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Spring Has Sprung

20 Mar

It’s the first day of spring, and things are crazy out there. There was an insane rainstorm this morning, and then it passed, and the sun came out, and the wind started up, and the clouds are scuttling across the sky and the lake is full of whitecaps. 

And everything feels wild and free out there. 

It’s almost my birthday, and I love my birthday. I don’t care how the day goes– I’ve had crappy birthdays, and amazing ones, and the last three years, they were pretty low-key, as I was in San Diego and didn’t exactly have designated birthday celebrants with me– I mean, my family wasn’t there, and friends are great but it was always sort of a question of a) will I have something to do b) who will I do it with c) what will it be and will anyone show up. I mean, there’s something magical about receiving packages from your family in the mail on the exact day of your birthday (my dad’s all about paying for great timing) but there’s something sort of lonely (but still sweet) about putting your sister on speakerphone as you unwrap them in your apartment by yourself. 

Whereas here, my sister’s obligated to show up for my birthday, so that makes one, and her boyfriend too in a less required but still necessitated way, so that’s 3 and that’s already a party. So then I get to just choose what to do and tell people and let them show up or not, and all of a sudden there are so many other people who are coming, and I really, really feel like I have people again. 

But my point is: it doesn’t matter how my birthday goes– it always feels like a day that belongs to me. I don’t know if it’s because we have to recite our birthday so many times in so many ways– to the doctor, and for taxes, and all those various forms that make up life– but that day, and even a little bit the whole month of March: it really really belongs to me. 

Also I freakin’ love presents. We’re present-givers in my family, which I actually love about us. It’s not one-sided; I like giving them too. I don’t think people who are bad present-givers realize how much it feels like thoughtlessness, like a lack of generosity of spirit, a lack of paying attention, to people who are good present-givers. I’ve heard that argument, “I’m just not a good present-giver,” the way that some people claim to be bad at remembering names. My jury’s out on both of those. I mean, ok, I suppose you could actually be bad at remembering names, but it sort of just feels like you don’t think I’m important enough to try to remember my name. And presents: sure, sometimes you have to guess, and you mis-hit, or you don’t have the time or money to get the gift you’d really like to give. 

And yes, it takes a little thought and effort. But if you’re paying attention to someone, it’s not usually that hard to find something that at least makes sense to give them. Right? Like, you don’t give a cat a tennis ball, unless you happen to know that cat is really, really into tennis balls. Don’t give a giraffe a stepladder. Don’t buy me bourbon. 

If it was apocalypse and I was tending to wounded who were stumbling into my house and the biological weapons had contaminated all the antiseptic soap and we’d run out of hydrogen peroxide days ago and the people were screaming and bleeding from giant gashes in their legs and begging for solace and comfort and I was desperate for some form of sanitizing their wounds as I ripped t-shirts and sheets into bandages and used sticks to create makeshift tourniquets….then bourbon would be a really, really thoughtful gift.

But other than that, probably not. Unless I accidentally time traveled and met a Scottish prince who spontaneously took me home to meet his father, the King of Scotland, and I happened to have your gift of bourbon on me, and I was able to present it as a host gift, and it gave him a great impression of me, saving him from killing me for being a witch. But that wouldn’t even be bourbon, would it, it would be scotch. So that would probably make things worse. So again: terrible gift. 

I’m going to go shake my presents and if I hear any sloshing, I’m probably going to cry about my imminent death. Thanks a lot. I just wanted to live to see another spring, you guys! There’s so much to live for! Can’t you hear the wind, pulling us out the door into the wild wild world?

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Dear Seattle: A Love Letter from a Native Daughter

18 Apr

I’m moving (back) to Seattle at the end of May. Back to the land of clouds and lakes. Back to where we say obnoxious things like, “My hometown is better than yours” and we really, really mean it.

Seattle is so beautiful even I can't screw up the photographs.

Search google for “Seattle tumblr” and you find (page one) long lists of tumblrs that do nothing but post pictures of Seattle (really?) and (page two) you find posts about all those tumblr authors meeting up. In bars. In Seattle. To talk about how great Seattle is. And presumably to compare the silk percentages of their favorite hiking socks and stroke each other’s facial hair and create a living Escher sketch with all that plaid.

Seattle-ites who are stupid or restless or ambitious enough to move to other cities have a reputation for being obnoxiously proud. Like: I was surprised other parts of the country were allowed to have salmon and crab. I’m still unsure about ordering it in restaurants here. Here. In San Diego. We aren’t exactly landlocked. 

My ex-boyfriend thinks he really loves Seattle, having gone to University of Washington, and having expressed a desire to live there for the rest of his life. I just smiled at him pityingly. It’s really cute that he’s enlightened enough to recognize its inherent greatness, but he just does not even know.

I mean, that’s the thing: we think Seattle is great, and we’re sort of amazed the rest of the world hasn’t caught on, but we don’t really want you moving there. You’ve seen the articles, right? About how Seattle natives are friendly right up until you actually want to talk to them or do something? In a lot of ways, it’s easier to move to New York and make friends. 

I’m hoping I won’t have that same problem as a Seattle daughter who’s returning, but to be honest: I’m a little nervous. And to be honest: my pedigree isn’t as watertight as it could be…

Continue reading

Dear House Husband

4 Apr

Dear House Husband,

I’ve decided that what this blog needs is some witty back and forth between me and a fed-up partner who doesn’t understand me and whom i purposefully misunderstand, preferably a house-husband. Like this, which is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time.

Now obviously I sometimes use my sister in this role, who is a good sport about it and not only lets me say things about her on this blog, but also very helpfully points out every single typo I make on this blog. And sometimes will helpfully say things like, “It would be funnier if…”

And sometimes will even extremely helpfully say things like, “Well maybe what your blog needs is to…” which always amounts to one of two things: 1. maybe what my blog needs is to be famous. 2. maybe what my blog needs is to be entirely different / appeal to more people so that it can become famous. The thing that kills me is I agree with her, and then I hide from writing anything for several days because of the shame spiral.

I come from a very supportive family. You’d think we’re WASPS but we’re not, we’re Catholic, so.

No, really, my sister is great, and she lets me call her when I’m crying and tells me to watch terrible TV for a while, which is great advice for almost any situation, and we spent over an hour last week talking about the sex, race, and class issues in and around The Hunger Games, so obviously I need her desperately. Also: we’re practically activists.

The point is, it might be time for me to let her off the hook. And the only reasonable solution then is to make up an imaginary boyfriend for the purposes of this blog. Weird? Yes. Potentially off-putting to new suitors? Definitely. Creepy when some creeper on the internet decides to make himself in the image of said imaginary boyfriend? Yes…but also– maybe awesome when I realize I have the power to make humans redesign themselves into my idea of them. (Side benefit.)

I’ll name him Frank.

Frank, by the way, thinks this is a terrible idea, but I think he’s just nervous that I’ll tell you all about how he secretly likes Ashton Kutcher, although he’s very upset with him right now for that whole thing with Demi. I keep trying to tell him it’s ok to express his emotions but he just glares at me and turns on hockey so he can pretend he’s crying because his team is losing.

Apparently Frank is Canadian. Apparently one of the side benefits of having Frank around is that I have cable again.

This is working out even better than I thought.

xxo,

MM

Dear Valentine

10 Feb

Dear Valentine,

Valentine’s Day is Tuesday and given how my life has been going (inefficiently) I thought I’d do my Valentine’s day post today. Plus I have about twelve other things I should be doing, and procrastination by blogging is second best only to procrastination by cleaning (I’m coming for you, vacuum cleaner).

Ahhh Valentine’s. We love to hate you, don’t we. People who are single hate Valentine’s Day, people who are just starting to date hate Valentine’s Day, people in relationships hate Valentine’s Day…. in fact, at this point, the people I know in relationships might hate Valentine’s Day more vehemently than anyone else. The expectations! The cost! The impossibility of getting a reservation! The false notion of loving someone more on an arbitrary day of the year! The pressure not to fight, not to squabble, not to complain! The idea of waking up and watching the person you love as if there are flying, buzzing hearts like little tiny non-stinging bees flying about their sleep-addled, puffy, same-as-yesterday face. Plus, it’s February, so they probably have a cold and are in the process of excavating snot out of their nose.

Whereas single people everywhere have been effectively shamed out of hating Valentine’s Day. Who wants to be the girl running around in tears on February 14th bitching about how no one will ever love her? I’m pretty sure that at this point, no one ever wants to be that girl. (And sometimes it happens, I get it, look, you just want someone to come over and open every jar in your house before listening to that weird sound your car’s making and then sexing you up good). And then collectively everyone’s decided that it is a hundred times worse to be that girl on Valentine’s Day.

Look, if you’re going to watch Dear John alone on your coach with a bottle of wine and a box of tissues to yourself, you keep it to yourself at this point. Also, let me suggest Mean Girls instead and a box of Girl Scout cookies to help wash that wine down.

Personally, I find Valentine’s Day way less stressful than other major holidays— like New Year’s Eve. God, shoot me now. At least on Valentine’s Day there isn’t a DESIGNATED KISSING TIME. In which it’s acceptable to maul strangers? Potentially? Except that never happens. So then we’re all disappointed we’re not being sexually assaulted. It’s a seriously twisted holiday.

And now that we’re all adults and once we admit we like each other we can make out, or….you know….just make out kind of whenever…we sort of don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to roll around. So I’m pretty sure the idea of having a “secret” Valentine that you didn’t know about has been eliminated.

Right? Like if you’ve got a stalker, you already know. I’m pretty sure the last time I got an anonymous Valentine was in 6th grade– which, by the way, totally backfired. If it’s ANONYMOUS, how was I supposed to KNOW who it was? What did he think would happen? I would dust for his fingerprints on the cut-out letters he pasted in there? (Super sweet. Also rather assassin-y.) Nerds. Too smart for their own good.

By the end of the school day, after listening to me whisper to my girlfriends all day about who it could be, he finally walked up to me, turned a fantastic shade of red, flipped his rattail over one shoulder, and said, “It was me.”

I said, “Oh.” Then I said “Thanks” and got on the bus, trying not to throw up.

Those “valegrams” came with these terrible caramel-apple suckers and I must have eaten about 8 of them that day.

But don’t worry, guys! About 7 years later we dated for three months. V. romantic. My guess is he would say the awful, awful anxiety he must have felt all that day and the days beforehand and the days afterward totally paid off.

Basically, everyone’s agreed that having a first romantic interaction on Valentine’s Day is up there with hitting on someone / being hit on while you have food poisoning. There’s a reason classic sitcoms like to have people forget it’s Valentine’s Day and accidentally make a first date for the 14th. Because it’s ripe for comedy! Of the horrible, awful, cringe-inducing kind.

All of which means that the best-case scenario for finding “love” on Valentine’s Day is if you’re the sort of someone who will go mope about the day in a bar by yourself, and happen to find a fellow moper, and then you can have mopey, droopy sex that will result in a relationship that will last a good 3 hours longer (of sobbing together) than the 2 minutes of idle chitchat it was meant to. For god’s sakes, stay home and keep yourself STI-free instead, ok? Have a caramel-apple lollipop. It’s hard to cry around those things, because your teeth spontaneously fuse together.

All of which does not mean that we should walk around hating Valentine’s Day! It means that we should eat some good chocolate, make ourselves some good food, be sweet to people we’re sweet on, and wait for my sister’s annual homemade Valentine to show up in the mail and make me feel inadequately crafty but also loved. Plus there’s usually a pun on it, and I love puns.

Anyway, it’s much better to retroactively focus your anger on New Year’s Eve.

MM

Dear Smelly Fall

1 Nov

Dear Smelly Fall,

So fall is sort of a smelly time of year. Like pumpkins and that fall air (or fog if you live here) and, um, pumpkin. Cinnamon in the pumpkin! B.O. in Halloween costumes people never cleaned from last year.

I’m visiting on Nosy Girl today, curated by the excellent Elizabeth, who I had the pleasure to work with when I lived in Seattle. She likes to smell things. She likes to ask questions about what other people smell. I like to talk about myself. We struck a deal.

Go read it. I will give you no more here until you do.

PUMPKIN-FLAVORED HUGS,

MM

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