List #264: The (Not So) GreatThings About Being in a Relationship

The boyfriend and I will be together two years come June. We've been living together for well over a year now. And we do raise a toddler together. Its safe to say we know each other pretty well. Love and quirks and everything in-between.

He's my love. And he really truly is a saint. He puts up with my weird neuroses, my desire to just pinch him at any given time, and my inability to sleep with even the tiniest bit of light shining. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not entirely grateful that our roads in life led us to meet nearly two years ago.

But all that being said, oh there are some tough times when you're in a serious relationship.

Here are mine:

  • Sharing a bed when all you really want to do is starfish wide in the middle.
  • Giving up and letting someone watch a movie that you came into in the middle.
  • Listening to someone chew. Loudly.
  • Seeing tissues that don't it to the garbage can.
  • Ignoring mugs of tea that pile up on tables and desks.
  • Getting up extra early so your loved one can take the later shower.
  • Sharing a bathroom.
  • Trying to fall asleep when someone has a light on in the room.
  • Adjusting thermostats for different body temperatures.
  • Meeting in the middle of Night Owl and Early Bird.
  • Understanding that you're the only one who will clean the litter box (the cat came with me).
  • Growing piles of laundry.
  • Conceding music selections.
  • Losing closet space and numbers of drawers to store all your regular amounts of stuff.
  • Sifting through more mail than you ever thought possible.
  • Having far less time to watch mindless television because you can't make your significant other watch hours of Teen Mom
Now for every one of the bullets on this list, it's more than likely that the boyfriend could match (or agree with) one for me. Seriously I am no picnic and I'm well aware.

But the little things are there. They are leftover crumbs from previous relationships, personal sensitivities, or just things you didn't really think about when you copied keys and unboxed your life in someone else's. It's just what happens when you're living with someone you love. 

I do plan on writing the (truly) great things about being in a relationship. And yes, the list will genuinely longer. But it's Monday and Mondays are for griping. Please feel free to share your own relationship gripes in the comments. 


List #262: A Weekend in New York City

I'my very fortunate to have a bunch of vacations days that need to be used. I'm also very fortunate to have a best friend that lives in Manhattan and is willing to put up with my in her apartment for a few days. So mix those things together, plus a tax refund, and it was easy to see that I'd usher in spring with a weekend getaway.

It was a wonderful weekend that was more heavy on the friendship than it was on sightseeing and traipsing around different neighborhoods and boros. And quite honestly, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I don't get as much girl time as I used to these days. And my friend in NYC is one of my oldest and best.

So here's to air mattresses, beer mugs and subway rides. A list of things you do in NYC with one best friend and a limited budget. Oh, and a snowstorm that laid inches in the city in just a few hours.

  • Rolling a blue suitcase straight into Hooters. 
  • Basketball. Lots of basketball.
  • New Girl best-of viewings.
  • Unbreakable! They're alive, damn it! It's a miracle!
  • Browsing history through museums.
  • Being completely confused by more modern museums.
  • Starbucks. 
  • Pizza.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Brunch.
  • Encouraging the youth of America.
  • Being on the the market for a lamp.
  • So many Greek dips.
  • Souvlaki.
  • Retsina.
  • Greek music.
  • Eurovision.
  • Window shopping.
  • Manicures.
  • Flirting with bartenders.
  • Eyeing up waiters.
  • Overhearing sidewalk conversations.
  • Hipster bars.
  • Will Forte's long-lost son.
  • Sliding on snowy sidewalks.
  • Shake Shack.
This is probably the prettiest photo I've ever taken. 

I have been spending a lot of nights alone the last few weeks, so getting some stress-free time away with one of the people I love the most was just what I needed. Now, I wish the feeling would have lasted a little while longer for both her and me, but oh well...we've already started planning a trip for our 35th birthday. 


List #261: When the Boys Are Away

It's been a rough two months at my house. The boyfriend has been traveling a lot for work and this week he began what is nearly a two week stint away from the homestead. In fact, because I'm taking a little mini-break and heading out of town to see a best friend, the boyfriend and I will see each other for less than 24 hours in the course of then next 10 days. Plus, when the boyfriend is traveling I don't actually get to the little guy either. It's not an ideal situation.

But! There is a silver lining. Most importantly I'll get to take a mental break from work and life and visit with one of my best friends for a long weekend. We have plans for Greek food and 90s dance parties. Basically all of that is awesome.

And even though the house is quiet and a little lonely, it some ways it's refreshing to have a few nights by myself.

With the boys gone, here is how I spend my evenings.

  • Doing laundry. And since our washer is actually broken, I have to set a timer to manually change each setting.
  • Eating tacos on the couch.
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher.
  • Procrastinating packing.
  • Watching back-to-back episodes of Hindsight. Seriously, watch this show.
  • Reading long books.
  • Letting candles burn for too long.
  • Falling asleep on the couch.
  • Talking on the phone to my mom.
  • Folding laundry.
  • Watching too much HGTV. 
  • Playing too many games on my phone.
  • Dealing with a needy cat who sits on me way too much.
So yeah, super exciting stuff going on here. But really, I'll be away soon. Drinking a few more drinks than one should and riding subways all day long. One should always vacation in March. 


List #260: Things I Should Win an Oscar For

When I was in high school I dreamed of growing up and winning an Academy Award. I had grand ideas of my life somehow ending up in Los Angeles, wearing gorgeous designer dresses on red carpets, and giving the most perfect off-the-cuff winners speech. I would have held that gold statue high up in the air, showing off my sculpted arms, and have diamonds dripping from my ears and fingers.

Yeah. None that happened. The idea of living in Los Angeles actually sounds terrifying. I haven't acted in anything since I played the Mad Hatter in a sorority skit. And I actually really don't even like diamonds.

So since I have no chance of winning an actual Oscar, here's what I think the Academy should honor me for. You know, just in case they start giving out awards to ordinary people who blog from their couch in Pittsburgh.

I should at least be nominated for the following bests:

  • Wearing of multiple tights when it's 0 degrees outside.
  • Doing your own hair and make up in a house with one bathroom and one roaming and feisty toddler.
  • Online shopper.
  • Ability to get salt marks all over ones shoes and tights.
  • Showering in the dark.
  • Recommending books you haven't heard about yet.
  • Not watching movies.
  • Disliking James Patterson.
  • Forgetting where you put your glasses.
  • Forgetting where you put your keys.
  • Forgetting where you left your phone.
  • Playing games on your phone and then getting bored with them after two weeks.
  • Thinking chipped ham really is the best lunch meat.
  • Loving peppermint tea.
  • Falling asleep with a heating pad.
  • Having a crush on Captain America, the character.
  • Being so very much like Leslie Knope.
  • Daydreaming.
  • Drinking water out of Tervis mugs.
  • Snacking on sweet tarts.
  • Taking an extraordinarily long time to knit a scarf for oneself.
  • Watching every episode of Parks and Recreation at least 5 times at this point.
What about your awards, dear readers? Let me know what you'd likely win for! 


List #259: Where I Was While I Was Away

I know. It's been a long while since I last blogged. In the last year and a half so many things in my life have morphed and changed that often I don't quite know what to share and how to share it. It's why you haven't heard too much about my life, the Boyfriend, and the (now) Toddler. It's all a balancing game of how much is too much and what's appropriate and what I'm comfortable with. And sometimes, I really just don't know how I feel on any given day.

But I'm ready to get my blogging game back on track. I've been journaling a little since I've been gone and I've learned one thing about myself:  I am my better self when I'm writing my thoughts. And I think sometimes I'm even better when I'm sharing them.

So to start off, I'll catch you up on where I've been while I was away:

  • Oakland
  • Downtown
  • My library
  • Other libraries
  • Sitting on the right side of a bus
  • Sitting on the left side of a bus
  • Walking through Schenley Park
  • Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh
  • Phipps Conservatory
  • Charleston, WV
  • On the side of the highway in WV for 3 hours
  • Sunset Beach, NC
  • Eating Thanksgiving dinner on a beach
  • Reading on a porch
  • Watching television on the couch
  • Sitting on the floor playing with a Toddler
  • My family's house
  • His family's house
  • Extended families' houses
  • Putting up and taking down Christmas lights
  • Under lots of blankets
  • Sitting in a movie theater
  • Restaurants. Restaurants. Restaurants. 
  • Laughing with friends at parties
  • Target.
  • Lowe's
  • Giant Eagle
  • In bed dreaming 
  • In bed having nightmares
  • Sitting in my new desk chair
  • The Benedum Center 
  • The Strip District
  • The North Shore
  • Casinos
  • A wedding
  • A bridal shower
  • Not Pawnee, Indiana
So dear readers, where have you been lately? 


List #258: Don't Ever Say This to a Woman

Twice in the past week I have found myself in situations where someone who doesn't know me (or only knew me as a teenager with pimples and a bad sense of style) has asked some very personal questions without much basic tact. Both times it left me confused and baffled. And both times I felt that the way I did answer their questions were not the best way I could have answered.

And sadly, because I'm a woman. And because I made some choices in my life that probably confused a lot of people. And because I didn't get married before I was 28. And because I have a career in a field that some people feel is outdated. And because I lived abroad. And because I had a few failed relationships. And because of so so many other things. This wasn't the first time I had to hold my feelings inside in order to come off pleasant and polite so as not to offend someone.

I just wish people would use a little more common sense. Don't ask questions you wouldn't want someone asking you. And be mindful not just words, but how they are worded, when they are said, and where they are said can make all of the difference. Sometimes it's not a matter of what you're asking but more how you say it and what kind of answer you're expecting. Words have power. Be aware of that power.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I'm sure I've hurt others' feelings by how, what, where, and when I chose to speak certain words. But honestly, I do try to be mindful of people's situations. And working with the public does give me a good sense of how many walks were are all taking in life. But still, just because I feel like maybe some us need a lesson on what not to ask or say, I'll leave a few examples here.
  • When are you going to get married?
  • Why don't you have a boyfriend?
  • When you stop looking, it will happen.
  • Oh, you don't want to be in a relationship.
  • Why don't you want kids?
  • When are you going to have kids?
  • You'll feel differently once you're married.
  • Why don't you have children?
  • Have you tried Match.com?
  • Why would you want to go back to school?
  • Oh, I don't believe in taking out loans for school.
  • You pay how much in rent?
  • You should really just buy a house instead of rent.
  • Why does your child have different colored eyes than you?
  • Your child looks nothing like you or your partner.
  • Oh, did you adopt?
  • You won't understand until you have children.
  • Oh, be glad you don't have kids.
  • You couldn't possibly understand unless you're a mom.
  • Did you guys have in vitro?
  • Did you use a surrogate?
  • You won't understand what it's like to be tired until you have a baby.
  • I'm just busier than you are.
  • Why don't you breastfeed?
  • Why do you use formula?
  • Oh, did you sleep with the mailman?
  • When are you guys going to have another baby?
  • When are you going to get engaged?
  • Why did you want to get into that career?
  • Oh, it's not like you work or anything.
  • It's hard to understand unless you're in a relationship.
  • Why did you get divorced?
  • Why did your partner get divorced?
  • Are you pregnant?
There are probably way more, I'm sure. So if you have one, please feel free to share it here. And remember, just take a second to listen to what you're going to say, and how you're going to say it, before you let the words slip out of your mouth.

Be kind, friends.


List #257: 33 Things at 33

On this day in 1981, I was born. I'm the oldest of three three children and the only girl in my immediate family. I always loved that my birthday was in September. I was usually one of the first people to celebrate a birthday in the school year, my birthday was never one of those forgotten summer days, and the weather was always perfect for an outdoor party in my parents' backyard.

And this year, on one very hot and not-so-seasonal September Sunday, my birthday was just as nice. Filled with lots of love from my two favorite boys, lots of laughter, and dinner with family. And the day ended with some quiet time, the How I Met Your Mother boxed set, peppermint tea, and blankets.  Even if I did cry in the middle of it all, the day was nothing short of all the things I enjoy the most:  great stories from good friends, peels of laughter from a toddler, kisses from a boyfriend, and a home-cooked meal and conversations with my family. 

Here's what I was thinking as 365 days passed:
  • Even if the mother dies, I want Ted Mosby to find happiness.
  • This house is a horrible mess.
  • When can I eat tacos?
  • Giggly babies are the best babies.
  • Oh wow, everyone is having more babies.
  • Why does my boyfriend's nose sound like a foghorn?
  • How soon can I go visit friends in far away cities?
  • Oh goodness, Cat! Leave me alone!
  • I really like making out.
  • I wonder how early the baby will wake up in the morning.
  • This book really isn't so great.
  • I've been underrating a beach vacation for years.
  • I have nothing to wear in this closet.
  • Sometimes, I just don't want to hear your voice.
  • This man is the best man.
  • How many times is too much to listen to one song in a row?
  • Chris Pratt. Tom Hiddleston. Chris Pratt. Adam Levine. Chris Pratt.
  • I'm so very lucky to have met someone who actually likes to cook.
  • What should I order at Starbucks today?
  • Asking if I (or anyone else) had in vitro, adopted, or used a surrogate is not okay.
  • My fantasy football team is crap.
  • I don't think I care about the Steelers anymore.
  • When can I watch the Pens play?
  • Please don't watch porn in public.
  • Oh, pretty and expensive houses!
  • Why am I crying?
  • Why is 90s fashion a thing in 2014? 
  • I miss my friends.
  • I miss my family.
  • I should probably make those doctor's appointments.
  • Which book should I read at storytime?
  • Am I getting old?
  • Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon a life that manages to include a whole lot of funny and a whole lot of love.
Really truly, it's been a lucky and wonderful year. I'm hoping for some adventure, love, luck, health, and a few good travels in the year ahead. Here's to all of those things and more.