Archive for September 2008

30 September 2008

The date definition

By: Jessica B.
Dating, or trying to do so, sucks. I likely feel this way because I’m a traditionalist when it comes to relationships. I have the 1950s mentality of the guy asking the girl out, him picking her up, paying for dinner and escorting her home with a kiss at the end of the evening (should it go well). Maybe there isn’t a sock hop or a “pin” involved but I guess I’m old-school at heart. Yes, I realize this is misguided.
I’m bringing this up today because the two things on my list that several people have been asking me about are the dating and making out line items that I included on there. And sadly, over a month into my year-long adventure, I’m sucking (no pun intended) on achieving them.
Making friends in the big city is tough, but for me, dating is even more difficult. Things are not as clean cut as they were back at home or even as they are in my misguided head. Some guys, like my friend Ryan, like to be asked out by girls, when girls pick up the dinner tabs and when the girls “chase” them. I should not be surprised by this but yet I was because very few women I know are aggressive enough to chase guys, but I know a few who will pick up the check…after they have been dating someone for a while (a long while).
I’ve shared many times before on here how my approach with guys is not the best, so I hate to say this, but I’m dating impotent and have zero idea what to do on them.
For example, if a guy asks you to dinner is it assumed that he will pay? And if he does pay, does it automatically qualify as a date? Even identifying an evening out as a “date” is a lot looser now than before. Some of my friends even feel that a date = kissing or more. I’ll provide an example of this below.
Awhile back, a friend of mine met up with a girl he had a semi-crush on. He asked if she wanted to get together “for some food” and she agreed. He had no intention of paying because it was a “friendly” night out. He met her at the restaurant and they enjoyed some nice conversation but at the end of the night, he paid for dinner and got no kiss before she left.
Guy: So after I paid, I kind of felt like it was a date
Me: Well yeah it kind of was a date
Guy: But I didn’t even get a kiss goodbye
Me: Do you feel you should have?
Guy: Well yeah, it was a date
Me: So you feel that because you paid you should get something?
Guy: Well I got a hug…
Me: Funny, because you you originally didn’t tell her it was a date, but then you decided to pay and now you’re upset because you only got a hug goodnight? If you wanted her to “give” you something, you should have told her that she would have to “put out” when you were paying the check or give her the option to pay her half and leave the tongue-action to “optional.”
Guy: You make it sound so dirty
Oh the guys in my life. 
My ex-boyfriend Peter never paid when we would go out. We always went Dutch, which I thought was rather odd because all of my friend’s boyfriends paid for dinner or movies. When I approached Peter about this, being tactful about it, he said, “You’re a strong, independent woman, I don’t want to disrespect you by paying.” When I was 19, I totally thought this made sense, even though I said, “it’s okay to disrespect me sometimes.”
Now, thanks to Peter, I have zero idea what to expect when I’m asked out by someone. The last few times I went out on a date, I brought extra money with me in case I had to pay my share and when guys did pay for me, I was more nervous after dinner because I wasn’t sure what would be expected. Most of them ended in hugs, but to be fair, if I paid for a city dinner, I’d hope for a little lip action. Seriously though, I’m not a prude, just old-fashioned. 
I’m not sure if I’m the kind of girl who can “chase” guys because I’m already pretty clear about telling people what I want (hello I once replied “a job,” when a very hot man asked me what I wanted). I don’t play relationship games and I’m fine with picking up the tab sometimes…after we’ve been dating for a while. Is that wrong?
So I guess I need to “man up” and be more direct in asking guys out, or just go up to a nice looking guy at the bar and say, “hey you’re going to buy me a drink and then go make out with me, so put some Chapstick on.”
I think that’ll go over well.
Reader note: I’m sorry the Colbert video was being such a b*tch last night. It’s a really great segment and I have zero idea why it would not embed or let you play it on the Comedy Central site. I’m not a Colbert-tease. Promise.

29 September 2008

Volunteering to do math

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago

In keeping with the spirit of my list, I volunteered tonight at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. And for my extra delight, it was close to where I work and near my bus line home. Score!

So after work, I put did a “Mr. Rogers” by changing into my tennis shoes and headed over, totally unsure of what I would be doing. When I walked in, a group of volunteers was waiting to be taken back with me to be at the mercy of the organizers…who were nice enough to provide snacks and water/beer. Who can say no to that?
Time literally flew by and I had to force myself to leave at 8:45 p.m. because, oh yeah I have to work tomorrow! But while I was there, I helped sort mail, log donations and practice my addition/subtraction skills with those donations too. While I was sorting through the mail, there were a few “aww” moments, such as letters from kids, and a surprising number of letters/donations from overseas too. But for every “aww” letter, there is always a puzzling, WTF letter too. I even saw some done on a…typewriter. So odd and archaic.
Trust me, campaign headquarters are not like they are on the “West Wing,” but the energy in the office, including watching people work from any hard surface, such as the floor, and seeing staffers in the “phone booths” was pretty cool. And it was nice to say I was part of it. I’ll definitely be going back to help out.
This will likely not shock you, but I’m a Democrat. But this post isn’t about going back and forth on the issues and telling you all why I’m choosing to vote for Obama over McCain. I just wanted to share my evening out with everyone. And I’m not going to preach too you about my political choice, but I will say this, learn both candidates positions on the issues affecting us now and go vote in November. And taking my own advice, I need to look into registering to vote in Illinois.
In closing, I share my favorite “Daily Show” clip from the 2004 DNC with my favorite guy, Stephen Colbert. I hope you find it humorous too. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.
Note: Apparently the video from the “Daily Show” would not embed on this site very well. Sigh. So instead I’m including a link to the Comedy Central Web site to check out the video. Hopefully this will work because it’s really funny.

28 September 2008

My recent key learnings

By: Jessica B.

Many of my friends ask me for advice on occasion and I always enjoy imparting my words of wisdom or sharing my stories of pure humiliation to help them feel better, or at least help them be glad that they’re not me. 

Now that it’s Sunday and another week is upon us, I’ll share with you some things that I learned this weekend.
  • Be careful while opening a bottle of beer when tipsy. The opener can slip and you can cut yourself. I did that
  • Always surround yourself with friends who have dumb luck. My friend Sarah found $40 on the street this weekend, I found a quarter
  • Rock Band is a fun but humbling experience. It reminded me of two things: I am tone deaf and absolutely uncoordinated. It took me three times on drums to make it through a full song, although I do feel my Bon Jovi solo was pretty good
  • It is still flattering when people at the grocery store ask to see your ID when buying alcohol
  • Make the cab driver repeat your location back to you so they don’t miss your street
  • Just because your college football team is winning, anything can happen in the last 20 seconds of the game (I hate you Michigan)
  • It’s tacky to talk smack about someone when they’re standing right next to you. That’s just rude – man up and confront them
  • It might be painful, but sometimes you have to be nice to someone, even if they’re rude to you
  • Doing laundry at 1:30 a.m. sounds like a good idea – until you have to stay up to finish it
  • Being sober around drunk people is not fun, it’s obnoxious
  • A wine/beer headache can still be there when you wake up the next day
  • Road rage comes back pretty quickly, even if you don’t drive on a regular basis
  • The right pair of jeans (here’s what I’m loving lately) can give you a huge confidence boost and make your hips shake a little like Shakira
  • Putting food in front of a friend’s face and saying “eat it!” can actually get them to, well eat what you want them to
So those are my lessons from this weekend. It was a flurry of activity.
Any words of wisdom that you would like to share from your weekends? I hope everyone had a good one!

25 September 2008

I’ve got a case of the memes

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random
In the last week, three people (Jamie, Maki and Blaez) have tagged me for three different memes. Oh. My. Gosh. So that I don’t forget about them, I’m packaging two together. Blaez, I’m sorry but I’ve already done the one you tagged me for, but thank you for the linky love.
Now..on to the other two. And the same people will be tagged for both. I know, I’m lazy. An award-filled post is coming up too. I’m just overwhelmed with love.
Meme #1: Me A-Z

Jamie over at My Cynical POV tagged me for the alphabet meme, which I feared was inevitable. So before I get too caught up in my Reader, let’s learn more about me with questions from A to Z. I know, it’s awful learning more about me, but this is pretty easy and painless! Like waxing (not really.) 
A. Attached or Single? Single, not that there’s anything wrong with that

B. Best Friend? They know who they are. I will not embarrass them on my blog

C. Cake or pie? Cake, hands down. I’ve posted about my love of the sour cream chocolate cake we get at birthday time. I’m salivating now just thinking about it

D. Day of choice? Saturday because I’m not working and I’m usually the most productive then

E. Essential item? Outside of my computer, it would have to be my iPod, or clothing, I don’t walk around naked outside

F. Favorite color? Blue, I absolutely love this color and I always end up buying clothes in this shade

G. Gummy bears or worms? Bears – I used to live off of Haribo gummi bears in Germany. So good!

H. Hometown? Southeastern Wisconsin, go cheese!

I. Favorite indulgence? Food: probably candy, I can’t stop myself sometimes. Non-food: purses, I somehow can justify always spending more on them

J. January or July? I’ll go with July because the weather is nicer in Chicago than during January. Ick

K. Kids? Absolutely not right now. I always say I don’t want kids because I’d be an awful mother, but you never know, I could change my mind. I could mature one day

L. Life isn’t complete without? Laughter? Family and friends? Or fun jewelry? Those answers might suck

M. Marriage date? This, like having children, I don’t think I’m cut out for. Again, I could be wrong but I doubt it. When maturity hits, I’ll let you know

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 brother (Andy) and 2 stepbrothers (Andrew and Daniel) – Yes my stepbrother and my brother have the same name!

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, especially Honey Crisp apples which are AMAZING. Hmm those are almost in season too

P. Phobias? Sharks, heights, sometimes bodies of water

Q. Quotes? I have two that stay with me a lot: “In the end, the love you take/Is equal to the love you make.” And, I can’t exactly remember how this goes (tacky I know), but it is along the line of, those with great responsibility, great things are expected

R. Reasons to smile? I always have a reason to smile. Either I’ve read, seen or heard something funny, see an old friend, read a good book or magazine or just have a pleasant memory or thought about something I nearly forgot about. Pictures always make me smile

S. Season of choice? I like the transition time of summer into fall and winter into spring. There’s something about the change in the air and wardrobe that makes me excited about the new season

T. Tag 5 people: 
CassSASandyScarlett, and LCT. Anyone else is free to do this meme too!

U. Unknown fact about me? Hmm this is tough, when my braces were removed, I had the orthodontist clean them and I made them into a Christmas ornament. It hangs on my tree every year. For what they cost, I was not going to get rid of them!

V. Vegetable? I love green pepper and black olives. I seriously put the the latter on my fingers still, like a kid. I know, I’m juvenile

W. Worst habit? I twirl my hair and fidget with my earrings when I get nervous

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? I’ve had both and I’ll go with X-ray because it’s quicker

Y. Your favorite food? Pasta, no-bean chili, enchiladas, chocolate, cupcakes, yogurt, cheese, hummus, guacamole, taco dip, really there are too many to list here

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo/Virgo, I was born on the “cusp.” So whenever I read my horoscope, I have to check the date on the magazine for what my birthday falls under. I tend to lean more toward the Virgo sign though

Alrighty that was pretty painless. For those who were tagged…game on!

Meme #2: 4 Things

Maki was sweet enough to tag me for the “4 things” meme so without further ado, let’s go!

4 things I did today:
  • Wake up

  • Try to decide what to wear (I’m hating everything in my closet again)

  • Walked by CVS and forgot to pick up my prescription (this will be mentioned in the next question)

  • Argue with my dad about my trip home this weekend, which isn’t happening anymore

4 things on my to-do list:
  • Go fall clothes shopping. Yes all my stuff is too big again. Darnit!

  • Pick up my prescription at CVS, seriously they’ve called me twice to remind me. Oops.

  • Finish reading “Nineteen Minutes,” start “Eat, Pray, Love” and compile everyone’s recommendations from yesterday’s post

  • Try to remember how to purl so I can finish leg warmer #1

4 things that are my guiltiest pleasure:
  • Shopping

  • Watching way too much television

  • Reading entertainment gossip sites online

  • Doing my modeling poses in front of the mirror while listening to music WAY too loud in my apartment

4 random facts about me:
  • Well, I did mention that I kept my childhood braces and turned them into a Christmas ornament – so that’s one

  • At Halloween, my dad and I have a contest to see how many kids we can scare with our house decorations. Last year I won $5 for making 3 kids cry. Score!

  • I always flip through magazines first to look at the pictures and mentally mark the articles I go back and re-read

  • I always sneeze at least twice, I very rarely sneeze in odd numbers

4 bloggers I’m tagging:
  • Check out Meme #1, I’m tagging five people this time!
Phew, okay it’s time to go rewatch the “Office” and find something to wear for tomorrow.
What is everyone else doing this weekend?

24 September 2008

Hitting the books (not literally)

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random
As part of my “15 things to do before I’m 30” list, I pledged to read 10 books in the next year and I’m falling behind. I’ve been too focused on knitting my legwarmers! So now I’m trying to balance reading, knitting and fall TV. 
Anyhow, Monday I had the day off so I launched into book number one: “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult. I’ve read a lot of her books in the past and they always make me think and sympathize with characters I normally wouldn’t.
And I have to admit, I cheated when I read her book, “My Sister’s Keeper.” When I say that I cheated, I meant that I got about halfway through the book and then, feeling a bad gut reaction, I skipped ahead to the last three chapters to see if I was right. I know, it’s wrong, but I had to know. I won’t ruin it for anyone, but when my suspicions were confirmed, I threw the book halfway across the room and let it sit there for three days before I returned it.
On my big day off, I only planned to read for about an hour but three to four hours later, I was still on my couch reading this book and now I am 70 percent of the way through it. And I have to admit, I don’t know if I can finish it.
For those who don’t know, the book takes place around a Columbine-like massacre at a high school and the ensuing trial of the kid caught when the gun. But like Picoult’s other books, it looks at the story from multiple points-of-view, such as the popular and unpopular crowd. While the book is well written and balanced, I personally found it very hard to get through and am still disturbed by what I have read. Why? Well it is a heavy subject matter, but it is also a bit more personal than I thought it would be.
When I was in middle school, a former student walked into the neighboring high school one day, found the vice principal and shot him multiple times in the hallway. Fortunately, no one else was hurt, but the high school and my middle school went into immediate lock down, especially after there was a rumor that the shooter was going to the middle school next. Cops and parents crowded the streets and my dad came to get my brother and me and he had to show ID to pick us up and walk us to the car. They eventually found the shooter and he’s in jail now, but the entire community was a raw nerve for a long time. My dad was a high school principal for over 30 years and wasn’t always well-liked, so after this happened, I spent a lot of time worrying about him, fearing something like this would happen to him too, and fortunately it didn’t.
I know this is a little heavy and I might be reading into the book a bit too much, but it hit a big nerve for me, outside of the shooting, such as the relationship between two teenage characters. I had a harder time reading this than I thought I would.
So I hope I haven’t brought the mood down too much, but after seeing people’s response tweets to me on Monday, I felt I had to share this. I’ll still finish the book because I’m really almost done with it, but I think I’ll take my time. 
For book number two, I want to find something fluffier to read. I’m open to suggestions. Help a girl out.
Reader note: I was loving everyone’s comments about yesterday’s post on dining out alone. Really, I’m glad I’m not alone in this feeling. But now if I call you up on a Saturday night asking if you want to get food, this is why :) Thank you everyone for your great comments, I loved reading them!