Monthly Archives: July 2012

Weekend Preview: I Spent Too Much On Frozen Yogurt Last Night

I was checking my credit card statement this morning in preparation for paying it, and realized that the SMALL original flavor frozen yogurt with toppings I purchased at Pinkberry last night cost $5.47. Granted, I should have realized this last night, but I didn’t, and so I say…really? Am I crazy to be stunned by this? Am I acting like the college kid who goes out in the city for the first time and exclaims, “Five dollars for a bottle of beer!” and you wanna be all like “Dude, this is the real world where a round of shots doesn’t cost $3 and come in a giant cup for you to then pour into dixie cups like mouthwash. We use glassware, for God’s sake.” I don’t know, I hate to be that kid–that kid is the worst–but considering how petite and un-filling a small frozen yogurt from Pinkberry is, I’d say $5.47 is a scam. It’s not like when you go to the Cheesecake Factory and you look at the menu and exclaim, “For this price I should be getting two salads!” And then it comes and you realize, “Oh, this is actually the size of like five salads.” This is actually a tiny portion with meager rations allotted for toppings. Do you know how many Chicken McNuggets I could get for $5.47? Like a hundred! (Someone check the math on that.) I could buy two boxes of cereal and 12 bananas from Trader Joe’s for $5.47. Even if I refocus my argument and apply my price expectations solely to the frozen yogurt industry, I am telling you, I could go to one of those self-serve frozen yogurt places, get flavors like red velvet cake topped with captain crunch and frosted animal cookies and spend less. I may be sick to my stomach the rest of the day, but at least I’m sated. [For the record, I would never create such a horrendous combination of flavors and toppings as the one described above, but I am hoping to drive home the point that I appreciate eating so much frozen yogurt it makes me a little bit sick for less than five dollars.] Anyway, I’ll probably go there tomorrow because I’ll be bored and walking down the sidewalk with Pinkberry in your hand makes you look cute and fun. At least that’s what Lauren Conrad taught me.

We are mere hours away from the official start to the weekend and I for one am really looking forward to the break. I’m not sure why exactly seeing as how I lined up an eleven hour babysitting gig for myself on Saturday starting at 3:00 pm that will probably not serve as the best cure for the occasional bouts of anxiety I experienced this week. But it should bring in enough profit for me to finally buy myself a crossbody bag that I love, won’t fall apart in two weeks, and isn’t the size of a hamster cage like the one I currently use for work. This has been at the top of my “Treat Yo Self” shopping list for over a year now because I am all about hands-free fun when it comes to going out at night and when I use the bag I mentioned above I get comments from men like, “AHHH that’s the biggest bag I’ve ever seen!” like I’m wearing a tumor. I know this is not the kind of purchase you should struggle with for over a year but in the past I have either not found exactly what I’m looking for or not had enough money when the perfect bag came along. So come Sunday, cross your fingers that the stars align and I find exactly what I’m looking for and can pay for it with the cash I earned from five hours of  two vs. one football, where my team (me) always manages to lose. It’s all I have to look forward to!

On a final note, I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day and was struck by the picture below that had the following caption: “I LOVE THIS IDEA….Exchanging love letters the morning of your wedding, before walking down the aisle. I love the looks on their faces :).”

Yes, I too love the looks on their faces. She looks like she’s about to marry the man of her dreams and he looks like he’s reviewing the bill from the mechanic. It’s so sweet. Smiley face.

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Men Go To Jupiter To Get More Stupider

I am in the habit of going home to my parents’ house and babysitting for families with top notch amenities often enough that I have been able to keep up with the new Aaron Sorkin drama The Newsroom despite not actually having HBO in my own adult home. (I mean, if you want to call it an adult home. All I have to eat right now are Cheerios, dried cranberries, and salami.) My first attempt at watching the pilot occurred the Saturday after it first aired, around midnight as I was waiting for my friend to get done with work. I fell asleep right around the thirty minute mark, but had experienced enough to know that something was slightly off here. My initial complaint with the show is that everyone in it, save for Jeff Daniels and Sam Watterson, seemed dumb and bad at their jobs. Not that I’ve never tripped over a chair in my day, but that Maggie character is such a ball of nerves I find it hard to believe she, as she is portrayed, would be able to compose herself long enough to make a favorable impression during an interview at a major cable news network. But as I continued to watch, and consulted with my sister Maggie who also trips over chairs sometimes but generally presents herself as a young adult ready to conquer her dreams, I realized that the real issue isn’t all the characters, it’s the female characters. Even the award winning Executive Producer back from Afghanistan, Aaron Sorkin portrays as a complete ninny. Emily Mortimer’s Mackenzie freaking out in front of her entire staff because she doesn’t know how to use email and accidentally sent a private message to everyone in the office? And she’s the boss? I am more successful at keeping it together in my most private moments and I’m twenty-six! The latest episode “I’ll Try To Fix You” felt like it had been written for the sole purpose of providing reading material for a university course studying Sorkinian gender bias; along the pop culture education lines of the Georgetown course “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z” except less awesome.

So I was happy to find this article on today, that not only agreed with the point I was trying to make inside my head, but managed to do so in a much more intelligent and articulate manner. In the article, writer Margaret Lyons notes:

Will’s boss and mentor Charlie scolds him in “Fix” for dating women “he’d never want to spend daylight hours with.” Because it’s degrading? Disrespectful? Objectifying? Because it’s patronizing? Cruel? Selfish? No, no: Because Will deserves better. Will can be petty, nasty, and immature, but the show insists that he’s still worthy of an enormous amount of respect. But that inherent dignity doesn’t extend to any of the female characters.

Yes, exactly. Thank you, Margaret. But while I was sitting high on my high horse, thinking it might be time to start a movement, ready to scream at the first male that walked into my office, “WOMEN CAN BE GOOD AT THEIR JOBS TOO!”, I realized I was simultaneously having the following conversation on gchat:

Lara: i did not see reunion part 2 last night
Me: it was an eye opener
Lara: tell me everything
Me: like major plot points revealed about donn and vicki’s marriage.
  donn was having a 20 year affair.
Lara: is that for real
Me: yes. briana was there and confirmed.
Lara: with who??
Me: unknown!
Lara: why did they stay together??
Me: i dont know. it was hard to know if she knew about it the whole time or found out about it towards the end.
  vicki was trampled during the reunion though. she looked like a fool.
Lara: really?
Me: because her whole thing is so hypocritical and she wont just admit it. like when gretchen says, “why could you be so critical of my boyfriend and no one can be critical of yours?” vicki’s just like, stop talking about brooks!
Lara: is eddie gay? do we know that yet?
  i mean the whole thing with brooks is weird
Me: no as of right now eddie is not gay
Lara: but i dont really know why everyone is so mean ot alexis when she doesnt seem that bad? i mean shes annoying but like ignore her?
  but he seems gya
Me: i agree. i think everyone needs to get off alexis’s back. like she clearly can’t defend herself.
Meg: How did you feel about the gunvalsons after the reunion
Me: i feel the most bad for briana.
  but like, dont live with your crazy mom.
Meg: Right. Like get out. But tamra…..youre awful for saying that shit
Me: yeah so basically what she said was that vicki called her in mexico and was like i woke up naked next to a stranger?
Meg: Yep
Me: like tamra don’t say that. but, yes, vicki you did that
Meg: Right. And briana was like not shocked
  And i think gretchen admitted to cheating on her dead fiance
Me: hahaha no she wasn’t.
  how awkward to have your daughter nod in agreement as all your friends rip you to shreds
Meg: Well in order to prevent that just like, dont be awful and date a weirdo
Me: yes, correct.
Meg: Remember that Cathy
This may be the most revealing and embarrassing thing I have ever posted about myself. At two different points today, while at work, I had in depth conversations with two different friends about last night’s reunion episode of Real Housewives of Orange County. Do you see this America?! I AM THE PROBLEM. “like tamra don’t say that. but, yes, vicki you did that.” THAT’S BARELY ENGLISH! Oh my gosh. This is where Aaron Sorkin gets his material. From my brain and mouth.
I am pretty open about my passion for reality television. In a Pavlovian-like response, my fingers punch in the numbers for Bravo on the remote as soon as I hear the melodic tone of the television turning on. I try to justify it by peppering into conversation all the scripted television shows I enjoy for their quality writing and acting, but I can’t deny it. I love the junk. My friend Meg (cited above) and I , though miles apart, make it a point to sit down and watch the newest Housewives episode at the same time so that we can text each other our opinions throughout the hour-long broadcast. Why do I care to invest in the convoluted drama of women I do not know and will never meet? I don’t know. Maybe that’s one of those questions I’ll have to tackle in future therapy sessions, where my therapist and I will trace threads from my childhood in order to reveal the root of my obsession with watching the Kardashian sisters accost a giant inflatable giraffe.
In the meantime, I like to believe that no matter what petty or ultra-feminine interest I choose to invest in, that doesn’t actually change the fact that I am a smart, driven, dynamic woman. As my best new gal pal Margaret Lyons puts it:
The feminist utopia version of Newsroom isn’t the one where the female characters are Perfect and Powerful. It’s a version where the female characters aren’t completely othered at every moment; where their motivations make as much sense as male characters’; where they’re given the same opportunities to be perfect and imperfect, powerful and disempowered, as right, wrong, scared, and brave as their male counterparts.
In conclusion, Mr. Sorkin, I will stick with you through a second season, mainly because you write lines like, “It’s a person. A doctor pronounces her dead, not the news,” that make me want to kick the air in celebration of this great nation, but you need to get it together. No more distracting your women who are in the middle of serious conversations with mentions of nail salons, no more Maggie sweating through her sweater just for getting called on during a meeting, no more poorly crafted quips about Olivia Wilde’s hotness. We are so much more interesting than that.
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OMG Did You See What I Wrote On Facebook?

First of all, I want to say a big THANK YOU for everyone’s feedback on yesterday’s post. You are all too sweet and if anything I said resonated with you, well I am happy to share the pain/insight. Second of all, WHEW! That was a doozy. I choked back tears about a dozen times at work yesterday which is fine because no one can see me at my desk and even if the mailman had walked in at one of those inopportune moments, I could have just been like, “Dude, you get it, right?”

So seeing as how I have plenty of time on my hands this afternoon, I thought I would whip up something a little more light-hearted heading into the weekend.

I have been a Facebook user for eight years. I can’t bear to calculate all the time lost and wasted, but in those eight years, I have noticed a pattern in how people choose to express every last good, bad, and anxty moment that happens in their life. And some of those patterns irritate the hell out of me. Do you see where this is going? Yes! A list! A list of my Top 5 Least Favorite Facebook Statuses! Feel free to add yours below in the comments section. Enjoy!

5. Who’s going out tonight?

What? No one. Is that how you make plans? What if someone you really didn’t like responded, “Hey! I got nothin’ going on. Why don’t we get a slice of pizza? It would be so great to catch up!” What would you do then? I’ll tell you. You’d feel like an idiot for opening up your social calendar to your 546 friends, remembering you actually only have three friends you’re ok spending a Friday night with. And now you’re in the awkward position to either, decline the invitation by admitting you didn’t really mean to imply you were willing to go out with just anybody, or just slowly creep away from your desk, act like it never happened, and hope that the sad sack who also doesn’t have anything to do that night doesn’t follow-up with, “You there? I was thinking around 7?”

4.  Ahh Facebook I hate you! Stop changing! It was fine the way it was!

Let me tell you a story about the day I joined Facebook back in 2004.  Facebook, by the way, is like the only thing where young people have the advantage over old people to say things like, “Back in MY day there was no News Feed!” Literally, Facebook used to be a place where all you could do was put up a picture of yourself, list your favorite books and TV shows, and gloat that your friends at subpar universities weren’t allowed to use it yet.  That was it. You couldn’t post pictures, you couldn’t comment on other people’s activities, you couldn’t even POST a status to complain about how much you hated the website. The only way to communicate with your friends was by writing on their wall, which back then worked like a Word document. If someone was so inclined (as my friend Molly was), they could literally delete your entire “wall” of messages by simply clicking on it, highlighting all the text dating as far as back as the day you joined, and hitting delete on their keyboard. It was that simple. And it happened to me. Literally, I just went back to look at the first documented post on my Timeline and it was, “OoOoOooO Catherine’s wall was deleted…let’s see if she’s pathetic enough to put ‘er back up.” If Facebook never evolved, never made adjustments, it would look as pathetic as this still-active website for the movie Space Jam:

So count your blessings that someone out there knows what you need from this superfluous website more than you do, and stop complaining. Or just like, stop using it. Remember, it is optional

3. Good news is coming my way!

What is it? Oh, you don’t want to share it? You just want twenty people to comment, “Tell me! Tell me!” Don’t do that. It’s annoying. If you’re pregnant, just wait until it’s like a full blown fetus and then put up an ultrasound pic. If you’re about to get a promotion at work, just be like, “Climbing that corporate ladder! Finally, I’m getting mine!” I’ll know what you mean. But these coy, winky, aren’t-you-just-dying-to-know remarks are so narcissistic it makes me barf. If you want to brag, brag. Just don’t make me work that hard to care about your life.

2. 389 days until I’m married!

When someone I’m friends with on Facebook finally gets married, I think I’m more excited than she is because it means an end to the always-painful wedding countdown. I get it. You’re happy. I’m happy too. Really! For you, I pray for good weather. I cross my fingers you take beautiful pictures (but not too many that imply you confused your wedding with a high-fashion photo shoot). And I beg the Gods that if you hire a DJ, he or she does not torture you with the Electric Slide. But before we even get to that moment, before I can even get excited in anticipation of the first mobile upload posted of you in your dress, you torture me with an endless countdown, as if I don’t know that if last Tuesday you said there were 43 days left, this Tuesday it means there are 36 days left. I can take a “Booked the room! Got the dress! Ordered the flowers!” But the incessant reminder of exactly where we are in the calendar year as though it now revolves around your wedding day is too painful. Girl, you tell me your big day is June 10th, I will remember. I swear.

1. This is the worst day of my life. Why do men have to be so awful!

Wait…why? Is that a trick question? Do you really want me to think about it and get a response back to you? Or do you want me to ask what a member of this heathen species we call man has actually done to you? I don’t get it. Men have to be awful because you are awful because you generically complain about unidentified behavior on a social networking website. Enough! You know what? Men are fine. They’re FINE. If they don’t call you back, it’s because they don’t like you and the solution to that is to find one who does. If you think they’re awful because the one you are exclusively dating is mean to you then find one who isn’t.  But this kind of generic gender slaying is so boring and has me picturing you in the fetal position on your bed, refreshing your Facebook page every 10 seconds to see if anyone has left any words of wisdom for your depressing life. And girl, that is not a good look for you. Chin up, and if you absolutely must say something about men, just make a funny joke about their penises.

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It’s For The Best We Get Our Distance

I’ve always been a late bloomer. When I was in sixth grade a kid was paid five dollars to come up to me and say, “Would a man with no feet wear shoes? Then why do you wear a bra?” I didn’t shave my legs until I was in seventh grade, and even then it was without the blessing of my mother. The first time I kissed a boy I was a month away from turning 14. I don’t know if that sounds young or old, but a whole year earlier, during recess, I had listened to my friend describe her first experience going to third base, so I was feeling way behind the times. It was the night of my 8th grade graduation and my friends and I had snuck out of the house where we were having a sleepover (sorry Mom!) and met up with a few guys from our grade who were sitting in a park drinking beer they had presumably stolen from one of their fathers. After an hour of sitting around and staring at each other, the girls and I decided it was time to head back and that was when he went in for the kill. It was about as pleasant as you can imagine kissing a 14 year old with beer breath would be. I didn’t have my first drink until I was 18 and in college, and I am still waiting for the day to come when I have my first cigarette. But none of these were more notable to me than the fact that it wasn’t until I was 24 that I had my first relationship. I had certainly experienced my fair share of dating, if we all understand dating to be the process of avoiding someone else’s advances or accepting the fact that they are avoiding yours. But it wasn’t until I was two years out of college that I met someone, fell in love, and had the blissful experience of that same person loving me back. And so, chronologically, that means it wasn’t until I was 26 that I experienced my first break up.

I’ve mentioned my boyfriend before in this blog, but have yet to make the formal announcement that after almost two years together (we were so close!), we broke up at the beginning of June. This blog has never been about our personal lives so it’s certainly not as if our audience has been tracking my relationship. I don’t feel as though I owe an explanation or verification. Frankly, I just felt like writing about it.

The problem with dating someone for the first time at 24 is that you never had the ease of dating someone without the pressure of “Are they or aren’t they the one?” When you’re 15 and you’re in love, and your boyfriend asks you to homecoming by writing out an invitation in chalk outside the front entrance to the school, you’re allowed to just sit with that and be like, “Wow, you’re pretty great. I’m going to consider having sex with you in the next 6-9 months.” But when you’re 24 and your boyfriend is patient enough to learn how to make the bed just the way you like, you’re like, “Oh fuck, I gotta hold onto this one.” The only relationships I ever experienced prior to my first were those of my friends, and while I was certainly a jealous outsider looking in, I also remember that they were 19 and the largest obstacle facing their relationship was whether or not they were willing to stay faithful while they traveled to Acapulco on spring break. I don’t mean to undermine relationships that began in high school or college, especially those that have resulted in very successful adult relationships/marriages. My point is that no one really cares whether or not you want to marry the person you’re dating when you’re a teenager. But once you’re out of college, and therefore considered an adult (despite the fact that if it were up to me, I’d still go to my pediatrician. She was so nice.), everyone suddenly becomes much more interested in “the one.” The pressure of figuring out quickly whether or not this person who you just became comfortable ordering a cheeseburger in front of could possibly be the father of your children, is insurmountable and, frankly, unfair. I felt the pressure to figure out within the first couple of weeks whether or not he would march beside his gay son at the 2035 Pride Parade. (He would. Thank God. Phewph. Total deal breaker in my book.) Trying to navigate a relationship with the understanding that at some point the two of you have to decide whether you’re going to stake a permanent claim in one another or go your separate ways is a lot of pressure for someone who doesn’t even consider herself old enough to subscribe to a newspaper yet. I never saw myself as someone who would get married in my mid-twenties, but suddenly there was this man in my life who I couldn’t imagine living without and the opportunity to resolve my entire future was at my finger tips. I’ve always prided myself on having a very honest and logical sense of the world. I believe in only spending as much as you earn. I believe in talking nicely and tipping well. I believe graffiti should be seen as vandalism and not art. I believe a couple should agree on religion and politics before getting married. I believe you should make your bed in the morning and go to bed at night without dishes in the sink. But this utopia I had created for myself, this idea of what my perfect relationship would look and feel like, blurred as I found myself so in love with what was in front of me. The instant gratification of waking up next to someone you love on a Saturday morning overpowers your check list of “100 Things We Must See Eye to Eye On Before Broaching The Subject of Marriage.” If Carrie Bradshaw was writing this she would tell you, “It wasn’t logic, it was love!” In my mind, and too often out loud, I would say if this changed or we adjusted this one small thing, then we would be perfect and everyone could live happily ever after. No matter how frustrated at him or myself I became, I always held onto the idea that I would find a way to have a successful and healthy relationship with him.

No one person has ever known me as intimately as he did, and that intimacy becomes an addiction. To know that there is a person out there who will drop everything to care for you, who thinks you are the most beautiful woman in the world for reasons beyond your physical looks, and who makes every effort to assure that, in his presence at least, you are happy and comfortable; there was a calm and a joy in my life that I had never known before, and it was something I wasn’t willing to give up easily.

In the end, though, the checklist won and we realized through many painful arguments and plateaus of progress that we could not be for each other what the other needed. When our relationship ended, it was he that pulled the plug. I didn’t tell him this at the time, but I honestly believe it was the bravest thing he ever did in the 20 months we were together. I almost envy his courage to say, “This isn’t working,” and hold to that declaration despite my protest. In my heart I knew he was right, but I honestly don’t know if I ever would have had the strength to say it myself.

We didn’t formally agree on how we would handle the end of our relationship, but as it turns out we both feel it’s better not to communicate as we use this time to heal separately. We haven’t spoken since it happened. Many people have asked me how I can stand to not talk to someone who was a part of my life for that long and in that way, and the truth of the matter is I can’t. They ask me how I’ve never texted him when I’ve been out late drinking. I’ve never done this before so I’m winging it here, but I like to think that it’s because I know that there is nothing he can do or say in response that would make me feel better, and so I choose to protect myself from that kind of lingering pain. I know he misses me. I know he loves me. For he and I to pow-wow over the loss every Saturday night at two in the morning does not grant either of us the ability to move forward and become healthier adults. That’s my take on it at least. For all I know he be like, “Bitch, I got hoes up in here! Don’t distract!” Did I mention that my boyfriend is Seth Green’s character from Can’t Hardly Wait?

I certainly can’t offer advice on how to endure a break-up. I imagine the saying “time heals all wounds” is true, but seeing as how I’m not on the other side of this thing yet, I can’t report that back as fact. All I can say, and listen up ladies because you won’t hear this anywhere else!, is that it hurts like hell. It actually feels like heartbreak; a flash of his face or the smell of his skin suddenly comes into your memory and your chest swells and you feel the need to hold onto your heart and protect it until the memory goes away. As you reenter the world as a single person, you still see a place for him in every aspect of your life, because it was only a moment ago that you intentionally reserved the room. I went to a family reunion two weeks after it happened and I kept seeing him swimming in the pool or sitting next to me at the dinner table and smiling as I spoke with my typical wine-infused bravado and heavy gesturing.

It’s distracting, it’s paralyzing, it’s reflective and bitter and sad and terrible.

But there’s nothing to learn from a break-up, because the break-up wasn’t the thing. (Unless you like, slashed your boyfriend’s tires, you should learn not to do that again.) The thing was the relationship. This, what I’m going through now, is all a gray area. It’s all incidental of a much bigger, more important time in my life. I do not define my relationship with him by how it feels to be apart from him. I look at what we had and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Not everyone gets to experience what it’s like to be loved by someone that much and I feel forever in his debt. For a first-timer, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to help me navigate the highs and lows of a relationship. He has set the bar, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t question whether or not that level of trust and respect could be given to a girl more than once in her life. But I know that that fear does not serve me and to get stuck in that mindset is to not acknowledge my potential. One of the best pieces of advice I received during the aftermath was from my friend Linda, who told me I had already invited this kind of love into my life once; there is no reason to believe I can’t do it again.

What I am most thankful for is that our relationship ended because we were both conscious of our needs, not because we stopped loving each other. And for that reason, I get to love him for the rest of my life. No matter who or what comes next, I will always get to think of him as the incredible, loving man that he was. That, for me, makes all the pain and frustration I feel now, a sweeter pill to swallow.

In the meantime, one suggestion I can make (should any of you ever find yourself in a similar position): find a song that you feel identifies with what you’re going through. Because sometimes you just want to sit and stew in it, and musical accompaniment makes that experience all the more theatrical. Below is mine. Enjoy.

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