Friday, January 29, 2010

say hello to your friends...

This is what I watched last night.

That is after I watched Three Men and a Baby and the Babysitter's Club movie.

I always liked Stacey the best but I was most like Mary Anne, I think. That isn't to say I didn't like her. I could definitely relate with the exception of the whole boyfriend thing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

perfect match series: still waiting (and worrying)

For some reason I like to think about heavy, important things as I'm laying in bed trying to go to sleep. This has resulted in my not hitting the REM cycle before 1 am for the last three nights. I'm a girl who likes her sleep. I'm sure you can imagine the reprocussions. Hint: they involve me practically sprinting down the street in Midtown trying to make it to work ontime. But I digress...

Last night I decided to think about my potential bone marrow donation. Let's rewind a bit. When I got back from California, waiting for me in my stack of mail - amongst the credit card applications and political flyers from various local candidates - was a holiday card from DKMS. Folded inside was a piece of paper that said something along the lines of "Please continue to be on board with this decision. We are still waiting to hear from the patient's doctor. In the meantime here is the information on what is required of you - again." Brownie points to them for being thorough. I had been waiting to hear about the results of my blood test (for typing match) and though I was told it could take up to a few months before I'd know if I'd actually be donating, I was a bit confused by their letter. I wasn't sure if they were saying that yes, I am a good match and we are just waiting to see if the patient is healthy enough to receive the donation or hang tight, we still don't know if the doc thinks my cells are a fit.

Regardless, last night it occurred to me that it has been over a month since I received the "YOU'RE A MATCH!" e-mail and the worrywort in me took over. I guess I just assumed that this process would be taking place very quickly as we all know that potentially saving someone's life is something you don't put off. But I do understand that procedures need to be done, they need to make sure I'm good for this person and that this person is well enough to benefit from my donation. Which leads me to the worrywort part - I hope he or she is OK. I can't imagine going through something like leukemia or having a loved one who has the illness. I picture my match in many different ways, very frequently, and hope that he or she is on the healthier side of the spectrum.

A few weeks ago my new roommate told me about when she had her bone marrow drawn for testing and said these exact works: "I felt like my bones were on fire." Now, I'll be honest - that freaked me out a bit. Still the desire to know that this stranger is now doing well ranks higher on my list. I am committed as ever to helping. I just hope I get to do so soon.


Read the entire perfect match series.

Monday, January 25, 2010

my weekend was... wonderful

What is in a wonderful weekend?

And how do you replicate it?

It is only Monday but I am already looking longingly at Friday and next weekend as I want to repeat the simple yet wonderful vibe that was this past weekend:

A Friday night spent out with one of my best friends.

Giggling and dancing at a bar when it suddenly became so crowded that we were lost in the back and no one was paying attention to us anyway.

Knowing that she is such a good friend she has adopted the role of my "wing woman" even though she is recently (and happily, aww!) coupled.

Ditching the meat market to go dancing at a bar and not caring about the Jersey Shore crowd around us.

A Denver omlette, hashbrowns and toast followed by a walk in Central Park on a crisply beautiful Saturday morning.

A bonus at my second job, just because. (I'm tellin' ya, I might be babysitting until I'm 40 at this rate.)

Meeting up with another wonderful friend for Sunday afternoon dessert and a long chat. Leaving overpriced dessert place for an after party of Earl Grey at Starbucks because there was still so much left to say.

A weekend concluded feeling very blessed and content.

Honestly, if I could figure out how to bottle that, I'd be rich.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the Jersey Shore filter: checking in on my Match experience

Number of days on Match: 22
Number of days in Match subscription: 31
Number of e-mails exchanged: 4?
Number of dates: 0

Yeah, those aren't good stats but I'm not trying the way I have before. I've become quite disgruntled with the site and have been more picky and have not been putting in as much effort these days. I just winked at a couple of people and have sent a couple of introductory e-mails today but other than that thems slim pickins. I'm just more choosy these days and I love the filter option. I won't lie, I do filter - not just by location and by height but also by occupation. If I want to I can also filter by religion, political views, body type and whether they want kids. But I generally don't do blanket filter for those things and consider the entire profile before making those calls. But some things you just can't get over... Here are some filters I wish Match had:

the Jersey Shore filter: I really wish there was a filter for all the spray tanned, tight shirt, and even shirtless guys. They sometimes take you by surprise. Sometimes everything looks kosher until you see the greasy hair, the abs, the slimy looking photos. NO thanks.

the slim & toned/slender filter: I wish Match let you filter based on your potential Match's date wish list. I've ranted about this before. So at the risk of looking like a bitter man hater, I'll refrain and just link you all to that post.

the girls in the photo filter: I would hate to be the girl who discovers some guy is posting pictures of me with him on an online dating site. Sometimes these girls appear to be sisters. In fact one guy even said the girl in the photo was his sister. But how hard is it to cut a photo? And how hard is it to select a photo that does not show you cut out a girl hanging all over you while you pose with a beer in hand? I once went on a date with a guy who had included a photo with a girl. I didn't see this until after I agreed to the date and didn't have a good feeling about it but went anyway. I asked him about it and he said it was his ex-girlfriend. Check please!

the catch-phrase filter: If you've ever tried online dating you know the standards. Everyone says they love to travel. Everyone says they're looking for a girl who loves to go out but is equally as comfortable cuddling up on the couch with a movie. Everyone says they're looking for an outgoing girl who likes to have fun. Sure some of these things are preference driven but I see a request for someone who isn't too serious and likes to have fun and see myself being ditched after date three because I won't put out. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Some guys are subtly honest though. My favorite was a guy who said he would love to have a dog but is too immature for one. Good for him for being honest. He'll find someone equally as immature and they can stare at puppies through pet store windows.

I know all my posts portray me as a negative Nancy. I jest a lot because it is fun and funny but in reality I obviously wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe in the smallest chance that it will work for me. A good friend of mine is happily dating a guy she met online. One of my co-workers met her wonderful husband online. It does happen. I just have to filter through until I find the right one or until he walks by me on the street causing me to forget this whole online dating thing ever happened.

For those of you who have tried online dating any filters you'd like to add?

If you've missed it check out my other posts about my recent experience.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shop Talk: Faves of 2009 - Anne Frank and the West Village

10. Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose
read in August 2009
The sole non-fiction book in this year's bunch (I've mentioned I'm more of a fiction reader and it shows...) this book takes a new, thorough and fascinating look at Anne Frank. Many of us read her diary. If you were like me you were fascinated by this eloquent and smart girl and all she went through. In this new literary criticism, Francine Prose makes the case for Anne as a writer and her diary as a work of fiction. According to Prose she is more than a moody teen her diary is more than a wartime relic and Holocaust account. She also looks at the life of the diary, how it came to be published, and how it has lived on in classrooms, hearts and minds alike in many countries since its publication. The English major in me loved the painstaking analysis of what came to be three versions of Anne's diary all mashed into one. The publishing professional loved the tidbits about American publication and all in all I was fascinated by this new take. Perhaps you will be too.

9. The Ballad of West Tenth Street by Marjorie Kernan
read in February 2009

A good friend thrust this book in my hands almost a year ago and I can still remember reading it while riding the Subway and walking along the freezing New York streets imagining the book's characters in residence in the West Village area. This is where rock 'n' roll widow, her precotious kids, an elderly man and his waitstaff, an eccentric music teacher and his naive wife and a homeless man who broke my heart on every page live. Their stories are woven together and true to the title, Kernan crafts a ballad of NYC proportions. This book made me love this city even more. Full of eclectic characters as well as simple yet endearing and heartbreaking moments, this book was a wonderful surprise and a great portrait of New York.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

there comes a time for even the most seasoned of travelers...

I have been in California since the 23rd of December. Up until recently I was visiting my family but duty calls and I made the transition to a lovely hotel for a work conference that was conveniently located here... Nice, right?

Well, after a couple of weeks I can say I want to go home.

Back to New York that is.

Now before all of you freezing in arctic temperatures chew me out, I fully appreciate that 69 degree weather in January is an anomoly and therefore I should keep my mouth shut. But I'm tired of living like a nomad, want to get back to my bed and my life and there is a particularly loud tantrum-throwing child that seems to have taken up residence in the hotel room next to mine (I dare say there might be two! Help me. I'm going to lose it.) and I can hear him or her perfectly clearly.

Time to pack it in, say goodbye to the place no one understands why I left, and get my butt back into the 22 degrees.

It's gonna be cold but it's gonna be NICE.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

wink-and-ditch: pondering the success of Match and other online dating sites

So continues my series...

Today a friend who is reading Freakanomics informed me that according to the book's author only 20-something percent of men and 50-something percent of women are contacted via their online dating profiles. (Sorry, the actual percentages she told me now escape me.) Based on these stats, it is pretty incredible that I have even had a handful of not-so-great dates and even more incredible that I actually liked one guy I met online recently.

I'm sure there have been studies out there about what influences men to contact women and vice versa and that these studies aren't so different from what attracts the two different sexes offline. This brings me to another phenomenon. The wink-and-ditch. Last week a guy winked at me who seemed nice enough so I e-mailed him. I haven't heard anything. Maybe he changed his mind. Maybe he got busy with work and forgot about me. Like an project, that entertainment center he started building, I've been forgotten. Before you get out your violins, I'm not complaining. I get this. I have been guilty of it myself. Just as it is easier not to return the calls of the guy you gave your number to the night before when you have changed your mind about him, it is easier just to wink-and-ditch someone with whom maybe at first you thought you'd hit it off but now you're going back to work, don't have as much down time, and it was all superficial anyway. Or maybe he met another Match girl who shares his love for bowling and World of Warcraft. Makes sense.

But what about the one you like? The one you winked at and he responded, seemed interesting, normal and interested. And you think he's kinda cute too. Score! But after a couple of e-mails it seems he's gone off into the ether of cyber space and you start to wonder if he and another MDC girl are exchanging pleasantries instead of the two of you. If the website is taken to be what it is, a community of people all looking for the same thing - a virtual bar stripped of the ambiguity, questions of "Is he single?" and "Does he look like a nice guy?" and all those other things that get in the way (well, for the most part) - shouldn't it be true that Mr. Match will wink tomorrow? If that's the case then what are those 20 and 50 percentages all about? It is all just a giant pool and I am but one fish.
Still, as my friend MCW says (or to paraphrase her, rather) each one brings me closer... And right now that's a comforting thought.


Monday, January 4, 2010

adolescence revisited: oh, the humanity!

I am currently knee deep in my childhood (well, my adolescence) as I am cleaning out my bedroom at my parents house since my mom has been using it as her office for about a year and my junk continues to get in her way. Today I boxed up memories, revisited bad hair and even worse fashion choices. Wondered why in the world I wore so many pairs of overalls in high school (no wonder people thought I was 12 when I was really 17!) and so on and so forth.

It is true that there is something cathartic about boxing up ones mistakes and embarrassments (and even the all the fun and nostalgia too). After all that's how we move on.

In the meantime, anybody want a Friends trivia game? How about a Caboodle or a Debbie Gibson cassette tape?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

you are not matthew mcconaughey: a 20-something woman's perspective on

I keep telling my best friend I need to write a book about my online dating excursions. I say this in jest but I have been thinking lately about the things I do not understand about online dating protocol and etiquette. Not sure this merits a book (I'm sure it has all been written anyway) but perhaps some of my fellow single ladies out there can relate. So I present my list of semi-rants and full-on-rants.

I first joined in March of last year. I do not participate for more than a month at a time because I simply cannot handle more than 30 or 31 days of concentrated rejection and I get bored with it quickly. Also, I tend to feel like after a few weeks of searching (because I'm a firm believer you have to make it work for you and not sit and wait for someone to contact you) I tend to see the same guys with little variation. I've now had a few months on the site and here is what I think...

1. I do not like "thanks but no thanks" e-mails.

Match has this wonderful feature where you can send someone an automated adios e-mail if you are not interested. I've received a few of these, including one today. My friend thinks it is a nice thing. I think it just rubs the rejection in. I'd rather not hear from someone than have them push a button after viewing my pictures and deciding they don't like me. Maybe I'm sensitive (I know I am, in fact) but in this case I think nothing is just a bit nicer.

I have also been the recipient of a few personalized e-mails including one person who told me I was too short for him! The other day a guy e-mailed me telling me thanks for the e-mail but that he didn't think we were compatible for a relationship. He even went so far as to answer a question I asked him in an e-mail. My question is WHY? I'm sure with these guys I have dodged a couple of bullets but just pass right along my email and profile. It is so much easier to take than actual recognition of the fact that there is something unsavory about me. Am I alone in this reasoning?

2. There is nothing wrong with "about average!"

Ya ready because I'm going to go a bit ape shit on this one. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with having a body type that is described as "about average". This is the body type I feel most accurately describes my own. My other choices were "athletic and toned", "slender", "curvy", "a bit extra" and possibly one other I'm forgetting. As in life, Match has its share of tools (yes, boys I said it, tools) who select "athletic and toned" and "slender" for their preferred match's body type and nothing else. My favorite is when they wouldn't be described as "athletic and toned" or "slender" themselves. Nice, guys. Nice. While I want to believe that all of these guys are disgusting materialistic playboy types I'm sure that's not true. Still I choose to believe it makes them all douche bags and unworthy of a perfectly nice, caring and about average girl like me.

3. I do not live in the UK, I do not want a 40 year old, and I do not understand why you are talking to me.

I get lovely messages, e-mails, and winks from guys who are not my type. It is inevitable. I'm sure they're good guys and will find someone. That someone just isn't me. I feel badly ignoring people but I honestly don't understand why I am contacted by guys who live outside the tri-state area. I even got an email from someone in the UK the other day. While I love the UK... um... no. Also, I am not an "older guy" kind of girl. I'm mid-twenties so my ceiling is not far into the 30's. It is a matter of preference (and ick factor!) If you are 40 you best not be contacting someone my age. I know that Matthew McConaughey's wife is 26 and he is 40 (just realized that today - they have 2 kids! Wow!) but you are not Matthew McConaughey.

What do we think? I know there are more. Perhaps this will become a series...


Saturday, January 2, 2010

I rarely "go there" but today I'm gonna...

I've been eating all week. All. week. Non-stop.

This is why I do not keep sweets and junk in my apartment. If it is in the house, I will eat it.

My father's childhood Christmases were straight out of A Christmas Story or a Bing Crosby radio hour. Sugar cookies, divinity, taffy, candy - it was all there. In previous years I have done a lot of the holiday baking and have tried to limit it to a few things so that we all don't end up weighing 500 pounds by the time the New Year hits. This year I'm making the sugar cookies a bit late (I made the dough today) but my mom made the four other kinds of cookies, the pies, the candy and everything else I've been indulging in this week. Oh well. I gave up... and gave in.

I brought my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD with me (OK, you can laugh but I've heard it works!) and some "work out clothes" thinking that while everyone was at work this past week I could be exercising and staving away the holiday lbs. Well, since I'm such a whiner you already know I've been sick and that DVD has not left my suitcase.

Now here it is January 2 and I'm feeling a bit thick around the middle... and yesterday my dad brought home chocolate covered pretzels for me from Henry's.

Somebody stop me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My 2009 was...

The first months of the year are a bit of a blur now but here's what I recall off the top of my head. Also please forgive the constant tense changes. I was tired when I wrote this and don't feel like editing so it is a bit crude in places.

January: I experienced my first cold and snowy winter (the previous one wasn't that bad) as temps dipped below freezing more days than not and I trekked to a volunteer project on a Saturday morning in seven degree weather only to be derailed train schedule changes and a lovely Shuttle Bus roundtrip ride. I watched from television in our office floor's conference rooms as Barack Obama was inagurated as the first African-American President of the United States and passengers stood on the wings of a passenger jet miraculously landed by Captain "Sully" in the Hudson River. I attended a work conference in Denver, CO where the weather ranged from 60 degrees to snowy and I visited with my cousin and her little girl.

February: I accompanied children from a transitional shelter to an assisted living center to make cards for the seniors in residence on Valentine's Day (and gained a wonderful new perspective of Singles Awareness Day). I admit that February was kind of a bummer of a month. I don't really remember much else about it.

March: I got a reprieve from the cold as I spent a few days in San Francisco for work and then headed south to visit the fam in San Diego. I joined for the first time and as I recall went on a few ill-fated dates as a result.

April: The ground thawed and then some. I spent one very difficult weekend dogsitting in the West Village and learned I will NOT be getting a dog anytime soon! It just so happened to be unseasonably warm so I spent the weekend not sleeping, cleaning up more poop than I ever want to see, and caring for two very dehydrated English bulldogs. The first few cases of Swine Flu popped up in a local New York high school and some subway travelers and city pedestrians donned surgical masks. A major earthquake killed dozens in Italy.

May: President Obama nominates Sandra Sotomayor as Supreme Court justice. She becomes the first Latina to take the bench. I attend a community gardening project where I am given a bell pepper plant that I promptly kill. Summer settles in and my Summer Fridays begin.

June: Oh, the rain. It fell almost every day this month... almost beating out 2003's record. My roommate and I celebrated by going out more, getting caught inbetween venues to wait out the downpour. Michael Jackson died and I will always remember that I went to a fundraising mixer that night where I met a new friend, Brooklyn Betty (not her real name). I also learned that night that gin is not my friend. I also tried speed dating. No successes to speak of.

July: I celebrated the 4th on my patio playing Scrabble and eating chips & salsa with two great friends. We then attended a roof party uptown by which we could see fireworks from all sides. Spent the rest of the weekend recovering from smoke inhalation (I jest but it wasn't pretty!) While buying beer for said party, I noticed the NY Post headline: Palin Bailin'. Sarah Palin resigns her position as Governer of Alaska. Personally, I thought that was clever. My roommate and I also threw our first patio party. Wine and cheese was had by all.

August: I take advantage of many rain-free afternoons by spending them in Central Park. I go to an East Coast beach and dip my toes in the Atlantic for the first time while volunteering on a children's recreation project. I add "taking five year olds to the beach" to my list of things I will not be doing again any time soon. I spend the weekend with friend "K" on Long Island and go to the beach on Fire Island as well. I head to California again (San Francisco and below!) and meet up with two college roommates including one who I haven't seen in years. Upon returning to New York, I meet a very cute boy on a 80's infused dance floor. We have a very fun 80's inflused night together. I meet another very sweet and well meaning guy but it just isn't there. We go out a couple of times before I call it quits. I celebrate officially entering my "mid-twenties" by going out for Mexican food with two great friends and eat German Chocolate cake while watching "13 Going on 30". I realize I put too much pressure on birthdays. A helicopter and plane crash over the Hudson leading many to question the safety of NYC helicopter tour companies.

September: My baby brother visits from California for his birthday and I play tour guide. I watch Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral on CNN. I break my own record and have three dates in one week. Another record is broken as one lasts a whopping 45 minutes. I am frustrated by the "dating scene" and spend a lot of time with my DVR and wandering around NYC bookstores as a result.

October: I go apple picking once again in Upstate New York with "my kids". My roommate and I venture to DC over the Halloween weekend to see the sites. I am now officially addicted to burritos from the nearby taco truck. I join and subsequently quit a social sports league. I begin taking dance classes again.

November: Fall is in full swing. I meet my now seemingly annual Autumn Romance. My roommate and I plan a full Thanksgiving dinner at our tiny apartment for two guests. I'm eating mac n cheese for days. We also attend the Macy's Day Balloon inflating. I go ice skating for the first time in New York - in Bryant Park. I also hit up Atlanta (Hotlanta!) for a work conference with two of my favorite female co-workers.

December: Step throat renders me MIA for about a week. Autumn Romance ends before it has even begun. I miss the Rockefeller tree this year. I am informed that I am a potential bone marrow match for a patient with leukemia. A blizzard has my roommate and I singing Christmas carols on the way to get takeout for a Sat night spent watching movies. We get a new roommate (who will move in in January). I experience my first shopping excursion at a Queens mall. Actress Brittany Murphy dies. I ditch the city for holidays with my family in paradise...

There were obviously a lot more good times (and bad) and a lot of dates that I am not calling attention to but I have previous blog entries to do so for me. I also highlighted current events and news items as they made an impression on me throughout the year. I leave this year (and this decade) genuinely curious about what 2010 (and beyond) has to offer and the small and seemingly insignificant things I will do that will shape the months of this New Year. I could make a dozen resolutions about eating better, exercising more. making more friends or finally finding a significant other but I have decided that it is most important that I resolve to be kind to myself and others... Even more kind than I have been in the past. I will continue to work on shirking the worry, pressure, self-doubt, and jealousy to find the inner peace that brings me strength and happiness. For myself there is no greater goal and no more difficult achievement.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on last year and your hopes for the new one that has just begun. Feel free to share and may peace continue to be with you all in 2010...