Monday, October 05th, 2015 | Author:
It's worth noting that I'll never be Amy Dunne-caliber cool, because who would want to be?!

It’s worth noting that I’ll never be Amy Dunne-caliber cool, because who would want to be?!

I’m not what you’d traditionally think of as a Cool Girl. I think lame puns are funny, I don’t know how to throw a football, and I can in no way hold my liquor. I’m a goofball, but mostly harmless, so I take no issue with my inherent lack of whatever constitutes coolness these days.

That’s not to say I don’t occasionally dabble in coolness, though. Every once in a great while, I’ll know something or have done something that someone thinks is cool and then, for one brief little moment, I get to be cool.

An example of this happened awhile ago while I was at physical therapy. I was chatting with my physical therapist when he mentioned he owns a gun and had gotten his wife interested in shooting it. I asked him what kind of gun he owns when he asked, “You know guns?”

I replied that years of writing thrillers has acquainted me with a shallow familiarity with firearms, and he said he had a Sig Sauer.

Now, this is where I got to be cool for, like, a minute. I perked up and said, “A P226?”

He was so surprised that I knew what kind of gun he had, after which I mentioned how big the grip is on those to accommodate the expanded magazine but how the gun made up for that by being a real pleasure to fire.

We talked guns for a while and I left feeling happy but also kind of like a fraud, and here’s why. With the possible exception of a Colt 1911 and S&W .38 Chief’s Special, the P226 is the only gun I know much about specifically. I’ve fired a variety of weapons and have a passing familiarity with them, but I can’t converse about them as much as I can about the P226.

If he’d owned any other kind of gun, I wouldn’t have had much to say. I lucked out and got to be the cool girl who knows about guns.

I’m not gonna lie, it felt good even though the foundation of my mystique is a façade. Maybe that’s the big secret, though. Maybe coolness is a single moment rather than a consistent state of being, in which case no one is ever really cool through and through. If perhaps you think you know someone who’s cool at all times, maybe that just means you don’t know that person well enough.

What do you think?

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Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 | Author:

I’ve been a parent for almost six years. Six long, eventful years of having a tiny entourage in my wake at almost all times. It’s been busy. And stressful. And awesome. And messy. And the best.

Now, though, for the first time, I have both kids in school at the same time, twice a week. This means that at least twice a week, I have a slight panic that I’ve driven away from school and forgotten someone. I go home to my quiet house, where I  drink coffee in peace and watch grown-up shows loudly and without interruption. No one tries to drown LEGOs in my coffee, no one needs me to watch them jump on the trampoline, and I can listen to grown-up music in the car without worrying that my kids are going to learn a bunch of fun new words.

It’s terrific, really. I like it quite a bit, but I’ll admit that it’s kind of weird at the same time. Thanks to ongoing physical therapy and doctor appointments, I don’t have a ton of spare time to relax, but the time I do is wonderful.

So take heed, parents of young children: A time is coming when all your kids will be in school all at the same time. Peace and quiet will be yours. Availability to meet friends for coffee or make a doctors appointment is coming. It’s not quite the promised land of parenting, but it’s darn close.

Category: Work  | Tags:  | Comments off
Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 | Author:
Trust me, watching the finale will make you feel like the people in this picture.

Trust me, watching the finale will make you feel like the people in this picture.

When Wes and started watching season one of True Detective, Wes was surprised to find I was hooked. “What about this show interests you so much?” he asked me. It was, after all, a slow-moving story line, precisely the kind I’ve proved allergic to in the past. Shows like The Wire and Battlestar Gallactica, shows that most people love, bore me silly. To say Wes gets frustrated by my impatient taste is neither an understatement nor an overstatement. It is, simply, the truth.

Why, then, should True Detective be any different? I wasn’t even much of a Matthew McConaughey fan, and the story wends and weaves through twenty years of secrets and mysteries. Sounds like classic Erika eye-roll territory.

I decided then and there that what I want most in a show is the following:

Interesting people doing interesting things in an interesting way.

It must have those three components or I just can’t seem to sit still or engross myself in the story the way I want to. Season one of True Detective had all these in spades. I loved what they did with that story and the acting was perfection. I tuned into season two hoping for much of the same. I actually liked all the actors in season two, so I was optimistic that I’d enjoy season two as well.

No. Such. Luck.

I suppose I need to add a new component to my  list:

A cogent story line with an ending that justifies the story’s means.

There’s just a level of trust a viewer invests in a show’s writers. Trust that the long journey will be worth it in the end. Trust that the heartbreak and sacrifices made along the way will prove worth it. Trust that, even if we don’t get it in the beginning or even in the middle, that it will all make sense in the end and we will finish the last episode grateful to have hung in there.

Whoever was responsible for the story of season two violated that trust in every single way. I agree completely with the reviews that say the second season could have benefited from a room full of writers as opposed to just the one guy at the helm. I’d like to think a collaboration of writers might have saved it from itself.

Maybe not, though. I don’t know. All I know is that my list of qualifications for enjoying shows is getting longer and that’s a tad worrisome. Maybe I’ll just stick to reruns of Scrubs, The Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, House M.D., and Arrested Development...

Category: Opinionated much?, Reviews  | Tags:  | Comments off
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 | Author:

Early on in our marriage, Wes and I didn’t really have to be apart very much. Barring three weeks apart when my dad passed away, we were pretty much always together. Now that Wes is this big-time important software genius, though, he’s in demand. He has to take trips a few times a year to facilitate the projects he’s working on, which means I’m left to hold down the fort alone.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am an exceedingly capable person. I can run a household efficiently, teach my children to read, and do it all with a perpetually clean kitchen. I’m awesome at my job.

The thing is, though, I’m maybe a little too efficient. If Wes isn’t here to insist I settle down and relax, I end up doing overly ambitious things like mopping the garage after the kids go to bed (long story), yard work well past the point when I should stop, or vacuuming the stairs when my post op knee should be elevated and iced after a long day.

I can't imagine why a massive earthquake would terrify me so much. This isn't horrifying AT ALL.

I can’t imagine why a massive earthquake would terrify me so much. This isn’t horrifying AT ALL.

Perhaps the best example of the beneficial way Wes affects me is what I am heretofore referring to as the Earthquake Freak-Out of 2015.

Perhaps you read this article earlier in the week? Paraphrased, it basically says the pacific northwest is due for a massive earthquake that will essentially liquefy the ground we stand on and result in a tsunami that destroys everything west of I-5. Infrastructure will collapse! No water or food or shelter! Run for the hills, we’re all going to die!

Now, I am an anxious sort of person anyway. After reading this, I did what any reasonable person would do: I called my best friend and freaked her out, too. But after I did that, I brooded and fretted and ran through various emergency scenarios in my head. I made plans. I rearranged my pantry so bottles wouldn’t come crashing down. I read survival guides.

What I did not do, however, was call Wes, because he was busy and couldn’t break away long enough to talk me down.

For two days I lived like this, always on the alert for the tell-tale dog freak-out that would herald The Really Big One. Thankfully, some earthquake experts on Reddit did an AMA that was comforting, and later that night Wes finally called me. We spent half an hour discussing our emergency plan and deciding on which supplies to keep on hand. We designated our emergency out of state contact. We discussed contingencies. We picked emergency kits.

But seriously, it took Wes half an hour to talk me down to a calm, non-panicked state. Two days is a long time to spiral out in larger and greater concentric spheres of worry, and there was no one here to help me parse my crazy for me. As I said, it’s not so much that I can’t function without Wes than that I function maybe a little too well without him. Brain going a million miles an hour with nary a safeguard in place.

On the plus side, in the event of an emergency we’ll be equipped to survive for a week. Our kids will have food, water, and first aid supplies. Wes and I will be able to coordinate even if we’re in different places when the disaster happens. Providing none of us suffers substantial injuries, we’ll all likely make it out in one piece. So I guess you could say, the Earthquake Freak-Out of 2015 wasn’t an altogether waste of time.

Something good came out of it, and I don’t just mean an excuse to reorganize my pantry!

Category: A Touch of the Crazy  | Tags: , ,  | Comments off
Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 | Author:

Carer and patient on crutches smlUp until May 21, 2015, I had no idea what life on crutches was like. Being possessed of a decent imagination, I could have offered some educated guesses about the various hardships and indignities of life a la crutch, but until two aluminum struts are your absolute best friends every hour of every day, you can’t really know.

That is, unless you read this post. After you read this post, you will have a true insider’s view of the crutch life. It’s the next best thing to being injured enough to need them, really.

  • The first thing you need to know about crutches is that they’re tricky to learn, especially if you’re high on painkillers while you’re trying to get to get the hang of them. You’ll probably fall a couple times. It’s really best to avoid being alone if you can help it.
  • Pants/shorts with pockets are now a necessity, if for no other reason than you’ll want your phone on you at all times in case you fall. True story: I tried to get a water bottle from the garage for myself, fell down while trying to go up the steps back into the house, and had to lay there on the garage floor yelling for Wes until he happened to walk close enough by the door to the garage to hear me. A cell phone in my pocket could have saved me a fair bit of indignity.
  • A wet wood floor is a hazard. A wet tile floor is basically a death sentence. If your crutch slips out from under you, you’re going down and, because the floor is wet, now you’re all wet too. Tiny steps are the only way to escape unscathed.
  • The palms of your hands will develop calluses and hurt all the time. The worst time is in the morning. The first crutch of the day hurts the worst.
  • You will also get burns on the side of your torso where the top of crutch rubs against you every time you walk. Fuzzy accouterments like Crutch Buddies can help, but you’re still going to feel the burn.
  •  Every able-bodied person in the world is doing their best to park closest to the door. Best get yourself a disabled parking pass ASAP or you’ll be doing a lot of resenting as you sweat and hobble to your destination past a sea of people who can all walk and yet are parked closer to the door than you are.
  • Let people be nice to you. Let them open the door for you. Let them help you bring your groceries to the car. It’s okay to need help, and it’ll make them feel good.
  • Grocery shopping on crutches is a nightmare and way more work than it’s worth. Riding those motorized carts around the store, however, is a hoot. I highly recommend it, especially if you have little kids who want to ride with you.
  • If you do happen to have little kids while you’re disabled, know this: They will steal your crutches while you’re sitting down. You will be stranded until they give your crutches back. They will think it’s hilarious.
  • This might not happen to you, but it sure did to me: Your thumbs will hurt horribly, as will your wrist and forearm. Even someone brushing up against my thumbs was enough to make me suck in my breath in pain. I wince just thinking about it!

All this sounds pretty great, right? It’s not. At all. The great part comes later, when one crutchless day you wake up and realize your palms don’t hurt, and neither do your thumbs. You look at your torso and realize there are no sore red burns there, and you can walk through a narrow doorway without inching through it because you no longer have crutches to either side of you.

I’m so SO glad to be on the other side of my crutch experience. Walking is still difficult and I get tired quite quickly, but man it feels good to be using my own two feet again. If you see someone out in the wild using crutches, remember this post and try to be extra nice to that poor soul. It ain’t easy out there for crutchers.

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