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.