Monday, July 13, 2015

Special Offer

Went through my mailbox...a pile of junk mail. Nothing unusual. Credit card offer, toss. Mailing labels, toss. Another credit card, toss. Special offer for--wait, what?
"Preferred Savings Form. In order to guarantee that we reach the audience we are meant to serve, the Publisher is offering The World of Cross Stitching magazine to a selected few at over 65% off the cover price."

So...I'm...the audience The World of Cross Stitching is meant to serve...?

What? Is this related to my surprise subscription to Vogue? Or is it because I'm now IN my 30s? Do they know I'm a cat lady without cats? ( far.) I mean, I won't lie to you--I have done cross stitching within the last year. But how do they know? It's not like I'm on amazon buying pattern books all day. Did I trip some weird hobby signal? Does World of Cross Stitching just know? Do you think they employ a cross stitching psychic? WHY DID I GET THIS OFFER?

Guys. I can't. I'm buying cats.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


If you'd like to know why I disappeared for a thousand years (you noticed, right?), you can blame all the committees and boards I volunteered to join. You guys, I realized I don't have any hobbies because I sit on conference calls and task forces in my free time. (It's not sad. Shut up.) I'm going to start scheduling time for blog posts so I don't overbook myself.
ANYWAY, I didn't come here today to talk about my schedule. I'm here because there are three things that have me absolutely baffled, so naturally I turn to you. Your insight would be welcome, should you have any. In no particular order...
1. This November, I opened my mailbox to an issue of Vogue. Prepared to make the snowy trek to a neighbor's house to deliver their misplaced mail, I checked the address label. Me. My house.
Hmm. I did not subscribe to Vogue. I flipped through it and put it aside, convinced it was a weird glitch or one of those targeted campaigns where you get a couple issues of something but it's not really a subscription? And then another issue arrived in December. And January. I don't dislike Vogue, but I don't subscribe to any magazines. (Except, apparently, Vogue.) I'm confident I didn't do this. I logged onto the website with my subscription number and was rather surprised to find that I'm paid up for a year.
Did I drunkenly sign up for this? Or was I sleep shopping? I went and checked all my accounts--bank statement, credit card. I went back months. I investigated anything that wasn't explicitly labeled Target or Kroger or a coffee shop, to be sure. (Don't judge me, internet.) I looked at orders from other places to make sure I didn't sign up accidentally. I asked facebook, hoping a friend would say, "Oh, you got my gift!" Nothing.
Internet, I have no idea how I came into this Vogue subscription. It is still coming, and I suspect it will arrive until October. In the meantime, at least I'm set when I have a flight to catch. Who's saving $5 per trip? This girl. 

2. I bought a purse. I needed a new clutch to take to weddings and fancy events and yes, I know what you're thinking--you go to shitloads of weddings, Amanda. Are you telling us you don't have one of those by now? No. That's not what I'm saying. I have several, but I bought most of them in my flip phone era--and none of them hold my smart phone. I've been slowly upgrading.
It was no problem. I found a lovely gold one at Target, big enough for my phone and a wedding favor and even a flask, if necessary. A tag boasted "detachable crossbody strap"! 


This is not a detachable crossbody strap. Ok...I guess technically it is. I can wear it across my body, assuming I like deodorant and sweat all over my purse. And sure, the strap is detachable--it's just not going to reattach easily. 

Who added that tag and do they still have a job?

3. I ordered Victoria's Secret online and when it arrived...I was disappointed. It should have fit a certain way and I was so, so wrong. The next day, I tried it on again, convinced that I had put it on wrong or something. Can you put on underwear wrong at 30 years old? Does that happen? Worth a shot, right?

 Nope, still not a good fit. And then I noticed the tag--a size smaller than I ordered. 

I berated myself for being an idiot, and pulled up my order confirmation email. Nope, I ordered the correct size. I checked the invoice--wrong size listed. So there must have been a--wait a second.

That name and address are not me. 

Ok. VS sent my order to a random in New Jersey and their order to me. Great taste, you one-size-smaller bitch in New Jersey, but what the fuck? I was not pleased--maybe you saw my tweets. I mean, who wants their underwear shipped to a stranger, along with their name and address?? I emailed their customer service department and heard back quickly. A replacement order arrived 36 hours later. 

I assumed we were all set. Until I got a letter in the mail, a couple weeks later, from Victoria's Secret. Addressed to RESIDENT. I shit you not. 

We fucked up--can you help?

NOPE. First of all, you have my name on file, VS. Seriously. Second of all, YOU ALREADY DEALT WITH THIS. I mean, I'm still irritated that my shit went somewhere else, but you did in fact handle the situation. I returned the missent items the next day. We reversed the Parent Trap. Things are good. A horrible letter to RESIDENT (my mom opened that, thanks) does not help anyone. How did this happen? 

Help me understand, internet. 

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.