Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Move

I've moved about 10 to 12 times in my adult life and about three or four times as a kid. There's a part of me that loves the preparation for it--I like to get rid of things and so have satisfaction in saying good bye to random stuff like this stupid magazine rack from IKEA that I've been hauling around from place to place for too long. Like, I don't even have one magazine subscription, so what's the point? For the last 3 years, it's pretty much been a repository for yarn. Balls of yarn from my yarn-balling days, which are long gone, so we will bid farewell to those skeins too. Books...I have lots of books, including about 25 journals. I will part with books too, but that's the one area in life that I don't insist on cleaning house. If I have an emotional attachment to the book (such as my copy of A Girl of the Limberlost, which my grandma gave me when I was young. It has her slanted and neat handwriting in the cover), I keep it. However, I am starting to wonder if I need to hold on to this copy of the complete works of Shakespeare that I've had for too long. How many times have I paused, mid-step, pondering the name of the island monster in The Tempest, and feeling relief as I realize, Hey, I don't have to Google it; I can go upstairs and haul out that giant tome with the thin and rippable pages and find it myself. That has never happened, nor has it been used as a way to prove to others that I'm educated, since it's upstairs, being used as a doorstop, essentially. It goes out today.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Remember This?

My new routine includes me trying to do a few sit-ups and spaghetti-arm push ups every morning in the little tiny room/closet that houses my old journals. That's really all that it can fit--two bookshelves and a wooden Buddha statue. But it qualifies this house as a three bedroom, so that's fine with me. Better resale value. My reward for this physical toil is to read a few pages of one of the journals when I finish--usually, I find something funny that I'd forgotten, and on occasion, I find some writing that I like. This is what I found today. It's a list of ten things about being a kid that I got from reading Lynda Barry's The Greatsest of Marlys:

1. Brown paper lunch bags with your name written on them.
2. Orange marshmellow peanuts, usually given to you by old people who have had them around for decades.
3. Bangs cut too short from giving yourself a haircut with your mom's sewing scissors.
4. Ripley's Believe It or Not--how the stories were sometimes terrifying like the 700 pound woman or the man born with octopus arms. I always believed it.
5. Baby doll who pees when you squeezer her stomach.
6. Army men.
7. Loving the rooms of teenagers and feeling like you'll never ever be old enough to put up your own concert posters or make a decent collage from magazines.
8. Baton twirling.
9. Putting bottle caps on the bottom of your sneakers so they would make tapping noises when you walked and you could pretend your were a trained dancer like from All That Jazz.
10. Making turkeys out of your own hand prints for Thanksgiving place mats that your mom then had to use to decorate the table.

Monday, July 29, 2013


We drove to Longwood Beach this weekend, late in the day (after 2 PM) and so didn't get there until 3 or so, which was fine with all of us. Growing up in Florida made me in some ways beach-adverse. It was such a huge part of the culture and I never really liked what went along with it---like, I wasn't good at beach volleyball, I didn't have the proper attention to detail required to wear a bikini, and I found sitting in the sun boring. I do remember my favorite bathing suit though--it was an orange Hang Ten bikini with little white footprints across the backside as if a genie had traveled there while I was face down in the sand.

So, we only stayed for a few hours in the coolest part of the day. I read my book (Rose Madder by Stephen King---I'm on a kick with him again), Luke made a fort in the sand, and Dan dozed for a while. Here is the evidence:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Where I'm Calling From

Dan and I have been looking at apartments together around the Princeton area--mostly condos, and they're pretty much all the same. The only variable seems to be whether or not they have a basement. Otherwise, they have the same general kitchen, same tiny porch, same recessed lighting that I don't like all that much, same modern fireplace that's supposed to give it an air of sophistication, and same overpriced rent. For what we will be paying to live within a five minute drive to Princeton in a condo association, we could get an amazing row home with window boxes and a stone dog out front in Rittenhouse. But that's the way it is, so let's just accept it and be happy that most of the condos also have his and hers closets, both of which I need.

Last week, we looked at a home in Princeton for a not unreasonable price (under $2,000), and I knew as soon as we walked in that it was a no. I loved the house itself--it was an old home with wainscoting and glass doorknobs and built in bookshelves and a window seat, but it was super small (two bedrooms--one of them had an old fireplace in it and was only big enough to fit a small cot), but even more offoutting was the landlord showing us around. She would be living above us. Within ten minutes, she said three negative things about the previous tenants (wore clunky shoes, choose hideous window blinds that she asked them to remove, broke the ancient stove), and so I had that split moment where I knew we weren't interested, but didn't want to rude and just leave. Like, if I had no social graces at all, I would've walked in, watched her imitation of the grad students who previously occupied the space, and bid her farewell. Instead, I kept inching toward the door and nodding my head, thinking, I will never seen this woman again, except maybe in Small World coffee shop, where I will likely find her complaining to the barrista that her coffee is too hot. We will be looking at another house in Princeton tomorrow, though the woman already warned Dan that it's "not much to look at on the inside."  I will let you know how that goes.

We will never have this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Since I'm now obsessed with Inside Amy Schumer, I was watching her skits on YouTube last night, and saw one that was about two women on a game show. How it worked was that they would be shown a guy, he would say a few words about himself, and then both of the women would guess how the relationship would end. The one who got closest to the truth won. So, like one of them would say, "We'll go out for two  years and then one day, I'll discover that he has a secret folder on his desktop with nude photos of Daniel Radcliffe in them."

This, of course, got me thinking about all of the guys I've dated and how often I had more than an inkling that it wasn't going to work out. And I don't just mean that it wasn't going to succeed because of my own issues or because statistically, it's highly probable that it would fail (though both these are are reasonable worries), but because there was something wrong with the guy, or if not with him in particular, with the two of us together. Off the top of my head, I can list five guys I dated when I lived in State College, and how I knew, knew, knew within, oh, two hours of meeting them, that it wouldn't work out. And yet...And yet the desire to be in a couple was so so so much more powerful, that I ignored those signs and hoped against hope that I was wrong. In general, I had trouble evaluating these guys---I was way more interested in how they might feel about me (and how I might win them over) than how I felt about them. Hence:

1. Jon S. Should've been a no right away because he was uber interested in the outdoors and camping and eating beans out of tin cans in his back yard over a fire pit. I think he may have even worked at Easter Mountain. I, on the other hand, can think of no sane reason why a person would choose to sleep on the ground without shelter. We dated for two months and then he told me I wasn't outdoorsy enough. To be fair, he also owned a golden retriever named Toby, and so that fact also clouded my judgement.

2. Pete G. Sweet guy, but he wasn't over his ex-wife (who was coincidentally also named Amy). I knew this right away because as he was describing his divorce on our first date over flatbread pizza, he started to cry. Instead of saying to myself that perhaps he wasn't ready to date yet, I thought, Oh, my God, he can commit! We broke up three months later after I said, I think I love you (please notice both the qualifier and the Beatles reference), and he said, Oh, I think of you fondly.

3. Tattoo Jim. We all called him that because his body was covered in tattoos. He worked in the bike shop (of course) and was angry in this cute, emo way. I admired him because he didn't drink. We ended up making out one night (just kissing, mom) and he stayed over, and when I woke up the next morning, I saw that he had "straight edge" tattooed across his back. Just in case you don't know, this is a philosophy adopted by middle class white guys who are into music but have taken a vow never to drink, smoke, swear, or have sex prior to marriage.

4. TJG. Religious studies professor with two kids, oh, and also a wife. He converted to being Muslim in his early thirties and wore white smocks, socks with sandals, and one of those beanie hats, even in the summer. Nothing ever happened, but I carried a longtime, burning torch for him, despite the fact that he often said goodbye by flicking me the Spock hand signal that means, Live long and prosper. Did I imagine he would give up all the Muslim nonsense, leave his wife, and stop watching sci fi to be with me? Yes, I did.

5. The poets. There were a couple of those. Nice guys, for the most part, but super flaky and often into the beat poets like Kerouac, liking to see themselves as on the edge even though they were raised by dentists in the upper class Chicago suburbs.

And that's just my first year of grad school..........................Sort of. Here's the skit. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Story Ideas on the Street

I've been walking down Walnut Street from Broad Street most mornings to get to work--it's about a thirty minute walk and I listen to music and avoid the same two homeless white men with cardboard signs every day. I keep my eyes peeled for potential story ideas or oddities, and here are three I've seen in the last week or so. Not sure if I would ever really write about them, but I like the idea of getting writing prompts from what you're observing on a normal day.

This one is my favorite. The "what if" of the ad is what if this were your boyfriend and he were plastered all over town in this suggestive ad? Also, what if he were a terrible boyfriend and so you especially hated the posters for being a misrepresentation of his personality? And what if that character made it her mission to go around defacing all of the ads she could find on subways and street corners and billboards? And just as an aside, what is this even an ad FOR?

I took this on Wharton street in South Philly--a giant Virgin Mary in the window, perhaps placed there to deflect Catholic theives. But what if you were the 13 year old boy next door who develops a weird crush on the statues? Mary Gaitskill has a disturbing story about an adolescent boy's relationship with his sister's Barbie doll that one could model after.

Werner Herzog is a filmmaker who does mostly documentaries like Grizzly Man. I don't have a story idea for this one--an art student who can't even stand not to let the world know about his latest obsession? How much do you have to believe in WH to buy a can of spray paint and proclaim this on the side of the building? 
That's all I have for now, but I'll keep my eyes peeled today.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My New Favorite Show/Person

I recognize that I've let almost two whole months go by without writing here, but I do think about writing a post pretty much every day, if that counts for anything. I will try to write three posts this week, but they will be short ones.

For today, I'd like to share with you a video from Inside Amy Schumer, a show on Comedy Central that I just started watching (missed the entire season somehow). I like her stand-up, even though at first I was comparing her to Sarah Silverman--the blond version of Silverman, you know, the pretty girls who says outrageous things. But then I got past that because I think she's really funny and smart. 

Here's one of the show's kits about a courtship with a man who might seems suspiciously preoccupied with her character's perm. My favorite part is when she runs into him and the contents of her purse spill out onto the sidewalk. I hope it makes you LOL.