Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thank you, and goodnight

Today marks the end of my six-month match.com subscription. I know many of you have done the internet dating thing, and let me tell you, it's... an experience. This past summer, the Summer Of Weddings, about one out of every three of the couples I played for met online. In my current office, the woman in the happiest (from the outside) relationship met her boyfriend online. So I know it can be done. And I met several very nice people. But folks, I also met some real... characters. And I cannot
deny you the pleasure of a little pained laughter at my expense. Because we've all been there. So, without further ado, the top ten

1. I'd give you a six out of ten.
2. I'm an art photographer. I'm really good. How would you feel about posing nude sometime?
3. So, when you say you haven't been in a relationship for a while, does that mean you're looking for a relationship now? Because, to be honest, I'm just looking to get laid.
4. I can tell that you're the kind of person who has a great personality, but you'll never stop traffic. You're just too short.
5. You know, I really like you, and we have great chemistry, but I can just tell that you're never going to want to have my children.
6. So, this one time my ex and I got high, and...
7. I was really drawn to your picture. You remind me of this cousin of mine...
8. You're a flutist? I used to play the tuba in high school. Actually, you're pretty tiny. I bet you'd fit inside my tuba case!!!
9. I'm getting a master's degree. Here's my resume. You should read it. I'd be a really great catch for a girl like you.

And last, but certainly not least:

10. You know, you're a really, really beautiful woman. I mean, you have a great body. But I can just tell that, once you get a rock on your finger, your ass is just going to start getting bigger...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The butterfly effect

Yesterday morning, while changing my sheets, I noticed that the corners were essentially just four big holes. I thought to myself, "How can this be? These sheets aren't that old! Why, I've only had them since... uh... oh. Right." And so, off I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond.

People. I hate these kinds of stores. They suck me in, with their fancy-kitchen-appliance sections, their beautiful knife displays, and their mountains and mountains of fluffy, fancy, wonderful pillows. These stores make me feel like my home could be an oasis, draped in chenille throw blankets and filled with the scent of fresh-baked gourmet scones and designer coffee. I escaped relatively unscathed, with a set of (um, hi. expensive!) sheets and a "bargain pack" of wooden coathangers. I hopped in my car and drove home.

But visions of my ideal apartment still danced in my head. And, while the new, fancy, hole-free (and did I mention expensive?) sheets washed and dried, I began to ponder my options. I vaccuumed. I scrubbed. I moved some pictures and rehung others. I threw unnecessary things away, and put usable ones on Craigslist. And by 10pm, my apartment looked better. Not amazing, but better. Almost like I live there.

I've lived in this apartment for a year and a half, and as I began to create a living space that really feels beautiful to me, I realized that my apartment has really embodied my life over the past 18 months. It saw the hope that J and I would be okay, followed by the immediate demise of our relationship. It was a safe haven for Sis, a summer home for Shelly. I moved in with two cats, and when one moved out I acquired another. It's seen three sofas, each an improvement over the last, and a change in almost every other piece of furniture. And through all of it, it has been a transient place, a place I was planning on moving out of. And now, suddenly, it is where I live. It's not the most beautiful apartment. There's a wall of old-school paneling that I do not love, a very pink bathroom with frosted shower doors, and myriad other quirks. But for good or bad, it's mine. And it's about time that I started living there.

So it started with new sheets. And it's still not finished. But I can almost walk through the door and see myself staying for a while.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Reason #249.7 That I Need A Social Network

I had two free tickets to a really cool show tonight. The show is a band whose members are from other bands that I like. (Does that sentence make sense? I've re-read it about six times, and I can't decide.) The show started 45 minutes ago, and I am at home. Why? Because after three days of asking everyone and their mother, no one could go. This is due, mostly, to the fact that I only have about five people living locally who would be interested in going to a show like this.

I need friends. I need local friends. If there were a match.com-type thing for friends, I would totally sign up for it. I'd be all over that website, I'd pay whatever exorbitant fee they were asking, because I need friends. How do you meet people after college? I know it'll happen, that it's only going to get better, but really... I'm lonely. Which sounds pathetic, because I am constantly busy. But this is the first time that I can think of when I haven't had a trusted group of people I could call for impromptu fun. This is the first time that I've eaten dinner alone night after night. This is the first time that I've reverted to eating cereal for dinner, because cooking for one just seems sad.

Does anyone have any suggestions here? I can't even believe that I have to ask this question, because friends have never been an issue for me. But I am at a loss. So, folks, what do you think? Suggestions would be most appreciated!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The cool kids

Here's the thing: I make no pretense of being "cool." I feel pretty socially awkward a lot of the time, which is something that surprises other people. I honestly think most of us feel this way, like we are imposters just waiting to get called out. I don't know. Maybe I'm full of crap. Feel free to tell me, if you think I'm wrong.

I will never be the it girl in the room, the one everyone wants to meet. I'm comfortable with that. Despite my love of performing on stage, I hate being the center of attention in a big group. I love making a big group laugh, I love contributing to the conversation, but I don't like realizing that people have been staring at me for the past ten minutes. That just makes me feel squirmy and awful.

And I've never felt like I'm in competition with the "popular" kids. I use that word in quotes, because I think the label of popularity has nothing to do with how many people like you in the world. "Popular," to me, connotes a personality trait, an extrinsic air of superiority that conceals an intrinsic need to be accepted. Even in high school, at an age when acceptance seems to be the number one desire, I was never a kid who wore cool clothes, striving for inclusion. Frankly, my outfits were tragic. I look back on the men's XXL t-shirts, the oversized jeans, the birkenstocks with thick socks, and I throw up a little bit in my mouth. (Particularly upon considering that I weighed 98 pounds, and my proportions were 36-23-34. sigh What a missed opportunity. I will never look that hot again. But I digress.) I was lucky in high school, with a large group of friends who shared my lack of sameness, and who all had friends in different circles. I still count many of my high school friends as my nearest and dearest. Being "cool" was simply never important.

The point is, I suddenly feel thrust into a situation where I am competing with a stereotypically "cool kid." I am comfortable enough in my own skin that I feel no urge to be more like this person in order to curry favor. The choice between us is simply going to be a matter of personal preference. But it is making me feel insane, because there is nothing I can do about it.

I am not demanding, I am not the kind of person who gets in your face and screams "choose me!" I feel like this person is of that ilk, and I am at a loss as to how I am supposed to assert myself. I can hope that I'll make the cut, simply because of my general niceness, my enthusiasm for life, or any other thing that makes me... me. But I've had enough experience to the contrary that I'm concerned.

I know that I shouldn't care so much. But there's always that underlying desire to beat the competition, to score higher despite the odds. Intellectually, I get that eventually someone will wake up and realize that I'm fantastic, even without all the flash. I know that I shouldn't have to be in competition with anyone, because I'm worth undivided attention all on my own. But again, it's all about this feeling that I think we all have, waiting to be called out as an imposter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Killing time

I have a half hour to burn before I can leave work. I feel like my current job (the one I'm leaving in T-minus 14 days) is either so busy that I can't breathe (e.g. Gala), or drop-dead boring. The good news is that this gives me plenty of time to research all kinds of new and exciting things for my NEW JOB. I think about the possibilities all the time, about the limitless opportunities to grow this near-nonexistent Outreach program into something remarkable. It is such a refreshing change, to feel excited about my job again. I am really looking forward to getting started!

Another perk of the new job? The raise. Yes, there will be a raise. Enough of a raise that my current diet of black beans and rice will become substantially more varied. At least, that's the hope. The new job also comes with much more structured hours, and the promise of genuine FREE TIME. Time that I will hopefully use to cultivate friendships with people who live in the same time zone as I do. Not to say that everyone I love isn't enough. That's not it at all. But it would be delightful if I had enough local numbers programmed into my cell phone that I could meet someone for a drink occasionally. I'm just saying.

Other things? I might start taking yoga classes. Anything to de-stress, and the knee is preventing running at the moment. (Aside: This is the first time ever that I've felt my body getting older. This injury, which should have been minor, has been plaguing me for nearly two months. TWO MONTHS. I tore all the ligaments in my left ankle ten years ago, and six weeks later it barely hurt. What the crap, man?) And, as many people have pointed out to me, I may or may not need to learn how to calm down.


So I'm counting down the days. And I'll definitely miss all of my friends at the Ballet. But the promise of finally doing something that I love again is intoxicating.

Ho hum, 15 more minutes. Is it sad that it took me a whole 15 minutes to write the above? Maybe. It might be a little bit sadder that I expect someone to actually read it.

So. Let's make a list.

Ten Things I'd Like To Make For Dinner
(I should state, for the record, that these are items that I really could make for dinner, not just a list of fantasy dinners. That's a different animal, entirely.)

1. Chicken with morels in tarragon cream sauce
2. Barbeque-spiced peel and eat shrimp
3. Roasted chicken and veggies
4. Southwest pork chops with vegetable hash
5. Brunswick stew
6. Macaroni and cheese with chicken and broccoli
7. Acorn squash shepherd's pie
8. Salmon with orange-mushroom sauce
9. Gingersnap pork with apple brandy sauce
10. Gumbo Ya-Ya

Actually, I just realized that I might have all the ingredients for #8 already, so HOORAH!

Alrighty, I'm out of time, at last. Happy Wednesday, blogosphere!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The most heartbreaking thing in the world is to tell someone to stop loving you. To say those words to someone who you've loved, cherished, dreamed and planned with, feels like taking a sledgehammer to your own chest. Knowing the gravity of your words on them, knowing how it would hurt, even now, to hear them say those words to you, you say them anyway. You say them, knowing that you still love this person, that you will always love this person, and knowing without question that he will never make you happy. That this person will never be your "soul mate." That this person is only your friend because of a shared history of a quarter of your life. You say these words, knowing that this person is right when he says that it's possible that no one will ever love you so completely again. You say them, knowing that you will cry and he will not. You say them, and then you send him off to his life, and then you go home to your tv and your cats, to a bowl of cereal and a sweatshirt and an empty night stretching before you like a black hole.

You say these words, and you hope for the best. You hope that you'll stop feeling so lonely, so empty, so lost. You hope that you'll relearn how to love someone, that you'll rediscover how to trust someone with all of you. You hope that you'll stop being this sad, sad girl who still feels the loss of a limb that was cut off nearly a year ago. You hope that you'll never feel a loss like this again, knowing full well that you undoubtedly will. You hope that you can soon make eye contact with him and feel warmth instead of anger, calm instead of anxiety.

You say these words, and you cry, and you hope, and you go home to your cereal and sweatshirt and cats. You take your shoes off, and you breathe, and in your heart you wish him well. And then you remind yourself that tomorrow is, again, the first day of the rest of your life, and that every moment brings a chance to change your universe.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hi, I'm a girl.

So here's the thing. Most members of my reading audience are men. At least, most of the people who I know are reading the blog are men. And boys, you may want to bypass this one. I'm about to share a lot of information about girl stuff that you probably never wanted to know about me. And it will probably horrify you to your core, because we don't talk about this stuff. EVER.

1. I've finally found a birth control pill that doesn't seem to be turning me into a crazy person or a blimp. Hoorah! Sure, I've gained the obligatory two pounds, and my boobs look fairly gigantic (at least, to me...), but I seem to still be able to wear all of my usual clothes, and I haven't cried every freaking five minutes since starting this pill. I can only stress to you how unusual this is for me. I believe that this is pill brand number 9 or 10, and I really was about to give up. Needless to say, I am a happy camper about this.

2. Having read from several of you (whose entries on the subject I can no longer find... GAH) about the wonders of the bikini wax, I have to say that I'm curious. I may go and do some research today. The unique thing about my neighborhood in San Francisco is that there's a chinese salon on every single corner that offers this service for next to nothing. We're talking ten bucks, here. But do I really want a bargain-basement bikini waxing? I'm not sure. I think the answer is no.

3. Stacy's assessment of Victoria's Secret versus the small lingerie boutique has rocked my world, and I am sooooo excited for my first paycheck at the new job. Dare I say it? I'm waiting to meet the bra that is going to change my life. Vicky has been good to me over the years, but I've recently become thoroughly disenchanted with her. It makes me ill to spend $40+ on a bra that itches after two washings and still shows under every damn t-shirt that I own. I'm also annoyed by the fact that I cannot seem to shop there without getting mowed down by 16-year-olds and their moms buying sexier lingerie than I have ever owned. I find that more than a little bit disturbing. I think my mom would pass out if she knew that I even owned a thong at the tender, virginal age of 26.

That's all.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Carpe Diem, baby

If there is such a thing as a perfect day, I lived it today. A whole day with no obligations presents so many options, so many possible ways of filling the time, that each moment seems like a lifetime. Add to that the fact that today was insanely beautiful, warm, and sunny, and you have the makings of the most outstanding day I've had in years. I slept in, had lunch at the Ferry Building, hung out at the mushroom store, went to the Museum of Modern Art, ate a fresh chocolate eclair, walked all over my city in the sunshine, took myself to a movie that no one would ever want to see with me, and sat in the grass of Yerba Buena gardens listening to the sound of the world. I breathed. I thought. I let the world pass without looking at the clock.

I honestly can't remember the last time I let myself just take up space. I know that doesn't make much sense, but I feel like we all spend so much time validating our own existence. Days like today make me feel like it's enough to just exist and be happy, to own the space that I occupy in this world and be okay with that. I feel like today existed in a vaccuum. Tomorrow will bring its own set of problems, stressers, and spectacle. I hope that there are more days like today in my near future, though I think the rarity of such a day makes it all the more special.

There is no point to this posting. I haven't posted in so long that I'm not even sure where to begin catching you up on all the news, so this is all I can give you at the moment, this love letter to a perfect day.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

So today...

1. So today one of my bosses (the one I DO NOT LIKE) made me spend an hour counting 37-cent stamps, and then went out and bought a corresponding number of 2-cent stamps. Thank GOD I have a masters degree.

2. So today one of my coworkers walked into my office with five mini-boxes of chocolates, a roll of ribbon, and a handfull of tissue paper, and told me he needed me to wrap the chocolates for several donors. Thank GOD I have a masters degree.

3. So today I found out that the $500 bonus I was supposed to receive from the Ballet as a "thank you" for giving up three weeks of my life to Gala was actually only $287.75 in my bank account because of taxes. Thank GOD my ass is large enough to provide sustenance for an army. That's all I have to say.

4. So today I rocked an interview for a job that would pay me a living wage and allow me creative autonomy over my life. I am perfect for this job. And I think they know that. And I am terrified of the possibility that it presents. So terrified that I have cried three times today. Thank GOD for wine.

5. So today I have no idea what life is about. I managed to change the cat litter and clean my apartment for the first time in a few weeks, sure. But I feel more clueless than ever.

Why is it that unexpected, and seemingly undeserved, opportunity brings with it such anguish? Why? And why, after three glasses of mediocre red wine, am I listening to Damien Rice's 9 Crimes on repeat? Can we say "bad idea?" Um, hi.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Something like it

Life is a funny thing. Just when I think I've figured out what I want, just as soon as I feel content to just be, suddenly a whirlwind sweeps in and knocks me off balance. Not in a bad way, mind you. More in a way that shakes me up and makes me question who I am and what I want out of this ride called Life. And the only answer that comes to my mind is, "I don't know." I want to be secure in myself. I want to be happy. I want to love and be loved for all I'm worth. I want to make someone's life better, and I want to die feeling like I'm leaving the world a better place than when I entered it.

I suppose the crux of the matter, and what I'm loving about having a regular "day job," is that I don't feel defined right now by what I do. I'm learning to appreciate smaller accomplishments, and realizing that they mean more to me than the accolades and the honors, than the performances that defined my mood for the subsequent three weeks. I feel greater happiness from the loaf of bread that I made, for the time I spent this weekend with a friend, than I feel sadness for the lack of flute playing that I am doing.

The oddest part about this phenomenon is that, for the longest time, I thought that doing something other than performing would be a cop-out. The idea of being someone who didn't spend my life onstage seemed like a watercolor version of life. And yet, my life now is more opaque, more rich than it ever has been. I'm clearly not where (or who) I want to be entirely, but there's hope that I'm getting closer, that I might be on the right road at last.

So, when someone calls you up with a fantastic opportunity, an opportunity that could knock your socks off, what do you do? There are pros and cons, of course, and I've been weighing them carefully. For the first time in my life, I have no gut instinct on this one. I trust gut instincts, and the lack of an immediate opinion on what my own fate should be is distinctly unnerving. And, frankly, it's not something I feel ready to discuss with people, at least not in anything more than these vague terms. I'm just rolling it around in my brain, sampling the different options like items on a buffet. I'll keep you updated. For now, it's just nice to get the thoughts out.