Monthly Archives: February 2015

Love me tinder

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Love me tinder

If you haven’t noticed, I write from a certain perspective. I write a lot about what goes wrong, but I do it for humor. There’s a lot that goes right, but that’s not very funny. I like writing funny stories and these are the stories with the spilled milk, the foiled plans, the awkward dates.
Perfection is an allusion. Anyone who looks out into the world and thinks that organized entry ways, Facebook statuses, or blissfully happy couples are exactly as they seem, is delusional. Life is a beautiful string of messy failures, lonely nights (both in and out of relationships), burned food, awkward kisses, weird conversations, botched romances, cold water, cheap wine, skidding cars, silence, seeing someone else win, hurt feelings, loss, destroyed furniture, missing opportunities, choosing a path, misplaced passion, angry children, empty promises, sitting alone, snow days, crying.
Not one of these is bad, they just are. They are things. I believe I am exactly where I should be, exactly as I should be. I have many things to be grateful for, my beautiful girls, my loving family, my many friends, flexibility, being busy, needing to be alone, being single, messy failures, lonely nights, burned food, awkward kisses….it’s all part of the whole. The “bad stuff” is only bad if I allow it to be.
So yes, I prefer to write about what went wrong, what was weird or what was awkward. I am focused on those things because that’s where I find the funny and, that’s where I see my growth. Growth isn’t in the successes, it’s in the failures.

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Secrets

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Secrets

This morning on our way to school my youngest daughter asked how long after Chris and I were married was her oldest sister born. I stared ahead at the road, thoughts racing. How do I answer this one?
Chris and I met in June of 1999. I was 26 and Chris was 32. A year before we met I had ended a serious relationship that I had deluded myself into thinking was going to culminate into a marriage. When it didn’t, I decided I was done dating. The next relationship I had was going to be with the man I would eventually marry. When I met Chris I knew pretty quickly that he had potential to be that person.
Chris was only in Atlanta for a year before he would head to Baltimore for his anesthesia residency at Johns Hopkins. After only a few weeks of dating I recognized that I had serious feelings for Chris and needed to know if he had a long term plan. I asked if he imagined that I would go to Baltimore with him a year later, he said he would. I said that I would not be willing to move to Baltimore as his girlfriend. So, I guess that’s how he proposed, or how I proposed.
Over the next couple of weeks we shared the news with our families. It was a general statement, we’d get married at some point. We were the 1999 version of pinned. On one stop of the trip I started feeling rather ill and became nauseous at the smell of coffee. I was too tired to get up for a family breakfast and instead stayed in bed for much of the trip.
After returning to Atlanta, we met with several of the Emory residents for a weekly trivia night at a local bar. In those days you could still smoke inside and the smoke was bothering me, as was the smell of beer. Chris mentioned to his friend (a medical resident) that I’d been feeling ill, nauseous, tired. His friend looked at the two of us like we were insane. “Have you taken a pregnancy test ? Cause it’s not like you need a doctor to figure this one out.”
Sunday morning we did just that. And of course it came up positive. We looked at a calendar and Chris had a long weekend the weekend of October 15th, we’d marry on that Friday and have the weekend for a honeymoon. For some reason we thought we’d wait until we returned from the honeymoon to tell out families about getting married or about the pregnancy. Maybe we had some inkling of how ludicrous it might appear, maybe we feared it was ludicrous, maybe we feared that we were making an insane mistake, or that we had no idea what we were doing. In retrospect, we had no idea what we were doing. We were jumping in and hoping for the best.
I bought a blue dress on clearance at TJ Maxx. We found a Unitarian Universalist minister in the phone book. I think the entire wedding, license, minister, dress, some blue candles from Pier One, a plant from our porch and a sheer white curtain from Goodwill (for decoration) cost a few hundred dollars. I bought Chris a Frank Lloyd Wright book and he bought me a onsie that said “sprout” on it and said he bought it as a way of demonstrating that he was committed to our growing family.
We spent the weekend in Helen,GA where we bought a handmade quilt and ate at the “fanciest” restaurant (it smelled like mold) and stayed at an old B&B aptly named “Grandpa’s Room”. The Braves were in the World Series, I remember because as we fell asleep beneath the canopy bed, a cool breeze drifting in the open window, as an old radio was broadcasting the game. I remember laying on Chris’s chest, thinking how amazing our family would be.
The phone calls on Monday weren’t great, but we had already decided it was going to be easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Seven months later, my beautiful, headstrong Madeline was born and I’ve waited 14 years for one of my three daughters to do the math.
So, I shared the story with them of our brief love affair and quick marriage. How strange it felt for them to have grown up not knowing this was the story of how we began; how our family started.
I’m not sure why I kept it a secret from them, embarrassment maybe, fear of judgement, apprehension that they might feel compelled to repeat our slipshod romance one day. But the truth is we were in love, we wanted to believe that we could make a life together, we were idealistic. And some days we did make it work, and we struggled sometimes, but we made the right choice. That should not be a secret.

What’s your hat size?

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What’s your hat size?

Ok. Stop calling Robyn Lawley plus-sized! For those of you who don’t consider Facebook your source for news, Robyn Lawley is a 6’2″ model featured in sports illustrated’s famous swimsuit edition. She wears a size 12, which means relatively nothing, since she’s 6’2, except that for some ridiculous reason, in the “fashion world” that makes her “plus sized”. Forget the fact that this is an amazing looking, healthy woman with a enviable body, She wears a size 12, most likely because her ankles would show in a size ten because she’s 6’2″.
So several thoughts flood my brain at once (warning: my brain uses very adult language): 1- fashion industry- go f&$k yourself. The average American woman is a healthy size 14. You get 0 points for putting average (or smaller than average) sized women into the category of “plus sized” and then imagining that you’re being progressive. 2- plus size is a label that in recent history carries a lot of negative baggage. F$&k that. It’s another label in the long list of labels that keep women obsessed with their appearance. 3- f$&k Numbers, size 12, 175 pounds, 2500 calories, 10,000 steps. These are just a few numbers many women keep constantly in our heads every day. You might be eating dinner, we are figuring out how many calories are left in our daily allowance to see if we can drink the rest of our red wine guilt free or if we will need to go to bed hating ourselves. It’s a constant math problem that has turned food into an equation. And it leaves out the most important part of the equation….are we healthy?
When we are constantly presented with the idea that a size 12 is exceptional beauty and that size 2 is the ” norm” we lose sight of what’s really important. Curvy, skinny, thin, slender, average, romantically curvy, super skinny, size 16, size 0 or size 12, these are just labels. And they don’t even mean one consistent thing, nor do they address your heart health, your blood pressure, or your overall health and well being. They are exclusively about the way you appear on the outside.

I suggest you go to the mall, just for the experience of walking past store windows. Every single mannequin is a size 2-6, all about the same height, and proportions (and even though they are featureless, most of them are white) Make your last stop Victoria’s Secret, and don’t bring your kids, because there are Giant! pictures of naked ladies. Then look around the mall. The people in the mall are all sizes, all shapes, and many colors.
So why is this one version of women used over and over again? Why is it so extraordinary that a woman who wears a size 12 is featured in a swimsuit spread? If you’re foolish enough to believe being constantly bombarded with these images does nothing to a person, ask my nine year old why she believes the skin on her stomach is “fat” and “gross”.
I think about my weight almost every day. Right now I’m a size 12. Some days I eat whatever I want. Some days I try to eat a certain number of calories. I rarely focus on reaching some health goal, but I frequently think about getting to a certain number on the scale, or getting to a certain pants size. I’m stopping that today. Today I am going to fake loving my body, until I love my body. Or better yet until I think of my body as a healthy package that carries around my beautiful self.
A couple of notes for clarification, I know men have body issues too. I know the images of men’s bodies tend to be one dimensional and not representative of the average man. I don’t hate skinny women, or beautiful women. I hate advertisers and capitalism.
Finally, I want my daughters to grow up in a world where they value who they are more than how they look. I want them to recognize that the content of their soul is more important than what dress size they wear and that being healthy is the goal above fitting into some arbitrary norm.

Thunderball

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Thunderball

I tend to be a contrarian by my nature, maybe it was growing up in a relatively small town. I wanted to stand out, be noticed. That’s why I spell my name with an “I” instead of the “y” I was born with. I wanted to be different. I do like group dances, the wobble, the electric slide, the Cupid shuffle, but only because I feel like I’m really good at them (please don’t tell me if Im not, I’m too old to learn a new skill, or handle the rejection).
So it’s this time of year when I feel compelled to announce publicly, that I do not like valentines day. I also don’t think this puts me in the minority anymore, but in second grade, it was social suicide. Come on! Everybody gets a Transformer card or a My Little Pony card with a Lollipop taped to it. And every, single one from Jimmy says “Love, Jimmy”. I’ll bet you a million dollars that there are at least two dozen people in this class that Jimmy doesn’t even know by their full name. Amelia Cathline Trowell? Who’s that, oh you mean, Amy? It’s spelled AMI, jerk. Yet we all had to open our dumb shoe box and ahhh over the fact that Jimmy wrote down all the names from his list, provided by the teacher, and stuffed them dutifully in the provided envelope, or worse, stuck the provided sticker on the flap to close it, or worse yet no folding, just a wide open card with “Love, Jimmy” scrawled on each and every one. Well, I don’t like the kind of love you’re trying to sell “Jimmy”. Leave me off your list, I can live without your contrived version of love, I’m good all by myself without the same card that every boy and girl got in the class. And that lollipop is nothing but sugar and red dye.
So congratulations valentines day, you are the emotional equivalent of a modern day elementary school awards ceremony. Everybody gets a token of “love”, but it means nothing because we all got one, it’s obligatory. It’s a participation trophy. And I blame you, second grade valentines day party for setting up my expectations that there would also be a decorated paper plate full of love notes on every future February 14th, and red cupcakes. But there are no cupcakes, no paper plate mailbox full of love notes. Jimmy is almost certainly trapped in a loveless marriage, with a girl he met in second grade. Or worse yet sending out numerous “love, Jimmy” texts after he drunkedly grinds on strangers at a bar on Saturday night. You’re too old for this club Jimmy. Go home!
I’m mostly kidding of course. But valentines is a weird adult holiday to me. Either you’re in a relationship and you feel some compulsion to do SOMETHING, buy something, send something, eat out in a crowded restaurant, make a mix tape. (Which I know wouldn’t even be a tape). Or you’re not in a relationship and you’re trapped into thinking all those people with dates, got it made. And here you sit alone, probably the only person in the world without a date on this extra miserable Saturday, cause even if you did venture out with a group of platonic friends you’d be bombarded with bouquets of roses for other people and impossible to get dinner reservations. It must be how Jewish people feel on Christmas.
But it’s our cross to bare, because we can’t seem to organize a boycott big enough to prove to Hallmark that no one needs this reminder about sharing love or missing love. We understand that no one over the age of 9 thinks that they are getting a Mylar balloon with hearts on it for any other reason than the mall has dedicated a kiosk to cheap Chinese, future land fill in order to drag a few more dollars out of your lover’s pocket.
For those of you who adore Valentines day and to the six 9 year olds who read my blog, I’m sorry. I’m sure I sound like a bitter old spinster and maybe with good reason. It’s easier to be cynical than to get on board with a holiday that historically has made me skeptical of shows of love. And maybe it uncovers the scars on my heart. Yes Jimmy, I was secretly hoping I was the only one getting a card from you. I was a little devastated to see all the cards said, “love, jimmy” ’cause yours was the only card that said, ” Love, Ami”.

Balls

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Balls

When I was in my early teens I was a diehard Redskins fan. I had every player’s name and number written out on my desk pad, so that when I was spraying aqua net on my mall claw I could review the line up. I watched every Sunday. I knew Art Monk’s stats. I knew the differences between Gerald Riggs and John Riggins. My Mom and I watched football games together. I liked that it was an atypical mother-daughter activity and I loved the thrill of watching the game. That’s was the mid 80s. Football life was good for a skins fan, and I had no idea how offensive their name was, or what shitty choices players might have been making off the field. 80-yard touch down reception? Yes. Please.
Over the years I have been able to employ my willing suspension of disbelief in order to continue to enjoy football. I was a fan when Ray Lewis was accused of murder. I even sighted cultural differences when Michael Vick was arrested. But I’ll be honest, being a conscientious human being and a football fan is getting pretty difficult to synthesize.
I want to feel all warm and fuzzy because Super Bowl commercials included an ad by Always designed to send my girls a message that “running like a girl” means to go as fast as you can. Or that Kim Kardashian wants to remind us that our privacy is important (pardon me I threw up in my mouth a little). Katy Perry certainly soared above the crowd and to her credit (though to many of my male friends dismay) mostly kept her boobs to herself. Course, all that is off the field. When a brawl broke out at the end of the game, the announcers explained that the players were probably really frustrated, reinforcing the old “boys will be boys mantra”.
I suppose I’m getting to that age when I romanticize about the good old days, when players like OJ Simp…wait, that doesn’t work either. But it did seem less complicated when I was listening to Wham! and watching football with my Mom. Maybe that was my blissful ignorance, or maybe the game has been changed by soaring pay checks, free agency and commercialism. Remember “Mean” Joe Green? I can’t imagine him knocking his wife out in an elevator. But then again there were not as many video cameras around then.
Watching the Super Bowl reminds me of visiting a rich old racist, misogynist, friend who tells amazing stories. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to change him and sharing this time with him makes me feel a little dirty. I can’t help but point out that I don’t agree with his philosophy, but man do I love to hear him talk.

Feel the rain on your skin

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Feel the rain on your skin

Sometimes when things aren’t quite as I want them, I get impatient for the next phase of life. The phase when I roll over on a Sunday morning to greet the warm smile of my beloved. The phase where I am sharing the burdens and joys of maintaining a household. The phase that starts with the mad rush into embracing vulnerability, the appreciation of the available kiss, treasuring the smell of skin. The phase that drifts into regularly talking to another adult.
No doubt, being a single parent is lonely. I’m not alone, I have friends. And I’m not complaining, just saying. It is lonely. So there’s an opportunity to embrace my present life circumstances. When I’m focused on the joys of my current situation my mind says something like this…wasn’t it delightful to sleep in the jumping jack position, remember how last night you didn’t have to ask anyone if they wanted to go to parkway brewery, and that when you were ready to come home, you just did, no compromise, no long drawn out, “well, what do you want to do? Well what do you want to do? Well…” . My closets are full, all of them, with my stuff. My bathroom is the exact amount of clean I want it to be. I spend money how I want, choose how to spend my free time, listen to my music. The seat in my car is always adjusted to my height.
Welcoming someone into my little world would change things. I like eating cheese sauce for dinner. Sometimes I only want to get dressed to work out and not actually work out. There is a process that my clothing goes through, only a very brief part is being clean and folded in the drawer. Occasionally I snore more like a congested truck driver and less like a lady. I vacillate between not being sure where the window seat in my bathroom is and needing the whole house to smell like bleach. There are times I want to lay in bed until noon playing puzzle forge-Alone!, and times I want to get up at 6am and think about how the plot of the wizard of oz relates to my life. Periodically I like to dance like no one’s watching, knowing that people are watching.
So you can see, it would be quite a compromise to give up cheese for dinner in order to have the daily love and support of another adult human being. I’m not rationalizing, life is good. Just different than it will be someday. And while I’ll miss taking up my queen size bed and not finding beard hair in my sink, I’m kinda looking forward to it.