Monthly Archives: September 2013

on Life Lists

Today, I learned through The Blogess that a Life List is like a Bucket List only with a much happier and positive-sounding name. Don’t you like Life List better? I do.

I’ve made some half-hearted Bucket Lists before but never gave them too much thought. It’s not that I don’t have goals; these goals are just stored somewhere up in my brain bin, independent of any formal written record.

One of my friends from college makes a similar list. The year she was going to turn 30, it was “Thirty by 30” and the year after that, “Thirty one by 31” – that kind of thing. She even blogged it, too, which I thought was pretty cool. I lack the discipline (or desire) to do something so structured, so I’m not even going to entertain that idea for myself.

There is, however, something about putting paper to pen (or fingers to keyboard) that ups the accountability ante. I’m tempted to record a “formal” one myself.

Does it count if “write a Life List” is the first item on one’s Life List?


True story (and Bucket List related, too): Last week I visited my brother in New England. One day we drove up to New Hampshire and took a cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee. It’s a big lake, yes, and very pretty, but our main motivation was to see the setting for 1991 film What About Bob? – a movie with which we (along with Juanita) are strangely obsessed. Would you like me to recite it for you? Because I can.


Fear and Loathing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Though I posted my previous post for a reason, I get all fidgety and cringe-y when shit gets real, and thus: I must make myself feel better by telling an outrageous story.

Phew. I feel better already.

Guys? Have I ever told you about the first time I ever got drunk in public?

I’d never drank in a bar before.

Scratch that.

I’d never gone out to a bar for the sole purpose of becoming intoxicated.

I’d been out a few times for “social drinking.”* But this was different; we were going out to celebrate! To blow off steam! To hang with friends! To get waaaaaaaasted!

Or at least, that’s how I (perhaps mistakenly) interpreted it.

Myself, a friend I’ll refer to as E, and another guy – shit! What was his name? Let’s call him Punk-Ass – wandered into a bar called the Adam’s Apple. It was sometime around 10:00 or so in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This is where the details get fuzzy.

Punk-Ass had been talking at length re: his copious alcohol consumption prior to our entrance in the bar. Fully expecting him to walk in and immediately start pounding shots, imagine our shock when he got some sort of Schmirnoff malt beverage to daintily sip while E and I ended up playing a game called How Many Beers Can We Fucking Drink Before Julie Has To Be Carried Out?

Answer: Eight.

I say this because I think I stopped at seven.

Also, we were at the bar for about an hour or so.

To this point in my life, the majority of my alcohol consumption had been some aforementioned malt beverages and mostly hard liquor, and usually mixed together. It was the kind of thing that hit oneself hard and fast: you had a few shots’ worth and boom.  You knew you were done.

Anyway, I’d never in my life gotten drunk on beer and didn’t realize that (at least with me, maybe?) it takes a bit for it to catch up with ye.

At about six or seven beers in, E tasked me with getting us some smokes. But, being absolutely obliterated, I could not work the cigarette machine.** Meaning, I stumbled over to it, stared at it for a good minute (deer-in-headlights style) and then turned around and walked away.

E was also drunk, but had considerably more experience pounding back Bud Lights like a champ. I, on the other hand, stepped out the door and the sidewalk immediately began to spin beneath my feet. Punk-Ass had left us long ago, having finished his single Fruity Malt Beverage and went back to the hotel to go to bed like a responsible person.

I imagine it took us about a half hour to navigate the half-block journey back to the hotel. Drunk as I was, I do remember being extremely careful about avoiding the decorative concrete planters built into the sidewalk.

Also, I think I threw up in one.

During our journey-across-the-street, we passed a dude taking a smoke break outside the hotel. Still drunkenly wanting a cigarette, I casually asked the gentleman if he wouldn’t mind sparing one.

Except I think it came out something like this:  DUDE. DUDE. Can I bum a smoke? DUDE.

I honestly don’t even remember if he obliged, or if I even smoked it if he did. I can imagine E distracting me and taking it out of my hand, probably to smoke it himself.

We made it back to the hotel and I laid face-down in bed, pausing in my apologies to my friends long enough to puke into a trash can that someone else kindly set beside me. I remember more than one person noting just how quietly I vomited, and I still don’t know how to take this compliment.

And that’s all I have to say about that.



*a term that briefly lost its meaning from the ages of 21-26.
**I haven’t seen one of those in ages! Do they still exist?!

We were together, and then we were apart.

It was a breakup on gliders; slowly and smoothly, centimeter by centimeter, we became separated. Punctuated by mild angst (that was exacerbated by friends determined to “help” me “forget” him), our dissolution just…


It was the easiest and most final ending of any relationship of which I’ve been half. 

No wailing. No gnashing of teeth. Just a leaden sense of finality. We just… worked. So why couldn’t we work? I’ve rarely felt more comfortable, more complete, around another human being. And yet: it just wasn’t meant to be. 

I’m not posting this for sympathy. Or empathy. Or any other -thies. The breakup itself actually happened several months ago.

Surprised? I apologize. if you assumed we were still a thing, forgive me. It dissolved so effortlessly that I never felt a need to make urgent phone calls, much less send out mass texts or make generic online postings.

Until today, of course..

Do not mistake this for nostalgia, or bittersweet reminiscence. I just post this as encouragement for someone else. 

Just note this:

if any of you, all 3 of you who read this, must experience the ending of a meaningful relationship, I hope to hell it goes as smoothly as ours did. I – we – are living proof that it’s possible to become single without a single regret.

the worst feeling in the world*

You are on fire. 

Okay, not literally, though that might actually be the worst feeling in the world. 

Let me start again:

You are on. On top of your game, on top of the world. You have found your groove, just plugging away at something. Overall, you are kicking ass.

Let’s say it is a work-project-something. You are just all over it. No one has ever done a better job than you. You have been complimented on your progress. You are feeling good. You are feeling better than you’ve ever felt doing your job. You were unsure of yourself before, but now you’ve figured it out and got this shit on lockdown, whatever the hell that means.

Bring on more responsibilities, you are thinking. Look how awesome I’m doing now!  I can do ANYTHING! You have cracked some sort of Super Secret Code of productivity and efficiency. This is going to be a good goddamn day.

Someone – a boss? A coworker? comes over and asks a question. “Did you remember to…?”

Or the more-dreaded “Are you aware that…?”


You did not remember to. You were not aware that.

Well, shit.

Suddenly – whoosh! There goes the air from your sails, the helium in your balloon. In the teeniest of tiniest of time frames, you have been reduced to a withered, sloppy, shell of a person. No longer feeling ten feet tall, you feel as if you are physically shrinking. Or is that wishful thinking? You cower, and lower your voice. Did anyone else hear that? Why didn’t anyone say anything to me sooner?

Your boss wasn’t yelling at you. Maybe it was just a passing thought. Maybe he was even smiling as he said it. But – for reasons beyond your comprehension – his bit of constructive criticism wedged itself into a heretofore-unknown chink in your armor of self-confidence. He completely-unknowingly found your weak spot, and you are now toppled, crushed and crumbled in a miserable mess around it.

But time hasn’t stopped as you lay there at Ground Zero. Your phone continues to ring, your job continues to need did. But you’ve been rebooted; you second-guess every word, every action, every thought. The only thing of which you are completely and totally sure is that YOU KNOW NOTHING. YOU ARE NOTHING.

It might not happen often, but when it does:

ho. lee. shit.




* Of course, I am exaggerating. I can think of zillions (there I go again) of worse feelings in the world. This just currently tops the ever-changing list. For example: my Dad once got metal shavings in his eye. To remove them, they had to numb his eye and DIG THEM OUT. While he LITERALLY watched them coming at him. HOLY SHIT. Actually, I think this has happened to him twice.

My father is a BEAST

How I’d rather be spending my Sunday:


Alas, I must go to work soon.

p.s. Esmerelda is superstitious and won’t watch the game when the Cardinals are up. Or something.