Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Single Person

Even though the most concentrated numbers of single men in the world are in the very country that I am moving to in about six weeks, I suspect I am entering even more of a Man-Desert than I currently live in. And, even though I do not typically solicit advice on being single, it seems like, if you are past your mid-twenties, you get advice and a running commentary on your singleness from...just about everyone that is in a happy, healthy relationship.

Here are just a few of the comments and/or advice I (and other single friends) have garnered in my almost 31 years of being single:

1) Have you tried online dating?

It's amazing to me how online dating has now become the Golden Ticket to finding a husband. And that people who have never been on a dating site now seem to think it's the cat's pajamas.

(Also, people who use the phrase "cat's pajama's" probably have no hope on a dating site.)

Last year one of my students asked me if I had ever tried Craigslist.

For a date.

2) Right now, God has you in a bubble. He's protecting you from all the men out there who aren't right for you. When the right one comes along, He'll pop the bubble.

Believe it or not, this was the thesis of a very real chapel message at Houghton College delivered by a couple who worked for Focus on the Family, bless their bones. It's probably not a good idea to tell a chapel full of mostly women (because we all attend a college with a 3:1 ratio of women to men) that they are currently surrounded in a Godly bubble that will be popped when they meet the right man.

There may have been some good old fashioned bra burning after that message (not that I participated in it - on my meager college student's budget there was no way I was burning a perfectly good bra!).

P.S. There wasn't actually any bra burning. I just said that for effect. Also known as exaggeration. Also know as hyperbole. Also sometimes known as lying, but I prefer not to call it that.

3) If you just lowered your standards... 

If you were just willing to date someone who is breathing. What else do you need in a man?

4) My niece met her boyfriend online. And she was single for yeeeaarrrsss.

Yes, thank you for telling me yet another online dating success story. Let me run out and find the man of my dreams amidst all the scuzzballs and creeps leering at my pictures on Matc

5) You're so cute - you're a d o r a b l e. I don't understand why someone hasn't just snatched you up.

Thank you. But this is 2016 and I am not simply going to be "snatched up" by a man. If I wanted to be "snatched up" by someone, I would have gone out with the guys who asked me on dates when I waited tables at Denny's:

"Can I have your number?"
"No, you can't have my number. Would you like cheese on your scrambled eggs?"
"Does it cost extra?"
"Then, no. Why can't I have your number?"

6) Oh, it's too bad. My (brother/cousin/friend) would be perfect you. But he lives in (San Diego/Seattle/Montana).

Grrrreeeaaatttt. That really helps me out a lot.
I don't actually feel this way about long distance dating. But this is my face when someone tells me that they know someone perfect for Sydney, Australia or something.

7) You're such a nice girl. I can't understand why you aren't married.

So, you're saying I have a nice personality...?
For those of you not familiar with internet memes this is not a picture of me. The way you can tell is that I was not allowed to read Goosebumps as a child.

8) I've set up so many people. Let's see if I can't find someone for you.

*Proceeds to set you up with someone really awkward and you wonder if this is the kind of person your acquaintance thinks you are.*

9) You'll find someone once you stop looking. I found my husband after I gave up dating and looking for a man in my life.

Someone just told me this the other day. They were a really nice, sweet, Christian woman, and I wanted to punch them.

10) Have you tried online dating?

Yes. Stop. Asking.

A few more that I thought of after publishing this post:

11) But don't you want to get married?
12) So, when are you gonna get married, young lady?

First of all, of course I want to get married. Second of all, what makes you think I have any control over the situation?

In my defense, she is basically the cutest dog in the world.

So, here's the lesson in all of this: the next time you have a conversation with a single person, don't talk about the fact they're single. Have a conversation about politics or religion or something. Because those might actually be less touchy or personal subjects than the reason they aren't married yet.

What's the most outrageous thing a person has ever said to you about being single?

Disclaimers: (Because I can never write a snarky post without worrying that I've offended someone)

If you every tried to set me up with someone...please don't take it personally. I know you meant well. And if you've ever thought about setting me up with someone, but aren't going to risk it now, hey, why not? I live in the United States for another 6 weeks. Anything could happen.

And you know this is all in good fun, right? Right? I'm just trying to make light of something that people take oh so very seriously.

And you know that I wouldn't be writing this post if I was, like, wallowing in singleness or something, right? This post IS NOT A CRY FOR HELP.

Of course now you're going to think that because I said it in capital letters. Whatever - I can't win. Whatever. I'll just continue to express my feelings in memes. (Hey, at least it's not emojis.)

Full disclosure on the memes: I got them from Google image searches. They don't belong to me. If this blog becomes really famous and I start making money I'll go back and find the links. That'll probably hold up in the copy-write lawsuit, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Packing Sundries

I was packing up my "parents" room, which is really just my spare room (no, it doesn't lead to Narnia, unfortunately. I've tried). I found this weird groundhog/bear thing in one of the drawers and sent a picture of it to my mom. This is the conversation that ensued (sorry for the typos - I was laughing too hard to text right).

I don't know why this made me laugh so hard (seriously, I couldn't stop for a long time). I think it was mainly because when I was packing up their house in Kayes, it was a 1000 conversations that went like this:

Mom/Dad: "Ooooh, I haven't seen this in [5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years]."

Voice of Reason (Me): So, can we give it away, since you haven't used it in 25 years?

Mom/Dad: "Oh, no, I think that we can use it when we move to Bamako. It's really useful. I wish I had known where it was."

To be fair, it was usually my dad and not my mom, but STILL.

Anyone want a weird baseball groundhog/bear?


Anyone? Bueller?

Stray Thoughts on a Tuesday, 6.21.2016

On my mind this week:

1) Have you noticed that lately, when you are looking at a product online, everything has a video to go with it? Shoes, dresses, even luggage.


As in, suitcases. Have product videos for them.

See the problem is, I'm really old fashioned, and I don't want to watch a video. When I click on, say, a news link, and it's for a video, I don't bother watching. I just want to read it, and move on. I can read an article faster than watching a 4 minute video about something. I don't know...I'm an old soul in an increasingly newfangled world.

2) I find it extremely awkward when married couples refer to their spouses publicly as their lover.

Is it just me?

(It's probably just me.)

When I eventually take my vows and become Sister Mary Danielle, I'm pretty sure no one will be surprised.

Even though I'm not Catholic.

3) School's out. I'm hoping to write something reflective about this, eventually. It hasn't really hit me, but I've been saying that for five months. I'm really moving to China, and I'm really finished with DMS. Friday just felt anti-climatic. I got home about 4:00 and sat on my couch and did nothing for 2 hours. Literally nothing. I didn't read, I didn't watch TV, I didn't scroll through Facebook. I just...did nothing. I wasn't really thinking about being done or the new stuff around the corner. But it was like I was in this weird dead zone where I did not know what to do with myself.

4) Is anyone else having trouble with the new "reaction" buttons on Facebook? I keep hitting "Love" which is right next to Like. Mostly I just want to keep "liking" things, but then it's awkward because if you "unLove" it and change it to Like, then it seems kind of strange. Oh, you don't love that picture of my baby? You only like it?

Social media only complicates things, people.

5) It's the 4th day of my summer break. I would like to point out that I woke up at 6:30 and I went for a run. I would also like to point out that the trucks from the road construction company in the lot behind my house sounded like they were inside my bedroom, and that there was no getting back to sleep. Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with myself.

The great thing, in a round about way, about the track where I like to run is that it's sort of in the "ghetto" (not really) and so I took Lucy with me, tied her up to a goal post, and nobody gave me the stink eye for bringing my dog to a public track. I'm sure if I was running at a more hoity-toity high school track - like Delaney, or even Perry Hall -there would have been signs prohibiting dogs and people telling me what I'm not allowed to do, but this is Landsdown, yo.

*Yes, I did just say yo. My two years in an "urban" school have changed me.**

**After you've been called "brah" not-ironically by your students you know that you're fighting a losing battle in the vocabulary department so you might as well join them, brah.***

***Brah or sometimes "bruh" is a bastardization of "bro" which is of course, derived from the more traditional "brother," as in "He is my brother from another mother."

6) I started packing yesterday, trying to keep my purging momentum from my classroom clean-out going. I hate packing so, so, so much. It's mostly all the weird little things that I don't know what to do with, and never have. When you clean out a drawer and you have all these random things...paper clips and tiny Bath and Body Works Candles, binder clips, bobby pins, a single earring, sample sized bottles of lotion, AAA batteries, a bottle of nail polish, earbuds, etc...what do you do with them? You don't really want to throw them out (you might need them some day!) but they're also awkward. I don't think I'm going to take them with me, nor do I really want them for when I move back to the States, nor do I think the Goodwill would appreciate a bag full of odds and ends...but do you throw them out?

Every time I move, I 1) throw all the weird odds and ends into a bag 2) swear I won't allow myself to start another drawer...or two or three...full of odds and ends 3) end up having three drawers full of odds and ends 4) repeat the whole process over again.

I need an intervention.

I also sorted out my shoes, of which I have too many. One overflowing basket in the kitchen, a dozen more pairs in several closets around the house, a few on the porch.
Lucy said to me, and I quote: "I can't be seen with you right now."

My problem with buying too many shoes is that I really like the idea of, say, high heels - they're really hot, let's be honest. But my body hates wearing high heels. I guess I'll never be a supermodel.

For other reasons than not being able to wear high heels, but I'm going to pretend it's because of that.

So, I have all these really cute heels that I've worn once. After about 5 minutes, my feet begin to screech in pain and anger, and I'm reminded that high heels are of Satan. Not because they're sexy; if the people who sermonize against heels (are there people who sermonize against high heels? Or are they same people who think blue jeans are rebellious? I'm looking at you, Delaware County Christian School...) knew how painful they actually they were, they would make the harlots wear them as punishment.

I am only taking one modest (2") pair of nude heels to China (along with a lot of other very sensible, and cute options). And, fortunately, my moderately-small-feet in America will be monster-sized in China, so hopefully I won't be too tempted to buy more high heels due to the glances askance at my gargantuan feet.****

****Let's be realistic for a moment: I'm going to buy more high heels, monster-feet and all, in China.

Until another batch of stray thoughts and musings - au'revoir.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Books I'm Taking With Me

You have two suitcases - maybe three - to take with you as you move overseas. As I start the packing-to-move-overseas (again), I have been musing over the books I want to bring along. In this brave new world of the "eReader," it might seem silly to use up precious luggage weight for "real" (as in, touchable, tangible) books. But, there's something about having those "real" books to read when you're feeling homesick or lonely or just need a good friend.

Here are the ten books (other than the Bible, of course) that will travel with me to China (and beyond):

1, 2, 3 and 4) The Thursday Next Series, books 1-4: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten

These books just get me. If a person's spirit animal could be a book, it would probably be the Thursday Next books. I discovered Jasper Fforde and this series in college, while looking for another another in the "F" section of the library (Helen Fielding, I think). I am always reticent to recommend books, because it is a weirdly personal thing to me if you don't like a book I recommended, but these are the books I've recommended the most - to the right kind of person. If you don't have the right sense of humor (on the British side) or really "get" literature or silly science fiction, these aren't for you. But, they'll be on my book shelf wherever I live in this wide world.

5) Pride and Prejudice - Commentary on society, witty repartee, humor, and romance all rolled into one. I read P&P when I was in 8th grade, and have probably read it nearly every year since. It's special and different every time I read it.

6) The Hobbit: I love all of Tolkien's books, but The Hobbit is not only the most portable of Tolkien's tomes, but it is the most self-contained. I've read it half a dozen times, at least. It took me until the 11th grade to finally get through The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I had read The Hobbit at least three times before that. I think a part of me always longs for the Shire, despite my Took-like propensity for wanderlust.

7, 8, and 9) Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island: I am Anne of Green Gables, minus the (real) red hair. I love to read, I have a ridiculous (overly active) imagination, I'm an English teacher, and once, I accidentally dyed my hair blue-black with old hair dye (not quite green though). Anne was a really important part of my formative years. She was one of my best friends as a child, and she belongs on my bookshelf wherever I go.

10) Beauty: Robin McKinley's retelling of Beauty and the Beast is just one of those books I like to reread. I love fairy tales and I've always been in search of the perfect fairy tale retelling. Beauty is one of the best (and one of the first), I think. She doesn't overdo it with her retelling, keeping to the basics of the story, but she explores the characters in a way that makes them real and more than just static stock fairy tale characters.

The "If I still have weight in my suitcase" books (not in Sophie's Choice order, though):
The Princess Bride by William Goldman (not Golding!)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Ender's Game by Orsen Scott Card
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (I know, I'm weird)

What are the 10 books you would always make sure you have with you?