April Snow Brings Carb Binges

I’ve been going through a mild depression. I’ve really only noticed it over the last week or so, while the weather has been exceedingly shitty, even for Wisconsin. You think that we’d have this figured out by now: spring doesn’t really happen till the first week in May. Yet as soon as April comes around, we all expect lush grass to replace the dingy snow. And then when it doesn’t, we complain. Each time snow is forecasted, our rants get louder and more dramatic.  “It’s snowing again? It’s halfway through April for crying out loud!” “It’s a beautiful winter we’re having this spring, isn’t it?”

Even though I know my spring will only last about two weeks before turning into a sticky summer, it’s still frustrating that I’m stuck inside watching the grass get coated in a wet snow again. It seems hopeless.

You are drunk, Spring. GO HOME.

You are drunk, Spring. GO HOME.

I’ve been working a lot lately. Between trying to get caught up at work and saving money for my new place in June, work has just about consumed my life. For the most part, I enjoy my job and my coworkers. But between working 10-hour days and working out nearly everyday, by the time I get home, I’m too exhausted to do much of anything. So I usually just shower and fall asleep reading, annoyed with anyone who has the balls to reach out to me and say hi. It’s not very conducive to forming friendships or relationships. My friendships have dwindled to the small handful who are tolerant of my absentminded selfishness. My love life has all but vanished. I spent Friday night on the couch with blankets and Hulu. Saturday was spent at the office, then stubbornly watching four hours of The Killing when I really should have just taken a nap. I reached out to a few friends from college, trying to fool myself into thinking I’d actually go out. I knew that I would just end up in bed by 9, asleep by 9:30. I was right.

I’m not sure why my depressed and antisocial behavior feeds itself. It’s turned into a beast I don’t really know how to tame. I’ve always required a certain amount of alone time, but I feel like that’s all my life has become. The transition of college to work is harder than I anticipated. In college, there are new people to talk with every hour and your schedule varies each day of the week. But working is the same all day everyday, and even if I do like my coworkers, I need to talk with other people.

I think really, I’m just feeling sorry for myself while the weather continues to suck. The forecast should just read SHITTY TILL IT’S NO LONGER SHITTY. But instead, they go through the trouble of describing the shittiness.

Completely unnecessary

Completely unnecessary, Accuweather.

I don’t really care that it’s supposed to be in the 50s. It’s still shitty and I’m going to blame my terrible mood and uncontrollable urge to shovel carbs into my mouth on it. Today I made two loaves of french bread, rice crispie treats, cake batter cookies, and I’m probably having spaghetti for dinner. An all-carb diet is good for the soul, right? I think what I need is a crazy night out with friends. I need to feel wild and free and like I’m stunning, beautiful, and constantly witty. The right amount of alcohol does that, and with any luck, I’ll find that next weekend. Until then, I’ll probably just keep reading and wasting time on Pinterest.

It’s my birthday and I’ll angry-cry if I want

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but you’re currently reading the blog of someone who’s only had six actual birthdays.

Leap Day

I’ve never understood why people react with such pity when they find out I was born on Feburary 29. On Leap Years, I’m completely justified in having a gigantic celebration. Not that I have enough friends to invite to a big party, but if I did, I would have epic celebrations.

note to self: make more friends in the next three years

The general public thinks my birthday is February 28th. My family says it’s March 1st. I tend to side with my parents, but I just go with the flow by accepting the Facebook notifications on the 28th and knowing my grandma will call me on March 1st to sing to me. Last night she called around nine. She didn’t even bother greeting me, she just started crooning. While she was singing, I told her I thought she forgot. “Don’t interrupt a polack when they’re singing,” she told me after her performance. She’s full of great life lessons.

I spent Thursday evening at my parents’ house, then I went home, determined to get some reading done. Instead I ended up spending about three hours on the phone with Andrea. Sometime around 11:30, we decided to stay on the phone till midnight so we could ring in my birthday together. I think I got to bed around 1am, which made Friday a long day.

I'll understand if you're intimidated by my ability to mix mint, coral, and trouser-style denim.

I’ll understand if you’re intimidated by my ability to mix mint, coral, and trouser-style denim. 

Friday started out just fine. I woke up with an absurd amount of energy for getting about four hours of restless sleep. I decided to dress all fancy and post a selfie on Facebook because that’s a thing adults do, right? My department had thrown a small pig-out for a coworker who was moving to a different department, so I didn’t pack a breakfast. I had three cups of coffee and a donut. Around 11:3o, I decided to touch base with my brother, who works in a different department, to see if he had lunch plans.

“No, I haven’t thought about it,” he told me in a biting and exasperated tone. “I’ll probably just go out and grab something.”

“Okay, well do you want to plan on going to Festival at like 12:30?”

“Ash, just go by yourself. I just got this project and I have to work on it.”

“Fine. Bye.”

I slammed my phone on the receiver, appreciating the satisfying smack of a pissed off phone slam you can’t achieve by aggressively pressing the END button on a touch screen. “Well fuck you,” I said in my head. “Don’t be nice to me on my birthday.” Then I started doing that inner angry-crying thing where I threw the most intense 20 second pity party the world has ever known.

It’s my birthday and I didn’t even have cake yet and you can’t be nice to me and I didn’t even get much sleep and why is it too much to ask to take lunch a half hour later than usual and damnit, Corey, you don’t need to be a jerk to me on my birthday and gosh this is the worst birthday ever and omigosh I can’t even get my brother to be nice to me and what an asshole and what is wrong with my life if I’m about to cry in my cubicle on my birthday and oh my god if I cry and ruin my eyeliner I am going to be so mad and oh my gosh Corey should be buying my lunch anyway because it’s my birthday and oh my god nobody loves me and I am so alone because nobody understands me ever.

When my stomach grumbled, I realized I hadn’t taken care of myself that morning. I blinked a few dozen times to make my hunger tears go away and started my Dan Savage inner monologue.

You need to calm the fuck down. This might come as a shock to you, but the world does not revolve around you. What did you expect? It’s not like Corey’s supposed to coordinate a fucking food parade for you just because it’s your birthday. He’s got his own shit to deal with. Now put on your big girl heels and go get yourself some damn food – something more substantial than a damn sprinkled donut. What were you thinking anyway? Yeah, that’s some great brain fuel, Ashley. Sugar and caffeine. Breakfast of fucking champions right there.

I imagine some people kindly talk themselves out of these sorts of things. You know what, self? You normally make better food choices and you know that it feels better. So just go get yourself something with a lot of protein. You’ll have a much better afternoon. Also, you’re gorgeous and perfect. Don’t forget that, self. Obviously my brain works a little differently. I don’t react to coddling; I react to a bitch slap.

Before going to lunch, I decided to finish up the file I was working on to give myself a chance to calm down. Corey called back a few minutes later and apologized for being short. Then he asked if I still wanted to go to Festival.

On the way back from the store, I told Corey about what had gone through my head. We had a good laugh and went back to our desks. I basically inhaled my lunch (fruit and dip with a bowl of chili that was essentially a quarter pound of ground chuck drizzled with some chunky tomato sauce) and marveled at my renewed sense of optimism. Isn’t it kind of amazing how much food and rest can affect your mood? I bet Africa is full of crabby people.

All in all, my twenty-fifth birthday has been good. It’s been sort of a week-long endeavor: on Sunday I met an old friend from high school who gave me a Real Book so I can start butchering some jazz standards. My aunt sent me a package full of goodies. My roommate indulged my New Girl fangirl and gave me a copy of The Douche Journals. Last night, Andrea showed up with six and a quarter red velvet cupcakes before we went out with a few friends for shots and cucumber vodka drinks. Tonight Vince (he’s the academic, I’ve mentioned him enough times that it’s getting weird for me to not use his name) is making me dinner. Tomorrow, I’m spending the afternoon with my family for cake and quality time.

If you've never heard jazz violin, it's sort of bizarre. Regardless, it's still pretty fun to play In the Mood and Call Me Irresponsible alone in my apartment.

If you’ve never heard jazz violin, it’s sort of bizarre. Regardless, it’s still pretty fun to play In the Mood and Call Me Irresponsible alone in my apartment.

That necklace is the brightest piece of jewelry I own. I'm a little afraid it will blind people on sunny days.

That necklace is the brightest piece of jewelry I own. I’m a little afraid it will blind people on sunny days.

I can stop looking for the perfect coffee table book now.

I can stop looking for the perfect coffee table book now.

 

Andrea made me red velvet cupcakes with vanilla frosting and triple-double stuft Oreo crumbles. She even went through the trouble of eating 3/4 of one cupcake to properly reflect my age.

Andrea made me red velvet cupcakes with vanilla frosting and Oreo crumbles. She even went through the trouble of eating 3/4 of one cupcake to properly reflect my age.

The bar we spent the night at is kind enough to put pictures of hunky men in the women's bathroom. I had to crop this one to make it family-friendly, but you get the idea.

The bar we spent the night at is kind enough to put pictures of hunky men in the women’s bathroom. I had to crop this one to make it somewhat family-friendly, but you get the idea.

Now that I can rent a car at a reasonable price, get cheaper car insurance, I’m sure I’ll run out of things to blog about since I’ll stop making all the mistakes women in their early twenties make. Just kidding, I’ll keep drinking too much coffee and swearing at people in my head. 

Five Ways to Win My Heart

I stumbled across a 30-day challenge on a blog (here). Day one was yesterday. I’m not sure if you realize it, but I didn’t post yesterday. So I guess I’ve already failed the challenge. But whatever. I’m doing it today. I probably won’t do all of the topics because a lot of them remind me of my days on Xanga (oof) when I was a melancholy fool who was certain her views on boys and emo bands were vital to everyone on the internet. I’ve matured since then – I’m certain my views on men and books are vital to everyone on the internet. Priorities, people. I’ve got them.

Anyway, I’ll start out with a strong and mature topic: FIVE WAYS TO WIN MY HEART.

Are you reading, men? Because you should be.

  1. Don’t suck at basic grammar and punctuation. SERIOUSLY. This is a deal breaker for me. If you don’t have a firm grasp on your/you’re, there/they’re/their, and its/it’s, don’t even bother approaching me. If you don’t understand how and when to use an apostrophe, don’t try to date me (or make produce signs – I don’t want to buy your “apple’s” or “onion’s”). I’d like to see proof that you understand these rules, preferably in a handwritten letter, but a well-organized Facebook message will do in a pinch/the current decade.
  2. Dedicate a song to me. Something really sort of cheesy and romantic, but not in a top 40 way. This means no Jason Mraz, no J Biebs, or even Gotye. I’m talking something good and sexy. Like “No Sunshine” (I love me Bill Withers) or “Inside and Out” (either Bee Gees or Feist’s version will be fine – with the latter, don’t worry, I’m smart, I can change pronouns). Also, since it just came up on my itunes shuffle – do not play Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”. We’re not living in a Dawson’s Creek episode.
  3. Buy me a book. Not just any book, but a book that shows you get me. If we’re at the point where you’re buying me a book, you know that my two favorite writers are David Sedaris and Vladimir Nabokov…and Kurt Vonnegut and Anton Chekhov if you catch me on a cloudy day. You also know that I don’t own all of these writer’s books.This does not mean that I want to read Gonzo – Hunter S. Thompson’s biography. I’m sure he’s written some great things, but Fear and Loathing freaked me out so much that I have no interest in reading a word of his. By the way, an ex (Scott? Scott.) bought me that book for Christmas. I threw it away a few months later. OH! Bonus points if you buy me the newest Kindle. I love my 3g keyboard Kindle, but I wouldn’t object to a higher contrast and pixel count.
  4. Be a musician, apparently. I have a history of dating musicians.  I’ve dated two drummers, a singer/cellist/drummer (?), more than one guitarist, a bass player (short lived, but it was very romantic in a freshman year, let’s-kiss-in-the-practice-rooms sort of way). When I say musician, I don’t mean that you have a band that plays in your garage and records their ep using GarageBand. I mean that you have serious talent and dedication to your craft. I prefer classically trained, but I’ll settle for self-taught prodigy. Of course, none of these relationships were very successful, so maybe I should rethink this whole musician thing. I thought about dating writers, but I’m afraid I’d either be super competitive or intimidated by the guy, depending on his talent. But let’s face it, if he’s a crappy writer, I’m probably not interested in him.
  5. Never underestimate the importance of an Arrested Development reference. I’ve devised a pretty simple elimination test for potential boyfriends. I ask if they’ve seen Arrested Development. If the answer is yes, then I proceed to ask which of the ridiculous cast is their favorite. Most guys say Gob, which I say is the wrong answer, but it’s really an acceptable answer because Gob. I say the correct answer is either Buster or Lucille Bluthe. (Buster is adorable and amazing, Lucille is underrated.) If he haven’t seen the show, I subtract 200pts from his initial score of zero, then invite him over to watch an episode or two. If the guy doesn’t laugh at least eight times in the first episode, I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing each other for much longer. Anyway, a simple “I’m afraid I just blue myself” or “I’ve made a huge mistake” will make me laugh and probably put my hand on your arm.

I think I’m making myself sound really easy. I’m not. I’m very particular about the men I date. My main criteria are the following: Be intelligent, don’t be a douchebag, have goals, be passionate, be empathetic, and be okay with the fact that I’ll blog about you. As far as I’ve seen, the above mentioned points eliminate about 97% of the men I encounter.

Oh, you also have to be approved by my dog. If he doesn’t like you, shit isn’t going to fly. Also, if you hurt me, he’ll tear your balls off.

I love to eat dutch babies.

In sixth grade, my language arts teacher asked us to name a favorite dish our families made. Since my name lies in the middle of the alphabet, I’ve always been  able to listen to my peers and make a comfortably boring response. I must have been daydreaming about buying my first Abercrombie t-shirt, because as my classmates named things like roast beef and french bread pizza, there was a pause before I answered.

“Ashley?” Mrs. Hertz said.

“Dutch babies.”

Cue my classmates’ laughter. Cue my mortification. Cue my red face. Cue the urge to crawl into the hallway.

I remember thinking that I wanted to give a different response. I wanted mine to stick out of the crowd. This surprises me to this day. From what I recall, middle school was not a time when I wanted to be an individual. Like every awkward adolescent, I wanted to bring as little attention to myself as possible. So of course saying my favorite dish is dutch babies makes perfect sense.

My teacher was puzzled and probably stifled her own laughter. “Dutch babies?”

I began the furious scrambling of embarrassment. “It’s like a cross between pancakes and french toast.”

“How do you make them?”

I was eleven years old. How the hell was I suppose to know? “Umm. I don’t know. You bake them?”

“Okay, when do you eat dutch babies?”

Until that moment, it never occurred to me what it sounded like. It sounded like I enjoyed eating infants from The Netherlands.

“At breakfast. My mom makes them on the weekends sometimes.”

“Oh okay,” she said. Luckily, she moved onto the next person, because I was probably on the verge of tears or something.

Unwittingly, I had given a boy, Andy, more ammunition. A few weeks earlier, he had started to tease me for reading too much. I remember passing him on stairs towards lunch, and he would taunt me: “How many books did you read today, Ashley? Twenty?”

His point wasn’t that I always had my nose in a book, his point was that I read because I didn’t have friends. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it, and why it hurt. Looking back, that wasn’t true. I had friends. we might have been a little on the dorky side since we bonded over orchestra rehearsals, but we were still friends.

But now he got to make fun of me for being a cannibal.

It wasn’t that I was ruthlessly teased. It was just one of those stupid middle school things – he was cool, and I was somewhere lost in the middle of the crowd.  It felt like he said these things out of a compulsion to make noise. I think he held the responsibility of entertaining his friends, so every time a punchline presented itself, he was obligated to take advantage.

So now he asked, “Eaten any dutch babies lately, Ashley?”

He was so creative.

Anyway, I guess I haven’t changed much, because this morning I found myself being a bookworm cannibal while reading Infinite Jest and eating dutch babies.

And you know what, Andy? IT WAS AWESOME.

By the way, if you’d like to try my 11 year old self’s favorite dish, here’s the recipe:

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

5tbsp butter.

Preheat oven to 375. Blend eggs, milk, and flour. Melt butter separately and pour into a 9×13 pan. Pour egg mixture into pan. Bake for 30min. It will bubble up and be lightly crispy. Serve with warm syrup.

This morning, I put a little vanilla in the egg mixture, sprinkled some cinnamon before baking, and then served it with sliced bananas.