Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gushy anecdotes comin' your way!

Alex invented a dance move this summer.

The move resembles a happy dog climbing a fence, ultimately to pant his happy tongue at you while saying hello over the top of the fence.

So the dancer wanting to participate in this move makes her hands like paws and, to the beat of the music, taps them against the air, one hand over the other (i.e. "climbing a fence").

Once the fence has been summited, dancer bobs her head to the beat of the music, with happy dog tongue hanging out, as if to pant.

(If this is not readily clear to those readers trying to visualize this, let me know and I may have to make a video and post it).

Alex first whipped out this original move at his cousin's wedding in August, and it got me every time. At the time I actually thought he was going for a prairie-dog-climbing-out-of-a-hole, but the sentiment of a happy animal performed by a precious Alex was not lost on me.

Since then, I have come up with a cat-washing-its-face counter dance, and we have repeated the dog dance on numerous occasions. Really it's appropriate for most occasions, one will find.

Most recently Alex found an excuse to use the dance around 12 a.m. on a Sunday, in a bowling alley bar with (inexplicable) camouflage blankets Velcroed to its windows.

Someone who writes a blog that frequently mentions her cat and her love for writing decided she was going to participate in the raucous karaoke that was happening at the bar.

So she put her name in, and one very supportive dog impersonator came to the edge of the stage to cheer on her amateur rock starring.

It was quickly discovered by this singer, about two verses in, that


was paying any attention to her singing.

This was both good and bad, as the performance wasn't great, but the lack of fans was a little disheartening nonetheless.

It was also kind of comical, as the singer seemed to have taken the stage at the point in the night when people had had enough drinks that they no longer wanted to create conga lines* or dance romantically to the Celine Dion being sung to them*. Instead they stared at their cocktails and talked less animatedly amongst themselves, losing drunken steam.

*[Both things actually happened.]

I -- I mean, this mystery singer I am discussing -- actually said into the microphone at one point, "No one is paying attention."

Even this did not stir my inebriated "audience."

So there I was, channeling my inner Alanis, and save for one adorable blonde friend of mine and a table of strangers to my right who Alex tells me clapped for me, the only person cheering me on in my musical stylings was one very precious human puppy dog, his curly hair bobbing along with his panting tongue.

I tell you all this because the actual point of this post is to be gushy and romantic, so you're welcome and I'm sorry.

While I was crooning onstage, I actually didn't care that no one was listening. Because one guy was listening, and I really only cared that he was.

There I was, singing a somewhat racy song that I would never sing with my parents in the audience, and my sweet guy was there at my feet, encouraging me by pretending to be a puppy dog. It didn't match the song at all -- though, one must know, the tempo of the dog dance can be adjusted to "fit" any song -- but I just felt the reminder of how he fits with me.

I am one who enjoys lots of attention -- surprise -- but in that moment I just needed my man. Because somehow when I'm singing an inappropriate, angry song he can be doing a childish dance and it just works. We just work together.


Then on the way home I was telling him how I feel insecure about how I think a certain person thinks of me, and the way he said "Baby" to reassure me was just in the most tender voice.


Last weekend we went to see my all time favorite movie, which is, duh, When Harry Met Sally.

Alex had only seen parts of it (I know), so I told him that if he wanted a popcorn or drink refill during the film that I would be the designated runner, as he had some serious paying attention to do.

I fell in love with him again during the movie because not only did he heartily enjoy it -- AS ALL SHOULD -- but I didn't have to give him a precursory admonition to pay attention.

Because Alex pays attention. He always does.

He listens to me with kind affection, he asks people questions about themselves to a fault. I'm one who steers a conversation to meet my entertainment needs. Alex is entertained by the details of others; he makes them feel worthy and cared about by asking them who they are, what makes them tick.

And he knows about everything. Science, history, books, entertainment, building projects. You name it, he's read about it or listened about it on the radio.

Because he pays attention.


Now one more gushy anecdote and I'll let you go.

He watches the credits.

If there is a pet peeve of mine, it is rushing to turn off the DVD as soon as the closing credits begin to roll.


Shuffling out of your seat at the theater to make your way for the exit while the craft service people's names are scrolling on the screen before you. Tsk.

Let's have some RESPECT, people.

On one of my birthdays (24?) I went to see the film Is Anybody There? with my mom.

[Spoiler alert]

Michael Caine's character in the movie dies at the end of the film. But he dies, like, at the end -- and I mean the end -- of the film, so I didn't have time to process. Because I didn't have the credits to cushion me.

Let me explain.

When we went to see this, Michael Caine died, credits rolled about 30 seconds later, and then all these PEOPLE just started to usher us out of the row.

Which, clearly, led to me crying in the aisle and my mom giving me a hug because I WAS NOT THROUGH GRIEVING THE DEATH OF MICHAEL CAINE and these people were pushing by us.

Let's have some respect for the credits, people.


So point being, the credits are meant to be a time to ease out of the drama, the comedy, the romance, you just beheld back into life as you know it. The credits are not a time for chitchatting, for shuffling, for exiting. It is not a time to bus the empty pizza boxes to the trash chute.

It is a time to sit in your chair, and remain in the movie, for just a little bit longer.

I thought everyone understood this.

I thought everyone needed this.

I've told my therapist, among others, that I sometimes feel insecurely that I am the one among my friends who is last to check her watch, last to say, "I need to get going." I am first to say, "Yes, I'll have another cup of coffee," the one to let a lull in a conversation flow to another topic, rather than checking my phone and determining the conversation to be done.

I've always needed a little more time.

I hate feeling like friendships become short lunch dates. I always want more time with people who I love. And I want them to want to spend that much time with me.

Alex watches the credits.

He needs the time, and he gives me the time.

He is my love.

[Gushy anecdotes concluded for the time being. You may return to regularly scheduled programming.]

An open letter to the lovely Ms. Yamagata

Dear Rachael,

I go to bed at 8.

That might be hard for someone who performs well into the night and then drives past Kansas cornfields at 3 a.m. to fathom, but it's true. I'm a 30-year-old trapped in an 8-year-old's sleep schedule, and I get anxious when the clock ticks past bedtime and I'm not yet clad in my PJ's.

This anxiety gets especially high when I'm out of the house past bedtime, i.e. not near the safe and comfort of my bed and its promised 10 hours of sleep.


A) I might sleep too much.
B) I'm talking to my therapist about my anxiety issues. He did let me know that I'm not crazy, so we're making progress.

Last night you took the stage at 10, at the Teragram Ballroom, which my boyfriend dubbed an "adorable" venue.

And I screamed for you, when I saw that familiar long black hair.


You sang all my favorites: Dealbreaker, Worn Me Down (my boy toy's fave of the night), my all time ballad of yours: You Won't Let Me.

You took us, your crowd, through your new hits, and we loved them without trying.

When the chords of Be Be Your Love rang out on your keyboard, I thought, "This is the song that brought me to Rachael," remembering the summer that I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and then saw the movie and heard your voice when Lena raced after Kostos to tell him on the ferry boat that she loved him.

I remembered and I was grateful.

That book, that movie, your voice, led me to Lincoln Hall, where my bestie and I sipped cocktails and fell in love with your charming persona.

It led me to the Fonda Theatre, where -- shh -- I was really there to see you more than I was to see Josh Radin.

And it brought me to Teragram, where faux moons hung above us and my man and I swayed together to your songs -- songs that break us open and fill us with beautiful, musical balm.


Last night, as we walked toward the taped off line to get our wristbands, I joked with my friends that it was way past my bedtime.

It was.

It was 9 o' clock.

But as we listened to your opener, the lovely My Name is You, there was no twinging anxiety reminding me that Max (cat) was waiting for me at home.

I savored their harmonies, in giddy anticipation of you, the way one feels on Christmas Eve -- happy, excited, knowing there's more fun still to come.

During your set, I felt I could stay wrapped up in the lights and your voice and your band's great aura for hours on end.

A Rachael show is not something to rush through.

Your concerts are my happy place.

Last night, I went to bed after midnight.

And I didn't care.

Rachael, we love you. I hope I don't sound like a crazed fan, but rather like one who knows a special thing when she hears it.

Thanks for staying up past 8, waiting for us Angelenos to push through traffic and make it to the edge of your stage, ready for your voice to take us away.

Thank you for singing, for strumming, for writing, for keying. Thank you for being you.

God bless you. I hope you find lasting love and happiness in your life, because you -- I think we all agree -- deserve it.

Not the least bit tired

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why the fascination with fear?

Alex and I have scheduled a thrift store date.

I need a lime green dress.

He needs a hounds tooth check vest.

We're going as Joy and Fear from Inside Out for Halloween.

It took much discussing* of various couples costumes to get here, but I've ordered a blue wig and we're finally on our way.


*Discussing defined as follows:

Bailey: Babe! We should be Penny Lane and Russell from Almost Famous!

Alex: Sure. I don't really like to spend too much time on costumes, but as long as it's reasonable I'll consider --

Bailey: Great! [Digs faux sheepskin vest out of closet]

       Months later

Bailey: Babe! We should go as Harry and Sally from that scene when they're driving the car from Chicago to New York!

Alex: Mm hmm.

       Minutes later

Bailey: Babe! We should --

Alex: [Smacks forehead]


I've wanted to do a couples costume for ages (I want to do a group costume perhaps even more, but don't even get me started on the fickleness of people and how I fear this dream will never be realized). So as Alex has spent the last several months explaining to our friends that I've had about 100 costume ideas and he is understandably fatigued, I butt myself right into the middle of his argument and explain that I had been boyfriendless for a very long time prior to my Sweet's entrance into my life, so he is going to dress like Harry and have a smile on his face as he does it!

This doesn't make me look too good, does it? What with the bossiness and the boyfriendlessness. I better watch it or I might be boyfriendless again pretty soon.

So I'm eager about our costumes, sue me.

And I'm a flamboyant supporter of Inside Out (if you haven't seen it, go now. No, really), so I'm excited to dress as a happy-go-lucky yellow person in a lime green dress and to see my sweetie smeared in purple face paint, wearing a jaunty little bow tie and just being the cutest little Fear I've seen since Inside Out.

I'm excited about my Fear, as my boyfriend in his costumed form on Halloween night.

But I'm not generally excited about my actual Fear, in its raw form, causing anxiety and worry and sometimes unnecessary and irrational panic in me.

Which is why I was moved to ask recently: Why the fascination with fear in our society?

I received one promotional email this week for "Unintentionally spooky places in LA."

Combing through another, I found pictures of bloodied, disfigured, and masked faces, all advertising events I could attend. Events I could spend money on and -- scariest of all -- face traffic in order to supposedly enjoy myself.

Now, for starters, I'm a wuss, so the sarcasm you're picking up on in the previous sentence comes from a place of -- you guessed it -- fear.

I have only been to the babiest of haunted houses, and one haunted corn maze which was NOT MY IDEA. I prefer to wear my cutesy, creative costume and eat candy and drink beer and enjoy that side of Halloween.

So I find it somewhat disturbing how infatuated our culture is with scaring the you-know-what out of ourselves. Or, more deeply disturbing still, the fact that we can talk about, watch shows about, and dress up as zombies without being freaked out by our casual obsession with such a thing.

I'm not here to say that your lighthearted fun of putting some fake blood on your face is a crime, or that I think you need deep help.

But I do wonder why we seek out fear, particularly at this time of year but really (when you look at all the horror movies and zombie shows and vampire books that regularly churn out of our nation's creative minds) perennially.

I wonder about it because I hate feeling scared, so I would never willingly seek it out.

I recognize there's a cathartic release in it all. Barring the 2005 viewing of What Lies Beneath, throughout which Samantha and I sat simultaneously in each other's laps, I can see how immediately following a scream in a haunted house comes a laugh. A heightened laugh that bubbles with relief, adding to the joy of the moment.

But is that why we go after fear-laden activities? Haunted houses, haunted hayrides, overnight stays in haunted hotels, one particularly horrifying (to me, and I hope others) Great Horror Campout.

Is a simple dose of nervous laughter enough to get us chasing after this stuff with each returning October?

Again, I'm not judging, I'm just wondering.

It's just so interesting to me, as a certified Class A Wuss, that we would move in droves to make ourselves feel scared. When we don't have to feel that way!

People! NOT going to the zombie haunted house is a free and easy choice, not to mention a ticket OUT of feeling fear.

I'm paying good money to sit on a couch once a week and talk about my fears to a near-stranger. And let me tell you, sitting on that couch is fear enough in my life.

Me and this near-stranger (who I actually really like and who is becoming less of a stranger) discussed this week how I fear that people are upset with me when they likely are not. If someone is acting out of character -- snappy, too quiet, withdrawn -- I, for some reason, immediately think I am the problem.

My therapist asked me to ask if something "has my name on it," i.e. is it reasonable to believe that something is my fault, that someone else's emotional lapse is necessarily always to do with me.

He also told me that I seem to fear confrontation and fighting to the point that I don't realize an actual fight could be less scary than I am working it up to be in my head.

These conversations are helpful, but none of them make me want to get in line for the next big horror flick.

Alex asked me if I wanted to go see "Carrie: The Musical." I'm too sensitive, I told him. I couldn't handle it -- the violence, the psychological thrill.

I'm reading a book right now -- absolutely devouring it -- but things are starting to get weird. It's a mystery what's happening to the main character, but it appears it could be going down a mentally ill road. If that road leads to schizophrenia, I might have to bail, much as I'm loving the read. I'm too scared to think of such a thing ever happening to me, I'm not even sure I could read about it in a fictional context.

The fear is too real. Too big. Maybe irrational, but it's there nonetheless.

In Inside Out, Joy and Sadness take the lead. They hold the story together, carry it to its conclusion. Fear is really a side character, mostly in place for comic relief.

I find this casting of characters to be inaccurate for life -- at least for mine.

Sadness, yes, once took a leading role in my life. Her career peak was really in the late 2000s, early 2010s.

Joy has always been a leading lady for me. She rattles around this brain of mine no matter how much Sadness tries to bully her.

And for me, Fear doesn't just love wearing seat belts, as he adorably does in the hit Disney film.

Fear hangs out in large proportion within my lobes. I would tell you which lobe(s) specifically, but I only have a BA in psychology. My Fear shows up on good days and bad. Fear loves to prowl around in the middle of the night, when I wake up alone.

Fear's kind of a brat, to be honest.

Fear's no witty side character in my life. He's real.

So all this rambling and overthinking to say:

Why the fascination with fear? Do others just not experience it as much as I do, so in our bored 21st century lives, must find a way to incite it within themselves? Are we just out to boldly face our fears and that's the whole obvious point of Halloween that I'm missing?

This essay -- if you've noticed -- hasn't answered a lot of questions, it's mostly just asked them. So if you have a thought, leave a comment. Let me know why you love -- or hate -- Halloween. Do you dress up in a bloody costume, or a silly one? Would you sign up for the Great Horror Campout?

Would you dress more like my mom or my dad?

I'm planning to face my Fear this Halloween. But he'll be wearing a bow tie and he'll make me feel safe. And we'll clink our beer glasses together, cheering to the fact that we're not at a haunted house.

At least, that's what I'll be drinking to.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mapping Morgan

"This is making me sad," she said.

"It's OK," I reassured my Abs, my roomie, my wanderlust girl.

I proceeded to tell her why it was actually a good thing for me to rearrange the pushpins on my bulletin board, on the living room floor Sunday evening.

About a year and a half ago, I was wandering the streets of Santa Monica with my friends, Tim, Wendy, and Tom, when we ambled into a paper goods store where I found a map. It was cheap, maybe five dollars, a somewhat archaic but mostly accurate print of the United States, pieces of Canada and Mexico running off the page.

I excitedly purchased it and later affixed it to a bulletin board in my studio apartment. With cutesy polka-dotted thumbtacks, I pierced each city I had visited or lived in. The Midwest became crowded with blue circles, charting my many road trips, flights home from my Indiana college, drives to Wisconsin to see Grams. High school here, middle school there.

I had only seen Indianapolis twice, briefly each time and never really explored the city, but I considered it fair grounds to receive a thumbtack, marking me a legitimate cosmopolite. I was careful not to puncture Atlanta, though its airport once springboarded me across the sea into Africa, a significant assist. Had to play by the rules, though: Airport-only cities don't count.

Over time I was able to add circles to Ensenada, Buffalo, Maui. My parents and friends came to visit, and they helped me poke holes through other regions I had forgotten. Sections of Iowa, Florida, South Dakota that we had visited together.

The board became a talking point, a look at what I had done, a hope for where I could later venture.

This weekend, I decided to take it down.

Carefully, I removed each pin, almost 50 regions losing their badge as cultural capitols. I pulled them from their places gently, so as to preserve the map for a potential future wall-hanging.

While Abby grieved, I felt quite alright going through these actions.

Because I was clearing the board to make room for a new journey.

Instead of replacing the U.S. map with one of the world, I stuck, one by one in the cork, notecards. Each one written on in colorful marker in my scratchy freehand, I made neat columns of my words.

MY words.

MY journey.

Well, Morgan's journey, really, but directed by me. I'm the captain of this ship.

Numbered 1 through 59, the notecards mark the struggles and triumphs of my middle school protagonist, Morgan.

While I write my novel, I'm not putting travel on hold. I've already got a cruise booked to Mexico, another one in the works for Europe, and Machu Picchu is regularly in my daydream Rolodex.

But I'm more than willing to dismantle my cork board cartography to make room for this new journey of mine.

While I became interested in traveling to Africa during college, I've wanted to write since I was wee. This journey has been a longer time coming than anyone I can take on foot, or by jet, or a boat weighed down with booze and endless food.

I once copied the words from Amelia Bedelia, slowing typing them onto my parents' typewriter. I used to have a tic that would involve me spelling words with my finger, my leg as a canvas for the invisible air-ink. I remember peer editing in third grade, the joy I got from using a red pen. Not knowing quite what the career meant, I declared I wanted to be an editor.

Etc. etc.

I've just always had this thing inside me, begging to get out, like a dream that wants to be birthed as words on a page.

That sounded really unicorn-y and spiritual retreat-y, but go with me on this.

The map will always be there. I can get another bulletin board, more pushpins, a fresh passport. But if I don't start now on what I've wanted to do since childhood, no one's going to force me to, and it may never get done. And that scares me more than the prospect of never visiting Peru.

So notecards? Welcome.

Friday, October 9, 2015

I like my new friend but she's keeping me up at night

I think I need breakfast.

But it's 4:15 a.m.

Ah, yes, it's time for some more midnight blogging. Because insomnia.

I stayed in bed for the first hour of the not-sleeping, Max faithfully smashed by my pillow. Read from my third book of the night.

Then, nearing 4 (a.m., not my fourth book), I jumped in the shower. I was shaving my legs and heard very intense crying. Cat crying.

I stepped out of the shower, dripping wet, to discover that for whatever reason the nugget was freaking out. I don't know if it's because I left my helm, or he's perceptive enough to be thrown off by middle-of-the-night bathing or what.

Anyway, he calmed down and now he's taken up residence on the floor, though I've returned to the bed. Feet at the head of the bed, chin on a pillow. Blogging.

It'd be terribly convenient if I didn't have to work later this morning.

I'd sleep -- eventually, assuming, God willing -- and then wake up and have coffee. Would think about making a donut run but ultimately know that I'm too lazy. Write for a bit. Lunch with Alex. Write some more.

I think part of the reason I'm awake is because I have this new person swirling around in my brain.

Her name is Morgan.

She's fiction and I'm writing her story. I'm not crazy, I'm just working on a novel.

I hadn't planned on writing fiction, and I certainly hadn't planned on it keeping me up at night.

I keep thinking of ideas to add to the story. Things she's going to learn in school, things people are going to say to her. How she's going to take it all in, come out on the other side.

I'm tired. But the swirling. The swirling thoughts of Morgan are keeping me up, wired.

I have a complete outline ("complete" if you ignore the things I'm mentally adding to it at 3 a.m.) and am in the middle of chapter 3.

Whoa whoa whoa I'm writing a book. Whoa. And I'm not bored this time around. I previously was working on my memoir, and oh boy was I bored. I always thought, as a reader, that I was more interested in the real than that which is dreamed up, but here I am, bored by my own life enough to abandon writing about it to write about Morgan instead.

But let's be honest, Miss Morgan is a lot like moi.

So, ya know. I haven't lost all my selfishness. Carry on in that assurance.

My gums are swollen, on my bottom row of teeth, the right side of my mouth. Hashtag annoying. I must be grinding my teeth.

I made a pretty baller order form at work yesterday. I decided to put pictures of each product on it, since they're easier to understand visually. I was pretty proud of the way it ended up looking.

It's nice to have some projects at work to keep me busy. But the real fire in my belly right now is Morgan. She's great. She's smart and thoughtful and she has a cat (I told you she was smart).

Am I getting you excited to read about her yet? If you don't like reading about me, then you may not enjoy reading about this alter ego, I hate to disappoint. Also, if you don't like reading about me, then what are you doing reading this blog? Sorry, but it had to be asked.

Loves. May you be sleeping now and always at night (because insomnia is the worst and sleeping at a decent hour is delicious).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reading Rodeo


Sometimes I'm just like: "Booooooooks! All the books!!!!!!!!"


I just went over to the LA Public Library website, here at 2:30 a.m. when I can't sleep and I'm waiting for my allergy pill to kick in and attack these itchy eyes (caused maybe by my cat lying next to me with all his fuzzy wuzzy hair but do I care? No.), and I looked up one book that was recommended to me.

One book.

That book didn't come up in my search.

A) I'm a little surprised at you, LAPL. You have quite a large -- pardon my pun -- library, and I thought you'd have this title. Anyway.

B) All these other books that LAPL thought fit into my search came up, and I was like, "Booooooooooooooooks."

Le sigh.

I'm writing a book, and outlining that book, and buying other books of similar genre to read and then reading those books and then each one is spurring me on to read other books that are mentioned within them.

I've had this problem before. This ain't my first Reading Rodeo (I wanted that to sound like Reading Rainbow. Did I succeed?).

I have around four books shoved into a corner of my bed right now. I've been sleeping with my books for several nights now, probably a week at this point.

I could put them on a shelf, yes.

But in my bed they're just with me, you know?

Also I'm too lazy to put them on a shelf.

So tonight, though I already have at least five books currently cracked, I opened another. It's called The Nature of Jade, and I'm 10 pages in and it's great.

And I cracked it because -- well who knows why? Because I already have several other books I'm reading -- and enjoying -- so I just as easily could have grabbed one of those.

I mean it's not like I had to travel far to get one of them. They're literally in my bed.

But I'm Bailey, and I have (not really but self diagnosed sort of joking) ADD, and I wouldn't be the me who you know and hopefully love if I weren't the girl who reads 5, 6, 7, 8 books at once.

So I opened up Jade because my book that I'm writing is of similar genre and I'm doing research. Which is a great code word for: excuse to buy and read more books, FYI. So maybe if you love to read then you should decide to write a book because so far, for me, the writing process is upping the activity on my Amazon account considerably and I can't say I'm upset about it.

Anyway, so now I'm hooked on this Jade book, adding to the madness. And now the author is quoting things from this animal book, which from the title and content of it makes it sound kind of science-y and well, crap, now I just want to read that, too.

Reading Rodeo!

I just typed that to the tune of Reading Rainbow. How'd I do? Is this catching on yet?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Space cadet

There was a donut in my bed when I crawled into it last night.

It wasn't a prank. I put it there.

I had purchased two donuts on Sunday morning, ate one during the car ride home, and then came home and crawled back into bed, because I hadn't slept enough.

Alex, among others, thinks I may have an iron deficiency or something else wrong with me, because these days I cannot sleep enough. I sleep 10-12 hours a night and am still dog tired when I wake up.

Hence -- sort of -- the donut in the bed. I mean, 1, I had had my fill with the first donut, and just didn't need the second one. 2, the second donut became abandoned in my bed, because upon arriving home I settled immediately into my bed, where I seem to belong lately. Thus the donut fell out of my hands onto the mattress as I landed my fatigued body in place for more slumber.

The donut was placed into my bag this morning, and toted with me to work today. It is still yet to be eaten.

It wouldn't be terrible, waistline considering, if it never got eaten.

I had another star-studded moment this weekend, prior to my donut-bed-hoarding.

Alex and I went to an Oktoberfest event at the church where my college friend Caleb pastors. We ate German potato salad and drank beer and talked Kansas (Caleb's a fellow Kansan, so this kind of conversation is obligatory).

And then someone came up to our table and started talking to us.

Alex, being the polite little handsome monster that he is, asked her what she does for a living.

She said something along the lines of this:

"I create the sensors that they use on bridges so that [scientific smart jargon here]."


I could not understand her.

As in, jargon aside, I could not gather the words that were coming out of her mouth, piece by piece.

There were a lot of people talking in the room, and there was polka music playing in the background, further muddling the sound waves near my ears.

So I did the best that my little blonde self can do in situations like this, and I used my rhyming/similar-sounding-words knowledge to aid me. (Previous occasions using this method have proved unsuccessful, so I should maybe think better of this in the future).

I grasped on to the one word that I thought I understood -- she said "bridges," I heard "britches" -- and made my first connection to britches that I could.

My glorious, blonde, master's degree holding response? Read on, dear friend, if you think you can handle it:

"Blue jeans?"

Alex is yet to let this go. I think I made his year with this comment.

Sunday -- when Alex was still quoting, two days later, the infamous blue jeans comment -- we went to see The Martian (it's great) and while we were watching it and I was contemplating how I would for sure die on Mars, I kept thinking, "Space people are smart."

So between the donut, blue jeans, and Matt Damon solving every last problem possible all on his own (and further somehow not losing his mind while being all alone on Mars for over a year), I'm feeling of mediocre intelligence just yet.

I mean, I guess I still feel smart, but let's just say I've had some moments recently to make me wonder.

Blue jeans?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Patty Mike

I once found him in the living room sumo wrestling with our little brother. They were each wearing M&M costumes layered on top of more M&M costumes, three deep apiece (we were selling them in a garage sale). They kept backing up to opposite ends of the room and then would smash into each other, to inevitably fall down (usually the smaller of the brothers fell down, while Patrick kept his footing). This kept them -- and me -- entertained for quite a bit of time.

He told me regularly, when I was struggling with my emotions in my twenties: "I think you're great, and I'm not just saying that."

He's a youth minister, and he is perfect for the job.

He's running his...8th? 9th? 10th?...marathon today, to raise money for clean water around the world.

He calls his daughter Honey Bee, which I've stolen and use to address my boyfriend.

He makes his wife, and everyone else, laugh easily and heartily and regularly.

People often use "funny" as their first descriptor of him, but he makes it no shrouded secret that he is serious, thoughtful, and caring. He can switch from goof to whole-hearted listener in two seconds flat, and I love that about him.

He once made me emerge from the bathroom, towel wrapped around me, to see proof that he did in fact have a snake inside a pillowcase. Right there in the upstairs hallway. A snake in a pillowcase. I could only see its outline through the cow-spotted fabric, which was enough for me.

I can count on him to consistently leave me voicemails recounting his latest wildlife catch -- spider, possum, bat, snake. I told him he should keep a scrapbook or photo album of all these friends of his.

His alter ego, Milosh, from mother Russia, also leaves me voicemails. "You never pick up the phone for Milosh," he laments in thick accent.

Ironically Milosh did not answer the phone when his loving sister called to wish him a happy day this morning.

In fairness, he was busy running a marathon.

Milosh was the one who announced, via answering machine, that his first child would be a girl.

None of us could have predicted that hair, though.

During high school, I visited his college because I so very much wanted to go to school with my brother. I ended up going somewhere an hour away, and we saw each other at least once a month.

On my last day of high school, he waited over an hour for me to arrive home, so he, his future wife, and a friend of his could run down the driveway and set off fireworks for me.

He's very entertaining to Skype with. Or to spend any sort of time with in general.

I'm afraid this post isn't doing him justice. It's not letting you know just how great, and loving, and hysterical, and special he is. Patrick Michael, you are one of a kind. Here's to 33 more years, and then 33 more. And then at least one more, because I recall you boasting once that you were going to live to 100. And I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope you do live to see so many years.

All my love,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A lot of thoughts for your Saturday afternoon

Sometimes my resting state is low-grade sadness. Or worry or what have you.

I think I've let this become a habit, after years of battling emotions. Years of expecting a battle to always follow the short-lived calm.

And I think it's time I work on doing what I can -- because some of it's out of my control -- to turn that resting state of discontent into one of calm and being.

I've come a long way, thanks to medicine and therapy and friends and family and supportive prayer and a loving man and a cat and just simply growing older and realizing that life does go on. That I am strong, that sensitivity sometimes makes life beautiful, that crying can feel great.

But just now, I got to enjoy about 40 minutes to an hour of contented sip-my-coffee-work-on-my-writing-peruse-Facebook-pet-the-cat time before my brain said, "Times up, time to feel sad now."

It's kind of ridiculous.

It's fairly upsetting.

And I'd like to see a new life pattern.

I've recently fallen in love with Christina Perri's song "I Believe."

In it she sings the following line: "I believe if I knew where I was going, I'd lose my way."

I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it's a nice sentiment. And maybe it is pretty damn true. We sure like to trip ourselves up as humans, trying to figure out what's happening next.

Most days I'm pretty good about the whole personal calling/vocation thing, at least.

I feel confident that I should write. I don't feel like a phony calling myself a writer when asked at a party what I do.

But I can get in my own way by telling myself I'll never finish my book(s). That I'm not disciplined enough. Not funny enough.


That one's killer. Just death.

When you're trying to write a memoir, and beyond this feel called to write one, probably the worst thing you can think is that your story's not interesting. How's that for motivation to isolate yourself for several hours and do nothing but explore that uninteresting story down to its every detail?

Yahoo! Sign me up! Give this coffee a warm up! (And make it Irish while you're at it, because I don't know how else I'm going to keep my self esteem stitched together long enough to write for even five minutes.)


I'm so neurotic I can overwhelm myself just coming up with lunch plans. I can be at work at 9:30 a.m. and start thinking about errands to run, my ratio of current hunger level to number of adequate snacks stockpiled at my desk, and just start losing it. Not panic attack losing it, but goodness gracious just wasting too much energy thinking about something as simple as lunch.

I remember a professor of mine asked us, "Do any of you just think sometimes," and here he clinched his fists and closed his eyes and tilted his head heavenward in agony: "Should I eat Chinese?"

I remember having a bit of a crush on him in this moment because yes, I knew exactly how he felt. I know all too well the emotional turmoil of deciding what to eat. And I don't usually even love to eat. If you've read this blog before you know I find daily meals to be a chore. Unless it's a Costa Grande burrito or Jimmy's tomato bisque, in which case we'll have lunch three times in a row.

Luckily, these workday lunchtime woes are easily forgotten, because I get distracted by filing and email and copy machine breakdowns that I fail to break down myself.

But here on a Saturday morning -- and weekends are generally the most fertile breeding ground for idle worries -- I can find myself just suddenly in a state of muted gloom.

And when you haven't made plans beyond drinking a cup of coffee in bed and 10 hours later meeting up with Alex to attend a party, the gloom can threaten to hang around. And worse, to grow bigger in its bacteria-laden character.

And I really think it's a habit to start feeling this way, when things get quiet, when an hour doesn't have enough planned structure, when one's options are to do valiant work that he's called to do or to simply sit back and enjoy some coffee time with the cat. Or maybe just clean the kitchen.

Let me take this opportunity to remind you that I do NOT agree that happiness is a choice. I believe that choosing to have a positive attitude can help boost one's mood. I believe that being around kind, happy people can put spring back into your step. But I think that if you are naturally inclined to melancholy or depression, this is not the result of you declining to make a choice to be happy.

Pardon my French but I think that theory is bulls*** and I fear it has caused many problems in our society.

If people could be happy by mere choice, we would all be happy.


But I do think, in my own personal case, that maybe after a decade of having a bent (due to biology, personality, and circumstance) toward anxiety and excessive reflection about the meaning of life, that I have possibly created a groove in my brain folds that veers toward these kinds of thoughts.

One thing I learned during my second major bout of therapy, during Graduate School Take Two, was to tell myself "I'm OK." To literally say it out loud. I was like the parent to my own inner toddler, and I could convince myself that I was OK by telling myself such.

I also realized that I could thumb through my racing, anxious thoughts by viewing them as pieces of clothing at a store. See a blouse, not interested, move on to the next. Forget the blouse. Do the same with my thoughts. Move on and forget them. Don't muse over something that you don't want.

So now that I've rambled for 1,000 words (congratulations if you've made it this far down the post!) about all this, I will come back to Christina Perri.

In that same song of hers I mentioned earlier, "I Believe," she sings: "This is not the end of me, this is the beginning."

She sings this line over and over. It's beautiful and moving and rhythmically calming to the listener.

I think I'm going to replace my "I'm OK" mantra with "This is not the end of me."

Next time I fall into melancholy after my Saturday coffee and cat time, I'll remember that I'm not finished as a person. Whatever emotion has landed in my chest will not stay with me forever. I will count my blessings and remember that it's so great that I have a whole Saturday to do all kinds of things I love. To read, to craft, to feel the cooler October 3rd air. To look forward to nine hours from now when I'll see my boy toy and schmooze at a birthday party.

This is not the end of me. And it's not the end of you, either. Carry on and pet a cat if you have one near.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Personal Question

Can I ask you guys a personal question?


Would it be OK if I wrote a book here on the blog?

I started writing a book.

Another one.

Did I finish the first one? Beside the point, People.

I was talking to Alex last night about The Martian, because we got tickets to see the movie this weekend, and my brother raved about the book, and A. started to tell me about how the author, Andy Weir, initially wrote the book on his blog.

By the way, I didn't fact check this tidbit of juicy information, like a good journalist should, because I trust my boyfriend to accurately report facts and you should too.

(Except when he's telling you the story about how we met, or the infamous "milk wine" story. He gets some facts wrong in those stories, trust me).

So anyway. Alex told me about this Weir guy and it got me thinking.

I told A. that I don't have any grandiose visions of getting a movie contract and a sudden rush of blog fan followers, were I to "publish" a book on the Daily Bailey. I realize my readership could easily remain very much the same.

But I think it would hold me accountable. It would be a little weird, and a little awkward, to be like, "Hey, Guys! Here are three chapters!" and then fall off the face of the earth. To Mars. Like the Martian.

I feel like if I knew three people* were reading my three chapters, then maybe, just maybe, they might expect a fourth. And a fifth. And eventually, an ending.

*approximate guesstimated readership here at the DB.

And then, Voila! I'd have a book draft!

Also, perhaps I could get some feedback along the way. My Mighty Three Readers might request that my protagonist do X, or meet Y, or eat Z during her journey. And then maybe I'll think, "Hey, that's a good idea," and re-steer the story a little.

I don't know. I haven't made my mind up about this. But I'm just putting it out there.

Have I whetted your appetite at all? Are you curious what the book is about? Would you want to read a book here? Like a book club? A little bit at a time? No pressure, no strings attached?

Let me know. Gracias, Peeps.