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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
JUN
17

Picture This

Picture booking a trip to Cleveland for game 6 of the NBA finals and then realizing with your team down 3-0 that game 6 is likely not to happen. Picture changing your plans at the last minute and booking the last seat on a plane to Cleveland for game 4. Picture lugging the dresses and heels and suits you wore over a week-long work trip with you across the country, as the last minute-ness of the change in plans doesn't allow you to go home first.

Picture upsetting your ex's family by asking in this state of last minute-ness (ie. no hotels available) if you can crash with them for a night. Picture sobbing in an airport bathroom when you realize the door to their friendship is no longer open, even though this is probably as it always should have been.

Picture getting pulled over in Cleveland and trying to get out of a ticket when you say you're here for "the game" and have a California drivers license. Picture the Cavs shirt you're wearing saving the day. Because it does.

Picture winning.

Of course, I could tell you to picture it all falling apart in the next game anyway, but that really doesn't matter. Because if you can picture 20,000+ fans erupting in unison after each (record-breaking) three-pointer, if you can picture being unable to keep yourself from jumping to your feet every possession, if you can picture the glee in watching Steph Curry momentarily being made to look like a lost little boy, if you can picture hope and belief in their most unadulterated forms ("Cavs in se-ven!"), then you will have gotten what you came for.

So picture that.

 

MAY
21

Eat Drink Read

When I showed up at the Eat Drink Read fundraiser for the San Diego Council on Literacy, it didn't end up being quite what I expected. A pretty literary person, when I'd heard that chefs would be creating food and drink based on their favorite books, I guess I'd been picturing book books. The classics. You know, Frankenstein or something. But right away I could tell the approach from pretty much all the chefs was something much lighter.

They'd picked children's books, see. And the night was much more delightful for it. Eclairs for Pinocchio's nose. Scattered bean sprout topping for the hungry caterpillar. Mountains of chocolate frosting for Wonka's factory. By the time I finally got to a chef who had tried be somewhat adult in his presentation (The Little Prince had been his book of choice), the chef's thickly-accented description of his ravioli covered in a sauce made from a special kind of cheese I had never heard of was so boring that it was all I could do not to literally RUN over to the Alice in Wonderland table as fast as possible where they had bubbles of hibiscus tea that popped when you oyster-style poured them in your mouth and liquid-nitrogen-soaked cheese cubes that were still smoking as you swallowed. Now that's what I'm talking about. Ravioli? Psssshhh.

The event was a fundraiser, so I was happy to pay the overpriced ticket. Because literacy is such a crucial need, and I think about that not just as a writer and a businesswoman, but as a person with a curious and functioning mind. Learning to read is such a given for so many of us. But that's not the case for everyone. And even when I think about learning to read myself, it's something that's always been easy for me. I read well and I read fast. Again, this is not the case for everyone. And the overall prioritization of literacy, of resources, and of reading-rich communities is something near and dear to my heart.

So read on, San Diego. And I'll be there again next year, front and center, looking for the Frankenstein table as usual.

MAY
11

On Writing about your Love Life

There are some benefits to writing a book about your love life. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any, but don’t let that deter you if you’re considering the same. The good news is that you’re likely not in touch with any of your exes, so they won’t even know you’ve written a book. Again, let me reiterate: THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS. If, however, you ARE in touch with any of your exes (“in touch” means connected via social media, naturally), they might see you’ve written a book, but they’ll have no idea they’re in it, which means their comments like “You’re the real deal, Tali!” will trigger equal parts mischievous delight at your own stealth and acute horror at how close they’ve come to figuring it out.

Inevitably there’s One Ex to whom you’re still fairly connected. Let’s say, hypothetically, that this One Ex is whom the bulk of the book is about and it ends with him breaking your heart in epic fashion. Hypothetically. If you have such an ex, trust me: he won’t read it. THIS IS ALSO VERY GOOD NEWS.

Then there is the matter of future men you may date. Not that admitting in your book that you go to church and wish alcohol didn’t exist will leave you a particularly large number of interested suitors, but the point is, if they do read your book, they’ll know your game. They’ll know how you approach a relationship. They may know better how to woo you, but they’ll also know when you’re on your way out. They’ll be able to read the signs, because they literally already have. It’s an interesting situation, honestly, and in recent weeks I’ve had a potential suitor who wanted to discuss my first-chapter theory that most of the time you make up your mind about romantic compatibility right away, another who admitted the book made him think about how he would approach dating me if it ever got to that point, and yet another who told me he sides with my One Ex (the #1 way to not get lucky, by the way).

And we can’t forget the family contingent, because if there’s anyone who’s going to lose their mind reading about your romantic exploits, it’s your mother. And father. And possibly everyone else related to you. Not that your family was ever intended as your target audience, but you’ve got to give it to them, this right to be traumatized and to describe the book using charming descriptors like “painful to read.” But it’s OK, because you know they love you. You know they are proud of you. You know mostly they are just glad you’re no longer mixed up with the sumbitch you dated more than a decade ago. MORE VERY GOOD NEWS.

So, see, it’s not all bad. Sure, your family hates it and your exes avoid it and your future dating life is entirely in jeopardy, but it will all be worth it when a woman approaches you on behalf of her daughter who’s just gone through a rough breakup. You’ll sign a book for her, for her daughter too, and for just that moment, the two of you will be connected in a way that has you both clasping your hearts. It will all be worth it when a young man tells you, in tears, that he’s just finished the book and is so impressed by how accurately you’re able to describe “what this feels like.” Because these things will happen to you. They’ll happen to you a lot. And they’ll remind you why you write in the first place; why it’s so important to remind people of the simple truth that we are all the same.

APR
16

The Birthday Effect

It’s birthday month. I love birthday month, but it takes a toll. On my waistline. Take that with a grain of salt though, because I’m one of those fortunate (unfortunate?) waifs who seem to be just as waif-like despite my diet. You’d think it’s a blessing, which it is, but it’s doing nothing for my 2017 effort to bulk up a little in the muscle department. Every day I look at my scrawny, shapeless arms and think, “And I’m drinking nasty protein shakes for THIS???

The point of this was not to talk about my pointless gym membership. The point was to tell you that there’s an entire birthday cake in my fridge right now. And that I will begin eating said cake now that the first cake has been consumed. Both of these cakes were gifted to me by gracious, loving friends, and I try to still think of them as gracious and loving even when they force me to do things like eat a dinner of red velvet with cream cheese frosting followed by a dessert of half a candy bar and brownies. I mean, it’s bad, people. The other night I ate a S’mores cupcake for dinner. The cupcake incident, which is pictured above and which went down in my gym parking lot, was tough to pull off in my car, while reading a book, with no napkins (when I was done I opened the car door and proceeded to rub my sticky hands together until the sticky seemed spread out enough to let me turn the page without leaving any smudges). And then I grabbed my gym bag and went inside to the 6pm body pump class. You could say I’m just not understanding the concept of what’s required to be fit. I say, it’s Birthday Month.

MAR
19

The Signing at Loganberry Books

It's hard to beat Loganberry Books when it comes to intricate and charming details, literary nostalgia and whimsy, and let's not forget sheer size. It's a deceivingly large store, with ladders and chairs and pillows and tables. In short, it's the full bookstore package. Plus, they have a cat.

I'd done a few events there in the past, but always as part of a larger book fair featuring many authors. My first solo event, it wasn't as well-attended as I had hoped (you know, like in author dreamland where every person you invited and/or know shows up and you sell out of books) but I do have to remember that I don't live there anymore. It's not as if I can claim it as my own. Or bug my co-workers by incessantly reminding them that THIS IS THE WEEKEND of the book signing. Um, not that I did this with my California signing. How needy.

Cleveland is a special place for me because I spent so many years there, surely, but also because of the kinds of relationships I formed while I was there. And because the book I was in town to celebrate is the "love" book, of course that had me waxing pensive over how many men I met and dated there. One of the main exes I mention in the book is still in town, and, if I'm being honest, I had thought I wanted him to be there. I mean, three books? Don't I deserve that kind of support for being an ex that's just so damn prolific? But during the event I grew uneasy at the thought of navigating the conversation. "So, great book, Tali. I really enjoyed the part where you spilled the beans about the cowardly way in which I broke your heart." I mean, all's fair, (meaning he gets to break my heart and also that I get to broadcast the deets Taylor Swift style by writing about it), and truth is an absolute defense, but maybe some relationships really do work better in the past tense. It's why I'm a writer. It's why I'm single. It's why I probably need some new book tour cities in my circuit.

 

MAR
05

Warwick's Book Signing

Last weekend may have been my best book signing ever. And it wasn't just because of the turnout...which was amazingly good. It's also because it's the one that felt the most party like, the most celebratory, the one with the most smiles, the most hugs. I just felt so damn supported. Surrounded by people who were genuinely happy for my achievement...and also anxious to read the new book.

I was remarking to someone afterward about the relative letdown of an event like this being over. Because that's all I get. Those two hours of being the focus of a party held in the city where I live is all an author like me gets. An encouraging boost in both confidence and royalties, the first month after a book is released is pretty much the best. "It's all downhill from here," I remarked to someone a couple of days ago. Which when it comes to book sales, barring some fortuitous intervention of luck, it is. Besides, there can only be one launch party. And once it's over, you won't be able to rally a crowd in the same way until your next book comes out.

And so that probably explains why I savored every moment at Warwick's last weekend. Because the day was mine. Completely. And surrounded by a helpful staff, customers as loyal to Warwick's as any bookstore I've ever seen, family, and friends, it's more than enough to keep me going.

One thing to note about this signing in particular was that it got a lot of the "strangers" involved. Meaning customers who just happened to be at the bookstore that day and were not there specifically to see me. Because the party was such a force (champagne! a candy bar! tons of people! a photographer!), people wanted in. Or, at the very least, they wanted to see what the hell was going on. And in many cases, these customers participated in the festivities. They bought books and had me sign them. They told me stories about gems they loved, or about hearts that had been broken. There's a picture in the smattering you'll see below that shows me wearing a pained expression, hands over my heart. It's because one of these customers, a complete stranger to me, had just told me about her daughter's recent heartbreak. And who can't relate to that? Which is why I love this book so much. "Can you give her some words of advice?" the mother asked as she handed me a newly-purchased copy to sign. "Here's to love," I wrote. And just underneath, I added, "Because, eventually. Right?"

One can only hope.

FEB
14

Happy Launch Day!!!

I know it won't eclipse Valentine's Day for anyone else but me, but Happy Launch Day for my new book!! Welcome to the world, Fooled. May it be as loved and inspiring as it's been to me over the past couple of years. And may my exes not hate me for writing about them.

Here's to love.

You, dear readers, certainly have mine.

Today and always.

FEB
09

Golden *what?*

And then it was Valentine’s Day. Well, almost. Seriously though, I’m not sure how this happened. A friend mentioned I hadn’t blogged yet in 2017 and I didn’t believe him. True that January was taken over by book preparations, so, there’s that, plus I’ve just spent 10 days in Arizona at a couple of jewelry shows. (Post to follow at some point.)

But back to Valentine’s Day. Because I sort of forgot about it until walking into a donut shop while on the road and seeing trays of heart-shaped donuts. I bought one. Naturally. And then I started thinking about love. It’s not a huge priority for me, really. Which seems odd to say. I certainly miss love, and hope I find it again, but it’s not something I’m willing to devote a lot of time to. Mostly because the odds of a return on investment being at all worthwhile always seem pretty slim. And I’d rather spend my time writing books and perusing gems than going on crappy dates.

I read a book recently that proved what I have always suspected: there aren’t enough men to go around. Or, more accurately, there aren’t enough college-educated men to match the number of college-educated women. It’s actually causing a big problem at universities, where the male students have so many options that the term “golden cock syndrome” exists, whereas the female students will not only struggle to secure one of the available men, but will also struggle to find one that isn’t taking full advantage of the syndrome’s benefits (ie. tons of women wanting to have sex with you).

Not looking to make a generalization here, I’d just like to point out that I have observed, even well past my college years, that golden cock syndrome is still alive and well in the adult male community. It can be hard to find someone who’s interested in monogomy, and with so many other women also seeking a man, I’ve met many men who are consequently not very motivated to make sure the experience you have with them is a positive one. Because when you’re in high demand (meaning you are desirable and in short supply), burning bridges isn’t really that concerning. It’s the same reason why Disney handled me with such little care back when I was offered an internship. It was a crappy deal, but if I didn’t take it, there’d be a line of others who would. So it didn’t matter to them that my overall experience was negative and that I ultimately turned them down. It affected them and their ability to fill that internship ZERO MUCH.

It’s gotten so rare for me to be impressed after a date that when it happened last week, word spread to my family at such speed that I received calls and/or texts from all of my siblings the next day. The hope! Don’t get me wrong. I have it too. The hope. I hope for a man so crazy about me that he doesn’t want anyone else. And I’m not saying there aren’t men out there who are as decent as they are interested in being faithful. I know they exist. They’re just harder to find.

In the case of last week’s date, the feeling did not appear to be mutual, which, of course, is the other side of this equation. Meaning even if you find a man you could be interested in, he has to think the same thing about you, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. My track record would, in fact, suggest that I am exactly NO ONE’S cup of tea. But, again, there is hope. And always will be. In the meantime, I’m having another donut.

DEC
31

On Waxing Pensive at Year End

I remember in high school being asked by an English teacher to make a list of things I wanted to do before I was 30. It was an interesting exercise for a class of teenagers from a very small town, where dreaming big wasn't something that always came naturally, but I took it very seriously. I was one of those who could always be counted on to dream big.

Some things on the list I accomplished in time (publish a book), others I did not (have a baby), but I'm a firm believer that showing up late to the party is better than never showing up at all. Besides, on this New Years Eve of goal-setting and course-correction, aren't we always sort of working on becoming who we want to be, regardless of when we thought we'd get there?

The thing I remember most vividly about that high school list is the following item: "Fly over the ocean." I put this down because it was a big deal to me. Something, again, being a from a small town, that seemed epic. I also put it down because it scared me. And giving myself until I was 30 to do it felt like a nice far-away cushion. Probably the easiest on my list to actually accomplish (one need only buy a ticket), I didn't get there before I was 30. I'm embarrassed to admit I've been avoiding it. The long plane ride, the jet lag, the language barriers, the world being so messed up. It was easier to just stay home.

While 2016 was a year of many epic things--Cleveland won the NBA Championship, for crying out loud--I'll remember it most for being the year I finally got my sweet and sour off this continent and flew over the ocean. It probably doesn't mean anything to anyone else, this single stamp in my passport, these photos of cathedrals, the leftover foreign coins in my pocket. But to me it means a great deal. It means that the items on our lists are more important than our timelines for them. It means that whenever we're ready, even if it's not this year, the world is waiting for us. Whether you're ahead of schedule or years behind, the view is equally spectacular. 

DEC
15

Early Christmas Present

And there she is, folks. The first copy.

Isn't it pretty??

Still two months before release, but, boy oh boy, it's an amazing thing to see this project you've spent years of your life working on in the form of an actual book.

I'll definitely curl up over my Christmas vacation, read a few chapters, and pretend I don't know how it ends.

DEC
11

Still Holding Out

I've just gone through the part of the book process that involves approving the Kindle files for the ebook. Something made more difficult given that I still do not own a Kindle. Sure, they have programs that allow you to see a "Kindle view" on your laptop, but as I flip from page to page, I can't help but wonder if this is really how things will look to those who end up reading the book on a Kindle.

I'm probably as close to getting one as I have ever been, what with this whole checking my own ebooks prior to launching thing. Not to mention a couple of coast to coast redeye flights last month where my use of the overhead light was seriously pissing off my neighbor. I know, I know, tough shiz, right? We each buy a ticket, and if your neighbor wants her light on, THEN YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. But I'm a bleeding heart. I feel too much. Plus I don't want people wishing me ill while we're all 35,000 feet in the air. So a Kindle appeals to me more these days. As in bye-bye overhead light.

Yet I still can't pull the trigger on making the purchase. And why? On one hand, it's like Lasik. I could get it, but wearing contacts really isn't that bad. Yet I remember going through the same holdout on an iPod years ago, and after getting one, I've never looked back. The difference, however, is that a world without discmans and walkmans is one I can live with. A world without physical books, however? Not so sure. Which is why I just purchased a portable mini book light for my next night flight. And why if you see anything wonky on the Kindle version of my upcoming book, you can rest assured that everything looked *great* on my laptop Kindle viewer.

NOV
19

The Definition of Aging

I'm pretty sure it's the first time your dentist has cause to use the word "crown." For me, it happened this week. And my world fell to pieces. Just as my teeth will surely begin falling out in perfectly-spaced succession from here on out. I mean, honestly, do I really want to live in a world where I'm being advised against chewing almonds on the right side of my mouth?

Bring on the applesauce and jello.

NOV
13

Daylight Savings Time

For the first time I can remember, it has bested me. Daylight Savings Time. I simply cannot adjust myself. By 8:00 every night I'm sure it must be midnight (is this happening to anyone else?), and I'm lucky if I stay awake until 9:00. This means I'm up at 5:00, unable to fall back asleep. Leaving me exhausted by evening time, starting the cycle all over again.

HOW CAN I ESCAPE FROM THIS TERRIBLE HOLD????

After a week I thought I'd finally feel aligned this morning, but after an early bedtime (I was exhausted after a day at Disney, OK?), I got up early, cleaned the house, and was back in bed for some quality Sarah Vowell reading time by 8:00 AM. Keep in mind, these are pretty much full nights of sleep I'm getting. So why in the middle of Sarah's essay on Frank Sinatra I suddenly started to feel...at 8:30 AM...that I desperately needed a nap is beyond me. I thought of all the things I needed to accomplish. And there were a lot of them. Yet most pressing in my mind as I drifted off were thoughts along the lines of, "Well, I guess my body really needs this," and "I should listen to my body." The body that had ONLY BEEN AWAKE for three hours. After having gotten a full night's sleep.

Whatever. Tomorrow is a new day. And there's always the chance that I'll actually sleep until my alarm rings. Given my morning nap, it's a small chance, but I'll take it.

NOV
04

Cleveland Against The World

It was almost hard to root against the Cubs.

Unless you’re me. In which case it was very easy. Because Cleveland is my heart.

And so I’ve been recovering on behalf of a city that has such a long-standing history of sports tragedy and misfortune. I’ve been recovering from blowing a 3-1 lead and losing a world championship. I’ve been thinking a lot about Golden State, about how confident they must have felt being up 3-1 against the Cavs, and how much it sucks to be on the other side of that. The side that doesn’t come back in epic, historic fashion. Can you say karma, Cleveland? I can. Dammit.

I’m not such a horrible person that I’m not happy for the Cubs. I am. I am happy for them, for the curse being broken, for their well-deserved championship after such a stellar season. So, no, I’d like to think I’m not a horrible person. I’m just a loyal one. I’m loyal to Cleveland. Heck, I spent a small (read: not at all small) fortune last week to fly to Cleveland and see one of the games. In fairness, I was mostly there to see my Cavaliers get their rings, raise their championship banner. But I was also there for the Indians. I was there because it was pretty much Cleveland’s best day ever. And if you’re at all familiar with Cleveland, the Cavs’ arena is right next door to the Indians’ ballpark. So to be standing there, right in the middle of it, a team about to raise a championship banner on one side and a team about to play game 1 of the World Series on the other, was something to savor. More than that—it’s something you know you’ll never experience again. Like, ever.

Despite the loss, I’m proud of the Indians. I’m proud of their little team that could. I’m proud of Cleveland; a city that’s had an indisputably red-letter year. And despite the cold weather that my now-wimpy California self is completely unsuited for, not to mention the huge hole in my pocketbook, I don’t regret the trip in the slightest. In a crowd of tens of thousands, I ran into the man I once loved, and I still don’t regret the trip. See what I mean about Cleveland being my heart? Some cities are just in you. You are tied to them in ways you’ll never shake. Not that you would even want to. And why should you? Until next time, Believeland, I’ll be dreaming of you.

OCT
23

Subtlety

They do though.

This was part of my display at Friday night's ArtNight Pasadena, an event I've now attended for the second straight year. Part of me wonders why I went back. Not that it isn't a GREAT event, but it's just such a big event. And all the authors get stuffed into various nooks and crannies in the castle-like (charming yet simultaneously stinky) library. Even for the few people who manage to find you in the back corner of this dimly-lit building, most of them aren't really prepared to pay for something inside a library. Not that they couldn't. But that, on principle, they believe libraries should exclusively provide free stuff.

I do kind of get it. An event inside a bookstore will sell exponentially more books.

Not that it was a total loss. I met some great authors, sold a few books, and the best moment was when a woman saw the cover of Jeweled and loudly exclaimed, "I've read that!" She proceeded to ooze to the woman who was with her about what a fascinating and well-done book it is, and you'd think this other woman would have bought a copy. Indeed, before I got into this whole book thing, I was sure all I needed was a small core group of people who read and liked my books, and that The Snowball Effect would take care of the rest. That your book sales largely stop with this core group of people who read and like your books has been one of the most surprising lessons of bookselling.

"I may be back," the woman's friend said after looking at the front and back of Jeweled, an obligatory response to her companion's glowing endorsement.

She never came back, but then again, I knew she wouldn't.

No matter.

I'll continue to do these events because, in spite of everything, I enjoy them. And because you never know who'll come by, like you, read your stuff, and start the snowball that will eventually lead to your big break. Or at least lead to someone loudly exclaiming in front of a room full of book lovers that yours is particularly fine.

OCT
12

Back At It

So's my cat, clearly (some help she is), but the truth of the matter is that I've begun writing again. After I finish a book I take a nice long break. This one has been especially long, but it's not as if there isn't still booky work going on. Typesetting decisions, cover options, etc. Most of this post-writing work falls on others, but still, it feels a bit hasty to the part of myself that can't even be reading more than one book at the same time to begin writing a new book when the last one hasn't even come out yet. But I've begun dabbling and think I may have what may or may not be the first few pieces of what may or may not end up being book #4.

Gotta say. It feels good to be back.

And if you're wondering when book #3 will be dropping, let me just say that if you find yourself in the mood for a collection of tragically relatable love stories (that are mostly not about love) around, say, Valentine's Day, then you just may be in luck.

Until then, I'm just going to keep writing. And (mostly not) loving.

 

 

OCT
01

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

Look! It’s me at a mine!

I’m a gemologist so you’ve got to give me this one, but seriously, this was a fun day. Granted, my back and arms ached from all the lifting and hunching, and I forgot to put sunscreen on my ears, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about digging for gems when you know each bucket full of dirt and rock could be the one that unites you with a sparkly crystal that’s come straight from the earth. There’s also something incredibly satisfying about standing in the very tunnel where certain gems (in this case, morganite and kunzite) were first discovered. Again, I’m a gemologist.

Even for those who are gem-clueless, I still think this is a fun day. And it won’t take long to get the hang of what you’re looking for. Not just because gems are, well, COLORED, as opposed to the gray and brown of rock and dirt. But also because they grow in characteristic structures that make them (and their smooth, flat surfaces) pretty easy to pick out. And most mines that let you come dig will let you keep anything you find. Keep your expectations realistic…mines really only produce certain kinds of stones…and rarely anything crazy big…but to me it’s worth it for the possibility. (Plus, how often can you get away with wearing a shirt that says "Dirty Girls Rock" on the back and have it be so gemologically apropos?)

SEP
23

The Photo Shoot

There is something inherently ridiculous about getting your photo taken as an adult. Honestly. Who takes themselves that seriously? And sometimes when I see people post obviously professionally-taken photos of themselves looking totally cute, I roll my eyes. Like, a lot. I mean, doesn’t it kind of remind you of that scene in While You Were Sleeping where she goes over to Peter’s apartment and there’s that picture of him framed on the counter? Framed. Of him. Displayed in his own apartment. Can you say selfish and shallow? I can.

I had some headshots taken about four years ago. For bookish purposes, I might add. The photo that’s been on my website and social media channels since that time came from this very photo shoot, as did the author picture I used in Jeweled. Given how unnatural it seems to have photos taken of myself, I had planned on using the same picture in my upcoming book as well. Waste not, am I right? But people started generally remarking about how different I now look from those photos four years ago. And while there’s no way I’m doing this every few years just because my hair is different, people did seem to have a point. So I scheduled another photo shoot. And while I certainly battled some amount of “you are as ridiculous as Peter Callahan” demons as the photographer snapped away, my confession to you is that I loved this photo shoot. I did. I loved it. I loved wearing my cute little city outfits in San Diego’s sleepy Old Town. I loved feeling momentarily beautiful. And I loved the photographer’s comment that I had the gift of no one being able to tell how old I am. I am a freaking illusion.

The shot above was my favorite of the day. I didn’t opt to use it for anything official, but if I were Peter Callahan, this is the one I would frame and put on my counter. Just saying.

SEP
13

In Defense of Podcasts...and Marriage

I was in Oregon over the weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Which might not seem like much—they were a regular small-town couple who raised regular small-town children and had regular small-town problems (including cars that almost never worked)—except think about that for a minute. Think about people you know who have been married for 60 years. Do you know any? My grandparents are both now in their eighties, and lots of people don’t even live that long. And of the ones who do, a large contingent don’t stay married, or at least to the same person. It really is remarkable. Of course, reaching any kind of marriage milestone (even, like, one year) seems miraculous to the eternal singleton that is me. Indeed, I’m convinced that every single committed, loving relationship is nothing short of a miracle. But 60 years? That’s a whole different level.

Book clubs have (surprisingly) never been my thing. I don’t enjoy reading books that I mostly wouldn’t have chosen to read myself. And so I certainly don’t then enjoy discussing books that I mostly wouldn’t have chosen to read myself. But a friend of mine recently recruited me for a Podcast club, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. For starters, it’s less of a time commitment, and podcasts can be listened to while accomplishing any number of tasks. And another great thing about podcasts is they so often leave you smack dab in the middle of some kind of philosophical or moral debate. Animal hunting, the treatment of rape victims and perpetrators, the appropriateness of hope in the parents of autistic children, the vast differences in the frames of reference of American children and their much less fortunate foreign parents, the inescapable depression of the 2016 political situation, etc. I mean, these are hot issues. They are issues that will most definitely make you think—no, emote—at a level that most books do not. And what I find so fascinating is that most podcasts have the ability to make me waffle from one side to the other as the various points and perspectives are discussed. And any medium that can cause so many facets of your own conscience to come to the surface within such a short amount of time is clearly onto something.

To bring this back to 60 years of marriage, one of the podcasts I listened to this week centered on this idea of reruns; or, in the case of the married couples interviewed for the podcast, the issue of stories you hear your spouse tell over and over again, to the point of driving you absolutely crazy. I’d never really thought about this dilemma before. Again, as a singleton, I always have a new audience (a different date, a different squeeze, a different boyfriend), and I’ve never really run into this issue. But think of how this could come into play for people like my darling grandparents. “Honey, I’ve literally heard that story a hundred times.” It’s rather amusing to think about, especially after listening to the podcast, in which the annoyed spouses (the ones sick of the other person’s stories) were surprisingly unable to successfully tell the stories themselves, even after supposedly having heard them ad nauseam. On the other end of the spectrum, some of these people had gotten so used to their spouse’s stories that they believed they themselves had actually been there when they, in fact, had not. That one’s almost equally amusing—and not all that unlike my own discovery some years ago that my favorite childhood memory apparently never happened. I’d imagined it so often, every detail easy to recollect, that I had convinced myself (and if I’m being honest still sort of believe) it was real.

In any case, I guess one of the hallmarks of a red-letter marriage is that even after 60 years, you still enjoy hearing him/her tell the same stories. And you can’t wait to create more, together. Happy anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa. I’m pretty sure you two are going to make it.

 

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Cat Lady

How do you know if you are one? If it's loving cats, then I'm definitely a cat lady. If it's owning a cat, again, guilty. I've always preferred to think of it as that fine line between loving/owning cats and letting your house be overrun by them, or forgetting the difference between cats and humans by not acknowledging that there are some boundaries that need to be kept. Cats should eat cat food, for instance. And out of cat bowls. On the floor.

For me, I've always felt like my own cat ladyness hinges on owning multiple cats. So I have drawn the line at one. One cat. But that doesn't mean I'm not tempted when I get a call from a friend whose cat has had 8 kittens. It doesn't mean the little orange tabbies don't remind me so much of my childhood cat that I want to drive off with them both. It doesn't mean I'm not joyously happy in the above picture. It doesn't mean I don't think my friend has a point when reminding me that my current cat won't live forever. But my house is small, our routine is set, and I'd really prefer that my cat be an only child.

Wait. Did I say child? I definitely didn't mean that.

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