Archive | December 2013

10 Non-Bullshit Resolutions for My New Year

Now, I’m a sucker for holiday traditions. I’m “that guy” who always makes my family go around the table and say what they’re thankful for on Thanksgiving. I still write notes to Santa Claus and leave out cookies on Christmas, despite having been Santa-myth deflowered for about a decade and a half. I wish on 11:11’s like nobody’s business. One holiday “tradition” I’ve never really been able to get behind, though (besides anything to do with the satanic ritual many call ‘Valentine’s Day’), is New Year’s Resolutions.

Perhaps this is because I’ve never been able to set aside my skepticism that the apostrophe really belongs in ‘New Year’s.’

Regardless of my linguistic hang-ups, though, making a list of resolutions for the New Year (why is that capitalized???? Neither of those is a proper noun. Ugh.) has just never particularly appealed to me. I know too many people who make the same list at the close of every year, hoping that 2000 and some-odd will finally be their year. And I’m not pretending I’d be any different. This is the girl who starts every summer off with the declaration that she will get up before 9 on all days but weekends.

I never can refuse the spirit of a holiday, though, so I give unto thee…

10 Non-Bullshit Resolutions for My New Year

1). Get up before 9 on all days but weekends.

Just kidding. For many reasons, the primary of which being that I’ve realized that my days of uninterrupted, hibernation-style sleep are numbered. Eventually, I will be woken by the car horns and prostitute solicitations, miniature humans, or spontaneous subcutaneous combustions known to many as the ‘hot flash.’

So, 1). Get lost.

This should be an easy one for me, since I once managed to get lost on the main staircase in my college library, and I’ll also be spending a term in one of the oldest and most complicated cities in the world. But, I don’t mean it entirely literally. I’ve always been the sort to wait, watch, plan, make sure that the scene is safe, and then enter. So far, it’s served me well. I have never been mugged, kidnapped, or given a swirlie. However, some of the greatest things in life happen when you get swept up in the currents. When you set off without a destination. When you agree to go out with a bunch of tattooed Roman teenagers to a bar made entirely of ice, even though you can’t be completely sure what they’re saying. I want to do more shit like that.

2). Send more panda photos

I love pandas. Everyone loves pandas. Here is a panda on a rocking horse.

See, you loved that, didn’t you. It made you happy. Random shit like that brings joy to the lives of people having sucky days, and I want to do more of it.

3). Stop stressing out about when to reply to texts

If a boy takes fifteen minutes to reply to your texts, wait half an hour.“- Girls who are engaged in way too much mental espionage.

If a boy texts me back fifteen minutes later, and I see it right away, and it includes a panda photo, I’M DAMN WELL GOING TO TEXT HIM BACK RIGHT NOW, and likely with a proposal of marriage. Even when panda photos are omitted, there is no reason to mess around with eye-for-an-eye bullshit over text. Likewise, I’m going to stop stressing out over the number of likes my Instagram photos get, or who my boyfriend’s Best Friends are on Snapchat (that’s a lie, I’m not going to stop doing that. That Russian girl you made out with over the Summer? I see you snapping her more than me).

4). Start building a wardrobe of respectable clothes

As a former boys’-section-of-Old-Navy shopper, my fashion history is somewhat checkered. Now that I’ve grown up, though (thank god), I think it’s time to stop buying shitty-but-trendy clothes from suspect dispensaries that I know will shrink past use the first time I wash them. Instead, I need to start buying some nice, durable staples that will last me a long time. Like… sweaters. And boots. And a top hat.

Oh, wait. I already tried the hat thing. Witness this charming photo of 9th grade me, jetting off to my first high school dance.


New Year’s Resolution sidebar, no fedoras or kitten heels again. For life.

5): Learn to escape from handcuffs. 

This desire probably stems more from the fact that I watch a lot of White Collar than any legitimate need for escape skills. It could also have something to do with the fact that my older sister used to tie me up when I was little to see how fast I could escape, and I’ve started to pride myself in the skill. Anyway, knowing how to get out of handcuffs would be just the sort of arcane skill to accompany my extensive repertoire of arcane knowledge. A group of hedgehogs is called a prickle.

6). Learn to let things go.

This, I think, also comes from the fact that I watch too much White Collar. My favorite part of the show (apart from the suave sexiness that is Matt Boner, I mean Bomer, no I meant Boner) is the romance between Peter and Elle. No matter how little time they get to spend together or whatever else happens to interrupt their plans, neither of them ever resent it. They make the most of the time they have, and Elle, though maybe disappointed that Peter won’t be home for their date night, doesn’t hold it against him for the rest of the episode, or interpret it as a personal failure and stew about it forever with a pint of ice cream and the moose stuffed animal he gave her when they first started dating. Sob.


My point is, disappointment is the most insidious feeling, and for me, it’s very tough to shake. When I expect or hope for things, and then they don’t get realized, a lot of times that negative energy blinds me to the positives of the situation and ruins my day. Plus, all those ice cream calories, man.

7). Speaking of calories…

No, I’m not going to say that I want to eat less. Or healthier. Or gluten-free-organic-sustainable-free-range-local-ovo-lacto-paleo-multisyllabic. I want to eat whatever I damn well please, and more of it. That’s my point, though. I want to try all kinds of wild things. I want to eat pigs’ brains (No I don’t). I want to eat star fruits, and cannolis, and pesto pasta, and all sorts of worldly things that I’ve never tried before and probably won’t like. I’m a very picky eater. I will never outlive the story of the time I ordered spaghetti with butter at the fancy Italian restaurant, age eight. Not even once I diversified to chicken fingers. BUT, regardless, I want to fling myself with wild abandon into the dark void of exotic tastes, and only claw my way back onto the french-fry covered shores after I’ve tried everything once.

8). Talk to strangers.

During my first week at Dartmouth, I approached literally everyone I made eye contact with to make awkward small talk. I would sit down to join dinners already in progress in the dining hall. I was a social force to be reckoned with. As the time wore on, though, I settled down more into the awkward friendships that had already bloomed from my awkward small talk, and stopped hounding strangers for their names and home towns. I love these awkward friends, but why put the brakes on all future friendships? Why not pursue that one next interaction? You, yes YOU, could be one more person I avert my eyes upon seeing in line at Collis, pulling out my phone to pretend that I’m occupied so that you don’t have to try to remember my name! It could be you!

9). Realize that I’m awesome without constantly having to prove it.

I’m like that little boy who has to keep looking down to make sure his penis is still there (Is that a thing? I feel like it must be a thing). I’m awesome. My metaphorical dick is magnificent. I look down and I think, “Well, damn.” But really, should I have to crush my family at Bananagrams, or have my boyfriend tell me I’m pretty, or be named Rufus Choate scholar to know that I’m pretty cool? No.

10). Make plans.

One day, there I was, lying in bed and listening to Avicii, making the total most of my Dartmouth education, and I started to cry. There was a line in the song that went, “hope I get the chance to travel the world, but I don’t have any plans,” and the fact that I actually do have plans, immediate plans, to travel the world notwithstanding, I realized that I won’t be young forever. I won’t have the opportunities I have forever. I can’t wait forever. I guess maybe I should sleep less. Wait less. Because, in the words of the great and formidable Amy Poehler,

“Great people do things before they’re ready.
They do things before they know they can do it.
And by doing it, they’re proven right.
Because, I think there’s something inside of you—
and inside of all of us—
when we see something and we think,
“I think I can do it, I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.”
Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of,
getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that—
THAT is what life is. 
And I think you might be really good.
You might find out something about yourself that’s special.
And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something.
Now you know something about yourself.
Now you know. A mystery is solved.
So, I think you should just give it a try.
Just inch yourself out of that back line.
Step into life.
Yes. Go. Now.”

A Large ‘Suck It’ to Everyone Who Questioned My Use of the Word ‘Qi’ in Bananagrams

I received a book for my birthday called, Is That a Word? by David Bukszpan. Probably due to the fact that his last name is the stuff of a Scrabble aficionado’s wet dream, the book is essentially a long list of delightfully obscure and weirdly-spelled words.

Now, it may be of note that my birthday was not Christmas. My birthday was almost a month before. No, I did not receive the book for Christmas. I got it for my birthday. I waited a month to start it. That’s the kind of person I am.

Odds that I haven’t started a food item I got two days ago: 0. Odds that I haven’t started a book I got two years ago: 1o309 to 1.

I love books. I adore reading. This book is perfect for me because I also love word games, and most of all I love winning, but I somehow didn’t get to it until yesterday. I suck. I know.

Tangent over. I started this book. And literally within the first chapter I found the word “qi.” Not only was the word featured in the book, but it was on the list called “The Ten Most Important Two-Letter Words” with the subtitle, “Do not turn the page until you learn this list.” Actually, it said, “do not turn the page until your learn this list,” but I’m editorializing to give old Bukszpanchqwx the benefit of the doubt.

Now, I’ll have it noted that TWICE NOW my family has objected to my use of the word ‘qi’ in games of bananagrams (Scrabble for those with goldfish-sized attention spans, like me). Both times, I’ve given the definition and insisted that it was a word, but they didn’t believe me. Finally, I have my revenge.

A Gift For Those Who Don’t Want Anything

My father doesn’t really like tangible gifts. He pretends he’s excited when he opens them, but a lot of times I can tell that he doesn’t really feel like he needs them. He’s a three-pair of shoes guy. So, this is what I decided to give him for Christmas. I printed it out, folded it up, and put it in the tree:


Dear Daddy,

You’ve been hinting lately that you need more sweaters, but I haven’t gotten you a sweater. I didn’t buy you a pair of pj pants or a little racecar or something shaped like an elephant. Not this year. 

This year, I thought more about what you’ve given me.

They say that little girls grow up to marry guys like their daddies, and I sure as hell don’t know about that. Cut like a Buddha gravestone doesn’t really seem my type. I do know, though, that so much of what I know about being a punnit, a parent, a student, a teacher, a skeptic, and a wiseass, I’ve learned from you. I know you’re the inspiration behind my enormous poofy hair, my long-winded writing style, and my insatiable curiosity, and you’re probably also the reason that I love it when people sing to me. That’s an odd one.

You’ve given me a lot of things, Dad. Some of them have been tangible, and some of them have not. The most important things you’ve given me, though, have been your time and your love, and so, for Christmas, that’s what I’d like to give you.

            Some day, before I leave, I plan to treat you to Burger King and Pizza Hut, a “bombing around” session, and a game of Ghost.

            Our time may not be infinite, but my love certainly is.

Merry Christmas.




10 Rules Of Dating Me

As I was playing the world’s grimmest game of solo bananagrams on the floor of my bedroom yesterday evening, I had the idea to write a post (an actual researched one! Whoa!) about the 10 best word game words. The best word from my game was probably “aquitted”, which I’ve just realized I spelled wrong the whole time. It’s really “acquitted,” and I’m a failure. If I hadn’t been playing by myself, I would’ve been accidentally cheating. Clearly, my credibility with words is low, so I decided to write about something I know a little more about: Myself. And boys. Because although there was a stage in my life (hello, ages 8 to 16) where I was considerably more interested in words and books than in the opposite sex (or the same sex, really. Or people in general), the two now generally occupy about equal space in my brain, as shown:


So, given my vast experience with boys (I famously said, “what the hell???” when my ex boyfriend tried to put his tongue in my mouth for the first time), I grant unto you all…

The 10 Rules of Dating Me

1). Be Interesting.

The one single biggest thing I cannot handle in a significant other (besides use of the word LOL and hatred of Disney movies), is the inability to continue a conversation. When two people care about one another, sometimes it’s easy at first to overlook the fact that their personality doesn’t interest you much. With my second boyfriend, for example, I drove most of the conversations and he just responded (in person and via text) with the bare minimum answer. I didn’t care, because I thought he was hot and I wanted him so desperately to like me. These people, though, however hot and however well intentioned, end up being boring. Now, I’m not one for evaluating every man in terms of marriage potential. To those ladies I say a firm, “down, girl. You’re 19.” However, if I can’t spend ten minutes with you without running out of things to say, what does that say about our future?

2). Be interested.

This really encompasses several things that are important for me. Obviously, no healthy relationship can really exist between one person who truly cares about the other and one person who is vaguely apathetic. In relationships, you need to get as much as you give. So, “be interested” can mean, “like me as much as I like you.” That’s obvious. Another thing, though, is just be interested. Be present when we’re together, care about what I have to say and, for the love of god, do not be playing Candy Crush while we’re at dinner.

3). Use good grammar.

This is a much more personal preference, but the way that you communicate is how you express yourself to the world, and people who USE THE WRONG FORM OF YOUR, or abbreviate their “you” to “u,” or say things like “good luck everyone that going hunting tomorrow” (ahem, facebook friend), communicate the fact that they have very little pride in the impressions that they make on other people. Plus, for some reason, sloppiness with language seems to correlate with sloppiness in other aspects of life. For example, the hot rugby player with the British accent who once sent me the sentence, “ur funny” ended up telling people that we had sex on the pool table. We did not. For another example, the hot Floridian rower of, “ya all the cool people r doing it these days” ended up tagged in a facebook photo doing what might have been a keg stand, had it not been over a trash can filled with beer.

4). Have arms.

I’d be willing to reconsider this one if there were a particularly charming amputee, but for now, it’s requisite. I am a total hug junkie. I love how you can feel a person’s emotions when you hug them. If they love you, you’ll know. If they’re angry with you, you’ll know. If they have a boner, you’ll definitely know.

5). Be casual.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a good date. If you want to take me to a magic show where Woody Allen is sitting in the row behind us, I’m game. If you want to kiss me in the rain in Central Park, I lap that shit up. But, one of my favorite traits in a person is being able to be with them and just do whatever you would be doing if you were alone, only it’s better because they’re there. Generally, for me, this means eating crab rangoons under the covers in my bed while watching Vampire Diaries, so this isn’t always the easiest trait to find in a man. Barring crab-rangoons-in-bed-with-vampire-diaries, though, it’s amazing to have someone you can just be lazy around. Not “farting and braless” lazy, but happy lazy. With arms. And pizza?

6). Speaking of braless,

I need a person who could see me being wholly uncute and still like me. We all know it’s only a matter of time before you come into the room and see me standing in front of the mirror and crushing my nose so that the little pus squiggles come out. Only a matter of time.

7). Be kind.

Be kind to animals, service staff, and your mother. People who are mean to any of these entities deserve zero respect.

8). Be passionate about things.

This doesn’t have to mean be passionate about me. It means be passionate about something. Like things. Love things. Books, travel, sports, a tv show, me. Something. Otherwise, what the fuck will I buy you for Christmas?

9). Like The Lion King.

In my experience, only douchebags don’t like The Lion King.

Laughably, I used to describe my “type” as: Brown hair, brown eyes, older sibling, likes Lion King, good shoulders. None of my boyfriends have fit more than two of these criteria, so obviously it’s not my true type, but Lion King was definitely in there, and I’m having trouble letting it go.

10). Challenge me.

I’m competitive. You may think I’m kidding. I am not. I once wrestled a t-shirt out of the hands of a child at a minor league baseball game.

Challenge me (I will win).

Why Romeo and Juliet Has No Business Being the World’s Standard for Awesome True Love

To me Romeo and Juliet, while a great artistic work and a very entertaining piece of playwriting, has no business being considered the greatest love story ever told. There is no reason for Romeo and Juliet to be the first people to come to mind when you think of young people in love, or sacrificing for love, or the sort of love you want to have, or, basically, anything legitimately related to real, deep, brushes-his-teeth-while-you-pee-and-still-thinks-you’re-beautiful love. There are a couple of problems that I have with Romeo and Juliet‘s quality as a love story (I can say this without offending Shakespeare because I really don’t believe he intended it to be a “love story” per se. It was a tragedy, yes, but more than anything else it is a story of stubbornness, hubris, and folly than a celebration of a great love). My first problem is a small one, and that’s the slight creep-factor of knowing that while Romeo in the story is maybe in his twenties or early thirties, Juliet is at most fourteen. Cultural differences, okay, I can write that one off. But the thing that I cannot stand by is the fact that when we first meet Romeo, he is mooning over Rosalind. He is so infatuated with Rosalind that he speaks of her the same way he will later speak of Juliet. Then, once he has met Juliet, he forgets entirely about Rosalind. It seems as though, with time, Romeo’s “great love” for Juliet would likewise fall by the wayside in the face of a greater or more mysterious beauty. My last issue is that the two have known each other for so short a time. The entire play takes place over less time than your spring break trip to Cancun. The two barely know each other when they take their own lives, and so there is no way to know if the attraction that manifested itself as an infatuation and obsession would ever reach the familiar, comfortable stage of love that comes when you not only love each other but also just like each other. Maybe Juliet would’ve headed for the hills when she found out that Romeo watched midget porn, or was rude to his mother, or never took baths.

Just food for thought.

10 Things that Blow About Being a Girl

I’m a girl. I like it most days. I’m definitely not a “2 of 10 would not recommend” type. There are a few things, however, that make being a girl decidedly less appealing. For example:

1). Hair. (I’m starting with head hair to lure you all into a false sense of security) I, like many girls, have long hair. It’s long for many reasons, chief of which being that it is incredibly thick and crazy, meaning that any attempt to cut it shorter than my armpits would release the Kraken from its gravitational constraints entirely and allow it to transform into the Optimus Prime of all fros. It would be like having a mousy brown cloud on top of my head. Birds would nest in it. At any rate, the texture of my hair also means that I can’t blow dry or brush it. Ever. Anything that fluffs or separates strands is my Kryptonite. Therefore, if I want to shower, I either have to do it at night, before I go to bed, and then sleep on a pile of sopping wet pillows, or face the prospect of going out during the day with a soaking wet bullwhip attached to my head, waiting to thrash and spray innocent passersby whilst dripping all over my shirt front so that I look like I drool. Boys do not have to deal with this problem.

2). Hair. I just shaved my legs. It took me ten ish minutes. I also did this yesterday, and the day before (haha, who am I kidding, I haven’t shaved since I got home from college, but if I wanted to be a functioning member of society, I would be shaving every day or every other). If I dedicated ten minutes a day to shaving for the rest of my life (or at least until I’m 50, stop caring about that kind of stuff and just muumuus all the time), that would total 109,500 minutes, not including the amount of my life I’ve already wasted doing the dumb task. 109,500 minutes is 1,825 hours. 1,825 hours is 76 days. I’m going to spend 76 days of my life shaving my legs. Boys don’t shave their legs. They do shave their faces, but at least when they don’t do that, they look scruffy and cute rather than just hirsut and prickly.

3). Another hair-related complaint. It hurts to kiss boys with scruff. It does. It chafes your face.

4). Food expectations. When girls eat salads, or order small menu items, or say they aren’t hungry, people assume that they’re trying to lose weight, and for some reason, that really irks me. Maybe it shouldn’t. But if I’m ordering a salad, it’s because that’s what I want (or because it’s the cheapest thing on the menu, and I know you’re going to pay, and I’m being polite). I’m not on a diet, I’m not trying to lose five pounds, I’m just eating a salad. In fact, throw some damn ice cream on there.

Speaking of which…

5). Paying for things. I just spent 5 days in Connecticut with my boyfriend and his family, and he  insisted on paying for everything. In fact, he considers it a point of pride that he’s “never let a girl buy him a meal, ever.” Now, hold up one minute. I’m not even going to go at this from a feminist point of view, but dear god what is wrong with this boy? When I offer to pay, it’s not just a polite gesture. I actually want slash am prepared to pay. I like to feel like things are equal, and I like to do special things for other people sometimes, like pay for their damn dinners. By not letting me do that, he not only makes me feel guilty and freeloading, but also denies me of the pleasure of giving him something.

6). On a lighter note, flannels. Every men’s flannel, it seems, is hand crafted from the supple cloth of the gods themselves. They’re soft and warm and nice. Without fail. Women’s flannels, however, when you can find them, half the time have high/low backs, tie fronts so that you can look like cowgirl-hooker Barbie, or are made of chiffon/tulle/something other than flannel. The other half the time, they cost half a million dollars. In summary, men’s flannels: cheap, soft, perfect. Women’s flannels: tacky, weird, uglily colored, expensive. Since I live in flannels (often men’s ones), this causes a problem for me.

7). Fashion. ALL BOYS CLOTHES LOOK BASICALLY THE SAME. Unless he’s wearing basketball shorts and a wife beater tank top, it’s tough to tell how much style a boy has. Yes, I know, there are lots of things that can go wrong. Socks and flip flops. Flip flops at all. Low hanging pants. But what I’m saying is that it’s tough to tell a boy with medium style from a boy with great style. Clothes from J. Crew look a lot like (some) clothes from Kohl’s. As a girl, I know that it’s possible to dress well without buying a lot of expensive stuff, etc. But my point is that women’s fashion is so much trickier than men’s fashion. Plus, boys don’t have to wear heels. They don’t need to have eight pairs of dress shoes. They need one pair. One. Comfortable. Pair.

8). Childbirth. This one is obvious. The average watermelon weighs 3-5 pounds. The average child weighs around 8.

9). I’m not sure how to encapsulate this in a one or two word catchphrase, but how is it fair that the first thing that happens when a girl starts working out is that her boobs shrink? Muscle tone comes later, weight loss maybe, cardio conditioning a little, but the one thing that is a straight given is that her boobs will get smaller. Not fair.

10). Knee problems. Ye olde womanly hips distribute our weight differently than men’s, and this means that women have way more knee problems. Then, once you have knee problems, the male athletic trainer’s assistant needs to wrap you all the flipping time, and it becomes awkward. Not as awkward as when you have a groin injury, but that’s a story for another time.

A Tirade About the Temperature Gradient Dynamics of my Living Space

I love my house. I’ve lived here all my life, and Living with the Livingstons has such a great ring to it that it could almost be the name for a Kardashian-esque reality tv show. (I hate myself for writing that. For the record, my only exposure to the Kardashians consists of my scant cardio time at the gym and the moments that I couldn’t avoid sharing eyespace with my college roommate freshman year).

Anyway, my house is great, apart from the fact that it is nearly uninhabitable FOR THE FOLLOWING REASON: it is always cold as a unicorn’s icy beard hairs. Now, I understand, in the delicate and naive, yet vaguely disinterested way that teenagers have regarding issues that won’t affect them for another three decades, that menopause is a rough time in the life of a woman. I understand that my mother is a glorious, life-giving, saintly specimen who means naught but well. Unfortunately, the woman has reached the age when bodies start to change. The awkward reverse-puberty plunged her into a sort of estrogen dark-age that was interrupted by what I can only assume were magnesium-flare-type volcanic eruptions of the soul and flesh that she tamely referred to as “hot flashes.” There was a time when she would drive with the windows down in December (In Maine, mind you) to keep cool as her body was, I again can only assume, baked in the satanic kiln of Hell itself. During this time, she liked to turn the heat down at night and then, slyly, not turn it back up during the day. Or ever. The temperature in our home slowly decreased until the entire family was creeping about like geriatric Iniuts, wrapped in blankets, shawls, curtains, God knows what. There might have even been a pashmina in the mix somewhere. I don’t know exactly what a pashmina is, but doubtless if I’d found one in those days I would’ve burritoed myself right up in there likety split. Our family huddled together like penguins while my mother gamboled about like a modest middle aged sunbather. And we accepted this. Because we, for all our faults, are kind, accepting people who like to make concessions for others.

The thing is, THAT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO. My mother hasn’t had a hot flash in straight up four years, and yet the house remains a relic from north of The Wall. I could be Ygritte the Wildling, wrapped in the furs of some sort of shaggy thing I assume she found already dead and skinned because I find those sorts of things depressing. But I don’t have a Jon Snow to sleep next to for warmth, and in the mornings when I wake up it feels like I’ve been bedded down next to FroZone for the last eight hours. The toilet seat is a nightmare. Getting out of the shower is like leaping to your death into a pool of invisible liquid nitrogen.

If I don’t blog for a while, it’s because I’m thawing. Or because I’ve forgotten I made a blog. Or because Mindy Kaling has come to adopt me. Fingers crossed for option C.