Don't Be Tardy for the Party

My bestie from childhood invited me to ring in the New Year in the ATL. Rather than dropping $100 on tickets to some overrated NYE party, we decided to get our club fix last night at Tongue and Groove in Buckhead. Turns out, we weren't the only ones with this bright idea and ended up waiting in line, shivering in the cold for a good half hour. Why they wouldn't just let everyone in, I don't know. Let's be real; this is Atlanta, not New York. The club was next to a damn Taco Mac and a Five Guys.

Once we finally got inside and avoided paying cover (thanks to a bartender who'd put our names on the list), we waded through the sea of peeps who were, despite rocking music, just standing there. No one except the scantily clad cage dancer was even doing so much as a fist pump. People were just milling around, overpriced drinks in hand, looking like middle schoolers at an overcrowded, smoky sock hop. My bestie, a light weight, and her friend did two shots in a row, so I figured someone ought to stay sober. 

We managed to find a spot upstairs to dance. Naturally the douchebags began to pounce. My friend, newly single and a total hottie, was deservedly getting a lot of attention--just not from very nice dudes. My overprotective side came out when one persistent asshole kept grabbing her, even after I pulled her from him away three different times. I yelled in his ear, "She doesn't like you. Go away!" He grabbed her again, and that was it. I was PISSED. I pushed him off of her and shrieked, "STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER, ASSHOLE!" My bestie's friend turned to her and said, "I like her." 

Eventually we found a better spot to dance. One stumbling drunk told me I look like the girl in the Bourne Identity. I told him I live in DC. He said, "Oh, so you must work for the government?" "No, actually I don't." "Good," he replied. "One less person to pay." 

Being the sober one in a crowded, smoky club isn't the most fun thing in the world. But the other two were having such a good time that I just had to laugh and join them in dancing up on one of the stages. That's when I realized we were almost at eye level with the DJ, and I realized this was my chance to redeem the night. I was going to get this guy to play my favorite song. I started shouting, "Ceelo! Ceelo!" I made a pathetic attempt at sign language, forming a "C" then an "L" and then an "O" with my hands. He still didn't get it. So, I flicked him off with two hands and mouthed, "Fuck you!"

Hmm. Maybe should have thought that one through first. Quickly I shook my head and said, "No no no!" and did the pathetic sign language again. "Ceelo! Ceelo!" "One minute," he mouthed back. Song after song played, but no Ceelo. The music began winding down and they did a "practice" countdown for NYE. I thought all hope was gone...and then "Fuck you" came on. I started jumping up and down, both of my hands flicking the crowd off and acting a fool as I blew kisses to the DJ, my new best friend. 

Who cares if I was sober, had to deal with asshole guys, and got cigarette smoke in my hair? I managed to get the DJ to play the best song of all time. I call that a good night. 

Hopes for the New Year

You'd think an extra day at home to spend with my mom eating Thai food and watching season 2 of Dexter would've made me smile, not cry. But knowing that eventually I'd have to leave home again and return to the desolate land of my sublet room in Arlington had me in tears. It doesn't matter if I'm there for 2 days or 2 weeks; it never feels like enough.

Don't get me wrong. My family drives me nuts when I'm there. My nephew shot me in the face with a Nerf gun. My oldest brother refused to join my mom and me in Augusta to see my other brother who was on call at the hospital on Christmas, opting instead to go to an NFL game. My mom snored all night long on Christmas, keeping me up and making me want to put a pillow over her face.

And yet, I love them more than anything. I feel like I'm missing so much when I'm in DC. And I'm finally beginning to see that as long as I'm there, it will almost always be me making the trip to see them, not the other way around. In the five and a half years of living a plane ride away from home, I've been visited four times by my mom; two times by my middle brother, and zero times by my oldest brother. It's not that they don't care. It's just...I don't know. I'm the only one far away. Being a plane ride away takes out all the spontaneity of traveling, at least for those of us on a budget. It'd be so much easier if we all could just jump in the car and be together for a random weekend.

Now I'm back thinking that I do want to move, maybe not right away but eventually. My uncle in Chapel Hill is building a new house and his paid-for condo probably won't do well on the market, given the housing situation nationwide. He said, mostly in jest, "It would make my life a lot easier if you'd move to North Carolina." But, it got me thinking about what life would be like there. All of my emotions aside, next to DC the Research Triangle is probably the best place for me work-wise. I was contacted by someone there a few weeks ago who works on population issues. She'd be a great contact. And, I even met a man from there a few weeks ago that I instantly clicked with. I told him I was thinking of moving and he said, "I'd be your friend!"

I'm not into New Year's resolution (although I do plan to join a new gym when I get back to DC, only because my current one smells like a diaper.) But I do have hopes for this year--that it would be a time when something clicks. That I'd get that opportunity, meet that person, realize that one thing that will make the foreseeable future a little less daunting. That I'd realize where I'm supposed to be--DC, NC, or somewhere else--and feel at peace about it. I'm open to all of the possibilities before me.

How to Ruin Christmas for Your Mom

Step 1. Mention in passing to your mom something you think is "crazy expensive" and that you'd never purchase for yourself.

Step 2. Begin cyberstalking of this product the day after said comment.

Step 3. Find lowest price possible on product and place it into e-cart.

Step 4. Delete product from e-cart.

Step 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 ad nauseum.

Step 6. Finally muster up enough balls to actually purchase product, justifying it as a "Christmas present for myself." 

Step 7. Receive product and excitedly begin using immediately.

Step 8. Mention to mom that you found "an incredible deal" on said product and purchased it for yourself last week.

Step 9. Watch mom's face drop as she tells you she bought you the same thing as your big Christmas gift.

Step 10. Feel like an asshole.

Close Encounters of the Asshole Kind

Who would have thought that not dating would mean more encounters with assholes? I sure as hell didn't.

Early last week I knew what I'd be walking into. I was asked, as a board member of a non-profit, to be present at a protest--not on the side of the protesters, not even as a counter-protester, but as a "peaceful presence." We were going to be intentionally few in number and that made me nervous. As it turns out, there were 15 of us among 300 angry protesters. Stomach churning, I stood silently, listening to speech after speech of vitriol, wondering how if I were to meet any of those gathered to protest in another setting how things might be different. They might say with a smile, "Hello, how are you? Nice to meet you" instead of,"You're not welcome here" with dagger eyes and clenched fists. 

While I'd been prepared for Monday's frustration, I had no idea that later on in the week when I was at a holiday party for a women's organization that it'd be crashed--by men, no less. Men who were there to intimidate and condemn. Men who were there to be assholes--to scream and yell at people gathered for a fucking holiday party. I don't know where I got the strength, but I put my hand on one of their shoulders and (mostly) silently guided them out the door.

Once they left, I lost my composure. I went to the bathroom and cried. I felt disempowered, terrorized, and furious. How could anyone think that it's actually effective for any cause to yell, to intimidate, to crash a holiday party? The thing is, I think some people just want to act like assholes. They don't actually want to further their cause or convince someone to adopt their point of view. I can assure you the party crashers did nothing but make everything at the party  think they were crazy douche bags. 

But, why do people seem to enjoy being assholes? If I've been even slightly rude to someone, even if it's "called for," I feel like a jerk. So how is that some people seem to thrive being this way? 

Which brings me to my next point, online assholes. Why the hell do people spend their time trolling sites and leaving nasty comments? Seriously it would never occur to me to actively go seeking an opportunity to be a jackass. I was in a Twitter conversation with Date Me, DC! about this, and people had a lot to say. The comment that puzzled me the most was something along the lines of, "If you let mean comments get to you, then it says something about you. You need thicker skin"

Thicker skin is the solution to dealing with assholes, huh? I would argue that thick skin--or being calloused-- is exactly what allows people to act like arrogant assholes in the first place. Interesting, when I was at the party and started crying, no one there said, "Hey, get thicker skin. They're just assholes." No, people put their arms around me, listened to me fume, and stood with me. I want to hang onto my humanity, my emotions, my ability to be hurt by other people. It's in part what keeps me from being an asshole in return, even as I'm being screamed at by arrogant pricks. 

So, how about this--how about we stop tolerating asshole behavior online and in person? How about when we encounter them, we confront them instead of being silenced and blaming ourselves for feeling hurt and not having thick skin? That way, we can help stop the behavior rather than having to become callous ourselves. 

And the Winner is...

(#46 chosen by

Congrats on your $35 gift certificate to CSN Stores! (Though I hope you buy something more fun than a hamper.) Many thanks to CSN for sponsoring my first giveaway.

Happily Uninteresting

I was told, on another blog (and on this one at one point), that I write a boring blog. I suppose it was meant to be an insult, but I didn't receive it that way. In part, I have to kind of agree:  my blog is not all that interesting as of late. And believe it or not,  I'm actually kind of happy about that.

A few months ago I was blogging daily, getting tons of hits, and receiving loads of comments. Ah, those were the days. Except for the fact that I was dealing with terrible heartache. While it was a temporary ego-boost to have more readers and to have new comments every time I logged into blogger, sadly that didn't make things in real life any less shitty. If I had to choose between having a lot of blog readers and not feeling shitty, guess which one I'd pick. The same applies to being subjected to horribly awkward first dates. Fun to blog about, not fun to endure. Plus you've already got Katie blowing that shit out of the water. .

Sitting in therapy today, I struggled to find anything over the last week that I felt was in need of serious conversation. Strangely, the same thing had happened at last week's session, too. At first I felt like this was because I hadn't been reflecting on my life enough (self-judgment), but then I saw that it has simply been a time of...normalcy. Took me awhile to recognize it. Sure, the remnants of homesickness are still there, as are the ever-passing thoughts of moving somewhere else, but I'm not longer feeling like I'm in some inescapable abyss that I'll never pull out of. And contrary to my own belief that I have to work really hard to get anywhere with anything, I didn't have to do shit to get out of it other than wait and accept that was where I was. It was in the not-doing that I was lifted out. Who knows if I'll find myself back there next week or next month, but for now, I'm out. That is something to give thanks for.

Maybe my life is boring. Or maybe it's actually just what life looks like when the storm has exhausted itself and the calm and stillness set in. After the ups and downs of the last few months, I'm grateful for this unfamiliar peace. I'm grateful that the excitement in my life is coming through attending a counter-protest in yesterday's freezing cold weather, getting interviewed by a news website, Christmas shopping for my Star Wars-obsessed nephew, celebrating my friend's retirement, and eating sweet potato latkes for the first time. Non-boy related things, things I typically don't talk about in my blog. Things I keep within my own heart and my community in real life.

Maybe it's boring to read about. But it's sweet to live it. And really, that's all that matters to me.

P.S. You still have time to enter my giveaway!

Hibernation, Anyone?

I didn't go to church this morning. I meant to. I was up hours before the 11:00 service down the street from me was beginning. I even interrupted my viewing of Devil Wears Prada to piece together what could be, in a sense, construed as an outfit. A disastrous outfit--sort of too big black pants, faded black Gap tee, overly dressy cardigan (trying to make up for the rest of the outfit), and snuggly, slipper-esque ankle boots. Not to mention no shower and no make-up. I checked myself out in the mirror, realized what I had on was essentially a modification of pajamas, and put my flannels back on. (They are pretty damn cute pajamas.)

Nick & Nora Womens Flannel Kimono Coat Set - Red XL
My winter uniform
At a very base level, I did't want to leave my room, much less step outside into the cold. Really I admire anyone who voluntarily leaves their house now that it's become frigid. One of the downsides of going home for Thanksgiving was being spoiled by 70+ degree temps only to return to DC to find that the son-of-a-bitch winter has arrived. The dark cold has taken a toll on the city, it seems. I was at a Chanukah party last night, and it was as if everyone had popped an Ambien along with their cocktail. By the time I left, at the reasonable hour of 11:00, the host was nearly passed out on her couch, not from too much gelt or wine or sweet potato latkes, but from sheer exhaustion.

I say we all go into hibernation, an idea I've been pushing this idea since my first horrid winter in Connecticut in 2005. I can see how it might take awhile for this trend to catch on, but hear me out. You are forced to pack on extra weight for survival (why yes, I do require another slice of peppermint chocolate cheesecake;); take a long, deep sleep through the winter months; wake up in the spring with your pre-hibernation figure, and then indulge in some spring fever-induced romance. I think it's the perfect plan. Who's with me?

P.S. Be sure to enter my giveaway! Winner announced this coming Friday. :-)

Finals Time

I pride myself on being The Non-Student (if I have anything to do it I will maintain that status until the day I die--mark my word!), but I can't help but feel like I'm in finals mode right now. Probably because the second I landed in DC Monday night, I said to myself, "Three weeks, girlfriend. Three weeks and then you get to go back home."

It's pretty much the same attitude I had in college and grad school: quick, get over that Thanksgiving turkey coma and kick some paper/exam/studying ass! Since my project runs on the calendar year, I really am scrambling like a stressed-out student to get all the loose ends tied. The big thing I've got to do is write a report for our funder, which seems kind of pointless now because they've already cut us another check for 2011. Yay employment!

Merry Christmas II You
I see the next two-ish weeks as a to-do list. Buy this gift. Go to this party. Finish up this project. Two weeks seems doable. But living life as a to-do list is a pretty shitty way of going about life. It's just all I seem to be able to manage here lately. At least it's the holidays and I can crank Mariah Carey and buy stocking stuffers and burn candles that smell like pumpkin and candy canes to counteract the dark and cold because hello, apparently it is winter now. When did this happen?

If you're a non-student like me, do you still kind of feel like you're on an academic calendar? Are you just counting down until you (hopefully) get to eat lots of delicious food and wear pajamas all day and catch up on all of the seasons of The Real Housewives?

P.S. Enter my giveaway! That'll put you in the holiday spirit.

Happy Holiday Giveaway from CSN

*Note: This Giveaway has ended. I hope to have another one in the near future!

Peeps, two monumental things have happened this week. #1. I have surpassed 100 followers! #2. I was approached about doing a giveaway on my blog. Basically, I feel totally affirmed in my blogger identity.  And as a treat for you, the giveaway--what better time than the holidays to host my first one?! I have a $35 gift certificate to give away to CSN Stores, which has 200+ stores full of fantastic gifts--shoes, jewelry, home decor, etc. Personally I'm really eying their leather messenger bags for toting my junk around in style! 

Just what can you can get with your $35? How about...

Skyline Silver Sterling Silver Heart Neckalce $34

Alessi Banana Boys Wine Stoppers $38

Jovi Home Grace Chenille Throw $32 and up 

You can definitely find something for someone on your holiday buying list--or just treat yourself! Don't worry, I won't judge. 

To enter:
*Mandatory: leave a comment about how you'd use your $35 at CSN (1 entry).
*Become a follower of my blog or comment that you already are (1 extra entry)
*Follow me on Twitter or let me know if you already do (1 extra entry) 
*Blog about my giveaway and comment with the link (3 extra entries)

Giveaway ends at midnight (EST) on Thursday, December 9th. Make sure to include your email, so I can get in touch with you! I'll announce the winner (picked by a random number generator) on Friday, December 10th. Good luck!

Scared of Flights

Are you scared of flying? If not, you should be.

You all know how I feel about leaving Georgia to come back to DC. Nothing new about that. Even though I knew I'd be coming again in just a few short weeks, I cried per usual when my mom dropped me off at the airport. If the tears weren't torture enough, I had to go through the humiliation of the full-body scan (you know some guy is totally getting off on that shit) and a subsequent left thigh groping. There was no "patting down" going on. It was full-on leg assault. I thought the whole point of going through the body scanner was avoiding the groping? Apparently it was a double deal that day. Couple that with a two-hour delay due to "mechanical problems" and an assigned seat in the very last row and having water spilled all over me...well, I was a total peach, as I'm sure you can imagine.

But see, all of this is to be expected. Flying is a miserable thing we put ourselves through to see our loved ones. If I didn't get paid to do it most of the time, I would avoid flying at all costs. I do it enough to know that these annoyances are to be expected, and when you manage to avoid them, it's nothing short of miraculous.

What I wasn't prepared for was what when I landed. I was waiting to be picked up, so I picked a quiet spot to camp out in. I was busying myself with important tasks like Gchat when an airport employee walked up to me. The guy was probably in his 60s. Nice grandfather type, or so I thought.

"Are you waiting to be picked up?" he asked.

"Yes, just coming back from being home with my family," I answered, thinking he was just being friendly.

"Well, I figured it was that or you were sitting in the time out chair."

Hmm, ok. Kind of weird, but I get it--I'm sitting alone. Old men like to relate to young women as if they're children. Infuriating, but true. I sort of laughed it off, hoping he'd go away but he continued

"People my age don't know what you're talking about when you say 'time out chair.' In my day, we just got spanked," he said.

Hmm, this is taking a weird turn. I laughed it off, this time a bit more uncomfortably, "Yeah, it's a new way of parenting for sure. Self-esteem and all that."

I really, really wanted him to fuck off. I wasn't even making eye contact at that point, trying to say, "Hey, get the hell away from me." But no, he continued. With more spanking talk. Like when he'd been spanked as a child--what the offenses were, etc. And then how he'd spanked his own children, like when his daughter had told her mother to shut up. This was an EXTENDED conversation--or, monologue I should say--and then it got even worse.

"If you'd done something like that, would you have been spanked?" he asked.


"I was the sort of kid that hated getting in trouble. I never would have said that to my mom," I said. All true.

But he kept pushing the whole spanking thing. He found at least three ways to ask me about being spanked, each time I avoided the question. And in the end, I suppose frustrated with my evasion of the spanking talk, he just outright asked, "Were you spanked as a child?"

"Not really," I said, completely horrified and just wanting him to leave me alone. What I should have said was, "Look, you fucking sicko, this is NOT a normal conversation you have with a stranger. I'm sure you get off on this shit, so go post a craigslist ad or something, but leave me the fuck alone!" 

Has the whole flying industry become sexualized? Anti-terrorism, my ass! That whole experience was completely terrorizing. Put this experience on the list of "why I want to live close to my family."