June 20, 2013

Bridesmaid for Hire (+wedding weekend recap)

When a friend asks you to be in their wedding, you can't really say no. Essentially, it'd takes a glaringly obvious excuse ('I'll be in Africa and can't afford to come home') or trust enough in the bride to share your true feelings ('If I have to be in another wedding, I may slit my wrists.')

At the end of last summer, my good friend Angela got engaged then popped the big question to me: Will you be in my wedding?

Of course! No seriously, we always had a good time together and despite the fact that I'd only met the Maid of Honor in passing once, I was in.

For those of you who have never been in a wedding, here are a few things to consider.

There is strong chance you're not going to like the dress you have to wear. You may or may not have to pay for it yourself, but whatever you do, keep those opinions to yourself until *after* it's over. For the record, I've been a bridesmaid 3 times. The first time was so long ago I can't remember if I ever wore the dress again. The second time, I wore the dress again to a prom-themed party and yes, I had it shortened. Jury is still out on this one, since the wedding itself was only 72 hours ago. I like the length, but the straps cause an unfortunate sideboob/underarm muffin-top thing that if I'm even going to think about wearing it again, the straps are going to have to go.

Actually, forget it. You may dislike the aesthetic of the whole frigging thing. Or you may love it. But it doesn't matter because this event couldn't have less to do with you. Save the egomania for your own special day (year?).

Second, it is going to be expensive, especially if you don't live in the same community. In 2010, WeddingChannel.com surveyed 20,000 bridesmaids and found that it costs about $1,695 to be a bridesmaid, including dress, accessories, travel expenses, wedding gifts, etc. And that was 3 years ago!

It's easy to not notice because often those expenses are drawn out over the year. The Maid of Honor lucked out (sort of?) because although she lives in Florida and the festivities were primarily held in New England, her boyfriend is a jetBlue pilot and she flies for free. Whoop! I was lucky in that the most expensive part of my commitment was $60 for makeup the day-of. I had a free place to crash and minus gas and tolls the Bachelorette party couldn't have been more than oh, $130. (Remember we paddleboarded?)

crash pad

But I remember this uncomfortable moment a few years ago in which I was part of a wedding and I barely knew the other members of the bridal party. The mother of the bride insisted on throwing the shower, which was great, but as a thank-you, and I assume to offset the cost, the MoH splurged on a $200 gift card to (somewhere? Spa? Salon? IDK!). She asked us to chip in $50/each and I was like are you kidding? You work 60 hours a week merchandising/managing at the mall and I'm a student on foodstamps. Why didn't you ask me to bring a fucking dish instead? #drama.

Or, you could end up making some new friends. Like this time. I remember there were a few instances when we were ironing out the details of the shower and the bachelorette when I realized I was communicating with this MoH way more than anyone else in my life. Truthfully, I liked the attention and I'm glad she sought my input.

wedding weekend supplies

There was a moment this weekend, during the wedding festivities, when I surveyed my friend group and discovered some of my closest friends aren't married yet and oh man, how many more times am I going to have to do this?

But there was also this moment, overflowing with joy and gratitude for including me on one of the most special days of their lives. The ceremony had just ended, and we were behind the chapel. I may have looked incredibly awkward blinking so much, but I made it through the ceremony, my makeup in tact. Random relatives and friends started approaching Angela and Sean, congratulating them and telling her how beautiful she was. As I hung back, surveying the scene, I didn't feel compelled to say anything to my bff bride. Because we had a great day together. She chose me!

rehearsal dinner look

We assembled bouquets, drank mimosas, bitched about the make-up artist*, decided on which underwear, switched Pandora stations, ate snacks, fielded texts and phone calls, got dressed, smoothed hair. I joked about how I was sure that I was going to fuck up the wedding. "Ahh! The steamer I brought is leaking on the floor! I'm fucking up the wedding!" (Obviously this brought me great joy because unless I passed out or something, there was no way anyone gave me a second glance the whole day. I did actually almost eat shit as Groomsman and I were announced into the reception tent. But as his baby mama looked on, he held me tight).

me, performing my best "skinny arm"

Anyway, I wanted to let you all know that I'm mature enough now to realize that the special moments in our lives are few and far between. Despite the potentially ugly dresses and subjectively gigantic price tag, I want to be there for you to reassure you and tell you you're beautiful before everyone else gets to, make jokes and put you at ease on your big day. Hey, what else are friends for?

*the fucking make-up lady noticed a small patch of dry skin on my eyelid and said that she cured her daughter's eczema by putting her on a diary-free gluten-free diet. Oh, and you also do Paleo and Crossfit? So how long ago did you stop Atkins and Pilates, you trendy fucking bitch? Are you calling me fat? I'd rather go on an all-gluten all-dairy diet. She also took an hour and a half to do the bride's make-up. You think she doesn't have better things to do than sit here and make small talk with you while you dab her mascara, again?

Three down, 24 to go?

May 25, 2013

Paddling v 2.0

There usually isn't more than one person in front of me in line for coffee at the Holy Donut at 7:45 on a weekday morning. Sometimes I'll treat myself to a donut, but not always. I tell the person behind the counter (if they ask) that if I only get them sometimes it's more special. Whatever, leave me alone. Anyway, it was 8:40 on a Saturday and I was already five minutes late. But I desperately needed that coffee and donut. Lately I've been rockin the Old Fashioned, because honestly it's just as good as Chocolate Sea Salt. These donuts can stand alone. I should've left even earlier, however, because the line was visible from the street. That is, out the door. I made a joke to the elderly couple behind me that I thought the line would go faster if the individuals in front of us only got donuts for ourselves. This is why: ohhhh, I think I'll get a half.... no, a dozen to bring to the office. Lemon... no wait, is that Pomegranate?  Are the Pomegranates organic? Wait, is there any grape in the Pomegranate  because we have someone with a grape allergy. Yeah, oh and two gluten-free. And one bacon-cheddar for me. Can I have a bag? Or the people trying to corral like, five kids under the age of 10. Anyway, the people behind me also ordered a half dozen, which made me feel pretty silly as I walked out, now a solid 15 minutes late for paddleboarding.

Paddleboarding? You mean like, in the middle of the ocean? That thing that crazy people do on surf boards, with no propulsion, life jackets, or anything? Oh, that's what you want us to do for your Bachelorette party? Oh. Um. Yeah? Are you sure we can't go whitewater rafting? That seems safer.

This is how I found myself at Summer Sessions in Rye Beach, New Hampshire. The air, tepid. The waves, mild. The sun, beaming. I probably didn't have enough coffee, sleep, or confidence in my swimming techniques to feign enthusiasm, but I was happy enough to see the bride-to-be to fake it. My tardiness fed my anxiety like egg cartons in a camp fire, but then I remembered it's a surf shop.

The boards were ridiculously fucking heavy and my wetsuit made me look like I was rounding my second trimester (see below). Cam and Corey, our instructors, clearly demonstrated and exhibited plenty of patience. Once I stood up, my thighs trembled like leaves. I asked Cam if it was because I was nervous. He disagreed, likely attributing it to my rarely used core muscles. "Yes, I work in an office." "This is my office, right Corey?" He's lucky he was cute.

So I'm standing, floating and paddling. It's kind of like being in a canoe, except there's no cooler to reach back for. Simply looking around proved difficult because of the simultaneous precarious balancing act, but it was such a beautiful day that I don't mind staring straight ahead and only straight ahead.

It's like we were walking on water!

Eventually, after 3/5 of us have fallen in, it was time to make our way back to the shore. This is much more difficult, but also rewarding because there might be some actual riding of waves. Somehow I've fallen a bit behind from the rest of the group and Cam hangs back with me. I asked him if he was from the area, he said no, etc. He moved here from NC to work on his MCATs. I started excitedly relaying how my old roommate was accepted to medical school and how ridiculous and expensive the interview process seemed. As I began detailing her meticulously perfect interview outfit, I suddenly found myself underwater. Little distracts me easier than talking about shoes. This wasn't me, but it may as well have been:

(apparently she stopped paddling.)

Everything was downhill from there. Since I never made it back up from my knees, I must've looked pretty pathetic because Cam offered to carry my board back. I protested once; he said no, you've worked hard today. Okay! Don't have to ask me twice!

Oh, and he invited me to a keg party later! We instead chose to hunker down around the fire in Kittery Point. But I definitely enjoyed bragging to the rest of the group about my exclusive invite from the pre-med surfer. What else are bachelorette parties for?

And here's a selfie before we hit the road.


I don't know why but when we viewed the slideshow of the day at 11:30, after the 6 of us went through a few bottles of champagne, a handful of beers and a few whiskeys, these two images of Cam and Corey running back to escort the second two lucky ladies into the water was hysterical. Even sober, it still it. Look how much air Corey is getting! Like our own personal Baywatch or something.

My thighs and between my shoulder blades ached for the two following days.

April 27, 2013

The Bangable Men of Game of Thrones

My latest obsession? Game of Thrones. David Simon of the Wire said something like, it's better to have a viewer on the edge of their seat trying to figure out what's going on bore them. GOT does that for me. I've been listening to the audiobooks on my one-way 45-minute commute. That time so-and-so got his so-and-so cut off in book? I was so engrossed I missed my exit on the highway and was at least 13 minutes late because I had to get off at the next exit and loop back around north on the back roads.

One of my favorite parts of the show is discussing the adaptation of the books. I stopped by the new house of some friends of mine and we randomly spent probably close to an hour dissecting details, defending the characters we liked and did not. Also enjoyable is speculating what might happen to whom, when, and where the heck is Ricken???

So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw on thehairpin.com this list, the men of GOT in order by hotness. This series has tons of dudes and tons of sex, so it seems like a natural train of thought. It may be the most shared post they've ever made because of the grievous errors. Seriously. In what world is the HOUND number 7? Like okay, he's tall and broad shouldered. To be fair, he kind of saved Sansa and his demeanor is due in part to his brother who is way more fucked up. I don't totally hate him, and Rory McCann appears to have kissable lips. But with the beard and makeup, you hardly notice.

I've redone the list, with comments, taking out the White Walkers and the Black Smoke because everyone knows you don't have sex with dead things unless you're a necrophiliac (Google had no spelling suggestions on that one. Turns out it's l-I-ac. I missed the 2nd i.) Also left out of Edith's list on thehairpin.com are Varys, Lord Commander of the Nights's Watch, Benjen Stark, and all of the Maesters. But I guess we'll roll with it. Honorable mention for Rhaegar Targaryen. From what I can tell he was a total babe.

Without further adieu:

24. Viserys Targaryen - Horrible. Just awful. Would rather wear a molten hot-crown of gold.

23. Joffrey Baratheon - Does he even know what sex is? Blech. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

22. Podrick - Pod saved Tyrion and in the show works some magic in the brothel, leading the whores to not accept his money. But I'm not buying it.

21. Samwell Tarly - It's not that I dislike big guys. But Sam is craven, bless his heart. Yes, he's smart and rescues Gilly. But it's under fight or flight circumstances. I like Sam, to have a conversation about ravens or history. But I'd never want to do Sam.

20. Renly Baratheon - Nice and handsome but gay.

19. Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane - See aforementioned comments. ALSO: Mankind from the WWE circa 2000 called. He wants his haircut back.

18. Eddard 'Ned' Stark - We all love him. And from time to time, one may encounter a DILF. Ned Stark is not one of those.

17. Jaqen H'ghar - What do we know about this guy? Very little. Creepy.

16. Tywin Lannister - Who cares. Other than the Realm.

15. Robert Baratheon - Robert and I would probably get wasted then have a fun, yet ultimately mediocre romp behind closed doors. His wiener would probably be buried under his giant beer belly. Too much? Idk. But he is still the King.

14. Ser Davos Seaworth - In the book, I'd pay him no mind. But Liam Cunningham has this scruffy, blue-eyed dimple-y thing...

13. Bronn - He's clearly into sex and boozing, which could make for an interesting evening or two. Being a sellsword, he's probably in pretty good shape.

12. Loras Tyrell - Gay, but I keep thinking about when he gave Sansa the rose at the tourney. It was for show, sure, but he knows how to make a girl feel special.

11. Stannis Baratheon - Remember when he took Melisandre on the table?

10. Gendry - Clearly an idiot. Hello, you're Robert's bastard! But that shirtless scene was excellent.

9. Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish - Something about the idea of him spending a copious amount of time with all of these woman at his fingertips (prostitues), yet choosing you over all of them. He's also one of the more intelligent citizens of Westeros.

8. Tyrion Lannister - It's not the length, it's not the size... Tyrion wants to be loved, I think. He might try to cover this up with humor (bonus) but given his stature, he probably knows his way around a bedroom. Peter Dinklage is way, way handsomer than Tyrion in the book.

7. Robb Stark - The older brother your best friend never had. Take him to #prom.

6. Jojen Reed - He's 23 now. It's okay to find the little boy from Love, Actually attractive.

5. Ser Jorah Mormont - Definitely more attractive in the show. His sunburn, blonde beard and frown lines... Is he so distraught because he's waiting for the right time to rip the clothes off his Khalissi? I think Jorah might be one of the only true romantics on the show.

4. Theon Greyjoy - Theon objectifies women. He's not the only one in Westeros, for sure, but I love his arrogant, blatant disregard. He gropes his sister's boob, unbeknownst. I'm not going to lie, before we knew that was his sister, that scene was hot.

3. Jaime Lannister - He's got the looks. This is true for a number of men on the list, but some women are really into jerks. In book 3 though, he becomes a much more complex, sympathetic character. Let's also not forget all of the existing intimate scenes we have to go by.

2. Khal Drogo - My sun and stars. Savage horse lord? Or dude just trying to make his virgin wife comfortable doing it for the first time?

1. Jon Snow - The number one ranking goes to Jon Snow in part because hot damn, Kit Harington, in part because of the Egret scene in the underground lake (in the book.)

Also: check this out:

April 14, 2013

Thirty before Thirty

It was my birthday on Friday. My boyfriend had some of my/our friends over to his house. Drinking, eating, laughing and hugging ensued. So now I'm 29.

I've been inspired by my friends Darcy and Bridget before me to make a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. This is the official list. Questions?

1. Have a week of sobriety every month for the next year.
This may come as no surprise, but I really enjoy drinking. Making a goal to cut back will help my health and my budget.

2. Climb Mt. Katadan.
File under, "Things Every Mainer has done Except Me."

3. Visit Darcy. 
This may be one of the least attainable things on my list, because of vacation days, budgetary reasons, and the uncertainty of her tenure in BCN. But I want to try, so I'm putting it on my list.

4. By the second half of the year, make 30% of my days exercise days. 
I could also put this on my individual objectives for the year at my job.

5. Find a regular volunteer opportunity that fits into my schedule
Actually part of my I/Os

6. Improve my bowling average by 5 points next year, from 117 to 122.
Over the last five years I've improved like 20 points, so this isn't a huge stretch. Just more practice.

7. Kill it in the MFA program. 
This might be more difficult to measure, but I just need to make sure to work really hard. As an art school dropout, I know I'll crush the critiques. 

8. Start an emergency fund.
(self-explanatory, right?)

9. Do a writer's retreat weekend somewhere other than my house.
Bridget went to Martha's Vineyard and Eastport, ME for long weekends this winter. Looked cozy and productive. I might head inland to VT, though. 

10. Wardrobe makeover.
I have some articles that I love, but more often than not I try to get dressed in the morning and think, UGH! I hate all of my clothes. 

11. Spend a weekend with Kate Digby Skinner. 
(It's been much, much too long)

12. Combine 9&11 and sub KDS for Mandy Wheeler and writing for hot tub. 

13. Spend more time with my family.
Goes without saying.

14. Improve my environmental impact.
Buy food that comes in less packaging or recycled packaging, never forget my grocery bags, lower my electric bill, take shorter showers. My job has lead me to over analyze my environmental impact. For example, when I go out to bars and they give me a Solo cup, I bring it home to put it in my recycling. I was concerned the blue dye in my windshield washer fluid was unnecessary, so I made my own windshield fluid. We went to an eco-friendly resort (campground) on vacation.

15. Take the train to Old Orchard Beach.
Always wanted to do this!

16. Develop a hair routine that does not result in ponytails 6/7 days a week. 
Could be better products, better blowdryer, or hot rollers. I don't know. I like my hair, but what good is it if it's just pulled back haphazardly every day?

17. Read 30 books in the next 12 months.
Ones that I've already started don't count. This doesn't seem like a lot but my track record lately has been shit! Any recommendations?

18. Start a private journal (for the first time since I was like, 20.)

19. Improve my credit because I may need it to be better someday.

20. Lose 10 lbs.
See also #1 and #4. It's not that I think that I'm "fat." I know that even at this slightly heftier version of myself I'm still well below the weight of the average American woman. But I'm not getting any younger and at my recent health assessment, although I was within the recommended BMI for my height, it was precariously close to the outer limit. This can also be filed as drink less, exercise more, eat more veggies, less fried things.

21. Publish something.
It's been a while since I've been published anywhere, in print or otherwise. Hopefully this won't be terribly difficult.

22. Attend a wine tasting. 
They're everywhere and free. Why don't I do this more often?

23. Figure out a set of staples to have in my fridge/cupboard at all times. 
I kind of usually just make whatever I feel like. No rhyme or reason. It'd be easier to have a few go-to recipes on hand, don't you think?

24. Find a new pair of leather boots for everyday use.

25. Spend more time at Videoport. 
The exercise will be good for me.

26. Try paddleboarding.

27. Attend a film festival. 
I've always wanted to! Camden? Why not!

28. Mini golf (mini tournament?)

29. Work on a 5 and 10 year plan. 
It's obviously important to have goals. 

30. Reformat this blog.

March 29, 2013

Our Caribbean Getaway

Greetings from St. John!

It's Tuesday and we head home the day after tomorrow. It's been an excellent, relaxing vacation. So far there has been a copious amount of rum punch, ginger beer, more rum, boats, beaches, books, snorkels, sugar plantation ruins and a ridiculous amount of hills. Any drive here on this island is like, scary road, scary road, scary road, breathtaking view. Scary road scary road scary road breathtaking view. But today, I'm a little sunburnt from the sail yesterday and this morning was a little hazier and humid than normal. So I'm kicking it on our deck to tell you a our vacation.

View from the sunset sail

Reef Bay sugar plantation ruins
We're staying at this place called Maho Bay Campgrounds. Jason found it on the internet, and it seemed like it fit our needs reasonably well. Some of the hotels and resorts we found had casinos and golf courses and all inclusiveness. Part of what we wanted to avoid were the kinds of people who stay at those sorts of places. In the taxi from the airport to the ferry, there was a horrible, horrible woman who talked on the phone the entire ride, complained about St. Thomas, complained about jetBlue, complained about her coworkers and ignored her special needs daughter. All 6 passengers were on the same overnight flight. It was 8 a.m. I was thisclose to making my own obnoxiously loud phone call complaining about the woman in the van who was unnecessarily on the phone. She was the kind of woman we wanted to stay away from and choosing the campground with the recycled arts center seemed like a good bet. 

Many of the people we've met here have been medical professionals/doctors, professors, etc. Aka, NPR listeners. I heard multiple children singing opera. That is not an exaggeration. 

Tent cabin in action
While we've been enjoying our time here, one thing is particularly troubling. The owner of Maho Bay Campgrounds, this guy named Stanley or, Mr. Maho to his friends, founded the eco-resort back in the 70s, and a few years ago sold it to an unnamed buyer. The information we've gleaned so far is that the buyer is taking great pains to remain anonymous, likely because they will be making some negative changes to this beloved place. A consortium of campers even tried to pool their resources nd buy the campground (a la Grey's Anatomy?), but it fell through. Although the future of the site remains unknown, it is definitely not going to be an eco-resort. Rumors include famous potential buyers such as Jimmy Buffett and Paul McCartney. The camp will be officially closing in May. If I was a working public radio producer, I'd get on this story ASAP. 

Part of what is so troubling about the end of this era is the need for guests to ask employees and contractors what they plan on doing next. It's creating this solemn sense of sadness and gloom. While I'm sure some employees might appreciate the concern of the guests, after about the 20th question I might've burst, "It's none of your goddamned business!" Hamilton, one of the taxi drivers, helped build Maho and has been involved in one way or another ever since. He does guided driving tours of the island, shuttles campers to Coral Bay for a night on the town, etc. People ask him about his plans and he responds in his thick Caribbean accent, "Maho don't worry about me, so I don't worry about Maho." Right on, brother. 

I mean, I'm bummed too. Although I don't know whether I would actually ever plan to come back here, it'd be nice to know the option exists. We overheard a couple on our way to a hike who have been coming to Maho the same week every year for the last nine years. Jason says that this place is like summer camp for families and adults. My closest experience to camp is Wet Hot American Summer so I don't really know. Even band camp was only days. 

Anyway, I'm glad to be on vacation but I'll also be happy to come home and see all of you. Hope this message finds you well. You can read more about Maho Bay from a professional at the NYTimes here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/travel/06explorer.html?pagewanted=all

beach gear

Here are some of the many Maine connections we've encountered:

After we booked the trip, we found out that a friend of mine actually used to work at this place. 

The local St. John beer is brewed at Shipyard in Portland (which I actually think I may have known but forgotten.) 

A woman on the sail with us yesterday was from Belfast, Maine. We got to talking about toothpaste, and how she had an allergic reaction to the toothpaste she tried (not made by my company.) I told her exactly what to say when she calls the company and I think I was really able to help her!

A kid on the beach with a Standard Baking Co. tshirt. 

The Heron is the boat we went on a snorkel trip with yesterday. It was built in Camden and splits its time between Rockland and St. John. 

There was another sail boat based in Maine that also splits its time between St. John and the Rockland area. 

Some other stray observations:

Jason wanted me to mention that many of the animals here are things commonly found in pet stores, salamanders, geckos, iguanas and hermit crabs aka pets that boys like. You can probably find most of these little guys in the PetSmart in Portland, Maine at this very moments. Except for the Pearly-eyed Thrasher. These birds were terrifying and everywhere.

various animals from the trip

Speaking of animals, during our snorkel trip we saw four sting rays, two sea turtles, a bajilion fish and coral, plus one bloated sea cucumber. The ideal of snorkeling intimidated the crap out of me, but because we were in the dingy with a bunch of strangers I didn't say anything until the very last second. Little known Amanda fact: I am not a strong swimmer and feel uncomfortable in areas I can't touch the bottom with my head remaining above water. Luckily, they had neon pool noodles. I don't care if swimming around the coral reef in my flowery, vintage cut one piece bathing suit with a noodle and rented safety orange snorkel gear made me look like an ass-hole-I got to see our guide hug a sea turtle. They were in a bromance and it was awesome.  

I've become so weird and stringent about recycling that despite the fact that there is no recycling for plastic on the island, I'm insisting any plastic we use hat has a symbol we wash and take back with us. Is that insane or just conscientious? 

"Goat tail up, sheep tail down." Hamilton, the aforementioned taxi driver with the Twitter length words of wisdom, explained that the sheep here look like goats because they have no need for gigantic wooly coats. You can tell the difference between the goats and the sheep because of the tails. It makes sense- why would I put on a sweater in St. John if I didn't have to? This also cracks me up because two twenty-something women coming back form Coral Bay with us recounted an argument with a different taxi driver about whether the herd of animals passing their car were sheep or goats. Those bitches were WRONG!

There were 250 stairs from our treehouse/cabin to the beach #involuntaryworkout. 

On said stairs, we passed a 10 year old boy holding a 12 rack box filled with medium-large hermit crabs. I hope they made it out alive.

At open mic/house band-night, the best performances were teenage renditions of Fade Into You and a song I hadn't previously heard by Rise Against. The lowlights included Bruce and Steve (average looking middle-aged dudes in khaki shorts and Tevas, one had a ) introduced their song as "This is a song about all the cool things you can find at a thrift shop." It was *NOT* Maclemere (sp?) and the chorus included lyrics about "the poor people store." The house band ended the evening with Wagon Wheel with flute accompaniment #freebirdofbluegrass 

PS- where should I go next??

February 12, 2013

Adventures in Chiropractic Medicine

I went to a chiropractor for the first time today. Many of my friends have been seeing one, I've been having some unexplained aches and tensions. Why NOT see a chiropractor? My insurance and FSA are just sitting there, cogs in our completely messed up healthcare system, waiting to be utilized.

First, I turned to Facebook for some old-fashioned crowd sourcing. Ideally, I'd find a female doctor somewhere between home and work. The first suggestions missed the mark by about ten miles. I got impatient and Googled some random woman on the internet.

At my consultation appointment a week later, I was a few minutes later and Instagrammed this:

Here's the weird part.

"Amanda?" says nice lady with clipboard.

"Hi, nice to meet you."

"I'm sorry, can you tell me how to say your last name?"

"pl-OUGH" (Rhymes with snow, go, chateau. See what I did there? Let's go find a woodstove or something)

"Oh! Like p-l-o."

(eyes roll)

So we make small talk as she measures my spine, posture, pulse and whatever.

"How long have you been at your job?" as I rotate my head to the left and right as far as I could comfortable.

"Oh, uh, since May. Before that I was a student..."


"A non-traditional student."

"What do you mean?"

"You know, like traditional students go straight from high school to college and graduate around 21. I took some time off or whatever. I just say that because I don't want people to think it took me ten years to get my undergraduate degree."


"Not that there's anything wrong with that or anything."

"No, that's just what my son did! He took 6 or 7 years off and worked for a while. Then he went back to school. Once you take some time to figure out what you want to study it helps you get more serious."


"So what was your major?"

"Media Studies."

"That's was my son's major too! Oh! You should meet!"




"Is he doing some video production work now?"

"Yeah, and a little of this a little of that. He's also working at [name redacted]"*

*local independent record store that I worked at for a while in and immediately after high school.

For a minute I had to be like, wait a minute, have I boned your son? But no, I checked and re-checked my mental list. She said she was from Biddeford and I'm nearly positive I've never dated, made out with or anything else otherwise anyone from Biddeford. This also explains why she couldn't pronounce my last name: Biddeford residents are famous (in southern Maine) for bastardizing the pronunciation of French words.

See you at La Kermesse (LAKEr-mess), Biddo.

Oh, this is how effed my muscles are:

The left illustration shows what normal muscles are supposed to look like on the stress scale or whatever. I only have 4 normal muscles, and T8 is so disrupted it's off the Green, Blue, Red scale. It's taken the Black! Winter is coming!

More later. Bye. 

Have you seen a chiropractor? How is it? Have you ever witnessed a Biddeford resident Jon Snow'ing a French word?

February 5, 2013

Burning questions about the Bachelor

I've been watching the Bachelor. Before that, the Bachelorette, and before that the Bachelor, and so on and so forth.

One of the things I could never wrap my mind around is what do these people even talk about? It seem like they just giggle and talk about their immediate surroundings and how weird it is. One of the things I liked about Ames, a contestant on Ashley's season of the Bachelorette, was that he seemed to ask intelligent  thoughtful questions and their conversations were some of the most interesting of all the segments in the history of the show.

Like, okay, maybe I can believe in love at first sight. Maybe I can believe that it's possible to fall in love with someone on camera for national television. But like, do you get to talk about politics? Do you get to talk about career aspirations? What did you give up before you left for the show? What was your salary before you left the show? Cat person or dog person?

Favorite film? How many hours do you spend per week watching reality tv, other than the show you're on? What do you spend your time reading? Do you know how to read? It seems like none of these burning date questions are answered in any of the "dates" that we see.

Idk, maybe the casting directors screen for any obvious deal breakers. But I decided to turn to Twitter.

Mystery solved.

Decision Making Fatigue

Over the last few weeks, I've been a bit out of sorts. Double booking friend hangouts, locking myself out of my apartment, trying to make plans for an event that I think is on one day but is really on another. But it seems as though there has been a lot on my mind, between job stuff, school stuff, which is all ties in to financial stuff. Like 20 times in the last month, I've signed off Gchat with "buy" instead of "bye".

But I was thinking a lot about decision making fatigue (DMF) tonight, after seeing this excellent film Chasing Ice at SPACE. Essentially, this film a collection of stunningly beautiful images documenting how Global Warming is killing our planet. I have a very difficult time making decisions. In some arenas, like who to date, what to write, how many rounds of beers, I'm pretty good at deciding. In others, like what bills to pay when, how much to spend at the grocery store, how to structure my savings plan, which charitable organizations to support... It's hard to make a "perfect decision, " kind of like when Tom's of Maine changed their toothpaste tubes.

I blame the Industrial Revolution. I realized I had DMF at some point last year when I was so poor that the mental excursion of doing groceries was so acute that I'd spend the rest of the day making stupid financial decisions. Just like in that NYT article.

Before and after the screening at Space, there were short presentations about the dangers of Tar Sands and what we can do to ensure they don't make it to our front lawn. Do I care about Tar Sands? Yes. What I struggle with, however, is how exactly Tar Sands fit into the hierarchy of Causes to Care About. It's like, rate these things in order of importance: social issues, economic issues, environmental issues, homeless animals, your friend's kick ass play, your other friend's ride for the cure, public broadcasting.

My company offers paid time off to volunteer and part of the reason I haven't started a regular volunteer gig is because I can't decide where to go. It's not that I don't care enough to volunteer, it's more like I care about too many causes to decide where to go. On one hand, maybe I should spend my time at the places I contribute financially, since those places seem important. On the other hand, should I spread my resources and talents and contribute to a place that seems needier? Like picking a pizza topping, I'll always second guess my decision.

Global warming is scary and sometimes I fantasize about living in a house-version of the huts from Maine Huts and Trails, composting toilet, sun tunnel and all. But then would I be so busy stacking wood or living off the grid or whatever that I'd have no resources left? Is living off the grid > doing Laundry at the Animal Refuge League?

Where do you volunteer/contribute and why? How do you sort out what's most important?

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