Thursday, July 23, 2009

I should have been an FBI interrogator

I was planning on writing something alarmingly witty, obnoxiously charming and with just a hint of my incontestable pith. However, I've chosen to regale you with my new found discovery. I may or may not be, but definitely am NOT ready to be seriously dating.

For those of you who have had the [mis]fortune of socializing with me the past few years (alright, decade) know I was in a serious, committed, marriage-bound relationship. All the bells and whistles. Everything I knew and everything I thought I wanted. I called the wedding off because I am absolutely confounded by everything that marriage entails and no one could give me a cogent answer to any of my questions. What makes a marriage last? How did you know they were the one you could spend the rest of your life with? What actually changes after you put on those matching rings? Why do some marriages fall by the wayside and end bitterly in divorce, custody battles and lawyers deciding who gets the ugly china? If anyone has any answers to these questions, I beg of you, speak up! I haven't had the best examples of wedded bliss in my lifetime so I was not so easily drawn (or dragged) to the aisle. Calling off my wedding was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, because my feelings for my fiance hadn't changed, but my fear of the future won out. We spent the following year attempting to right our wrongs, alleviate our apprehensions, and find some common expectations. As I am single now, you can see how much we accomplished. I'm still not sure whether we were in fact not the right match or it simply wasn't the right time, either way I'm writing this blog about dating (or rather not dating) new people. Eh, such is life.

Now that we've got some of the background issues out of the way, let me expound upon my theory that I'm not ready to date. Okay, I'm ready to date, but not date. Glad I cleared that up. As previously mentioned, I had a lot of down time from the point my wedding was cancelled, to the point we decided to go our separate ways, to the point I felt I was ready to finally let go and move on. Let's call this the Trial & Error period. I'd like to say I spent the past couple years really soul searching, discovering the real Rachel. What does Rachel really enjoy or detest? What really defines Rachel or gives her strength? Why does Rachel refer to herself in the 3rd person when asking pivotal questions? At the very least, I was hoping to provide validation for the poignant aphorism - Know thyself. You may be wondering what was I actually doing? Having a riotous pity party for myself while hugging my new boyfriend, Mr. Merlot. I suppose I just needed time. Retrospectively, I probably should have been a little more productive. Maybe I could have learned to play the Australian didgeridoo, perhaps developed a conversational level of Farsi, or even mastered Mohobelo African dance. Alas, I did none of these - nor did I really think of them until now. These will be added to my Bucket List. Where Was I?

At the cessation of Rachel's (okay, I'm seriously done with creepy omniscient blogging) Trial & Error period, I decided it was time to embark upon the new Slightly out of the loop on every social and global refinement of this stupid verb I threw down the proverbial gauntlet. Never one to shy away from a challenge (this is a bold face lie but I like how it sounds) I let some people set me up and began what would prove to be a tiresome, ghastly, nauseating chore. For starters, those of you who arranged dates for me with men who are questionably: sane, heterosexual and done nursing, I wish ceaseless incontinence upon you with a hint of restless leg syndrome. Anyway, amidst these mutants I did happen to stumble upon a pretty great guy all on my own. No thank you to any of my abusive friends whom I suspect are harboring some deep grudges against me. Of course since he's my type - not psychotic, has a job, no felonies, literate - I immediately assault him with "Fantasy Future," the absurd game I've erroneously disclosed in another post. So instead of enjoying his company I immediately try to fit him into my future plan. Granted, I only knew the poor guy a couple weeks and no one could possibly fit into this restrictive plan, I persisted nonetheless. Fast forward a few weeks, everything seems to be going great (almost too perfectly) and then I decide I'm terrified of this new found happy relationship status. The second it started feeling comfortable and familiar I completely shut down. This was alarming for two reasons: 1) Can I really not maintain lasting emotions or interest in someone because they don't fit perfectly into my mold; and 2) Is he yet another wrong guy? Either I'm destined to a life of loneliness or I have terrible judgment and need to be more cautious. Great. *cue Mr. Merlot*

I think everything just happened too quickly. I'm so used to jumping to exclusivity and the abhorrent "where is this going?" conversation. I can never just enjoy the moment, go with the flow, let the chips fall where they may and all that jazz. Truth is, I really like this guy and do enjoy our moments together. I'm just not sure I'm ready to face my compulsory need to have everything fit perfectly into place. I need time to figure out not only what's out there in terms of men (as it's painfully obvious I have no clue), but what I actually need and what I may want with someone else. I'm gaining a better understanding of what doesn't exactly work for me, but am far from nailing down what does. Until I learn how to engage in normal unobtrusive conversation as opposed to my barrage of typical first date questions - how many kids do you want? sexual partners you've had? mental illness? will you convert to my religion? who'd you vote for? do you live in your mom's basement and does she iron your jeans? where do you see yourself in 5 years...literally, what location, in what condition, at what point of spiritual comfort? - see, this is why I should not be allowed in public. Truthfully, I will probably never abandon my overly aggressive interrogations of potential suitors, but here's hoping that I may learn to space out some of these preemptive investigative techniques. *removes ninja death grip on Mr. Merlot to cross fingers*

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Milwaukee: Wisconsin's thriving metropolis

Astute geographical scholars can typically recognize 3 places in Wisconsin - Madison, Milwaukee and of course, the Dells. I happen to be living in the largest city in all of Wisconsin, ahem, Milwaukee (in case you still have no clue what region I'm speaking of, check out the big mitten near the Great Lakes). So I guess this makes me a legitimate city girl! Which is precisely the label I was seeking when looking for condos. How else would I put into practice and mirror what I had seen on Sex and the City (primarily seasons 2-4)? After calling off the wedding and letting the full weight of my bleak suburban existence take its toll, it was time for a change. Fortunately HBO had been playing re-runs of my 4 Sexy mentors so my decision was clear. Milwaukee, prepare to be dominated...for real this time. You see, I did live in Milwaukee when I was in college but I may as well have stayed home since that's where my boyfriend was. Yes, I was that girl. Home most weekends and a dismal college 'experience.' Still slightly bitter over this, at least it kept me from failing out of school and/or getting knocked up. Way to find the silver lining, where was I? So I grew up in the suburbs and have owned a couple houses in equally mundane neighborhoods, but now I'm back. Okay, not 'back' but it sounds more dramatic.

I didn't go quite the whole struggling writer in a crappy apartment route because frankly I was fortunate enough to not have to. So I bought a sick condo in a nice area and waited for the adventures to begin. mean I actually have to leave said sick condo to find these adventures? This does not lend itself to my favorite activity of dormancy but I guess we've all got sacrifices to make. First goal was to find some friends. I know what you're thinking - wow, she really sounds like an anti-social loser and yes, I would agree, but my ex got to keep the friends in the break up. Small price to pay really. Unfortunately around the time I moved a few of my best friends decided to as well. The bastards just up and left the state, as if they didn't want to partake in my new Sexy adventures. So yes, I needed to find some new friends. How does one go about doing this when you don't have the benefit of structured activities? In school it's easy to meet people with similar interests simply because you've chosen the same classes and you may need them for notes or idle classroom chit chat. If I had a 'real' job, coworkers would have been another easy route. However, I pride myself on not being held down by The Man and have yet to find a job that fits my criteria - 3 day work week from the hours of 10am-3pm with a 2 hour lunch/shopping break. I'd also need a flexible vacation schedule, full benefits and I'm told at least a 6-figure income to support my lifestyle, but that's another story. How about hobbies? If naps and reading count then I've got some, but these are typically solo activities. Without my own personal set of dysfunctional, misguided, overly dramatic girlfriends I knew my whole Sex and the City episode might be a bit lackluster. Ultimately my trick was to contact old friends, make them introduce me to their friends then become the new friend burglar. Hence, multiple circles of people to choose from - mission accomplished!

There's a few more glaring instances where my Sex and the City experience falls apart. For starters, I'm in Milwaukee. Where the hell are my black-tie gala events? Of course NY is far more exciting, but I figured there would be a little more going on than drunken outdoor summer festivals. Seriously, how am I suppose to rub elbows with socialites, blossoming artists and captains of industry while drinking out of a plastic cup? I live in a very convenient area. I'm within walking distance of the lake, nice restaurants and bars, boutiques and markets. Yeah for me? No, yeah for everyone else who ventures to the city for a night out then insists my condo equates a Motel 6. I'm all for house guests, but don't call me after bar time because you need a place to crash and then puke all over my lobby or kitchen sink. As imagined, this bothers me for 2 particular reasons-one, the smell of puke makes me want to heave until I pass out and I'd rather sell my place than clean it up. And two, you live in a crappy little town 30 minutes away and I will never be crashing at your place. Where's the win in this for me? I also do not have a home conducive for such elite activities as beer pong or flip cup. I'm not opposed to these college exercises, but I have grown-up possessions now. Such possessions include: wood floors, white furniture, a mortgage and elderly hostile neighbors. It's one thing to have beer splattering all over your basement floor or linoleum kitchen, but I no longer have access to either of these. I can't have renegade beer soaked ping pong balls whizzing around my Waterford crystal and paintings. Does this make me anal and out of touch with my fellow 20-something year olds? Probably. Would I rather have nice things to worry about than the approval of my 20-something year old friends who live in their mother's basements? Absolutely.

Then there's my dogs. I used to have a yard big enough to necessitate an invisible fence. (For awhile I actually thought this was an accomplishment of sorts.) I traded this electric luxury for 3 flights of stairs and a tiny grassy knoll next to the road that my dogs refuse to set foot on. Never a big fan of responsible dog ownership (ie. walking them) I find myself begrudgingly heading toward the lake to deter their frantic furniture leaping episodes. This is all well and good, having access to the lush green fields near the lake, but I'd much prefer opening the patio door and letting them find their own adventures. No one wants a chaperon after all, right?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love living here. There is no place I'd rather be, but I forgot to add bitching as one of my hobbies. The benefits of my new zip code? I can watch fireworks from my balcony during the summer months; I never have to worry about parking or driving home from the bars, in fact taking horse drawn carriages home are one of my favorite perks; watching people dig their cars out during the winter from my window with a cup of coffee in the morning or watching people attempt to parallel park, subsequently bumping both cars around them as if this is an acceptable form of driving; feeling like you're doing something even if you're still in your pj's because there's always someone hustling from one place to the next and their enthusiasm is contagious; and finally, nothing beats the view from my balcony at sunset. Makes me thankful every time I see it to be living here. So maybe my Sex and the City experience has not quite lived up to my season 2 expectations, but I'm getting there. Got the whole tortured writer scenario down, didn't I?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Footless belly socks, jorts and CK one

Things that annoy the shit out of me (in no particular order):
  • Girls that wear footless belly socks (more commonly known as tube tops) to Milwaukee bars any time between August-June. We live in Wisconsin. It is not warm here, ever. The lukewarm summer months do not support this tube top nonsense either seeing as it's still not warm at bar time. How about we just retire the tube tops ladies, indefinitely. MTV's beach party will not be filming your scantily clad ass in the Mid-West any time soon.
  • When relationships end and one party vehemently adheres to the notion that the other must be sleeping with someone else. If you can only justify your relationship ending due to the fact you dated a sloot maybe you should redirect your anger at something more productive, like synchronized swimming or armed robbery.
  • My weirdo neighbor who I think silently engages in a staring contest when I get trapped in the elevator with him.
  • Animal print clothing or accessories, especially in unnatural hues such as electric blue and tennis ball green.
  • When I meet a guy who asks my sign then leans back and sighs, "Ahhh...I could tell you were a Leo right away. You're so...blippity bloppity bloopy blah." I stop listening because anyone who follows astrology and feels compelled to chalk my entire personality up to a weird little squiggly sign is not getting anywhere near my little Leo.
  • Guys who wear long white athletic socks with any type of footwear if pants are not hiding them. This means no long white sock/sandal/cargo shorts combo unless girlfriend-less dork is your fashion statement. Exception obviously would be athletic shorts, but I still think ankle socks are the way to go. Just reminds me of my crazy old neighbor growing up who wore his socks jacked to his knees slipped into some open-toed sandals, while wearing boxers and a wife beater roaming his 20 square foot yard on the walk to elementary school. So creepy.
  • When people bike down the middle of the road thus, holding up traffic. There is no way you can pedal faster than my car, get on the effen sidewalk!
  • Any stranger who asks for money without providing a service. I will not give you a dollar unless you entertain in one of the following ways: musical instrument such as rusty trombone or stringless guitar, on the spot improv, awkward mime antics or lyrical dance would suffice.
  • Men who own homemade jorts (jean shorts) especially when showcased in a beach setting.
  • Confessions of infidelity. You know in advance what their reaction will be, so what has your confession gained? Is it so that you can walk away saying you have been honest? Is that really what you have been? You should know better and I don't want to hear about how your "honesty" did not set your dumbass free.
  • People who use the phrase, "It must be nice." You sound like a jealous, bitter idiot.
  • The following smells: CK one, vanilla candles, marijuana, my ninja turtle shoes and Buffalo Wild Wings Indian diaper sauce.
  • Taylor Swift's squinty eyes and scrunchy face.
  • Guys who order wine at sports bars.
  • Having to pay all my mortgages in a timely fashion and for the full amount. Sometimes I just don't feel like it, alright WSBank? Love it when they deliver the statements and give me 8 minutes to send payment before I get late fees. Slick guys, real slick.
  • Getting a new Chanel face compact and promptly dropping it, shattering the powder into a fine dust then watching my $60 product blow away.
  • Finding out your house guest used your expensive face lotion as body lotion. Can you really not read and do you really think I purchase body lotion in 1-oz quantities?
  • When people karaoke to slow songs or romantic ballads as if there's a record label exec in the audience scouting for talent.
  • Hitting my head on all the cabinet doors I leave open, then wondering a) do I have a concussion or open flesh wound, and b) why was I moving with such lightening speed vigor?
  • Men who offer to spot or assist me at the gym. As if I can't manage to control my burdensome 15 lb weight. Also, unless I'm attempting one armed push up's precariously on the stairmaster, keep your unsolicited advice and work out tips to yourself.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

86% sure I should make my homepage

I told my dad in Alabama I might just buy a bunch of dogs and call it day. He told me I was going to be one of those crazy old ladies who dies alone and is found decomposing 3 days later after her companions start nibbling at her decaying extremities. Nice thought, thanks dad. He might be onto something though. I'm not entirely convinced that I'm cut out for the whole marriage, babies, mundane lifestyle that everyone else seems to so eagerly pursue. I suppose that's not fair. I'm sure most people don't say, "When I grow up I want to be in a loveless marriage, miserably working in middle management, and come home to 3 kids that despise my existence!" Yet, this is what typically transpires. For some, I think stability and comfort go a long way. For others, the fear of being alone and eaten by your dogs is all it takes. I on the other hand, have ridiculously high expectations for my future and am beginning to think I may have set the bar a bit too high. Please friends, come join me on my fantasy future...

Let's start with the husband piece of the puzzle. I've decided he needs to be at least 6 feet tall with broad shoulders, defined legs, a little bit of a booty, strong jawline, and at least a few veins running through his forearms. Too specific? Just wait. He's got to be driven and inspired by something, have some sort of values he adheres to, a good relationship with his family but not too close to his mother, be well read or at the very least have a good working knowledge of grammar and syntax (don't know what syntax is? need not apply), and finally, an appetite for travel and maybe an accomplished musician of some sort but let's not split hairs. Also, I insist that fantasy future husband adore children, and not in the 'I think they're amusing but don't really want any prolonged contact with them' (this is my line of reasoning and I believe this is not a good recipe for a functioning family unit; I assume someone has to interact with the children). Mr. Rachel Ksobiech must acquiesce to the following: realize I have a very limited concept of the value of money. I will unhesitatingly put down $1200 for a Burberry coat but complain about the price of movie theater popcorn. I am a beauty product junkie and need 92% of the bathroom cabinet, counter and drawer space. If you tell me "No" or I can't do something, you bet your ass I'm going to do it even if I didn't really want to in the first place. I can't speak to you before I've had a cup of coffee, preferably one that you've made. I expect you to pretend to be interested in my take on the Federalist Papers and Anna Karenina. I need specific compliments. Not "you look pretty." We're talking, "I really love how you managed to match your eyeliner to the detail in your high waisted pencil skirt." Some may say that an observation such as this would indicate you're gay. I prefer to think of it as an overly acute sense of your wife's fashion, but you can't say such poetry in public. Fantasy future husband also thrives on yard work and car maintenance. He absolutely adores these activities. Passionate? Romantic? Chivalrous? You bet! Some days he comes home from work early to make dinner (while doing some ironing and light dusting) then doesn't even bat an eye as he rids the floor of it's hastily strewn dinnerware from the fit of passion that transpired after his homemade baked Alaska. Okay, maybe that's a bit much. On to fantasy future tots!

After securing this diamond in the rough husband, we decide to have some well-adjusted, exceptionally bright, impossibly attractive children. Now, I'm willing to compromise on the number of little nippers but they must still fulfill their duties as I've destined them. I need at least one professional athlete, preferably football so I can get great seats and try my hand at soup commercials. Fantasy future husband and I also need a medical professional to take care of us when we are old and decrepit. I'd prefer some sort of surgeon, but general family practice would suffice. Let's throw an accomplished musician or artist into the mix so we look like a well-rounded and inspired bunch. I wouldn't hate the idea of some sort of scientist who's researching a top secret project that can only be described in 6-syllable words. This of course would have to be pursued by our little prodigy who happens to be the least well-adjusted simply because its (I'm not going to be gender specific) brain functions at a superior level than most of its peers. Poor little moppet. Finally, I'd like a war hero who turns its adventures into best-selling memoirs. Your father and I are very proud. I think that about covers it on the...wait I need to come up with one more synonym for child...tadpole (I got nothing) front.

Now do you see what I mean? Perhaps 14% of this fantasy future could be attained. Am I okay with relinquishing the other 86%? Especially after having spent the time committing it to words? It would almost seem like a failure and I refuse to let my imaginary unborn tykes down. Hence, my inevitable future as a dog collecting spinster. In the meantime, I'm not opposed to dating all the wrong guys. I mean lets be realistic, I've got quite some time before I need to succumb to my medley of canines.

Last thought, how appealing would this be as my profile? Maybe I should just stick to

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tolls and Trunk Pizza: My trip to Michigan

I just got back from Michigan, oh 2 days ago, and now feel my brain cells have started regenerating and perhaps can put together a few sentences. I left my condo at about 3pm on Tuesday so I could make sure I didn't miss the exciting Chicago rush hour and the insanity that ensues while merging across 8 lanes to get to the solitary cash toll lane. Seriously, I live in Wisconsin. I do not, nor will ever own an IPass. I pay taxes so I don't have to pay tolls. Either the Illinois (as a living entity) is a real pill or has a twisted sense of humor, watching an inattentive Wisconsinite maneuver a Hummer past whizzing Chicago assholes whose cars were not equipped with turn signals. When I finally made it to the cash only toll I really had a ball digging out $.80 seeing as I spent all my cash at the Brewer game and Bastille days when my brother was home. $.80, really? Why not $.93? It's just enough to screw up your quarter collection reserved for bar games, not to mention I realize I can no longer recognize nickels (when did the government change the doodle on the back of those and why was I not made aware of this?). I've also decided that dimes need to be retired. I believe they were designed with midget or children hands in mind and they make me feel like a giant when I'm fondling them. My fingers do not rival the capabilities of a pair of tweezers and I'm pretty sure whoever buys my truck in the future will be $1.20 richer. I turned the numerous tolls into sort of a fiendish game, whereby I handed Tollbooth Willy a diabolical assortment of coins that may or may not have equalled the appropriate amount. Usually he simply raised little red hurdling bar before counting his metallic treasures, most likely due to the lack of mathematical faculties necessary to completing such a transaction. Also enjoy the Willy's that actually want to flirt for the 26 seconds they're holding you hostage. As if maybe I'll slip a $.04 business card their way as well. Alright, enough about tollbooths.

Arrive at my cousin's apartment where I'm promptly greeted with a glass of wine - my most favorite of greetings. We get dolled up and hit the town. Upon arriving at our destination we hear, "Nice hat!" Yes, I was wearing a hat and yes it was a nice one. Kudos to the astute gentleman at the bar. As we're ordering our drinks, said gentleman and friend stagger towards us. Before I continue it bears mentioning that Mr. Nice Hat is an extremely attractive fellow whom I've decided resembles Gabriel Macht's identical twin brother. I say this because everything else that followed most likely resembled Gabriel Macht's "special" brother and I put up with it simply out of respect for my eyeballs enjoyment. After chatting a bit we grab our drinks and declare we're sitting down. Wouldn't you know it, they joined us. Apparently an invitation would have been too formal, so commandeering the spaces next to us and blocking both exits seemed more appropriate. The gentleman my cousin was fortunate enough to sit by seemed slightly less drunk (we're talking maybe a BAC of 2.4 compared to Gabriel's 3.8) but had a ridiculous pitch to his voice. I'd like to say it was a martini induced squeal, but some qualities can not be so easily written off. A few highlights of my experience with Gabriel. He said I looked like Gisele. No not a gazelle which may have been more accurate, but Gisele as in the supermodel, Bundchen. Whatever beer goggles Mr. Macht had on that evening I wish I could patent and disperse to the masses. What a beautiful world we would live in. As I'm basking in the glow of this brilliantly adept man, he began what would result in an hour long hiccuping competition with himself. For all you gentlemen out there who find yourself with uncontrollable hiccups while attempting to engage in a conversation with a woman, either excuse yourself until you're done or have someone kick you in the throat. I was opting for the latter but channelling my inner-Gisele, I thought it best to sit and look pretty while slamming a few more martinis. When 40 minutes into our experience together I asked him what my name was and that it rhymed with "Bachel," he simply shrugged his shoulders in confusion, that's when I knew it was love at first hiccup.

We ended up getting back to my cousin's apartment where I proceeded to finish an entire bottle of wine in a solo experiment determining whether or not my liver might actually have the capability of crying. Around 8am I decided maybe a couple hours of shut eye would greatly improve my chances of surviving my first night in Michigan. We woke up promptly at 3:30pm and I emptied a bottle of Advil into my martini hole. As I attempted to get ready for dinner and another night of debauchery I found it quite an exciting challenge to put on make up and manipulate the various enclosures of my apparel. Who knew getting ready could become an all out battle against one's internal equilibrium? So fun.

Dinner was touch and go for awhile as I felt the effects of my beloved Advil wearing off and noticed my cousin drifting off into slumber, but we forged through. Were a little slap happy when we arrived at the bar, especially when the lead singer of the band playing began bouncing frantically on his little stool. I'm always amazed at the turn out on weekdays at a bar. It's as if everyone has as little responsibility and self-respect as I do. The place was soon packed with a drunken assortment of police officers who hopefully left their firearms in their golf carts (they were in golf-attire which I thought may be the fashion rage in Michigan at the moment, but was later informed of an actual golf outing). Again, no invitation necessary, two 40+ year old cops decided our booth looked far more appealing than the rest of the open ones surrounding us. When the cop talking to me finally got his car keys out of his pocket (that I can only assume contained some sort of medieval bear trap based on the difficulty this maneuver appeared to be), I asked the obvious, "What happens when a cop gets pulled over for drunk driving?" His slurred response, "Same as a civilian, get out and run." I'm not endorsing this advice, but it might work. Let me know. My cousin gets stuck chatting with Officer Feel Good who happened to be married. It is men like this who reaffirm my belief that being a spinster is choice and not an unfortunate outcome. I asked him what his wife would think if she knew he was hanging all over a 25 year old. His ingenious response was to whip out his cell phone and give her a call. Not only to tell her what he was doing but to have my cousin speak with her. In what alternate universe would this result in anything other than divorce papers? Needless to say Officer Feel Goods bravado quickly dissipated after the phone was handed back to him and he got to hear first hand what his wife thought of the situation. As this little predicament unfolded another officer joined us and was actually quite charming and better yet, decidedly sober! When we left I asked him to pretend to arrest me because a) it seemed exhilarating and b) who doesn't like being slammed against a wall? Face jammed into the adjoining building without the mobility of my arms I was really on cloud nine until a good Samaritan stopped and asked if I was alright. "Oh yeah, I'm fine. Just practicing for my future crime sprees. Don't worry, my cousin is keeping an eye on me." This is when I turned around and noticed my witness eating pizza off the back of her trunk, eyes closed, completely oblivious to my false arrest. We made it home safely, stuffed our faces with the remaining trunk pizza and went to bed fantasizing about future altercations with drunken law enforcement. This my friends, is the stuff little girls' dreams are made of.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Goodbye bush, hello 'burbs!

My brother is coming home today! He's leaving the "bush" (as they say in Canada, which still makes me giggle a bit) to spend a week in the 'burbs. True to form, he has given no timetable for his arrival so I'm anxious like a fat kid in a candy store. I'm going to Michigan on Tuesday so I have less than 96 hours to monopolize his time. When my brother is around nothing gets done. Nothing productive or meaningful that is. This is precisely the second best reason for him coming home. The first being that I have my favorite person to pal around with once again. When he's home it's like a free pass to play video games all day, go to movies, ball games and talk about nonsense until you feel your plans of creating a warehouse playground actually seem like a bright idea. Even my mother ceases to nag for a short while. Her firstborn, perfect, blameless, remarkable, wunderkind is home!

Things my brother has missed since leaving for the bush:

1. Death of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, Steve McNair, Ed

2. Bernie Madoff sentenced to 150 years in prison, of which he will serve 10 because the dude is old. Gives us enough time to ransack his wife's loot and return what was stolen from our mother. Bastards!

3. My cousin's new dog, Zoey.

4. Charles in Charge who lives across the street and has taken to stalking our mom. He's very sneaky. Charles uses his shitty little chihuahuas to gain access to her yard then makes small talk while hinting at running away together for just the perfect length of creepy. By the way, he's about 20 years younger than her, although he doesn't look like he's progressed a day over 1984.

5. My dog Rebel getting bit by said shitty chihuahua.

6. The beginning of God's greatest gift to mankind - So You Think You Can Dance?

7. Drunken Summerfest antics.

8. The Milwaukee Iron winning a game and Fan Man really letting loose.

9. Trip to Alabama to see Dad's new piggies, followed by a nauseatingly memorable 16 hour drive home.

10. This bitchin' blog.

Welcome home! ...maybe he should have stayed in Canada.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"They say that breaking up is hard to do"

Ah, the Carpenters and their melodramatic lyrics. "You tell me that you're leaving, I can't believe it's true. Darlin' there's no living without you...Don't take your love away from me, don't you leave my heart in misery. Cause if you go then I'll be blue. Cause breakin' up is hard to do..." Lamenting over love lost in a melodic soft rock groove can soothe any broken heart, or so the Carpenters' Grammy shelf would have you believe. Personally, I find myself downloading more upbeat 'suck it' tunes.

Now, some of my friends have ended their relationships (long term relationships in some cases) and seem to bounce back effortlessly. I admire their resilience as well as their ability to move quickly onto the next phase, broken heart be damned! My nosey, inner anthropologist forces my curiosity and I insist they tell me - what is your secret! How do you go from being deliriously in love to 'ah, it wasn't working so I called it quits' in a matter of moments? Most frequently the response has been - I knew it had been over for quite some time, I just didn't want to call it off right away because I didn't want to hurt him/her. (or) I thought we could work things out but [insert partner's shortcomings] so I knew it was over. - I have thoughts on both of these scenarios.

The first, knew it had been over/didn't want to hurt them strikes me as somewhat selfish. Is it not more hurtful to find out that the person you've been 'in love' with has been feeling nothing towards you for quite some time? So when they finally do decide to leave your oblivious ass without so much as a tear, aren't you left dumbfounded and hurt by the fact that you didn't even get a chance to fix things? I have indeed been guilty of this. It's easy to check out of a relationship while you're still in it, so that by the time something better comes along parting is effortless. This is probably cruel and cowardly, but happens quite frequently nonetheless. There are two people in a relationship and both of them should be aware their relationship's health and status. It's so much easier to say than do this - I'm such a hypocrite, ha! On the other hand, I've got to believe that no one is so ignorant that they didn't truly see it coming. There's usually at least a few subtle signs. Dwindling or routine sex. Poor communication. And the biggest sign - minimal arguing. When you stop having disagreements or fighting, only a fool would believe it is due to your maturing love. I believe arguments are a key indicator that you still care about growing and learning from one another.

The second break up scenario - tried to work on things, partner failed. I am also guilty of this. When you convince yourself that you've tried everything in your power to make your relationship work and yet it still remains miserable it can only mean one thing, your significant other is a lazy schmuck. Right? Let's be honest, did you really do everything or anything differently? Did you really commit to change? Did you really attempt to right your own personal wrongs? I doubt it. I know I liked the idea of changing and fixing things, but I didn't exactly tackle my own shortcomings first. It's easy to point the finger, easy to blame someone else for either your deficiencies or the sad state of your relationship. Sometimes a relationship has just simply run its course. Not necessarily anyones fault and that's okay. Relationships are hard. We all know this. But when your relationship becomes so difficult for so long that you forget why exactly you fell in love with eachother in the first place, it's time to re-evaluate what it is you're working so hard for and whether it is in fact worth it.

For a long time I believed that I was the type of girl to fall in love quickly. Now I realize I just wanted to believe I was 'in love,' projecting all those mushy relationship feelings onto some poor sap when the moment suited me. When I finally became cognizant of this false relationship and all of its shortcomings, I had no trouble terminating our 'love.' When it takes roughly a week to get over someone, I've got to believe you were never really that enamored to begin with. I became painfully aware of my inability to let go or get over someone after my last relationship. I'd say I spent a good year and a half mourning the loss. I realize now that I let my disappointment and fear hold me back for far longer than was really necessary, but I needed time to grieve. It wasn't merely the thought of losing my best friend, but losing my future plans that scared me the most. I had everything mapped out and suddenly it was as if someone destroyed the only blueprint of my future, leaving me to frantically search for the memory of what I had so long been striving for. Alas, my recollection eluded me and ultimately forced my hand - we were done. There's no governing rule or standard by which we cope with the loss of a relationship. No right way to grieve, no wrong way to proceed. If you need a day or a week or even months to feel miserable, go right ahead! If you need to cry or scream, let it out! No sense holding back or hiding, you deserve to feel or not feel anything. I'm not embarrassed that it took me so long to let go. Honestly, I probably haven't yet completed this whole moving on phase. Some days are better than others. I'm emotional, I'm overly analytical, I'm neurotic, hell - I'm a woman! It's probably not fair to bring someone new into my life at the moment but I'm trying to keep an open heart. I don't want to miss out on something that could be amazing simply because I'm clinging to some ridiculous notion that I'll 'be ready,' just not yet. I'm not going to wake up to a 'vision' showing me that anything's changed, encouraging me to put myself out there. Although this would be ideal, I tested my Spock intuition recently and found it to be non-existent. Guess I'll have to go the old fashioned route and join

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My hero, Bob Vila

Most women have a vague sense of the man they desire or at least some of the necessary qualities conducive to holding their attention. For me, it's two simple attributes - I want a hero, and I want someone who rivals Bob Vila in the handiness department. I feel that these expectations are neither unrealistic, nor overly ambitious. It's really quite simple.

I want a hero. A man that makes me feel secure, protected, puts my needs before theirs, whispers impossibly romantic things, and takes charge. Some of my favorite movie heroes include: John Cena in The Marine. Don't judge me. When he first comes home, scoops his woman into his arms and carries her effortlessly to the bedroom, sigh. Not to mention he's frickn' ridiculous chasing down her captors through the woods...hero! Then there's Troy. Forget the ridiculous love story of Paris (Orlando Bloom) and Helen (Diane Kruger), it's the passion between Achilles (Brad Pitt) and his captive Briseis (Rose Byrne). Aside from Achilles' macho antics and astonishing physique, his tenderness is unparalleled towards his little prize. Finally, the legendary Scot, William Wallace (Mel Gibson) of Braveheart. The initial plight of Wallace to avenge his wife's brutal murder is very touching and admirable, but it's the tryst between him and Princess Isabelle (Sophie Marceau) that infiltrates my lusty thoughts ::breathe:: What does this mean for the men out there who do not possess the necessary skills to wield a longsword, nor find their beloved captured by sinister forces? Well, to be a 'modern day' hero, one must simply make their woman feel as if they would step up if ever a challenge arose. We're not talking some wild west showdown rather, troubles of every day existence must be combated. Compromise, listen, patience, reassurance, passion, keep these at the forefront of your ambitions and you will be a hero!

Bob Vila. I've loved this man since Bob Vila's Home Again and various guest spots on Home Improvement's - Tool Time. [For serious Vila votaries, you will also applaud his cameo on Hot Shots! Part Deux] Who doesn't admire a hybrid of Martha Stewart/MacGyver in the home? This man could do it all. Although this is the ideal, what I ultimately desire, I'm willing to settle for someone who merely knows how to get things done. Whether or not you know how to reconstruct, revamp, rebuild, or restore anything is beside the point. You simply need to figure out a way to get it done! I think nothing less of a man who calls a professional in to fix a problem, or fix your mistake. Just get it done! I don't ever want to know how my plumbing works. I don't ever want to know how electrical wires connect or generate energy. I don't care. If you want to take a stab at my electrical work and end up blowing every appliance and electronic I own, fine! So long as you tried and you write me a check. I don't want to know what words like torque, conduit, jig or chassis mean. I'm not saying I will sit idly by (collecting buttons) while you take care of everything, all I ask is you to do the things I detest. I enjoy cooking and cleaning, laundry and shopping for household items. If we can strike a balance where you pick up my slack and I yours, we're golden!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A "Lesson" on letting go...

We're suppose to think fondly upon our previous relationships as great lessons in life and love. But what happens when your 'lessons' are simply reminders of how foolish you were or how much time you wasted? What is the value in that? Everyone likes to think that when one relationship ends, you can chalk it up to a great learning experience. You've grown, matured, somehow this person who no longer is suppose to matter really helped you discover yourself? Not sure I buy this. On some level we do learn new things from our past relationships. For instance, I learned that a man who invites you to random locations, doesn't really let you into his life, and seems to disappear for lengthy periods of time is not sexy and mysterious. Rather, he may just have a girlfriend (with a child) he's stashed away for 2 years. That was a really valuable lesson. Huh? I suppose I could hire private investigators and stalk someone in order to better 'understand' them and make sure they don't necessarily have a back up gal waiting in the wings, but how exactly is this a feasible solution to my lesson learned? Another little gem - when a man consistently tells you to "not think so much" it is not because he's concerned for your cognitive health but rather, he is an idiot and you're using too many big words and/or ideas. Again, I'm pretty sure I'm always going to continue to think, probably a lot. Perhaps the day I decide to relinquish my "thinking so much" faculties and pursue a life of button collecting I will find my perfect man? Me haves doubts.

So I find myself wondering whether these "lessons" do more harm than they're worth? Personally, my previous relationship woes did not lend themselves to a triumphant epiphany or life altering course of action. They were constant admonitions of my short-sightedness and willingness to abdicate my self-respect. Why then would I hold on to these "lessons?" We are fallible creatures, destined to repeat our mistakes. It's just the natural course of growing up. I'd like to believe that past relationships are in the past for a reason. Something was amiss. Someone didn't quite fit the bill. Somewhere you lost your way. I'm not saying that it's even feasible to completely disregard your previous relationships, but it's detrimental to hold onto them. If you want to move forward, you've got to let go.

I constantly find myself comparing potential boyfriends to ghosts of the past. Badgering details out of them concerning their previous girlfriends. Why? Is it because I'm looking for clues that this will turn out like our anterior affairs? Relationships are dynamic. By their very nature they are not easily replicated. Whether or not your new 'love' is a polar opposite of the previous, your situation is different. Your pasts are different. When trying to compare the new to the old or remember the cautionary lessons you've learned, you're inherently compromising your chance for growth with this person. I'm no Matlock, I misread clues and overlook obvious plot twists on a frighteningly regular basis. At some point you've got to let your past go. Forget the "lessons" you've supposedly gleaned from the experience. They should be regarded simply as reminders of how far you've come. Not everyone is meant to teach you something. Not everyone is capable of shaping your future.

Embrace the pragmatic effects of your relationships. Don't dwell on the "lessons" you've learned in the past because your future relationships will never perfectly resemble one another. Be happy you've moved on or at least found yourself in a place where you're strong enough to begin moving forward. Holding onto your "lessons" only empowers your past faults. Start with a clean slate, keep your heart open and expect nothing less in return.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


A friend of mine recently found out that her new boyfriend is having a tough time...deciding whether or not he wants to rekindle the flame with his ex-fiance or continue dating my friend. Hmmm...poor guy. Aside from the obvious WTF elements to this dilemma, I can't help but wonder when exactly did men decide that they ever get a choice? In anything. Let me be clear. I'm all for equality and sharing duties and all that other women's lib BS but at the end of the day women basically call the shots or at least need to feel they are. The key component that men need to remember in this equation - pick your battles. You need to let us win just a few more than you or we get real 'difficult.' When DBBF ("douche bag boyfriend") actually confesses that he's having a tough time deciding which woman he wants I can't help but feel compelled to jam a few of his nether regions in a vice. Seriously?! On what planet does ANYONE feel they are so superior that they just get to pick and choose whomever they please, whenever it suits them. We are not concubines, and you are no prince. During your highschool-college years this may fly. Break up with boring boyfriend because you meet someone more exciting, they get boring too, go back to old boring boyfriend, and repeat. Where I draw the line is when DBBF has logged almost 4 decades into his dating regime and still feels this is an appropriate course of action.

Let me paint the scenario for you. DBBF starts dating my beautiful, charming, sexy, witty, caring friend. I'm bombarded on a weekly basis about their amazing sex life. Everything's going remarkably well until DBBF has a few minor hiccups in his life (ie. moving) and has a total meltdown. Again, 4 decades of tools to deal with lifes dilemmas, total meltdown. My friend is confused, slightly hurt at his sudden withdrawal from her and I can't help but think there's more to this saga. Sure enough! DBBF's ex calls him out of the blue (apparently knew he was already involved with someone else) and wants another go at things. Ladies, I am as conniving and selfish as the rest, but this has got to stop. Men are gullible and need their egos stroked constantly in reassurance of their manliness. It's not a fair fight. What DBBF should have done was tell the ex he's moved on, happy, life good, the end. Instead he wants to 'hear her out.' As if she perhaps put together a PowerPoint presentation highlighting why she's the better pick? That way he can make a really informed decision. What kind of an idiot even puts himself in that position? What did he think was going to happen? Again, not a fair fight, DBBF needs his little ego stroked. Meanwhile, my friend gets to wait for him to make up his mind? Since when do we have to prove ourselves? Prove we're worth your time and energy? Women want to be with men who feel blessed to have them. Privileged to be seen with them. Honored that they were chosen. Responsible for our happiness and security. That's what a REAL man does.

My advice to her - you make the choice for him. What woman wants to be any man's second pick? Even if DBBF has a revelation that maybe his ex is not quite the winning choice, what woman would choose to stay with a man who actually had to mull over it and then tell you he was doing so? We are insecure, fickle creatures, but men like DBBF need to learn that we will not tolerate this childish bullshit. I don't care if your body rivals Michelangelo's David. I don't care if you drive a $60,000 car and make more than the president. I don't care if your porn star skills in the bedroom breaks headboards. YOU ARE NOT that special. YOU ARE NOT irreplaceable. YOU DO NOT get a choice.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day!

In 1776 our great nation declared independence from Great Britain. The 13 American colonies banded together during the American Revolution, ultimately telling Great Britain, "We think you're being a real controlling bitch, and we need a separation"...or something to that effect. Probably the most well known phrase in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What does this mean for us as Americans? We are entitled to all the richness that life has to offer. The opportunities to do what we want with what we've got. The responsibility to utilize our God-given talents in order to improve not only our lives, but the lives of those around us. Our great nation thrives because our freedoms allow us to pursue our talents, our dreams. We must celebrate our diversity. We must celebrate the bounty this land has to offer. We must celebrate our freedom. We must celebrate our Independence.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Has anyone ever driven 16 hours before?

I stumbled into my condo around 8:30 yesterday morning after having driven through 5 states in a staggering 16 hour period. I DO NOT recommend this. At one point I felt as if I would have been safer had I pounded a bottle of Bacardi 151 then gotten behind the wheel. When you're so tired that you're actually feeling sad about the suicide rate of bugs on your windshield and tempted to swerve into 'just one' construction's time to pull over. Alas, I pushed forward, fueled by some liquid speed substance my dad concocted (that probably could have landed me in jail had I been stopped), and a hearty dose of pride. As if this may come up in a conversation one day - "Hey, has anyone ever driven 16 hours before with two dogs, one cd, and a dead iPod?" "Funny story, I did!" "Wow, you are one hell of an American!" ::applause and some high fives all around:: Probably not.

The trip was wonderful. Basically just sat around the pool drinking beer and margaritas for 3 days. My dad's brothers and two of my cousins were there as well. These guys are hilarious. One of my uncle's includes at least a few comments regarding his 'big arms' in most stories and encourages me to repeat that little fact when I'm talking about him later. My dad's other brother is a big kid at heart, turning every activity into some sort of competition. You can't just dive off the diving board, you have to give it a clever name then execute and await judgement. I was quite impressed with his 'double axle circumvent 3000.' Middle-aged men cannon ball contests are highly entertaining, especially when they are dead serious about your critique. One of the funniest nights was when my dad brought out his new cowboy hat (I swear he goes hunting in Texas once and the guy thinks he's Walker Texas Ranger) and Uncle 'Big Arms' and Uncle 'Double Axle' took turns trying it on, walking the bow-legged walk and throwing out more than a few 'howdies, yes ma'ams, and I reckons.' Oh you silly Yanks! We're easily amused by Southern antics.

Now that I'm home I've got a million things to do before I'm gone again (in a couple weeks I'll be visiting my cousin in Michigan, followed by a 2-week jaunt to Europe!). However, my sleeping schedule is so off at the moment that I can't seem to function properly and my plans for the weekend seem to be taking priority over my bills, cleaning, laundry, etc. That's what Mondays are for! My AC is still on the fritz but this 70 degree weather is giving me chills compared to the 100 degree Alabama temps I recently battled. Will probably hold off on this minor inconvenience for another week or so. I've never been one to rush things.

Summerfest tonight, very excited. I've been dodging drunken idiots since it started, now it's my turn to dart into the road and pause in traffic. I swear, there should be a law that specifically states, if you are hit by a car while leaving Summerfest, heading to Water St., it's your responsibility (should you live) to pay for any damages to the vehicle and/or emotional suffering of the driver. I'm a pretty alert driver, but when the Summerfest drunks stagger out in swarms with alarming bursts of traffic dashing from all angles, there's only so much one can do. Not to mention the drunk morons driving out of Summerfest. Last time I checked you weren't allowed to take up both lanes or weave an exciting pattern all the way down Van Buren. I also think it might be frowned upon to stop at green lights then cut across two lanes to make your turn. Ah Summerfest, you will be sorely missed when you are gone, but you can be a real bitch sometimes.