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Month: November 2011

The Great Elevator Mystery

I have two big goals in life. Goal number one is to publish a novel that is read and loved by strangers. I’m thinking lots of strangers, like 200 or 300. My second goal is to become an outstanding hip hop dancer. And when I say outstanding, I mean that I can position myself in the front row of hip hop dance class at the gym, and I know all the moves. When the instructor decides to stop dancing at the front of the class and instead jumps around throughout the room to yell the oh-so inspirational “Come on, girl!” to the less experienced students, every one looks to me for what to do next.  Every once in a while, maybe someone even mistakes me for the instructor – that’s how outstanding I aspire to be.

Well Saturday morning, in my effort to achieve goal #2, I got dressed for Zumba class at the gym.  Usually I put very little effort into my appearance when I prepare for the gym.  And on Saturday, I put in even less effort than usual.  I grabbed some baggy sweat pants out of the dirty laundry pile, put on a t-shirt I had gotten for free somewhere, and put on a thin hooded sweatshirt I found from nine years ago. Then I messily put one of those tight headbands in my hair: the kind that reminds the world my head is misshapen, and I would be nothing without my hair.  Some girls look cute in the headbands. These girls are wizards masquerading as athletic mortals.

Anyway, I looked disgusting. But I didn’t care, because I was going to the gym. I figured no one would know this was a “before” situation and not an “after an extensive workout at the gym” deal.  I walked down the hall, and at the elevator, I selected the down button. To my horror, I heard people talking. This meant that people who live in our building were in the elevator, and worse, when the doors opened, they would see me.  Before I could turn around and run towards the stairs, the elevator doors opened, and there stood what must be the four most beautiful people in the building – well, three of the most beautiful people, and one who was just okay.  They stopped their conversation and looked at me, as if I were too dirty to get on the elevator. I looked at them, as if they were too well-dressed to be on the elevator.  Then I stepped in and turned around and faced the door, hoping they would forget I was in there.  Luckily, they did, and resumed their conversation, which went like this:

Stylish Male #1: That’s why we don’t talk to Jared anymore. Annnnd we haven’t been around ….and all these things have been happening.

Stylish Female #2: Wow…

Me: Oooh! What did this Jared character do? It sounds like something terrible. I hope they give me more context.

Stylish Female: #2: I’m so happy for you guys.

Stylish Female #1: Aw, thank you.

Me: What?

Stylish Female #2: I’m so happy I’m going to cry.

Me: Did Stylish Female #1 just get engaged? Let’s casually look at her hands…no. She’s already married. Okay look back before they know you are listening intently.

Stylish Male #2: Congratulations. Definitely congratulations.

Stylish Female #2: I’m going to cry! I’m going to cry. This is amazing.

Me: What kind of news did you just share in the elevator? AND WHAT ROLE COULD THIS JARED CHARACTER HAVE POSSIBLY PLAYED?

Stylish Female #2: I’m going to burst into tears, I am SO happy for you two.

Me: This isn’t one of those fancy elevators that has tissue boxes, so you need to wait.

Then the elevator doors opened, and I ran out in a slight jog so that it was clear exercise was involved in my wardrobe decisions.

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This is No Mummer’s Farce

I finished reading the Game of Thrones series this weekend. So far, there are five books in the series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. Now that Dance with Dragons is done, I have to patiently wait until the author finishes the next book. I’ll pause while you stare at the screen, impressed.

If you are not impressed, it is because you don’t understand that reading the Game of Thrones series is a lengthy commitment that sucks up all of your time, consumes all of your thoughts, and makes all of your friends hate you.  Well, not all of them. The friend(s) that have read the series appreciate that you are now available to discuss theories, reminisce about characters and try to rationalize deeply frustrating plot twists that suggest the author is really playing a game of minds with you …and that he hates you. Well game on, R.R. Martin, I hate you too.

I began reading the series in July. Every evening, I would read as much as I could. Each morning, in lieu of reading the news, I read the books. Any moment I could spare, I turned to the books. I was never in want of something to do, and when I was not reading the books, I was discussing them with David. Since he was further along, he had to wait for me before discussing, and even then we had to limit our conversations, lest he reveal something critical.  So on Sunday, after I read the final page and discussed the ending with David, I started to feel confused. I didn’t just finish the chapter in the book, I had finished a chapter in my life. Granted, it was a brief chapter, the likes of which would make a reader think, “Why was that chapter in there?” but it’s a chapter that speaks to my ability to read thousands and thousands of pages, and that’s impressive.

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Growing Wide is Hard to Do

“The most horrid thing just happened,” I told my dinner companions, as I sat down Friday evening. (Of course, I would have told you first, dear blog, but I was so distressed that the thought of putting pen to paper* during such a harrowing time escaped me.)  I put my shopping bag next to my chair and stared at its contents.  What had I done?

I turned my attention back to my dinner companions, ready to share.  “I went into the Lucky Brand Jeans store, and I told them about the problem I have. I said, ‘I have two pairs of jeans from here, both different styles, and the zipper is always coming down on its own on both of them. I love the jeans, but the zipper is a real problem.  I have to wear long shirts all the time!’ ”

The sales associate looked at me, and said, “Hmm, I’ve never heard of this problem.”

I looked back at her, shocked. “Never? No one else? Okay, well do you carry jeans with buttons instead of zippers?”

“Well I haven’t been here that long. Let me check with my manager about the zippers. The only jeans with buttons we have are the Sienna Tomboy, over here.” She walked me over to the jeans, which boasted a skinny fit and a slight tear in the thigh.

The cost: $129.  I looked around for a “sale” sign. Unfortunately, the only one I saw was a sign above the style of jean that I already owned and was in fact wearing that day, with a long shirt over it, of course, to hide the rogue zipper. They were $30 off! “For $30 off, should I buy another pair and tolerate this zipper farce?” I asked myself. I decided I would not, because I’m nothing if not a woman of principle. Zippers should stay up.

I decided to try on the jeans with buttons. She handed me two sizes, a size two and a size four, and while I was in the fitting room, she assured me she would ask her manager about the zipper issue I was having.  So there I was in the fitting room, trying on Sienna Tomboy jean. I tried the size four first, because as flattering as it is to be mistaken for a two, I am not one. The size four fit really well. It was comfortable, was not too tight, and most importantly, it looked good! Knowing that jeans stretch out, I decided to give the size two a chance. I put them on, and they were tight, but they fit too! I was feeling really good about myself, when the sales associate returned. “I talked to my manager, and do you find your zipper comes down when you are moving or sitting?”

“Yes!” I replied.

“Well, it’s possible you are wearing jeans that are not right for your body. You perhaps have big hips,” she said.

“I may have big hips,” I replied, trying to hide my bitterness. I wouldn’t use the word big. “I’m a woman!” I should have screamed. “Of course I have hips!”  would have appropriately punctuated my moment of empowerment. Instead I looked at her and blinked.

“Well let me bring some styles that might be better for your body type,” she said.

“Okay,” I replied.

I returned my attention to the mirror, pleased that I had just fit into a size two in these jeans with buttons.

The salesperson returned with some jeans for me to try on. I held the jeans up, and something felt amiss. I shrugged off the feeling and put the jeans on.  When I zipped up the jeans, I was not happy. They looked like jeggings – leggings with jean features painted on. “How do they feel?” she asked excited. I pulled open the curtain. “Those look GREAT on you,” she gushed. I stared at her, trying to find the right words to convey my thoughts. “They are more stretchy in the hip area, to fit your curves,” she explained.

I decided on my words. “I do not feel sexy in these.”

She didn’t seem sure what to say. I can’t blame her.  “Let me go find some other styles for your body type.”

She returned with another pair of jeans, much like the first set of mom jeans she had brought over.  I put them on and then immediately took them off.

It was time to make a decision. I chose the torn size two jeans with the buttons, designed for teenagers. I put them back on, jumped around to make sure the buttons didn’t come flying off, stared at my behind, tried to justify the price tag (and could not, but whatever). I took them off, put my own jeans back on, and headed over to the cash register with the jeans. I was in a bit of a hurry, and for some reason it was taking a long time to check out the people in front of me. This gave me some time to seriously evaluate what I was going to do: pay a lot of money for torn jeans that were a size too small and not appropriate for my body type.  Here is how the conversation went:

Future me: Why are you doing this?
Present me: For us. I’m doing this for us.
Future me: I’m the one who has to pay the credit card statement!
Present me: I wear jeans all the time. I wear them to work too.
Future me: These are torn jeans. I can’t wear them to work.
Present me: She said we have big hips. Wearing these jeans proves they are wrong.
Future me: We do have big hips.
Present me: You are going on a diet. Do you hear me?  A diet.
Future me: Our current jeans are fine. You don’t have to do this. Do you think you can ask for a discount because the jeans look used?
Present me: Maybe. I’m pretty sure that’s the style though. I noticed the tear is in the same spot in all of the sizes.
Future me: Okay, ask about a sale then.

My turn finally arrived. I handed over the jeans I had selected. “Will there be a sale anytime soon?”

“No….” she replied. The manager spoke up too, “Not anytime soon. We have one in January and one in June. And those jeans you have picked are our most popular model. Those aren’t going on sale.”

“Oh, really?” I replied, a bit surprised, “I’m just nervous because I’ve never paid so much for torn jeans before.”

He looked at me like I was lying. “Have you never bought jeans before?” He smiled. I should have slapped him.

I looked down at the jeans I was wearing, “Not ones with tears in them. All my other ones look clean.” I said, troubled.

I signed the credit card receipt and walked out.

“So now I’ve bought jeans that are expensive, torn, and not correct for my body and probably my age, all because I don’t want to accept that I have big hips,” I told my dinner companions. David stared at me. I sheepishly shrugged.

I can either return these jeans, or I can wear them all the time.

*That’s figurative, of course. No one uses pen and paper anymore.

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Winter is Coming

The tricky thing about this blog post title is that you can’t tell if I’m being literal, as in, it’s November, and obviously, winter is coming, or if I’m alluding to Game of Thrones. I’ll never tell.

Anyway, what do you think of this new header design? I’m really conflicted about it for a number of reasons:

1) Alignment. You see how I tab over on the list of what this blog is about? Well, you have to be really careful about creating different vertical alignments, because it could look disorganized. For the most part, you want text to line up on the page in their appropriate visual columns. What I’m doing here is bold and potentially stylistically devastating. Or it’s okay. I think it’s okay.

2) Font. You see how I use one font for the header, the text, and then a different font for the text in the bubbles? Well, you have to be really careful about using different fonts, because it could look like you don’t know how to highlight things and select the same font for them. For the most part, I do not know how to do this. What I’m doing here is not deliberate and potentially stylistically devastating. Or it’s okay. I think it’s okay.

3) Comic. You see how I combine stick figure drawings and a predisposition to megalomaniacal thoughts? Well, you have to be really careful about suggesting you have G-d-like abilities, because it could look like you are crazy. For the most part, this is a blog, so people should not judge. What I’m doing here is dry and thought-provoking. Or it’s brilliant. I think it’s brilliant.

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