Friday Five: Skin

  1. How would you describe your skin? Dry as fuck, especially right now. The weather is starting to get colder, so my hands are dry almost immediately in the morning and my feet are getting very scratchy. My face is dry but also gets really oily, which is a pain in the ass, and I get occasional breakouts. But every once in awhile, I’ll have a good day where it looks great.
  2. As a teenager, what was your acne like? Not horrible but I didn’t have clear skin, either. I used ProActiv for awhile, but eventually it wasn’t necessary. And of course now it really dries out my skin.
  3. When did you last escape something by the skin of your teeth? Hmm. I’m not sure.
  4. What most recently gave you goose bumps? Probably being cold. In fact, almost definitely being cold.
  5. When did you last burn yourself? Probably in the last week at work not waiting for my food to cool and trying to eat it anyway.

From Friday Five.

Friday Five: Flim Flam

  1. In The Spectacular Now, the main character is good at making everybody laugh. What social skill do you bring to a large party? I really don’t know. I don’t feel like I do one particular thing that stands out, other than maybe being a good social butterfly if I know a fair number of people. I also get great pictures, occasionally ones that can’t be seen. I have gems lurking on my computer, let me tell you.
  2. In The Way Way Back, one character was supposedly there when, at the local water park, one person passed another on the huge water slide. What amazing or strange feat that everyone supposedly knows about did someone pull off in your area (or at your school)? Someone shit on the Dairy Queen floor, but I have no idea who. I have a theory that it was actually kids from the neighboring high school, not ours, because if it had been someone from Geibel, everyone would’ve known.
  3. In Austenland, the main character spends a week in a large Victorian-era house designed for fans of Jane Austen. In what book’s setting would you love to spend a week immersed? Harry Potter is the most obvious one, duh. But I’d also like to visit areas in most of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles–almost all are set or end up in New Orleans. The world of Neverending Story would be great, too, but the book warned of the dangers of that.
  4. In The Heat, two main characters at first have great difficulty getting along personally, but they work unusually well together professionally. With whom have you had huge personal differences while still doing excellent work? This probably describes most of my experience with group activities in high school and college–shit got done but I couldn’t stand the people involved. On a semi-related note, when we were first dating, Paul really wanted me to read some of his stories and I was afraid to in case they sucked and I’d either have to lie and read shitty stories forever or find a way constructively criticize my new boyfriend. Fortunately for me, he’s actually good, but then he got on a kick–and still mentions it from time to time–about us collaborating on something. I say this is relationship suicide, at least at this point in our lives and careers, outside of our ability to read and constructively criticize each other’s work.
  5. In We’re the Millers, a marijuana-dealer and a reluctant stripper pose as husband and wife in order to complete a job. If you had to do the same for an undetermined length of time, who could pose as your Platonic life partner? Terra. While Scott’s away with the Navy, she pretty much refers to me as her substitute husband. In fact, if Scott wasn’t able to get leave this weekend, I’d be her date for a wedding. But we know each other well enough and are similar enough that we could convincingly pull it off…except for the part where we’d be so over-the-top that we’d probably be unbelievable.

Top 5 on Friday: Loss

Top 5 songs about loss

 1. “Astronaut” by Amanda Palmer It’s kind of hard to tell exactly what’s going on in this song, but this line is a pretty good indicator: “And is it getting harder to pretend / That life goes on without you in the wake?” What I love most about this song is its aggression. One of my favorite things about Palmer in general is the way she beats the shit out of a piano and how you can practically hear her do it–or maybe that’s just because my first exposure to her ever with The Dresden Dolls’ video for “Girl Anachronism” way, way back when it was first released and I actually saw her do it. Either way, it’s fantastic and raw.
2. “Always” by Anthony Rapp I’ve always maintained that Look Around is an amazing album, Rapp’s outstanding theater resume aside. Seriously, probably one of the best albums I own. And if you know enough about him–read Without You or see his one-man show and oh by the way he’s a very nice man–you can pick out the songs that at least seem like they deal with the death of his mother. “Always” is one of the best, with a gorgeous violin part and lyrics like “Flying away/ Wish I could say you would be there tomorrow and always / Just have to go / Wish I could know you would always remember me now and always.”
3. “Lost” by Amanda Palmer One day, I swear I’ll be less predictable. But this one of Palmer’s more musically upbeat songs–which she does really well–and it’s kind of a different take on loss than death and heartbreak, even though she explicitly mentions her “dead stepbrother”: “But nothing’s ever lost forever / It’s just caught inside the cushions of your couch / And when you find it / You’ll have such a nice surprise / Nothing’s ever lost forever / It’s just hiding in the recess of your mind / And when you need it / It will come to you at night.” Are the dead and people who have come and gone caught in our couch cushions? No, but Palmer’s point is more to the fact that they’re never really gone, either.
4. “The Thing About Things” by Amanda Palmer This is almost like the other side of “Lost,” where it’s about things and what they mean and the people they’re tied to. “Because the thing about things is that they can start meaning things nobody actually said / And if you’re not allowed / To love people alive / Then you learn how to love people dead.”
5. “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli Pretty much the prettiest, most perfect yet most depressing song ever about lost love. Let’s not forget that one time I cried almost all the way through Valli’s greatest hits. This song didn’t exactly help me to stop.

Friday Five: Ill Fits

  1. What item in your wardrobe do you wish was better-fitting? Most of my pants and some of my dresses. I’m short but have a big ass and a slight tummy, so I usually end up with pants that fit okay in those areas but are a bit long. Sometimes I end up with pants that would fit fine if not for said ass. Apparently, high-waisted is best. As for dresses, same thing–the tummy and ass areas give me a good fit, but I have small tits, so I often end up with dresses that are a bit big in the top.
  2. What role in a play, musical, or television program would be a terrible fit for you but is still something you wish you could try? I always end up being most drawn to male characters in shows. My favorite songs in musicals usually end up being sung by a man, like either Mark or Roger in Rent. Also would love to do Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.
  3. Which furnishing in your home clashes most with the others, for whatever reason? My kitchen set. It was cheap but is the perfect size, but it’s a bright yellow, I haven’t found a tablecloth I like yet, and the matching chairs are faded with this plastic over them that’s cracked, but covering that is gonna be hard. In their natural state, my couches don’t match, either–my carpeting is a dark brown and the couches are striped black and grey, but I have these nice cream and white print covers that slip over them and make it look really nice.
  4. What item in your possession are you using for something other than its intended purpose? My kitchen table doubles as a desk.
  5. What’s something others expect of you that you are just not comfortable with? I’ve talked about this a lot the past year or so, but I think people have expected me to just take whatever shit they want to hurl at me, and that’s partly because in the past, I have. But I reached a well-documented breaking point. No more of people just saying and doing whatever they want and me putting up with it.

Top 5 on Friday: Places

Top 5 songs that take you places

1. “Keystoned” by Punchline This one is borderline because it’s about Pennsylvania and that’s where I’m from and have spent my whole life so far anyway, but it’s a nice homage that references places from little towns around here like Belle Vernon and California to Philly across the state and plenty of places in between. And fun facts, too! “Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city / Not counting Venice.”

2. “Massachusetts Avenue” by Amanda Palmer I have never been to Boston so I know nothing about the places it references, but I imagine this to be a pretty accurate description of the area and Massachusetts Avenue, full of memories and anecdotes we all have connected with particular places. The best part of this song is it’s catchy as hell and has some of my favorite lines Palmer has ever written: “Do you remember loving me more than I could be loved? / I chased you for so long and when I caught you, I gave up,” “You don’t have to go back home at all!” “There’s the cemetery where I broke your heart in two / And there’s the pair of stones that we had laughed was me and you / I stared at them a long time, and I asked if it was true / If I still really loved you, and they answered / Yes you do!” The Dresden Dolls’ “Jeep Song” is similar in its Boston-related tales, too.

3. “West Coast” by Coconut Records Probably one of the prettiest songs ever that’s simultaneously a great love song and a great but sad song about travel and distance.

4. “World in My Eyes” by Depeche Mode This also doubles for a sex song–and by that I mean I’m pretty sure the whole thing is actually almost entirely about sex. Even so, if that’s a good way to travel and see the world, fine by me. Bonus points for the Cure cover.

 5. “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers Because I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…


Friday Five: Topically Unrelated

  1. What’s something you think you could have been good at, if you’d started at a young age? I actually think I’d be much better at and interested in science and math if I’d had better teachers in elementary school. If things had been explained even adequately–and granted had I not been as shy–things would’ve made a lot more sense and I would’ve done better later in life. I still think I’d have wound up in English, though. I also think I’d be a better guitar player and would have good piano skills if I would’ve had proper lessons or started younger.
  2. What TV show’s theme song do you really like? I don’t really watch much TV, although obviously The X-Files theme is near and dear.
  3. What’s the dumbest dare you ever took, or what’s the dumbest dare you witnessed someone taking? I never take dares because they scare me, but Marissa once ate a vodka-dipped French fry.
  4. What’s the most exotic thing you’ve eaten? I willingly tried escargot as a kid and liked it, and last year or so Paul got me to try octopus, which was far too tough and slimy.
  5. What was the last thing you changed the batteries for? It’s been so long since I changed batteries in something, I don’t even know.

As always, from Friday Five.

Second Rough Summer

Paul and I haven’t gone on a proper date in a long while until this past weekend. We’ve spent a lot of weekends lounging around my apartment. The last time I remember us actually going somewhere was to dinner at Mr. Gyro’s, this amazing Greek place near my apartment, a few weeks ago, but a few weeks ago was a tumultuous time, so it was really probably only a calm evening/few hours before shit got rough again.

Night shift is a pain in the dick for both of us. It completely screws up his schedule, and with me on day shift, we have a few overlapping hours where we’re both awake and not working during the week to talk–assuming he actually does wake up. There was this brief period where he was sleeping until 8 or 9 at night, and my bedtime (if I can get my shit together) is 9:30. So there was a pissy time of barely talking to each other. Combine that with a brief stint where literally the only thing he ever had to say was how much work sucks–including not even a, “So how was your day?” directed to me–and you get the makings of a rough patch. That’s simple enough to deal with and get over with a conversation, which we did, but then his sleep schedule started turning into me getting stood up when we had plans.

I tried to be understanding. Night shift isn’t easy, and I’m not saying I could 100% handle it well, but I am saying Paul definitely does not have my ability to adjust my sleeping schedule relatively hassle-free within a few days. And for awhile, he wasn’t sticking to much of a schedule while insisting he really needed to stick to a schedule. He has this habit–and most people probably do, to an extent–of complaining a whole lot about things in his control he could at least attempt to fix. At first, he was too tired to keep with our plans. Then he started canceling or just not keeping up with what he said he was going to. Then, after about three or four consecutive weeks of waiting for him to wake up and, “Hey, are we still ____ tonight?” “No,” I was at my parents’ house for the weekend and we were supposed to go out for some frozen yogurt. I had tons of other shit I wanted to do that day, but since the plan was “I’ll text you when I wake up,” I really couldn’t go out and about, so I ended up waiting around for him all day only to have him wake up, say he was too tired and would catch a nap and then we’d go only to not wake up until about an hour before he had to leave for work, so at that point I said, “Fuck it” and it turned into a huge-ass mess in which I ripped him a new asshole for not having the decency to at least not make plans with me if he wasn’t willing or able to keep them. It’s just a dick move. I get that he was tired and on night shift, but you don’t tell you girlfriend a few weeks in a row that you’ll go somewhere and then bail, especially when in more than one instance, it happened more than once in one day. And at a certain point, “I’m sorry” gets old.

I declared I wasn’t initiating plans anymore–if he wanted to see me, he could make the effort–and that if the plan was, “We’ll do ____ when I wake up,” as far as I was concerned, we weren’t going because past experience had proven that to be the case. He even acknowledged how shitty he would feel if it were the other way around. I’m not saying made him cry, but there were tears.

Now, this all by itself is a mess but probably could’ve gone down way smoother if not for one additional detail causing tension at the time–his mother is still evil. In fact, The Rough Patch of Summer 2013 kind of started with his mother when I finally got tired of her judgmental horseshit, calmly called her on some of it, and he made the unfortunate decision the next day to tell me she was pissed. Sorry, I’ve let your mother be a bitch to me for three years. I don’t really care if she was unhappy that I stood up for myself. Granted, it was more yelling to him than at him, but still.

And the catch is, as usual with her, that it wasn’t an isolated incident and it didn’t end there, and I don’t think it ever will. I decided–as I have in the past–that the best way for she and I to get along and for things to stay peaceful is to just avoid her and say very little when I am around her because one of us inevitably pisses the other off. She’s rude and disrespectful and thinks it’s okay because 1) she doesn’t think what she’s saying is rude and disrespectful and 2) even if it is, sounds like she thinks as long as she says it in her house, that’s okay. Because, you know, if she came to my apartment and I was a bitch to her, she’d be totally okay with that and say, “Oh, well, you’re the one paying the rent, say what you want!”

Now, when dealing with sane people, tension would pretty much stop at this point because if you’re not even in contact with someone, you should have no reason to go on bitching, but nope! And this is where we get into the realm of complaining about someone because they suck versus when complaining about someone because you suck. Yeah, I’ve done tons of bitching about people in the past, but you’ll notice it was almost strictly in the context of dealing with shit said/done to/about me, not me creeping around and looking for something wrong. There’s a difference between, “This happened to me, this was said to me, and here is how I feel about it,” and, “Look what this person I don’t like did!”

When someone hasn’t spoken to you in weeks and you’re still complaining about them once a week at random, the problem isn’t them–it’s you. And that’s what was going on–I hadn’t seen her since before the 4th of July and it was getting back to me that she was complaining about me weekly anyway at random when she was all wound up about other irrelevant things. Her most recent complaint? I made some off-hand comment about Paul’s height. Look, your kid is a foot taller than me. That presents inconveniences, but I’m not actually counting it against him or using it as a reason to not stay with him or something. Chill. He’s not thrilled with it, either. Ask him how much fun he has slowing down his walking pace considerably when we’re out together just so I can keep up.

But wait, there’s more! His sister Julie is totally on her side. We figure this side is Janelle Isn’t Good Enough for Paul. Apparently, they think I’m too competitive because…well, I don’t know. I’ve never actually been in some sort of competitive situation with either of them, unless Paul counts, in which case I’m actually winning because he basically said, “Fuck them.” They also think I always have to be right, which is really weird because I never argue with either of them. I just sit and let them go and nod and smile and then listen to them tell me how wrong I am. Hmm. Oh, yeah, then Julie got pissed that I had some complaints about her mother, which I understand, but let’s see how Julie feels when she’s got a significant other who feels hated. That’s right, kids. This ended in tears more than once on my end. As in I think three weeks ago I was about bawling my eyes out in bed to Paul going on and on about how no matter how hard I try, I can’t do anything right so I might as well stop trying because it’s a waste of time and oh also having my friends treat me like shit last year and his mom treat me like shit to varying degrees in varying intervals over the last three years has wrecked my self-esteem.

If enough people tell you or treat you like you suck for long enough, you start to believe them.

So then I went to therapy.

Friday Five: Let’s Get Personal (Or Not)

  1. What are you on? Nothing. But I need back on birth control and my gynecologist doesn’t take my insurance anymore, so what’s up, Planned Parenthood?
  2. What are you hiding? I’m sure there’s something, but I can’t think of anything. Maybe just how deeply I’ve been hurt and emotionally affected by some things, but I’ve alluded to them. I just hate that other people were/are capable of making me feel that shitty about myself.
  3. Who gets it when you go? I always used to say that the people closest to me would get first dibs, and anyone on equal footing had to go into a cage match if they wanted the same stuff. I’m still a fan of that idea. Paul and my family go first, then Terra and Scott, then the rest of my friends and extended family duke it out from there. All my lady friends could go through my clothes (or dudes, I don’t judge). jewelry, shoes and sell any good stuff that’s left and donate the rest. Same with my DVDs and books. My music collection gets interesting because I know some of that shit’s worth good money–I’ve got good collector’s items–so you bitches better take what you want but do your research if you’re gonna sell. Same with a few signed books I have. Paul gets at least one guitar and decides what to do with the other three.
  4. What’s in your wallet? Frequent-buyer cards, credit cards, debit card, ID, a little cash, coupons that are probably mostly expired.
  5. What do you waste? I try to waste nothing, but I come the closest with food. I can’t eat some as fast as it expires, but fortunately, I consider expiration dates to just be suggestions that can be ignored if something looks, smells, and tastes okay. Sometimes, I’m amazed that this has only led to me vomiting once

Top 5 on Friday: Musical Memories

Top 5 musical summer memories

 1. Concerts. I could probably make a whole separate list of just summer-concert memories, especially because I have a lot, but I figure that’s another list for another day, so I’ll just leave this here for now. I mean, there’s Mumford & Sons a few nights ago, Adam Ant & Cheap Trick last week, Roger Waters last summer, Paul McCartney a few years ago, multiple Styx and Def Leppard shows, countless smaller shows in between…
2. Parties with people playing guitar. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes at a good summer party, someone shows up with a guitar and just plays, and it’s awesome.
3. My David Bowie-themed 21st birthday party. I mean, come on. Everyone looked great, my mom and Aunt Gina made guest appearances in costume, we had a mother/daughter beer pong game going on, Noah showed up and played guitar, and it was an overall great birthday. Sure, I spent a significant portion of the night throwing up then met Paul’s parents for the first time with a hangover, but even that’s a great story because 1) I never get hungover because I have good genes and it just doesn’t happen, even when I do get really drunk 2) my dad said, “Her 21st birthday party was last night” and everyone just laughed at me 3) I felt great after I ate some real food, so I drank some more.
4. Listening to anything ever loud in the car with the windows down. This is why God made summer.
5. Musical presents. My birthday is on the first official day of summer, and if someone asks or knows enough about my music collection to know what gaps need filled in, it means musical gems for me. Last year, Paul got me a Beatles vinyl (in fact, I spent a lot of time and money last summer in Webster’s in State College buying records and books), and this year, I got some nice Regina Spektor.

Friday Five: You, Too?

  1. Is it getting better, or do you feel the same? (from “One”) Better! Partly because of time, partly because I started seeing a therapist–finally–almost three weeks ago. Now, we haven’t actually done much. The first visit was me explaining why I’m going–my self-esteem is shit and I’m having trouble dealing with certain things, basically–and the second was him explaining his approach to therapy–the way we think about things dictates how we feel about and react to them, so the goal is to examine that and get it back to rational, healthy thoughts. Apparently, most people give up after four because that’s when they start having to actually work on their shit.
  2. Do you shiver when you dream? Is there a pounding in your heart? (from “You’re the Only One that’s Real”) I don’t think so, but I have woken up crying. And very relieved it was just a dream.
  3. Is the sweetest melody the one we haven’t heard? Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear? (from “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”) Maybe and no. The sweetest melody, I think, deals with a kind of musical “grass is always greener” idea, so possibly, but we have so many sweet and amazing melodies that it’s hard to long for better anyway. As for perfect love, love in general is actually pretty fucking terrifying in itself. You’re trusting yourself to someone basically knowing they’re gonna hurt you in some way eventually, because all people do, but counting on them to not take you to a breaking point. The haver the power to wreck you if they’re careless. I was fucking terrified going into a relationship and I could tell, and the way I could tell was I had tons of excuses for why I shouldn’t do it. I’d never done that before.
  4. Do you feel anything at all? (from “Miracle Drug”) I feel very, very tired.
  5. It’s gonna itch and burn and sting; do you want to see what the scratching brings? (from “Staring at the Sun”) Nope. Doesn’t sound like it’s gonna end well.
  6. Do you feel loved? (from “Do You Feel Loved?”) Overall, yes. Going back to #1, shitty as some people have been and continue to be to me, I’ve actually had a mini outpouring of love, support, and sweetness lately. I always have Paul and Terra–and Paul has been a fucking saint putting up with me at times because I think I cried every single weekend for about a month until last weekend, partly because of his mother–as well as friends, but it’s nice to hear little things sometimes. Brandon checked in after both of my therapy sessions. Scott texted me semi-regularly a few weeks ago when I was pretty sure shit with Paul’s mom was basically at rock bottom asking if I was okay and assuring me I have him and Terra. Rachael dropped off my Mumford and Sons tickets and hung out for a bit and said I’m one of the sweetest people she knows when I told her about said rock bottom. Sarah expressed confusion and gave me some nice compliments about the same thing, too, and little as that all sounds, it’s nice to hear because between her and everything that happened last year, it was starting to really wear me down pretty bad to the point that I was starting to think the problem is me and just generally feeling shitty about myself. You have even just a few people either tell you you suck or treat you like you suck long enough, and you start to believe them. Oh, and my therapist also says I’m nice and interesting, so that’s nice, too! I don’t know that that falls under feeling loved since he’s my therapist, but you know. I’ll take that self-esteem boost where I can get it.

From Friday Five.