Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Things "we" do, part deux

In continuation of my previous post...

When you've been single and/or broke for too long, here's another thing you do:

You close off an open bag of chips with a paperclip or bobbi pin and think not: "This is tacky" but rather: "This is genius!"

I should mention that about this time last year I was keeping wine fresh by topping the open bottle with scotch tape until my classier-than-me friend Courtney sent me an actual corking mechanism. 

I also did this when attempting to open a (maybe the same) bottle:


And then this: 


This was my solution (also falls under the "not tacky but genius" category): 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Things that happen to people who have been single for too long

As I find myself here at the end of what I can only call another "Single Person Weekend Survived," I thought I'd gather my notes in a list of what happens to those of us Singletons who have been single for just a little too long. If you think you can bear being exposed to such ridiculous and harsh realities, read on. 

Please note I can of course only speak for myself here, but I use the collective “you” here because I’d like to think I’m not the only one. So without further ado, here is what really happens to the Expertly Single among us: 

1. You question your kissing abilities.

Sometimes I downright wonder if I’ve forgotten how, or if the next time someone tries to kiss me I’m going to say something ridiculous like, “Can we kiss for a few minutes so I can warm up, then you forget those few minutes and we proceed?”

2. Your taste in the arts goes markedly down.

Why? Because we’ve had so much damn time to watch, listen, read and discuss, then watch, listen, read and discuss a second time all the TV, books, news, movies, music that are out there. We’ve done the serious stuff – NPR, PBS, the History Channel. We’re moving on to Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., America’s Next Top Model. Get out of our way.

3. When you don’t have plans with people on any given weekend, you brace yourself for the “what is my life” questions you will ask yourself until you go back to work Monday morning.

4. You call 8,000 people until you successfully make plans, no matter how meager.

“You didn’t really invite me to go with you to the grocery store, but you’re OK with me tagging along? Be right over!”

5. You get together with this friend, and about 30 percent of the time, laugh hysterically with him or her and love every second and think, “This isn’t so bad. Maybe being single is great.”

6. Then you drive home and do two things:

             1. Think, despite all your wallowing and whining pre-hangout, that since you spent 6 hours with a friend, you have lost 6 hours that you could have spent cleaning your apartment, filing your taxes, working out, or watching 7 episodes of Dawson’s Creek (you could maybe squeeze in 8 if you fast forward through the credits each time).
       2. Freak out, anticipating the dread of heading back to your lonesome apartment, wondering when you’ll see that or another hilarious friend again.

You do both – not one – of these routines every time, and you cannot be stopped. The only exception to this rule is if you get home very late, in which case you are thrilled at the sight of your bed and the annoyance/dread/freak out kicks in the next morning.

7. You have guacamole and cheap wine for dinner, wearing sweats and your bra, settle in to watch a chick flick or some terrible television, and you think, “Sometimes being single is THE BEST.”

8. (Or) You have guacamole and cheap wine for dinner, wearing sweats and your bra, settle in to watch a chick flick or some terrible television, and you think, “This again. This sucks.”

9. You are flabbergasted by anyone who manages to fall in love.

How? Just. How. 

10. When anyone tries to give you dating advice, you want to claw at things.

If this unsolicited advice giver is in a relationship (the advice givers always are) and/or hasn’t dated in the last 5 years, you also want to throw things and yell really feisty words.

11. When someone expresses interest in hanging out and then doesn’t make plans, you get the ball rolling by suggesting an activity, and…crickets.

12. Your friends tell you to let that person make the next move, so you wait, and…crickets.

13. You wonder if people in your life think you are remaining single on purpose, or that there is something you’re hiding.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t wondered at some point whether my parents thought maybe I wasn’t interested in men, given my lack of getting anything off the ground with a man. This makes you occasionally self conscious, causing you to talk too much about those you are trying to attract. Meanwhile you can feel the annoyance of the People in Relationships who don’t care just how fascinated you are by the sexy lines on Matt Damon’s sexily chiseled face.

14. You feel that People in Relationships are generally annoyed any and every time you want to talk about your dating woes, current crush, romantic theories, etc.

But really, what else are we supposed to talk about? Would you rather hear about Dawson’s Creek? Matt Damon, maybe?

15. You grow too comfortable in your filth – washing a single utensil as you need it, buying underwear instead of doing laundry – because you can.

Who’s coming over to inspect our homes? That’s right. No one. Filth on.

16. You grow horrified at the thought of someone springing upon your home. 

On the rare occasion that you go on a date, you overly clean both yourself and your car, then fear you’re not presenting your true self, then fear your date will fall for the clean version of you and imagine the confessional conversation you’ll have with him 10 months down the line, begging him not to leave you when he discovers your slobby ways, telling him you can wash all the dishes and not just the required-right-then utensil.

You go through all of this in your head an hour before your first date. Or before he’s even asked you out. Which he probably won't ever do, because these are men in the 2010s who we're dealing with. 

17. Your married friends and family have schedules and procedures for you to follow in order to find a mate. You try to explain to them that they don’t know what they’re talking about, then get push back from them, ultimately give up, then brood at home.

Then you get together with your single friends and spend half of your time brooding together. The remainder of the time we compliment each other’s clothes and compare notes on reality television.

18. You do online dating, realize it sucks, stop, get bored, do it again, remember that it still sucks, stop. But you haven’t sworn it off completely.

19. People who love you tell you that people are intimated by you, as an explanation for why you are not being pursued. This makes you really want to claw at things.

OK. I’ll just stop being myself, because then a guy suddenly won’t be intimidated and will ask me out.

Thanks for the compliment that really offers no solution, well-meaning friends.

20. Meanwhile with all your spare Single Person time, you develop new hobbies and talents, impressive (or embarrassing – fine line, usually) trivial knowledge, athletic feats*, etc., that make you more intimidating, giving the cycle more vicious strength.

*Admit it, probably at least 75 percent of us have run that half marathon because we didn’t know what to do with ourselves.

(But as soon as we meet someone, we casually slip it into conversation and wait for that satisfying: “Wow! You ran a half marathon?!” But really. Really. The training is fueled by boredom.)

21.   All the other Single People amass their own piles of talent, trivia and feats, making you feel less able to compete in the meat market.

Cue the Dawson’s Creek. My time is better spent here, analyzing Andie and Pacey’s relationship and Joey’s tomboy-to-girlie wardrobe transformation.

22.   The longer you’re single, the crazier some of your perceptions become.

You start to wonder things like: Is it really OK if the next serious relationship I get into is “the” relationship? Because maybe I haven’t been through enough break-ups* in my life, and maybe I won’t really be able to be sure if this next relationship is the one for me, even if it’s totally the one for me. Maybe I need more experience with break-ups.

*Really. We think these things. At least I do.

23.   Sometimes you get in a bad mood for weeks or months on end, and there’s no stopping it.

24.   When you really stop and think about it, you hope that you and your best friends will all fall in love and get married at the same time, to help curb the jealousy that otherwise will be rampant whenever one of you meets his or her person before the rest of you.

25.   When you really stop and think about it, you realize how awesome – talented, caring, funny, sweet and lovable – your single friends are, and feel glad that for the moment you’re all in this together.

But you’re not always that Pollyanna about it. A lot of times you’re just kind of cranky and generally bursting with many and various issues.  

26.   Married People make you furious when they tell you JUST HOW WOEFULLY HARD it is to be married, as if life as a Single Person is the happiest of lifestyles.

Married People, we Single People get it. We don’t get it on the level of having been there, no, but I think I can say for most of us that we do listen when you talk about marriage not being a fairytale, and we trust you on that. I just want to ask: will we ever be able to have a conversation where it is accepted that making a marriage work and being single for years and years and years each suck in their own right?

This is all I can ask for on some days, yet am afraid to say for fear of backlash.

Somehow you feel, as a Single Person, that you are not so much having a conversation with a Married Person as you are in a competition with them for who has it worse. And because the Marrieds have been through a life experience that we haven’t, sometimes, frankly, they talk down to us.

But may I argue that a Single Person in her late twenties or older has been through a life experience that a Married Person of the same or younger age, has not?

To you Marrieds who are both honest about the work that marriage requires and quick to express your gratitude about having your spouse in your life – let me just say, “Thank you.” Even if I might sometimes be salivatingly jealous of what you have, I’d rather be jealous of someone who is realistic than who makes me feel like my problems aren’t as bad as yours. They’re just different. Our Single People problems are just different than the Married People problems. Hopefully this list can give everyone an idea of what the Single Person problems look like.

27.   And, finally, sometimes when you’re single and have been single for too long, you make a list about things that happen to people who have been single for too long, instead of doing something a little more proactive about your many abundant and various personal issues.

But I’ve got the time to make a list, so why not? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Positive life tactic

I'm exercising a new life tactic. It's called never get excited about a male ever again. 

I sat next to a guy in Starbucks here, who was reading the Bible. 

Did I strike up a conversation? Nooooo.

I restrained myself, and instead dutifully paid library fines online, googled Dawson's Creek, checked out my bank statement. 

When I sneezed, he said "Bless you."

Did I bite? 

No. I said "Thank you" and went back to my Internet duties. 

Because if there's one thing I've learned in 10 years of (not) dating, it's that a meet and greet in a public place leads to nothing ever happening with that person ever again. 

Positivity* for the win here in 2014. How's your mood? 

Love,
Bails

*Spell check tells me this is not a word? Don't care. Leaving it. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: A Recap

I know you were all just hoping that you would log on to The Daily Bailey and see a recap of my past year, so let’s do that, shall we?

J

Um, big year, it was. As I was telling my dad over Christmas, it wasn’t the most fun year and he said that didn’t prevent it from being a good year – in other words, it was uncomfortable but it moved me forward, worked out some kinks in the hose of life, was productive in a gross-looking and feeling way.

Toward the end of 2013, I was saying and thinking a lot that I was looking forward to a new year. I realize that a date on the calendar doesn’t act as a reset button, and I’m not one to think in such terms of January 1st as some grand day of power and influence.

But. I’ve been looking forward to January 1st.

Pops is right – some necessary things happened this year, and I have entered 2014 – if I do say so myself – on a good foot because I endured some rough patches during 2013.

All that said, as I was cleaning my apartment and reflecting/prepping in my head for this post, I realized I’ve done quite a bit this year. And I did quite a bit the year before. So perhaps this maybe cheesy yet semi-traditional action of reflecting on the year past is a good thing. Helps us realize, “Um, Bails, your life is not as boring or unfair or whatever-else-you’re-inclined-to-think-about-it-on-a-bad-day as you think it is on a bad day.”

So let’s recap, in briefer list form, what happened for me in the last year. And I’m sure you will get some sort of more thought out, less listy reflection at the end. You’re excited, I know you are.

Activities:
One wedding
One baby shower
Disneyland not once, not twice, but three times
“Acted” (I use this term loosely) in a film. I have to say, the day of filming started on a rough note (little sleep/emotional night), but I had so much fun filming and making new friends that day. Great time.
Saw Anne Lamott twice
Managed, amidst very little writing, to write my 1,000th blog post
Went on many interviews
Took an awesome trip throughout the Midwest. This was perhaps the most welcome respite during the entire year – I remember it oh so fondly.
Got a JOB!!! Praise. The. Lord.
Got myself my first Los Angeles big girl apartment
Lived with the most generous people on the planet prior to moving into that apartment
Two brief but snuggly reunions with the best cat ever, Sir Diblets McGee
Ran a half marathon. On an injured foot. Genius.
Attended Grandma’s 95th birthday party
Spent Thanksgiving with my darling friend Jeffrey 
Danced with this longtime college pal in Chicago: 


Grew my hair quite long

Then cut it rather short


Had a delightful afternoon in Malibu with some dear friends on my 28thbirthday. Followed by a viewing of the Fran Drescher movie “Beautician and the Beast” (my friends did not join me for that part)
A trip to Northern Cali to see my friend Courtney, and hung out with her during her trip to Southern Cali


Introductions (people, places, television casts I met last year):
Writer Sandra Tsing Loh – HYSTERICAL (note: did not meet her personally, just her writing)
Some attractive men who failed to take me on dates. One asked me on a date, but failed to actually take me there. Y’all need to get with it. Have a meeting and review the following agenda: Meet girl. Tell girl you’d like to hang out. Hang out with girl. This is not that complicated.
My dear, precious friends John and Mary, who have been an amazing addition to my life. Shout out to mutual friend Ann for introducing us across many state lines. Spent several moments in awe that these two were added to my life. They’re kind of a perfect friendship/family fit.
The Mizzou 2013 edition LA-area alumni football watch party crowd.
A charming laundromat called El Gringo Lavanderia. They have video games, vending machines, giant washers, and dryers that dry things in approximately 10 minutes for a mere 25 cents. And their “mascot” is an Uncle Sam-ish sombrero wearing man (somewhat sadly he only comes in cartoon form, on posters and the charge cards that one uses to run the washers and dryers).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – Best show on television. I mean it when I say this show has changed my life. Be on the lookout for my full reflection post regarding the whole series – I have about eight episodes left, so meanwhile don’t ruin it for me.
This song.
A super fun island themed restaurant at the Disneyland resort – that was decked out for Christmas when my friend Rosie and I went there, and thus made me feel like I had stepped into a movie in which woeful travelers found themselves welcome in a bar when their travel plans went awry.
A Year and Six Seconds – fantastic book by Isabel Gillies. I devoured it.
Video editing. I decided to dink around with some free video software on my computer, and started reviewing Pixar films.
Writer Jan Karon’s Mitford novel series. People. I hardly ever read fiction – just ask my brother Riley – and I read almost three entire books of this series in just one year. This speaks volumes to how wonderful these books are, pun intended.
The church retreat. Still soaking up the memories.
Some new precious church friends.

Loss:
The sweet, amazing Nelson Mandela. I cried on December 5th. What an incredible man.
College professor Alan Bloom. Survived by a loving wife and three young sons who no doubt adored him to pieces. He was a fan favorite at Valparaiso University and his death was a shock to us all. Much love and peace to his family.
Will Gray, a member of Pacific Crossroads Church in LA, CA - an inspiration and an example of faith for us all.

Continuations:
Read more books by author faves Anne Lamott, Bill Bryson, James Herriott
Recorded more episodes of The 90s Podcast – AKA “Two girls, a guy, and a podcast” (we’ll be back in the recording studio this weekend! Three new episodes coming at you!)
Entered and exited 2013 without a boyfriend. Please contain your shock. 
Spent my first full calendar year in California!
Continued to struggle with the fact that California is far away and people don't love to buy expensive plane tickets. Yet also continued to love the warm, the sun sun sun, new friends and old - and the grown up experience of turning those friends around you into your family.
Reunited with two high school pals (see, guys, you should move to California, everyone's doing it!)


Went as Garth Algar for Halloween for the second time in my life. Let’s not talk about how much I apparently look like him. (This pic is from the first time I dressed as the man who can "go to a movie on a school night [snaps fingers] like that")


I’m already self conscious about looking like a boy, given my extreme doppelgangerness with my younger brother.


Marked 10 years of friendship with this kid:


New travels:
San Jose, CA
Iowa City, IA (I maybe went there as a kid, but don’t remember)
Lincoln, NE (see note above)
Viroqua, WI
Long Beach, CA (not that far away but hey, it was new)
San Francisco, CA

Some great movies I saw for the first time:The Descendants
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
The Internship
Frozen

Also, since you asked, here are some of my resolutions for 2014:
Run the Disneyland Half Marathon
Improve my horrible, terrible posture
Keep my home and car clean
Write. Write write write. I don’t know what this looks like exactly (draft of a book??!), but my cheerleader named Dad tells me this needs to be a focused/structured goal in order for it to happen.
Don’t eat at McDonald’s for an entire year. I have two days down. I can do this.
Go on a cruise (this is not exactly a resolution, just a fun plan)
Wear sunscreen. I did well with this goal in the first part of 2013, then began to fail. Renewing the resolution.
Donate blood
Stick to a routine. Stick to that routine like honey would stick to clumps of hair on a barbershop floor.
(Maybe) read all the Narnia books?
(Maybe) read all the Little House on the Prairie books?

I should probably make some resolutions like “reduce caffeine intake” and “limit amount of sugar intake so you don’t rot your teeth out of your head,” but, well, I’m not ready to put such incredible commitment in writing. That’s about as scary as telling someone I’ll spend the rest of my life with him.

Other things/thoughts/the promised and/or dreaded reflective reflection of my year:
Well let’s see, Friends.

I’ve spent approximately the last six months – maybe the whole year – in a primarily bad mood. I’ve just been a delight to be around. I mean, what can I say? I’m just kind of cranky. I’m so, so, so grateful to have a job, and a meaningful one at that, with a supportive and encouraging boss, in a field (mental health) that I care so so much about. But I’m also still single – which, by and large, most of the time, honestly I kind of love – and spent a lot of the year being unemployed, which really wears on your psyche and sense of self worth, and then in the last few months of the year I suddenly became insanely busy! Which made me excited at first but then very cranky.

But I have everything that I need. And I always have. I am healthy. My parents love me and let me know it. I have sweet, sweet friends. Occasionally boys tell me I’m pretty (usually after I’ve moved thousands of miles away from them. Seriously, boys, you need to have that meeting. Get it together.). I complain about my calendar being too full, and several times a year I do feel left out, forgotten, etc., but every day in this city I see people on the streets who don’t have homes and wonder if they even have friends. Almost every weekend I have a place to be with people who care about me and though I take it for granted I do realize what a miracle that is.

On a side note, the Kansas City Chiefs made the playoffs and the Missouri Tigers not only played in the SEC championship game but also got a bowl game. Great year to be a fan of Missouri sports teams.
I got to see my friend Michelle twice this year, very briefly but at least that much. For my sake, I wish she would move here, but she is doing awesome work at her job and I’m super proud of her. But I miss her a lot and often wish we could just simply hang out.

I also get random but very strong pangs of wanting to simply be in the same room as Nick, my pal who, as of September 2013, I’ve know for 10 years. He and I got to spend a week together in August and I loved it.
Let’s not even talk about how I miss my niece and nephew, the adorable cutie pies with the giant eyes and perfectly cute teeth (respectively) who I just saw over Christmas.

I got to babysit said niece and nephew with the ‘rents during Christmas – these are the privileges of being the only non-married sibling in your family; send your brother and his wife on a date, stay in with your parents and babysit! I kid, but we had a great time, watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, eating spaghetti and dancing to Justin Bieber.

Mom and Dad took me on my annual shopping spree to Macy’s where many clothes were purchased for me.

OK, OK, fine. I am the only daughter in my family and I am a little bit spoiled.

Also, I love Macy’s. Y’all should start shopping there. Ninety five percent of the time when someone compliments a piece of my clothing, my response is, “Macy’s!”

I got to go on a date with my sister in law during Christmas, where we got real about life over Panera snacks. This is becoming a tradition of ours and I treasure it. She and I have known each other for 10 years now, and I really value the ease I feel in being around her – being able to cry, be happy, be sleepy, and just be whatever I am in the moment with her. I also got to bond with my brother Patrick twice during my Christmas trip, which I will cherish forever.

At this current moment in time, I am feeling positive about life. My mood has not always been so generous, but I’m going with it. I am glad the copious job searching of 2013 is over. I am hoping for a better tax return this year. I am still obsessed with cross stitching, reading, and cats. I still love to write and dance. I still want to get married but am still unable to fully imagine such a commitment. I am excited for the Barbie-sized oven in my apartment. I still love to do laundry and dishes. (I am making myself sound very domestic here.)

OK, this is getting long. Rather, not getting long. It's already long. So finally! In conclusion...

...the Anderson Cooper/Kathy Griffin New Year’s Eve special is fantastic. Captivating. I laughed a lot, and they are precious together. You should check it out this year. Dec. 31, 2014 – set your DVR, if you have such technology. At least one of us doesn’t, and she supports your Luddite status.

Over and out. Many blessings to you all. Health and love. May furry pets grace your presence and may you not feel or be left alone during this year or any to come. Thanks, as always, for reading. XO

Also, sorry this post was kind of all over the place. Hugs from California. Come run a half marathon with me in 2014, it will be fun!