Saturday, October 13, 2012

Things Deb Doesn't Love: Internet D-Bags

Well guys, it's Saturday morning, and I am at work. I've gotten up at 5:45am for the past 3 days, I have been working pretty much non-stop for a month on a conference that ends today, and while checking my email this morning received a message from a dude on OkCupid. This happens every now and then. I have an active profile on the site mostly so that I can tell those who suggest online dating to me that I am "trying," even if I am not trying very hard. I thought it would be just another generic email, "You look fun, let's get a drink." But this one was special.

It read, "Look at your pictures - do you see why your single?"

Um, really? You are going to send me grammatically incorrect hate mail on okcupid? ON A DATING SITE? I was blown away. I still am. At first I felt hurt. Then confused. Why would a perfect stranger* want to insult me on the internet? Did he think he was offering a piece of helpful advice? What did he mean look at my pictures? Is he making reference to my fatness? Or my curly hair? Or the fact that I look (and am) vaguely Lebanese?

Normally I would try to let this go. I would try to be the bigger person. I would try to "ignore" him while actually internalizing the message of shame. And then I would feel ashamed. Of my body. Of myself.

Not this time, douchebag.

I responded with the following message:

"If you have nothing better to do than send messages like this, I could ask you the same thing, asshole.

And for the record, I love all those pictures.

Also, fuck you."

And because I DO love all those pictures, here they are.

Don't I look fun and cute and fat and attractive and awesome and, most importantly, LIKE MYSELF?

I thought so. 

*This guy's username is de8jr333. So if you happen to be on OkCupid and come across his profile, maybe you should give him some constructive criticism on what he, a perfect stranger, could do to be less single. Cause apparently, according to him, that's an appropriate thing to do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dad in Hospital

Around 11:30 on the evening of Sunday, July 8th my Dad woke up with severe pain in the right side of his chest. He yelled and cried so loudly my mom had no choice but to call an ambulance to take him to the ER. The paramedics arrived quickly, and as they examined him he appealed to God for relief. "FATHER!" He yelled, "FATHER, HELP ME!!!" While following the ambulance in her car, my mom called me 5 times. I was, of course, sleeping. When I didn't answer the 5th time, she texted me, and for some reason the text woke me up. When I saw 5 missed calls from her, my heart stopped. I looked at the text message, a simple, "Dad in Hospital," and started to weep even as I called her back.

To say I love my Dad is an understatement. Or at least it doesn't adequately describe the visceral need I have for him to be alive in the world. He no longer supports me financially, and I rarely heed his advice. But being able to call him, to hear his voice, to yell about politics (and I mean YELL), to be asked how I am in his dad voice, to be given advice I will probably ignore, to be sung to on my birthday--how can I do without these things? To say I fear my Dad's death is also an understatement. The idea of his passing has been a constant presence in my body for the entirity of my adult life. It oftentimes takes possession of my ability to sleep and breath. Sometimes his death is everywhere, other times it is just a tiny spot at the base of my left lung, but it is never gone. 

I stayed awake all night that Sunday, as did my 6 siblings--a cross-country vigil. All day Monday, since he still had no diagnosis, it felt to us all as though he could die at any moment. After spending the day unable to function, I decided to fly home. By the time I boarded the plane on Tuesday morning we knew he wasn't going to die anytime soon (well, from this ailment at least), but still... I just needed to see him.

His chest pains, it turned out, were the result of a series of blood clots in his lungs. Apart from the memory of the pain, a daily medication, and a newly discovered awareness of his own mortality, he walked away relatively unscathed. But the reality is had those clots traveled to his brain or his heart, he could've died and the text message from my mom would've brought infinitely worse news.

After his diagnosis, he had to stay in the hospital until his blood was no longer at risk for clotting. My brother, Allan, who lives an hour and a half drive from my parents' home, had stayed the night with Dad on Monday but had to leave Tuesday morning to start his summer courses. My mom, currently unemployed, had a job interview on Wednesday afternoon, so it fell to me to sleep in the hospital on Tuesday night.

My dad fell asleep at 8pm, like he usually does, but woke up at 11:00 squirming. His C-Pap machine along with his denturelessness made him difficult to understand when I asked what was wrong. "I'm cold. I'm so cold." I rang the nurses button. "My chest hurts," is what I believe he said. "Like Sunday. Like on Sunday." That I heard clearly. He was shivering violently and grasping his chest, his face so pained. I stood next to his bed terrified and helpless. I kept asking him again and again if he was all right, desperate for him to not be dying right in front of me. The nurse, a wonderful man named Eric, came in. He gave Dad a heated blanket and a pain pill, and my dad stopped shivering relatively quickly. Eric sat with me making small talk for almost 30 minutes, even after Dad was asleep. He would joke the next day that Dad had, "scared [me] half to death!" At which my dad would laugh, grab my hand, and cry a little.

Dad would stay in the hospital a full week, the entire time I was in Dallas. Every moment that was not spent showering at home, sleeping at home, or eating dinner, was spent in the hospital room with him. Luckily, it was not all life and death. I watched a lot of True Blood, read Clash of Kings, and met a plethora of my dad's friends from church. I heard the story of Sunday night so many times I had it memorized. I had to help my dad in the bathroom and saw more of his genitalia than I ever thought possible. I could tell he was a little ashamed, so I would make constant testicle jokes. I even composed a song, accompanied by my signature shoulder shrug dance. It would make him laugh every time. We got into a huge fight when my mom and I told him we were not going to stay in the hospital with him the last two nights because even experiencing what feels like the brink of death can't keep a De Laurell fight from escalating. At one point I yelled at him, "It's really hard to feel sorry for you when you feel so fucking sorry for yourself!" Not my proudest moment.

He was released Sunday, July 15th, and on Monday was already doing the grocery shopping at Costco. He is feeling recovered, or at least as much as a person can when he thought his life was about to end.

So many have shared with me that the day you realize your parents are vulnerable is a sad, hard day. And it is, but for so many more reasons than I thought. When I was a child I thought my parents omnipotent, immortal beings, and I knew that someday I would grow up to be just like them. I too could be whatever I wanted, live however I wanted, do anything and everything. I knew that life was long, and my place in the world would be lofty and strong.

So inside my father's mortality, inside the anticipated pain of his death, inside the absence of his voice and his presence, is my own death, and the death of all things. Solid, sure, inevitable. The delicacy of life and the precariousness of my place in the world has become the undeniable truth.

I keep looking back to how I felt after my brother Mark died, trying to remember how long it took me to feel like myself, to feel normal. I never did. I will never be able to go back to how I was before that. And this. Thank God my father is still alive, not only alive, but well and full of gratitude for his life and his loved ones. I have gratitude as well, but I also have this new thing. The weighted stone in my stomach, that taste of death, of my dad's, of my own.

How do I move forward from this?

I don't ask expecting an answer. I ask because it repeats in my mind over and over and over. I ask  because, though I don't expect an answer, I want one. And I want the answer to be, "No one you love will ever die." I feel like a child in the middle of an aisle at Toys R Us flailing on the floor about a Barbie my parents will not buy me. Except I am 30. Except I am working so hard to contain the flailing, to not want the stupid Barbie, to be an adult, to be all right. But I'm not. I'm not all right.

That first night Dad spent in the emergency room, he learned the names and countries of origin of all his nurses. Apparently his favorite nurse was named Rose, a Haitian woman who helped my dad practice his French. He also blessed some of the aides and called the rest of the hospital workers his "angels." When I spoke to him that Monday morning, I told him how wonderful that was and he said, "It's important to be kind." He also told me his 5th floor room must be where the furniture was stored because it was so quiet. I asked him if he liked it, and he said, "Oh, yes. Very quiet. I love it." Then he told me God heard his cry for help and saved his life. Maybe He did.



Help me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Fatkini

Last summer, after I got back to my normal weight, I was left in a predicament. Namely, that much of my wardrobe didn't fit. I mean, I was fine with day to day clothes: jeans, shirts, skirts, dresses, etc, but, as a family reunion in Florida loomed, I found myself without a rather essential wardrobe piece--a bathing suit. Finding clothes I liked, both online and in stores had proved a somewhat pleasing, although often times daunting, task so I assumed bathing suit shopping would be the same.

It was not.

First of all, my breasts are big. Like REAL big. As a side note they are also awesome. They also have no real... lift,  you might say, on their own, so whatever bathing suit I was going to buy would need to have either a built-in bra, or really, really resilient straps.

Also, it couldn't be a halter, because I have neck problems and having the entire weight of my pendulous breasts resting on my neck would be a recipe for sublaxation and pain.

Also, I didn't want a one piece.

Also, I didn't want it to be ugly OR look like it was designed for someone over the age of 70.

Also, I didn't want it to squeeze my chubby belly like a stuffed sausage.

I suppose I must also mention that never in my life, since this little two piece that my mom bought me when I was 4, had I ever owned a swimsuit I really liked until the summer of 2009. It was teal and stripey and glorious AND had a built in bra. And I had been spoiled. I had seen the light. I had owned a swimsuit I loved, and I was NEVER GOING BACK.

About $600 and probably 15 swimsuits later, I stopped trying to order a bathing suit online and decided to brave some stores. This was a bad idea. At one point, while in a Sears dressing room trying on as many swimsuits as possible before the store closed in 15 minutes and on the verge of tears, I said to my Hetero, "I look better naked." Which I did. And do. I would deign to say that MOST people look better naked than covered in that weird, shiny, stretchy material they use to make bathing suits.

After pretty much giving up, I stumbled on a swimsuit at Target which I didn't hate (nor love) and which was reasonably priced. I purchased it then and there, wore it in Florida, and got a wicked sunburn. Wins all around. Then, as though a gift from heaven in the middle of winter, I found a $20 (originally $120!) swimsuit I legitimately loved while purchasing a puffer vest on I returned the Puffer Vest (cause it looked so dumb on me) but kept the swimsuit, a tankini composed of a light blue and white top and a sunshine yellow bottom. It looks a LITTLE BIT like my butt is jaundiced, but the fact that I finally owned a swimsuit which fit me, was pretty, didn't squeeze my belly, AND wasn't black felt like a miracle. And I was perfectly happy with my winter purchase until I discovered the Fatkini.

This is Chastity Garner, my VERY FAVORITEST style blogger (except Zoe).

Chastity is the queen of alterations so actually make this fatkini from a Monif C one-piece bathing suit.

She is sporting what the fat-o-sphere calls a fatkini. It is what you call a bikini when a fat person is wearing it, and I WANT ONE.

But since this decade is the decade where I really take hold of my finances I will not be buying one until it seems fiscally responsible (maybe one of them will eventually be on sale for $20 in the middle of the winter). That does not stop me from sharing my favorites with you here.

I love Domino Dollhouse. The styles I love are like punk rock meets Mad Men. Also they sell petticoats in EVERY COLOR OF THE RAINBOW.

Now there is no possible way my breasts would be held up by that tiny string, but this bathing suit is HAWT. I love the ruffles on the legs, the little tie, and the color. I wish they sold it in more extended sizes though. I bet even the bigger big ladies want to get their Retro Doll on!

SimplyBe's Beach to Beach Bikini Top and Bottom:
I have yet to order anything from SimplyBe, but I think this bathing suit it AMAZING. I am including a photo of Gabi from Gabifresh because I think she looks about 50 times more awesome in that fatkini than the model from the website. SimplyBe also has some more traditional bikinis if that's your jam.

I am not normally a fan of Leopard Print but holy mother I would wear that in a hot ten seconds.

Monif C also has a TEAL one-piece bathing suit covered in FRINGE. Not super practical, but awesome all the same.

Think you are too fat to wear a bikini? Gabi (pictured above in her awesome stripey fatkini) started a Fatkini photo project on xojane! I've now scrolled through every photo twice and all I have to say is TAKE THAT HATERS!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Keep Calm and Wear a Tutu: Zoe Enabled Alterations

There are so many things to love about my friend, Zoe. She is funny, charmingly irreverent, warm, silly, creative, unapologetically herself, and, it must be said, INCREDIBLY well-dressed at all times. The dress she wore to my birthday party was a paragon of crinolined awesome.

Zoe is my suburban adventure buddy and knows all the best thrift stores. She is a co-lover of all things Lesley Kinzel and went with me to her book signing where we got into a heated discussion about whether or not people who are not actually fat can participate in fat acceptance, and she SCHOOLED me. She is always up for dessert, whether it be ice cream or milkshakes or waffles, and she is a flexitarian after my own heart. She is one of my favorite people in the world, and I am so glad she is my friend.

Now, to heap on top of ALL THAT AWESOME, she bought me pretty much the coolest and most generous birthday gift ever: a brand new sewing machine. I believe I carried the box around the birthday party for a hot 10 minutes with tears in my eyes so that everyone could see its beauty.

Please note, the sewing machine box matches my pink crinoline.
In addition, Zoe gave me a trash bag full (literally) of clothes that she had picked up for me at various thrift stores AND the pink crinoline featured in most of the party pictures, which she had purchased for her Halloween costume last October.

Zoe and our friend Maribel bought me those socks too. They have HAMBURGERS on them.
Not all the thrifted pieces worked so I had to rethrift a few, but my favorite by far was this silver number with the black flower brocade at the bottom. There was only one problem. It was inordinately long on me, and, for all it's cuteness, looked pretty dowdy.

Please ignore my super messy room. Please don't ignore my awesome bedhead.
As my mom and I were reviewing how to use the sewing machine the Monday after my birthday, I was shocked at how much I remembered, since, according to my shoddy memory, the last time I had really sewed anything was in my clothing class my sophomore year of high school. Then I remembered that my old voice teacher at the University of Redlands had enlisted my and a friend's help in sewing many of the costumes for our department's production of Oklahoma!. While sewing with Dr. Tosh I learned how to make button holes, install a zipper, install an elastic waist, and make ruffles.

Then there is how effortless all this crafty stuff seems to me. Heathersies says I am the idiot savant of crocheting, but I think this might be true for all things crafty. I don't feel confident about many of my skills, but for some reason this sewing and crocheting thing has just come so easy and is so fun and so rewarding.

So I decided to shorten this skirt. I didn't want to hem it as I didn't want to lose the brocade pattern, so I took apart the waist line/elastic, cut off 7 inches of fabric, reinstalled the waist line/elastic and voila!

The Perfect Length for my short self!
I feel so proud this turned out, and now feel EVEN MORE excited for making my own clothes from scratch so soon.

Skirt: Thrifted and Gifted by Zoe, and altered by ME!
Sweater: Good Will
Cami: Lane Bryant
Shoes: Torrid 
(circa 2002--these are the first pair of high heels I ever bought)
Fascinator: Gift from my dear roomie, Steph

Fascinator Close-Up
 I can't wait to share more crafty projects with you guys!!

Also, I am going to, for the first time, end this blog with a question. 

What's your crafting dream? Sewing, Crocheting, Knitting or Macrame, what piece do you dream of making for yourself? Let me know in the comments section!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I Got

Last Friday I spent the last two hours of work google stalking the man I loved for 3 years, as I had, rather out of the blue, become obsessed with finding out if he had gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend. Luckily his internet presence is minimal, and I found nothing, except a current photo proving that he is just as handsome as ever. Barf. But I was left wondering why I was spurred to even look him up in the first place.

He and I first became friends in 2007 back when I was a self-hating Fattie. From our first real conversation I was completely smitten. Even though we worked in the same building, our friendship was pretty slow moving. Then he started sending me gifts of burned CDs delivered to my desk by his work study students and coming to visit me at least once a day, and I thought, "Oh, man. He likes me." I couldn't believe it. I was so into this dude that I lost all appetite and could hardly sleep. I became suddenly tranquil about my own singleness because I was so convinced it would end. But nothing happened. Months later, he ended up fooling around with a friend of mine, which was, I suppose, his way of telling me he wasn't interested. Or something. I heaped all the hatred and anger I could onto my body, telling myself he didn't want to date me because I was fat.

Then in 2008 I joined Weight Watchers. I like to think I lost weight for, what I perceived was, my health, but a part of me was also convinced if I could lose enough weight he would love me. That my body was the only obstacle to us being together. Not his emotional unavailability, not his inability to see my worth as a partner or a woman, not his investment in how things look versus how things feel, no, my body was clearly the primary deterrent.

And I lost a crap ton of weight. I had sex for the first time with some random dude and felt sexually appealing and amorous in its aftermath. Then, one night in the summer of 2009 I stayed at his house in his bed. Nothing happened, but we slept really close. I thought, this is it. But, of course, it wasn't. He didn't talk to me for a month after that. An appropriate amount of time to let me know that sleeping in the same bed meant so little to him that he wasn't even thinking of me, let alone wanting to call me. And this is how it went for the next year. Physical closeness followed by weeks or months of silence. I told myself my body just wasn't thin enough yet. That I had to keep working. The problem was still my body. Not his loneliness and willingness to use me for physical affection, not my idealization of him as a partner and person, not my inability to confront him and say, "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH US?!" No. The problem was still that I wasn't thin enough and that my body was shameful and unattractive to men.

He moved south for a job in the summer of 2010. Our contact was sporadic after his departure. I was in the process of gaining weight back by this time, in the midst of feeling more betrayed by my body than I ever had before. In 2011 he and I had a falling out, and I felt the need to insist he never contact me again, a decision I still stand by.

It's been almost a year since we interacted. And yet, for some reason I google stalked him, and in the process reawakened all those old, shitty feelings that my body is never, and will never be good enough for love. But there was a new feeling too: the feeling that the price I pay for loving my body as it is is the love of a man. That to exist in my current body is to be unlovable. It's a common thought in any woman's mind I'm sure, so common and commonly accepted that it often feels like a sad, sad truth.

As a 30-year-old (I'm 30!), single, woman who identifies as fat, I feel as though I am often put in a precarious emotional situation. I am constantly thrust into social situations where people say things like, "You look good! Have you lost weight?" Our culture's idea of fat-as-unattractive permeates even the most mundane of social interactions. And then I have to go home and talk to myself about this idea's untruth, talk to myself about the system of attractiveness that keeps women slaves to their appearance, keeps them snarking on their own bodies and the bodies of others. I envy the fat women who have husbands and boyfriends if only because they have simply to get into bed, allow their lovers to touch them, to be affirmed in their body's base attractiveness, while those of us who are single have to content ourselves with masturbation and positive self-talk. "I am a sexual being. My body does not intrinsically exclude me from sexuality."

I suppose I could end this blog with the actual truth. I could spout off about the complexity of attraction or the effect one's confidence has on sexual desirability. But really what I want to do is punch that dude until he falls over, and, as I stand triumphantly over him, say, "You missed out on something pretty awesome, mother fucker." And then crouch down and whisper in his ear, "Cause what I got? Oh, honey. It is so. fucking. good."

Or something like that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Deb Loves to Crochet: Mom's B-day Scarf

This past April 25 my mom celebrated her 60th birthday. I had been planning to make her a gift with my new crocheting skills since I learned how to crochet earlier in the year, so while at Michael's in February purchased A LOT of Carron Simply Soft yarn (on sale - $3 per skein!). I actually bought the periwinkle specifically to make something for my mom and the sea foam to make leg warmers for myself. But when looking into my crochet box in early April I saw the two colors lying next to each other and thought they looked so lovely, thus the stripes were born. I used some leftover red yarn from Baby Lydia's blanket to stitch a heart onto the corner, just as a reminder to my mom that I made this with lots of love. Happy 60th birthday, Momsies!! I'm so glad you were born and are my mom.

Pattern: Double Crochet, 7 Rows in each color
Hook: 5 M (H)
Yarn: Carron Simply Soft - Worsted Weight
Colors: Berry Blue, Blue Mint
Amount: About one and a half 6 oz skeins of each color

My beautiful mom in her scarf!

As a side note, while crocheting this scarf, I finally figured out how to properly start a piece, as well as realized that doing 3 chains at the end of the row before turning while utilizing double crochet creates a lovely scallop-like edge. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What I've Learned Over the Past Decade

Over the past month, whenever anyone asks me how I am, my answer is always, "I'm turning 30," as though that is a feeling in and of itself. Of course, most people understand. It seems everyone has a story about how terrible life felt as he or she approached 30. And everyone says its better on the other side, that your 30s are fantastic, and I don't doubt it.

But I am still on this side. And it is still hard. Not to disparage the remarks of friends who offer their counsel so lovingly, but the reality is turning 30 is hard for me. I never thought I would be this person. I've wanted to be 30 since I was 23, aching for a time when I would "have it all figured out." When I would be "good at life." It isn’t hard because my life doesn't look a certain way, because I don't have a husband or children or a house or a dog. It is hard because it is all still so much of a struggle. Because I don't have shit figured out. Because I still have to work to brush my teeth twice a day and go to bed on time; to relax and breathe; to use my free time wisely; to invest in relationships that are deeply loving and hence deeply conflicted; to count my many blessings. At 23 I honestly believed that things would get easier as I got older.

But they haven't.

I know what some of you will say. That things WILL eventually get easier, and maybe that's true too. But I think the problem here is that I'm still clinging to the idea of ease. That being "good at life" means life is easy, and that isn't true.

I feel like a broken record when I say we live in a world where we are inundated with the idea that if we can just imagine things they will be. All we have to do is put an idea out into the universe, and it will come back to us. A woman wishes very hard for a husband, and then she finds one. She congratulates herself on never giving up hope. An unhappily employed man wishes for a new job, he gets one. He did that for himself. He envisioned that job. So many of us confuse luck and personal power.

It's a nice idea, but I don't buy it. If I learned one thing in my 20s it's that all you have to do is open your eyes to the world to see the deep, abiding struggle in it. To see individuals in bondage to a system that does not care for or about them, to see loved ones fighting for basic human rights, to see hurt, pain, greed, intolerance and hate.

This sounds dire even to me. Except that the struggle to see can be joyous. My 20 year-old self associates joy with ease. If things were easier I'd be happier. If I had more money, if I was thinner and hence more beautiful according to cultural standards I'd be happier, if I had a husband, if I didn't have an eating disorder, if I liked salad more, if if if if I would be happier. I've spent the past 10 years trying the same thing over and over again. I thought I could wish life easy. I thought I could fight against the world in myself, ignoring oppression, racism, abuses, pain because if those things exist life cannot be easy.

And they do exist. And so... And so...

I turn 30 on Saturday. I will still wear bright colors and crinolines, I will still push inappropriate jokes to the point where Jan cries, "DEBORAH!" I will continue to feel angry about injustice. I will continue to obsess over Peter Dinklage in a teenage girl sort of way, and love popular music. My opinions will still be aggressive and angry. I will still throw my head back when I laugh. I will still be a Debbie Downer at parties. I will still squeal over poofy dogs and fat cats, and I will most certainly still wear my teal, lensless glasses. To be honest I feel like the one thing I want to stop is saying, "When I grow up, I want to..."

Cause here it is. Hell or high water, this is adulthood.

I look back on my 20 year old self and feel sad for her. At 20, I dreamed of having a husband and children and a finally thin body. My scope was so small. I thought all happiness was in those 3 things. And here I am a husbandless, childless 30-year-old fat woman, and there is so much joy in me. I didn't know how good things could be, or how much goodness could look and feel like grief.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


That's right. I'm talking about vagina medicine. After discussing my vagina problems with Brooke at dinner last night (you know you have a good friend when you can discuss your infected genitalia over Indian Food) I made her go with me to CVS to purchase the medicines. She was, in true Brooke fashion, completely unphased by me requesting her presence at the pharmacy. My reasoning was this, "If you come with me, it will be funny because then we'll be two people laughing over my who-ha. But if you don't, I'll just be the sad girl with the infected bajingo." Sound reasoning, my friends. So I purchased the medicines, and when the check out man went to put it in a plastic CVS bag, I said, "I have a bag!" And instructed him to drop the package in the brown paper bag containing my leftovers. He laughed while he did it. This of course made it EXTRA fun cause then we were THREE people laughing about my who-ha.

Monistat and Mint Chutney: a killer combo

Friday, April 6, 2012

Keep Calm and Wear a Tutu: $4 Super Tight Pencil Skirt

About 6 months ago I decided to be more fashionably proactive at Thrift Stores because my darling Elizabeth and I frequent them so often for affordable lunchtime adventures. This means that instead of disregarding second hand clothing stores as places where only normal sized peops could find great used clothes, I was going to open my mind to 

A) trying on clothes that might not fit in the off chance that they might and 
B) really searching the racks for clothes in my size. 

It remains one of the best resolutions I've ever had. 

Last month my darling Elizabeth discovered a tiny church thrift store in Harvard Square that I will not name because I don't want it to get too well known and then have people swarm it and steal all of our good deals (not the BEST attitude to have about a Church Thrift store, but there you have it). Elizabeth walked out of the store with a veritable bevy of delights, while I left with what I believe to be the ultimate thrift store purchase: a lined, wool pencil skirt that fits me perfectly AND cost $4.


The one problem is it fits me SO well sitting down is difficult and bending down is impossible, so when I arrived at work this morning I had to go trasping around the sociology department to find someone to buckle my super cute shoes for me. Friend Kimberly to the rescue!!!

Skirt: Thrifted, $4
Top: Old Navy, $15
Tights: Target, $4
Belt: Ashley Stewart, $10
Shoes: MizMooz Chai Pump via Nordstrom Rack $60
Hands: Non-existent
Photographer: Enthusiastic

And here's a shot of my sweet ass.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Winning the Lottery

I feel like talk of this $900 kagillion lottery jackpot is all over my facebook and twitter feeds today. I even had an extended conversation with Soul Twin about what she would do if her ticket was the winning ticket. So, thought I, let me take a break from my dating-angst-filled posts to do something light-hearted. Which, being the Debbie Downer I tend to be, left me feeling not so light-hearted.

Here are the things I would do if I won $100 zillion:

1) Pay off my own student loan debt and the student loan debt of everyone I love.
2) Buy a condo in JP and a hybrid car, and adopt a dog. 
3) Pay off my parents house and all their debt and set up a fund so that my mother would never have to work again, unless she wanted to.

And then I drew a blank.

There are other things I want (mostly lots and lots and LOTS of clothes and shoes) but I often feel like if I could just have those basic things, I could be truly happy.

And I mean it.

I am resistant to the idea that money can buy happiness. We all know, in theory, that it can't. But what it can do is expunge the financial mistakes of the past. It can make them virtually disappear--like they never existed. Money swirling out of nowhere, crashing back into nowhere, and leaving something like freedom in it's wake.

It's fun to dream about, no? A financial reprieve so great it's akin to a new life. A life where no dress or apartment or vacation is too expensive. Where eating out for every meal is an option, and deciding between cage-free and not-cage-free eggs to save a dollar is a thing of the past. I feel like the question for me is less what I would do with all that money and more what would I do with myself. What would it be like to be a person with no real financial burdens?

One night last fall, I was riding my bike down Brattle Street when I passed a particularly splendid North Cambridge Home. It was huge (duh), old (most likely) and had a rainbow stained glass window inlaid in the (oversized) front door. Before I passed the house I had been talking aloud to myself, something I frequently do while riding my bicycle, discussing why I was feeling so guilty about having abandoned my homemade lunch in lieu of eating (yet another) Chipotle burrito. "I feel guilty," I believe I was saying, "because that was my last 10 dollars. What if something comes up? What if I need to go to the chiropractor? What if I need to buy tampons or toothpaste? I'm down to zero." And then I rode by that house and thought, "The person who owns that house is never down to zero." And then I cried. Crying while riding my bike is also a frequent occurrence, and I cried the remaining two miles home.

I know I have so many essential aspects of my life that could not be purchased. I have friends with whom I share my life (who share their lives with me), friends who are so much an essential part of my heart they are family. Not LIKE my family; they ARE my family. I have parents and a brother who I love and trust. The safe space in which my parents raised me allows me to remain emotionally open even in difficult situations. Not to mention being born into a middle class family, raised in a safe neighborhood, given access to healthy foods, etc. My life is good. Quite good in fact.

What would an inordinate amount of money actually bring me? It would be nice to buy any dress, go on any vacation, eat out at any restaurant, but does my happiness really hinge on those things? Of course it doesn't. OF COURSE it doesn't.

While laying in bed writing a few days ago, I began to dissect my sadness. I say I want to have more money, more clothes, more love. What do I really want?

I want to acknowledge the unearned gift that is my race, my upbringing, my education, my cushy job. Because even though I often find my life comparatively lacking, the truth is, in the history of the world, I am so, so undeservedly blessed. And in the end, I want that to be enough. I want what I have to be enough.

I wish there were a lottery for that. I would certainly buy a ticket.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Deb Loves to Crochet: Blumhofer Baby Blanket

While throwing around present ideas for my friend Becca's baby shower I all of the sudden remembered that I could crochet! Having only left myself two weeks to make a gift, I decided on a baby blanket because, being pretty much just one big square, I assumed it was most likely within my skill and time limitations. I knew I didn't want to do something traditionally pink for her soon-to-be-born baby girl, but decided to find a pattern before making a decision about color.

My friend Jan and I headed to JP Knit and Stitch that very afternoon. I explained my situation to one of the women working there who gave me three options in terms of patterns. But the minute I saw the Purl Bee Giant Granny Square (particularly after being told that the only stitches I needed to know were chaining and double crocheting) I knew it was for me, and I knew I would make a rainbow.

Now, I am a relatively new crocheter, so I had no idea about the labor intensiveness involved in crocheting a good size blanket. I ended up having to return to the store for more yarn a few times (crocheting, as I learned, eats up a lot more yarn than knitting) and had to spend every free moment of that two weeks working my hands until they ached. At 4am the morning before the shower, I decided the last two rows of purple looked like a lovely border and declared it done.

I think it turned out really well, and I hope little baby Lydia is enjoying it now that she is out of the womb and in the world. Her mom and dad are so special to me, and I can't wait to meet her!

Pattern: Purl Bee Giant Granny Square with Tutorial
Hook: 5M (H)
Yarn: Berroco Comfort - Knitting Worsted Weight
Colors: Pimpernel, KidzOrange, Primary Yellow, Turquoise, Cadet, Purple

 4 Rows in

All 7 red rows, plus first orange row

Red and Orange (14 rows) plus first yellow row

Red, Orange and Yellow  (21 rows) plus first green row

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green (28 Rows) plus first blue row


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Adventures of the Dating Impaired: Part 2

Well, friends, here it is, the long awaited part 2 of my dating adventures. Part 2 actually took place over the course of many days last week, but it has taken this beautiful sunny day and the wearing of my prettiest, flowiest, chiffoniest, pinkest skirt to give me the strength of mind to share it with all of you. So here goes...

After the debacle that was the first date, I was shocked to hear from the gentleman the DAY AFTER. Unheard of, no? He texted me to say he had a good time, and that we should do it again soon. I was floored. I immediately called Elizabeth about to hyperventilate with unadulterated terror. She had to remind me that a second date with a man who had witnessed my crazy and still wanted to hang with me was in fact a good thing. Three hours later I was calm enough to text him back something that didn't involve yelling about urination. 

In the time between dates (almost two weeks actually, due to our travel schedules), there was pretty much no contact at all. People kept saying, "So, have you guys been texting?" No. No, we were not. My brother asked, "Well, do you WANT to text him?" Oh, Brother. I have NO EFFING IDEA.

I'm sure you might have noticed that the first blog contained not a single detail about this man. I will share some of them with you now. 

The Good Things: 
Emotionally open. Warm. Easy to laugh. Smart. Natural conversationalist. Question asker.

The Not So Good Things:  
Pretty unkempt. Looked vaguely like Brother. Mustache part of beardiness grew over his upper lip, something that my brother's mustache often does and something I consistently tell him will deter any woman from wanting to kiss him.

People also kept asking if I was attracted to him. If I wanted to kiss him. To which I would respond, Oh, People. I have NO EFFING IDEA. 

But "no effing idea" is not a "no." So on a second date we went.

This is the place where I would like to say that none of the not so good things about this man were in any way deal breakers for me. I, in fact, realized that my whole deal breakers blog was complete bunk, as a man could love Catcher in the Rye, Garden State, wear a ratty hoodie, AND wear super tight pants, and I would probably still be into him if there was chemistry between us. To be honest the man I loved for 3 years loved all those things. Perhaps this explains my current aversion to them. But this is neither here nor there.

POINT: The fact that this man was unkempt phased me only slightly, and did not in any way deter me from going on a second date with him. It also did not deter me from harboring a secret hope that over the course of the two weeks we didn't see each other he had decided to trim his beard and get a haircut.

He had done neither of those things.

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant, went to another weird concert (lesson learned, friends, I peed before) and then went and got a few beers at a bar.

Overall, the date was pretty fun. I realized during the concert that I was, in fact, attracted to him, as our arms touching while we watched the musicians gave me a bit of a thrill, so that was good. We went to a nearby bar, drank beer, I sang some kareoke (because there was no wait to sing, and it was right there, and I don't want to know the person who WOULDN'T take advantage of an opportunity like that regardless of if she is on a second date with a person she hardly knows) and put on my flirting hat. As far as I knew, everything was going swimmingly until we had this conversation:

Man: So I just have to be home by 1am. I'm going on a food run with a friend of mine.
Deb: Where are you going to get food at 1am?
Man: Trader Joes.
Deb: What Trader Joes is open at 1am?
Man: None of them.
Deb: Then what Trader Joes are you going to if none of them are open?
Man: Do you really not understand what I'm saying?
Deb: No.
Man: I'm a Freegan.
Deb (confused): So you steal the food?

No, he doesn't steal the food. He gets it from dumpsters.

And STILL, my darlings, this was not a deal breaker for me. 

Here's the thing. 
I get it. I get why someone would eat/live that way. It actually makes more sense to me than liking Garden State or dieting. It isn't a way of life in which I would ever engage, but I respect it. Hence, it was not a deal breaker. Particularly because he was still the man who had all those good qualities, qualities that were, in accordance with his lifestyle, obtained for free.

So, he walked me to the bus, and we hugged goodbye. I spent all night thinking about how cool he was and eventually got up at 6:30 because I couldn't sleep. I spent the whole morning wondering when/if I should contact him. Eventually around 1pm I texted saying, "I had a nice time, let's do it again soon."

The rest of the day went by SO SLOW IT WAS INSANE. Compulsive phone and email checking abounded. There was a rush of hope each time the phone vibrated and resultant disappointment each time it was not him. By the time I got home that night, I still hadn't heard anything. And by the time I got to work the following morning, I knew I wouldn't. 

 Dear men of the world who have done this:
It's shitty. I get you don't want to be the bad guy. I get you don't want to have to say, "Your consumerist American ways lead me to believe our lifestyles would be incompatible." But please god, nut up, cause this whole, "I am saying I'm not interested by not saying anything at all," is just shitty. And it makes you look like an asshole. It makes you look like an EVEN WORSE GUY. 
I get that saying those things would be hard. I get that you don't want to hurt feelings. But welcome to the world, my friend. Sometimes, shit is hard.

But regardless of how unideal his "communication" method, I got the message. I got that he wasn't interested. And that was okay. Different strokes for different folks.

Also, could I really have legitimately dated a Freegan?

Probably not.

But it doesn't end here.

This man happens to know a friend of mine with whom I work, a friend who is a magical wood nymph of a person, who we will call Magical Wood Nymph Friend. Freegan man and Magical Wood Nymph Friend have actually been acquainted for many  years and had recently re-connected at a recreational sporting event.

On Monday morning, after 5 days of no contact, I received a text from Freegan man saying, "If [Magical Wood Nymph Friend] wants to play [recreational sport] he needs to fill out a waiver THIS MORNING. I sent him a facebook message, but can you remind him?"

I believe I stared at my phone for a full 5 minutes before registering what was happening.

This man who had up until now been giving me the "I'm not interested" silent treatment was now ASKING ME FOR A FAVOR.

So I threw my phone across Harvard Yard.

I didn't. I love that phone. I responded, "Will do."

TO WHICH he responded, "Thanks, also give him my number if he doesn't already have it. Thanks. Want to come to a game night on Thursday?"

Uh, WHAT? 


So I threw my phone across Harvard Yard.

I didn't. I told him I had plans (which I do) and left it at that.

I arrived at work, and when my computer started realized he had also contacted me via g-chat asking the SAME EFFING FAVOR. I responded AGAIN saying I would get the message to Magical Wood Nymph Friend, at which point Freegan Man sent me a cat video.


I must say, friends, I don't think I have ever in my life disliked any person as much as I disliked this man in this moment. And the dislike was ONLY FUELED by the fact that but 5 days before I was hoping to kiss him. I got to channel all my sexual energy into SHEER UNBRIDLED RAGE.

I have now recovered from my rage and would like to share something with any single men who may read this blog.

If you want to give a woman the "I'm not interested" silent treatment,  you have to, in fact, remain silent, no matter how much you want to HAVE HER FRIEND ON YOUR EFFING ULTIMATE FRISBEE TEAM.

Ah, friends. It seems in the end rage is the only true deal breaker.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deb Loves to Crochet: My First Project

I like to think of last Thanksgiving as the day that I fell in love with my friends, Lindsey and Ian. Ian actually went to high school with my dear friend, Leah, so, when he and Lindsey moved to Boston so Ian could do post-doc work at Harvard, Ian and Lindsey were welcomed into the fold of Leah and Ben's robe of friends (I'm not sure this metaphor makes any sense, but I stand by it all the same). I met them in September, but it wasn't until Thanksgiving that I realized their base awesomeness. After that wonderful day, I kept trying to think of reasons to hang out with Lindsey. I even drafted a couple emails that I never sent, asking her to bake whoopie pies or have tea, because I got so nervous that she wouldn't want to hang out with me. But then, at a LeBen rock band party, Lindsey pulled out some crocheting supplies, and I had my in.

Around January, when things were getting really hard in my personal life, my eating disorder was flaring. Elizabeth (a veritable fount of creativity and wherewithal) suggested I take up something like crocheting in order to have something to do when at home that wasn't eating. It was only a couple weeks later where I learned Lindsey was a crocheting expert. It was Kismet, I tell you!

Lindsey is such an incredibly patient teacher and is also so encouraging. I must say I took to the crocheting with much vigor, but it was also a most excellent excuse to hang out with Lindsey and Ian and their two most awesome of cats (Genghis and Buster) and watch Archer, Arrested Development and Dance Moms. So though this first project is made of the cheapest yarn possible, it will always make me think happily of Lindsey and Ian (and the kitty boys) when they move to California in June.

Sigh. I miss them already.

Pattern: A lot of double Crochet
Hook: 5.5 M (I)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver Yarn from Ben Franklin Store in Belmont (2 Skeins) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adventures of the Dating Impaired: Part 1

Well it's Valentine's Day. What more perfect day to start chronicling my adventures as the worst dater in the history of the world. 

Let's start at the beginning.

I turn 30 in May and have been on like 4 dates in my life. I feel like that should in itself indicate to you that I am terrible at dating, but perhaps it doesn't. 

So let me elaborate.

Once a date is proposed to me (or a date is proposed by me and accepted by a man) I go through a 3 day period of debilitating anxiety and sleeplessness. I worry about a myriad of things: Will he find me attractive? Will he think I'm funny? Will he want to leave half way through the date? Will he actually leave or will I just have to watch him be unhappy? Will my hair look good? Should I mention I have 9 best friends? Should I talk about my love of the Bachelor and Justin Bieber? 

If you've never talked to me in this state, 


That's pretty much what it's like. God bless all my friends. 

Those 3 days of debilitating anxiety are followed by 3 days of fantasizing that it is going to be the best date on which any person ever went. Like, he will instantly fall in love with me. And he will say all the right things. And then we'll get married. And then I imagine how he'll propose. And what our kids will look like. And how we'll have a dog named Mortimer cause that's an awesome dog name. It's ludicrous, but I CAN'T STOP IT. I'll spend those 3 days full of hope and enamored of how funny and charming I am and how funny and charming he will be.

Then the day before the date the anxiety will return. That's when I have to be reminded that the date isn't just about ME. That he is probably nervous too. That I get to see if I like him or find him attractive. That the goal is to "have a relaxed conversation with a hetero male" (trademark EJB). Then I calm down. Well, a bit. And then I wake up in the morning and I put on my prettiest outfit, and my purplest eye makeups and I think of funny things I can talk about that aren't scary (i.e. none of the things I share here) and then off I go. Into the wild blue yonder. Or to work. Where I spend the whole day trying to figure out how to reel in at least SOME of my crazy without being boring.

So last night, I went on a date with a man I met on okcupid. It was the first internet date I've ever been on. EJB was instructed to contact me at 10:30pm with the text message, "Alive? INTERNET DATING!" if she didn't hear from me before then. 

Overall, it was a really nice evening. While eating burritos in a random MIT classroom and drinking brown bagged beer leaning on a wall outside (something I've always dreamed of doing), I kept thinking, "MAN, I am SO GOOD at this!" 

Until we went to a concert.

The plan had always been to go to a performance at MIT's Killian Hall of John Cage's Interludes for Prepared Piano. Prepared Piano means that the piano strings are full of screws, erasers, and credit cards, all of which completely alter the sound of the instrument. It was really cool. 

For about 5 minutes.

I consider myself pretty musically open minded, and I've listened to some pretty strange live music over the years. But holy crap this was NOT. MY. JAM. 

First of all, I realized I had to pee after sitting down at 7:58 when the concert started at 8pm. I thought, "It's only an hour. I can totally hold it."

Here's a tidbit of info about me: I go INSANE when my physical needs are not being met. When I am excessively hungry, tired, or need to use the bathroom, I lose it. Like LOSE IT. Oh, and I hate sitting still. Oh, and the room was super hot and the music was quiet and repetitive and there were people sitting in the aisles so even if I had decided I wanted to go pee in the middle of the concert I would've had to crawl over the two people sitting between me and the aisle and then crawl over the myriad of college students lounging in the aisle itself.

So maybe 15 minutes in I realized what a terrible idea it was to not just go pee before the concert started. Meaning for the next 45+ minutes I kept getting angrier and angrier and angrier as the moments passed. I felt angry I was on a date and had to hold in my crazy. I felt angry that I kept catching a glimpse of my date out of the corner of my eye and thinking it was my brother. I felt angry that I was not at home in my bed in my pajamas. I felt angry that the room was hot and that I couldn't move and that my shoulder kept cramping. 

Another tidbit: when I am in a situation where my physical needs are not being met, I somehow convince myself it will NEVER END. I legitimately convinced myself I had ended up in hell and that hell was having to pee at a John Cage concert. The pianist just kept non-nonchalantly turning the pages over and over and over AND OVER. IT WAS THE PIECE THAT NEVER ENDED. And then, just as I had the thought, "IF SHE TURNS ONE MORE PAGE I AM GOING TO WALK UP TO THE STAGE AND SLAP HER ACROSS THE FACE" a miracle happened. 

The concert ended.

I told my date I was going to the bathroom, left him with most of my stuff and practically ran from the room. Now I have been to many concerts in many small venues, but this is the first concert I've ever been to where I couldn't find the bathroom. IT DEFIES LOGIC that there wouldn't be a bathroom outside of the hall, but apparently MIT's genius does not extend to pesky things like bathroom location. So I am speed walking through different hallways looking for some sign that there is a bathroom, and I keep coming across offices or exit doors. Everywhere I turned was somebody's office, or the outside. I considered peeing in both. 

I finally ran into the library and asked the front desk person about the nearest restroom.

She said, "Well, the closest ladies room is on the third floor."


She looked terrified. But answered in the affirmative. "You just walk past the stacks and then to the left and then to the right and then take the stairs to 2M and walk through a door and then to the right and then to the left and then the right again and the bathroom will be right there."

No joke.

All the rage I felt for the pianist was now completely directed at the person who designed this building. I speed walked through the directions, ran up the stairs, got a little lost, and then finally found the bathroom. 

It was, I believe, the most satisfying pee of my life. 
And I kept thinking, once I pee I will calm down.

I was wrong.

As I walked down the stairs and through the library I kept thinking how much I wanted to be at home in my PJs. How if I hadn't left my stuff with my date I would've just left, not because I hadn't had a good time, but because the idea of having to make small talk when all I wanted to do was scream louder than I'd ever screamed in my whole life while crazy dancing through the library was too much. 

By the time I got back to the hall, almost everyone was gone. Just like any semblance of my sanity. 

We gathered our things and walked back out to Mass Ave where I would catch the bus. I kept harping on the fact that I couldn't find the bathroom and on the poor layout of that building. I mean I COULDN'T LET IT GO. I even explained to him my thing about my physical needs being met because I couldn't hide the crazy anymore. I kept waving my arms while talking and compulsively swaying. The poor man probably thought I was actually insane, which I kind of was. Finally the bus came. We hugged without talk of a second date (oh, surprise) and I got on the bus. 

Add to all of this the fact that the bus driver on my first bus was the WORST DRIVER EVER, and that I waited for the second bus for 25 minutes, and you get ULTRA CRAZY DEB. Poor Roomie had to encounter me in this state as I desperately tried to pry off the heels I had been wearing all day (because I'm a dumbass) while still trying to control the need to scream/crazy dance.

After saying good night to Roomie, I shoved everything that was on my bed into a pile on the floor, put on my pajamas, turned on my heating pad, and ate an entire bag of rice crackers while watching American Dad. I fell asleep in my fleecey robe without washing my face, with the light on, clutching the empty cracker bag to my chest.

So that's that.

I've often used the word "quirky" to describe myself. 

I think it might be time to find a stronger word.