The great “move out” debate

“I need to move out so I can date,” my friend L said.

We were standing at a table, in a small, dimly lit pub in Dublin. This was two and a half years ago, but I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.

My friend A and I tried to intently listen to her over the music session going on in the corner. We strained to hear as she explained herself. We weren’t exactly convinced of her reasoning. Why was it so hard for her to talk to her parents about who she was dating? Why did she have to sneak around? Why did she feel like she had to move out to find her mate?

I didn’t completely understand it then, as she tried to sell us her point, but I get it now. Totally. As much as I love my parents and try to be honest, it’s so hard to date while living with them. It’s difficult telling them I won’t be sleeping at home, or even just telling them I’m going on a date in the first place. I think that it’s a main factor in why I’m so nervous dating to begin with. When my mother knows I’m with a guy, she starts calling my phone at midnight and won’t stop until I set foot back home. On the other hand, if she knows I’m on a date and I come home too early, she feels bad for me. She’s a great person, she just worries so much that it’s making me start to resent her.

Take this scenario, if you will (and I wasn’t even on a date!!)

I was out for the night with some friends and was just dropping the last person off at home (around 3:00am) when my mother began to call me. I was literally 15 minutes from home and decided to just drive and not return her call. I would be home so quickly, there was no need to risk getting caught driving and talking on the phone. When I pulled up into our driveway, I saw my mother walking around aimlessly. The scene was so humorous to me that I couldn’t even yell.

I got out of my car, looked at her, and burst out laughing.

“Mom!”

She looked like a lost puppy dog. She held her bathrobe around her as her fuzzy slippers shuffled on the ground.

I thought back to that moment in the pub years before and had an epiphany.

I need to move out.

I love my parents, I do. They’re great and amazing and would do anything for me. But I now know why I go so crazy when I go away on vacations.

It’s because, for that tiny moment, I’m finally free. I finally don’t have to answer to anyone.

So here’s the proposition I pose to myself.

Self, by October of 2011, by your 27th birthday, you will have a job. You will be able to move out of your parent’s house.  You will be able to pay your car bill, health insurance, apartment and utilities without throwing a tantrum. You will be able to go out with anyone you want at any time you want without having to let anyone know. You will be able to have sleepovers with the opposite sex without feeling like your parents are looking down on you. You will host dinner parties for friends.

Self, you will be free.

Until Sundays, which is when you will bring your laundry over to your mothers and sweetly smile as you ask her to wash your darks.

Buon compleanno

When I was about 6 years old, my great grandmother passed away. My grandmother, who had devoted her time to taking care of her, decided to sell her house in a city in New Jersey that was, at one time, overly-populated with Italian immigrants. The faces in her neighborhood were changing. Things were different. And my grandmother, who still to this day refuses to learn how to use a microwave, is not one for change. She moved in with my parents and I when she sold her house, and our relationship inevitably changed.

She is a stubborn woman. Having friends over when I was younger was a struggle as she constantly yelled. She hated people touching my things. She hated loud kids. And she did not hide this fact at all. We are way more similar than we are different, so our screaming matches were fierce and filled with tears.

But, at the core, we loved each other. She would sneak me cookies when my mother wasn’t looking. She’d make zeppoles with me during my phase of incredibly unhealthy eating. She’d give me money to shop down on the main avenue. These are things that grandparents do, and she did them well.

I was 15 when she moved to a senior citizen apartment building in town. Our relationship got much better when we weren’t in each others hair 24/7. I would go there everyday after school to pick up a snack before going to work. She looked forward to it. As I look back on it now, I realize that it gave her something to look forward to. Something to live for.

My grandmother has been through a lot health-wise over the past 8 years. Between bouts with cancer, heart trouble, and broken hips, she was soon unable to care for herself on her own. There were lots of family talks and tears this past summer when it was decided that she would have to move into a long-term care facility. It was quite possibly one of the hardest decisions my family has ever had to make, but it was necessary. And, truth be told, she is actually happy there. She loves her aids and nurses. Family members visit her everyday. And we know that she’s safe. It’s not that bad a deal.

Yesterday was her birthday.

She is 90 years old.

I’d give anything to see her live another 90 years.

She’s truly one of the strongest people I’ve ever met in my life.

So, here’s to the woman whose life I made a living hell for 9 years. To the woman who has overcome so much in her lifetime. To the woman who makes the best damn potato and rice balls I’ve ever had. To the woman I slowly see more and more of in my own self . . . buon compleanno, nonna. I love you.

 

The secret to meeting men

Ladies, if you’re single and looking to meet some men, I know a secret. I will share this with you now.

Ski resorts.

Please girls, do not hesitate to go along with your friends on that ski trip they’re asking you to join them on. Even if you don’t ski/board/like snow/tolerate cold, I beg of you, for the love of God, go. You will not regret it. And you will thank me when you score a date out of your trip to the mountains.

When I went away last week, I knew full well that I could not snowboard. My right wrist is broken. My left wrist was sprained. I’m a walking disaster. I couldn’t take a risk. But I wasn’t going to sit home and be the reason why my friends wouldn’t be able to go on the trip. The room would only be affordable if I could go. So I put on a happy face even though my jealousy of people on the slopes was intense. I spent my days working out, sitting by the fire, doing work on my laptop, going in the hot tub, watching snow fall, taking jacuzzi baths, having delicious sex. I really can not complain.

On the last day of our trip my friends and I met two boys at the local dive bar. The same bar that I met Irishman at a few nights prior. I thought these boys were cool but extremely young. Like, five years younger, young. Like, barely legally drinking age, young. But, I chatted, because what’s the harm in making new friends? I love meeting new people that I may not normally have the opportunity to meet. Out of the two boys, I found myself talking to the taller, more bean-poley of the two, T, whose pants were significantly tighter than mine. Who was a good six or seven inches taller than me (and probably still weighs less than me). Who probably straightens his hair. Whose tattoos were stereotypically Brooklyn hipster. Who I actually enjoyed speaking with about music and concerts and life.

I think he wanted to kiss me as we huddled under my jacket for warmth at the end of the night.

I felt no real desire to kiss him.

But I have to admit that he is, hands down, one of the coolest kids I’ve met in awhile.

He texted me a picture of a concert he was at a few days ago, with a witty comment in the body of the message.

I smiled.

He said he wanted to take me out and that he’d call me during the week if that was OK. I didn’t have any good reason to say no, so I didn’t really say anything except “You’ve got my number.”

Tonight, as I was on the way to dinner for a friend’s birthday, my phone rang.

Not a text message.

A ring.

An actual phone call.

He told me he’d come up by me next weekend. Take me to dinner. He lives an hour away. I appreciated him so much that I didnt have the heart to say no. He’s the first guy in awhile who has stepped up and called me on the phone and asked me on a proper date. The only time my last boyfriend called me was to ask me to pick him up food on my way over or to ask what I wanted to eat (as I was on my way over). So what if he’s years younger and is still in college? I’m not exactly the most mature girl on the block.

And, really, what’s the harm in one little dinner?

So, readers, here’s the bottom line. On this three-day trip to the mountains, I had some amazing sex with a cute foreigner and now have him on my speed dial if I’m ever in the mood for some fun, chatted it up with several nice guys, and was able to score a date with a skiing, surfing, skateboarding, plaid shirt wearing, tall, skinny, emo boy (who, despite not being my “type,” I’m looking forward to hanging out with).

I didn’t believe it when my friends told me at first, but ski towns, my friends, are really a single girl’s wet dream.

Anyone want to plan a weekend getaway?

Blame it on the books…

I’m going to blame Nora Roberts.

That’s what I’m going to do.

I mean, of course I’m going to take some responsibility, but for the most part it’s her fault.

You may ask why.

You may ask who Nora Roberts even is.

Well, this quote sums it up nicely.

“Ireland is a land of poets and legends, of dreamers and rebels. All of these have music woven through and around them. Tunes for dancing or for weeping, for battle or for love.” – Nora Roberts

I think that I was about 12 when I read my first Nora novel. I remember being on a flight from Nassau, reading one of her books from cover to cover. If you’re not familiar with her, she writes romance. Sometimes there are mysteries woven in. But, at the core, they are novels about love and human relationships. They are my guilty pleasure books, and I happen to think that she writes beautifully.

She also has an obsession with Ireland.

I’m not quite sure when my fascination with the land of fields, sheep, cliffs and pubs began, but it has been present in me for a very long time. It only intensified when I visited there a few years ago. I guess that my love of all things Irish, despite the fact that I have not one kelly green bone in my body, is one reason why I seem to date a lot of Irish men. There’s something about them that I can’t put my finger on. They are manly and, for the most part, charming. They have cute smiles and pretty eyes. They have an aura of strength that makes me weak in the knees.

I don’t seek them out though. I swear! It’s not like I go out at night with the intention of landing myself a big, strapping Irishman. It just kind of . . . happens.

A few days ago, for instance, I was in a ski town with some friends, drinking at a local dive bar. A few guys were playing pool in the back, but aside from that it was rather empty. As time went on, more people began to file in, drinking away aches and pains they acquired from a day on the slopes. I was discussing what a horrible idea it was to get “Spam Fries” with a guy from London sitting next to me, when a group of Irish boys approached my friend and I. They began to talk to us as a group, but there was one who kept coming over to me. Subtly, at first. But, as time went on we began to have a rather nice conversation. Full of words like “craic” and “deadly” and “to be sure.”

I, of course, was a goner.

Happens EVERY time. For God sakes, almost every single man I write about on here has a last name beginning with Mc or O’. And why would this time be annnny different?

He was cute and sweet and friendly. A bit younger, so everything out of his mouth was a question that made it seem as though he was truly interested in what I had to say. He had reddish hair and a cute smile and though he was only an inch taller than me, his nicely toned arms made up for that fact.

It was not my intention to let things go any further than a kiss.

I wore granny panties and purposely did not shave my legs when I left my room for his.

I would only stay an hour. That was the game plan.

My willpower is zero when it comes to many men. Especially ones with accents. So, we had fun. Lots of it. And I have no real problem admitting that maybe this is just something I need to do. I need to get this kind of thing out of my system. I need to sow those wild oats and maybe even make some for breakfast. It’s taken me some time to admit that I’m the type of woman who may wind up never being married. I like to live with passion. I don’t believe in saving money when you really want to experience things. I live for today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

And I’m sure this will come back to bite me in the ass someday, but I’ll just find a way  to blame it on Nora.

A year can change a lot

2010 changed me. For the better? I’m not sure. But definitely for the different. I hype up Chris Velan’s music a lot, but he really is wonderful. And I love listening to the following song around New Years. Maybe, if 2010 wasn’t really your year, you’ll find this inspirational. I definitely do. Happy New Year, kiddies!

Dating digitally

 

In the beginning, I enjoy receiving texts. There’s something very exhilarating about hearing your phone beep or vibrate or light up when you receive a new message from someone you’re interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I also like hearing a man’s sexy voice on the other end of the line, but I’m (trying to be) a woman of the digital age and I see nothing wrong with short texts to make plans or to tell someone you’re thinking of them.

So, what does this have to do with me right now? I’ll tell ya.

Back in November, I met a guy at a bar. He was nice, but young . . . and short . . . with a slight hipster obsession. But he made for enjoyable company that evening, so I chatted with him for an hour or so before my friends and I left for the night. He texted me a few nights later to say hello, I responded, he responded, I responded, and then he stopped texting without another word until a few days later when he drunkenly texted me from a concert. He said we needed to hang out. I said okay.

I didn’t hear from him for several days, so I decided to send him a little message to say hi one Saturday. Our text conversation continued into our drunken nights, and we made tentative plans for the next day. These plans were ruined by the fact that we were both massively hung over the following day.

I didn’t hear from him all week.

Then I heard from him again with no mention of hanging out.

Then I went another week or so without hearing from him.

We played this back and forth game throughout the month of December until finally we made plans (at my suggestion) to get together.

Then I broke my wrist (and possibly sprained the other) and my driving abilities went to shit.

When I told him about this he didn’t offer to pick me up or meet me somewhere in my town so I wouldn’t have to drive.

He didn’t really say anything at all.

In fact, again I went several days without hearing from him until I received yet another drunk text on Christmas Eve.

No more mentions of getting together.

I’m beginning to wish I lived in a time with no cell phones, or phones at all for that matter. A time where, if a guy was interested in seeing you,  he would come to your house and call on you. He’d court you. He’d be a man. He wouldn’t stop talking to you mid-conversation or go a week without making contact.

I know what to do in this particular situation – I won’t be making contact anymore. He’s a good kid, I can tell. But his lack of effort is something that I promised myself I would never fall for again. The last guy I fell for fed me lines and somehow got me to travel miles and miles for him twice a week. I quickly went from being the hunted to the huntress, and I never want that to happen again.

Maybe I don’t belong in this digital age. This age of social networking, texts, bbm’s and 3D televisions (which I’m so anti, btw). Maybe I’ve read one too many Jane Austen novels or have seen too many period pieces. Maybe my dreams of being pursued are just not meant for this era. But I can’t help wanting to feel wanted. Wanting to feel like I’m worth a little bit of a chase by someone that I’m physically and mentally attracted to.

I kind of wish I could go back in time. Back to when “dating digitally” meant writing love letters with quill pens instead of typing short-hand messages on a mini computer.

Can we rewind the clock a bit? I think I have nostalgia for a lifetime that’s never going to be mine.

Songs of truth

Day 24 – Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs.

I’m starting to skip around with these truths because I could pretty much answer most of them with one word. I’m snowed in, and inspired to create this playlist. I love creating playlists. Last year I had an online radio show that I adored putting mixes together for. Unfortunately, the time slot I was given was tricky and my Mac was not alltogether cooperative with the software the radio station used. So, here is my playlist truth. I’m doing this as kind of a retrospective. Looking back at songs that remind me of a certain time in my life. That really stand out as being a kind of soundtrack over the years. Who’s it for? Possibly my future beau, but, more so, this is just for me. So that I never forget how important these songs were to me.

Green Day – Welcome to Paradise – This song defines the summer of 1995 for me. I realize it came out a year before, but as I was only 10 at the time, my mother didn’t let me buy the album until the following year. It reminds me of good, carefree times. Of kissing my friend S’s cousin who was visiting for the summer (I’m quite certain he was my first…). Of walking down to the “Ave” getting Italian Ice with change collected at our lemonade stand. Of prank calls and water gun fights. Of catching fireflies and drinking Kool Aid Bursts until we got sick. Those were the days…

Jimmy Eat World – The Sweetness – Fast forward to the summer after junior year of high school. Driving down the street in hand-me-down cars, the windows rolled down, singing at the top of our lungs; buying a pack of cigarettes only to smoke one, nearly choke, and vow never to do it again; attempting to make mixed drinks and trying to erase every memory of what type of liquor we actually used. These were still the innocent days. The days right before the world changed. The days before the word “terrorist” was used in daily vocabulary. The days before the world corrupted us…

Thursday – Signals Over the Air – I left college in the fall of 2003. I moved home, got a job at a bank and took a good, hard look at my life. My father never thought that I’d go back to school. He didn’t talk to me for months. It wasn’t until I got in to the local university that he even looked in my direction. I remember sitting in my car, listening to Thursday’s War All the Time album on repeat. This wasn’t really an amazing time in my life. I fell in with a bad crowd during the time I was out of school. But I quickly got back on my feet and straightened my act up. Still love this song (and album) though.

Nickel Creek – Jealous of the Moon – In the summer of 2006 I wanted to work abroad. I had a very specific place in mind. I wanted to go to Ireland. My father refused to let me and I’m actually quite glad he did. Had he let me, I wouldn’t have gone the following year and I wouldn’t have had an experience that changed my life forever. Anyway, I remember listening to this song non-stop around the time we were arguing about me going or not. I would sit in my car and cry fat, salty tears, wishing that things were different and that my father woud just let me be who I knew I was supposed to be.

Snow Patrol – If There’s a Rocket Tie Me to It – A little over a year later, I played the album this song is on non-stop. It brought us closer together while we were apart. And this song felt like it was made just for me.

Rascal Flatts – When the Sand Runs Out – He loved this band. The country girl in me loves them too. When he sat in my car, flipping through my albums, he picked up the one that this song is on. He popped it in and when this specific song began to play, he looked at me in awe. “I’ve never heard this before…I think it’s my new favorite.” Later on I’d make him the album. I wonder if he ever listened to it. I wonder if, when he does, he thinks of the girl that made it for him, and wishes things were different.

Bon Iver – Skinny Love – The moment I heard this song I was just struck with the raw emotion of it. It really touched me in a way that makes me very hopeful for the music of the future. I still love this song just as much as the first time I heard it – maybe even more.

A Fine Frenzy – Almost Lover – Tears streamed down my face as I parked in a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike. I kept replaying this song, even though it played a huge role in the crying. But this was just one of those time that I needed to cry. And God it felt good. Beautiful song. Still makes me teary-eyed.

Brett Dennen – Make You Crazy – Summer of 2009. Driving down the shore with the windows down, blasting this tune. It was a summer of learning. Of experiencing. Of healing. This guy helped me do just that.

The Black Keys – She’s Long Gone – I love The Black Keys. I find their music extremely sexy. This is the last song that played when we were together. I guess it’s kind of fitting in a way…

Phoenix – 1901 – This song never ceases to put a smile on my face. And that’s exactly what I need these days.

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