Wednesday, December 21, 2011
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise but things are a little busy around these parts with it being the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR. And despite the fact that I still don't see snow on the ground, I'm doing my best to make it feel like Christmas. And it's working. (I still want snow, but I'll survive). Let's do some recaps shall we?
Moving back in time. Yesterday we had a potluck lunch at work. Over 50 people brought various dishes to share. It was insane. My pants are tighter. I found out how many cookies is too many...and then ate three more. I went home and crashed...HELLOOO sugar coma.
On Sunday the fam was together at my parents house. My nephew pretty much blew up my heart with cuteness. He just learned about whispering which alone would be cute enough. But he takes it up a few notches by whispering directly into your mouth instead of your ear. Immediately after I told my brother I was jealous that he gets to live with that little bundle of cute, Jack shared a secret with me (and the rest of the dinner table). He told me that he pooped in the bathtub, that his poop got wet and then Daddy used a shovel to get it out. And he helped. I think I actually died of laughter. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by how awesome he is and I don't know how to deal with it. Heaven help us when I have one of my own.
Last weekend I celebrated my fake birthday. Usually the calendar graciously places a weekend between Christmas and New Year's Eve and I use that weekend to celebrate my birthday. Since most people have to work / are still with family on my actual birth date. This year since Christmas Eve is on a Saturday and then New Year's Eve is on a Saturday I was without said weekend. So instead, I bumped it up a weekend and celebrated early. I rocked a new outfit, had dinner with some lovely ladies (and laughed my ass off) then went to my beloved Irish Pub for drinks. Yes, that's right, the same bar I go nearly every Saturday. I like the familiar, alright?! Some wonderful boys came and met us for some more drinks. Then there were shots. Then some more drinks. Then I fell and skinned my knee. It was a really proud day for me, I definitely felt mature enough to be turning 28 (not.) On Sunday I thought I was suffering from the worst hangover in the world...turns out it wasn't a hangover at all, I'm just sick. Heyo! You're a shady bitch fake birthday.
Last week and the week before Mom & I pulled double time at the Women's Center. We did our usual nights in the child care center. On one of the nights I played Monopoly with two 7 year olds. I'm not even sure I understand how to play that game, let alone explain it to two kids who are just mastering basic math. I made up rules and they seemed to enjoy it. I didn't so much. They want to play again next week.
On top of those nights we also helped them with two different Christmas / Holiday events they had. It was awesome. I am so happy to have found somewhere I support so passionately that allows me to give back and play with kids all at once. I even did some face painting, which I was unaware I was capable of doing. I offered to paint candy canes, they asked for butterflies. And I drew some pretty killer butterflies if I do say so myself. Mom even promised some kid I could do Superman...and then I did. It was a Christmas Miracle.
I've got one more day of work left and then I'm off until 2012. That sounds fantastic. Lots of time with the family, tons of delicious food. Much relaxing planned. I've also requested that I get to take the nephew to see the Chipmunks...because with a 3 year old in tow it's much more acceptable for a 28 year old to be seen in the theater.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
At various points in the day today I have been conversing through different mediums with a handful of men. Co-workers, friends, gay friends, boys I like, men I like but not like that, etc. A good variety. As my day comes to a close I realized something that shook my little bitty world for a moment.
I'm not entirely certain I'm aware of when I'm flirting and when I'm not. This greatly affects the above referenced "game". See, I know by nature I am a flirty person. Maybe it's not even flirty, maybe it's just loud and friendly. However you want to call it, I like talking to people, I like to engage in conversation with people and I like being nice to people. I LOVE to schmooze (I get it from my mama). But I've learned recently that when it comes time to do this with people I like, people I WANT to be flirting with, I'm all "uhhhhhh...." and "well...kinda...yeah, sure." And just 100% NOT charming. Put me in front of the old guy at work who's kind of like a grandpa but also kind of like a creepy older man hitting on young girls and I'm all, "Hello Mr. So and So, how are you?! Hey did you ever sell your house??" I'm pretty sure a conversation I had today would 110% be interpreted by certain parties as flirting and I actually 110% DID NOT want to be flirting with that person. What gives?!
I mean, really I know what gives. If I don't see a threat from someone I can FLIRT UP A STORM. Seriously! Old guy from work last week was all, "you're always so cheerful and charming!" (which turns out, even from old guy who hits on young girls, was STILL somewhat flattering. Take note young non-creepy men, flattery goes a LONG way.) But I don't care about what he thinks of me! Tall attractive young man at the bar? Cue the "uhhhhs" and fumbling over my words. There goes the charm! So I think what might be happening is that I'm flirting with (and using up what charm and game I do have) on ALL THE WRONG MEN. And, subsequently, giving them all the wrong vibe. (Which is also probably how I end up on dates that I didn't know were dates. Just thinking out loud here. Also, true story.)
And when I think there's any sort of risk involved, I repeat, any risk at all I clam up, don't know what to say. In fact, there's this one guy, from the bar, who kind of swooped in without me realizing it and we were just chatting up a storm like we were friends from way back. Then all of a sudden I was all, "oh wait, he's cute. Wait we're talking and he's cute and what if maybe there's a chance I like him." CLAM UP. FREAK OUT. TURN OFF ALL CHARM.
Perfect plan, no? See also: "why I might be single" and "things to work on."
Monday, December 12, 2011
In 4th grade you were typically attracted to the boys in your class. Well, here in the real world we don't have class anymore, but is a night at the bar that different? It's a gathering of people roughly your age, all there for the same reasons. Instead of consuming knowledge, it's booze.
When you decided you liked a boy, step 1 was to tell your friend. Still the same. Then you both check him out and talk about him. This process takes a little bit longer in the real world vs. 4th grade but still, pretty much the same. If a friend is not immediately near you, instead of writing a note (and folding it with the precision of an origami master) you send a text, gchat, e-mail, etc. You talk about said boy...to your friends, NOT YET to said boy. (and you thank heaven for gchat sounding boards! Hi Kyle!)
Then, and pay attention because this part is eerily similar, you hope and wish with every fiber of your being that by telling all your friends about him, this message somehow permeates into his brain without you ever actually saying anything to him. In the real world this is you sitting in your chair with your friends, HOPING he can feel you looking at him and hoping he comes over to talk to you. Because how scary is it to go and talk to him?! Let it be known that in my most recent research, it seems the "hes" that are out there single and looking, are doing the same as the "shes". We're all just sitting hoping that some how without every exchanging words, the other person will get the green light we're sending via Morse code with our eyelids and see that we're ready to mingle! (An epic fail on almost all accounts.)
The difference between 1994 and now is the next few steps. Back then, eventually, you'd send a note to him and it was pretty black and white (or pink and white depending on how fancy your pens were). You sent a note and it very plainly laid out, "Do you like me, check yes or no." It was still just as scary as it is today. Sending that note out (usually through a chain of your friends and then his friends) was terrifying. Thankfully it typically took a recess-worth of time and you had your answer. The yes usually meant you'd "go out" (for a week or two) and everyone would know about it by the end of the day. But what's surprising is that the no didn't seem all that traumatic.
In fact, I can hardly remember the times where the answer was no. Likely due in part to the fact that if you were both "single" (cute, 4th graders were "single"), the answer was almost always yes (made okay by the fact that at most you were "going out" for a month, MAX.) But really, if the no's weren't all that bad then, why are they so damn scary now? Obviously in the real world we're hoping the investment of dating someone will pay off for more than a maximum of a month, but when did we become so afraid of putting ourselves out there with a clear question, asking for a yes or no answer. And when did the pressure become so great that it can't just be for one date (the grown-up equivalent of dating for a month in 4th grade)?
In the grand scheme of things what does a "no" really mean? And when did it become so blatantly clear to us that a no directly correlated to our worth or attractiveness? With the passing of these 18 years a lot of experience has been given to us. For most of us, we've dated, lots. We've met, turned down & accepted dates, loved and lost with a number of different people. With this experiences comes knowledge of what we want and what we don't. It also graces upon us a whole set of predisposed opinions, premature judgements and our list of non-negotiables. Unfortunately, that influences our dating.
I had a boyfriend who always wore those beanie caps with the brim. I loved him and then he lied and cheated and broke my heart. Literally looking at that picture made me shudder a little bit (and we're talking shuddering after almost 10 years has passed). Regardless of my adult logic reminding me that not all men who wear that hat are him, I don't know that I would give someone wearing that hat a second glance. That has NOTHING to do with a man's looks, his personality or how great of a boyfriend he would make. I somehow equate that hat with lying and cheating. I always use this example (to myself) about how the no doesn't always reflect upon the receiver of the no. We all have baggage (whether we care to admit it or not) the best we can do is hope to find someone's baggage that fits with ours.
So join me singletons, and let's be a little more straight forward. A little more honest in what (and who) we want. Let's go get it (or them). And for the love of all things holy, let's remember that a no doesn't define us or determine our worth in any way shape or form. As I have in my notes from my new favorite book...
*Feel free to substitute man and woman, or woman and woman or man and man...you get the idea.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The list itself is really only important to me and not something that anyone else needs to read every word of. It's not something I'm even recording or writing down. I understand it's flexible, it'll mold and revise itself as time goes on. But the core values of it will remain the same.
One of these values is to travel outside of my comfort zone. I have admitted (many times on this very blog) my aversion to change. I'm not a big fan of large changes. I love traditions and repetition. Where others mind find this boring and vanilla, I thrive on knowing what's coming next.
However, my whole life can't be one large routine. I can't live in the comfort zone through all of it. My ex-boyfriend used to lightly chastise me for my love of routine. I like to order what I know when I eat a restaurant. I'm not always first in line to try something new. It upset him that I didn't want to try new things all the time. My routines occasionally bothered him. And while I do owe him credit for getting me to try things that I now love (namely Japanese and Indian food), for the most part I still hover around what I love. I do believe there is such a thing as too much time outside the comfort zone.
I don't think someone else can force you to live outside the box of your comfort zone. I think in doing so you end up associating animosity towards the place outside the box. You feel forced and anxious and hesitant. We need to push ourselves outside of what we're comfortable with, and I believe we do, when we're ready...or when life gives us no choice. This is when growth happens and strength is realized. There are sometimes where people in our life help us out a little bit. They see the strength and ability before we do and offer a gentle encouragement.
Last night I attended my favorite yoga class. I enjoy this class and I even look forward to it now. (A big change from yoga experiences of the past.) We were half way through class when Betsy (who had been pushing it a little harder than usual through the first half) said to us, "We're going to try a little circus trick." (This is a big part of why I love this particular yoga class, Betsy is not pretentious. She does not talk about some of the whackadoodle stuff I've heard in other Yoga classes. She says things like "circus tricks". However, she is extremely knowledgeable, explains the benefits of each pose without it sounding like she hit the bong on the way over. No offense, of course.)
The circus trick was hard, most of the class opted for the modified position without even giving it a go. That was my plan too after I tried one trick and failed miserably. But Betsy caught me out of the corner of her eye and came over to cheer me on to try again. She pushed me and helped me figure out what was going wrong. And when I tried again I did it! And then successfully completed three more tries of the circus trick. I felt strong and competent (two things I RARELY feel in yoga.) The challenge was presented and instead of convincing myself I couldn't do it - with Betsy's help - I did it. I thanked her after class for pushing me a little harder. And gave her permission to keep pushing me, although I have to say, it felt so good to accomplish something in Yoga, I might not need her help the next time.
Each time a little baby step like that happens it helps to reaffirm my belief in my abilities, my strength and my confidence. There's a whole lot I can do that I'll never know if I don't give it a try.
Monday, December 5, 2011
While I had a big crush on him I also (as my mother will remind me) never actually dated him. He was too nice. And in my high school mind, therefore probably too boring. I think what I really liked was the chase. I liked him when I couldn't have him but when I could have actually dated him, I was distracted by the bad boys. They were exciting and so different from what I was.
Even now, years later, I still have to actively remind myself that nice guys are TOTALLY where it's at. Bad boys bring drama and hurt (and usually joblessness). The excitement wears off when you realize you're more mom than girlfriend. Nice guys offer stability, commitment, respect. (I know, I know. I'm generalizing but it's pretty true.) I don't think I view those things as boring anymore. But I will say this, there is such a thing as too nice. (I know my mom is cringing reading those words right now.)
It's true though. Be respectful, be compassionate, be nice. But don't be a pushover. This is where I've found I have a problem with "nice guys" as an adult. You can tell me I'm wonderful (please do, in fact.) But also acknowledge when I'm not wonderful. I don't want someone to just blow smoke up my ass. You can't always think everything someone does is perfect. A partner in a relationship should help make you a better person and in doing so, occasionally they may have to point out a flaw or mistake. I'm okay with that as long as it's a true mistake / flaw and it's expressed in a constructive and least hurtful way possible. (As long as you'll take it in return without throwing a fit.)
And while I'm at it - a little side rant - you can't always be fooled by niceness. It's possible I am almost more comfortable with the bad boys because they're rather comfortable airing out all that dirty laundry (typically to a fault.) There are always those who are "nice". Typically, they come across as almost too nice. For these friends, do a little public records investigation. And as always, I'm happy to share my internet researching skills. In high school and college chances are when you meet someone, you can find someone who knows them to give you the back story or fill you in on them. Now that we're grown-ups in the real world, the chances of this are much more slim. So we have to rely on our good friend Google and CCAP (court records)*.
And while I don't have regrets, because I believe everything happens for a reason and brings you to where you're supposed to be in life, I wouldn't mind going back a few years and telling High School Angie to give some of those nice guys a chance. Or telling College Angie that there's nothing wrong with a normal, sweet man. (They probably don't stand on a roof and pee on your car. Or make up jobs with cable companies. Or live in your house unemployed for months at a a time. Ah, I do need to write a book.) But in the practice of finding the reasons behind why things happen, I do realize this much - they led me here. I've always been a big believer that relationships of your past don't teach you as much about what you do want but more about what you do not want. They help you create your list of non-negotiables. And let me tell you, I'm creating one hell of a non-negotiables list.
*Whenever I see stories on the news about women who married / traveled with these men who have a list a mile long of prior offenses I always think, "Didn't anyone tell them about CCAP?" I do a search before I go on a DATE with a guy, let alone heading to Aruba or down the aisle!
Friday, December 2, 2011
1) I'm fairly certain (as I've already publicized on all social media outlets) that I sprained my pinky finger last night while I was sleeping. It felt fine when I went to bed, then I woke up around 2 a.m. and it hurt! I thought maybe I slept on it funny and went back to bed. This morning it's swollen and bruised. I wish this meant I do some crazy sleep exercising in the middle of the night, but I fear it's more likely I thrash a little and didn't know it.
2) I've put together a pretty comprehensive google doc that has my Christmas wish list on it. I like to make it as easy as possible for people to buy me things, so there's links, locations of where to get it and specifics when necessary. My mom likes to buy things people don't even know they need. So basically I'm making a list of a lot of things for my brother to pick one thing from. And for myself, I do love a good list.
3) I just added a case for my iphone to this list. I still can't pick a color (I left it up to the gifter). I have done more research on the case than I have any of my other presents. It's ridiculous how much I've contemplated which phone case I'll like best (including ripping open packages at Target and Best Buy to test them out).
4) This morning as I was getting ready the animals were taking Wrestlemania a little too far. There was yelping and hissing and barking (more than usual). I was in the middle of doing my hair and used the blow dryer to separate the fights. Scenes like this reaffirm my belief that it's going to take a special man to find comfort in this household.
5) I'm still so hung up on Marcel the Shell. It's like a little treat I give myself every week or so. Still laugh til I cry. If you haven't watched it you have no idea what you're missing. Though, do yourself a favor and make sure to watch Part 2. It's even funnier.
6) In the last week I was asked to be a part of two different weddings, this makes me very honored. I was also told I am eloquent and fricken hilarious in response to a post I put up this week. If I can be perceived as eloquent AND fricken hilarious in one post? I feel like I totally nailed it. My co-worker told me I should be a hand model. It's like compliment city up in here, and I'm the Mayor (this week.)
7) My annual review is next week and while I'm really confident in my performance and my boss tells me I do a good job all the time...I still feel like I could pee a little I'm so nervous.
8) Next Friday mom and I are doing Christmas Crafts and Cookies day. Because of this I've ramped up my Pinterest obsession to an all time high. We're going to make this and this and these and these, probably some of these. Annoyed with all the this this and these yet?
9) BTW, I'm sick and tired of hearing Pinterest is stupid. YOU'RE STUPID. Pinterst is freaking genius. It's a virtual bulletin board and if you think it's just for crafts you have no clue. Harsh? Maybe. But for real, it's genius and to insult it is to not understand it. *steps off soap box* (probably a really crafty & adorable DIY soap box I learned how to make on Pinterest. Just sayin'.)
10) Finally, I've saved the best for last. I'd like to take a moment to wish my future husband (or Brother-in-law, seriously have you seen his brothers? I'd be happy just to be Mrs. Rodgers) and best quarterback a girl could ask for Mr. Aaron Rodgers (Aar-bear as I call him) a very happy birthday. What I wouldn't do to give that man a birthday present. (All pictures from my other new obsession the blog titled "Fuck Yeah Aaron Rodgers".)
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Now my mom is reading the book and it's like I'm reliving it all over again when we talk about it. (FYI she cried through the beginning too - so it's possible it's actually that emotional of a beginning. That or I'm DEFINITELY her daughter and, as we agreed last night, neither of us has a solid grip on our ability to control tears.) I could go on and on about the book, but really you just need to read it. What I will go on about it the lessons it's struck in me and the things I'm noticing I think / observe since reading it. (Which, if you ask me, is truly the sign of a good book. One that sticks with you long after you've read the last words.)
Age = wisdom.
So often I think we're quick to disregard older generations. It's all "back in my day" and what do they know about today's world? They know a ton. They've LIVED in today's world AND yesterday's world. And they have lessons upon lessons of things they've experienced, learned, created, maintained, etc. We should be soaking up every little bit of knowledge they have. When my grandma passed away, her sister - my great Aunt Char - promised me she'd be my stand-in Grandma (since she was the last of my grandparents to pass). Occasionally I've sent cards for holidays and birthdays but I have absolutely fallen short in taking her up on this offer.
Since I read the book I've sent her 2 cards and plan to write (actually write with pen and paper) letters to her weekly. I want know everything she's learned about love and life and what it takes to be truly happy - because that woman knows happy. It shouldn't have taken a book to spark this conversation with her, but I'm glad it did.
True American Men are Rare
Obviously men from America are not rare. They're all over the damn place. But an American Man in the sense that the book describes is a rare being. Men who are passionate and respectful. Men who devote themselves to their family and their work. But the underlying message of this book doesn't place full responsibility on the man. They're rare because us ladies have let them be rare. One of my absolute favorite lines from the book is, "I teach the world how to treat me by the way I treat myself, and the way I present myself." As much as expectations are set for men to be passionate and respectful, we are equally responsible for establishing how they perceive us. If you can't treat yourself well or have respect for your character, why should they?
And of course while this sounds super serious and "high level" she references some examples...and let's just say we're likely all a bit guilty. Wasted on a first date? (Or drunk upon first meeting? We're not in college anymore, Toto.) Whoopsies. It's intimidating and daunting to think about at first. Seems like a lot of work - but you can't expect it without it being mutual - to both yourself and to each other. I know it's a little rainbows and butterflies (and seemingly kind of impossible) but even if it's not perfect, working towards it is definitely something.
And now to lighten the mood...because if my dating escapades are for nothing else but entertainment at least I've found my silver lining.
Ways to NOT be an American Man (aka ways to not get a second date):
- How about you don't mention sex on the first date? Not expecting it or about US having sex, how long it's been since you've had sex..just don't say the word sex. AT ALL. Even if it's ALL you think about, don't use the s-word. Talk about literally anything else.
- If I have a super busy week and can't hang out with you when you've asked, deal. I like to be busy, also I'm an obsessive compulsive planner - asking me the day of to do something? Likely not going to work out. Also, saying things like, "boy you better be worth all this work" will likely not come across as cute and joking like you may have intended.
- I promise to work on acting more like a lady if you promise to treat me more like a lady. Ladies love a gentleman. I don't care what we've done with the woman's movement, we still like being treated like a little lady. Yes, we're all happy we can vote, but it doesn't mean you need to entirely abandon opening doors. We'll be flattered, I promise.
- This one might be a little controversial...but it's my blog so it's my preferences that win. On the first date, I will always offer to pay - because I think I'm supposed to. Don't let me. No, in fact, insist I don't pay. I'll gladly pick up the bill for date #2 but on the first one, just pay for me. It's romantic and gentlemanly. Also, it shows me you probably have a job. (One of the few absolutes of men I date moving forward.)
- Discussing how we'll pay the bill BEFORE THE DATE EVEN HAPPENS. I don't need you to be loaded, I can pay for my own dinner (though seriously, just buy the first meal, it'll get you a whole lot closer to a second date - see #4). But if you need to establish we'll be splitting the bill before we've established where the meal will be had? There will be no meal to split.
- Show up on time. Maybe you've never heard it before, but you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you have a really great excuse, share it. If not, be on time. Maybe even be early.
- Here's another one that might just be me...pick the place. Maybe even have reservations if it's a notoriously busy place. Trust me, if we move on past date #1 I will become very vocal about where I want to go, when I want to go, etc. So for the first date, take charge and pick somewhere.
- When you do pick somewhere, make it somewhere nice. Not expensive, nice. Somewhere I haven't been three hundred times. Somewhere that does not have signs or language on the menu regarding which day of the week kids eat free. Maybe even somewhere I couldn't find in an airport. (That takes care of Chili's, T.G.I.Friday's and Applebee's...FYI.) Once again, I have nothing wrong with these places for dates #10, 11 or 12. We'll certainly hit them up at some point if we make it past #1. But make an impression. Extra points for somewhere with cloth napkins..just sayin'.
Maybe I'm being an asshole (it's always a possibility). Maybe I'm being difficult or high maintenance or whatever word you want to put on a girl demanding a little wow factor. I'm okay with that. But know this much - if it's our first date I have agonized over it. I've spent hours figuring out what outfit to wear...and then probably dollars on buying a new one. I've changed clothes multiple times, asked opinions on shoes and jewelery. I've probably spent more time on my hair and make-up than you did getting ready, driving to the place and eating. Not because I'm materialistic or high maintenance but I want to have meticulously crafted what I hope to be the best first impression I can for you. Because at some point, that first date will become "the story of our first date" and I'm going to be damn sure whoever "he" is (the "he" in that first date story) remembers just how special and amazing it was.