous indignation here. FORTY PERCENT. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not your typical Thanksgiving post.

This has been sitting in my drafts for weeks. I come back to it frequently, but my words are always a tangle. I want to edit it and finish it all the time. Last night I decided that perhaps my words on this issue will never untangle, but that I might feel better if I just post the damn thing. 

I'm not here to list all the things I'm thankful for this holiday season. Because honestly, there are a lot. I'm a lucky woman with a pretty awesome life. But that's not what I'm here to say. 

Not in this moment. In this moment...I am sad. I am sad in a way that cannot be expressed. I am sad and frustrated and angry in the pit of my stomach and it radiates outward to my whole being. I look at the world around me, and know that we can do better.

Earlier this month, I spent a day at the hospital while my niece came into the world. It was 11 hours in a hospital waiting room and even though that sounds uncomfortable and boring, it was one of the best days I've had in a long time. I spent it with my family and everyone was full of joy and we didn't argue once and yeah, that's something of an accomplishment. She was born into a beautiful, loving, strange, wonderful family. I adore her; she's perfect. I made a collage for the background of my phone, of her and the other babies in my life. And it probably looks weird; I probably seem like I'm one step away from building a house of candy in the woods somewhere. But I look at them, the children of family and friends--these pieces of my heart--and I want them to be safe. I want to know that when they grow up it will be in a world that's just and kind and supportive. I want more for them than what we've cultivated.

I come here and rant about my ex boyfriends and I whine about being single and we joke about my fear of commitment and yes, it can get a little bit angry. It's all love life is abysmal and I have dated some dickheads, but honestly, I believe in kindness and treating people with respect. (Sorry if that shatters any illusions for you, but please know that I will always complain about my exes and being reprimanded for forgetting to flush** when I got up to pee in the middle of the night. I remain terrible at dating. Rest easy.)

We're not doing a good enough job. We treat people who are different from us like shit and we treat a lot of people who aren't different at all like shit and we treat the world around us like shit and in the end...a lot of us treat each other badly, far too often. The sadness and anger I'm feeling threaten to become toxic. I worry that if it stays too long it will infect everything good in my life. I have the same worry for everyone I hear crying out that things have to change. So we need to try. We need to find ways to love each other and fix what's broken. We need to help each other figure it all out and try to understand each other and lift each other up instead of stepping on each other. We have to try. I know that's a very broad, sweeping, naive, privileged way of looking at it...but it's a start, right? It's all I have in this moment, besides sadness and anger and frustration--and I'd rather not pass those along. 

We need to do better. I have a tiny niece who deserves better from this world. 

**Yes that happened. It was just pee--it's not like he had to face a tampon in the morning. SORRY I'M NOT AT MY BEST AT 3AM, YOUR HIGHNESS. Put on your big boy pants and flush it your damn self.