Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Fingernails May Not Survive This

Last night a battle of epic proportions waged. In one corner, a craving for homemade chocolate chip cookies so great it could be described as criminal; brought on by end-of-Winter, brink-of-Spring anxiety that only creature comforts in the form of calorie-dense sugar bombs could calm. In the other, a lack of baking goods (thrown away in a fit of moth fright) and a fierce desire to Not Leave The House, Ever; compounded by a newfound interest in The Mindy Project and unlimited access to the entire season via Netflix (I told you that stupid thing is ruining my life).


The winner: chocolate chip cookies. Though you could call it a tie, seeing as I did subsequently finish the entire season -- aided in part by sluggishness due to aforementioned sugar consumption. Also, gluttony.


It's always around this time of year that I start noticing the inevitable signs of Winter Depression. My worst traits accumulate through the months of insufficient sunlight and too many layers of clothing: the inability to make decisions (see above); the underlying anxiety that manifests in pacing from room to room, unable to commit to any one activity; the fatigue accompanying each and every day, no matter its excitement. I don't know why I'm still caught by surprise at the dive my mood takes each year after Valentine's Day. It's official. From February to the first 80 degree day our unfortunate geographical position experiences, I am one crabby bitch.


While the snow angrily pounds the earth outside my house today, I'm afraid I've hit Critical Mass. Or some other techno-jargon, because I'm fairly sure I'm not using that term correctly at all, that means I'VE FUCKING HAD IT.


I still don't understand why I live here. Surely I would fair better in some balmy, imaginary state where snow falls but one month a year and by the time it hits I find it charmingly quaint. And then just at the right moment, it warms to a comfortable 75 degrees for the rest of "Winter." Haven't we figured out how to science the weather yet?


Bears hibernate. So do other smart animals.


So why is it that I -- as well as a majority of the human population -- still believe we have to keep the same pace in Winter as we do in warmer months? Why do we not see this as a time to slow down, to sleep more, to spend more time being domestic or simply just lying around? It's a time to recharge, right? So why the hell do I still have to stay the same weight in January as July, when all my squirrel neighbors are nice and fat right now?


Maybe we're all just nuts. So while I'm remaking the bed for the fifth time today and agonizing over wanting to do absolutely nothing but feeling ashamed about it, I hope you're at least finding some cozy ways to spend this home-binding day. And if not, here are some suggestions:



COOKIES. I've had this recipe memorized for as long as I can remember and it contributes as much to my domestic repertoire as to the size of my ass. The secret? Nestle Tollhouse. Adjust the amount of brown sugar to one cup and white sugar to a half and you have the Brown family secret recipe -- also a reason to not leave the couch for several hours. And if none of the dough makes it to the oven, I won't judge.



Celebrate Johnny Cash's birthday by dressing all in black and drinking too much. Could also be confused with a one-person funeral.



Make a list of SVU marathon names to send to USA. Instead of "Caffeinated Cases" or "Uncracked Cases" why not:


"Dramatic One-Liners Marathon"


"Awkward Explanatory Scenes Marathon" or;


"Overly-Obvious Apple Plug Marathon"?


I think I may have a future in TV. Everybody needs a wise-ass that makes cookies, amiright? And if all else fails, there's always the Middle Distance:


Enjoy your depressing day!




Friday, February 22, 2013

[Not So] Feminist Rant

A friend and I were having a texual-based conversation last night. It went like this:


Remember how I told you I really need to get my period? CASE IN POINT.


Whenever women rant about how horrifying it is to experience the monthly symptoms of pre-menstruation, I find that most men that make it past the word "menstruation" without running in the opposite direction tend to respond along the same lines. It's always something to the effect of a verbal eye-roll, a sarcastic defense of their gender deeming women that have the sheer gumption to single themselves out because of a monthly bodily function either dramatic, feminist, or a hormonal cocktail of both. As if we have the ovaries to insinuate a gender superiority, or that we -- by the nature of our strife -- are capable of more than you. Because being a guy is no picnic either, you feminist so-and-so!


Fine. So you accidentally get hit in the balls by a stray something every couple months or so, and when you were 16 your hot teacher asked you to answer a question on the board during a particularly graphic midday fantasy. Get over it.


In the same way that every man I've ever met insists that testicular-jarring is the worst pain imaginable, I respond thusly: please image feeling that pain for one hour. Just one. And then add the sense that someone is inflating a balloon in your stomach, hire a midget to follow you around repeatedly punching your abdomen, stretch it out for about three days and then get back to me. And hey, while you're at it, throw in the need to sob uncontrollably at every lone leaf floating down the street.


I'm really not one to play the gender card. I don't think that there is any one superior sex, though if I had to trust one to CEO a company with a hairline fracture, it would be those with two X chromosomes.


Being a woman is a tricky thing. Even in writing this, I feel the nagging thought that I'm doing something wrong -- I'm playing the "PMS" card, I'm making men uncomfortable, I'm airing my bloody underwear. See, right?! I just said "bloody" and you cringed! Are we supposed to talk about this stuff, but keep it to our knitting circles? Are we supposed to reach the brink, but never jump over it? Are we supposed to dance around the topic endlessly, pretending that it both exists and does not exist -- to keep the illusion alive that we are not women bound to a monthly process that makes simple daily tasks feel like climbing Mount Everest?


Again, to reiterate: I am not a feminist. I love being a woman, and I love men, and women that love men, and men that love men, and men that are really women, and, and...and. But I do understand that we have still not yet reached that point of understanding between genders, where men sympathize with our monthly monster and we don't smack their balls for fun. I could point out the pressure that women feel, to be this way or that, to have this or that trait, to be capable, et al. I could recognize the same in men but justify ours as being so much less forgiving. But I won't, because while I think that no man could ever understand what it feels like to burst into tears at the word "orange," I have nothing in the way of experiencing an organ that lives externally and acts of its own free will. Or...desires.


Because look, here's the thing: we spend so much time trying to differentiate ourselves and our experiences -- to try and get those around us to understand us, because I am Me and you have no idea what I've been through -- that aren't we missing something along the way? If we all spent our years trying to get heard without doing any of the hearing, doesn't that make us all just shouting bumper cars? To be a human is a two-part process. It's the feeling and the understanding that does, indeed, make you uniquely you. But you will forever be just that without a few other "you's" to connect to. And connection takes time, understanding, patience and love. It IS the back-and-forth.


To be a woman is a combination of both the best and the worst that this world has to offer. But the same could be said for men, children, homosexuals, blacks, whites...each and every person around you has experienced their personal heaven and personal hell. Because what is life, without a little of everything? And that, my friends, is the most roundabout way of saying Life is Life that has ever been. Be it a good one for you all.


Happy Friday!






Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stir Crazy and Reddit

I was watching SVU last night after a several day hiatus. The episode ended in a horrific car crash involving Benson and Stabler's pregnant wife Kathy. Kathy is pinned in the passenger side and goes into labor as the fire fighters arrive to cut her out. The firemen crowd around the shattered vehicle, yelling about cutting off its roof and instructing Benson -- still in the car -- on how to medically treat Kathy. As soon as I see the giant metal-cutting chompers that arrive to free poor Kathy, the phrase "jaws of life" swims through my brain and I feel a lump rise in my throat. Seriously. Just thinking, "jaws of life," made me want to cry. Why? I DON'T FUCKING KNOW.

I really need to get my period.

Later, as Kathy nestles safely in the hospital with her newborn baby boy after miraculously surviving the crash, Stabler holds his son for the first time and says, "welcome to the world."

At which point I cried mercifully for the duration of the show. You guys, being a woman is retarded sometimes.

In other news, I recently crawled out of some sort of hole and discovered Reddit. Ok, I didn't discover it. Mostly I just got to sick of Buddy Holly making fun of me for having a Pinterest app (which I don't use) that I installed a Reddit one (which I probably won't use). I'm sure I won't be any more Internet-savvy but maybe for today let's pretend. Here are some gems from the world of EVERYTHING:

I will post this on my ceiling. It will make getting up in winter months not The Most Depressing Thing Ever:



I will adopt a wolf and call him Jonas and he will kiss me all day:



And finally, bartenders of the world unite over the rest of us drunken fools:


I worked at a movie theater where we sold wine and beer. This one lady came in and had apparently pre-gamed too much as well as downing a couple of bottles in the theater. She got the extra bottles from friends because we cut her off a long time before the bottles after she spilled red wine on the floor leaving the counter.

Movie is over and she comes stumbling down the walkway, literally bouncing off the railings and slams a glass of wine into an employees hands, spilling it all over the employee. She then slams herself into the counter and screamed "DO YOU SELL WINE TO GO?!" We told her no and she ran off into the projector room because she 'thought it was the bathroom' and vomited blood red wine everywhere.

Her husband was absolutely mortified, paid for damages from the puke and left.

That was a bad night for a lot of people.

I had a drunk customer who could not pay her bill run off and call 911 claiming that I had stabbed her. My weapon of choice you ask? A sweet potato french fry. The reaction of the cop (who showed up to look for a blood trail) when I told him that the restaurant had discontinued sweet potato fries months ago was truly priceless. Rock solid alibi.

Had two regulars that would come in for Bears games like clockwork. Never missed a game in the two years I worked there. Nice guys married with kids and working as house painters. One looked like Michael Chiklis the other looked like Ned from Groundhog's day. One day they get fall down sloppy and start causing a ruckus. I tell them that they have to clear out and they stumble to the sidewalk. Five minutes later everyone in the bar is gathering around the front window. I look out and these two dudes are making out in the middle of Clark Street. Never saw them again.



Surviving Midwestern Winter one day at a time brought to you by Reddit and SVU on Netflix. Actually, most things are brought to you by SVU on Netflix. HELP ME.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Influx, Outflux

Sam says to me yesterday:


"Why don't you try and write advice to people actually asking for it?"


Touche, madame.


This is not the Sam of Phoenix and Yosemite adventures. This is Sam of my writing group, the one of All Hail Ze Zygote and other inflammatory sketch comedy writing; of which I have yet to share but secretly read in throws of envy over her seemingly effortless humor. She did not intend the above comment in as bitchy a tone as could be interpreted. Though I'd have liked to dump her glass of wine over her head for it, I -- alas -- know exactly what she's talking about.



I started this blog in September with the hopes of sharing my life's experience with those that might find a connecting thread in its messy web. That mess being no more or less than my innards spilled onto the page; set free by my angst, gumption, fear of being unknown, or whatever: it's been as messy a process as it sounds.


But then, months after the fact, Sam has to go and ask the very question I've been asking myself since the beginning. She brings up exactly the struggle I have daily with this thing. What the hell is it? Is it me talking to the wall, hoping something bounces back with enough force to stick? Is it me, aggrandizing my own wordsmithery in some sort of masturbatory process? Or is it me and you, communing together as we all are on this little sphere, hoping that the connection gives us the answers we're looking for?


That's a lot of questions. And unfortunately on this particular topic, I have very little answers.


I ask myself these same questions often. When you make art that bares your naked flesh over and over again, you're going to wonder what the fuck the point is every once in a while. Though I know the message and its intentions somewhere, I still have to take stock every now and again to make sure I haven't fallen into that self-stroking cycle.


So what am I doing here? What do you think I'm doing here? Or more to the point, what are you doing here? Is that connecting thread really there, between the reader and the writer, that pulls you out of the depths of yourself for a little while; to remind you that you are still human and so is everyone else?


And if not here, what is your connecting thread?


I was having a conversation with an old friend last night. He asked me how I was doing, to which I responded in some roundabout way on the uncertainty of being a 20-something. He called it a mid-life crisis. I just said I was trying to get as many of them out of the way before everybody starts buying unnecessary motorcycles.


So again, as we're all trying to figure it out at the same time, what makes you feel alive? And what's getting in your way?






Friday, February 15, 2013

The Evolution of Glitter, Part 3


If I were technologically inclined, I would devote all of my time and energy to inventing a machine that would give me enough hours in a day to get all the shit done that needs getting done. But then again, if that were the case, I probably would be rich and famous already and without need of a "job." What is the retirement age, again? Oh yeah, FUCK US, Y-GENERATION!


In the meantime, I will be functioning on barely passable levels of sleep and large quantities of caffeine.


This installment of the Evolution of Glitter and the introduction of a FACE to the painting brought to you by Starbucks and Mr. Coffee coffee brewers. Also my bed. Hello, lovely.

And in case you were wondering...my Valentine's Day was fantastic. Go Buddy Holly. This is what the love of my life and I would look like as cartoons. Obviously, my super power would be That of the Round Face. Happy Friday!






Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Relationship 101 or; Valentine's Day is for Beginners

As I sit here, rifling through Facebook and engaging in similar Internet debauchery; wondering how the hell I'm supposed to introduce the topic of love and relationships in an "advice" setting -- considering the chance that I may be way out of my league, overreaching, or generally "out of line" -- I somehow rifled my way to this image:


Unless you've sustained a lasting head injury in the past week or so, you're likely to be aware of the pending holiday. It's time once again for us experience the excitement and inevitable despair of Valentine's Day. Allah help us all.


The above image might elicit a well of tears in some, a shower of rage in others, a long-standing tradition of apathy in a select few. I tend to vacillate between the former two, depending on how annoyed with Buddy Holly I feel at the current moment or how close I am to my period. Luckily for him, both Valentine's Day and the monthly tear-storm fall in the same week. You'll be sure to hear of the aftermath on Friday.


But I couldn't ask for a more perfect opening than this. The sickeningly sweet story of one man's ethereal devotion to his widow? You've got to be shitting me. Way to kill the aspirations of Every Other Man (or Woman) on the planet and their inevitably disappointed partners, guys. You've just ensured no one's getting laid this Thursday.


Forgive me, I don't mean to disrespect the dead or anything. Or my elders, which would send The Mother storming to change her will. What I mean to point out is, relationships like this take a long time to develop. 46 years, to quote Sue's tale. And anyone that's pining at their computers right now over all they have and have not -- the faults and flaws in their relationships, be them old or new or non-existent -- should take heart (pun intended) in the great tragedy and simultaneous blessing in this sentiment.


The good part is that there's always room for improvement. The bad part is that the improvement is up to you to initiate. Good luck.


A few years ago, shortly after Valentine's Day, The Mother was telling me about what my stepfather had gotten her. I was jealous and despondent that someone might have the foresight to think of me in such a careful manner, with all the flowers from her favorite place and the gifts and whatnot. But then -- and this is the best thing that's ever been done, ever -- she told me how she had secured her Valentine's Day be as awesome as it panned out. She had emailed my stepfather, with a list containing no more or less than a Google map of directions to said florist, instructions to accompany this gift with another at their shared favorite boutique and -- so as not to miss any detail and curtail any anxiety on the other party -- a copy of their bank statement and budget that would ensure the plan entirely feasible. You guys? My mother is fucking awesome.


I've shared this story with a few friends. A few have actually followed it up by sharing with their partners exactly what would make them feel good, to wildly successful results. It seems entirely unromantic, I'll give you that. But at the end of the day, my mother got exactly what she wanted and her husband felt fantastic being able to provide it.


Because look, here's the thing: the bottom line of a successful relationship is communication. That's not a new concept, it's fairly standard protocol. Or at the very least, we all know it but may have a harder time practicing it. The extent to which your relationship requires communication is on you -- it's on you to understand what needs discussing and what needs leaving alone. It's on you to dissect what needs dissecting, and let go of what you're unnecessarily holding onto. And until you can come to the place that values communication for both its talking and listening parts, you're probably not going to get what you want -- both on Thursday's impending disappointment or otherwise.


Laura and I have been talking about Valentine's Day intermittently in the last few days. We both understand that the holiday is absolutely a corporate-backed fraudulence. It exists to sell shit and to make you feel shitty. But as two women currently engaged in Serious Relationships, we both feel our partner's distaste for it while simultaneously desiring their participation. For those of you guys (or girls) that think your girlfriend is "one of the cool ones" that doesn't care about Valentine's Day: she's full of shit. You've been warned.


We shared the discussion with our boss. He's a guy that buys his wife flowers just because but forgot her birthday last year. Meaning, he's pretty typical. Laura explained it like this:


"I just want to be treated like he likes me at least as much as those girls that get stuff on Valentine's Day."


To which Dave responded:


"You've got to tell him in a way that makes him think you're nice."


I couldn't have said it any better myself. We all want to be wanted, and shown that this is the case. But we all need a little nudging, sometimes. And when you need to nudge, make sure it is done with as much care and attention as you know the relationship deserves. So tell your partner what you want. But make sure that when you do, you're also willing to listen.





Sunday, February 10, 2013

All Hail Zee Zygote

Because I don't feel like writing anything profound today, because my friends are funnier than your friends, and because I CAN:


My very talented, very raunchy, very twisted friend Sam wrote this sketch recently for her Second City class. I've had the pleasure of reading a few of her pieces in our writing group and to be honest, though I'm supposed to critique them each time, there isn't much I would change about the way she writes. She is a sick little chick and that is exactly why I love her.


I may also like it because my namesake's character is everything that I aspire to be. Though I'm pretty sure she was cameo-ing under my name. If you want to read more of her effortlessly dry and enlightening humor, visit her here. And if you decide you don't want to associate with me or anyone I know after this, I'll understand. So will she. Enjoy!







Katherine – 30’s with a Texan accent

Natalie – 20’s

Molly – 30’s


(Natalie walks into Buy Buy Baby whereKatherine is organizing racks and Molly is behind the counter texting)


(Peppy and obnoxiously cheery)

Hello there, darlin’. Welcome to Buy Buy Baby. How may my lovely associate and I help you this morning?


(Confusedly looking around)

Uh, hi. So this is ‘Bye Bye Baby’?


Mhmm, sugar plum.


Oh, well, I heard an advertisement on the radio and it said you guys, you know, ‘take care of babies’ here?


Why of course, sugar plum. Are you here for yourself or someone else?




Oh, well bless a binky!

(Grabbing for Natalie’s stomach)

You are just the tiniest little thing, ‘aint she Molly?


(Not looking up from phone)

The tiniest.


You are almost as precious as a Precious Moments figurine. Much like my uterus is almost as hard and uninhabitable as a Precious Moments figurine.




Oh, um. Thank you? So, anyway, you can help me with this situation, right? I kind of want to just get it all taken care of, you know?


Absolutely. First of all, my name is Katherine. And this is mycolorful colleague, Molly.


(Not looking up from her phone)

It’s a pleasure.



Great. I’m Natalie. So do I need to fill out any forms or…?


Sure, if you want you can fill out this mailing list application.


Oh, I don’t think I’ll be needing that. Hopefully this is just a one time thing.


They send coupons. Who doesn’t need those?




I know, ever since those extreme coupon shows, we’ve been sending ‘em out faster than a mommy on a breast pump.


I’m sorry, I don’t mean to judge, but who’d needs coupons for…





I beg your pardon.


…Why would you need coupons for abortions?


Lord have mercy on a onesie! That mouth is pure sin. Why would you come in here and talk such terrible nonsense?


Because this is And you said… Oh my God. This is not an abortion clinic is it?


Jesus take the stroller! Of course it’s not! Why on Earth would you think that?


Bye Bye Baby? Like, G-Good Goodbye Baby? …I thought it was a play on words.


Joseph, Mary, Elmo! It’s spelt B-U-Y Baby! As in purchasing.Retail.


It was on the radio! I didn’t know. Plus it said you guys take care of babies. I thought you meant taaakee caarre of babies.


Oh my- I can’t even- Molly! Are you hearing this?



Yeah, huh.


Are you even paying attention??


Listen, I guess I misunderstood. There was some severe miscommunication here so…I’m just gonna-

(Starts backing out to the door)


You can’t just leave!


Excuse me? Why not?


Because! I need to protect my baby! I mean, our baby. I mean, your, your baby.


I’m so sorry! I have to go!


(Finally looking up from her phone)

Hey, you might need one of these.

(Molly throws a hanger to Natalie. Natalie catches it and runs out)


(Crumbling to the ground)

Fetus Jesus! Molly, swaddle me! Binky! Gimme! Ga! Gooo!!



Friday, February 8, 2013

Playing With Fire

Last night, swaddled in the enveloping warmth of a tightly-wrapped blanket, perched on the topmost step, staring into the vast white beauty of a winter's night as the stars twinkled above and calm settled over the earth; I clicked my lighter and let the flame tease my fingertips. The flakes of tobacco began to glow in the flame as its heat accelerated upward through the tunnel of my cupped hands, like a gust of wind over a mountain highway. At the peak of contact between ignitor and ignited, I gasped suddenly at the overwhelming heat rising from within its confined space. Breathing once more, I relished the rest of my evening ritual and returned inside. Gazing into the mirror as later I scoured the surfaces of my teeth, I noticed something:





What the fuck, element of fire? After all that we've been through -- all that preparing of food, all those quiet reveries during a smoke break, all those THOUSANDS OF YEARS surviving as a species -- this is how you're going to repay me?


Granted, it's not so bad as to be immediately noticeable -- Laura only noticed this morning when I pointed it out -- but the difference in length from one set to the other is definitely there. Before mascara, the singed tips on my right eye curl under like a used-up newspaper. Devastating, some might say. My abnormally long eyelashes are a genetic gift from my father; one that attempts to make up for the round face and large backside they also bestow. No matter how much pizza-weight my face gains, my eyes will always be shaded in their heavy black curtains (hopefully, IN MY OLD AGE), keeping the attention away from less desirable attributes. They're the kind of things girls that grew up chubby and still haven't accepted their new bodies cling to.


It should be said that immediately after noticing my current situation of Eyelash Cyclops-ery, I considered taking needed money out of my non-budget to have fake ones installed. I continued considering it until thoughts of the falling-off moment overwhelmed all desire to synthetically modify my appearance. Because those things might eventually fall off into your morning coffee or something. And that's fucking disgusting.


The kicker in the end was the money, though. Non-budget or otherwise, I can't very much afford to go dropping 40 bucks on new eyelashes (because I killed mine), brow shaping (because once I'm there I might as well), and upper-lip threading (because shhhhhhhh...).


But seriously? Someone please come examine my closet and slap me for the above statement. How much time, energy and money do I spend consuming appearance-altering cloth ware that, even if I managed to burn holes in half of it over the same process, I would not need? How any times have I obsessed over a new pair of shoes, only to find them growing roots at the back of my closet months later? How many of us -- men and women alike -- worry more about the way we look than the substance beneath the Mac and H&M?


I'm guilty of all the above in varying degrees. On one side, I've been using lipstick as blush for a week simply to avoid having to go to the store. On the other, I spent grocery-money on thrifted dressed the other day. For what? To have that many more ways of looking like a walking cupcake?


I remember when looking good meant graphic t-shirts from Kohl's. I remember my first hooded sweatshirt when $50 Billabong from Pac-Sun was practically mandatory (I lost that one in a bathroom shortly after purchasing it). I also remember tying a red shoelace around my wrist, wearing Converse sneakers when girls didn't do that kind of thing yet, thinking black eyeliner could never be heavy enough and that my ass looked really good in smiley-faced pajama bottoms. I may look back at photos of these occasions with an expression similar to The Scream, but I remember them well enough to know that at the time I felt like The Shit.


But look, here's the thing: at this point in my life I do spend more time than I ever have on how I look. I believe firmly that to take time and care on yourself means you value yourself -- or if nothing else that what you present on the outside reflects how you feel on the inside. I dress well because I feel well, and if maybe sometimes I don't feel all that well I can draw on the exterior to enhance the interior. We're not all perfect beings. We're going to be superficial sometimes.


Most mornings I wake up with approximately half the amount of time I actually need to get ready. My hair usually makes its way to the top of my head because for fuck's sake it's easy, and I tend to think it brings some of the roundness out of my face. Sometimes I wear a dress and sometimes I wear jeans. Sometimes Buddy Holly exasperates on the couch when I get ready and sometimes I don't shower for a week. Either way, I usually feel pretty good about myself. I do believe that our outsides should be a reflection of our insides. But I assert that when the outsides detract from what's going on inside, it's time to take a breather for a minute. Far too often we let everything that's outside of us take over -- the accumulation of stuff and things and more and more and more -- and no matter what you want to call it, it's essentially just a distraction. A distraction from everything we don't want to feel or admit to that is suffocated by as much stuff as we can cram into our tiny, individual spheres.


It's a toss-up. I know where my simple desire to look nice ends and obsession begins. I toe the line frequently enough to warrant a good eyelash-singeing reminder. I count it as making up for all those years spent in unflattering jeans and graphic t-shirts. Today boiled down to priorities. My eyelashes will grow back. And if anyone notices in the interim? Hell, I'm all about a good story.


Happy Friday, folks!