Sharing Some HaHas

Between the head cold that never ends, and my mother’s arrival on Wednesday, I have had no quality blog writing time this week. But wanted to post this link to bring laughter to the days of each and every person who reads this blog.

Please, for the love of funny, check out “Things My Boyfriend Says“, although fair warning some of it is not meant for a child’s eyes.

A few of the more P.C. highlights:

E’s financial planning.

“You shouldn’t buy me things. Save your money for unicorn rides or whatever it is girls spend money on.”

Cold feet.

me: I think it’s funny and cute that I get into bed and put my cold feet on you to warm them up and you frown but you don’t say anything.
e: That’s because I’m busy thinking loudly about hating you.

And if you laugh at what the boyfriend has to say just wait until you check out http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays.

A classic: “You’re gonna run into jerk offs. But remember, it’s not the size of the asshole you worry about, it’s how much shit comes out of it.”

Enjoy! And Happy Friday!

Categories: Uncategorized

Sanctuary For My Tired Soul

Deer in the woods

“…with the smell of the woods, and the wind in the trees, they will forget the rush and strain of all the other long weeks of the year, and for a short time at least, the days will be good for their hearts and for their souls.” President Franklin Roosevelt speaking about vacationers to national parks in his speech at Shenandoah National Park‘s dedication, July 3, 1936.

My good friend from high school flew from California last weekend to go camping with me in Shenandoah National Park. Before motoring out of the District Friday morning, we both switched our BlackBerrys off, not to be switched back on until the drive home Sunday. I went 52 hours without my phone or access to the internet. It was fantastic.

When we arrived at our campsite, it was very, very cold. A lot colder than either of us had planned for. It turns out weather.com for “Shenandoah National Park” doesn’t account for the high points of the park. We both immediately regretted forgetting gloves.

After inspecting where to place our tent, we realized we also forgot chairs for the fire. The picnic table provided was chained to the ground, and way to far away from the fire pit to pick up enough warmth for our chilled bones. My friend was determined we would find something on our short hike to place our bums upon.

And he was right. Midway back from our mile walk to the closest lodge, I pointed out a log that looked just big enough for the both of us. Little did I know how much wood weighs. I tried to pick up one corner and could barely get it an inch off the ground. So my friend, sturdy, reliable guy he is, heaved what had to be at least a 70-pound piece of solid wood over his shoulder, and trekked it the half mile back to camp. He threw it down by the fire pit, we put a piece of plastic around it, and used the duct tape my friend had carried all the way from San Diego to secure the plastic in place. Voila…bench.

Once the fire was blazing, the red wine started going down easy and the cold didn’t bother us. We crawled into our tent after most other campers had called it a night, and looked forward to a good night’s sleep.

And that’s when Nature decided to make it interesting. About an hour after we got into our sleeping bags, the wind started whipping, and water started coming down from the sky. Our tent walls rattled and our tent roof , now coming undone on two sides, smacked against the sides. Halfway through our sleepless night, our poor tent couldn’t take anymore and caved in halfway, folding down onto the bottoms of our sleeping bags. The water started flowing in.

We spent the rest of the evening trying, and failing, to ignore the noise and the water seeping in. I had to shift around a bit to relieve my legs of the pressure from the fallen tent poles. The next morning, my friend’s first order of business was getting us to the lodge for a hot breakfast. Screw Pop Tarts and apples after the night we had.

We both agreed there was no way we were spending another night like the one before, and managed to find a cabin room at the Skyland Lodge for $98. The hot shower, and cozy twin bed, was worth every cent of my $49. Oh and the roof and the heaters…

Before settling at the lodge, we managed a hike in the rain, down to Dark Hollow Falls.

Buck in the bush

The beauty of Shenandoah left me awestruck, despite the terrible, wet weather. In our few days there, we were fortunate enough to see what had to be at least 100 deer, as well as a black bear meandering across the road. I was about three feet from a buck with my camera. I was very fortunate he didn’t decide to charge and take me, and my Nikon D60, out.

After a night of playing cribbage, drinking beer, and watching college football at the lodge, and another delicious breakfast, we set out Sunday morning on another hike. The weather had mostly cleared, and the sun started pushing out the clouds.

We trekked our way up to Stony Man Overlook. At 3,100 feet, the view of the color-changing trees, Skyline Drive, and Virginia below was magnificent. There is something about standing at such heights, looking down, that makes life seem so small and harmless. The view from the top of the world always leaves me feeling like everything will be okay, like somehow this vast, beautiful world is so much bigger than me and my problems. From up there, looking down at so many others living their lives, I am reminded mine will go on, despite hard times.

View from Ston Man Cliffs

After our hike, we made our way back to the city, and the next morning I said good-bye to my friend and returned to real life.

I was fortunate enough that same day to see Ken Burns speak about his new documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

He described the 58 parks as, “the Declaration of Independence applied to the landscape.”

He also said, in a call to citizens of all races and backgrounds, “These parks are yours and you stand in them equal to everyone else.”

There is a reason these parks were picked and preserved. They are sanctuaries to tired souls. And they serve to remind us we are only one of many creatures on this planet.

Being in the parks is about more than experiencing nature. It’s about the people you meet along the trails. Nowhere else in the U.S. but on a hiking trail do I find people who say “hi” and “how are you?” to total strangers, no matter what they look like.

It’s about the animals you can see in their element, who don’t run from you, because in National Parks, there are no guns, at least not yet.

And it’s about the stories you create, because you can’t just run to Wal-Mart and pick up chairs and gloves.

My soul felt better after my weekend in Shenandoah. The combination of the company, the surroundings, and the adventure was more healing than any spa or therapy could have been.

Not Yet Ready for Boarding the Marriage Train

October 4, 2009 1 comment

A Washington Post conservative columnist who I had never read before wrote a piece on September 16 titled “Lost in a World Without Courtship.”

While most of the column was somewhat infuriating to me, the segment that hit closest to home goes as follows, “Later marriage has been one of the reasons for declining national divorce rates. But this does not mean the later the better. Divorce rates trend downward until leveling off in the early 20s. But people who marry after 27 tend to have less happy marriages — perhaps because partners are set in their ways or have unrealistically high standards. The marital sweet spot seems to be in the early to mid-20s.”

I’m 27, so according to Michael Gerson, I have to be married before I turn 28 (sometime in the next 7 months) in order to have a happy marriage. Here’s the problem with that argument, what if you don’t find someone you want to marry before your late 20s? Or what if you find someone and he doesn’t want to marry you? Is this writer telling me that I should have married the boyfriend I was with in my early 20s? Because I can guarantee him, with 100% certainty, that would not have worked out well.

My point, I think, is despite statistics and trends, I’m don’t believe there is a science to what makes a happy marriage, or to what makes marriage, or any relationship, fail. Every relationship I have been in, and every relationship I’ve been around is very different from the other.

To make judgments on a friend’s relationship based on your own experiences doesn’t end up working because his or her relationship will inevitably be different. The dynamic, the chemistry, the background of the individuals in the relationship, the pet peeves, the likes, the dislikes, all these things won’t ever be the a mirror of another relationship. Similarities abound, and it’s why we can have highly paid therapists, advice columnists, and talk show hosts. They all serve a purpose, but all the great advice in the world doesn’t always save a relationship.

So just like judgments don’t work on a friend-to-friend level, I don’t think they work to generalize segments of the population by age and success rate. We live in a time when the media love to use polls, charts, trends, statistics, and on and on. And that works, for crime and politics, and what TV shows are being watched. But when it comes to something like marriage, it seems to me that using numbers to make people feel bad about when they do or don’t decide to make a huge, life-altering decision doesn’t seem fair, or even morally right.

I know I don’t want to be convinced my marriage is doomed to unhappiness because I decided to live out my late 20s working, dating, and spending time with friends, most of whom, like me, aren’t jumping on the marriage train yet either. And for those friends who have walked down the aisle, they did it because they were sure it was right, not because they thought it was about time.

And while Gerson can argue that I will have it tougher because my partner may be “set in [his] ways or have unrealistically high standards,” I can argue back, that I want to be with someone who knows what he wants, and who he is. In my early 20s, I did not know a man or woman my age who had all of that figured out.

Categories: divorce, Love, marriage

Kids These Days

September 30, 2009 3 comments

I haven’t been able to finish one full post in over a week so wanted to get something short up this morning. More in the works for the end of the week.

A friend of mine sent me this link yesterday.

The gist: Tufts University took it upon themselves to insert the following in their 2009-10 guest policy, “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room.”

Ahh the days when all we had to worry about was whether or not our roommate would walk in on our latest college fling (which mine did, with cereal in hand, at 3 am, and stayed to make conversation).

I have to say though, in the dorms, with a shared room, we didn’t have many problems working out with roommates a policy (sock on the door for the boys, hair band for the girls). If a boyfriend/girlfriend was in from out of town, the roommate made her/himself scarce and stayed in a friend’s room or apartment.

Not sure what about our simple, self-implemented policies kids these days can’t understand…to the point that Tufts had to take it upon themselves to make it law.

Categories: college

“Pivot…Pivot…PIVOT!”

September 21, 2009 2 comments

Last Friday, my fross and I were discussing the mastery and magnificence of the TV show Friends. The conversation began after agreeing that we both couldn’t hear the word “pivot” without thinking of the scene when Ross, Rachel, and Chandler are attempting to guide Ross’ new couch up a set of stairs. I found the clip on YouTube tonight. Just so funny. Comedy doesn’t get simpler then a man yelling “Pivot, Pivot, PIVOT!” and his friend shouting back, “Shut up! Shut up! Shuttt Up!” And yet I can laugh even thinking about it.

I would argue that the chemistry of the cast on Friends remains unbeaten. The show started its run in 1994, when I was 12 years old and entering junior high. A year after I graduated college, the show ended. I based so much of how I wanted my post-college life to be off the lives of the characters. Sad to say I know, but those were my formative years, and I liked believing that life after college could be fabulous apartments in a big city with my five closest friends in the room next door or the apartment across the hall.

The funny thing is I did have that life, twice before the show ended. My last year of college, I lived with one of my best friends, and our five guy friends lived in the apartment in a building attached to ours. We had no Central Perk, but we had the boys’ living room, which was good enough. And we spent all of our time together.

I had that life again in Santa Monica, where I lived with two of those same boys, and another best friend from college. And Central Perk became our living room, but instead of coffee we drank beer and played cards. We struggled with the transition from school to work, but we didn’t really struggle, because we came home to each other, and lived in one of the most fabulous neighborhoods in all of LA.

But life couldn’t stay that way. And now I can’t go back to it. I left LA, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I wasn’t happy with what I was doing there.

What I couldn’t comprehend, on the day I drove away, is that I was leaving my Friends days behind me, almost exactly a year after the show ended.

I loved graduate school. I loved caring about what I was learning and having real conversations with my professors who respected me. I fell in love with my closest friend and spent over three wonderful years as his girlfriend. I have a great job now, and I’m on a career track I’m proud of.

But none of that means I don’t often long for the days when I had three or more of my closest friends to come home to. I never spent a weekend alone, or a day alone. Now I have to spend a lot of time alone. And I’m not very good at it.

Here’s the thing though. If I had stayed in LA, or if all of my college friends had followed me to DC, I wouldn’t have had a three-year relationship with a great guy. I wouldn’t have learned that sometimes I have to be alone. And I wouldn’t have grown up. Because it doesn’t work like the TV show. We didn’t pair off and get married. And we couldn’t all do what we were passionate about in the same place.

I’m fortunate enough to say I’ve had a lot of “best days of my life.” Some were with my “Friends” and others were with my boyfriend. And I’m sure there will remain quite a few from each when the total number of best days is tallied up.

I thought it was ironic that what sparked this blog post was the word “pivot.”

Here’s what Merriam Webster has to say about it.

Main Entry: piv·ot
1 : a shaft or pin on which something turns
2 a : a person, thing, or factor having a major or central role, function, or effect b : a key player or position; specifically : an offensive position of a basketball player standing usually with back to the basket to relay passes, shoot, or provide a screen for teammates
3 : the action of pivoting; especially : the action in basketball of stepping with one foot while keeping the other foot at its point of contact with the floor

I think my friends are the foot on the floor. They remain, despite their distance, the pin that holds me steady as the other foot turns from man to man and from job to job and from place to place.

Sports Love

September 20, 2009 2 comments

My football team, the New England Patriots, suffered an embarrassing loss today at the hands of an opponent whose coach and players had been talking all sorts of smack before game day. It was a frustrating, disappointing afternoon.

For a moment though, I’m going to go back in time six days, to last Monday night, when the Patriots came from behind to win the game against my buddy’s Buffalo Bills. It was the return of Monday Night Football and the return of Tom Brady. And I did a dance in my kitchen.

The day after the game, Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King wrote, “Time will tell if the Patriots are really good and just escaped with one, or if they’re just a member of the NFL pack. The latter’s unlikely. This team has flaws, but this team also has Brady.”

After today’s performance, I may get some sass for using that quote. But in that moment, on that night, Brady and his brand of magic were back, and this fan was left with a 24-hour high.

My love of sports started with a love of sports writing. As a teenager, I used to anxiously await the arrival of my father’s Sports Illustrated. If I found it in the mailbox first it meant I wouldn’t have to hunt for it behind my parents’ toilet later.

Once I had my hands on it, I would try to be good and read it in order. But more often than not, I flipped right to the back page, to Rick Reilly’s “The Life of Reilly” column. Reilly, who now sadly works at ESPN, is my favorite columnist of all time. So much of why I love sports, and all the good and bad that goes with it, is because of him and other sports writers who made me care about the games through the stories they told.

I have never been good at retaining stats or remembering the names of players who aren’t in the news often or aren’t on one of my teams. I don’t follow drafts, or participate in fantasy leagues. And lately, I live without cable, so no regular SportsCenter. But I love Sundays in fall. And I love the moment when you walk into a baseball stadium and the green of the grass first hits your eyes. I love filling out my brackets for March Madness. And I love the sound skates make against the ice when they come to a hockey stop.  And most of all, I love waking up the morning after my team won a big game, or even a championship, and scouring through all of the fresh words set out by sports writers in the wee hours of the night.

I have girlfriends who think I’m slightly off for how much I care about my teams. For example, I bawled into my ex-boyfriend’s shirt after the Patriots failed to complete an undefeated season with a loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. We happened to be watching the game with a roomful of elementary school teachers who didn’t care much about football, and who really didn’t understand how I could possibly care enough to be shedding tears.

I have other friends who believe my love of sports will some day help me land a man. And they could be right. I swear the reason I landed my last boyfriend, or more specifically why he stuck around after a rocky start, was because I got so into the 2006 World Cup. How could he not hang onto a girl who so enthusiastically watched every Germany game?

But trying to impress men, or compete with their vast sports knowledge, has never been a reason for me to care about sports. If it was, I wouldn’t call myself a true sports fan.

The Boston Red Sox are on a hot streak right as playoff season begins. And despite the loss today, the season’s just begun for the Pats, which means a whole lot more chances for Brady magic. To top it off, I’ll be wearing my new #21 t-shirt at the Verizon Center on Wednesday for a Washington Capitals preseason game, and then again on October 3 for the home opener.

Thanks go to talented sports writers, my baseball-loving parents, my sports-playing little brother, all of my ex-boyfriends, and my hockey-obsessed college friend for making me care about the game. I can’t imagine a life without my sports love.

For Your Amusement

September 20, 2009 1 comment

I’m not sure the following audio clip is really the reason some girls stay single, but it’s amusing nonetheless. My roommate and I thoroughly enjoyed it, while also wondering how someone could possibly turn out like this guy. The friend that sent it to us asked the question “Is this for real?”

On the off chance it is, watch out for guys named Dimitri!
http://melodymaker.posterous.com/the-reason-some-girls-stay-single-very-funny


Categories: Uncategorized

Walk On

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment
Lately, I have heard a lot about my own strength. People comment on how “strong” I am being as I stare down my family troubles and a broken heart. My question to them is do I have another choice?
Am I being strong? Or do people say that as a way to encourage strength? And is it strength, or just life?
I was listening to Pandora today at work and The Weepies started to play. It was a song I had never heard, “Can’t Go Back Now,” and before it was even over, I found the music video on YouTube and sent it to my best friend. It made her cry (hopefully in a good way). The lyrics follow (but I recommend clicking the link and watching the video. It features Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, the husband-wife duo, as puppets).

Yesterday, when you were young,
Everything you needed done was done for you.
Now you do it on your own
But you find you’re all alone,
What can you do?

You and me walk on
Cause you can’t go back now.

You know there will be days when you’re so tired that you can’t take another step,
The night will have no stars and you’ll think you’ve gone as far as you will ever get

But you and me walk on
Cause you can’t go back now
And yeah, yeah, go where you want to go
Be what you want to be,
If you ever turn around, you’ll see me.

I can’t really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself

And you and me walk on
Yeah you and me walk on
Cause you can’t go back now
Walk on, walk on, walk on
You can’t go back now

I can’t go back to when my family was intact and I had my boyfriend by my side. All I can do is appreciate I had it while I did.
And now I’m taking steps all by myself. I don’t think that’s being strong. I think that’s living.
My friend’s mom, who I adore, left a comment on my Facebook status yesterday. She wrote, “We were just talking about you last night… and how you love life!”
I am fortunate that my instinct is usually to love life. That’s not to say I don’t complain, or have dark moments. But I never falter from my belief there is a way out of the hole.
My mother used to tell me, “You always have a choice.” I could chose to wallow in self-pity, which I occasionally do, or I can chose to find my way back to happiness. I think me being “strong” is me walking on, with those who love me behind me, in case I need to turn around.

Hello Fall!

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Fall arrived over a week ago.

Evey year I’m relieved when fall shows up. For an unexplainable reason, summers don’t always go well for me. I think I’m just not a “summer” person. Maybe that’s why I never want to move back to my hometown, where it’s summer 80% of the year.

I love fall. I love the nip in the air, especially at night. I love pulling my sweaters out of storage containers, and putting my summer dresses away. I love the anticipation of the holidays, even if the holidays have been rocky the past few years. I love when football starts and baseball playoffs begin. I love that soon Caps fans everywhere will be back in red, including me.

Fall calms me. It’s mere presence makes my days a little lighter, even when the load I’m carrying is heavy.

One day after fall arrived, I went on my first date since my break-up. I met the guy through an online dating site. He was a total gentleman. He held doors and paid for our drinks and shared dessert. But he was a suburb-lover, who doesn’t like riding subways, or being in airplanes. He has not been to a movie theater since he saw Cast Away, which came out in 2000. And while none of these dislikes indicate anything is wrong with him, they would put quite a damper on successfully dating a city girl who loves going to the movies and happily rides the subway every day.

A day after our date, he was nice enough to ask me on a second date. I politely declined.

So, for now, I continue to live each day as a single girl. I’m okay with that. At the moment, I’m on a bus to New York to see some of my favorite people in the universe. I already know I will laugh a lot (and drink a lot) this weekend.

And two weeks from now my high school buddy and I will be setting up camp in Shenandoah National Park.

During the week, I’ll be kickballing, hip-hopping, and happy houring my way through the start of fall.

For this single girl, life is filled to the brim. It’s going to be a good fall.

Categories: Date, Dating, Fall, Friends

You Tell Me

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment

A friend from work challenged me to let her choose three ways I could meet single fellows, or at least meet people who I could meet fellows from, and let the blog readers vote on them. She is convinced she knows which one will win, but when voting, I want you to consider the question at hand. After 11 p.m. on Sunday, September 13th, whatever choice has the most votes will be the activity I do. I will document the experience and report back whether I did in fact meet any nice gents.

Below the poll is a more in-depth explanation about each activity (and information if you want to try any of the activities out yourself!)

Let the voting begin…

UPDATE: With 53% of the vote, the winner is Nintendo Wii Night! Check back soon for a post on how the evening turns out.

Virginia Wine Festival

Sept. 19-20, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This festival, at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, is one of the biggest in the area, with live music, vendors of crafts and foods and wineries from across the state (including Breaux, Tarara and Kluge Estate). Single-day tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the gate; designated drivers and ages 12 to 20 $16, $22; ages 6 to 12 $5, $8; 5 and younger free. 540-745-3378 or http://www.across-the-way.com.

Nintendo Wii Night

Don’t have a Wii? You can use the Front Page’s system Sunday through Tuesday.

The Front Page – Ballston 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA Executive Airport 1005 Sycolin Rd., Leesburg, VA | 703-777-2420

Thriller Dance Class

Join in the simultaneous global rendition of Michael Jackson’s iconic dance.

Joe’s Movement Emporium 3802-3806 34th St., Mount Rainier, MD | 301-699-1819

Categories: Bars, Dating, Friends, Work

Boyfriends Are Not Best Friends

September 3, 2009 Leave a comment

“I’ve lost my best friend.”

It’s a classic line, used by both males and females, when going through a break up.

It’s a lie.

My ex wrote in an email that among the hits to his social circle was him breaking up with his “best friend.”

I admit to also having used the line multiple times in my three months of singledom.

But as I spoke to one of my best friends last night, who happens to be going through a eerily similar break up, I realized that boyfriends, at least our ex-boyfriends don’t deserve that title.

Best friends never break your heart, and they rarely break a promise. In fact, best friends are your first call when someone else breaks your heart.

The title of “best friend” is earned through months or years of knowing each other, unlike the title of “boyfriend,” which can be bestowed after only a few weeks.

Best friends “get” you. They know your baggage. They know the right thing to say to you to make you feel better. I have yet to date a guy that gets me laughing when I’m crying as quickly as my best friends do.

Best friends will drop everything when you are in a crisis. They will leave the happy hour. They will reschedule whole weekends to be with you. And they will pick up the phone at 11 p.m. on a week night and, without a word exchanged, know that something is wrong. It’s their best friend-dar.

And finally, best friends don’t leave you. Under only the rarest of circumstances do you break up with your best friends. Best friends, if they are true, can be the thread you use when you stitch your heart back together after the one you loved has left you.

The point you get by now. No boyfriend I’ve had deserves claim on the title of “best friend.” I have a feeling most of my friends would say the same.

Bathroom Stall Breakthrough

I made a discovery Friday night in the ladies restroom at the bar. The beginnings of social media started in bathroom stalls.

I admit the writings on the wall on this one (hehe), and a person does not have to be an expert in social media to see the connection, but I will say, three drinks deep, that I was fairly ecstatic about my breakthrough.

I did not use to understand what motivated a person to write something on a bathroom stall.

Why tell the world C.F. + T.K.? Aren’t C.F. and T.K. the only ones who needed to know they were “+”?

And does it really make a person feel better to write “Kristen’s a bitch” knowing that there is a good chance “Kristen” won’t ever read it and everyone else who sits down on the toilet probably won’t know who “Kristen” is?

My past judgments aside, I acknowledge that now that Facebook statuses and tweets are available forms of communication what some people post is not all that different from what can be found on the walls of a bathroom.

I credit the following two lines for sparking my claim. The first was in a bathroom at a music venue in Virginia on St. Patrick’s Day. I looked over, and someone had written, “Rock and roll is dead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dance with the ghost.” For some odd, undefinable reason I liked that line so much I typed it into a “note” on my BlackBerry.

And then on Friday night, I saw this, “THE MAN I LOVE JUST GOT ENGAGED.” Through the Sharpie stain on the wall I felt that woman’s pain.

The world can be a lonely, empty place. And so much of what I think people like myself are doing with blogs, Facebook and Twitter is reaching out into the darkness with the hope that someone else will relate, whether it be to our sadness, our happiness, our interests or our dreams. It’s not the only reason for social media, but it’s certainly one to list under social media’s merits.

Despite my earlier misgivings on bathroom writing, I can’t say I didn’t always read a few lines, just as I admit to checking my Twitter feed and Facebook statuses throughout the day. Whether it be on a metal door or a computer screen, there is something so nice about taking a pause from my life to read a few thoughts from somebody else’s.

Categories: Bars, social media