About Me

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A book editor, entrepreneur, and starry-eyed young thing. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Girl Bookworm Looks for Silly Boy Bookworm

Tuesday posts are going to be romantic in nature (though not always a misadventure in romance), and probably, since it is me + romance, it will be funny. To follow up the Cobbler story arc, I decided to post a stand-alone blog. Of an on-line profile I once used. One of several in a two-month period. Because I edited it once a week. Seriously, how can you boil yourself down to 1,000 words and the illusion of your perfect pairing? Which changes every time you go on a bad date.

For your enjoyment, here is an on-line profile with [present-day commentary]:

An independent gal [code: I don't want to be called/texted all day or see you every day] who can bake an apple pie [I'm a domestic goddess (but only in the kitchen)], watch a baseball game [my father once hoped I would be the first female pitcher in the MLB], and has a crush on Teddy Roosevelt [intellectual, physical, political, spiritual, presidential. In hindsight, I should have just described him in the last couple paragraphs]. 

There are at least three shelves of my multitude of bookcases for my to-read books, and I have several lists floating about for books to buy or check out at the library. [i.e. bookworm] I have two rescue dogs with whom I enjoy taking daily walks, going to the dog park, and hiking at the lake for a bit of off-leash fun. [Animal lover a must, and look! I am sort of outdoors-y.] My coonhound mix even goes volunteering with me as a therapy dog. [Okay, this kind of registers as bragging, but I was hoping for a "Heck yeah! Volunteering is important!" response.] 

Going to the movies is one of my favorite weekend activities--pretty much any genre but horror--and I get out to OKCMOA for titles that tickle my fancy when I can as well. [I am a cinnephile and I like Indie films--jeez, this also is reading pretentious. Maybe this wasn't a good exercise.] I enjoy traveling, preferably once or twice a year for a week or longer to a national park or overseas. [Short vacations should be staycations where you relax or catch up on cleaning and feel "in control" of your life again. But a long vacation is necessary for breaking free of ruts and boringness. To remind yourself there is more to life than what exists in your small bubble. You lose that bigger perspective if you never leave the bubble.] My brother lives in India, and I’m excited about the vacationing opportunities! [He totally does! And I totally am!] Of course, a weekend road trip to see a favorite band in another city or down to Texas for ACL is also a lot of fun. [This was meant to sound fun and free spirited and make clear that I love music and going to concerts. But the ACL reference seems elitist. I'm up to 3 jackass self-descriptors. Good thing this was only up for a week!]


Looking for someone to go adventuring with. [More precisely, someone who can turn everyday events into an adventure.] Someone who enjoys being silly [I'm ridiculous and I like people who bring out that side of me--serious is boring], has an even temper [I've had enough experiences to know someone with a short fuse is not only unattractive but also a terrible match for someone who tends to dig in her heels and match tones], and has his own interests and hobbies [Again, I cannot abide being smothered. Also I think it is so attractive when a guy is really good at something I'm not. As long as it isn't sports (baseball is okay--actually, baseball is great. Have you seen their uniforms?)]. 

I enjoy learning and being challenged. [A guy who knows words I don't? Instant attraction. Someone whose life philosophy challenges me to be a better person--to be nicer, to be more involved, to think of others before myself. I want that kind of challenge in my partner, and I want to provide it for him. (You get that from that 6-word sentence, right?)] Growing up with two brothers, I feel the need to prove that if you can do it, I too can do it (maybe not better—but I can definitely do it). [So this weird little tidbit was because I kept getting matched with rock climbers. What about my profile screamed, "I need a rock-climbing boyfriend"? For whatever brief amount of time I thought, Yeah, I could date a rock climber, this sentence served as the tomboy proof I would totally be up for rock climbing or camping or whatever. Totally not, it turns out.] And I like someone who can be spontaneous, or at least appreciate spontaneity. [Sometimes, I will blow your mind--and you better not be pissed about my random whimsy. Rather, you should be enamored of this whimsical elf.]

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Cobbler Part III: He Did It for the Cookies

“Hey!” The Cobbler turned around with a huge grin, somewhat allaying my fears that there was a mall rumor going around that I was a stalker. The package of cookies in my purse felt suddenly heavier.

“So what’s the bad news you had to tell me?”

His smile was replaced by a look of comical forlornness. “Sadly, I have to leave you.”

“You what?” I was 100% confused because he was acting like he was telling his sweetheart he had been drafted and we seemed to have crossed over into one of my weird historical fantasies that I absolutely do not have a dozen times a day.

“I have to leave you. I got a new store in a different state that is bigger and is a big step up, but I’m sad to leave Oklahoma.”

OF COURSE. Of course the guy who seems to actually be into me and I’m actually into him is leaving for an entirely different state. But, my ever optimistic mind reminds me, the state he’s moving to actually borders Oklahoma, so a long-distance relationship is feasible. (This is desperation at its most potent.)

“Congratulations. That’s great. But who will I come to with shoe problems?”

“Don Pete will be the new store manager, and he is this awesome five foot nothing guy. All machismo and good style. You’ll like him.”

“Don Pete sounds like a pirate.”

“Yeah. I guess he does,” the Cobbler said wistfully.

“Well, I guess it’s fate.” He scrunched his face in confusion. “I brought you some goodies finally.”

“You did not!”

I pulled out the burgeoning bag of baked goods.

He reached for the bag like a little boy reaching for a Christmas present. “What is it? Scones?”

“No. Actually. I brought a scone by last night after my shift but I sat on it. Ha. Ha.” My face turned completely red. My mouth had started talking without my permission. Oh jeez. Oh jeez. Oh jeez.

“They’re my chockablock chockfull chocolate chip cookies.”

“So they’re not from the bakery?”

“No. My recipe. Welp! Hope you enjoy them.” I started walking for the door.

“Where are you going? I have to critique your baking skills.”

“Really? You think I can’t deliver?”

“I’m not so sure. I think a professional should stay and hear her taster’s opinion though.”

He opened the bag finally. “Oh my gosh! There are like a million. This is a haul!”

“Yeah, you’ll have to share with your buddy. Heheh.”

“Oh I will.”

Why won’t he just take a bite so I can get out of there? 1) He’s moving out of town, so even though long-distance is plausible, I HATE long distance, so no thank you. 2) Something in his face when I handed him the cookies was too surprised, which reminded me of 3) What in the world had Not Irish Boy meant by “Look who’s here”? I had to get out of Dodge.

I edged for the door as he took a bite. He pinned me in place with his eyes before closing them in apparent ecstasy. Wordlessly he held the bag out toward Not Irish Boy, who took a cookie and unleashed an unabashedly loud moan. “These are good!”

“Glad you like them! Welp! Better be going.”

“Hold on. I haven’t told you what I think yet.” I turned at the door. He waited for me to walk all the way to where he stood at the back. Seriously. What was going on here?

“These…are a delight. Seriously, I am so sad to be leaving you. You’re the best. Is there another one of you? A sister? A cousin? A twin?! Do you have a twin who lives where I’m moving?”

I searched his face. Was he flirting? This seemed like super flirting. Flirting on steroids. But what would I know? “Nope. I’m pretty much one of a kind…”

I edged back toward the door, and he followed, continuing to pop cookies in his mouth.

“That is too bad. You’re the best customer I’ve ever had. I don’t think there will be customers like you where I’m moving. Mmm! It’s just too bad I have to leave.” He popped another one into his mouth.

At his point I had been trying to leave for a good 8-10 minutes. It had been obvious that I’d been trying to leave, and he had purposefully kept talking to keep me there. He had seemed to be flirting heavily, but then again, he had just called me a customer, which was like a knife to the heart. So I decided to just suck it up and go for it. No regrets.

“It is too bad. When do you leave?”

“Today is actually my last day at work. I finish inventory, and then I have two weeks off to move.”

“Well, I’d really like to see you before you leave. You should swing by Bakery sometime and visit me where I work for once. I’ll get you that scone.”

Something in his face changed that caused my stomach to twist hard and my mouth to dry. Like something had just dawned on him.

“I haven’t even started packing yet, but yeah, if there’s time, we’ll drop by.”

“Okay. Thx. Bai.” And I was out of there like a shot, dialing Sprinkle as I speed walked back to my car. I told her everything, ending with, “WE?! Who the hell is we?” This time I had remembered his name—first and last. Dick Sprinkle was on the case.

She called me a few hours later to tell me her findings: he was married with a kid, loved classic cars, and went hunting and fishing for fun. So, dodged a bullet on that one. I would never under any circumstances date someone who liked classic cars.


Thank God I hadn’t given him my number! Chip, if you’re reading this, you saved my bacon with your advice. The moral of the story is probably that if a guy really likes you, ladies and ladies, he’ll make it happen. You just have to make yourself available, and then know when to write him off for a lost cause. Also, don’t have a mall crush. Also, men will use you for your baking prowess. There were  a lot of lessons, I guess.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throw Momma from the Bus

I tried to write this post from at least six different angles before finally throwing in the towel, which also happens to be the same as throwing my mother under the bus. (Sorry, Mom. Good thing you don’t read my blog—probably.)

When I was in kindergarten, my mother dressed me up as a lawyer for career day—complete with a little briefcase and everything. My skirt suit matched what she wore that day. What I wanted to wear was my red cowgirl boots and a fabulous dress with a tutu and carry around paints because I was going to be a cowgirl, artist, singer when I grew up. Ambitious.

My concept of what I wanted to be slowly morphed into one big question mark by the time I hit sixth grade. My father saw this as an opportunity to influence me toward what he believed was the wave of the future. It began with software developer or computer sciences, but when I showed an almost degenerative ability in that area, he switched to bioethicist or diabetes counselor for old people. Maybe a computer science specialist, bioethicist, diabetic gerontology counselor. I think we know where I got my ambition.

Whenever my mother would overhear one of our conversations, she would smile knowingly and condescendingly. Silly of us to even discuss what my options were. What a monumental waste of time. She knew what I was destined for, but she would bide her time until I came to the inevitable conclusion myself.

English is what I ultimately wanted to major in in college. I love reading books, so I should do what I love. Not so, said both my parents (Father could betray me at the worst moments!). A college education was for studying something you couldn’t do on your own and preparing for a real occupation. What in the world did I think I could do with an English degree they asked, their voices husky with laughter.

Joke’s on them. My first job was book editor. Although I think the argument was a draw since I didn’t major in English and was still able to land an English-centric job. But in my diary I counted it Buttercup 1, Parents 0. Obviously I couldn’t count on them for any sort of occupational advice in the future. (That didn’t stop me, because who wants to be responsible for a decision that big? It’s easier to just blame your parents if it goes horribly wrong!)

However, the company I worked for was not ideal in many ways, and soon after my second year I started looking for a way out. I moved back home due to a confluence of forces and considered everything from working two part-time retail jobs to going back to school. This is when my mother preyed on my weak mental state. Why didn’t I study for the GRE? In fact, she’d even pay for the test if I also agreed to take the LSAT.

Folks, my parents cast long shadows. They’re both lawyers and are wickedly awesome and adult and involved and responsible and intimidating. My mother, for example, worked for the DA’s office straight out of law school prosecuting criminal drug cases and never lost a case. Then she was recruited to do the same thing by the US Attorney General’s office—so on the federal level. She could have been a high profile judge or something by now, but she decided for her family’s sake she’d confine her awesomeness to her and Dad’s law firm and running the women’s ministry at church and starting a band program in our school and serving on city committees about things like LCD signage and ethics in law practice and on and on it goes.

So part of my lifelong reticence to pursue law could be rooted in not wanting to compete with that shadow. But what played an even larger part in my decision was that my parents worked so hard all the time. We were never on a vacation that my parents weren’t also working. My brothers and I were in daycare from the time we were toddlers, and when we were too old for that, we had to be involved in extracurriculars because my parents worked all day and then some. If my mom had to pick us up from school or an extracurricular, she was always late. It was just a question of how late. If it was under half an hour, she was practically on time.

Now—this isn’t some sob story. We had family dinners, my parents were involved in school and homework, we went on vacations together that were awesome, and my parents never missed a single game, debate match, or play. My brothers and I have never felt neglected or abandoned. In almost every way, my parents were exemplary in their roles of mother and father. But that didn’t leave any other time for my parents—no personal time that wasn’t either filled with work or kids or both. And it was a strain to fit it all in.

And, to be concise, law just doesn’t appeal to me.

When I took the LSAT as a way to get my GRE paid for, I studied really hard because I can’t not take tests and studying seriously. This was a mistake. Not only did it get my mother’s hopes up, but it also confused my poor mind into thinking “So we’re into law now? Guess I should plan out a career trajectory.” And that’s what I did. Which is how I ended up thinking I should totally be a jury selector or a mediator. What you’ll no doubt notice is that neither of those involve being an actual lawyer.

I did well on the LSAT. When I finished, my father took me out for a celebratory dinner of fried fat at Chili’s, where I confided to him that I wasn’t sold on being a lawyer. But how would I ever tell my mother?

“Buttercup, honey, I don’t understand what you think your mother will do to you if you don’t pursue law. She’s never been able to restrain herself with you and your brothers. If you decide to pursue psychology, she’ll jump on the bandwagon. Just show her you’ve done some research know what you’re talking about and she’ll start helping you plan the future you choose in no time flat.”

(In case you can’t read his tone from the “honey” he threw in, his voice was filled with paternal patronization. He clearly didn’t think there was any reason at all to believe that disappointing my mother was something to be feared. I find this surprising considering how many years he’s been married to her.)

The night after the LSAT, the nightmares began. Horrible dreams where I was either swallowing my teeth or my teeth fell out or my teeth broke while I was eating something. Every night.  

And then I stopped working on my law school applications and started researching non-law careers instead. The dreams stopped. Obviously, my subconscious did not want to go to law school. Now to tell my mother.

I did as my dad suggested, gathering up loads of information about current job market trends and job stability projections and salary averages and gave her a binder of information.

“What’s this?”

“Just some research I’ve been doing on possible careers.”

She smiled. “What type of law, you mean?” She opened the binder.

“No. I don’t think—” Her smile was gone and she was arching her eyebrows in disappointed disbelief. “I don’t think I’m going to law school probably. Maybe. I don’t know!”

I squawked and ran away.

A couple days later, my parents and I were eating dinner. My mother’s lips had been perpetually pursed since my super mature, confident confrontation with her about my future. Staring at her dinner plate, she asked me, “So which law schools have you applied to so far?”

My father and I paused, exchanging a worried glance. Surely I had made it clear that I didn’t intend on attending law school.

“Mom, I’m not going to law school. I’m going to take the GRE and do something else. Probably something in psychology. Did you read all that information I printed f—”

She threw her napkin down, scooted back her chair, and cut me to pieces with her ice blue glare. “Well don’t expect me to take any part of it. Clearly you can’t make up your mind or stick to decisions you’ve made. I don’t even want to hear about it since it probably won’t happen anyway.” She stood up and stomped away in her ridiculous house slipper/sandals.

I was too stunned to even tell my father “I told you so.” I never pass up an opportunity to tell my genius parents I told you so. Eventually, after a few minutes of silence, I turned to him and said, “Uhm. Did you expect that?”

He laughed. Laughed. Clearly he didn’t understand what had happened. My mother had disowned me. Over not going into the profession she had chosen for me probably when I was first born but definitely by the time I was in kindergarten. Even in my worst imaginings she hadn’t reacted that way.

“Well, we’ll just have to work on her,” he said. As if it would be as simple as that. Cha right.

It has been two years since I took the LSAT and crushed my mother’s dreams (she eventually started talking to me again), and I finally took the GRE this August. I took it blind because I couldn’t be bothered to brush up on math. Which is why I scored somewhere in the 30th percentile. Taking grad schools by storm and totally proving my mother wrong. Right.

The problem with this is that I won’t be able to get into a program until Fall 2014. I’ve decided to take courses that will count toward my program as an unclassified student which is way more expensive, but I can’t stand the idea of putting my future off for two more semesters. However, the program I was/am going to apply for is changing in 2014 and might take longer to finish, and some of the classes I asked to get into have refused me. Which makes me just want to study professional writing and give altruism the middle finger.

This place feels very familiar. In undergrad I had wanted to study English but ended up majoring in social sciences because that’s what my parents suggested. (I actually ended up majoring in the same thing my mother majored in—surprise, surprise.)

I told my mother I was thinking about just studying professional writing because I scored super high in verbal on the GRE and they’d probably be thrilled to have me instead of apathetic like the psyc program was.

“And what job can you get with that?”

I sighed dramatically as I’m wont to do with this line of adult questioning. It’s so tiringly practical. I much prefer to dream about the types of things I might do one day given enough time to practice my trade and maybe a little help from God. Like be the next J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin. How I feed myself or pay my insurance during that practice time will just work itself out.

“Well, I could maybe just teach adjunct and write and edit freelance…”

Her eyebrows raised as if she was surprised that I was capable of such stupidity, but her eyes were coolly disdainful. She knew full well I was capable of that level of stupidity. So this was going well.

“Buttercup. You need a full-time job with benefits. Without one, you’ll end up poor and homeless.”

I laughed. She didn’t. Okay, so that was a serious argument.

“Mom, I will not end up homeless if I don’t have a job that pays benefits. Plenty of people have jobs that don’t pay benefits and they have a place to sleep—some are even above the poverty line.”

“Name one person.”

I seriously didn’t think I would have to because there are so many careers that are contract based. And yet, every single one of those careers completely flew from my mind. But thank God I listen to NPR.

“All of the support staff in D.C.” She looked doubtful. “It’s true. They all have to go on Obama Care.”

She rolled her eyes and went back to reading her book. I waited a minute or so for a response. Maybe she was just thinking.

“Are…are you mad because I won the argument?”

She snorted. Won the argument. As if! “I’m not going to talk to you when you’re not even making sense.”

What???

“Uhm…”

Still not looking up, she said, “We’re not going to have a conversation about this.”

I got up to leave the room and said over my shoulder (I think I’ve already proven what a scaredy cat I can be), “So that’s a no on you supporting my decision.”

“What decision? You don’t even understand the opportunities or consequences tied to your proposed change in plans.”

Lawyered.

The thing is, she’s right. But how could I possibly know all the consequences and opportunities attached to any decision or course of action? This is what paralyzes our generation, I believe. Our Baby Boomer parents are financially supportive, but they aren’t very supportive of our dreams. Sure, when we were young they were all, “You can be/do anything you want to be/do!” But then we grow up and they’re all, “I didn’t raise you to be a humanties major!”

I am not concerned with fulfilling my parents’ dream(s) for me—obviously, since I’m not a lawyer nor a bioethicist, computer scientist, counselor to diabetic oldsters. But I do want their approval of my career choice I eventually land on. I want them to be proud of me. I want my cake and to eat it too.

Add to this my mother’s argument, which is exactly why I hadn’t chosen another career. I had thought editing books was it. But I was wrong, and the possibility that I can choose wrong again terrifies me. It’s a type of failure. And since I cannot know all the opportunities and consequences attached to my decision, I find it impossible to fully commit to a decision.

Giving rise to the Peter Pan Generation—the other name professional condescenders call the Millennial generation. It’s not that we don’t want to be hardworking professionals. It’s that there are forces in our lives that try to talk us out of making the decision we want. Which delays it for a while. And that is why we’re almost 30 or already in our early 30's and still trying to figure it all out. Perhaps what our generation is missing is the fire in the belly that makes us defy all other opinions and all obstacles and all self-doubts.

Why do you think our generation is finding it so difficult to decide what career to follow? Or, if the career has been chosen, actually pursuing that career?



Monday, November 11, 2013

The Cobbler Part II: Lord Preserve Me and My Faint Heart

After leaving the store with a successful flirtation feather in my cap, I called Sprinkle on the way home. My recap was long and glowing, but she was only interested in one thing. A name. She tried to goad my memory. I was pretty certain his first name began with a B and the last name began with an M. Brendan Monocle. Brent McGrady. Bo Metcalf. I had no idea, and so Sprinkle’s considerable Internet PI skills went unused unfortunately.

I polled everyone I knew about how long to wait before going back and whether or not to just give the Cobbler my number or ask for his. The general consensus was that it was much easier to just include my number in with some sweets. One dissenting voice cautioned that if a guy was actually interested, he would ask for my number and to just give the sweets alone and see what he did. But it was one among a chorus saying, “Go for it, Buttercup! You got this girl.”

So a week later, at the end of one of my shifts, I baked a gorgeous orange-blueberry scone, wrapped it up nice and masculine, and wrote a card with some help: "Enjoy the scone! Next time, give me a call and we'll share one over coffee. -Buttercup Harding, my-dig-its"

With my heart in my throat and my bestie, Sprinkle, on standby in case I threw up out of nerves all over my crush when he let me down gently, I was ready to deliver my scone, complete with my number. On advice from my brother, I left my insoles for returning in the car. (The Cobbler was right: the Keens had broken in nicely. Not leather stocking nicely, but enough not to be hobbled with pain.) Brother suggested that returning the merchandise might send mixed messages, and if I was going to go through with this, I might as well commit. 

I do a walk by, and he's not there. I do another lap. Totally not there.

Well, I'll be damned if I'm going to drive all the way to the mall for no reason. I go out to the car and switch my scone for the insoles, go back in, and make the return. I call Sprinkle on my way back out to the car, filling her in on the disappointment. I would just have to come back the next morning to give it to him I tell her as I slide into my car and CRUNCH. 

I had sat on the scone. I sat on my baked heart.

The box and card were totally crumpled, but the scone was fine. At the first sound of destruction, I had jumped back out of the car like my bottom was on fire, so I guess that saved the baked good. I determined to buy a new box and just take it to him again in the morning. I was pretty sure he worked Mondays. [Not at all stalkerish to know a stranger’s schedule because you visit him at work so often—unsolicited.]

Monday morning dawned bright and brisk. I had forgotten to buy a new box for the scone. And what if it was stale? I hadn’t even bothered storing it correctly when I got home. This really worried me. I couldn’t give him a stale symbol of my affection.

After staring at the scone, willing it to give me some sign of freshness, I finally pinched off a corner to taste. The problem with this is twofold: 1) a tiny taste cannot convey freshness or staleness, and 2) IT WAS TOTALLY OBVIOUSLY MISSING A CORNER. So, I had to eat it all. It wasn’t stale. It was delicious.

Luckily my 3:00 am to 11:00 am bakery job meant that even on my day off I woke well before the mall opened. And, in the end, I think the scone debacle was a godsend because if I hadn’t had to bake something else that morning, I would have probably had some sort of mental episode from having to wait without any distractions.

I decided to make bite-sized chocolate chip cookies that are delicious—no lie. And, because they’re so tiny, the recipe makes about a million. So I dumped 5 dozen tiny cookies into a brown paper bag (like a lunch bag) and tied it with twine (so manly), and after a lot of mental back and forth, decided not to include my number.

The drive to the mall was torture. I was sweating profusely. My face was flushed, and as I walked through Dillard’s, several of the sales associates gave me worried looks. I probably looked like an alcoholic or substance abuser of some kind, which, as I emerged from Dillard’s into the open walkway of the mall, I realized they must be pretty used to on a Monday because it was filled with meth heads. You know their meth heads because of all the teeth they don’t have. There is also something in the air of how they carry themselves and wear their acid washed jeans.

Of course, it’s also possible that the sales associates now recognized me from my frequent visits and were concerned that I was going to have my heart broken by that rakish shoes salesman. Or there was a mall rumor about me being a stalker.

I made a beeline for the shoe store. He’s there. The Cobbler. He was helping a customer, but when I walked in he smiled and waved before attending to his customer’s requests. There was another sales associate there who looked exactly like the young long-haired drummer from the band Glen Hansard hires in Once. I expected when he opened his mouth that he would have an Irish brogue.

“Is there something you’re looking for?”

I had been lurking around the sales section, waiting for the Cobbler to wrap it up with the most indecisive male shopper ever. The Cobbler would occasionally look over with a smile or a wink (a wink! There are some people who think the wink is cheesy or weird. I personally love winks all the way from my delightedly flushed cheeks to my curled toes). This kept me hanging on despite all my nerves shouting, “Get out of here before you make a fool of yourself!” But no way, baby. I was committing to this foolhardiness.

“Nope,” I told the disappointingly American boy. “Just looking at the sales rack. Those Brooks?”

We talked shoe small talk until it became apparent that if I didn’t want to make a total ass out of myself, I would have to try some on. Not Irish Boy went to the back to check for my size, and the Cobbler came over to chat while his customer was walking around the store in yet another pair of shoes.

“Well. I’ve got bad news.”

“You do? What’s that? The number of meth addicts who shop at this mall?”

He blinked at me. “What?”

“Have you seen the people walking around?”

He looked out the store’s open doors just as Billy Jean and Billy Bob rounded the corner for the tenth time (I swear—I was keeping count while I was waiting).

“Yeah, I guess there are some pretty weird people here this time of day during the week.”

“Not a whole lot of teeth happening.”

He laughed. Hard. I beamed.

His customer asked for a different size or something, and the Not Irish Boy came back to tell me he didn’t have my size in the Brooks. So I thought screw it. I’ll come back later. I needed a curtain rod for the blackout curtains I had bought since I had to go to bed at 6 p.m. every night. Living. The. Dream. I’d just run down to some department stores, check out what they had going on, and come back in 30 minutes or something. Surely that would be enough time for the gentleman to make up his mind. There was no way in hell I was giving my bag full of cookies to the Cobbler in front of a customer. Dear Lord in heaven preserve me and my faint heart.

“You’re not leaving are you?”

I turned around at the door. “I’ll be back to chat. I have something else I need to do while I’m here.”

As I sashayed my way down to Penny’s, weaving in between tweakers, I glowed with womanly self-assurance. I mean, you can’t hear the wounded pleading in his voice—but it was there. That man was in love with me. This was going to be cake. I texted Sprinkle an updated while I dinked around. Bought a curtain rod. Tried on clothes I had no intention of buying. Browsed Claire’s because kids these days. Browsed Hot Topic because goths these days. Went back by the shoe store—and the customer was still there! It had to have been at least 30 minutes since I had left. I had waited 30 minutes in the store. And he had been there when I got there. Who knows how long he had been “shopping.” And this is not a big shoe store. Was he trying on every size in every shoe? What on earth?

I kept right on walking back to Dillard’s. Bought a blanket because when do you ever not need a soft blanket? And took all my purchases to my car. Having a mall crush is expensive, people. If for no other reason, don’t do it to preserve your folding money.

So at this point it had to have been at least almost an hour since I left the store. I walk by, and yes, the customer is gone. The Cobbler is sitting on the floor doing inventory. Not Irish Boy looks up and says, “Hey, Travis [aside: I actually don’t remember his name, but I know it absolutely did not start with a B], look who’s here.”


This causes my heart to lurch painfully. What did that mean? “Look who’s here?” Was that knowing tone because the Cobbler had thought I’d left and told this neo-hippy that he was bummed we hadn’t gotten to talk, that he loved me and wanted nothing more than to confess his love? Or did it mean, “Hey, look. Your stalker’s back”? What did the Dillard's sales associates know? What had their looks meant?!

[Next Tuesday will be the third and final installment of The Cobbler series where I might actually get somewhere with this guy...]

Friday, November 8, 2013

Today, A List

All of my time last night was consumed with baking these little buggers.
Because of this, I’m writing my blog post during lunch without time to really work through any of the million things that have preoccupied me of late, such as: Budgets—they’re not just for money, but also for time. Or: My sudden and intense search for modern arrangements of classic hymns that has somehow morphed into a nightly hour long search for “old timey” gospels/spirituals/I don’t know what search term to use and it is driving me nuts! I think these two things might be somehow related…

In lieu of an exploration of time (because I have none), I present you things that I’ve already thought about.

  1. Baking is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a stress-reliever. As soon as I was old enough to eat solid food and could walk, my grandmother had a spatula in my hand and an adorable oversized apron around my toddler frame. Baking was an enjoyable pastime because it was always with family and for a celebration of some sort. As I grew older and began contributing to potlucks and gifting friends with yummies, I discovered—I’m good at this! I thrive on being good at things. Add to this that my love language is 50% gifts, and that makes baking for other people one of my most favoritest things to do as a labor of love that make me and others happy. (And I get to “test” the product!)
  2. I don’t look forward to working full-time ever again. Not because I’m lazy. Not because I don’t enjoy being productive or working. But because I like having flexibility of when I work. If I could come to work when I had a meeting or when I needed to get something done—I determine the hours—and then was allowed to leave, I wouldn’t have any problem working “full time.” But unfortunately, employers like stability as do customers. Killjoys.
  3. I will be working full-time for the next month due to staffing issues at my present job.
  4. I will never read Moby-Dick despite its manifold references in popular culture—I’m looking at you Heathers.
  5. I would like to read all of Murikami’s books. But I’m afraid a certain someone with the alias Chip will kill me if I don’t read Martin’s Dance of Dragons soon.
  6. My perfect job would be wrapping presents. Day in, day out. It would be the best. But no. I want to contribute something to society.
  7. Things I’m working on internally: creating a time and a money budget, memorizing scripture, praying more, not always offering my opinion as fact (sometimes it’s just an opinion [rarely]), asking a coworker for forgiveness for something that happened 3 weeks ago (the bigger the pride, the longer it takes to swallow).
  8. Things that are happening this month: volunteering at the Freedom Conference (freedom from fear, anxiety, and depression), house hunting, ornament-making party with Bible study, finishing my freelance editing!!!, completing enrollment for Spring 2014 semester, finishing application for doctoral program in Counseling Psychology, baking 130 mini loaves for hospice I volunteer with, visiting hospice patients with Jasper, Donut Run 5k (wherein I eat 6 donuts while “running” a 5k for a special medal), attending a wedding, celebrating Thanksgiving, and Christmas shopping.


Thoughts to think about:
  • What are you reading? Any implications for your life? Any suggestions for others?
  • What’s your labor of love?
  • What’s your personal internal project?
    • If you don’t have one, you’re doing it wrong.