Another Awkward Week [9.20.13

Another week gone by. Like sands through the hour glass, so our the days of our lives.

This was kind of a weird week for me. On Sunday my phone broke while I was on a treat-yo-self trip to Target, leaving me unable to instagram the 40 oz fountain Diet Coke I was chugging at 11 AM and even worse: stranding me without a cellular device for four days while TMobile took their sweet time sending me a replacement. It is so sad the lost, unhinged, unmoored feeling that comes with being unplugged. I've always wanted to time travel back to colonial times...but I'm not sure how long I could survive without my cell piece. I barely made it through the week.

It's also sort of pathetic how suddenly being without a phone gives a heightened sense of your own importance in the lives of others. HOW WILL PEOPLE REACH ME?!?! I panicked, before remembering that um, I'm not that popular. I sat agonizing over the millions of texts I was surely missing yet I refused to be one of those people who went to Facebook and blasted their entire feed: "Hey everyone! Broke my phone so if you need me, hit me up here or on email!"

I mean, I get it, I do, but how many people actually call/text you in a four day span? Can't you just email the main peeps in your life and give them the heads up, without making a dramatic call for attention to all of your internet network. Maybe I'm just unpopular? I just don't think that like, that random kid I worked with at the movie theater in 11th grade or that girl I had intro to Journalism class with in the fall of 2003 are really that concerned about the state of my phone slash life.

Uh, lessons on internet self indulgence from the girl writing a BLOG. Pot, kettle, etc. I know.

Thankfully my new phone arrived safe and sound Wednesday evening (don't ask if I chased the office mail guy down the hall yelling "Is that my phone?!" because yes,  yes I did) and I had missed a total of four text messages. Two from Brian on Sunday afternoon informing me he was on his way home. One from TMobile telling me they'd shipped my new phone (uh, how was I supposed to see this message, Tmobs?) and one from my friend Claire referencing a very bitchy but awesome inside joke we share from college so yeah, pretty important stuff right there! Did I learn any lessons about the joys of being unplugged and away from technology? EFF no. 1780's, I'm sure you were delightful, but I might need to stick it out in the 2KTeens.

The worst part of being phoneless was that I was without a camera and unable to capture my hugely interesting life. But I can't end a week without a recap so instead of our usual photographic accompaniment I've created some original artworks using my favorite computer program, Paintshop. So let's do this thing!

Here's a look at what was keeping it awkward this week:

This Yoga Class:

yoga 1

Guys, I don't know if I'm cut out for yoga. I'm just too high strung. I finally got the nerve to graduate from Ultimate Beginner this week and went to an open level Vinyasa class with my friend Ursula, also a relative newbie. I'm the "L" up there and she's "U." JUST FYI.

I did slightly better than I thought I might at the poses, though there were a few like, one legged sideways balancing jobbers that were just NOT happening but as with all areas of my life, my overactive mind refused to shush up.

I know that the whole point of yoga is to quiet your mind and focus on your body or whatever but I just don't know if I can get down with that. I like to be silly. I like to laugh with my friends if one of us falls over or crack wise if I'm struggling through a pose. And in yoga class (or at least any that I've been to) everyone's so quiet and serious and breathy and earnest. I don't love it.

Do I use humor as a crutch: no doy. Do I need to get over this? Probs. Can Yoga help me learn to appreciate quiet and get there? SURELY. But, I don't know that I want to. Is there a yoga for comedians class I could take somewhere? Or laughter based yoga where everyone just has fun? It's just so much with all the ommming and the breathing and dim lighting. Live a little, Yogis!

Related: the girl next to me, pictured above under the giant frowny face was probably one of the worst humans on earth. She was the very loudest breather I have ever encountered. And not in a natural way. She kept over dramatically huffing and sighing and puffing and making all of these noises and it was clear - trust me, I'm an expert - that she was doing it just for the attention. She also refused to follow along with the instructor on ANY moves and just kept doing her own thang, going faster than the rest of the class, falling to the mat unexpectedly, hopping where everyone else was stepping, generally causing a big old scene.

NO GIRL NO.

Also she was wearing a really ugly barrette in her hair which I know is petty but it was highly distracting.

Again, I know that I'm supposed to focus on myself, not everyone around me, but when the gal next to me is braying like a donkey and downward dogging when we're supposed to be heading upward, HOW am I supposed to tune that out? If I can't crack jokes in class, you gotta play it cool too, Bonnie Barrettes. That's just how yoga WORKS!

Also: Ursula told me that while we were laying and meditating at the end of class (I was thinking about dinner, of course), that the instructor came over and massaged her face. HA! I would have urinated on the mat from giggling so hard.

Soooo yeah. Not quite sure yoga's the sport for me.

This Bookshelf:

book shelf

Can't you tell that is a bookshelf? My company deals exclusively in primary colored, one dimensional books. Pretty cool shit.

I realized sometime on like, Monday, that one of the shelves on my bookcase had broken, sending books careening into piles on the floor of my office. I just resumed whatever idiot thing I was doing at the time (probably catching up on my mormon mom blogs) and left the mess there for a cool three days until enough people commenting "OH MY GOD, LIZ, WHAT HAPPENED?!" inspired me to call maintenance.

I then had to sit here like an asshat mediating on my intense laziness while the nice maintenance guy cleaned up my mess of books and old press letters and also a broken glass which was somehow present in the region and I did not feel great about that.

THIS is what I mean when I say that maybe I should focus less on lofty long-term goals like marathons and more on getting my day-to-day shit together.

Meh.

This Scarf:

quinoa scarf

In an effort to spice up my wardrobe, I attempted the old scarf-as-accessory trick, one that I've never really mastered in the past.

I think I pulled it off in a big way. Not only did the scarf look adorable, it served as a convenient personal food storage center, as I found bits of both breakfast (oatmeal) and lunch (quinoa) tucked inside it when I took it off post-work.

CLASSY.

And that's that. Short and artistic. Just like I like my men. Just kidding, you know I like my men slim and mathematical.

What are y'all up to this weekend? Tomorrow is Brian's birthday! We're just a week apart, so we're having a bit of a dual birthday celebration with some pals because what's cuter than a joint couple birthday party?

Barf.

Wishing everyone a very zen weekend! Zen Zen Zen!

xoxo Liz Ho

Three Or Four More Awkward Years!

Guys, I just realized something. One Awkward Year has a birthday to celebrate! I started this blog in January of 2010 to document one year of my life, in all of its absurdities, and here we still are in January of 2013. Three years later...or is it four? I'm having some math issues...We are three years old but celebrating our Fourth Awkward Year? 2010...2011...2012...2013? Whatever, math sux, I'm still here!   If I could go back in time and change the name of this blog I would probably do it, but that seems like it would be a real waste of time travel technology when I could be busy making money by prophesizing the future or having sex with JFK or finding out whether or not Felicity the American Girl was actually a real person. I kind of thought I'd already be the star of my own Julie & Julia by now, but that doesn't seem to have happened, hmm. But still. Happy birthday to me! I do hope you all brought presents.

Sad-Birthday-Cat

(This is the first image that came up when I Google Image searched "awkward birthday." I like it!)

Now. I’m going to ask you to indulge me very quickly with some housekeeping type business. This birthday is perfect timing as I find myself considering where I see myself going as a blogger slash writer. As I mentioned last week, I am attempting to become more serious about this whole scene but it's not as easy as it looks. Blogging well & blogging often takes time and it takes energy. It also takes a certain sense of voice and theme and, let’s be honest, self importance.  Any sort of personal writing be it a print column or a blog or a cave drawing (do you think that prehistoric people drew out witty anecdotes on the walls of their caves? I would die a million deaths if they discovered like, Carrie Bradshaw style stories drawn out in stone circa 300 BC) is inherently self absorbed. You are assuming that the world at large wants and needs to hear what it is you have to say. About yourself and your life. That’s a bold move, friend. If you’re going to make it, what you have to say better be worth it.

I want to make it worth it. I know that blogging is a super selfish endeavor, but I have gone too far down this road to stop, so I’m powering on.  I feel like a cornball saying this, but I have really and truly enjoyed writing here these last few years, especially this last year, where I began to connect with other bloggers, develop more of a voice and become confident in my writing and it means a lot to me that you would choose use part of that time at work where you’re pretending to work but are actually reading dumb shit on the internet to come here and read this dumb shit.

Seriously, thank you!

So, now that I've given you three or four years of great entertainment, depending on how you do math (f’real, though, am I the only one who finds this confusing?!), I am going to ask YOU to do something for me. Tell me:

  • What do you like about this blog?
  • What would you, you know, pass on if this were an all you can eat buffet?
  • What would you like to see more of? Silly stuff? Serious stuff? Personal stuff? Things about New York? TV?  Something I haven't even thought about? Please don't say nude photos. Please also don't say "ew! no nude photos, you are gross!" because that would really not be great for my self esteem. Just avoid discussing nude photos altogether.

I feel like a real douchebucket asking for you to pay even more attention to me, but you nerds seem to like reading this thing so I'm just going with it. If we’re going to endure four (three???) more years of this, I want it to be fun for everyone and I’d genuinely appreciate your feedback, even if it is negative. But preferably positive. But seriously, please be nice. If you would be so kind as to share some ideas with me in the comments or via email: oneawkwardyear@gmail.com or via facebook, if that’s how you came across this post, or by carrier pigeon or a snail mail letter or on a letter that you tape to the back of an actual snail and then pray it arrives to me somehow, I would be eternally grateful.

 

On Growing Older, But Not Up

Fall has flung. The World is Your Apple Orchard, Go Pick Something. (Copyright LizHo, September 2012.)

I love this time of year. I always feel very renewed with the turn of the seasons, especially at fall. September is my favorite month –apples, school supplies, chilly evenings and the best holiday in all the land: my birthday.

Tomorrow I am going to turn 28 years old. (Most online retailers offer overnight shipping, for those who forgot to shop early.) TWENTY-EIGHT! I know in the grand scheme of things I’m still a spring chicken…or perhaps a summer chicken…a Memorial Day chicken, if you will, but I still can’t help feeling old. Or at least aware of my age in a way I’ve never been before. It is a weird age, 28, and one that seems so much older than the year before it. I’m officially late 20’s, closer to 30 than to 25 (but still closer to 18 than to 40, booyah!), I’ve out of college for longer than I was in it and seemingly every other day a friend announces their engagement…if they’re not already married. I think the first sign I really knew I was getting up there was when I stopped being scandalized every time a friend got knocked up. A few years two of my friends (both 25 year-old married ladies) announced, on the same day, that they were both with child and my first thought was to ask if they’d told their parents and offer rides to Planned Parenthood. I couldn’t process the idea that we were now at the stage in life when having a child (for some of us, at least) wasn’t some kind of disastrous Degrassi Junior High Life Lesson situation to be dealt with but, you know, an actual blessing and natural occurrence. I now just accept the news with a happy shrug and hunker down for an eternity of “bump” photos (the worst) followed by baby photos (every baby looks the same, let’s get real about it), finally followed by toddler photos (which are the greatest) until finally they post a detailed status update about potty training, and I am forced to defriend them and forget they every lived. Just kidding, friends, I love all of you and all of your children and I’m happy they’re regularly pooping in their big boy potties. Mazel tov.

 

 

The Awl (a website you should be reading, if you’re not already) has this great series on youth, and one of their writers just wrote a fantastic piece on being 27, an age that seems mythical, important, ripe for growth and change and yet carries with it a deep yearning to turn back towards younger years. I recommend reading the whole piece. It made me cry a little, half out of happiness because someone said so perfectly what I’ve been feeling and half out jealousy because, well, they said it better than I ever could.

She wrote: “At twenty-seven, everything before you is clean and solid and everything behind you is a bottle of Strawberry Kiwi Snapple, stuffed with cigarette butts.”

That might not seem the most poignant pull-quote but tell me, mid-twenties friends, isn’t that exactly how it feels? We have one foot firmly in adulthood, one still in youth and in between a gulf of wh-knows-what. We have to decide. Or do we GET to decide?

 

That’s me, here, with under 24 hours left in my golden, sexy, flighty mid-twenties: half old, half young, 100% undecided. I still love to get my drank on, so long as it’s before 10 PM and I give equal air time to NPR and Justin Bieber. I wear things called slacks and blouses, but buy them at Forever 21. I have health insurance, but don’t understand (or attempt to understand) anything my plan entails. I make regular dermatological and gynecological appointments without my mom having to remind me, but still call her at the earliest sign of a cold, flu, rash, weird ache in my leg, intestinal cancer, scabies or whatever other fatal disease I’ve self-diagnosed via the internet. I can’t eat spaghetti without getting sauce on my shirt. I don’t know what marjoram is.  I have a great job, a beautiful apartment, a handsome boyfriend who makes me daydream about the future, I know how to cook. I have so much student loan debt that if you paid it in quarters, it would circle the earth 786 times (Ok, I made that up. But it’s a lot!), I live in abject horror of pregnancy and childbirth, I can’t imagine every being responsible enough to own anything: a house, a car, a bicycle, nice pots and pans.

I have married friends and single friends and pregnant friends and friends with three year olds and friends sleeping with their ex-boyfriends and friends who’ve never slept with anyone and friends who might marry their current girlfriends, but don’t know and are OK with that and friends starting new jobs, idling in bad jobs, going back to grad school, buying houses, adopting cats, killing house plants, writing novels, living at home, drinking too much, not drinking at all, having it all together, having nothing together, not having a clue.

And I don’t know what’s going to happen to any of us, but I think we’re all going to be just fine.

Change usually make me panic. Unknowns usually make me panic. And yet, on the eve of a new year, a new phase in life, a gaping hole of unknowability and possibility and change, I feel as cool as a goddamn cucumber. There will be time to figure it all out, to get it together, to go from cigarettes & Snapple to clean & solid and on the way, why not just enjoy being a little bit of both? Let’s raise a drink – make it something totally mid-twenties: a warmish natty lite poured into a crystal goblet or a five-year-old Châteauneuf-du-Pape in a red solo cup, a cocktail with half watermelon vodka and half prune juice – to not knowing and not worrying about it. To being half old, half young and totally fucking awesome

Twenty-eight, let’s do this thing.

One Awkward Birthday

Shove your face in a cake, y'all. One Awkward Year turns ONE YEAR OLD today!!!

So, if we're being technical about things that would mean (HORRORS!) that One Awkward Year has come to a close. El año difícil está sobre. A kínos év alatt! (Holla at me, Hungarian readers!) When I started this blog 12 months ago today, the intention was to chronicle the awkward moments of one year in my life.  The bad dates, the workplace deuces, the celebrity run-ins, the hijinks ensuing. Along the way I'd learn important things about my life, fall in love, have adventures and eventually turn my blog into a book into a movie, viola. It would be like "Eat, Pray, Love," except more public humiliation and less me being an insufferable seaward.

And yet, here I sit, one year later, alone on the couch in my Christmas print flannel pj's, half into a bottle of wine. But I really have changed. For one, I now prefer shiraz to cabernet. For two, they're new pajamas.

So should this be the end? Maybe. Will it? Of course not! I need this blog too much.

The other night, during my emergency haircut, my "assistants" spoke words of comfort. Not "it's just hair!" or "Oh you'd be beautiful even if you were bald!" but "Just think of what a great blog this will be! You look like SHIT but at least people will laugh at I mean with you." Or on Monday when, walking to the gym I dropped my wallet under a parked car and after four minutes of crawling in the street on my hands and knees, unsucessfully shoving my arms underneath, I realized that, being longer, my legs might be better search tools and proceeded to lay down on my back on the snow-covered sidewalk, scissoring my trouser clad legs underneath the parked SUV until Aha! I'd recovered my wallet and the whole time I lay there, flopping like a dying starfish in my dirt crusted purple coat, all I could thing was "Ohhh you can blog about this!"

This outlet, this make 'em laugh experiment is the one thing that helps me get through the absurdities. Maybe it's a chicken-egg thing. Does the attention derived from writing ease the pain of my awkward life? Or is my subconscious somehow so desperate for adoration that it hurls my physical body into a series of embarassments, knowing that's the key to getting the applause I need to keep my awkward tinkerbell spirit alive?

We may never know, but I'm sure not going anywhere. One Awkward Year = One Awkward Life.

Potatoe. Potahto.

One Awkward Celebration

Wow. I'm like, the worst blogger ever. The "One Awkward Year" movie is going to be a real snoozefest. I'll have to write some shower scenes to spice this bitch up. Anyway - here's something to ponder on this fine Day After MLK Day: Office Parties. What is the deal with office parties?? (Get it? Cuz of that one Seinfeld episode? Lol?)

Office parties are a rare phenomenon in that they are awkward for nearly all of humanity. In recent poll of Awkward Social Interactions conducted by the Better Business Bureau of Sandy Falls, WI*, Office Parties came in at a close second, just under Communal Bikini Waxing.

I work for a relatively large department so we have frequent reasons to get down, office style. There are birthdays, random professional achievements, holidays, etc. All of these parties begin with a group e-mail commanding that we meet at "The Usual Spot" at a certain time.  "The Usual Spot" is a filing cabinet located just outside of the main bosslady's office. This proximity allows her to continue working through the party and pop out just long enough to make some kind of toast and, if we're really lucky, coerce everyone into singing "Happy Birthday."

Inevitably, the first person to show up at the party is the guest of honor - you can't be late to your own hoedown- and he or she will continue to linger, alone, next to the platter of Betty Crocker FunFetti Cupcakes until the rest of the team manages to pull themselves away from their cubicles. (We take ourselves very seriously.)

Finally the department gathers and shares in a joyous celebration, avoiding delving into their personal lives too much, sticking to such safe topics as TV ("That Paula Abdul sure is wacky")  and food ("Man I love cheese. Cheese, cheese, cheese.") There is, of course, always the oversharer ("I had sex on the beach on vacation!") and the jokester ("You don't look a day over 54, Patty.") and the one who can't talk about anything other than work (I'm not coming up with an example for this, you get the drift.) but I'd imagine that if God would draw thought bubbles over our heads (how fucking sweet would that be??) we'd all be thinking the same thing: "Why can't I just take this cupcake back to my desk, and continue reading Harry Potter fan fiction and pretending it's the New York Times, just like I did for the rest of the week. Ron was about to put the Nuderamous curse on Harry and I really, really need to know what happens.") **

And that's probably my cue to wrap this post up. I could say more, but things are getting ridiculous.

In Love and Basketball,

L

* Yeah, I made that up.

** Maybe that's just me . . .