Thursday, December 3, 2009

T.M.I. Thursday

I have a hilariously inappropriate story to share. (That's a good way to start a post, isn't it?)

To begin with, I live in Georgia, and Georgia is full of icky germy allergy-inducing things. I started taking Allegra-D a few months ago, and it rocks my world. Usually taking just one pill a day works well, but lately I've needed one in the morning and one at night. Anyone who owns a TV knows that prescription drugs have lots of yummy side effects, and one common for Allegra is dry mouth. The thing is "dry mouth" doesn't just mean your mouth is means other things might lack moisture as well.

Are you following me?

Now I am a girl with a healthy sexual appetite, and thankfully, with a boyfriend quite adept at satisfying said appetite. We have zero problems in the bedroom, and honestly, that's another first for me. Since I enjoy my intimate moments with him so much, I didn't want to let a pesky thing like allergy medicine stand in the way. A friend recommended...and here's where we get personal...KY inserts. They're actually really great. You just use them every four days or so, or while you're taking 2 allergy pills a day, and everything goes smoothly.

There are two kids of inserts. Liquibeads which are like little tiny eggs, and then there's an applicator pre-filled with translucent goop. I've used the beads a couple times, but you get 6 in a box, and they're expensive. For a dollar more, you can buy the pre-filled applicators and get 8 in a box. I'm all for saving money so I decided to try those.

The thing is that I couldn't figure out how to put the applicator together. I know, I'm getting a Ph.D., I should be able to handle this. But seriously! Those drawings are confusing! It's like they're made by IKEA and should come with an allen wrench or something.

So there I am. In the bathroom yesterday - shirt on, pants off. With the instructions lying on the counter in front of me and two pieces of the applicator in my hands. I put them together just like the drawing shows, but the bottom half falls out on the floor. I pick it up, wash it off, and try to insert it again, looking at it closely to make sure the pieces are fitting together right...

And I literally shot myself in the face with lube. It got in my eye and went up my nose.

I felt like I was in a Ben Stiller movie. I had goop all over me. In my hair, on my shirt, and oh yeah, all over my freaking face. The worst was it really burned my eye! And it was hard to wash out! Cuz it's lube and didn't wash out right away with water. I think my eyeball absorbed the lube! I am such a walking disaster. Though when I decide to write a raunchy comedy, that scene is totally going in it.

Thankfully, after I cleaned myself up and re-applied my make-up, the second try worked like a charm. And I made sweet, wet love to my boyfriend that night. Though my nose did feel weird all day like I accidentally snorted water at the pool.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Good Year

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've written anything. The past few weeks have been so hectic with school. I turned in a 30 page paper two weeks ago, last week was Thanksgiving of course, and now I have just two weeks left to write two more papers. Busy, busy, busy. And none of it is good. Every semester has been hard, but this one...I don't know what's been so unbearable but it just feels worse. Soon, it will be over, and I'm already taking study breaks to peruse Amazon for fun books to read on the break. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel whether we can see it or not.

The past year has been such a whirlwind. I can't believe it's gone by so fast. The first anniversary of my sweet grandfather's passing came and went. My perfect boyfriend and I celebrated our first anniversary a couple weeks ago with a trip to Baltimore. And next spring will be my last semester taking classes...forever. So much has happened in such a short amount of time.

I am going to marry this man.

What an odd realization. It's not a new one. I've known for several months, and he's known since our very first date. He called his brother on his way home that night. He flew up to Knoxville for lunch after we'd had only a few dates because he flies for free and he missed me. That was last Christmas. Hard to believe it was a year ago.

He's everything I ever dreamed of, everything I ever hoped for and all I ever wanted that I never truly believed existed. Everyone always told me I was waiting for someone too perfect to be real, that my standards were too high and unreasonable, that I wasn't grounded in reality. After awhile, I could see they might be right. I started imagining my life alone, on my own, and really didn't mind the changed future I saw for myself.

The thing is that I've had a lot of heartache in my little life. I've had more struggles than most people I know that are my age. I've never complained. I had a rough childhood in many ways, but really, I had so much love that I made it through things many don't. I got sick ten years ago and learned I may never be well again, but I had so much love in my life that I could see it outweighed anything bad. Love has always saved me, love has always made the difference. So of course lasting romantic love would find me. It didn't need me to believe in it to come.

He's kind. He's thoughtful. And he's so good. He's such a good person I always say he's the best person I know. He's a hard worker, so committed to his friends and family, sweet and funny and such fun to be around. He makes me omelets for breakfast. He takes out the trash without ever being asked. He misses me when we're apart for even a day. He tells me I'm beautiful several times a day. In the morning when we wake up, he tells me he loves me and says, "Good morning, beautiful." He supports me tirelessly, always encouraging, always believes in me and sees more in me than I often see myself. He would do anything for me.

I love being with him. I feel safe, I feel loved, I feel happy and joyful and like I'm breathing for the very first time. Weights are lifted. I can do anything. And I just want to be near him all the time. Very different feelings for someone who always cherished alone time and never let any guy get too close. It was an adjustment, but one that feels natural now.

I often wonder how I got so lucky. It felt too good to be true for so long, but now, I just thank God and pray we can spend long, healthy lives together. It's funny. In other relationships, I've worried about what life will be like "when" we break up (because until now there was no "if"), I've worried that he'll leave me for someone else, that he'll stop loving me, that I'll stop loving him. But with my guy now, the only worry I have is that one of us will die before we're 100.

I don't know when, but I know I will marry this man. This is the love I spent my whole life wishing for. And it's better than I ever imagined it would be. A lot can happen in a year. I can't wait to see what the next one holds.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Say Whaaaat?

"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," Kate Moss tells Women's Wear Daily in a new interview.

Way to advocate eating disorders. For girls that already want to look like Kate Moss, or any supermodel, now she's telling us how. Our society is fucked up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The F Word.

I'm a feminist. GASP!

It's such a scary word, isn't it? But if you sit down to think about what being a feminist means, even if you can't use the word, chances are that you'll find you can check every item on the list.

Feminism gave us the most basic civil rights we take for granted now but which were once revolutionary and ludicrous. Feminism gave us the right to vote, and in this country, women were literally beaten and sent to jail for protesting for that right. Feminism gave women the right to divorce their husbands and to own property - not too long ago, women were the property. When a male head of the household died, the money passed along to the next male relative and often women were left with nothing. The property laws changed because there were so many homeless widows it became annoying.

Feminism also gave us recent rights. Feminism gave us maternity leave. Feminism gave us equal pay for equal work. Feminism promotes good self-esteem for girls and raises awareness about eating disorders and body image issues. Feminism points out that women don't look like models airbrushed in magazines and that the media fuels unrealistic expectations of beauty and that's not okay. It provided laws and protection against domestic violence, rape and genital mutilation. Feminism is why we have domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. Feminism said "No means no."

This week, I got to meet two of the most outstanding, most renowned feminists. And got to hear them speak! Susan Faludi, who famously wrote a book called Backlash about the media's backlash against feminism. And Gloria Fucking Steinem, who famously did, well, everything. I had the honor of meeting her tonight. I was in utter awe and giddy like a teenage girl meeting that Twilight dude with the hair.

I gushed to my boyfriend about it, about how amazed and excited I was to see them both. Then I said that after finally meeting Gloria Steinem, I didn't know what other amazing feminist I had left to meet. I said that sadly most of them are dead. And then he said, "You can be the next one." I love my boyfriend. He is perfect.

My family finds my politics and my feminism weird. My mom told me years ago to hide all my feminist books because if guys saw them, they wouldn't want to date me. I told her that would be hiding who I am and that any guy that's going to be with me is going to be a feminist. She laughed, but I found him. I love my feminist man. And I love my feminism.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Don't Want to be the Susan Boyle of Academia...Though At Least She Made It Eventually...

I didn't sleep well last night. Before I climbed into bed, I submitted a paper abstract for a conference. A major, really awesome, very big deal conference.

Last spring, I submitted two papers for two conferences. And got rejected. Ouch.

A couple months ago, I submitted an abstract for a hugely impressive conference for a large, very popular academic association. It's such a tough conference to get into that renowned scholars even get rejected so I don't hold out much hope that a lowly little grad student like me will be accepted. I'll receive notification in a few weeks, but I'm ok with getting rejected from this one.

The one I submitted to last night, though...I really want. I was so nervous about my submission that I tossed and turned all night, editing the abstract in my sleep. By the time I woke up this morning, I was convinced I made major errors and submitted a poorly structured abstract that didn't do a good enough job of explaining my research project. But there's nothing that can be done about it now. You win some, you lose some.

Growing up, I really struggled with self-esteem. I went through some things as a kid that were hard on my confidence level. I've worked hard to overcome that and build up my self-confidence, but I still waiver.

It's a daily internal struggle. I feel like I'm constantly fighting with myself. I posted last week that I'll be submitting to at least four conferences this fall. I really don't want this process to become some awful self-defeating prophecy. I really want at least one or two successes. I know that won't fix all my problems and that real change will only happen when it starts within myself, but a push in the right direction will certainly help more than it'll hurt. Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Who Are You? And What Do You Want With Me?

I was on Carolina Girl's blog the other day and saw that she looked up her keyword analysis on Google Analytics. I figured I'd give it a shot too.

I never visit my analytics page and often forget it's even there. Most the time I just look it up to see how many visits my blog's being getting. I usually don't pay attention to the network location and even when I do glance at it, it doesn't tell me anything interesting. I know where my friends work so sometimes if I see the name of a friend's company, I know they've been visiting. But most the time, it's acronyms I don't understand or generic internet providers like Comcast. But hey, while I'm posting info from my analytics page, why not post it all?

These are the top five network locations for my blog visitors over the past two months:

1. Comcast
2. Road Runner
3. Dixon-Hughes (An accounting firm in Atlanta. Creepy, B!)
4. Cellco
5. Verizon

Keywords are what people search to find your blog. These are my top ten for the past two months:

1. Grab that net and catch that beautiful butterfly
2. Life is a runaway train you can't wait to jump on
3. Love only cares about itself quotes (sad and no it doesn't!)
4. Dating blog frogs (frogs?)
5. Fired alcohol
6. Grab beautiful man (haha!)
7. Losing friendship in your 20s (sad!)
8. Sexy muscle man (funnier than #6)
9. Tennessee Volunteers I wanna hear Rocky Top
10. When do you give up on love

Kinda makes me think I need to re-evaluate what I post on my blog. Love doesn't only care about itself, love is about selflessness. I really don't get that one or why so many people search that. Losing friendship in your 20s is sad, but true, and seems to happen to a lot of people. Something about growing up maybe.

And when do you give up on love? That's a tough one, and I don't know the answer. Some people you never give up on, but with some you just have to let go and move on. I guess that keyword sends people to the blog I wrote after I realized the Awful Ex was right that we weren't really friends. That was hard. It hurts sometimes to see how wrong you are about a person or situation, and it hurt that a friendship with someone I'd known for 15 years was over.

Now I wanna give a shoutout to my top five referring sites, which are all the blogs of my bloggy friends. Thanks for sending people here, and I hope I send people your way too cuz you're all awesome!

Very cool, Google Analytics.

Thanks for visiting my blog! Y'all come back now, ya here?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Five Senses

Sight: I love watching my puppy sleep soundly, I love seeing the crinkles form around my boyfriend's eyes when he smiles, I love seeing a clean kitchen after turning it into a huge mess, I love looking out at the still and beautiful lake across from my parents' house because no matter what it calms me, and I love looking around at all the Vol Orange in Neyland Stadium.

Hearing: I love hearing the sound of my mom's laugh, I love the sound of the piano, I love city sounds outside my window like cars whizzing past, sirens blaring and trucks stumbling over potholes, I love hearing my boyfriend say "I love you" especially when it seems to come out of nowhere, I love the sound of the ocean but doesn't everyone, and I love hearing my tiny shih tzu do her "big girl bark" when she hears a sound that scares her.

Smell: My favorite smell is olive oil mmm, I love Glade Plug-Ins, I love the smell of clean clothes coming out of the dryer, I used to love my Papaw's smell but sadly I can't remember it as clearly anymore, I love the smell of good red wine, I love the smell of the mountains after rain and the smell of hotdogs at Yankee Stadium.

Touch: I love touching my legs after a shave, I love running my hands on my boyfriend's back and shoulders, I love using my hands to cook and touching the food with my fingers, I love feeling a sharp knife cut easily through vegetables, I love it when my boyfriend touches me anywhere but mostly when his lips touch mine and it's like time freezes in that moment, I love how the hot sun feels on my skin, and I also love cuddling up with one of my best friends on the couch.

Taste: I could go on and on about my favorite foods but I'll try to pick just a few like steak, ripe tomatoes, peanut butter, melted cheese, I think my most favorite taste of all is a bite into a Patsy's pizza, I love how the taste of saltwater is on your lips hours after you were in the ocean, I love how clean my mouth tastes after I gargle Listerine and I love the taste of cold, domestic, light beer cuz it tastes so good when it hits your lips.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I'm Up To

Hi, ya. I'm procrastinating and thought instead of editing a draft that's due tomorrow, I'd post a blog about what I've been doing lately and some favorites.

Favorite TV Shows: How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, The Good Wife, The Office, Private Practice and my new favorite - Glee (love love this show!)

The BF and I both love TV, and we watch a lot together. We also like Chuck and Entourage, but they're not on right now. Ooo and we're in the middle of the 2nd season of The Wire. So good.

Favorite Music: I don't have any new favorite bands, but here are new song I love. Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z, Fireflies by Owl City, Everybody by my fav Ingrid Michaelson, Good Girls Go Bad by Cobra Starship and that Gossip Girl, and I just heard a song called Dollhouse for the first time today that I dug.

Favorite Foods: The BF is a great su chef, but I'm still learning how to share in the kitchen. That's the one place where I want all the control. Haha well, sometimes in the bedroom too! We make an excellent veggie pesto pizza, and I've perfected grits. Perfected. To the point that we're both always disappointed with grits made by anyone else (don't tell his grandma!). His favorite thing that I make is a peach bourbon pork loin. Check it out, y'all. De-lish.

We're going to DC for Halloween yay! I'm a sexy bumble bee because why not? Every girl has to be a sexy something, why not a sexy insect? My friends and I haven't decided yet where we're going, but there has to be dancing, and my only veto is Georgetown. That place is full of tools. I like to joke that The BF has some black in him because he's got such smooth moves. Sadly, I think he's a better dancer than me and I took dance lessons for 13 years.

I just submitted a paper to a conference, and I'm submitting two next week so cross your fingers please! So you know what I do and study, here are some papers I've written. One is on a cable network that's trying to broaden viewership with new programming and promotional tactics. The television industry is fascinating to me, and slowly but surely, I'm becoming an expert. My dissertation will be similar on how traditionally, the cable industry has been about narrowcasting to specific niche audiences, but some are now trying to broaden.

If you're not bored yet, I also do feminist research. A paper I'm submitting next week is on the representation of motherhood on a particular show and what that says about how society (and women in particular) feel about motherhood today, what issues exist on the subject, that kind of thing.

Snooze, right?

In other news, my cute little shih tzu has a Halloween costume too. I saw it on sale at Target for $1 so how could I refuse? It's a princess costume complete with a tutu and one of those pyramid princess hats. Poor dog.

* Thanks to an excellent catch by Irish Chick Soup at Life Mechanical, I made a correction to this post. Check that blog out, by the way, she's a cool chick. And evidently makes Irish soup. ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Redheads, Butt Chins and Douche Bags

Saturday was another awesome night in the A.

BF loves golf, and he's actually pretty good. He and his buddies have two big tournaments every year so he was in Big Canoe this weekend trying to win another trophy. What's a girl to do? Why get drunk with her girlfriends, of course.

Saturday night, I met my friend Lala out at a bar. I named her Lala because she's sweet and peppy like a song. The girl is a ton of fun. She's a redhead so I don't think I even need to tell you how sassy and fiesty she is.

Lala threw an engagment party that night for W, her best friend and roommate. Needless to say, my girl wanted to get hammered after it was over. We started at Atkins Park in the Highlands, and I got there about ten minutes before she arrived. Some fratastic guy with a popped collar kept staring at me, and actually started to say something to me, but I gave him my best stink-eye and he scurried away to hit on a prissy Georgia girl. Phew.

Lala shows up and immediately gets hit on while she's trying to get us beers. Of course, that guy had a googly-eyed friend who wanted to talk to me. Dude had a toupee. A bad one. Ah, I hate being a good wingwoman, but I am the best.

When we get our beers, we walk away like bitches who can't be bothered.

We hang out, drink a few beers, and in an hour, Lala is slurring her words like Keith Richards after he fell out of that coconut tree. A guy she's been seeing starts texting, begging us to meet him and his buddies in Buckhead. Buckhead might as well be called Doucheville it's so full of d-bags, floppy haired guys with croakies and Georgia girls in dresses too fancy for Miller Lite. But again, I am the best wingwoman so I offer to drive.

Lala insists that we take a shot for the road so I ask the bartender for one shot of Vodka-Red Bull and one shot of just Red Bull to fool my friend with. I am also a good designated driver.

On our drive, I watch as the vodka has its way with my friend. The slurring turns to screaming and wooing. She loves my boyfriend, as everyone does because he's the nicest person on the planet, and insists we call him. It's midnight, and after a long day of golf, poker and beer, I'm certain he's either passed out or on his way. She grabs my phone and leaves him a voicemail full of things like: "awe-sommmmmmmme!" "beeeeeeeeer!" and "woooooooooooooo!"

We take a back way that winds us near where the Awful Ex used to live, and I mention that I dated an asshole who used to live nearby. She asks why he was an asshole, because while we've been friends for about 4 years, she didn't know me when I dated him. I tell a couple quick stories of his general shittiness, and the vodka in her gets mad. "Nooooooooo way! That guy sucks and you're awesommmmme." I laugh, and then she asks his name.

Foolishly, I tell her, and she punches it in on her iPhone. Oh, Apple, how much drunk drama have you caused with that contraption? She tells me she wants to find him on Facebook so she can send him a message that she thinks he's way hot and wants to hook up with him. She says it'll be the most hilarious thing ever. At this point, superlatives are the only way she's describing things. Everything and everyone is the most ______ ever. I wish I had drunk enthusiasm when I sat down to write papers.

I laugh while saying, "No, please don't, we don't even talk anymore." She insists that she can be "covert" though in her drunkenness says "co-ver." She shouts, "I found him! I found him!" and shows me a picture of some guy who looks Mexican. I laugh and say that's not him, and she asks me why I don't like Mexicans. The next picture she finds is of a guy getting dry humped by a girl. Also not the asshole. Thankfully, the guy we're meeting texts, and she has something else to fixate her Vodka-Red Bull energy on.

We walk into the bar, see her guy (Air Force cuz he used to be in it), and he buys us beers. Air Force says something about his chin dimple, and I tell him I like it, it makes him look like Buzz Lightyear. Within five minutes Lala falls off the bar stool. Not on the ground, just onto someone. It happens three more times before we leave, and each time she says the chair is broken. She's so cute and charming even when wasted that I start to get mad at the chair for tipping itself over.

We leave around 1:30 because his friends want to go to Hole in the Wall. Hole in the Wall is the cesspool that it sounds like. It's in the basement of a skanky bar and manages to be even skankier. Not to mention it's a good hike, and I'm wearing cute (thus uncomfortable) shoes. As we're walking, Lala tries to talk Air Force into ditching his friends and going to a closer bar with us. She says she knows a bartender. He's thinking it over, and I sing the Georgia Tech fight song to persuade him. He's a Tech fan too, and my rendition wins him over. A drunken stranger walked by and clapped for me so I know it was good. Also, Lala promises he can stay at her place that night, but I'm sure my team spirit made all the difference.

We bar hop a little more, never find Lala's bartender friend, and the whole time I'm impressed she's still standing. You know those big balloons that have streamers as arms and legs and walk around the room by themselves? They bob up and down while swaying from side to side. That's what Lala looked like by 2 a.m. She tripped a few times and kicked over a beer bottle at one point and almost got thrown out. Ever resourceful, my fiesty redheaded friend tells the bouncer another girl did it. He raises an eyebrow, but she's too cute to argue with and stumbles past him.

It's 2:30 and almost closing time. We're sitting at the bar, and I watch the female bartender fight with a drunk asshole. He's suited up, but his tie is loose and crooked. His shirt has one corner untucked, and he's a hot mess. I hear the bartender say, "No, honey, you have your card. I gave your card back to you." He mumbles something, and she says, "No, see here? These are the receipts. I already charged you so you have your card. See? That's your name? And that's your signature there. See? That's where you didn't tip me." He mumbles again, crumples up the receipt and stumbles a foot or two away. The bartender winks at me and rolls her eyes.

A guy behind me asks me what his chances are with taking her home. I say not good because she's hot and drunk guys probably do that every night. He says, "Yeah, but I have a butt chin," and shows it off for me. Buzz Lightyear again! To infinity and beyond! I laugh, telling him he looks like a cartoon. He rolls his eyes laughing and says, "And I have a good sense of humor too, right?" I agree, and he asks the bartender what his chances are at taking her home. She tells him she's married to the guy on the other end of the bar. He shrugs.

I make the mistake of thinking he's with The Suit and say, "You know, even if she was single, your buddy here would have ruined your chances because he didn't leave her a tip." He turns to The Suit and says, "You didn't tip her?" The Suit shrugs and says, "Yeah. So what? I don't have to leave a tip." I turn away because Air Force thinks it's time to take our drunken redhead home. I agree, and as I grab my bag, I hear Butt Chin call The Suit a douche bag and hear The Suit tell Butt Chin, "Yeah, well, you like to suck cock. You like dick in your mouth." I'm astounded at his agreement that he is in fact a douchebag while also take offense at his insinuation that there's something wrong with liking to give blowjobs.

I ask Butt Chin if they're friends, and both guys get angry at my presumption. They are not friends, they are mortal enemies. Butt Chin is defending the honor of the bartender that rejected him, and The Suit is angry at life in general. As we walk out the door, I see a bouncer try to break them up because they're shouting in each other's faces and shoving each other. I totally started a bar fight.

I drive Air Force and Lala back to her condo, but since she passed out in the car, I'm pretty sure he didn't get lucky. Chalk up another point for Alcohol, King of Good Times and Bad.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

I've never cheated on anyone, though I have been cheated on. I'm not exactly sure what cheating is. Physical contact? Physical contact and/or emotional feelings? I had a friend whose fiancé broke up with her, then immediately started dating one of their mutual friends. I don't believe this guy cheated physically, but I do believe he cheated emotionally. Not sure which is worse.

The Awful Ex sent me chocolates while he had a girlfriend, told me she didn't challenge him like I did, he didn't feel for her what he felt for me, that I was "the greatest love he'd ever known" (literally sent that in a drunk text), blah, blah, blah...not technically cheating, but it wouldn't make her feel good if she knew about it either.

Recently, a married friend confessed that she still talked to her ex-boyfriend. She said that she searched him online every once in awhile and kept in touch just to get a glimpse of the life she could have had. Not cheating, right? But she also said that her husband had no idea she was still in contact with the ex or even knew anything about his life right now. Is deception cheating?

When The BF and I started dating, I was in regular contact with three ex-boyfriends. Now I only talk to one, T, and The BF has met him a few times, we double date with him and his girl every couple months or so. It's nice. He's a super great guy. I've already blogged about why the Awful Ex and I aren't speaking, and that's no big loss.

The most recent, X, and I dated off and on for 3 years. It was the most serious relationship, and the best, that I'd had before my current BF. We knew each other so well, we were super close and shared everything. It was hard to bounce back and be good friends again after we broke up last May, but we made efforts. We saw each other a few times, talked on the phone, texted, emailed, albeit never frequently.

In February, BF and I were out with friends, and we ran into X and about ten of his friends. I had just talked to X on the phone two weeks before, and everything was cool. I went outside to talk to X and his friends, but he just grunted and walked past me. Two or three of his friends stayed outside with me, catching up, for about 15 or 20 minutes. The entire time X and two girls stood on the sidewalk a block away staring at us. Creepy.

I hadn't told X that I was dating someone because I didn't want to hurt his feelings and only wanted to tell him once it was serious, which had just happened. But he hadn't told me he was dating anyone either, and evidently one of the two girls on the sidewalk with him that night was his girlfriend. A couple months later, they moved in together so I assume it had been serious for awhile. I was the one that ended things, and he actually cried when I broke up with him, so I feel like I had good reason to be concerned about him getting hurt. Not sure why he didn't tell me, but ah well.

After that, we emailed a little bit, but then in May, I went to a friend's birthday party and he was there with his girlfriend. He acted like we were strangers. And since then, he's emailed and texted again like things are fine, but I don't get it. I didn't respond the last time. I want to be friends, but friends don't ignore each other in public. Maybe he doesn't want his girlfriend to know we're friends? Maybe she feels uncomfortable around me and that's why he ignores me?

Either way, it's weird and sad. I really miss being friends with him. I miss talking to him and goofing off. That's breaking up, I know, but I still miss him. The thing is that there weren't a million things wrong with him or with us as a couple, there were just a few. A few big things, but in so many ways, we were compatible. I've thought about emailing him, asking what's all this been about, telling him I still care about him and want to be friends. I feel guilty, but every once in awhile, I find myself comparing X and BF, thinking, "Well, X did that with me," or "X liked ______, I wish BF did."

Is it cheating? No. Would emailing him be? Or restarting our friendship? No. But still maybe a grey area too, and as icked out as I was when my friend told me she still talks to her ex without her husband's knowledge, I want to stay out of grey areas. I want to make a clean break from the past, I don't want to take any steps backward, I only want to step forward into my future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mustaches are Making a Comeback!

Yay! The weekend was perfect. The Yellow Jackets even beat the No. 4 team in the country! I love it when underdogs win. Especially when they're my underdogs.

My boyfriend's best friend, whom he describes as his "funnest friend," has created the best bar game. I'll call him Captain Mustache or 'Stache for short.

It began when 'Stache and his wife went to Savannah with The BF, myself along with my best friend and her husband. We were at Wild Wings in the City Market listening to a band play the greatest hits of the 90s and re-living the awesomeness that was high school. We pause for a moment of silence that Blink 182 put out one awesome album and broke up.

All six of us were happy drunk and dancing. 'Stache's wife and my best friend start talking to the roadie traveling with the band because they want to know why he has a coffin tattooed on his neck and if it hurt. "Because I'm fascinated with death" and "Yes." The next thing I know, 'Stache holds his index finger up to his nose revealing a black mustache he drew on with a marker. He's got one eyebrow raised and a big grin. We all passed the marker around until everyone had a mustache.

The next stop was the piano bar in Savannah. We all walk in and flash the doorman our mustaches. He laughs and waves us past without asking for the cover charge. "Come on in, funny drunk people!"

Friday night at RiRa in Atlanta, the mustache came out again. This time, it was me and The BF, 'Stache and his wife, and my bf's other best friend and his girlfriend. Hilarity. We kept flashing strangers our mustaches, even made one take a photo of us all, and probably scared the living daylights out of our poor waiter because every time he came to our table, all six of us flashed our 'staches like it was a stick-up and finger mustaches were our only weapons.

We have more mustache pictures than of anything else all night. The BF and I agreed that when we get married, we're making the bridal party sport finger mustaches in a formal photo. The idea has "mantel piece" written all over it, and I really can't wait to force my prissy cousin to join in hee hee! But come on, everyone knows mustaches are badass.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boyfriend Birthday Bonanza!

Now, if you don't mind my bloggy friends, I would like to mush a bit.

My super awesome boyfriend's birthday is this Saturday, and I'm so excited! We've been together not quite a year so this is the first time we'll celebrate it together - the first of many.

I've planned everything perfectly. He did a great job throwing me a birthday party a few months ago, we went to some of my favorite spots in Atlanta, and the best part of it all was that one of my very best friends surprised me! She came in from out of town, and her visit totally made the birthday. He didn't exactly arrange it, she's just super great and loves me, but it was his idea to invite every one of my friends - even the out-of-towners. I told him that was silly, no one would come in for it, but someone very special did!

So in an effort to surprise him with some of his favorite people too, I've arranged for us to meet up with his two best buds on Friday night. And he has no idea! One friend is coming in from Charleston. He knew he'd get to see Best Bud #1 at Georgia Tech on Saturday, but I talked him into coming in early on Friday as a special birthday surprise. Best Bud #2 is getting his MBA from Emory and is a study-aholic. The bf didn't expect to even get a chance to see this one! I'm quite proud of myself, as you can see.

We're going to dinner at a trendy, new sushi place because he loves sushi. Then I'm going to insist that we go to the Irish pub next door, RiRa, which At Least I'm Skinny just blogged about. That's where the best buds will be hiding out. Surprise! I can't wait.

Saturday, we're going to cheer on the Yellow Jackets as, fingers crossed, they whoop on some Hokies from Va Tech. Yep. A battle of the Techies. Aw, but I love my nerd. And I love that his team is not in the SEC. I especially love that he is not a terrible Georgia fan. They're so awful. To my first Tech game (he has season tickets), I wore a shirt that said, "I don't like Georgia fans." On the back, was the Tech logo. I was a smash hit, of course.

But it's true. Georgia fans are the pits. I don't know which are worse - the boys or the girls - but the girls really annoy me. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely exceptions to the rule, and I have a few good friends that are female dogs (hee hee). But for the most part...they're spoiled prisses who wear sundresses and high a football game. Most of them could care less about football. They don't watch College GameDay, they don't even know their team's schedule or roster, yet they'll swear up and down that they love the Bulldogs. Turn a game on, and watch the boredom wash over them. And the guys, yick. They're just rude rednecks...though I'll concede I've seen a couple rude redneck Tennessee fans myself. Remember the ex that was creepily stalking my blog?

But I digress. Point is, I love that my man loves college football and that his team never plays mine. He looks hot in orange too, I'd like to add. And sings a mean Rocky Top. We've been to three UT games this season, and I just love watching him cheer on my team. And I like cheering on his too. We certainly both agree about Georgia fans. Go Jackets!

After the game, we're going out to celebrate again. Probably the Highlands this time, which is full of d-bags, but it don't matter as long as I'm with my man. Sunday night, we're heading to the Dome to watch the Atlanta Falcons beat up the Chicago Bears. We love football.

I'm also baking some yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing for the bday tailgate. Ooo and you know his gift rocks. He's been talking for several months about wanting to go to Baltimore so we're going. Dinner on the Harbor of decadent crab cakes that melt in your mouth, a sweet little trolley tour, finished off with kickass seats to watch the Ravens take on the Colts. Did I mention we love football?

I am excited about our fun weekend plans, but I'm mostly just excited to have a reason to celebrate him. He's the best person I know. He makes me happier than I ever thought I could be, and I just want to thank him. I've never made it to a year with anyone, even though I've had a couple long term relationships, they were off-and-on. I've never wanted to be with anyone this much or this consistently. He's a dream come true. And so his birthday should be too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I have nothing interesting to say! I can either complain profusely about how busy I am with school this semester and how much I hate my classes. Or I can spew out lovey-dovey mush about how awesome and perfect my boyfriend is. Neither topic is interesting. But my brain seems totally consumed with only those two thoughts. Sigh.

My last post was about some huge, exciting research news about an illness I have. I don't talk about being sick, I don't like talking about it, I don't even like acknowledging it. Most of my friends don't even know actually. It's not that I have anything to be ashamed about, I know I don't. It's just not a good feeling to admit that something's wrong with you, and I'd much rather continue letting everyone treat me as though I'm perfectly fine and normal. Also, I really hate explaining it to people. I hate the name of the disease. I hate that there hasn't been enough research conducted and that not enough people (including doctors) understand it.

I have a friend who has diabetes. It's not something she advertises either, but it's something that she does have to tell people every once in awhile if she's eating with them. As soon as she says, "i have diabetes," the conversation can end there. Everyone knows what it is. Everyone knows how it works and how it affects people. We're taught about it in health class, and most people know someone or have known someone who has it. I am not diminishing diabetes or any other illness. I know how serious it is. But I do wish that my conversations about having what I have would go as smoothly and as simply. (Not that hers always do, of course.)

"Tired" is subjective. No one knows what that means. I hate explaining just how tired I am or how my disease makes me feel. The worst is when people joke that they have it too. Annoying! It's not like if I said, "I have arthritis," anyone would say, "Oh yeah! I think I do too because sometimes my joints ache." It's a stupid named illness that confuses even doctors. Blah. So I don't like talking about it. But I was so excited about the research, I just had to share it. I sent the article to my mom and boyfriend and posted it here for all of you nice people. Maybe little things like that can help spread awareness.

Thank God every day for your health. I still do.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Major Health News

Retrovirus May Be at Root of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Study finds two-thirds of those with the mysterious illness infected with XMRV

Posted October 8, 2009

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome sampled in a recent study were infected with a retrovirus called XMRV

The finding, albeit preliminary, has raised hopes that there might be a concrete cause for the mysterious malady and thus, down the line, treatments for the disease.

"This study does not prove that XMRV is the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, however it does suggest it is a viable candidate for a cause," said Robert H. Silverman, co-author of a report appearing online Oct. 8 in Science.

"But if it can be proven that the virus causes the disease, that would be a breakthrough in diagnosing, combating and preventing the disease," added Silverman, a professor of cancer biology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. "There could be an antiretroviral drug that could prevent this virus from replicating."

Another expert was similarly hopeful.

"This article could give a spark of hope, one, that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by something, and two, if that bears out, maybe we could do something about it," said Dr. Tamara Kuittinen, an emergency physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Chronic fatigue syndrome was first recognized in the late 1980s and initially dubbed the "yuppie flu," resulting in an enduring credibility crisis.

Some segments of the medical community do not believe it is a discrete illness because there is no known cause, and diagnosis can only be made through excluding other conditions, such as depression.

"There's no test, no clear etiology, the symptoms are vague, there's no treatment and no cure," said Kuittinen. "It's very frustrating."

Possible explanations for the disease have been far-reaching, ranging from different viruses, including Epstein-Barr, enteroviruses and herpes, to childhood trauma.

The illness affects an estimated 1 percent of people worldwide and, as its name implies, involves crippling fatigue as well as aching joints, headaches and variousother symptoms.

Recently, XMRV was detected in prostate cancer patients and in prostate tumor biopsies. Like other retroviruses, it can activate latent viruses in the body, such as Epstein-Barr, which has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.

For this study, researchers analyzed 101 blood samples taken from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and found the virus in 68 of the samples, as compared with only eight samples in 218 healthy patients (67 percent versus 3.7 percent).

Although 3.7 percent seems a small proportion, the authors do note that this could mean millions of people are infected with a virus whose effects are as yet unknown.

Retroviruses, a group that includes both XMRV and HIV, have genomes made of RNA instead of DNA.

"When the virus infects cells, the RNA gets copied into the DNA, then the DNA inserts itself or integrates into the host DNA," explained Silverman. "One of the many problems with infections with retroviruses is that it's very difficult to actually cure the patient because the virus DNA becomes part of the infected person's DNA. Patients need to continually take drugs to keep it from replicating."

XMRV is simpler than HIV, though, Silverman added, which is a good thing. "It's a kind of stripped down version of a retrovirus. It has just the genes required for infection and replication. We could probably stop it with an antiretroviral drug."

There's also the possibility that a vaccine would prevent people from being infected in the first place.

But, stressed Silverman, "there are lots of qualifiers because it hasn't actually been proven that it causes disease, although the evidence looks pretty intriguing. This is an area that needs more research."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say...Come Sit By Me

Have you seen previews for that new movie The Invention of Lying? It looks hilarious and has a star-studded cast, as they say. The premise is that no one in the world lies. They just tell the ugly truth bluntly all the time. I saw a preview where a waiter walks up to their table in a restaurant and says, "I can't believe I work here. You're pretty. Too pretty for your date. Can I take your order?"

Sometimes it's good to lie. "No, you don't look fat in that." "Yes, I did all my homework." "I'm sorry." (Isn't the worst when someone says - "I'm sorry you think that" or "I'm sorry you're upset" Empty apologies are infuriating!)

And sometimes, you just wish you could tell the absolute truth with zero consequences.

Sometimes I'm too honest, and sometimes not honest enough. I guess that's a fence most of us straddle delicately. As I've said before, I'm not good at fighting. After a fight with someone, I usually kick myself for the dozens of things I should have said but didn't. I think of great comebacks and snarky zingers that I didn't think to say or maybe didn't have the guts to say. Probably the latter. And I always take things personally, even when someone I don't like doesn't like me or when someone says something that I know isn't true, it hurts.

There are people I know and have known that I sometimes have the urge to tell the truth to. "When you said that, it really hurt me." "I think the real reason you're upset about this is that you have dangerously low self-esteem." "The reason I stopped talking to you was because I think you're a bad person."

You can't say these things. I mean, some people do, but most of us who want to keep our friends keep our mouths shut. The classic example, I think, is when you don't like your friend's boyfriend/girlfriend. You keep your mouth shut because you hope your friend will figure it out on their own and you want to keep the friendship. Any story I've heard about someone being honest about whether or not they like the person their friend is dating has ended badly.

That's happened to me a few times, though I never ended a friendship over it. No one liked the Awful Ex because he always acted like such a jackass and a few of my friends had the unfortunate experience of actually seeing one of his temper tantrums. Not a good way to win them over, buddy. I did date one guy that a lot of my friends liked, but, not so much. She only expressed her disapproval once, but that was all it took.

See, the truth is that rather than being bold and honest, I actually clam up. I made a point not to talk to her about him because I knew I'd never get a fair audience.

One of my good friends just got engaged (yay!), and a week ago, she and her fella were in NYC visiting friends. One night, they went out with his sister and one of her good guy friends...who happened to be an ex. There were a few other people there, but at the end of the evening, her friend started hitting on her boyfriend's much younger sister. Creepy. She pulled him aside politely and said it was making her uncomfortable. He said no problem, then stepped up his game by rubbing the sister's back, playing with her hair, whispering into her ear.

They ended up leaving the bar, and she decided her friend was an asshole. He was obviously trying to upset her, which friends just don't do, so that's that. She said, "Maybe because I'm dating ____ right now and he's so great, and that's why I never saw it before, but I think my ex might actually just be a bad person." She decided rather than have it out with him, she'd just stop talking to him.

Maybe that's why I didn't respond to the Awful Ex's stupid email. Maybe that's why I moved out instead of fighting again with that terrible girl in college. Maybe that's why I gave up on a friendship in DC a few years ago. We should only share our lives with good people, we should put in effort where it's reciprocated, and we should weed people out of our lives who don't deserve to be there.

Sometimes we don't say things because it's just not necessary. Sometimes we don't start a fight because we already know the ending. Sometimes keeping your mouth shut is better than using the best zingers anyone could ever think of. And maybe that's what distinguishes the good people from the rest.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

These Grouchy Pants Make My Ass Look Big. Or Make Me Look Like an Ass.

I'm fuckin' grouchy.

I don't know what it is. I guess the stress is getting to me. This semester is positively going to be the hardest yet. I haven't had a semester with so much work. I have an average of two papers due every week, and just thinking about it is making me more irritable and angrier. I'm used to having more to do than is possible to get done, but nothing close to the amount of work facing me in the next 3 1/2 months. And it all just makes me feel less like myself. And less like anyone else.

My jaw is clenched, I'm having trouble sleeping, I think I have a permanent scowl, and I really just want to be grumpy and all alone. The bf is being, as usual, absolutely perfect, which is also for some inexplicable reason irritating. I'm so ridiculously grouchy I can only laugh at myself.

Last night, we went to dinner with his friends. In total, there were ten of us. I like his friends, I do. They're kind and always make an effort to talk to me and make me feel welcome. But I also feel hella uncomfortable around them. They've been friends for 12 years. They're all married to their college sweetheart. And they've only lived in Atlanta and nowhere else. Honestly, I find it all a bit creepy. I'm the person I am today because I left home. I'm also the person I am today because I had several years to be on my own and really get to know myself.

I feel so judgmental and awful about these feelings, but I can't help it. I just think it's all so weird. I don't know people like this, who never left home, who've spent every weekend with the same people for more than a decade straight. There's really nothing wrong with it, they're good people, but it still just creeps me the F out.

I have two friends who married their college sweethearts. They're old friends and friends I see once a year and probably talk to two or three times a year. One of them married a guy she started dating at 19. But then at 22, she moved 8 hours away from him to a city and state far from anyone familiar. Three years later, they got married and he joined her, but she still had those years of independence to explore herself and experience something challenging and new. The other friend started dating her husband at about 21, and after college, they moved across the country together and lived in California for a few years. Then they moved again, this time to Texas, and after a couple years there, they got married. Yes, they experienced these changes together, but at least they took a chance on themselves and did something out of the ordinary.

The word that comes to mind is "cute." It's cute that his friends have been with their spouses since they were 19 or 20. It's cute that they live in the same town they grew up in and will probably never live anywhere else. It's cute that their social lives still revolve around the same group of friends that they did at 18. It's like an old movie or TV show or something. It's old-fashioned and traditional and conventional...and creepy.

The worst of it all really is that every time I'm with them, it's always in a large group, and they always reminiscence about people and events that I know nothing about. After they share a few good laughs, someone will notice that I'm staring around blankly and between fits of laughter, they'll recount the "hilarious" story to me. I'm always on the outside looking in. And I always will be. Part of me doesn't care, I think to myself, "Well, I'm never going to know all these stories, I'm never going to be part of this group, and I'm never going to be as close with them as they are with each other."

Last night, out of ten people seven of them went to college together. And the other two went to nearby colleges and started dating someone in the group when they were 19. And then there's me, the ultimate outsider. They tease me for being a Tennessee fan, for going to a different college. It makes me want to scream that most people in the 21st century don't marry someone that went to their own college.

The other part of me pushes me to continue trying, to stay positive, to not let any of it get me down. Because I love him, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. Which means I'll also spend it with them. Eventually, they have to stop talking about the good old college days, right? Right?

My only real consolation is that even though my special someone also never left the city in which he was raised, he knows there's something wrong with that and is eager to move somewhere new. Before we met, he tried hard to move to California because it was far away from everything familiar. And just last week, he very seriously asked me if we could live in New York. He loves it there and has been talking about moving there for awhile. My answer? "Yes, yes, yes!"

Anyone see a trash can? I need to throw away my grouchy attitude and put on a smile.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Miss You, Manhattan

I miss Gristedes and its miniature aisles and miniature shopping carts.

I miss skyscrapers and a real city skyline.

I miss Smalls, JJ's Diner, B-Bar, Brother Jimmy's, St. Mark's, the Chelsea Hotel and East Sixth's Indian Row.

I miss hailing cabs.

I miss brunch every Sunday no matter what.

I miss walking on city streets on busy days and energetic evenings.

I miss everyone wearing black.

I miss street fairs.

I miss jackets in September...sort-of.

I miss the smells! I'm not a good sniffer. My answer is always, "No," to "Ew! Do you smell that?!" but NYC I can smell. I miss the smell of the subway and the leather of the cabs. I miss the smell of Gray's Papaya and Ray's slices.

I miss the flower stalls on the corner and the flaky croissants from the street vendors.

I miss the pigeons!

I miss street performers that are actually talented.

I miss endless possibilities.

I miss never being alone.

I miss the corner store.

I miss bridges that look like works of art...instead of concrete monstrosities painted yellow.

I miss small artsy theater and bars with gimics.

I miss nights out in the Bowery and SoHo on Saturday afternoons.

I miss you, Manhattan, and I promise to visit soon. Cheers to you and your inextinguishable spirit eight years later.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things Teachers Hate

1. Asking "Is this going to be on the test?"

2. Asking "Are you going to give us a study guide?"

3. Asking "Do I really have to buy the textbook?"

4. When students put their heads on their desk and close their eyes like we're playing Heads Up, 7-Up, and then scowl at me angrily when I wake their lazy asses up. Because I'm bothering them.

5. Falling asleep in class is less annoying than checking Facebook or writing emails.

6. Getting ridiculous emails at the end of the semester that simply read: "hey prof can you change my grade from a c+ to a b-?"

7. Note the lack of capital letters or punctuation in #5. We hate that too. By the way, "you" is not spelled "u." Text speak isn't the way real people talk.

* Sadly, all very true stories.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Airing Dirty Laundry

First, thank you to everyone who responded to my poll last week. And I'm pretty sure it worked as a polite warning so thanks. It's always good to hear your opinions and get your advice. My internet friends are just like real friends! Kinda funny, but true. I've caught myself telling a story a few times that happened to "a friend" and realizing that I actually read it on one of your blogs!

Besides mentioning it here, I also told some friends that the Awful X posted an antagonistic comment. I can't say his name to anyone I know without hearing a chuckle or seeing a dramatic eye roll. First tip a guy's a loser - no one you introduce him to likes him. That used to bother me. I'd defend him or I'd feel uncomfortable, but now I just laugh and roll my eyes with them.

Truthfully, I've been doing that for quite a while. It's just that things with him were so bad that looking back they just seem hilariously absurd. Really? He really did that? I kept dating him? Geez. It used to be so embarrassing, but now it's easy to laugh at because I don't recognize the person I was when I was with him anymore. It feels like I'm just laughing at someone else.

Examples. He once had a party and didn't invite me. Though also didn't give a second thought to telling me all about it the next day. We went to a festival in the middle of downtown, and I got separated from the group (I also got drunk but we all were). I didn't know my way around town at all, and security forced us out an exit we didn't enter at so I was truly lost. My phone stopped working because it got wet so I called him 4 or 5 times from other people's phones. He kept telling me I was drunk and bothering him, then he'd hang up on me. Keep in mind, I was lost in downtown Atlanta. Not exactly Mayberry, y'all. I finally found my way with the help of a kind cop. I still think about that night with chills. I'm so grateful nothing bad happened to me.

He stood me up maybe a dozen times. The worst was when he made me go to two concerts for work by myself. I still stayed at his place that night, but from the time I walked in to the time I walked out the next morning, he didn't kiss me once. Ouch.

After we broke up and stopped talking, I was with one of my best friends in New York when he sent her a text. He happened to be in town at the same time and texted her to meet him at his hotel. She said no, and he kept trying to persuade her, even asking her to bring alcohol to his hotel room. Finally, she (meaning me because of course by this time I was sending the texts) said, "What about Penny?" His response: "What she doesn't know won't hurt her."

I could keep going, but I won't. I'm sure you've got the picture. I left out the most private, most hurtful things like when I was crying about my sick grandfather and he told me to shut up. Those are still difficult to talk about.

And I should also add that this isn't entirely his fault because I could have (and should have) walked away at any point. Eventually with a few grand gestures, he apologized months later. It was genuine and heartfelt, I believe. We tried to be friends for 3 or 4 years. I know, I know, but we'd known each other since we were 12. And I knew that I was a different person when we dated so maybe the same was true for him. He said he changed, and I loved him. I knew him inside and out and...believed in him, believed he could change. Famous last words.

Back in January, he sent me an email and said we were never really friends. At first, that hurt because I tried so hard and even then still believed in the good in him. But then I recognized this old pattern and knew that for whatever reason, he was trying to hurt me. I started thinking and realized that for the past several years, I've continued to make excuses for him.

The past few years he'd been dating the same girl. After their first 6 months together, he paid about $75 to mail a box of Godiva chocolates to my work. He used to say the most awful things about her. He told me more than a few times that he wanted to break up with her but couldn't because he traveled a lot and she watched his dog when he was gone. He said he'd have to give the dog to his parents without that so he had to keep dating her because she was a good dogsitter. Once I asked him what kind of music she liked. He told me she liked whatever he told her to like. Another time he told me that she didn't challenge him at all, that she didn't challenge him like I did.

I realized that I gave up on him about a year before we stopped talking. In December of 2007, we went to the SEC championship together. Our team lost, and he tried to start a few fights with fans from the opposing team. He does that a lot and always brags about it later. It was embarrassing, and if he wasn't wasted I would have left him there. When he gets drunk, it's toooo drunk, you know? He stumbles, stutters and slurs. Anyway, I actually got a little afraid that he'd say or do something to the wrong person.

Later that night, he told me that his girlfriend (who, he boasted, was once on Girls Gone Wild) was still young and adventurous enough that he was trying to talk her into having a threesome. He said she was his one real shot at ever having one then he bragged about other things he'd talked her into doing in the bedroom. A couple hours later the poor girl joined us as did one of my friends and a couple of his. He tried to start a fight in the bar over the game then announced to us all that his girlfriend gave terrible blowjobs.

And I realized he hadn't changed at all. I tried to keep my distance after that, and I'm sure it was something he picked up on. He's right. We weren't really friends. I just gave up.

I don't know if all those things were some kind of show he put on for me, that maybe he couldn't let me know that he was happy and in love with a wonderful girl. But regardless, it's pretty awful stuff and would certainly break her heart if she knew. I don't know if any of it was real, if any of it was who he really is. I don't know if I ever knew him at all.

I used to feel like I deserved how he treated me, that I had done something to cause it or bring those bad things out in him. And who knows, maybe I do. I thought that he hated me and that's why he was always so hurtful. Maybe he's perfectly kind to everyone else and only ugly to me. I doubt that, of course, because before he was with me, he did something (he would never tell me what) that sent him to anger management classes. And another girl took a restraining order out against him.

I hope he's completely changed. I hope he's a different person. I hope that for whatever reason maybe I was what brought all that out in him, and now that we're not speaking, he's a brand new man. And I truly hope he finds all the happiness he's ever searched for. I'm just thankful that for the first time, I can see clearly and that I don't ever have to hear from or talk to him again. I'm relieved that he's out of my life forever. Peace be with you, go with God.

Sigh. It's a real relief getting all this out, putting it all together like this.

* Hey, Dixon-Hughes, get a life and stop stalking my blog. It's weird and you're creeping me out.

Facebook is the Devil.

That's right, I said it. Just like foosball and little girls - Facebook is the devil and the Internet is the devil's playground.

I joined Facebook a few months ago under pressure from school friends who are on it constantly. I didn't cave until I realized that there were parties and happy hours I never heard about because I wasn't on Facebook. And I ain't a girl that ever misses a party. Or a happy hour.

At first, it was this weird complicated maze I didn't know how to navigate. It was mysterious requiring "technological savvy" to work like my boyfriend's SmartPhone (what kind of name is that for a product?!). Someone sent me a "note" and I literally looked it up on Google. It took me almost an hour to figure out how to reply. I got so annoyed that I stopped going on Facebook altogether because it frustrated me too much.

Then people started posting pictures and bugging me about looking at them. I got sucked back into the vortex. Really, Facebook is more of a cult than the devil. A cult full of friends and half-strangers who get called friends by meaningless social networking rhetoric.

I hated MySpace because total randoms found me even though I hadn't seen or talked to them in fifteen years. It was creepy. But now I'm a creepy random! I started thinking about old friends and wondering what happened to them and now we're "Facebook friends" with all the ambiguity that goes along with it. I can waste hours playing around on that thing, laughing at friend's status updates or wacky videos without even realizing time has passed.

It's depressing, really. I thought I was smart and cool. Now I'm just creepy and lazy. Curses and drat!! (fist shaking wildly in the air!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Forgiveness is the Attribute of the Strong.

You know Tyson Beckford? The "ridiculously good-looking" male model? I saw him cry on Oprah a few years ago. He was in a really bad hit-and-run and almost died. His car exploded, it was crazy. The crying I can understand, but one thing stuck with me. He was crying and asking, "What did I do to deserve this? Why did he do this to me?" and I just thought it was absurd. Silly model, he didn't target you. The truck driver wasn't trying to kill you. It was an accident.

Do you ever feel like you've been hit by a car?

I'm not great with conflicts. I just don't understand them most of the time because I'm not one to get upset or angry easily. I'm quick to forgive and have given more than a few people ten more chances than any sane person would have. When someone does something that upsets or hurts me, I usually never mention it. I just get over it on my own or I take a few moments of distance. I'm not passive-aggressive, though I really enjoyed Chelsea's take on that. I just don't like fighting and most of the time never see a need to do it.

I think in the past year or so I've changed in some ways. It's been almost exactly a year since my sweet grandfather passed, and I know that the experience impacted me in major ways. One change I've noticed is that...I don't even know how to put this. I tolerate less. I think that's it. I put my foot down every once in awhile even in small ways that maybe only I'm aware of. My mom got drunk last summer and told me that the reason I've always been picked on by other people is that I'm a runt. She meant it to be funny, but she's right. And I don't want to be a runt anymore.

Every time I have a conflict with anyone, I obsess about it. I overanalyze it. I try to do whatever it takes to alleviate the problem. I apologize or I allow people to explain themselves. Often both. But sometimes people don't want to work through something. That's the part I don't understand. Sometimes they just want to be mad or they want to take something small and make it mean everything.

And I guess that for them, that's what they feel they have to do. Every person has issues and problems, and none of us deal with them in the right, healthy way every time they surface. Sometimes we're all casualties on someone else's road. Sometimes it doesn't mean anything, sometimes it wasn't your fault, sometimes it wasn't about you at all. Sometimes you just get hit. Sometimes you're a mistake someone made.

I think that helps me obsess less. People move in and out of our lives for a reason, and maybe that reason is met in the mistakes or the leaving.

This weekend I'm going to spend time with someone I've had a lot of conflicts with in the past oh, 30 years. But I love her. And I want us to be close and I want us to be good friends. More than ever before, I've stood up to her in the past year. I tolerate less. But that doesn't mean that I've hardened or become unforgiving. I think unforgiving is one of the saddest faults a person can have because in the end, it means you end up with less love in your life and maybe you even end up alone. Though I approach it now with more open eyes, I'm still willing to give everyone ten more chances than any sane person would. Well...maybe nine.

"Though no one can ever go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard

* A little follow-up...I just read an article on the NY Times website about guilt and atonement. It's a short article and was very interesting. Maybe the reason I obsess so much when there's a conflict in a relationship is that I have high guilt and maybe even high effortful control. Actually I'd say that my feeling of having high effortful control contributes to my high guilt because I think I tried as hard as possible not to cause any conflict and so I feel twice as guilty and bad when there is a conflict that feels out of my control. Interesting psychoanalysis, eh? Check it out here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blogger Poll - I Want to Hear From You!

Hello, ladies! I have a question for you and am eager to hear your responses. If you blog about it, post a comment so I can check it out asap.

An ex-boyfriend that I no longer talk to has been posting comments on my blog. I think it's creepy. Is this a common experience? What do you think when this happens? How do you deal with it? I've been thinking about different things I could do in response, but then that just encourages the bastard, doesn't it? I can't wait to hear from you!

- Penny

And p.s. they're not even nice comments. They're antagonistic. And snarky. Sigh.

Hung Out to Dry

HBO’s new series, Hung, is compelling, controversial and bringing in high ratings for the network. For those of who don’t know, the plot centers on “Ray,” a high school history teacher and basketball coach. When we meet Ray, he is at rock bottom. Once the star athlete, Ray lost a promising future in major league baseball to a tragic career-ending injury. His beautiful wife left him for the class nerd, now a successful dentist, and in the pilot episode, we watch his house burn down in a tragic accident. He foolishly let the insurance lapse and has no money for the repairs so he moves into a small camping tent in his backyard. His kids move in with their mother, and he’s left desolate, broken and alone. Like many down on their luck in this rotten economy, Ray enrolls in a “get rich quick” course and makes a startling decision – he will become a male prostitute.

I first watched the program to examine how gender roles and gender traditions were portrayed. Plots centering on women who sell their bodies can widely be seen in film and television, but a man who sells himself is new terrain. The most fundamental theme about gender relations one can notice in Hung is that men and women don’t get along. Relationships are problematic, and no one on the show is in a loving, healthy relationship. In fact, perhaps the most noticeable thing about Hung is that no one gets along with anyone, no one is happy.

Class distinctions are apparent, but there appears to be not much difference there either. Characters who have money are unhappy and are in strained relationships while those with lower socioeconomic status are equally dissatisfied. In contemporary American society, power comes with wealth, but in the world of Hung, the rich are portrayed as equally powerless as the poor. The rich women who are Ray’s clients are powerless to change their lives. Although the rich lawyer Ray lives next to is able to persuade law enforcement to continually impose fines on Ray for living in a tent, he is powerless to stop Ray’s deviant behavior or to force him off of his land. In one episode, we learn that he also lacks the power to sexually satisfy his own wife. Even Ray’s ex-wife is having problems in her marriage, and we learn that her husband lost almost a million dollars in investments due to the recession.

Hung provides a realistic representation of suburban dissatisfaction and, like the current economy, teaches us that striving to get everything leaves one with nothing. The instructor of the financial course Ray takes is in fact a fraud who rents a Jaguar to portray himself as successful to his students. This illustrates another theme of the show – things are not what they seem. Ray’s ex and her husband seem to be wealthy but are not. Marriages seem to be healthy and happy but are not. And Ray seems to be the average high school teacher, but is actually a male prostitute.

The only real, honest relationship on the show is between Ray and his pimp, Tanya. Tanya is an unsuccessful poet with writer’s block who spends her days mindlessly checking legal documents for errors and her nights marketing Ray as a “happiness consultant.” A self-proclaimed feminist, Tanya believes that the service Ray offers is one that can give women the happiness they long for but cannot find in their marriages or other relationships. So far, Ray’s clients have consisted of lonely women seeking companionship, wanting to be appreciated for who they are and who are sexually liberated but cannot find fulfillment.

Ray and Tanya are both desperate and lonely. They’ve each been disappointed by their lives, but have great hope and ambition. Their friendship is open, vulnerable and each depends on the other in very real ways. In a recent episode, Ray told Tanya that she was his only friend, and he was right. Though neither is happy, they seem to find solace in one another’s company and support.

I am reminded of a quote by Lester Bangs in Almost Famous: “The only real currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” As our real world looms closer to bankruptcy every day, perhaps shared moments of desperation provide the only opportunity for true human connection.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Once Upon a Time...

One of my all-time favorite things to do is read fiction. When I was little, I always had a book with me. I'd stay up late at night with a flashlight to read so my mom wouldn't know I was still up. I ended up majoring in English in college where reading fiction was actually my homework. And when I was deciding what to get a graduate degree in, I seriously considered literature...until I learned about the dismal job prospects.

I love the escape I find in burying myself in someone else's life. I love getting into someone's head and reading their innermost thoughts and feelings. And I really enjoy a good story.

For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed about having a great story with my someone. Something a movie would be made about like when Ryan Gosling hangs from a ferris wheel to get Rachel McAdams to go on a date with him in The Notebook. Or how Audrey Hepburn meets George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany's when he comes in to use her phone and then helps her get ready to go to Sing-Sing. I've even blogged about great stories of how my friends met their future husbands.

I always thought I'd have a great story too. I dated one guy who actually asked me to prom in high school. He got all dressed up and showed up on my front porch with a bouquet of flowers. I said no because I already had a date, and he stormed off. We didn't speak for six years, and then when we did, we started dating. That would have been a great story. But that guy was actually the worst guy I ever dated and it was the worst relationship I've ever been in - so bad that I'm still embarrassed about some things that happened. A great story doesn't equal a great or lasting relationship.

My guy and I don't have a great romantic story. It's pretty typical and nothing magical happened...except that we found each other. But that's what made me realize I've had it wrong all along. The story isn't how you meet - it's how you fall in love and how you stay in love. That's the real story. That's the story you write home about, the story movies are made about and the one you tell the grandkids. Ryan and Rachel wouldn't have ever been in a movie if there wasn't a great story to tell after that first date. And the best part about this realization is knowing that the story is still being written, it's ongoing and longlasting - like true love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alcohol, You're Fired.

Oh geez. So I'm breaking up with alcohol forever. We've had fights before, but nothing like two days ago. It was so major it should have been televised on pay-per-view with slutty girls in little bikinis holding up signs.

I've had a great summer, but a super busy one. I taught a class and took one, both of which kept me super busy and the bf and I took trips every weekend. I shouldn't complain, I know, but I also had to cram every week so I could party on the weekends and never got to read for fun and blah blah poor me. School ended last week, and I decided to put my cramming skills to good use and squeeze a full awesome summer into a week and a half.

The bf and I took a trip to St. Maaren, which was lovely, and had plenty of fruity umbrella drinks and hot hotel sex. Then my school friend Kiki and I went to Savannah. Which is known for debauchery so we fit right in.

We got sneaky drunk from sangria at Molly's MacPherson's. Check it out, but just know that it's delicious and deadly. That was the first night. I sent the following drunk texts to my bf:

Drunk drunk drunk but I miss you aw

Sangria Savannah woo!

I want to know why I can't buy french fries at 3 a.m. on a Monday. Isn't this America?

Yep. He loves me. The next day we drank on the beach for 3 hours then at the hotel pool. After a quick disco nap (thanks for teaching me that term, Z!), the party was kicked back into gear.

I'd say the night took a major down turn at Wet Willie's. Do you know what Wet Willie's is? It's spring break every night in that place. Frozen fruit concoctions that all come with warning labels. Kiki had the bright idea to get drunk fast by drinking grain alcohol. I'll confess that I've heard of that stuff and that it can kick your ass, but I've never had any. And never will again.

The rest of the night is an absolute blur. We met three guys from the British Royal Navy. One sang Elvis. Kiki wanted to get some, and I was an excellent wing woman. While she made out with her new friend at the bar, I had intelligent drunk talk. We talked about the E.U. and whether Britain should join. Way out of my league after grain alcohol, but I nodded and managed to follow along. We went to a gay bar, where I flashed a lesbian and let her poke my boob through my padded bra. I also announced that I love lesbians.

And the sweet bf got these texts:

Pour some sugar on me. In the name of love.

Savannah is hot.

Aren't lesbians great? I could be one but I'd miss sexy sex sex.

At the end of the night, I threw up like a six year old on Halloween and got so worried about my friend because she didn't hurl that I woke her to make sure she wasn't dead from alcohol poisoning. In the horrible headache that was morning, I woke up my friend who's a nurse to ask if it was possible to break my throat. He told me to take Advil and promised that I didn't have a flap inside my mouth that could be upside down.

So screw you, Alcohol. You may whisper sweet nothings in the evening, but by morning you're just an ugly bitch that stole my stereo along with my dignity.

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