What this is all about...

A quarter life crisis is a real thing. I know this because myself, and my best girlfriends, are going through it right now. This blog is dedicated to the day to day banalities/craziness of those quarter life crises. For those of you with questions, the qlc is when you realize that you have to be Responsible. It is when the job you accept is the beginning of a Career Path. It is when the guy/girl you date might be The One. It is when you get pushed out of the nest and you have to flap your wings enough to cushion the fall. Perhaps your thirties are when you get to fly?
The question isn't who is going to let me; 
it's who is going to stop me.
-Ayn Rand

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Friends

Having recently relocated I have discovered how hard it is to make new friends in the grown-up world. No dorms to push you together, sororities to join, or classes with people to study with at the library. When I moved here I kept trying to figure out where to meet my new girlfriends. Would they be at the gym? No, too weird. Kay tried that on a girl and she definitely thought Kay was hitting on her. Hmmm….how about the library? Wait, unlike the ones in college, you really can’t strike up conversations there. I was getting desperate and nobody was finding me just sitting at home. I had to become proactive. Here is the true story of how I met my first friend in my new city.

I actually went to high school with Liv, but I’m fairly positive we never spoke. Not because she was mean, but because we were in different years and both participated in competitive sports that took us out of the mix. A few weeks into my new living situation, I went to a baseball game with one of my best friends from high school and a group of 15 crazy men from Wisconsin. In the suite I was relieved to see another girl and went over to talk to her – turns out Liv works for the baseball team and was checking on our suite. Of course the guys had captured her and were attempting to work their drunk Wisconsin moves, but we quickly realized whoa, we kind of know each other. Let’s exchange numbers and maybe see each other again.

Now this is where it got dicey. In order for me to make my first new friend I had to do what is acceptable in college, but seems unacceptable in the post-grad world: I had to ask her out on a friend date. If you’ve read my earlier post on how I think people should call if they are interested, I have to admit that I texted her. I had low self-confidence and didn’t want rejection over the phone, so I went with the text. We decided on happy hour. Good, there would be alcohol and people watching, aka no awkward silences.

Happy hour went well and I went home excited. Could this be a new friend? We became facebook friends, which I took as a good sign. I decided to make the next move and invited her over to watch my favorite TV show, The Bachelorette. She said she’s never watched it but would give it a try. I made margaritas and we got to gossip all night. It was fun and we said we would do again. Then I made a decision, she had to make the next friendship move and invite me to something. A few days later I got the invite! She asked me to go with her to the baseball game. I was so excited and yes, still nervous. See, with a guy, if they don’t like you then whatever, you just won’t see them again and you still have your girlfriends. I was in the situation where my girlfriends were hours away and I was sitting at home with my dog. I don’t want to sound desperate, but I wanted someone closer who would go with me to events and watch stupid (but great) shows with me. Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship?

In fact, the baseball game was. We turned The Bachelorette viewing parties into weekly dates and learned that we both enjoy attending fun events. She loves wine and I love craft beer, so we switch off between them and try restaurants known for both. Over the summer we hit up the foodie event of the year, attempted to befriend an Italian restaurateur (epic fail, we couldn’t get him out of the kitchen), met Marines during Marine Week (see Sex and the City Fleet Week episode to get an idea!), and drank too much wine at the zoo. I credit Liv for helping me get my new job at Perennial Artisan Ales as she found the Beer vs. Wine event that led me to meet the brewery owners! Everything happens for a reason and now, a couple months after meeting, she is Bob’s aunt, one of my closest friends, and my future baby’s godmother.

One of the most important things I have learned since moving here is that nearly everyone wants new friends. For the first few weeks I was going crazy and felt like everyone’s friend groups were full. Slowly, very slowly, I discovered that although some people don’t want to make the effort, a lot of people do! I met another great girlfriend through some guys, a third through a part time job, and recently a brand new one at a very awkward apartment party. The party was not really a party, but we were thrown together and what I got out of the night was a fun girl who likes to go out and wants to meet people. These types of people are everywhere, you just have to keep an open mind and always be ready to make that awkward first step and ask for the friend date. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Some Have Wings

A friend once told me that I was like a wild horse: I ran far and often, and had to be left on my own to come back. That was years before I left to travel to Asia and Europe; I think he was referring to my proclivity to move from group to group, bar to bar, tastes changing with the weather. I believe that part of me, the gypsy soul inside, has only grown with age. I’ve tapped into the true me over the past year and discovered that while some of us have roots, others have wings.

I’m not sure whom it was that decided we had to stay in one place, have the 2.5 children, a white picket fence and a fancy car to be happy. Why is that part of the American dream? What about those of us who want to explore and discover? I feel like such an outsider dreaming of a life beyond the job, the house and the family. People consider me selfish. How can I be unhappy when I have so much? I think about it everyday and wonder the same thing each night before falling asleep. No answers come to me. I feel like my attempt at growing roots is failing miserably.

I look at those of my friends who have deep roots and try to understand how they are intrinsically different from me. Is it that they have a large family nearby and feel nowhere would be as good as home? Do they love their fantastic jobs so much that when they smell oysters they simply wonder how they taste, instead of fantasizing about the faraway ocean towns they came from? I’m not asking for luxurious trips to Bali. I can start with my own country and explore the U.S. I would be satisfied contemplating life while staring at the Grand Canyon. I want to dance at the South by Southwest Music Festival. I want to drive down the coastal highway in the Pacific Northwest just to see, smell and hear the ocean. I want to sit and read in the mountains of North Carolina and appreciate the stillness of those forests. Having wings doesn’t mean spending zillions on cruises and private villas. To me it means I need to experience more than living to work. I want to work to live, and live everywhere.

I don’t want those who love their towns to think I am belittling their own feelings and dreams. I have close friends who want nothing more than the perfect suburban home with the kids and the pets. When I was travelling I was definitely homesick. But I was homesick for people, medium rare steaks and baseball games. I never once thought I needed to get back to a specific location. I wanted to be where my mom and my friends were – it could have been anywhere. So now that I have a Here, I find myself wondering what’s next. I’ve given up on the perfect job. At this moment it doesn’t exist and I have exhausted myself trying to find it. Every failed attempt makes me feel worse inside and wonder more and more what I am trying to do. I do understand that I am lucky. There are people without jobs, without food, and with real illnesses. Is it ok to be selfish? If this is my one life, shouldn’t I get what I want out of it? The scariest thought however is that I am not 100% positive of what I want out of my life. One wrong choice can bring the house of cards down. All I know is that today I am terrified of losing what I have, but also of losing myself.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Productive Days And What I Have Been Up To

I know everyone has been missing me terribly. I apologize, especially since I think I promised I would not disappear again. I’ll promise again though – I will not disappear again! Please keep reading!

The reason I have been M.I.A. is because I have been doing extremely important things such as missing my best friends, reading by the community pool, cultivating an impressively low-yielding vegetable garden, painting my bedroom, and landing desirable part time jobs in lieu of that all too elusive dream job. I have also taught my 65 lb puppy dog new tricks, such as chew on a stick instead of flip-flops, and bark at everyone. That small child in a wagon could be a robber. Trust no one.

I have also learned that the best way to get rid of the Why is Life so Hard Blues is to have a very productive day. The amount of pleasure you will feel after going to 3 grocery stores, baking a cake, cleaning the kitchen, and vacuuming the floors really does make you forget that the reason you have all this time is because you are not working full time, or you do not have a special someone to canoodle with. This past month I have been extremely productive in an effort to remind myself that I am awesome and the job market does not control my happiness.

My puppy is also making me forget my woes from time to time. Before there were record setting temperatures outside, Bob and I would go for walks and I got to see him experience all sorts of new and exciting things. He likes to chase squirrels, but is confused by storm drains. He likes to eat grass, but forgets it makes him sick. Great things like that. Bob also reminds me how happy I should be to be alive. You see he brings me possums and birds as presents. Dead ones. There’s nothing like dead cute animals to make you remember your life is worth something, and it is even better with a margarita.

Painting the bedroom really made me feel like I was a true rockstar. My mom came over to help since I had no idea how to even start painting a room. I had chosen the color of course, but that was as far as I had gotten. Turns out you have to do a base coat and Spackle if needed. Thank the Lord for moms. They have the answers to everything.

I have several glamorous part time jobs these days. My favorite, because the people are so much fun, is handing out free shots of American Honey. Now I have been a liquor promo rep for 4 years and I think I have actually seen it all. I have heard all the lines and pride myself on knowing how to handle drunkies. I am now an expert on forcing people to accept honey flavored bourbon shots. In interviews I talk about how I am terribly convincing and extremely personable. No need to mention the late hours or cowgirl get up we wear.

My next favorite job I just started two weeks ago. I work at the fantastically fabulous Pei Wei Asian Diner. As a lover of all things Asian food, I was a bit nervous I would be above their menu. Remember I did eat street food in Vietnam, and even went to a Thai cooking school like Ames from the Bachelorette! However, their food is amazing! The dishes use all of my favorite ingredients and nothing that I am allergic too. Plus the people are nice and the work could not be easier. Keep the place clean and be nice to people. Done and done. I hate a mess and could talk to strangers all day if you let me. I am a natural.

When my mind wanders to important questions like, “When will I have enough money to take a vacation to Iceland?” I try to make myself busy. Today I made a batch of pasta sauce and went to the gym. I am also reading Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, and laughing all the way though it. Seriously, pick up a copy if you need a laugh. She is hilarious as always. I also have a rotating schedule of important phone dates. This morning I got to talk to Kay about her new beau and her wild weekend in Milwaukee. I have tried to distance myself from Facebook stalking because my newsfeed couldn’t update fast enough and I saw the same stories over and over again. That just made me more sad so I waste time with weather websites, stumpleupon.com, and world news. The world news makes me sad most of the time, but I also feel inspired. How can I make the world a better place? If I don’t have a full time job then volunteering here I come. I joined Young Friends of Habitat and am trying to join a local hospital fundraising committee. I will build up my experience whether someone hires me or not!

Thanks for coming back and reading about my life. I have lots of great stories to post and some new friends and their own woes to introduce. Also, everyone applaud for Isabella – she is taking a great new job down in Louisiana! That story to come. Also on deck are stories about Marines, karma, Bob, new boyfriends, new jobs, failed interviews, and online dating. See you soon!

Bob says hi!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Girls Nights and Man Caves

Recently I’ve noticed a spike in relationship spats amongst my friends and their significant others. It’s a known fact that more people partake in relationships during winter months, most likely due to the fact that you want someone to cuddle up with while waiting out the blizzards and ice storms. Break-ups soar in the spring when people realize they can go outside again and do things other than drink at a bar and order in pizza. I’ve read about this in Cosmo for years, and now I’m seeing it play out before my very eyes (and Facebook statuses).

I have a theory about how to remain attached AND happy during the excitement of Spring Fever: Don’t separate forever, take a night or two off!

I’m sure there are several women reading this thinking, “I could never leave my baby for an evening with the girls!” and a few guys saying, “But I want to bring my girlfriend to poker night.” I’m guessing these people are far and in between – or have been dating for less than a month. The truth is, we need space. You can still love the hugs out of someone while having a fantastic night out with friends.

I am a champion of Girls Nights and the Man Cave. Most people who know me will understand that I need time alone, but that I also want to gossip my socks off about everything from The Bachelorette to secret make-out stories. I learned a long, long time ago that straight men are not the best audience for these conversations. Straight men you are dating usually will entertain mild gossip, or interesting tidbits that involve their friends, but they have their limits. They cannot be the sole ear for every nail polish color you love and favorite Khloe & Lamar moment. Would you want to be the only person they talked to about sports and video games? If so, you are special. I personally have a limited amount of space in my brain for baseball statistics and Xbox game moves. Don’t be selfish – remember that it goes both ways!

One married couple I know designates one night a week for their night out. The husband plays on a sand volleyball team and has plenty of time to swear, drink, remember the good ole days, and vent. She goes out with girlfriends to see a chick flick, drink margaritas and vent. Everyone is happy at the end of the night and there is always something to talk about when they get home. You need an outlet from your sweetie once in awhile, and he or she probably needs one from you too. It doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy each other’s company, in fact many of my friends tell me they realize how much they care about their partner after being away for awhile.

I have a few couple friends who have instilled Man Caves in their homes. One room just for the guy to do whatever it is guys do in their own rooms. To me this means leave socks on the floor and play video games. I really don’t care what goes on in there because odds are that it’s what I wouldn’t want going on in my living room. Go for it, knock yourself out, have a great time. I fully support the idea of A Man Cave for Every Man. That should be a show on the Do It Yourself Network. Maybe I’ll pitch that idea and make millions. Don’t steal it.

Overall, I think spring means it’s time to get out and do things. Find community calendars and look for interesting events. I love beer festivals and independent movies so I drag people to those. You can join a scuba diving club or learn to basket weave. Possibilities are endless and you can use the time to get out of the house and take a breather from your loved one. Most of the happiest couples I know do a lot of things together, but also have their individual hobbies. Jen’s dad has a tree farm. My mom goes to book club. Be yourself and do what you love! Remember: You can’t miss someone if they are always around!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Technology and the Dating Scene - Remember Real Phone Calls?

After talking with some friends these past few days I realized something completely obvious: There are too many ways to contact people, and dating is less personal than ever.

Let me walk you through several methods of contact that people are using these days and how they have complicated the dating scene.

In my opinion Facebook has ruined the dating world. I remember the days before Facebook became huge and guys actually asked for your number and called you. (Texting wasn’t that huge yet either.) I also remember the first time I was asked out over Facebook. I responded back with my phone number and told him to call me and try again. Now however, getting asked out on Facebook is completely normal. A friend told me her little brother asked his date to prom during a Facebook chat. I really don’t think I would have accepted an AOL proposal back in my day, but times are a changing I suppose. I don't even want to talk about inferring everything from the type of girl someone is interested in to how long he dated his last girlfriend through Facebook photos. Say it with me: Facebook stalking ruins lives.

I was thinking about Facebook’s affect on relationships due to a discussion I had with a good guy friend of mine last night. Mutual friends set him up on a date with a girl, and they had a great time. He called me and asked when it would be appropriate to Facebook friend her. After an actual in-depth discussion, we decided on the next night or two mornings later. I ran it by another guy friend and he agreed with our plan. Then it hit me: Is when to Facebook the new 3 Days Rule?

If I hear one more story about people flirting over Twitter I may cry. Who does that? Can’t other people read what you are saying? I’m confused. Please stop.

Gmail is the new AOL as far as I’m concerned. Remember the nights when you pretended to be finishing homework, but actually you were talking to a boy and simultaneously all your friends about what you two were saying? We twenty-somethings are doing that on GChat now. The only difference is we don’t print out the conversations and bring them to school. Now we just email them.

I know several people who tend to keep their flirting on GChat instead of texting. I understand that you are not supposed to use your phone during business hours so the computer makes a fantastic cover. However, has anyone noticed that you can become obsessed with a person that you talk to all the time online…but then in person it’s a bit awkward? So then my question is: Is it awkward because you created a deep, yet isolated relationship that flounders in real life situations…or is it awkward because you aren’t used to speaking to each other in person and so it’s like meeting them all over again, even though you know their favorite ice cream flavor and most embarrassing high school moment?

BBM/WhatsApp/Skype - Texting
These are all forms of texting. I will admit it right now; I love to text. I am hooked on texting and prefer it to actual phone calls the majority of the time. Do you know who I do not text? My boyfriend. When I am dating someone I call him most of the time and avoid texting. This is mostly due to the fact that – and this is important – you CANNOT convey tone in a text message. I am at a loss to think of how many arguments my girlfriends and I could have avoided had we actually spoken to our loved ones instead of texting.

Texting makes everything impersonal. It’s like email, but even more instantaneous. You have the ability to tell someone your thoughts right then and there, and I’m going to venture to say that this is usually not the best for relationships. We take out our insecurities and bad moods on loved ones, mostly because they are right there, but also because we know they will forgive us. While I can know that someone is in a bad mood because of something else, reading a message written in the heat of the moment still has an impact. Don’t even get me started on drunk texting. Drunk text fights are probably the leading cause of stress in twenty-something women involved in relationships. I even know people who have broken up though texts.

Why can’t we talk with each other anymore? Where did the romance go?

The generation younger than us faces a strange moment in dating history. They grew up with texting, Facebook and Twitter. They have attention spans of goldfish and think in 130 characters or less. When I coached high school girls their dates asked them to Homecoming via BBM or Facebook Chat. Are they headed for an entire dating career of electronic headaches??? Perhaps the reason myself and my friends have so much trouble is we weren’t born into the technological dating world. Trying to infer tone from text messages, and understanding if he likes you if he Facebooks you after one day or two is just too hard. We remember what it was like to get actual phone calls after the first date, and so we compare new relationships to those from the past. Now if a friend gets a phone call after a date we all shriek and say, “That is SUCH a good sign!” As in, it’s not exciting he called to ask you out again, it means he likes you enough to forgo Facebook, email, and texting bullshit to speak with you. I’ll go out on a limb and say that if you call someone after a date it means you like them A LOT. Not a little, not like you think you may want to run into them next weekend, like you want them in your life and you are going to make that happen!

Do you love dating with technology, or is it frustrating? I personally like how easy it is to contact someone, but I think it’s made us all over think interactions and undervalue personal contact. My guy friends tell me that if a guy wants to get to know you, he will. He will call and he will find a way to see you in person. He will not GChat you all week and disappear on weekends, and he will not confuse you with Facebook photos. As for us girls, I say we take matters back into our own hands and call the boys who leave us message-less after a great date. What do you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Call Leaders to Stop Hate in Uganda!

A few days ago I got an email from Avaaz.org asking me to sign their petition against the gay death penalty bill in Uganda. Today I received another email asking for more help. I have copied the email below. If you agree with this mission PLEASE click on the link below and either sign the petition or call your leaders. On the site you can find the number you need to call - no matter what country you are from, Uganda needs your help!


The Uganda gay death penalty bill didn’t pass on Wednesday. But in an unprecedented move, Parliament has bought more time, and will debate it inan emergency session this Friday.

President Museveni can stop the bill and we have a unique chance to influence him -- today he is being sworn in for another term in office and in the next 24 hours world leaders will send him welcoming messages. Museveni is sensitive to views on his statesmanship, and relies heavily on the support of many governments. If our Heads of State tell him that they reject this heinous bill and expect him to step in -- the bill could be scrapped. 

We've done it before -- last year the bill was shelved after a global outcry pushed President Obama to call it 'odious'. Now let's flood our Heads of State with calls urging them to send a clear message to Uganda to drop the bill and protect human rights. This is about life or death for the brave gay activists on the ground, and they deserve our full support. We have only 24 hours -- click below to take urgent action now: 


This fight is down to the wire. Wednesday should have been the last day of the current Ugandan Parliament, and throughout the day the bill was taken on and off the agenda. When the religious extremists got it back on, human rights champions countered to get it removed. The Avaaz petition against the bill grew at lightening speeds of nearly 3000 signers a minute and was reported by media all over the world, and our brave friends on the ground, regularly updated members of Parliament on its progress.

But at 7 PM in Uganda, the Parliament agreed to an extraordinary move -- they pushed the bill into an emergency hearing on Friday. Now it is crunch time. If the bill doesn’t come to a vote on Friday, Parliament closes and all unfinished business is scrapped, but if Museveni allows this to be voted in, gay Ugandans could be sent to jail for life and “serial offenders” could be executed. President Museveni is the one person who can stop this, by either vetoing the bill or pressuring Parliament not to vote on it.

Our close friend and Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha just sent us this message: "If this bill passes there is going to be more harassment, and more bashing and violence in the streets. This anti-gay bill will turn Uganda into a police state where we won't even be able to live here without being thrown in jail or hanged. Please help!" 

In the last week over 1.5 million of us have signed the petition calling on Uganda to throw out this bill. We can’t stop now-- our best chance to prevent the bill is for world leaders to urgently and forcefully condemn this bill and push Museveni to act. Stand with Frank and call now!


All life, no matter what creed, nationality or sexual orientation, is equally precious, and the Avaaz community has consistently stood with activists around the world fighting injustices. We’ve proved that, when hundreds of thousands of us come together in solidarity and with purpose, we have the power to change the world for the better. As this fight in Uganda enters its final moments, let’s continue to fight for equality and stand with our courageous friends on the ground. 

With hope and determination,

Alice, Iain, Emma, Morgan, Brianna and the rest of the Avaaz team 


Ugandan parliament yet to debate bill that would jail gay people for life

Uganda anti-gay bill stalled after global outcry

Uganda's parliament set to debate anti-gay death penalty bill on May 13, reports Human Rights Watch

Uganda bill dropped for now

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interviewing is like Dating

A lot has changed since I lasted posted. I am back in the States and very domestic, living with a cat and two dogs. I am currently job searching – great fun during a recession I promise you – and friend searching. The friend searching is more fun, but more on that later. This post is dedicated to the tedious and frustrating experience of job searching.

This last week or so have been harder than I expected. When I was describing my feelings to Marisa I realized that to the uninformed ear, I could be talking about a guy! Hypothesis: Interviewing is like Dating. Let’s check out the evidence….

Interview/Date 1 – The Booty Call
This scenario is reserved for part time gigs. Just like part time boyfriends. I have interviewed for a few jobs recently that pull this move on me. They act all interested when I meet them, give me forms to fill out, and tell me I’ll be on the next schedule. I leave feeling great about myself, and planning the outfit I’ll wear for my first day. 

And then I don’t hear from them for two weeks.

Out of nowhere I get a call asking if I can work this weekend. As in two days from now. One friend once got a call asking her to work that very night. She hadn’t even had training! Sometimes we jump at these offers and rearrange our schedule to show up at the new job. Other times we say we have prior commitments, but could we start next week? Sure, they say, no problem.

And then I don’t hear from them for two weeks.

Just like the guy or girl who forgets about you, except when their main squeeze is busy, these jobs treat us like booty calls. Sadly, usually I play along and end up working just once in awhile, hoping that I’ll make the regular schedule.

Interview/Date 2 – Who Rejected Whom?
I recently interviewed for a job that I knew I did not want. I walked out of the office and thought to myself, there is no way I would end up taking this job if the company offered it to me. Just like a bad date where you run from his car to your apartment door in an attempt to get away as fast as possible. I then had a call for a second interview; I agreed against better judgment because I thought to myself, maybe there will be a chance to transfer to a better position down the road. If you have ever agreed to a doomed second date you will understand why this was a fatal mistake. There are two possible outcomes. Either you will be hopelessly pursued via email, text and Facebook for the next month, or someone will have to awkwardly end it.

In my situation, I was faced with the obnoxious, Who Rejected Whom Scenario. Despised by everyone on the dating scene, it also occurs in the corporate world. After two interviews and learning that the company was paying mere pennies (I could have made more a year bartending) I told multiple friends I would never work for this company. To my chagrin, the company emailed me saying they had chosen another candidate for the position. Sure, I didn’t want them, but how dare they not want me!

Interview/Date 3 – Love at First Sight….For You
This scenario is extremely sad and frustrating. I faced this one last week, as did Brie. We went through multiple rounds of interviews, jumped through several other hoops, and in the end, had good feelings about the companies. Just like that guy or gal you go on several dates with and are feeling like it could really go somewhere!

And then - absolute silence.

Both Brie and I attempted to follow up. Last we both heard, the companies would be in touch with us. We waiting for contact and when none came, we called and emailed. We remained professional and did not acting like a love-obsessed teenager. Never heard a peep from these companies. Eventually we took the hint and stopped attempting to make contact. Overall I was pretty upset, not only because I wanted the job, but also because they did not have the courtesy to tell me they hired someone else. I mean the job I didn’t want did! If they were avoiding conflict, they could have simply sent me an email and ignored any responses. Having gone through such an extensive interview process I definitely expected something. Anything to tell me that I wasn’t so unimportant they had already forgotten about me. Lesson learned: Call that guy or girl you want to end things with and give them the respect they deserve.

These are the interviewing scenarios. There are several employment scenarios I will write about later, including The Blah Relationship and the coveted, Mutual Love at First Sight. I just needed to get the frustration of bad experiences off my chest and let people know that you are not the only ones getting treated unprofessionally. My only hope is that the perfect job is out there and it is only a matter of time before I share Mutual Love at First Sight with a great company.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Post

The Road Best Taken
By Jacob

I'd hate to be a self-defeatist or pessimist, but for whatever reason, I am faced with this question a lot:  How much is too much to fight for the affection of the opposite gender?  Is the only love worthwhile that which is almost instantly returned?  Do the ends justify the means?  That is to say, if it takes three months for your actual soul mate to realize that fact, are those twelve weeks of effort really a problem at all?  Picture the classic fork in the road, except both paths are dark and have spooky vegetation.

There are two opposing trains of thought in this discussion.  One is a more aggressive, independent, and self-confident 'take me or leave me' attitude.  We’ll call this the Me Approach.  The focus of this philosophy is on Me; my personal satisfaction and pride, and it definitely has its merits.  Why fight through thorns and treacherous ground for someone who isn't putting in the same effort?  The case could be made that the only people worthwhile in your life, romantically or otherwise, are those that are as equally interested in earning your trust and respect.  Trying too hard to earn someone's affection is considered demeaning, demoralizing, and disrespectful of your own self-worth.

The other approach, seemingly more romantic, says that love is worth fighting for.  This one we’ll call the Us Approach. This premise is based on the rationale that there is a more than reasonable chance that there is an eventual Us to be had, given that one doesn’t give up the fight.  This idea has made its way into movies and literature for centuries.  Boy meets Girl.  Girl dismisses Boy because of a perceived shortcoming.  Boy tirelessly charms, schemes, and bares all for Girl.  Girl slowly realizes Boy's allure.  Lo and behold, at minute 75 or page 237 (of 260), Girl falls in love with Boy.  And in spite of, or because of, the very act of his fighting for her despite her misgivings, they do indeed live happily ever after.  Most importantly, they are better off for his struggles.  As long as we're talking about a reasonable Boy taking reasonable action, and not pressing on despite frequent and intense law enforcement involvement, this is a perfectly viable option.

I cannot decide for the life of me which of these approaches is the best.  As in most everything in life, a little bit of both is probably in order.  Unfortunately, these two approaches are almost mutually exclusive.  Why?  Let's compose a scenario.  Through whatever means, a bar, a dating site, mutual friends, Boy meets Girl and they have a First Date (duh duh duhhhhh).  It goes reasonably well.  Girl doesn't want to throw her martini in Boy's face, but neither is she head over heels in anticipation of their next encounter.  Seeing that this is the modern world, Boy texts Girl random chatter occasionally.  Girl isn’t first to initiate the conversation, she is not especially verbose, but she always responds.  There’s even the occasional lol or :) thrown in and come on, that’s got to mean something right?  Lets state an assumption that she is coy at best, indifferent at worst.  It's a tossup for Boy, does he forge ahead or find the next Girl?

This is where we realize that these two viewpoints are hard to hold equally.  Asking Girl on a second date after she hasn't made her own attempts at flirtation breaks Rule #1 of the Me Approach.  She hasn't made any effort?  Well, goddammit, I'm not going to either.  Why exert any further effort when there are plenty of other fish in the sea?  But this is rule #1 of the Us Approach.  I am interested in this girl and, goddammit, I am going to do this!  A second date could work, it’s not like she's actively rejecting my presence, she's just not wildly in love and that is fine for now.

Impasse.  In retrospect it’s easy to see that each of these approaches has worked for hundreds of thousands of Boys and Girls over the years.  Meet any amount of couples at a gathering and you can hear both versions: the I Just Knew He Was the One story and the Listen to What He Did When We Were Dating story.  They've also failed plenty of suitors of either gender.  While we can imagine the lost possibilities of quitting too soon, we can actually see the futile efforts of an unrequited lover.  It's unfortunate that foresight will never be as good as hindsight because a huge leap of faith is necessary, regardless of which dark and spooky path you take at the dating fork.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Prayin" - new song to check out

Definitely not for you techno types, but for those of you who want some lazy rainy day music, here's a great new song from my friend Charlie:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of Paige’s favorite holiday, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to one of my favorite successful relationships. I think everyone has that friend who is part of the perfect couple. For me, it’s Isabella. Her relationship gives me hope, and her stories make me smile. I can’t even be jealous because they are so freaking cute together. For all those single girls out there, or anyone who wants to hear a love story, read on….

Once upon a time there was a sweet princess named Isabella. She lived in a castle with her parents and little sister, and sometimes worked in the town market. She loved animals and even graduated from college with a degree in Zoology! But then, just for awhile, she couldn’t decide what to do with her life. Should she move to a different kingdom? Should she marry the boy she met at the tavern the other night? There were so many questions to answer, and she just did not know what to do. One boy had courted her earlier, and she had thought maybe she was in love, so when it ended, she was very sad. But as any good princess knows, a painful heartbreak always precedes something wonderful. She patiently waited, and waited, and waited. She met many young men from the kingdom and once, when she was a bit desperate for that good thing to happen, she even kissed a frog.

One day, Isabella was spending time with her girlfriends in the park. One of her friends had been dating a nice boy from a kingdom not too far away, and was entertaining the group with a story from his last visit. Isabella couldn’t help think how lucky her friend was, and hope that her own good fortune was just around the corner. That young man decided to bring his friends to visit their kingdom, and a party was planned for the next month. Oh how the girls threw themselves into preparations! Some bought new dresses, some played with different hairstyles, and all fantasized about the men they would meet and fall in love with. All but one. Princess Isabella had given up on finding her true love anytime soon. She had thrown herself into work, and some days she forgot to wonder when her Fairy Godmother would deliver her a prince. She got ready with the other girls and helped them look their most beautiful, and when the time came, she walked gracefully into the party looking as she did any other day. The other girls told her she was being foolish, but secretly they envied her because she still was the most beautiful.

Isabella had a wonderful time at the party, laughing and dancing with the young men from the neighboring kingdom. One man in particular kept her dance card full, and although she usually liked to spend time with everyone, something inside her kept her dancing in his arms all night. When the music ended and the women were walking slowly towards their carriages, this young man found Isabella in the crowd and slipped a note into her hand. She didn’t dare read it until she was safely in bed for fear of starting rumors amongst her less polite girlfriends. When she finally opened the note, it simply said, “Isabella, please write me” followed by his address in the neighboring kingdom. Oh what she wouldn’t give to be able to talk to him instantly! But because this was once upon a time, she had to contact him the only way possible: by post.

They spent several weeks writing letters back and forth to one another. Her mother saw the excitement in Isabella’s eyes whenever she heard the ding of the mail arriving. She would open the letter and a smile would play across her face as she took in every word. Eventually she couldn’t take the distance anymore, she felt she had to see him. Her girlfriends organized a weekend trip to the neighboring kingdom, and this time Isabella was as excited as the rest. She brought her most lovely dresses and styled her hair in the most fashionable way. When the carriage arrived in the other kingdom, her stomach felt full of butterflies and she wanted to dance in the street.

Sadly, Isabella’s perfect weekend was not to happen. Her love had become very ill and was unable to attend any of the parties. Isabella was very upset, but because she was a sweet princess, she did not let anyone see her pain. She wanted the other girls to have a good time and enjoy their own suitors. On the last night though, Isabella could bear it no longer, and she slipped into her beloved’s castle. As she was a friend to all animals, some palace guard dogs led her to his sickbed. He was sound asleep, and looked very ill. She cried, thinking that she had finally found her love and was about to lose him. She turned to leave, but before she could stop herself, her heart turned her back around and she planted a soft kiss on his lips. Nothing happened.

Isabella returned to her own kingdom and spent the next few weeks alone in her room, rereading his letters. Her mother eventually came in and asked what had happened on the trip. Had her beloved run off with another girl? Had he been eaten by a dragon? What could be so wrong? Isabella cried, saying she thought he had died because the last time she saw him he was very sick and she hadn’t heard from him in weeks. Her mother held her hand and read her the stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty as if Isabella was a young girl. Soon the princess was fast asleep.

The next morning Isabella woke up and saw it was a beautiful day outside. She told herself that this was a sign; it was time to move on and be happy again. She put on a beautiful dress, tied her hair back, and asked her sister to go for a walk by the pond. As they left the castle, she noticed a parade of horses and carriages coming towards them. The girls stepped to the side to let everyone pass, and as she did, she saw the rider of the first horse. It was her beloved! Their eyes met and he immediately stopped the procession. Without speaking, he jumped off his horse and they ran to meet each other, stopping only when their lips met for their first kiss.

I think we all know how this story ends, but I’ll say it anyway: They lived happily ever after. To be fair, there were a few arguments over which kingdom to live in, and the distance was a bit hard, especially when his carriage broke. Fairy tales never include that nonsense though, so I’ll just call this the abridged version. Trust me, they lived happily ever after. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Men in Uniform

This week I attended My Husband’s graduation from Airmen Leadership School. I found myself in a ballroom with easily 150-200 men, all wearing their dress blues. For those of you wondering what that is, here's a pic to give you the idea:
More than one of my friends, including Paige and Kate, asked me where they could get one of those guys for Valentine's Day. It occurred to me, we were all under the influence of Men in Uniform (MIU).

Why do women swoon for an MIU? After a sleepless night, I came up with the following list:

1.     Women, at least most American women, associate a uniform with the idea of safety. MIU should thank D.A.R.E. for this phenomenon. We are taught from a young age to run to police, trust a firefighter, and listen to our doctors. It’s no wonder our hearts aflutter when we see these guys later in life. For better or worse, we associate the uniform with safety, and safety is always good for a relationship.

2.     If a guy is in uniform, it means he has a job. I know I bring up the fact that women are looking for someone with a stable career a lot, but the fact is, women don’t want to date a bum. Subconsciously, we see the uniform and think, “Great, now there is a guy who won’t sit on my couch and just drink beer all day.” From experience, I’m here to tell you that that is not entirely true. What you should think is, “There is a somewhat responsible guy with insurance who can buy me dinner once in awhile.”

3.     TV only casts yummy actors in MIU parts. Let’s take a look at the evidence:

Shemar Moore (FBI) Criminal Minds

Ben McKenzie (Cop) Southland 
Scott Foley (Military) The Unit
Patrick Dempsy (Doctor) Grey’s Anatomy
Jake Pavelka (Pilot) The Bachelor 
George Clooney (Doctor) E.R.


4.     MIU are usually in some type of perceived danger. Danger = Hot. Now, this is not true day to day. Doctors are not always at the mercy of bombs (Grey’s Anatomy) or tromping through Africa (E.R). I can personally attest to the fact that not every guy in the Air Force is in mortal danger just by showing up to work. The fact is, they could be in danger, more so than those men who work from their Blackberry all day. You don’t hear about a lot of lawyers directly saving lives on the news. But get a glimpse of a fireman walking out of a burning building, and we get a little breathless. Risking his life to save someone else? H O T. I can't explain why. Probably because we assume it means he will risk his life to save ours in the event we meet a terrorist or car jacker. 

5.     MIU are usually in somewhat good shape. Thank Hollywood for making us believe they are all in great shape, but in reality it is still pretty good. The military makes them do physical fitness tests every now and again, and I’m assuming the S.W.A.T. team and firefighters can’t get too fat since they have to be active in a moment’s notice. And doctor’s? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I think I’d trust a portly doctor less than one in some sort of relative good shape. To all the guys reading out there: women like men who are in somewhat good shape. I am not saying you have to be Shemar Moore (swoon) but being healthy does have its benefits. Plus, one of my friends did tell me that she realized she subconsciously was equating a guy’s ability to run around with his dog in the park to his potential to run around with their future children. Just saying.

To those guys who don’t wear a uniform to work, do not worry. Plenty of girls swoon for suits as well – just ask Barney Stinson. I also struggled with the inclusion of athletes in my list of MIU. Yes, they wear uniforms, and yes, many of them are hot. I don’t know if they inspire the same feelings of safety and fear that cause some sort of chemical riot in our female brains though. However, they do hold jobs, are in great shape, and the media tends to focus on the hotter athletes, even the silver foxes like Brett Favre. I just wish Joe Mauer got more airtime. *Sigh* (Jen, can you get me his autograph?????)

Did I miss anything? Any other reasons you can think of that we drool a little bit over a cute guy in uniform? 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Glee Cast Chevrolet Commercial

Didn't catch the Glee Cast Super Bowl Commercial? Or you loved it and want to watch it over and over again? Here it is! Thank you YouTube!


Planning a Trip

For me, planning a trip is like choosing a college. Everyone went about choosing a college a bit differently, but here’s how I chose mine:
1.     Fun Factor
2.     Rowing Team willing to give me money/decently good
3.     Big enough so I could change my major if needed (which I did multiple times)
4.     Good reputation
5.     Safe city
6.     Distance from home
7.     Cost (but refer to #2)

Last week I went for a short trip to Prague and Krakow. For those of you wondering what Krakow is, it is a city in Poland. A lot of people go there to visit Auschwitz –Birkenau, and then drink away the feelings that their day trip to Auschwitz brought on within them. I chose these cities the exact same way I chose my university, and I thought it was interesting enough to warrant a blog post.

In 2004 Wisconsin was consistently at the top of the Party Schools rankings. You know what Prague and Krakow are known for? Yep, you guessed it – the nightlife. Upon arrival at the hostels you even get a free beer, so apparently they appreciate day drinking as well. My kind of places! Prague is also known for its beer. Hopefully it is better than Czeckvar, which I used to (try to) sell.  Fun Factor is high.

In lieu of finding a rowing team to pay for my trip, I’ll have to fund it myself. Therefore, I’ll mix #2 and #7 and just make it about cost. Although nowhere in Europe is as cheap as Southeast Asia, this is Eastern Europe and not London or Madrid. Recently I discovered that a three-hour train trip from Barcelona to Madrid is $150. The same distance in Italy is about $40, depending on precise locations. Needless to say, the 9 hour, $70 overnight train from Prague to Krakow seemed like quite a steal. Then to hostels. One night in a top hostel during the cold low season is around $15. Yes, I will share a room with 8-12 other people, but that is how you meet life long friends and have incredible nights out. You’ll never be at a loss for company!

Although I will not be changing my major on this trip, I need a city big enough to give me many opportunities for sightseeing, eating, and drinking. Sure, I could pick a city because it has the most bars per capita (wait, what’s that Wisconsin?), but I also need to consider my sightseeing opportunities. I want a nice balance of potential landmarks, museums, historical sights, and of course a UNESCO World Heritage site or two.

Both Prague and Krakow have a good reputation and are relatively safe. Like I’ve told a few people who expressed worry about this trip; if I can travel alone in Thailand for a month, I can handle a week in Eastern Europe. To my great excitement, I’ve also discovered that I know a group of guys heading to Krakow the same weekend. A nice coincidence indeed!

Finally, I had to contemplate the distance from home. Using one of the cheapo airlines here in Europe, I managed to secure a ticket for $30 from Venice to Prague, therefore turning a long train journey into a two-hour plane ride. Although I love myself a good train ride, and I am greatly looking forward to the one from Prague to Krakow, I will concede that it is convenient to hop on a plane in one place, and hop off not too long later at your destination.

I had a wonderful trip to the Czech Republic and Poland, and I'll post my photos and talk about some adventures later this week. In the meantime, I challenge you to think about where you would go if you had an opportunity to travel anywhere. Don't worry about money, it is your dream so you can be a billionaire if you like. Or you can be on a budget, so waste some time playing on hostelworld.com. Whatever floats your boat. 

One last thing - if are in need of some good reading material and would also like laugh on every page, I highly recommend The Ridiculous Race by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran. It's about two friends who decide to race around the globe in opposite directions, without using planes. If you want a good read, but will forgo the laughter, then read Bel Canto by Anne Patchett. A team of terrorists capture 50 something hostages at a diplomatic party in South America. The book is about the resulting 4 months of hostage/terrorist relationships, and was inspired by the 1996 Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis in Lima, Peru. It's incredibly well written and is truly as melodramatic as an opera (and that's your only hint!). Happy Reading :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Polar Bears Flirting

In case you haven't seen this video yet - take 2 minutes of your day to laugh here:


Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Thursday Market

Today I fulfilled many American girls’ dream: I bought black, over the knee, Italian leather boots. They are awesome. I bought them at the Sacile market for the equivalent of $50. I had actually been eyeing them for a few weeks now, but they used to be over $100 and to be honest, I have two other pairs of black boots. Not as awesome boots, and not as tall, but they are black boots and these were $100. If I had called Jen, she wouldn’t be able to help me justify that expense.

So today I walked out of my apartment and entered Shoe Heaven. Our parking lot is turned into Shoe Heaven every Thursday morning and it is the first set of booths I see. I use the word ‘booths’ for lack of a better term…in reality they are vans with tables in front and wares spread out in every direction. The booths in front of the apartment are all shoe booths so I walk out and AHHHH Shoe Heaven. This week I finally walked right up to the beautiful boots and touched them. BAM the shop guy is talking to me in Italian and gesturing at the sign that says Mezzo Prezzo. Yes, believe it or not, that means half price and that means it was my lucky day. I tried on the boots, the guy told me I was beautiful, I checked them out in the mirror, had a mental conversation with Jen wherein she told me they were too amazing to ignore the sale, and handed over the cash. Not a bad way to start the day! Ok, now time to enter the market…

The Sacile market is actually a travelling market that comes to Sacile on Thursdays. Apparently Mondays are the best, but I can’t catch a train there and I don’t have a car, so I’m relegated to the measly Thursday market outside my apartment. I should tell you that measly means ½ mile + side streets full of anything, and everything you could possibly need. Today I took a mental list of items you could buy and eventually had to give up, but here’s a taste: clothes, shoes, stuffed animals, hats, gloves, scarves, bottle openers, flowers, needles & thread, seafood - cooked and for cooking, fried chicken, fruits & veggies, espresso machines, purses, olives (there’s a cart solely dedicated to olives), underwear, plastic flowers, belts, umbrellas, toys, frying pans, and cheese. Lots of cheese.

Every week I buy 1 kilo of Clementines for about $3, and sometimes some shrimp if I’m feeling brave. I wait until close to 11 or noon before braving the food carts, any earlier and I have to contend with Italian grannies and their strange shopping carts. Amongst cries of Buongiorno! and lots of kissing, I have to struggle to the front and with no hope of shouting my order in Italian, stand there looking pitiful and confused before someone comes over to take my order. To avoid this, I shop for clothes earlier in the morning, and do the food shopping right before lunch. Since Clementines literally grow on trees here, there are more than enough to come by and waiting doesn’t hurt one bit. I’d like to think I’m beating them at their own game, but I don’t think they know they’re playing one.

Although the food carts are the best place to listen in on conversations, I tend to stick to the clothing booths so I can try on ridiculous outfits that are in fashion here in Italy. These range from shiny, puffy coats to frilly blouses and outrageous sweater dresses. Be on the lookout, these will be all the rage in America in a year or two if Jersey Shore has anything to say about it. As a side note – they are filming this summer on a beach in Italy! Why is that?…oh because MTV wants to take them back to their roots! Obviously.

The best part about trying on clothes in the Sacile market is that you have to get into a kidnapper van to do it.

The fact that the vans are completely blocked in by a few hundred people and loads of merchandise thankfully keeps the kidnappers at bay. So you jump into the back of the van, rip off your old clothes (oh, did I mention today it was 32F/0C!) and quickly squirm into the hot new outfit you’ll rock Saturday. Wait? Where’s the mirror? Well in some cases the van owner holds it up for your outside the swinging doors and tells you how great you look. In other cases, you must make do with balancing the square mirror on cardboard boxes, or moving it up and down on your body to get the full-length look. This is far from the magic mirror in my Wisconsin apartment. *Sigh*

Most days I manage to find something I like and resolve to wear it the upcoming weekend. Two weeks ago I bought an American-appropriate grey sweater dress, last week it was a $5 wool skirt, a pair of gold flats and some leggings. This week I walked away with a sexy top and those oh so wonderful boots. That this shopping takes place outdoors is all right since the city rests at the base of the picturesque snow-capped Alps.

While some days are boring here in northern Italy, Thursdays are certainly not. Italian Grannies, strollers wrapped in cellophane, fried chicken, and amazing deals, always make for an interesting morning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Parents Are People Too

It’s funny that we spend most of our teenage years trying to make our parents realize that we are no longer the kids they taught to ride bikes and build sandcastles. We spend years trying to show them we are adults, that we can make our own decisions thank you and we don’t need any help from you.

Except we do. It takes some of us longer than others to come crawling back, looking for everything from hugs after a breakup to a place to live after being laid off. When I’m upset the first person I call is my mom – something I would never have done 7 years ago when the last thing I wanted to tell her was why my high school boyfriend made me cry. Now I go to her with cooking questions, boy advice, job searches, and Bachelor gossip. And the more I talk to her, the more I’ve realized that she’s not just as mom. She’s a real person too.

That may seem stupid. It’s not like I didn’t know she was human, it’s just that when you are younger your parents are indestructible people with the keys to the car and money for college. You see them live their lives, but you take everything for granted. Just close your eyes for a minute and think back to high school….how often did you think about what they did during their days at work, or what they were doing while you were at a party with your first love? Even my friends who had ridiculously close relationships with their parents really only talked about their own lives with their mom or dad – I can’t think of a single person who sat down and really listened to hopes, fears and dreams of a parent when they were 16.

Recently I’ve talked with my mom and discovered a completely different person than who I lived the majority of my life with. The most surprising thing that I’ve learned? She’s just like me. Now I knew some things, like I knew she loves to travel and cook, but now I see her going out with girlfriends and starting to date again. She calls friends to go out to lunch, goes next door for coffee and game nights, and gossips over email with friends. Sometimes when I call her I catch her out shopping, or about to go to the gym. Sound familiar? When she didn’t have to chauffer me to gymnastics or ballet lessons, it turns out she is interested in other things in life but me. It just occurred to me how selfish I had been.

She’s now dating and it’s fun to hear her talk about it. She is just like me – throwing herself into new relationships and meeting his friends right away. I’ve always made a point of seeing if I fit in with a boyfriend’s friends and if he fit in with mine. She is cooking for him, I do that too, and she is exploring new restaurants, one of my favorite relationship activities. When I stopped seeing her world through mom-colored glasses, I realized she enjoys the same things I do. The woman I thought would absolutely never ever understand anything about me (circa age 16) probably understands much more than I’ll ever know. She lived a huge life before me and holy wow, it’s exciting.

I found out she dated a guy with a motorcycle, and she rode on it. She once sailed the Greek Isles with a guy and dumped him the moment they got back to dry land. She was married long before she had me, and there’s still an unknown story there about why she hates skiing. She went to beach parties. She was there for the Kent State shootings. She remembers when JFK was shot and saw Jerry Garcia perform live. I am just a character introduced in a later chapter of her life – I like to think a very exciting chapter – and now she is starting to write a new one.

I’m not sure where I read it, but I saw something recently about activities to do in your 20’s. One of the things on the list was get to know your parents as real people. Remove yourself from the equation, and perhaps even their spouses. Talk to them about married life before kids, about life before marriage, and perhaps even their own first heartbreaks. While they get to see us grow up and experience a million new things, we hardly ever seem to know the back-story of our own roots. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get to you know parents as real people. You might be pleasantly surprised.