serious is a relative concept

It seemed sort of serious when he let me help him with his Netflix queue. We decided to watch all the Harry Potter movies in order, interspersed with Mad Men. It took us three installments to get through the first Harry Potter because I kept falling asleep, so we’ve managed to plan our couch time for at least the next few months.

“Oh! Can we add Grey Gardens?
“That’s a girl movie”
“You don’t have to add it.”
“I’ll add it, but I’m also adding this one where Jessica Alba is a stripper.”

This from the boy for whom Netflix recommends the category “Gay & Lesbian Action & Adventure”, which seems pretty specific.

Yeah, planning what movies we are going to watch seemed serious.

He has Torah portions in his calendar along with work obligations and parties.

“Is it ever going to matter that I’m not Jewish?”

He ‘s across the room when I ask; he comes close to answer. He doesn’t say anything I don’t know.

My hands find his chest, fingers up his tee shirt sleeves. He explains, things I knew without asking: It’s important to him, he’d never expect anything from me, it would matter if there were kids.

And this is where we are and my tears are fat and falling and his are more sideways and shiny. And I need to know need to know need to know now. Can we do this? Will we do this? How do we do this?

Can you believe we're really here? Talking about babies?

“I need to know now. I can’t waste time. I need to know now. I don’t want to be old and alone.”
“You won’t be old and alone. You’re loveable. You’d find someone.”

Fatter, fallier tears. Because finding someone to love me is not a problem. Don’t you see? Don’t you see I want you? Lie to me. I promise I’ll believe. Don’t you know? I’ve wished for you over 312 smoky birthday candles, sent the hope of you up into 143 dark night skies toward that first prick of starlight, kissed my necklace clasp every time it falls to the middle with a secret thought of this, and fallen asleep 5840 nights, hoping to dream you into my reality. Don’t you see? Don’t you see how lucky you are? I want to choose you.

But, please, don’t leave.

I have his shirt clutched in my fist.

“No. No. You can’t want me to be with someone else.”

He’s back.

“You’re right. You’re going to be with me. We’ll figure the rest out.”

He picks me up, tosses me on his bed.

The rest we’ll figure out. Every day, we’ll figure out. This part, we know. This is good.

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trauma or i . . . ah. . . um. . . fell down the stairs

My first thought, after the initial shock, was that I was going to have two black eyes and that was going to be hard to explain. And my second thought was that we’d definitely have to have separate interviews at the emergency room.

He doesn’t just do jazz hands when he tells a story about an crisis, he really does it when he’s panicking.

He got me ice, which was thoughtful, considering he’d just woken me with a full-force headbutt. There was no blood, and I wasn’t so worried that I had a concussion that I couldn’t go back to sleep.


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his baby cousin

We were getting our coats on, which involved hugs and teasing and goodbyes and a crowd gathered around the front door, when a skinny, sweatered, 11-year-old arm threw itself around me from behind.

This isn’t the way I’ve ever celebrated this holiday. Except for the turkey, not a single food on the table was the same. I have my own little cousins who greet me with forceful, running-start hugs. This isn’t my family.

This cousin-- She’s brilliant and talkative, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that she’s really only eleven. But this hug was the unencumbered sort that you only get from little kids. Sitting on the passenger’s side, I realized that as much as I like her, if I let myself be completely honest, letting go of caution, I could flat-out love her like I’d always had her.

I like these people, even if they have mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.

This feels like a Thing to me.

And I think the glisten, highlighted by his parents’ taillights, on Ted’s cheeks might mean I’m right.


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the night with the magic daiquiris or what if nobody wants to marry me before i'm 36

Almost seven years ago, I met Harper’s brother, we fell in love, and he proposed.

It was Mardi Gras, and he arrived at our house one night after we’d had 32-ounce daiquiris (and also some beer from a weimaraner and his boy until the boy’s girlfriend disallowed him from talking to me). I couldn’t feel my face, and Harper’s brother looked like Tom Cruise. He bought me a slice of pizza, I dropped it on the sidewalk, and he bought me another one. He made sure I didn’t walk in the street. He was perfect.

What should have been one magical (and hangover-free) night, became something more on the internet. He became my backup boyfriend, someone to be around when I came home alone, a sort of safety net. And we made one of those pacts: if we aren’t married by a certain time, we’ll just marry each other.

Harper’s brother got engaged. . . to some other girl. And there goes my safety net.


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I wonder if there will ever be a time when he will be so busy [planning a vacation, reading a bedtime story, writing the novella that is going to finance our apartment purchase] and I will be so busy [finalizing a dinner party menu, walking the dog, starting a non-profit arts program for girls in youth detention centers] that a moment will pass and I will forget how lucky I am and I won’t feel the need to tell him every ten minutes that I love him.

I wonder if there will ever come a time when I am so accustomed to this having someone [laughing at my jokes, thinking I’m pretty, indulging my fear of copyshops and champagne bottles, letting me warm my feet on his tummy, using my own reasoning to talk me out of bangs. . . again] that I will take all this for granted.


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perfect strangers

It suddenly occurred to me that just because they are two of my favorite people doesn’t mean that they want to spend this much time with each other. Dinner followed directly by brunch the next morning might have been a bit much to ask of near strangers.

The thought dawns as my mom and I approach Ted on the sidewalk in front of one of Ted’s and my favorite brunch places (the name of which I will omit only because I dread the day we have to wait for a table).

But they laugh and smile and this all seems too easy. I’m not used to caring much, but this seems to matter, and I’m not even nervous. Wow, I love french toast.

He walked us to the train, and I even held his hand.


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yeah. . . and. . . the dog ate my homework

I am embarrassed to have to ask for another extension, but here goes.

In addition to it being a busy time of year full of family parties and planning my Yule Log and finishing homemade gifts and going shopping with my dad, I passed out at the doctors office today. I was out cold, finally recovered on the floor. Luckily, he’s hot. Oh, and I should mention he’s an eye doctor. I passed out during an eye exam.

I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s always something.


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don't get too excited

Blog thing from DSS, trying to be a participator, not a lot of time, nothing written for today.

Ten things I love:

Doing ballet in front of mirrors when I think no one is watching and when I think someone doesn’t think
I think they are watching

Handbell choirs


Jam, especially with cream cheese, and especially always

Making gifts for people. And finishing them.

Starting projects

Cutting things, mostly with scissors

Party dresses (for all occasions)

Waking up early or sleeping late, whichever I didn’t do that day

Saying, “Don’t slip!” whenever I see a banana peel on the ground

I’ll have something good by Monday. I promise.


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The first time my bathtub broke, I wrote this:

The first springtime thunderstorm and a broken bathtub: can anything make you want a boyfriend more?

Maybe that anxiety attack that’s lurking just below your ribcage.

It was before I ever saw his face. Or heard his voice. Or fell asleep, cheek to forehead and hand to bicep and toes tucked under calf.

And he told me he liked the image of anxiety lurking, but he’d take the “that’s” out of the second part. He was right, of course, and I should have known we’d fall in love.

The second time my bathtub broke was yesterday, and getting it fixed is looking to be another debacle. The second time my bathtub broke, I had a great place to shower. The next morning, someone even drove me to work.


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You know, Internet, I don’t have to tell you everything. Some things I get to keep. I’ll share with him maybe.

I’ll keep what he said when he was leaning against that tree. And the way his eyes looked, leaking a little. The blend of hopefulness and desperation in his voice-- I’m not going to try to describe it, just to remember it.

I’ll tell you this: we went for a walk in Chinatown, and we saw a goldfish that cost $1800.


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like, seriously, i had too much coffee

I make lists.

Things to tell Ted when this boring concert is over:
-I think I need a cello. I’d learn to play it.
-What if I’m too busy to hang out with my mom if she comes to visit??
-What if I drew you a bunch of things on brown paper bags? Wait. I already did that.
-Can we get cheesecake?
-I think I drank too much coffee.

Things to remember:
-Not all spices have shaker tops.
-Sometimes bicycles go backwards down one-way streets.
-I shouldn’t buy raisin bread unless I want to eat the whole loaf in two days and feel guilty.
-I am very lucky.

Things to learn to cook well:
-pizza crust
-pot pie
-something that isn’t carbs


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I went shopping with Sam, and he bought a jacket and fell in love.

The salesboy had Williamsburg glasses and a Minnesota face, and he was extra helpful. Then, after he handed Sam back his credit card, he said:

“We’re all night! I mean. . . We’re all set. . . . Have a good night.”

And of course Sam was smitten, but didn’t realize it until after we left the store, so we had to find out the boy’s name from the receipt.

Now he keeps pretending the store is on his way home and walking past it. There’s been a fair amount of plotting and scheming how to make something happen.

If I had to wager, I’d bet he never talks to the boy again. After all, it’s much easier to keep loving someone you never know.


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on why you should just say what you mean

The first time I said it I meant it.

“I’m going to wash the dishes.”

But my arms were so heavy, and it was hard to get up. I tried, but I just slumped further into the sofa.

“Ugh. I guess I need to wash the dishes.”

The second time I was thinking that I worked as long as he did and went to the grocery store and made him dinner and brought him second helpings.

I pulled my feet up on the couch, and laid my head on his shoulder.

By the third time, my head was in his lap, and I didn’t mean it at all.

“I guess I really should wash those dishes.”

I didn’t take my eyes off the television. Besides , I was uninvolved in the dirtying of the rest of the sink full of dishes in there.

My strategy didn’t work.

“Will you just wash the dishes?”

And he did.

The end.


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apologies and math and a sappy thought on snacks

i have so many things to tell you, but just not enough time. i'll get on with the story soon, but for now, just math:

if you work 13 hours, and since you worked 13 hours, want to sleep 7 hours, and need an hour to get ready for work and get there and another hour to get home, that's 22 hours of your day spent, leaving only two for things like showering and updating the internet on your personal life.

it's days like this one that make me wish i just lived with this boy, if only because he always keeps ice cream in the freezer.


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so. . . here we are

Nothing makes me feel old and boring like when he gets out of bed and goes to the living room to read on the couch.

I feel like. . . my parents.


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love bites

Mama’s Food Shop is an East Village, hipster incarnation of a meat-and-three, complete with screen door and formica tables. And it is delicious.

We ended up there because it was closer than our original destination, and I wanted everything. I chose hastily, but with no regrets.

And, without consultation, he chose what I wanted next-most.

“I don’t love you just because you ordered everything else I really wanted,’ and I helped myself to a few bites off his plate.

He finished telling me why he’d been having a bad day.

“I know. It’s hard,” I told him, “because not everyone can be as perfect as you want them to be. Not everyone can be as perfect as we are.”

I don’t just love him because he ordered the butternut squash and the roasted brussel sprouts. I love him because he knows I’m not joking.


p.s. everyone in the world has leftovers from this place but me, and he doesn't judge.

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Maybe I could just stay here in this stripey sheet-cocoon where I think about nothing but the tips of my fingers and my own breathing. If you concentrate hard enough on not concentrating on anything, the weightlessness can take over.

Sometimes weekends are for fun, but sometimes weekends are for mending.

I like New York because you can order any kind of food and have it delivered. One phone call, and someone will bring waffles and a pistachio milkshake right to you door-- or to your boyfriend’s door-- and you can even pay with a credit card.

But sometimes not even that is enough. Not waffles or two naps or even a pomegranate present from your boy’s football-beer-run.

And now I’ve ended up, head-under-covers, hiding from the world, thankful for the sounds of his typing, and only to be lured out by the promise of sandwiches.


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i am thankful for morning sex, airport-free thanksgivings, the family i miss, and that anyone reads this (this means you).

happy thanksgiving.


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hard's not so hard

“Ok. I promise we can have sex tomorrow. Probably. I’ll put it on the list.”

Maybe this is the hard part. . . .

When seeing each other revolves around my hair washing schedule. And we keep ending up in diners at 11:45 on work nights because he works late and the chocolate-covered biscotti I bought at Rite-Aid to get cash back don’t really count as dinner.

When there are complicated logistics involved in ending up together in bed. And once we’re there, all we want to do is sleep.

When the majority of our conversations end with one of us reminding the other that we like our jobs or at the very least other people want them.

I think this might be the hard part.

It’s the being with him that’s the easy part.


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on why we do this over and over

It’s hard not to think how things can go wrong-- When you’re wearing a shirt from an Ivy League school you didn’t attend. You uncover that necklace in the bottom of your jewelry box. And you use that Pyrex dish with the nice lid that you somehow ended up with. When you’re looking for your number-six, double-pointed knitting needles and can’t find them or need that little sewing kit you never returned.

Promises break more often than hearts, and you forget why jokes were ever funny. You’ve left a tell-tale trail of toothbrushes.

You change, he changes; maybe it was this way always. And there’s a Christmas gift, purchased for you, but never delivered. Or a birthday travel easel you never collected, perhaps lingering, in the corner of a closet, reminding someone else how wrong he can be.

When it’s over you can never quite remember how you ended up all alone again. You can’t remember what you said or what he said, only that you can be amazingly accurate in your meanness. You can’t remember why you ever liked him in the first place, only that annoying thing he did every time you yawned or the time he stood you up on Valentine’s Day or when he would wear that pink shirt with that red tie or the idiotic thing he said that makes you think he probably still thinks about you. And when you walk down 5th street three times one day, you realize you can’t even remember which building was his.

Sometimes you remember the way he’d answer the phone when he knew it was you. Or the way it felt to fall asleep on his chest. Or that night you were both pretending you knew how to salsa. But not usually.

And you still wear the tee shirt, but you have better necklaces. You never learned to salsa, but that’s never stopped you before. And you’ve found someone new.

You quite like him, but your official stance is “cautiously optimistic”.

Because it’s hard not to think of how things can go wrong. You’ve been here so many times before. Maybe not here exactly, but in the general neighborhood, the suburbs, maybe. You made him dinner in that Pyrex with the nice lid.

Remember this. Remember. Remember. Remember.

Don’t forget to remember the good parts.

And you raise your glass or bow your head. ’Cause here’s to hoping.


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what we talk about when the boys don't come to dinner

I found out my cousin’s wife was pregnant in the usual way: a photo of a pregnancy test posted on facebook. My grandma had already commented on it. I guess everyone is happy, even though my cousin’s wife just turned 21. What’s sad is that she could just start to have alcohol legally, and now she can’t drink unless she wants a broken baby. What’s crazy is that when she’s my age, she’ll have a first-grader.

Over Italian food Julianna told me she might get a puppy.

“I think I’ve almost convinced Ed,” she said. “I told him, ‘It’s better than a baby.’”

I’m not sure this newlywed-girl logic is effective. The topic turned to babies.

“I waaant one,” Jules whined. But then she told me, “When we saw Ed’s family last weekend, his cousin had a really tiny baby, like nine days old. And she just had to keep feeding it, and she had to keep a journal of every time it pooped. And it just seemed. . . hard. If I had one, my mom would have to come stay for like. . . a year.”

“I’d babysit for you,” I volunteered, “in like four years.”

Maybe Ed will just let her get that puppy.


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some days are really hard

If I were a skirt, my mom would say I’d be fine with a slip.

I’m worn thin today.

It’s only 7:58 a.m. It’s only time for the shop keepers to water-hose the sidewalk. I’m already going to be late.

If you leave a rubber band in the sun, it will crumble.

I’m already ready for Christmas. It’s only Tuesday. It’s only October.

I think I could sleep anywhere.

My elbows hurt.

And nice slips are so hard to find these days.


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my mom's probably relieved not to be dealing with these questions herself

I’m, no doubt, feeling like a girlfriend.

Can I wear a weird hat?
What should I do with my hairdryer if I think it might catch on fire while I’m gone?

I wonder if he feels like a boyfriend.

I made him take homemade soup for lunch one day, and he’s had a lot of loaves of breakfast bread in his life lately. And he has a terribly needy girlfriend to remind him.

Weird hat is fine and encouraged.
No, I don’t think you should put it in the oven.


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on budgeting time

I spend my waking energy

23% Working at my actual, paying job
19% Making out / Watching Glee
5% Trying not to fall asleep
4% Deciding what I want for lunch
9% Doing something to my hair
5% Pinching my belly fat / using a combination of mirrors to check the visibility of the bones in my spine / wondering if my boobs are shrinking
6% Idly speculating about the lives of strangers
8% Remembering what it was I was going to blog about
6% Deciding if this matches / is too short / requires a bra
5% Calling my mom
10% Trying to convince friends and strangers to get a puppy and/or let me cut their hair

I’ve given a number of successful haircuts. In fact, the only mishap occurred on my own head. And even though I think I might be slowly convincing him, Ted’s not so sure it would be good for our relationship.

Maybe he should just get a puppy.


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I stayed home on Friday night to bake coffee cake. It had apples in it.

My boy came to me after a late work night, and we slept.

I woke up first. It was nearly noon, though you wouldn’t have known it from the grey light through the windows. He was just an occasional arm or leg outside a pile of duvet while I warmed up breakfast and made hot chocolate.

We stayed in bed as long as possible. I soaped his back in the shower, and he watched me put on mascara.

This boy-- he makes me such a girlfriend.

We’re more than six months in, and, yeah. . . it’s still a surprise. The good kind of surprise.


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we are gathered here today

We had sex three times then wrote some wedding vows not quite on purpose:

I, Beatrix, take you, Ted, to have and to hold and all of that even if you get fat from all the snacks. I love you more than eating. . . Um. . . I love you almost as much as eating. . . but it’s very close. Also, I promise to try to remember to clean the hair out of the shower drain as long as you try to remember to trim your mustache before it gets long enough to get in my mouth when I kiss you. And you know, I’ll forsake all others. . . unless Natalie Portman agrees to that thing we talked about. So I generally take you for better or worse and richer and poorer, though let’s aim up and not down, ok? Forever and ever.


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sweet nothings

For the first time in my life I’m more afraid that something’s not going to work out than that it’s going to.

Maybe we shouldn’t write Valentines.

I didn’t even want to date you when I first met you, but . . .ugh. . . sometimes I think maybe we should just get it over with.


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Ted and I had our first fight.

“I would hesitate to even call that a fight.”
“Well, I didn’t like it.”

Simplified, it came down to the most basic of relationship problems: I don’t feel that you were paying attention to what I needed.

Explosionless, it came complete with listening and logic.

It was so calm it happened while crossing streets, and by the time we reached his block, I was letting him hold my hand again.

“You are good at that.”
“I didn’t feel so good at it earlier.”


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happy day after halloween

these are the things we were not for halloween:

emma and coach tanaka from glee
a lion tamer and a lion
a chicken and julia child
something from a video game (obv. not my idea)

instead the boy went as Over-Worked and i went as Burnt-Out. i didn't even have to fake the unwashed hair or dark under-eye circles.

had a kit-kat for dinner. happy day after halloween.


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I sometimes practice a controlled sort of procrastination in which I schedule a time to stop putting something off. I need to move at the end of the year, and I chose the day to start thinking about it.

I followed through, and even looked a few apartments online.

But then I found some really great one-bedrooms I certainly can’t afford on my own. One even has a fireplace.



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where we come from

Once, my baby brother said if I got married on Game Day, he wouldn’t come. And it’s probably true.

’Cause where we’re from, college football alliance is something like religion. “The Cliffords. . . they’re Presbyterian,” you might say about an entire, extended family, “and Tech fans.”

But maybe it’s more like ancestry. Us, for example-- we’re Scottish and Irish and some Cherokee on my maternal grandmother’s side. And we’re UGA fans (though I didn’t go there, and most of my family didn’t either), but we’re Auburn fans on my paternal grandfather’s side.

And on a Friday night, when I said, “Oh, tomorrow’s Game Day,” Ted said, no it’s not, because to him Game Day is Sunday.

So he cares about professional football and he doesn’t play golf and he’s never had a Christmas tree.

“If you ever live with me, you’ll get to have a Christmas tree.”
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah. You can put whatever you want on it.”
“Whatever I want?”
“Jew-y things?”
“Yeah, if you want. We always had a Star of David on our tree.”

Which is true because one Christmas Eve my dad brought home two department-store presents, one in in red and green with a Christmas ornament, and one blue and white with a Chanukah ornament. They turned out to be gloves for me and my mom, but they didn’t fit and we returned them.


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kitchens and love

“I just want to move to a one-bedroom in the Lower East Side!” It was a declaration, “It will be cheaper. . . and nicer.”

“No, it won’t.” It didn’t make any sense. “How would a one-bedroom be cheaper than your two-bedroom with a room mate?”

“You don’t move into a one-bedroom by yourself.” he raised my hand to his lips and kissed it while we waited to cross Avenue A.

“Oh, right.”

“It will be so nice. We’ll have things like. . . counterspace. And. . . enough room to have people over for dinner.”

“And a table?”

“And a table. And it will have a big refrigerator and a set of good knives and a real oven and. . . a blender.”

“A blender?”


The boy knows how to make me moan with pleasure, whispering kitchen fantasies in my ear, and I’ve decided I’d also like a sewing machine. But our imaginary apartment was getting kind of girly, so I asked him:

“But what about you? What do you want?”

“Hmm. A big, flatscreen tv. . . .”

“Of course.”

“Aaaand. . . a paper towel holder.”

For real. The boy wants an apartment with a paper towel holder.

“What if I bought a washer and dryer?”

I gasped, and laughed at myself:

“My first thought was, I’d marry you.”

So he said he’d get me that and I wouldn’t have to worry about his choosing an ugly ring, and later he said he’d cover them in Swarovski crystals.

If things didn’t make so much sense, they wouldn’t make any sense at all.


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worth it

“Talking to me should be a safe place.”

“I know.”

I know.

And it got me through this day.


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“Yeah. . . . You know. . .. I don’t always think about babies. Sometimes I occupy my time by planning our wedding.”

I didn’t really say that, but this is real:

“I have a thrilling night planned: we’ll finish dinner, then we’ll go to the magazine store and then the grocery store.”
“The magazine store?”
“Yeah, I need to look at the new InStyle Weddings. I keep forgetting.”
“And you just remember you have to look at wedding magazines when you’re with me?”
“No. I just need to go look at it.”
“Whatever. You’d say yes.”
“Maybe? Well, there’s lots of time.”


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i can sleep alone, but it doesn't mean i like it

Unlocking the door of my apartment, I realize that it’s Tuesday and that I haven’t slept in my bed since Tuesday. It just worked out. And we were busy. And I’ve been here to visit and get clothes and blog and even just hang out. And I really didn’t mean to leave my phone at Ted’s, but once I was back there, it made sense just to sleep in his bed.

And I’m not annoyed at having to take the train to see him or of always having underpants in my bag or even of finding an elbow where I might want to roll over.

What if we fell asleep together every night?

I don’t want to shove with both hands. No get-out-of-my-bed get-out-of my-space get-out-of-my-life. That’s a feeling so familiar, I think I’d recognize it creeping up.

“It would be fun. . . lots of weekend activities and delicious things to eat. . . .”

“There would be a lot of boring parts, too, like making dinner and stuff.”

There’d be all the paying bills and cleaning the bathtub and don’t-forget-to-take-the-trash-when-you-go-out. Just life. There’d be all the life in-between.


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I met Ted’s grandma finally, which was nice. She’s really sweet and cute and all the things a gramma should be. Lots of smiles and hugs to go around.

And after the matzoh ball soup, she turned to Ted’s mom and, with a gesture in my direction, asked, “Is she Jewish?”

Then she asked me where I’m from and I told her, slowly, and she relayed it in signs to her plus-one Margo.

’Cause Grandma is Jewish, but she’s also deaf. And a lesbian.


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probably the most honest love letter i've ever written

If this is the hard part, I’m in.

If this is what things look like when they are bad, I think maybe I can do it. You can wake me up at 5 a.m. to blow your nose and break down whenever you want, ’cause I’m your people.

I’m not so scared anymore, and I think we’ll work things out. Just please don’t move to Seattle.

But don’t think about that now.

There’s no one’s snot I’d rather have in my hair than yours.


additionally, MLS, here, has an embarrassing story of mine to share. it will be published on wednesday at 10 a.m. GMT. it's cute 'cause he's british, but you figure out when that is. time changes are my learning disability.

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live blogging: new jersey afternoon

my boy said he forgets that when i'm with him, there's usually no new blog. so i'm making one for him. ta da.

i came to work with him even though it's in new jersey. there are some professional athletes who are kind of big, but there's also apple juice. and he bought me a sandwich.

i'm kind of sad for him because he has to work in florescent lights with a drop-in ceiling. i have to wear sunglasses to even be here, but i suppose there are trade-offs like all the juice you can drink and a coffee machine that speaks three languages.

i'm going to go draw him a picture and maybe look into this coffee contraption.

happy weekends all around.


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coney island: a metaphor of sorts

Ted took me to Coney Island because he said I had to ride the Cyclone so I could be a real New Yorker. The beach there has a lot of trashcans.

We went to the aquarium and watched people Shoot the Freak and ate a mango on a stick. We made out on the Wonderwheel and had lunch at a Russian place down the boardwalk in Brighton Beach. We went to the Freak Show, and it was disgusting and amazing, and when we walked out of it, it wasn’t summer anymore, but fall.

We bought tickets for the Cyclone and got in line. And we waited. And waited. Because the rollercoaster was stuck. It was full of people and had stopped at the top of the first hill. For a long time. They were up there for at least twenty minutes before anyone decided what to do. And the solution was for all the Cyclone employees to climb up there and push start it so that it could run the rest of the way. We got a refund because the rollercoaster couldn’t go again until after the inspector came. I guess it was a big deal, because when we walked out, we were bombarded by reporters who wanted to know what had happened up there.

And even though we’d witnessed what bad things could happen, we came back and re-bought our tickets and got back in line. It was thrilling and terrifying and so much fun. I forget how much I love rollercoasters.


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word of the day: payots

I called my mom while I was walking because that is what I do. I told her how I’m going to Ted’s parents to celebrate Rosh Hoshanna, and she told me about a conversation with the wife of one of my father’s very conservative business colleagues.

“She said her husband never would have let their daughter date someone who wasn’t Episcopalian, or whatever they are, and I said, ‘Beatrix is a grownup. She doesn’t live in my house; I can’t tell her what to do. And. . . and I trust her.’”

And that was cool, so I took a few minutes to gush about my boyfriend and talk about how the two of us should come visit her and my dad some time soon. I think she’s excited about this.

And, well, then she said that it was fine that I have a Jewish boyfriend as long as her grandchildren didn’t have to have those dreadlocks, by which she meant the curls, by which she meant payots, which I had to look up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidelocks

I really think she means well.


so, i had the kind of day that may or may not have involved my shouting at my boss that i he can't try to make me feel guilty for not wanting to work weekends (even though he knows i will) but he should thank me for being at work at all. and then i cried. a lot. and now i'm eating more pizza than i should. and i think i might have a cold and i just hope i don't have what sammy has 'cause it's GROSS, trust me, he emailed me a picture.

so anyway. feel free to tell me i'm pretty.


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I’ve never done this, but these things seemed just barely worth mentioning.

A List:

-If you have pets or children, it is your responsibility to corral them. If you are on one side of the sidewalk and your dog is on the other, it is your problem that his leash is blocking the entire path. If you have four children, you are responsible for making sure they are not blocking the aisles at the grocery store.

-I love Jonathan Adler. (Dear Jonathan Adler, Let’s be friends, please. Love and air kisses, Beatrix) His manifesto makes me love him even more. (Dear Jonathan Adler’s boyfriend, Would the two of you like to join us for dinner? Let me know. I’ll roast some seasonal vegetables and bake a cake. Awkward, minimal-body-contact hugs, Beatrix)

-The armrest on the non-end seats of an airplane is neutral territory. It should be used minimally and never, under any circumstances, crossed.

-Sharing photos of your pregnancy test is STILL GROSS.

-Ted suggested we coordinate Halloween costumes, so we need some ideas. Clever ideas that aren’t too cute (no Anthony and Cleopatra or Jack and Jackie) are encouraged.

air kisses to all,


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we talk so much

I realized, when Ted and I were buying some books from a taciturn man behind a counter, that the two of us might be too chatty for New York.

A waitress will ask how things are, expecting a “Fine thanks.” or a “Can we get more water and another fork?”, but instead she gets something more like this:

“Oh, it’s fantastic. This French toast is delicious.”
“How long has this place been open? This location is great.”
“Can I have a little more coffee. But only a little because if I drink too much I’ll be jittery and I can only have anxiety or coffee. . . one or the other.”
“I really like this.”
“I really like these cups. I really like your haircut.”

So today, at a festival in the park, we made a friend who was almost as chatty as we are. He was working at a non-profit’s booth, and I can’t remember who started it, but the boys talked about baseball and basketball, then we all talked about college and barbeque and when was the last time we ate a hushpuppy. I really liked his glasses. He and Ted exchanged cards, and somehow, I think we might actually hear from him.

We were only steps away when Ted said, “Maybe we should set him up with Sam!”
“That’s what I was thinking!”
“No, my Sam.”
“No, my Sam. Your Sam is a vegan, and this guy doesn’t want to date him just like my Sam doesn’t want to. No one can be happy without cheese and butter.”


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for i have sinned OR life's lessons

’s how I know.

I learned three things that night:

At nearly 22, I was too old for frat parties.

People will give you money if you ask them for it.

I am capable of cheating.


It was a girls’ night with a full slate. There were probably eight or ten of us, and we went to a little house party then stopped in at the volleyball game. Outside the arena, there was car fancy enough to catch our attention. One of the girls called dibs on the owner.

“I want to meet him,” I said, then asked jokingly, “Why do you get him?”
Jules looked at me with a serious face, “Because you have a boyfriend.”

He was forgettable, which is not an excuse.

We watched a little of the game, then grabbed dinner before our next two stops.

It must have been November, because one of the fraternities was throwing a Cowboy Christmas party. I was excited. The truth is, I look great in a cowgirl hat, even if it is paired with the preppiest of pink polos. But when we got to the party, I realized it wasn’t the house full of fun I’d first experienced as a fresh- and slightly numb-faced freshman. The ground was disgusting, the bodies were sticky, there was a gross smell, and no one ever really wants to drink a lukewarm can of Mad Dog. I knew I could live the rest of my life without ever seeing another frat boy in a grubby Santa suit, and I realized that maybe, just maybe, I’d actually be ready to leave this place in June.

Our next stop was a charity dating/kiss auction. The “charity” was ambiguous, and the premise didn’t quite make sense. But the girls and I had the tipsy idea that geeky and awkward Annette should buy our lovable but even-more-awkward friend Harrington. We were sure it would be a match made in the heaven of an uptown dive, but we didn’t necessarily want to bankroll it.

I guess I was just drunk enough to do it. I asked a guy I knew for money, and before I could even explain, he handed me a twenty. In a matter of minutes, a couple of us raised about a hundred dollars, and pulled off our little scheme.

Hugo was there. He told me I looked good. He was drunk enough to slur his words a little. Maybe it was the hat, he said. I was still wearing my hat, because that’s a night-long commitment. Maybe it was.

“If you wanted to go home with someone tonight, I’m sure you could.”

I laughed. He was drunk. He wasn’t making sense.

We circled each other for a while before he came up to me again.

“Earlier.” he said, “When I said you could go home with someone. Someone. I meant me.”

I rolled my eyes. Pretended his drunk offer meant nothing. Knew I couldn’t.

He shrugged, “You could call.”

When I got home it was late. I might have been drunk, but I don’t remember. My girl friends had gone home; my room mates were asleep; there was no one around to judge me, which is not an excuse. It seemed possible that the worst thing to do might really be the best thing. That maybe somehow, nine months later, I could put everything back together.

I scrolled to the name, and looked at it. The dial button was far too easy to press. The message was too easy to leave. Forgive me, for this sin was too easy to commit.


I don’t know if it would make me a different person if he had answered. I don’t know if my course would have altered if he’d called back.. . if I hadn’t woken up the next day with the phone next to my head, full of anxiety and dodging calls from my boyfriend until five or six p.m.

I don’t know if things would be different if Hugo’s phone battery hadn’t died and he hadn’t lost his keys. And even though I know what I would have done, I guess I don’t know for sure what he would have done. Though, in the end, I suppose it was just logistics that saved me from my fate.

And that is not an excuse.

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It’s still summer, barely, and as the sun’s going down, there’s the slightest fall edge to the air. He’d met me after work, and we’d had a crêpe snack. We ordered one with strawberries and bananas and Nutella and ice cream and whipped cream, to-go, no less.

“If anyone ever questioned why we work, I think this is the answer,” he said, raising the container of deliciousness. It was exactly what I was thinking, and I made him give me another bite while we waited to cross the street.

We walked the Highline, finally, then wandered back across to Union Square.

“What do you normally do for Christmas?”

I’m not sure he would have asked if he’d known he’d get the hour-by-hour schedule, complete with guest lists, menus, and contingency plans.

“. . . and then I have one cup of coffee with milk and a slice of fruitcake, and then I go to bed. And I was thinking maybe the week between Christmas and New Year’s, you could come visit.”

Then I immediately apologized and backtracked and spun in circles because I’m still sort of getting used to this.

“You realize,” he told me, “that by the time you say these things, I’ve already thought them, right?”

And I’m pretty sure I had this idea in June and I’ve met his second cousins and do you realize that by Christmastime we will have been together eight months? His meeting my family makes sense.

It’s the scheduling that’s the issue.


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I talked to Hugo. We’ve talked a few times since he broke up with his girlfriend. I told him a funny story, and he recalled that time we made cupcakes. Then he told me he can’t even eat a muffin without getting a boner. His word, not mine. He was drunk.

He was hanging out with college friends before going to a wedding rehearsal dinner, and they were rowdy-wasted.

“That doesn’t really seem appropriate.”
“We’re too drunk to remember what’s appropriate. Or acceptable. Or platonic.”

I could hear his old room mate in the background, and Hugo told me, “Knox says you look hot in the Facebook photos Harper posted.”
“From New Orleans? Am I wearing the lowest v-neck ever?”
“I don’t know. But I’m going to save those pictures to my desktop.”
“Yeah, I don’t know how Ted would feel about that.”
“Is he the boss of your Facebook photos?”
“No. I guess he should just be flattered.”
“He should be flattered.”

There were days. . . and months. . . and years. . . when this ten-minute conversation would have shaken my entire life. I would have counted my every mistake. I would have remembered every scrap of hope he’d ever given me. I would have recited the letter he gave me that night. And, for the ten-thousandth time, I would have written the happy ending the way I knew it could still happen.

But today I can laugh sincerely. I tell him yes, it’s ok if he sends me drunken text messages tonight and even ok if he and Knox drunk dial. I can say goodbye without opening the scar that runs from sternum to navel. And I’m pretty sure I can move on.

(Also, to my knowledge, Harper hasn’t posted any photos of me in ages. So who knows.)


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It was very late to be eating a huge slice of lasagna at Odessa Café. It’s Odessa like Russia, not Texas, though neither of those seems to be especially well-known for baked pasta dishes. And it’s dark in here, but his eyes are darker, and I love his eyebrows. He’s drunk, but on my end hungry and exhausted are battling for dominance, though it appears hungry has taken the lead, and the lasagna is disappearing.

Do you know he has perfect hands? His fingers are long and beautiful, and I think they could probably paint a portrait or play a piano or fold origami cranes or build houses out of cards, but for now they’re just reaching out to me across the table. And I love his fingers, but also his cheekbones and his ears and the way his legs are taking over my under-the-table space.

We paid with a credit card. And I thought he forgot about the part you have to sign when he stood up. But he wasn’t leaving. He came around the booth, and sat down beside me, right up close, because he says he likes it better here.


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blah blah babies gross blah

I was the tiniest bit concerned that Pete would try to make this thing with Pamela work just to. . . be done. And on some level, I told him, I would understand that.

“Yeah, but you are young. I’m old. You have time.”
“I know, I know. But I’m a girl, so I have a shorter shelf-life. And I don’t want to be one of those women who bores everyone by talking about her fertility treatments.”*

I have a few simple life goals: I never want to live in New Jersey, I never want to work in a cubicle, and I never, never want to become one of those crazy girls who’s just out to catch a husband.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to think like a crazy girl.

I remember coming up with a formula while sitting in the backseat of someone’s car, rolling down Magazine Street. Evie was there, and we couldn’t have been more than twenty-one. Here’s how it went:

If I want the option of having babies by the time I’m 30,
It might take a year to make that happen. = 29

It makes sense to have two years of newlywed bliss before any of that nonsense. = 27

I’ll need to be engaged for a year to plan a dream wedding. = 26

I need to know someone for a year before I decide to marry him.
Therefore, I need to meet the boy I’m going to marry by the time I’m 25.

No one in the car could argue with this flawless logic. But if you aren’t willing to compromise your promise to yourself to not just marry someone because you know he’d do it, you could end up two years behind that schedule you made. At least two years. Two years at the barest minimum.


We couldn’t go to the beach because of the weather, so we went to the American Museum of Natural History. A museum with dinosaur bones and lots of animals on a rainy Saturday just before the start of the school year meant one thing-- the place was positively swarming with children.

It turns out we aren’t used to being around the below-the-knees set, and we kept having to catch each other by the arms to prevent the accidental backing over of toddlers.

We saw the whole museum, stopped for a cupcake break in the hallway, were generally mushy and gross, and (at least half of us) were alternately entranced by and trying to ignore the millions of babies.

In the whale room, a tiny girl (6 months old? 9 months old? A whole year maybe? I don’t know these things.) passed us in a stroller. Her hand was up, fingers splayed, and she was looking at Ted with liquid-blue eyes and a uterus-wrenching smile.

“Did she blow you a kiss?”
He half shrugged, “I made a face.”


Why am I even thinking about babies?

Babies. . . well. . . They mostly gross me out. First they’re a little person inside a regular person, which is gross like morning sickness and parasites and aliens. Then they’ve got to come out, which is gross like stretching and tearing and forget wearing your skinny jeans ever again. And then you’ve got a baby. . . for. . . forever. Which is a long time. And that’s gross like diapers and making plans for a sitter and college funds.

And what would I even do with one if I had one? I’m not just talking about where would I put it (though Ted insists that his parents kept him in a drawer), but what would I do with it. When I tried to hold my new baby cousin, his sister, 7 years old at the time, laughed at me because I looked so funny and because he just wouldn’t stop crying. “Maybe you should get a pillow,” she told me, “He might like a little more cushion.” It was a two-pronged jab at my lack of both baby-holding skills and any bosom to speak of.

So it’s possible that I don’t want any babies at all. But I’d like to keep my options open.

*For the record: I would never actually use any sort of fertility treatment. Expensive, invasive, and leaving you at risk of never being able to remember all the names or own any normal sort of car (John and Kate - style), I think that fertility treatments are unnecessary given the number of children already out there looking for parents.


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i can't believe i actually had this conversation

We were on one of the trains with the orange seats. Ted smiled an embarrassed sort of smile and looked out the window at nothing.

“Nothing. I was just thinking of something even scarier than what you said yesterday.”*
“What was it?”
“I was just thinking that if we had munchkins, there’s a good chance they’d have blue eyes. My dad has blue eyes, and my brother. And yours. . . .”
“That’d be good.”
“Yeah. Blue eyes and black hair. . . killer combination.”
“Yeah. And we’d hope for curls. . . . That’s even scarier than that dream I had.”
The one about the dresses?”
“No. Last night. About the ugliest ring ever.”
“Well, you are just lucky I have good taste.”
“Oh, right.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll ask for a female opinion before I buy a ring.”

*I didn’t know which scary thing he was referencing, then or now.


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decisions, decisions

The band became two in the front, diverged, left a space for a square of metal with an inset diamond. It was, in short, the ugliest ring ever. And it was at least three sizes too big.

The moral dilemma: I like this boy. A lot. I want to say yes. But I’ve spent years not only believing but preaching that an ugly ring means that a boy doesn’t know you well enough to marry you.

I was only too happy to wake up from this nightmare. It was early, and I told Ted about it, because these days I tell him everything. I told him about it before we broke the futon again and before we fell back asleep perpendicularly so as not to have to lie in the ditch of the collapsed frame.


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laughing through tears. . .

One time my mom was sick and in the hospital, and I was in New York and with David who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go to a birthday party with him. He was angry and frustrated at my tears, and he said, “Do you know what I did when my dad died? I went for a run.”

I didn’t even know what that meant. My mom wasn’t dying, but I cried harder. And a run is not a birthday party for a friend he’s never even mentioned before.

I met Ted on Friday after work. The week was long: a fight with Fin, a project that just would not come out right, a million things left on the to-do list. We’d deserved the gimmlets we had before we left that afternoon. As I was getting in the elevator, my mom called to tell me some bad news. Her voice broke; she sounded so sad.

I felt like I’d forgotten something while I was walking, and I wished it would stop raining because I was getting sort of wet. Fifteen blocks later, I realized I’d forgotten my umbrella. I might have been a little drunk when I got to Ted’s.

And we split some pita chips and a six-pack (proportionally according to weight and alcohol tolerance, meaning I had 2 and he had 4) while we watched a movie. I could blame it all on being a little drunk.

Because even I was surprised when my breathing caught in my chest and fat tears showed up on my cheeks. I’m sobbing. And I’m honest-- when we say nothing’s wrong, we don’t mean it. I made a list-- a long, liberating list of worries.

And he’s beautiful. He’s just rational enough to be believable. He takes me seriously while he squelches my irrational fears. This boy says all the right things.

And it’s the strangest feeling. The tears are still flowing like mad, and I’m pretty sure I deserve every one after this week. But I’m laughing. Because I’m unbelievably happy. It’s unbelievable in the truest sense of the word. It feels like shedding a skin or like a seed must feel when it sprouts.

So maybe I’m drunk. Or maybe I’m crazy or maybe I’m just caught up in this whole love business. But I could get used to being myself. For someone who seems to get it.


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