HE SAID: Winter

January 25, 2011

FYI, the following is being written from the comforts of my own home…where I’m sitting under a blanket, wearing long johns, sweats and a flannel shirt.  The sun has just set outside, it is approximately -4 degrees before the windchill, and we are expecting another major snowstorm later this week.  But be aware, I am not complaining, I am merely writing down factual statements.  Why am I not complaining? You may ask…Because it is the middle of winter in effing Vermont, and unless I am being forced to live here against my will, I have no right to complain. Ok, maybe not being forced against my will, but you get my point.

And yes, I get it, the last couple of days have been pretty darn brutal, even close to record breaking, in fact. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of lows of negative -27 with a windchill of -40, but when I woke up this morning praying my pipes didn’t freeze and my car would start (thank you, C.G. Johnson – alleged inventor of the garage door), I realized two very important things: 1. I have absolutely, no control over the weather and 2. I can move, really quite easily. With regards to #1, spare me your tree-hugging, hippie liberal BS about my effect on the environment.  Yes, I realize that there are many things I could do better to control my effect on the environment, just don’t mention global warming to me when my private parts have ascended back into my stomach.  And as for #2, I just don’t want to.  I’d rather put up with X amount of days of absolute crap weather, because I love it here.

So the title of this post could have been way better, but at its crux, this post is about winter…and all the assholes who complain non-stop about it.  It’s times like this that I hate things like twitter and facebook (wait, that’s not true, clearly I am obsessed, but still), with friends constantly reminding me about how miserable it is outside. Trust me, I am aware of it.

Or maybe I’m still bitter about the Patriots losing to the Jets, and I’m simply taking it all out on you. Not quite all, there is some of my blood on a hand-dryer in one of the Newark International Airport bathrooms thanks to that shitshow. Yet, I digress.

It’s good to be back.

SHE SAID: Silly Bandz

July 30, 2010

I don’t get it.  I don’t get it in the same way that I didn’t understand beanie babies and pokemon cards, but that’s to be expected since I wasn’t between the ages of 4 – 14 when those products came out.  Ask me about garbage pail kids and cabbage patch kids and I can contribute something positive to the conversation and will attempt a pathetic defense of why those products are better than today’s options mainly because I have to defend my allegiance to ridiculousness, not because cabbage patch kids were the most amazing toy ever invented.  Garbage Pail Kids, on the other hand, I will defend as art and I wish my mom hadn’t thrown them out because they were awesome … but I digress.

What I don’t understand is why the 28 year old man I talked to today was wearing a Silly Band.  Or the 26 year old woman who told me in great detail how she traded her black submarine Silly Band for a glow in the dark shark after turning down previous offers for a penguin and a multi colored kangaroo.  The cross over to the adult market for shaped rubber bands (that people are actually paying money for), amazes me. And no, these aren’t random oddballs or teachers and people who work with kids and thusly feel the need to decorate themselves in the accepted accoutrements.  This is common enough and widespread enough that I feel the need to post on it.

Go to a bar and you will see adults wearing Silly Bandz.  Okay, maybe not at the swanky I-Banker bars in New York, but most bars.  I haven’t checked with the generation above mine, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say they weren’t trading garbage pail kids or wearing slap bracelets any time, much less while out at night.  Are we so terrible in our attempts at interaction that we are resorting to the bag of tricks of a fifth grader?  It has to be something other than that.  And I’m not going to credit the designers of the Silly Band for coming up with something so cool that everyone from age 6 to 60 is jonesing for it.

Maybe by crossing the threshhold of 30 I have decended into the age of incomprehension.  Next I’m going to be telling my son how I walked seven miles each way to school with nothing but newspaper on my feet in freezing weather.  Or how much an ice cream cost with I was a kid.  And he’ll be rolling his eyes and sneaking off to spend his allowance on Silly Bandz.

SHE SAID: Navigating and Directions

May 13, 2010

Gentlemen.  Jeremy.  Let’s talk.

do you have any idea where you're going?

What is it with directions?  And not just directions, but navigating in general.  Not to be too specific as I get too specific, but I went on a trip once with a friend in college, a male friend who had not only gotten into a great school, but completed the necessary requirements and was about to graduate, and he thought the towns were located where the name was written on a map, not where the convenient little black dots littering the map were placed.  I wish a recording of this trip existed.  Because while I was confused and progressively more frustrated at the time, I think I would laugh hysterically were I to hear it played back now.

All stupidity of this specimen aside, his example does demonstrate the refusal to ask for help.  He knew, as we circled around for the second time, that the town we were looking for wasn’t where he thought it was.  It wasn’t, like Hogwarts, visible for a select few.  But still, he refused to say anything, and continued to lead me around for a third time all the while declaring his amazement at our inability to find it.  Yes, at this point you can point out my own idiocy for not grabbing the map and hitting him over the head with it, but I was trying to be patient and a good team player … for once.  Plus, I was driving.  Two hands on the wheel.  Ten and two.

Another time, quite recently while driving in a city, I was given no indication whatsoever where I should steer the car until about twenty seconds after I had passed through an intersection by the gentleman holding the map (it was actually a smart phone with a mapping application, but it’s easier to say map).

I realize these are two specific occasions both bordering on the ridiculous … but the stereotype of a man refusing to stop to ask for directions as he steers his vehicle into the great unknown stems from somewhere and I would love to hear your side having experienced it more than enough.

Yes, we women might take forever to get ready and we might have to ask you a few times what you think of the outfit we’ve chosen and then ask you to carry seven items in your pockets because we cannot fit our license, debit card, extra hair tie, tampon, phone, lipstick and keys into our minuscule/non-existent pockets … but once we get our act together and open that door, we know where we are going and how to get there.  Maybe, while you’re waiting by the door, tapping your foot and reminding us what time the get together started, you could use that time constructively and figure out the route to said destination.  And no, I do not have someone waiting by the door and tapping his foot, he is far more patient and supportive than that, which is why we’re still together and he is still sane.

So what is it?  It must be something more interesting than not wanting to admit you don’t know something.  Is each trip a rite of passage in which you, equipped with a steering wheel, pedal and the sun, are to prove your competence to your tribe?  Do you say nothing and ask no questions because you want us sitting next to you, badgering you about whether or not you know where you’re going so you can crack a beer with your teeth and tell all your BBQing buddies about how your old ball and chain nagged the heck out of you on the way over because she didn’t think you knew where you were going?  Boy did you show her!  Seems like a lot to go through for a remedial story.  Is it some territorial thing?  Would you prefer to be peeing out the window and marking territory periodically while we’re moving along and that’s what’s distracting you?  Is it that you lose interest in the task at hand and move on to figuring out what athletes you should drop or shift on your fantasy team roster instead?  Because, while I get that other topics might distract you (ooh, she’s hot; I’m hungry; oh, I love this song), I’m able to both consider my next nail polish color and figure out how to get from point A to B, and I would expect you to as well.  Or is it that you want to deliver us helpless females, unharmed, to a destination needing no help at all from map, or navigator or smart phone?  Am I missing out on a competitive conversation that happens regularly between men about who had the easiest time arriving somewhere with the least amount of information?

I know we don’t tackle too many of the obvious male and female stuff on here, odd given the name of our blog, but this time let’s dive in.

SHE SAID: DJ or band?

April 29, 2010

Jeremy and I have already posted on our love of attending weddings and I can vouch for him being one of the more entertaining wedding guests OF ALL TIME.  Actually, I lie.  Jeremy and I have never attended a wedding together and so I cannot regale you with tales of his chicken dancing, his talent for toasting, or about that time when he tripped while coming off the dance floor and had to be rushed to the emergency room to get a splinter taken out of his palm.  But we both have some weddings under our belts and I know that he enjoys partaking in the merrymaking as much as I.

This past weekend I went to a family wedding and was a little disappointed, at first, to see a DJ’s table in the reception hall.  I don’t mean to offend any DJs or aspiring DJs out there, but I have to confess that when I get to a wedding, seeing a DJ setting up is almost as bad as seeing that the lead singer of the band is sporting a serious mullet and white platform patent leather boots.  You can’t help but start conjuring exit strategies and calculating how much time is appropriate to spend tolerating the music before you can ease out the side door without offending the new couple.  Things could be worse, I’ll admit; a cash bar or some Disney theme …

After the cocktail hour (during which my date and I dominated the bar and thusly were the most obvious candidates to welcome a DJ enthusiastically), we headed into the main room to welcome the bridal party fresh off their photo shoot, toast the couple, eat, and ultimately, dance dance dance.  Only, before the toasting commenced, the DJ had us twirling our napkins over our heads while he paraded around the room in a chef’s hat and managed to get one unlucky fellow (who happened to have said yes when I suggested attending a spring wedding in Connecticut) doing the twist as a demonstration for the whole table.  I was downing drinks faster than a pre-teen who had just discovered virgin piña coladas and anticipating high tailing it after the cake.

And then somewhere in there, the DJ became totally okay.  It was fun hearing songs I hadn’t heard in forever.  It was fun spending the entire night dancing.  I saw my date’s face light up with unbridled enthusiasm when a country favorite was played, my niece jumped at the chance to dance to some Train, and my mother almost cried when Lady in Red started to play.  There was some line dancing, some twisting, some Charleston-ing and some confusion explaining to my mom that it’s okay for two women to dance together – thankfully she got over it and I was able to throw her around on the dance floor a little.

And all of a sudden, my anti-DJ stance went out the window and I owned that dance floor, despite the pain my being out there caused any innocent bystanders.  And maybe the lesson here is that alcohol can make anything fun.  Maybe it’s that we shouldn’t let our stereotypes stop us from having fun or changing our hell bent stance on something.  Maybe it’s that with a little help (be it an informed friend, a strong drink, or an unexpected encounter), an experience we weren’t anticipating or even one that we were dreading, can be a hell of a lot of fun and even memorable.

Although, and this is the one draw back of a DJ, I come from a singing family.  An overwhelming, enthusiastic, and very loving family that happens to love to jump up on stage and start singing, especially at weddings.  My sister has one of the best voices I have ever heard and thankfully, it’s usually her that’s up there.  The one draw back of a DJ is that were one to sing, it ultimately sounds like karaoke.  No matter how stunning the vocals.  And that is where the band comes out the clear winner in this comparison.  Because while karaoke is fun at a dive bar with friends and a healthy sense of confidence, a wedding is neither the time nor the place.

And yes, I was most definitely trying to convince the DJ to let me up there for a few songs on Saturday.

SHE SAID: Moving

February 10, 2010

Moving is miserable.  I don’t care if you have ten things or ten million things.  It still sucks to have to box up your stuff and transport it.  Even if you’re going to a really cool place, and you’re so excited about what lies ahead in this new place … it still sucks to have to load up all your gear and get it to the new place.

The big stuff, the heavy stuff, the stuff you ask your friends to come over and help you load into the truck, car, van, isn’t really what I’m talking about, either.  I’m talking about once all that stuff is cleared away and you’re left with the clutter.  The stuff you haven’t thrown away because you think someone might want it since it’s nice and just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean someone else won’t.  Or the stuff that you had lining your window sills that doesn’t really pack up all that easily and what exactly would you write on the top of that box since there isn’t a classification for clutter.  Stuff-I-don’t-need-but-am-having-a-hard-time-ditching.

The cleansing is good.  Getting rid or so much stuff you’ve accumulated whether you’ve lived somewhere for 5 months or 50 years.  But it’s kind of good in the way that going to the dentist’s office is good.  No one looks forward to it with glee, and when you’re there you’re clutching the seat in misery waiting for it to be over … but once you walk out, you’re pretty psyched.  I mean, clean teeth is a pretty awesome feeling.  But I digress …

I know I will be glad to have gone through my stuff and gotten rid of stuff I shouldn’t have been holding on to.  I know that I will look back once I spend a few nights in my new place thinking about how great that cleanse was.  How nice it feels not to have that cactus that was dying, but I wasn’t getting rid of, to look at and feel guilty about anymore.  I’ll feel organized and on top of it and fresh.

But in the meantime, while I’m mid-move and my house looks like a festering group of angry moles when through it strictly in spite, I’m not enjoying it.  And I’m looking forward to being done with it and reflecting about how it wasn’t all that bad, but really more therapeutic.  Really.

SHE SAID: Share the Road

August 4, 2009

I have it easy.  Road biking in Vermont is a pretty friendly experience.  Drivers are incredibly generous for the most part and used to groups of multi-colored, spandex wearing bikers on the shoulders of the road.  I have heard that biking in the South is not as enjoyable.  One friend recounted getting beer cans thrown at her from passing trucks (I don’t know if said truck had a confederate flag sticker, but it would complete the picture), horn honking and getting the finger on at least an hourly basis.  Come to think of it, I have never biked with her, so I can’t speak to her modus operandi on a bike, but I’m going to assume that she wasn’t riding double on a busy road or riding in the middle of the road, and therefore, was unnecessarily harassed.

Hnidy ... biking

However, I have been harassed on a bike while minding my own business, riding close to the edge all by self, and let me tell you, it’s scary as all hell.

Drivers who buzz us.  Yes.  You are bigger.  Your truck (isn’t it usually a truck!?) could flatten me in no time and I am aware of that without a reminder.  Also, you are faster.  Impressive.  Thank you for the demonstration.  Go away now.

You could also send me spiraling over the top of your vehicle, over the front of my handlebars, over the guard rail and into that rapid river flowing a few hundred feet below, into that ditch, wrapped around that mailbox post, that tree, that telephone pole … trust me, I have considered, envisioned and have a substantial amount of  both fear and respect for all the possible situations.

Your trailer is impressive, and no, I was not expecting it or the 4×4’s it was carrying.  Thank you for giving me such an up close look at them, I think one is leaking oil.  I generally don’t like having to ride my bike that was designed for pavement on the gravel threshold, but when you give me no option, it’s a thrill to hope I a) stay on my bike and in case of a fall b) don’t fall into the road.  Also, UPS truck driver, did you even see me?  I think your cab brushed the fingers on my handlebars.  I’m all for experiencing firsts … but that was a little too freaky for me.

I don’t understand the road rage towards bikers.  Even if someone is riding double on a busy road, there are a million better ways to handle the situation before buzzing someone on a bike frame that weighs under 20 pounds who is riding with the traffic.  Honk, give the finger, yell “ass-hoooooooooole” out the window, curse under your breath, write a blog post about how annoying road riders are, but don’t threaten us with the mighty force of your 4,000 plus pound vehicle.  It’s an unfair fight, and I didn’t bring my slingshot (my tire repair kit weighs in at a few grams and I was upset about that additional weight so the stone and slingshot got axed).

bikeOr, try getting on a bike yourself and experiencing the sublime beauty of a long ride’s scenery, the exhilaration of a few hours in the saddle, the idiocy of some asshole with a Hemi who is in a hurry and takes it out on you.

In summery, you do not have permission to buzz the tower.  That’s a negative, ghost rider, the pattern is full.

SHE SAID: Texting/Email Abbreviations

July 3, 2009

Jeremy is concerned about coming across as a “lazy, fat slob who does nothing but watch movies and 90210 repeats all day” and I probably come across as an uptight and dour over analyzer.  So, to continue in that vein, I’m going to go off on email and text abbreviations.


The reason I have an issue isn’t entirely because they are lame.  While I understand that point of view, I also understand why they are useful.  Yes, it is easier to type “k” instead of “okay”.  Especially if you’re driving while drinking a hot cup of coffee, turning up the volume on the radio and IM-ing on your phone, all of which some people find acutely necessary at times.  I have an issue with the younger generation (no, I am not 80 despite how that came out) abusing and relying too heavily on this electronic slang before understanding and correctly applying grammatical rules of language.

When I was in high school, this was in the mid-nineties (after pinch rolling jeans and scrunchies but before boot cut jeans and spaghetti strap tank tops), we didn’t have cell phones.  We didn’t have text/SMS messaging, instant messaging, we didn’t even have email addresses (exclude the occasional kid who had a compuserve email which consisted of seventeen million numbers@compuserve.com).  Shortening the language for quick communication wasn’t an issue, and people still couldn’t get it right.  A high school acquaintance started off a paper about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the start of the WWI with “King Willy was like wow.”  King Willy being Wilhelm II.  We couldn’t get language right without proper study back before we had no excuse.  How can we expect proper sentence structure and language flow now?

Still not 80.

I will accept almost anything in a text message.  You write gr8, yes, I will chuckle and think it’s lame, but I don’t expect much.  Texting is the fast food of the written word.  I’m also pretty lenient on email.  Capitalization, run-ons, sentences ending in a preposition, misspellings, it’s okay.  But, gr8 in an email?  I’ll draw the line there.  And I made fun of a friend who wrote: “U r correct. How u been? Might be grabbing a burger. U ought to join if u r free.”

As far as words like pwn are concerned, while flirting with the slippery slope of abbreviation, they are ultimately different.  While suspect because the etymology is based on a possible typo, pwned and the like are different in that they are how language is developing and being effected by the world wide web and instant communication.  While I might not utilize it, I agree with Samuel Johnson that language cannot be contained and is constantly evolving.  I’m not fighting evolution, but I am daring to say no to bastardization.

Brb, lol, rotflmao, gr8, omg, tmi … WTF!  Are you really laughing out loud?  I am you.  Not u.  Is it that hard to give the y and the o equal attention?  Anyone who resorts to the abbreviations becomes a twelve year-old girl to me.  And while twelve year-old girls are wonderful, I don’t respect their command of the written word, nor do I think anyone over 12 should be taking tips from them on communication.  Because I don’t want to “be all” anything.  And I don’t want to start every conversation with “Oh my God” and end it with “TTYL”.