Lust List: Office Supplies

Yesterday I found myself struggling to get the PERFECT PICTURE of really adorable flower/polka dotted post it notes that I found…. on someone else’s desk…. and have been shamelessly using for two weeks. And then I thought: Oh my god, I had unlimited funds, or just the space for a nifty home office, I would have the COOLEST office supplies, just because I COULD. But currently I cannot afford to buy underpants, so office supplies, you’ll just have to wait.

I am a huge, crazy person list maker. And I’m old school about my planning. I like to write things down with pen and paper, I like to write on sticky notes and then layer them in my planner with different lists about different aspects of my life. Because I am neurotic. But I also like little stylish things that make me happy. Like this planner from Poketo. It has a clover on the front which is kind of perfect and they come in many colors. Too early for 2011 planning? I think not.

Umm. Yes please. I want little faces to erase my pencil smudges. These would be so bomb if I was back in high school. Swiggity – a – sweet, I say. They are by Fisk and Fern.

And now I bring you…. the pens I would steal! If I ever saw these! Ever! In the office! Especially the cloud one. Actually I want 12 of the cloud one and I want to be able to give them out as gifts to people who are having shitty days. YES. You can buy a bunch of these over at Poketo, yet again, cuz they’re awesome.

And then there is this desk over at the A+R Store – one of my favorite places for Christmas
presents. This desk is so incredibly perfect for people, like me, who just want a nice work space, and who don’t want too man nooks and/or crannies, and who want all of their cords to stay far far away from them at all time. Yes. Bring me this desk (and an office please), there is work to be done.

And last but not least – Pencil Tips from Schooled. Because 1) they are number 2 pencils, the pencils preferred by everyone, everywhere (Yet no one really knows why) (oh it’s about lead firmness, but no one cares) (except for the testing machines where you have to fill in all the little circles and then it is someone’s actual job to run the dotted papers through a machine all day). And 2) They have cheesy sayings on them. There is nothing, nothing I tell you, as good as cheesy sayings paired with math. Kind of like how Mathletes is the perfect fusion of those two principles.

School supplies: Not just for kids.

The Deacon

I went up to Seattle a few weekends ago to meet with the Deacon who would be, hopefully, officiating our wedding. We’re getting married in my Catholic high school chapel, which doesn’t have a parish attached to it, so you have to find your own catholic-approved leader of the pack – er – official marriage announcer. Also, with Catholic weddings, there is a bit of “marriage prep” required before the big day, and that needs to be done by a Priest or Deacon. Kamel and I are down with this, we think it will be good for our relationship AND personal growth. In other words – free therapy.

But trying to figure this out from 2 states away has been a mite bit complicated. For Example: I have gone to Catholic school my whole life. I’ve taken more religion classes than the Pope (No, that’s a lie…). I have been jumping from state to state and back again for the last 7 years, so going to church regularly has not been my top priority. In fact – I feel like establishing a parish needs to happen once Kamel and I figure out where and when we are going to put down roots. But lets just get married first.

Anyway – I already knew about the marriage prep, etc because I’m a good Catholic girl (who lives with her fiance… and uses birth control… and is pro choice… shh! whatever!). So I called around to churches in the San Francisco area to see how to go about having the prep handled here, but the marrying handled over there, and here is what I got:

Church Lady: What Parish do you belong to?
Me: Holy Rosary in Seattle.
Church Lady: What church do you go to here?
Me: Well,  I went to USF for grad school, so I’ve been to the church there. (where I just happened to be calling… *cough* browniepoints browniepoints!)
Church Lady: But do you attend regularly? (dundun duuun)
Me: I’ve been.
Church Lady: Well let me explain this to you, getting married in the catholic church is a sacrament, and you are not just marrying your spouse, you are making a PROMISE to GOD, now I don’t want to make you feel like I’m lecturing you, but this is a sacrament for true Catholics.
Me: I know what getting married means, I want to catholic school my whole life.
Church Lady: Well, there are a lot of denominations outside of the Catholic Church with beautiful churches, I suggest you try one of those. *click*

And then I cried. At work. It was lovely.

I also called my Mom while I was crying at work. Because who else do you call in these situations? Especially when your mom is Presbyterian and there is some Catholic bashing to be done!

Twenty seconds after I was hung up on I decided I wasn’t going to get married in the Catholic Church anymore. Screw them, they are exclusive and when I needed them most I got shit on. That pronouncement did not get the response I thought it would from my Mom, nor did it from my Dad later on in the evening. Their reaction was more along the lines of “THAT IS THE WORST CHOICE YOU HAVE EVER MADE LAUREN! TAKE IT BACK RIGHT NOW…. and just for this little stunt of yours, you’re going to join the nearest Catholic church and begin tithing $20 a week IMMEDIATELY.” Wow. I did not see that one coming, let me tell you. But, to be honest, getting married by a random reverend really wasn’t what I wanted either. At this point, though, I felt backed into a corner.But then my friends and bridesmaids rallied around me (all of these said friends and bridesmaid I know from my all-girls Catholic school days) and told me I needed to talk to Deacon Steve. Because Deacon Steve was awesome, Deacon Steve would work with us, and besides, with Deacon Steve I had a lot of character references.

So I emailed and emailed and emailed with him, and then we set up a meeting for October. A meeting where he would decide if we were worth his Catholic time and blessing. Because this is a pretty big deal, he’s the one who’s going to bind Kamel and I together in the eyes of the Lord, and Deacon Steven doesn’t want to mess around with just anybody. Meanwhile, my parents were so worried I wouldn’t get the desired A-ok from the church, all wedding planning from their end had ceased.

Now, finally, we arrive at the point of the story. The meeting with The Deacon was awesome. He’s funny, irreverent at times, incredibly spiritual, flexible, and has a wealth of knowledgeable guidance to share about weddings. After nearly 2 hours of deep questions whizzing by our heads, he finally asked Kamel and I if we had any for him. And I did.

There has been something weighing on me through this entire engagement/wedding planning process that I can’t shake, I don’t want to shake it. How is it that Kamel and I get to experience the wonderful, obnoxious journey of engagement and then married life, but that right, that legal right, is not extended to the rest of couples? I am a firm believer in separation between church and state, so what are we doing excluding rights from one group based on religious pretexts? And I sure as hell did not want my wedding to be any kind of avenue for soap boxing on the topic. I already knew what the Catholic Church believed, and it’s their right to believe it as a private organization, but what did this man, who would be an integral part of our wedding, believe?

So I asked, “How do you feel about gay marriage outside of the church?”

Kamel shot me a glance that said, “What are you doing? It’s in the bag! We’re in the rectory for chrissake!” but I just turned back to the Deacon and waited for his response – which was awesome, just like I promised a few paragraphs up.

I know he can’t come straight out and say, “I support gay marriage” because he is working for The Man, his holiness, but in Catholic speak, very educated Catholic speak, I understood him perfectly. And even better, he understood us in our stumbling, wordy, rambling way – he got us. He spoke about how he thinks the church should get out of the wedding business entirely, and said he wished the United States had more of a European style where people get married by the State, and then down the road go through and receive the sacrament of marriage once they are ready. It’s as easy as hopping online to be an ordained minister and *poof* you can perform legally binding unions, but gay couples can’t go to the justice of the peace. In other words – why is religion and legality in bed together in the United States, a country founded on religious freedom?

But back to the important thing – my wedding. There will be no soap boxing. Our main goal for our wedding (besides the I Do’s, and the cake…) is to move people emotionally, and to make those guests who might have been previously uncomfortable in a church setting feel welcome and comfortable. That’s enough for us. But I’m glad I asked the hard questions. Now I know for sure I won’t be gritting my teeth during any homily that begins, “Marriage is a bond between a man and a woman”.

Eff that noise.

Bridesmaid Sneak Peak

The weekend I went to meet with the Deacon (you’ll read about that tomorrow) was the same weekend I went bridesmaid dress shopping with Kathleen and Claire. Then, two weeks later I flew to Chicago to do the same thing with Maris. That was last weekend. Together, we would all figure out this bridesmaid dress dilemma in a way that made everyone feel comfortable and stylish.

None of these are exactly the dresses they’ll wear on the day, the color I want (yellow) wasn’t in the styles we were looking for. And some of the dresses were pulled by the helpful, yet sometimes misguided, sales people. Like this little number. You can’t really tell because I had my camera phone on the wrong setting so the brightness factor overwhelms your senses, but right up there, around the alter-like top that makes even the daintiest girl look like a line backer, is a come-hither key hole if I ever saw one.

I found this experience to be way fun because for once I wasn’t the one trying shit on.

I did not have to be stuffed into a dress 2 sizes too small, or chip-clipped into a dress 3 sizes too big. But, boy did I document my lovely bridesmaids having that very experience.

And then in Chicago, where Maris had checked twice that the fine bridal establishment was, indeed, carrying our styles – it took the receptionist 3 tries to find the dresses we were looking for. At first she sent us to the wrong section of the giant dress-holding zone and said “this section is where your dresses are” and walked away. Sadly, that was a falsity.

They had no record of the style numbers Maris had called in with, had no idea what we needed or what we were there fore, and when she FINALLY did find some of the styles, she left us alone in the ginormous dressing room to figure out how the clips worked all by ourselves.

Finally I had to go searching through the store to find said “sales woman” to ask her about alterations, how long it would take to order, etc etc. This was absolutely not the experience we had in Seattle, where the store lady stayed with us the entire time, occasionally pulled different styles that were unasked for, but that she thought we would like, and had the styles we originally asked for pulled and waiting for us in our dressing room when we arrived. That’s the whole point of making an appointment.

Picking bridesmaid dresses seemed fun at first, the trying on part was definitely more pleasurable than wedding dress shopping, but wow was it stressful. I wanted great dresses that made everyone feel comfortable, but also were trendy enough to be fun, and classic enough to not seem goofy in 10 years. I agonized over the choices, not wanting anyone to be uncomfortable but also not wanting me to think the choices were lame. I think in the end we’ve picked a style that looks really great on everyone, that will fit the vibe of the wedding, and that the girls will be proud to wear and rock in the photos. Check another thing off the list!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Last night I flew back to San Francisco from Chicago from a quick weekend trip and I have got to tell you – that was THE WORST flight experience of my entire life. Now – I went to school in Illinois, spent a summer in NC, Have flown to Boston, Nashville, Denver and more times than I can count up the coast from Seattle to SF, Palm Springs, Anaheim, and Pheonix. I’ve been to Paris, and Mexico. And there has never been a flight like this. Ever.

I’m pretty easy going about flying. I like the holiday hoopla, I don’t mind long lines, I get to the airport early and would take all my clothes off if they asked because I would rather do that than have my plane blow up cuz someone shoved explosives up their butt. And then I experienced the confusing, ridiculous security line at OHare, an airport I am very familiar with. It wasn’t that the security line was so long, it was that there was no person – of the many many TSA ass holes standing around – who would give anyone any direction or information. How long was the line? How many Disneyland-esqu zig zags did we have to make? After the ID check point did we have to go through a whole OTHER set of zigzags? No one knew. No one cared. In fact, the security people were sitting their marveling outloud at the huge line, while we were all standing in it like cattle, because that’s how they treated us – like mindless animals, instead of people who had spent a lot of money to catch a flight, people with places to go and people to see. So, we were left to organize and fend for ourselves. People were gracious enough to let other people who were going to be late for their flight cut ahead of them in line (although some crabby people refused, I was more than happy because really? what’s one more person ahead of me?) .

So I finally make it to my plane and just walk right on which was nice. I sit down with my O magazine and a diet coke (and chocolate covered pretzels – WW fail) and wait for the rest of the people to put their shit away and buckle their seat belts. The pilot says we’re going to actually be about 15 minutes early to SF. Hooray! But we just sit there at the terminal… and I read and read and read and finally he says that we have to wait 20 more minutes before taxing out because there is a delay at SFO. Ok, that’s fine. 20 minutes. But we sat there for 45. And then didn’t take off for another hour. So I had already been on the plane for 2 hours before we even took off. And here is where my frustration begins to boil. The last thing we heard from the captian was “20 minutes till we taxi,” would it have hurt him to put another sentence in there somewhere like, “oops, my bad, looks like it’s going to be more like two hours, here is some free champagne to make it all ok again”???


While we are waiting in the giant line of planes I was seeing flashes of lightening and hearing/feeling massive thunderclaps. Oh joy. Storms! The captian assures us the flight should be fairly smooth, just some bumpies over the rockies. This I can handle, I appreciate the warning. Except when the warning is a complete LIE. We flew through storm after storm after storm with not a WORD from the cockpit except the occasional “sit down, put your seat belts on, yadda yadda” and the “flight attendants, return to your seats” – my least favorite thing to hear. It would have been really NICE, while I was gripping my arm rests and the tears (real life tears, not writerly tears for dramatic effect) rolled down my cheeks, if maybe anyone could have said, “we know it’s getting pretty bumpy, but everything is actually alright, think of it as a really great ride” or some other reassuring BS. But no, we the passengars, who get on a plane with the trust that the people running the operation actually know what they’re doing and give two shits, and guess what? Looks like they actually didn’t (give two shits that is). At one point, during a break in my crying, I asked the flight attendant lady, who was in charge of our section, when, she thought we’d be making a final decent. She said “I’m really not sure, we’ve gone through some storms so that may have slowed us down.” I asked what time it was and how long we’d been flying and she responded that she didn’t know and then walked away. How does she not know? Explain this to me. Do these people not talk to eachother, have watches, have a sense of how the world of air travel works beyond what we, the lowly passengers can infer? I have had some really amazing flights with amazing air crew, so I know that that cannot possibly be the case.

And I swear to god – at that point if the flight attendants would have said “ok, you have the option of parachuting out of this plane right now or finishing the flight,” I would have been strapped into a chute before they could even finish asking the question. But that didn’t happen, so I went back to silently crying and praying the plane wouldn’t crash for the next 1.5 hours.

We did land. We did all survive, and in the end it was just turbulance, but in reality it was more than that. I had been in the plane for 7 hours for a 3 hr and 45 min flight. And the treatment of passengers by airlines is abhorrent and less than human. When I was leaving the plane, I always always thank the attendants and the captian if he is standing near the exit. So as I passed my indifferent flight attendant I looked at her and said a sincere thank you, her response was “yeah, uhhuh” and then she went back to fiddling with her phone.

I would like to extend a big FUCK YOU to United Flight 6081 from Chicago, Ohare to SFO. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you treat people.

WW Sucess!

I have been battling some FIERCE pms this week. It’s weird how some weeks you can be totally fine, like “oh, is that my… period calling? how quaint!” and other weeks it’s like “I’m going to rip of your head and spit in your neck if you tell me to calm down ONE MORE MOTHERFUCKING TIME SUCKA!” And yesterday was a rough day. The kind of rough day where on the drive home I thought, “Eff Weight Watchers! And screw Dinner! I’m going straight to walgreens  and gorging on oreos.”

When I got to the apartment, though, their was a package containing my leotard and tights for my Halloween costume (fairy princess… still awaiting my adult tutu). So I tried on the slightly ridiculous white leotard, trying to figure out if the tights go inside? or outside? I am still unsure… but when I yanked that onesie up and over my hips and looked in the mirror, I was SHOCKED at how GOOD it looked. Not to toot my own horn (Ok i’m tooting), but damn! I’m finally starting to see that being hungry and counting points is beginning to pay off! And as I pranced around in my ridiculous 1/2 Halloween costume, there was no way I was headed to the Oreo kingdom! I wasn’t about to go backwards and ruin all of the hard work I’ve been doing. Instead, I was headed to do laundry, and while the laundry was doing what it does, I walked up hills, did lunges, sweating, etc. And I felt awesome about my choice! I had a total Weight Watchers moment.

Things, October

Guess What? I don’t really like massages. I always think I do, and then I get there and I’m trying to relax and breath through the pain of having nobby fingers drilled into my sensitive flesh. I very much enjoy facials, and I haven’t tried a wrap yet but I think I would be ok being soaked in mud. I’ll get back to you on that.

The hot water has been sorely lacking in our apartment for the last week, which really made coming home from surfing a tad unbearable. Shivering, salty, and now lukewarm water? Well for fucks sake.

Kamel’s been gone every evening Mon-Thurs last week and this week and it will continue for next week. This makes me either incredibly productive or horrifically lazy. Last week I spent 3 hours writing one night, and then the next spent 3 hours catching up on Greys Anatomy. Every day I say I’ll clean the bedroom and I don’t. I’m not sure what this says about anything in particular.

This week I am insanely grateful for: Internet at work, my hair cut on Tuesday, clean socks, having a partner who supports me beyond what I would ever ask for, Target (just because, we didn’t even go there recently), my ability to throw away un-eaten candy before I eat it, cooler weather so I can sleep under the weight of many blankets, and a remote that works. Hallelujah.

I’ve decided to start applying for teaching position in the spring for next fall. I am terrified that no one will want to hire me and I will continue the awful cycle of no viable employment (temping doesn’t count, c’mon now). I’m saying this here so that I will actually follow through with it and come March you can ask me if I’ve started sending out application packets and getting it all put together and if I’ve said no, please try to poke me into action. Use force if necessary. And! If you happen to be a reader who works at any sort of University or Community College in any part of the United States and happen to have any sway in the HR field – give me a holler. I can teach anybody how to write a kick ass essay. Booyah.

Adventure-ing: Surf Lessons, Day 2

The second day of surfing started off with three advil and exhausted, puffy eyes. I woke up on Sunday and I cursed myself for signing up for the two day clinic. Even Kamel had lost his enthusiasm.

“Why did you do the two day again?” He asked.
“Because it was recommended…?” I said.
“Oh right, of course, because why would they recommend just going for one day when they could hook you for two…” His enthusiasm was obviously spent the day before.

I was definitely less apprehensive on Sunday. No jittery nerves, just a tiny bit of dread knowing I had to yank on a cold, damp wet suit again. But I was going to be in the salty surf! Riding the waves! And today was going to be so much better than day one. I was going to flex my muscle memory and rock the shit out of day two. I was ready.

And then when we got to the beach the weather was a little different. I noticed the waves where bigger, and more frequent, the skies were more grey, and the wind was a little stronger. It actually started to rain. Once I had my board and began pushing through the breakers, I realized it didn’t feel at all like the day before, it didn’t feel at all like how I thought it would.

I felt terrified.

Every time I saw a huge (huge being a matter of perspective as they were about 3-5 feet above my head and to non beginner surfers that’s a cake walk) wave come barreling toward me, I would brace myself to be absolutely swept away. It doesn’t help that I was holding onto a long piece of dense Styrofoam and trying to lift it above the break of the wave so it wouldn’t flip and send me flying backwards with it. Just trying to push out beyond the breakers to get to a point where I could time a wave, paddle forwards and attempt to stand, took me 20 minutes at least. Every time.

And then of course there was the time that I did get tossed by a wave, and pushed under the water, and my board flipped over and yanked my foot, and I had to try not to panic as the ocean turned me in circles and I paddled fiercely to the surface, choking on salt water, and reaching for the cord attached to my ankle to reel in my board so it wouldn’t get in any other surfer’s way. I stood up and expected people to clap, or ask if I was alright, but looking around nobody even noticed. And then I thought, I could straight up drown and no one would see me. Even with Kamel on the beach watching and taking pictures, I felt really alone.

The instructors spent a lot of time with me, trying to get me to consistently stand instead of go straight to my knees (instinct, I can’t help it). And when I confessed that I was really afraid, that the waves were scaring me, that today felt different, they told me to suck it up, mind over matter and all that. Really? You don’t think I’m trying that right now as another wave that just combined with another wave and another comes roaring towards me?

(is that not one of the saddest photos ever? oh the misery.)

And then an instructor set me up to take on another wave, and instead of gliding into shore, or trying to stand and then falling into the water, the wave crested funny and sucked me under immediately. I saw the water pulling the board down and me with it. And as I was sputtering, and trying to pull my self out of the water all while securing my board for the hundredth time, I couldn’t help but think, “fuck this. I’m sore, I have water in both my ears, I’m spitting up salt, and I’m tired of trying not to drown.”

You know what’s awesome about this experience? I actually did something that I’ve been wanting to do since I was a kid, and that I was surprisingly afraid of when the time came. That I stuck with it even when I was totally beat up, exhausted, and terrified, and that I stood on a surf board and felt the sensation of gliding on a wave.

I have to admit, I was disappointed to not be a natural born surfer. I’ve let my 12 year old self down a smidge. 25 year old Lauren is just not as cool as 12 year old Lauren had hoped. I’m also a little bummed to not absolutely LOVE something that I had on my life list, but I would never have known unless I tried, right? Adventures are a mixed bag, and without this one I wouldn’t know how awesome boogie boarding is. I think I’ll skip the whole need to stand up on a moving, floating, object, and just stick to riding the waves in warmer weather, and without the constant fear of drowning.

Adventure-ing: Surf Lessons, Day 1

A few weeks ago I thought “hey! why don’t I try and see if I can take surf lessons somewhere in the Bay Area?” huh, fancy that… and all this time I had it stuck in my head I couldn’t take surf lessons unless I was in Hawaii or something. And I live a few blocks from Ocean Beach… where there are surfer’s a plenty. What was I thinking? I think when it comes to my life list, I end up putting road blocks between me and some of the scarier or harder goals. I didn’t just make it “take surf lessons”, I created this whole scenario in which the surf lessons would happen – in warm water? on vacation? certainly not here. But I don’t want to just have a list! I want to live an adventurous life! And the list is just an avenue to that life.

A quick google search confirmed there were plenty of companies that gave surf lessons, and look! even one in Pacifica, just a 25 min drive from San Francisco, with reasonable rates, and an opening for the next weekend. Did I jump on it? I did not. I actually… sat on it. And twiddled my thumbs because it turns out that accomplishing big things (actually the FIRST big thing) from my life list is hard… and scary.

Suddenly I was faced with accomplishing something I have wanted to do since I was 12. In junior high I somehow got it stuck in my head that I wanted to go to surf camp. I blame the internet. I begggged my parents to send me to San Diego (I grew up in Seattle). The camp was for a week and was about $3,600. The answer was no. And it was the same answer I got the next year and the next year I asked to go. So now, as a grownup, I was actually capable of doing it. I was going to be taught how to surf. But what if it was really hard? What if I embarrassed myself? What if I didn’t wear the right thing? What if I was in a class full of 5 year olds and the instructors thought I was a total noob (hello, it’s a beginners class, I think that’s a pre-rec) and laughed at me? Surfing is only for cool people! Suddenly, I didn’t want to do it anymore.

But it was on my list. And so simple to complete. The idea of crossing something off eventually won out over my total anxiety-ridden neurosis. So I booked the closest weekend for a TWO day beginner’s surf clinic and the entire week before fretted over it. The whole night before my day 1 of surfing I had bad dreams, and then woke up at 6am and begged Kamel to not make me go. He was way, way, way more excited than I was. He’s an enthusiastic guy. And through his excitement I was coaxed into putting on my bathing suit, eating breakfast, and getting into the car.

And let me tell you… day 1 of surfing was really, really fucking hard. All morning I kept marveling at how similar surfing was to using a netty pot. The water shoots in, every thing else just kind of pours out. Salt water in my ears, my nose, my mouth, again and again and again.

See? Yeah, that’s me… eating it. Thankfully, Kamel was there on the beach with his zoom lens to capture the whole thing. He totally froze his ass off for 3 hours, while I was actually quite warm (via a thick wet suit) in the water.

Learning how to surf, is surprisingly hard work. I had muscles burning in my arms and back after that first day I never knew existed.

But even after all of my many, many wipe outs, I still couldn’t keep a huge goofy-ass grin off my face. Because surfing? Is really fun. Very salty, very tiring, but a total kick in the pants.

And when you stand up? When you finally lug your soaking wet, tired as fuck, body up and onto your board, it’s like I won an Academy Award or something.

This is a picture of the only time I really rode a wave for any substantial amount of time, and instead of paying attention to what I was doing, I took the opportunity to celebrate my victory. Plus, with surfing, I think you look equal parts ridiculous and awesome, so why not work it when you got it? When I got home from day 1 I was also equal parts thrilled to be going back for a second go, and totally worn out to the point of wanting to do nothing but sit, watch netflix and eat Doritos.

The happenings of day two …. tomorrow.

Night Time

“WOAH!!” says Kamel.

“What?” says me.

“Look at the moon! Holy Shit! It’s so bright…”

“And you can even see the water!” I say. “I’ve never seen it so clear like that before. We can almost never see the ocean at night.”

“Wow,” says Kamel.

“Quick, take a picture,” says me.

All Those Visitors

On Monday I had exactly 2,841 views on this here blog. About 2,741 of those views were from APW readers I had a flood (to me) of comments on both Monday and Tuesday, so if you’re wondering who those people were, they’re now my new, awesome friends.

On Tuesday I had a post up on APW, the first in a wedding planning series I’m doing over there, and I spent a huge chunk of my evening reading those comments and swelling, like a big red balloon, with so much joy and love and holy-shit-people-actually-enjoy-my-writing-ness, that I felt a little like I was floating. That, and I had to keep reminding myself to close my maw because, in the world of writing, you don’t get a lot of positive feedback. When you ask for feedback it’s mostly to tell you what you fucked up on and should change, immediately.

On Monday I was straight up overwhelmed with the number of visitors, with the increased followers on twitter, with all the comments, and then on Tuesday I was filled up to the brim with gratitude for all of those kind, finny, unique, gracious strangers. It’s taken me a few days to let it all soak in, and to gain a little perspective.

Since Tuesday my number have fallen back toward the place where my numbers were before Meg’s announcement and all of her benevolent linkage. The visits, though, are higher than they were before, so at least I have SOME retention.

The thing is, I’m a writer. Everyday I write, or think about what I’m going to write next. Sometimes it’s made up things, and sometimes it’s here, where I spill the beans about my daily life. And I don’t have a niche. I really don’t. I don’t cook, I shop like everybody else shops, I have a Life List but I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last, and I write about wedding stuff because I’m getting married. And I definitely don’t write because I have all of the answers. If you’re here now and if you come back, it’s because I entertain you, I say things that you agree with, I show you parts of my life that you are curious about, I make you laugh, I (hopefully) make you think. I honestly don’t know if I will ever have the readership that APW has. But do I want it? Maybe. Having all of those readers and all of those comments was impressive and wonderful, but it also made me feel exposed. It raised the bar for the quality of writing here. Because, let’s be real, you all don’t stay for my looks. And that’s a good thing. I felt the challenge and I will meet it.

What I initially set out to say today, though this turned into something much large than I intended, was THANK YOU. Thank you for coming, and reading, and commenting. Even if you came just that once, thank you. Because you’ve pushed me to be better, write better, and entertain better – which really means living a more adventurous life. I really hope you stay to see the result.