Friday, February 21, 2014

Idaho datin'

"Next time you're here, I'll take you fishing," promised my cousin on my second-to-last day in Idaho. My revelation that I've never fished has been a big topic of conversation this week.

"Don't forget, we have to go hunting, too," I reminded him. "And you know what else I'd like to do? I'd really like to get up to Cousin Clide's cabin one of these days."

"You got it," he replied. "We'll take a couple of ATVs up there and drive around."

There was a pause, then, "You know, if you ever moved to Idaho, you'd be pretty popular," my uncle told me. "A girl who wants to go fishing, hunting, and four-wheeling - the guys would be into you."

"She likes beer,too," added my cousin.

Monday, February 17, 2014

He's got swag

My roommate has introduced a new term to the lexicon: swag. It turns out that swag does not mean free stuff that you get at fancy events, as I had previously thought; it means a magical combination of confidence, charm and humor that makes men attractive to women. Or, in its absence, makes a perfectly good-looking man utterly devoid of interest.

I was flattered and intrigued when my post-Kevin date started sending me a stream of texts indicating that he was interested in me and might even be thinking that I could be a Kevin. He didn't beat around the bush. But was I interested? I was on the fence; I thought he might be flaggy. When he asked if doing donuts in an empty parking lot during a snowstorm sounded fun I thought, is this guy for real?? That's so not my style.

But then I went out with him again, and then again, and he got a glowing endorsement from one of my oldest friends and brought me a photo of a rose (it'll never die) and a fancy bottle of wine on Valentine's Day, and we stayed up till 3 am watching the Olympics and it was the best Valentine's Day ever. And by the time I flew to Idaho five days after I met him I was thinking yes, I will go do donuts with you in an empty parking lot. Whatever you want to do, I am IN.

The man's got some serious swag, and it's powerful stuff.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pottery stress

I have a pottery stress-induced injury in my neck. It's not from hunching over the wheel; it's from lying awake at night, worrying about pottery as my neck and shoulder muscles gradually tense up.

This is high stress pottery season for me. In theory, such a season should not exist, but it is actually well worth the price -- both the physical price and the hefty chunk of change missing from my bank account. I'm participating in a special firing, and the preparations for it are extensive. I am at the studio almost every night, and when I'm not there, I'm thinking about it (as evidenced by my inability to turn my neck). At some point in March, I will reap the rewards of all my hard work when all the pieces arrive at the studio, and it will be like Christmas day. For a five year old. But better.

In the meantime, to help me deal with my pottery injury, I am lucky to have a pottery teacher who is also a professional massage therapist. I don't usually take advantage of his non-clay skills, but tonight I was in dire need. And he knows me so well, I didn't even have to ask.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Looking for Kevin

During my commute from work yesterday I was listening to a podcast while heading to a cafe to meet a young man for a first date. The podcast happened to be a Planet Money podcast about dating. The woman telling her story had gone on 50 dates in a year and a half. At one point, she broke up with someone she had been dating for six weeks, and was questioning whether she had given him enough of a chance. But then, along came Kevin. When she met Kevin, she just knew. And if she had let things drag on with 6-week guy, she never would have met Kevin. And, of course, now they are married and have an adorable newborn baby, and everyone is overjoyed and thrilled, etc etc.

It's a valid point: If you're not excited about someone after a few dates, move on because otherwise you're wasting your time.

This is a point of view that I embrace wholeheartedly, which is why I have broken up with four perfectly promising, flag-less men in the past few months -- all great guys, just not quite right for me.


Going into a date thinking, "If he's the right guy, I'll know immediately," is a TERRIBLE idea. And that is exactly the mindset I was in after hearing this convincing story from Planet Money.

My inner monologue went something like this:

"Well. He's certainly handsome, in a rugged, New England-type way. He's a professional artist and he must be quite talented. And he's nice; he's asking me good questions and telling interesting stories. But I just don't think he's my Kevin. I'm not feeling that instantaneous connection."

Luckily, rather than cut the date short and duck out as I was tempted to do, I gave myself a mental slap on the cheek and told myself to stop being silly, and after that I had a lovely time.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The limitations of technology

My dad gave me an iPad a couple of weeks ago. Actually, what really happened is my dad got a new iPad, gave his old one to my mom, and she in turn gave her old iPad to me.

This thing is vintage. I started looking into apps I could get. The New York Times? Facebook? Every time I tried to download one I got versions of the same message: "This app requires operating system 6.0 or higher." I've only got OS 5; apparently, these things are obsolete after 6 months or so. Remind me not to buy one!

Suddenly it occurred to me how great it would be if I could get the New Yorker app. Would it work? It did! No error message! I couldn't wait to get started reading articles on my big, beautiful iPad screen. It would be a thousand times better than reading them on my tiny iPhone screen.

As I was downloading the app, my eye was caught by the huge stack of New Yorkers on my coffee table. Oh, right. There's another option for reading the New Yorker. And this one is lighterweight than my iPad, AND easier to carry around. Heck, five New Yorkers would still weigh less than my iPad, and it would take me weeks to get through them.

Forgot about that option for a second.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Keeping warm

My mom tends to be slightly obsessive on the subject of proper winter attire. During the colder months of the year, she can frequently be heard saying things like,

"You're wearing a v-neck??! I always wear a turtle neck in February. I can't stand to have my neck exposed when it's this cold out."

"I have to wear fingerless gloves to bed at night to keep my hands warm while I read, because the thermostat in the bedroom is set to 48 degrees."

"What's the fiber content of that sweater? Oh, it's a cotton blend? I stay away from cotton in the winter. I usually make sure to buy sweaters that are 100% wool for this time of year."

Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I check my fiber contents constantly, too. I'm annoyed by the many Bostonians who think that rain boots are appropriate to wear during snow storms, or worse, sopping wet Uggs. (Those are SLIPPERS, people!) And I've noticed recently a tendency to be somewhat disdainful of suitors whose winter wardrobes are not up to my standards.

I have a tiered system of winter coats, 1 through 4. #1 is a lightweight wool coat that I don't really consider to be winter attire, and 4 is a winter parka that is rated for 50 degrees below zero; it usually makes only a couple of appearances per winter.

In the fall, as soon as the weather became slightly nippy, I noticed that many people jumped straight to a level 3, a midweight down coat. I was pleased to see that Trusty, who I was dating at the time, was one of the few people who wore a level 1, a wind-blocking fleece: points for Trusty. After all, if one starts to wear winter coats too early, your body doesn't acclimatize to the cold.

Later, in January, in the midst of the polar vortex, I found myself on a date (wearing, naturally, my level 3) with a man who was clad in a lightweight COTTON jacket. I could only imagine how my mom would react to this. He shivered as I questioned him about it, explaining that he left his winter coat at his parents house... in November. Nearly three months later, I could see no earthly reason why his coat should still be there, especially considering that he had made several trips there in the interim. And then came the kicker:

"It's really been fine so far. Like now, I don't feel cold at all."

I could tell just from looking at him that this was not true. Moreover, this is a guy who bikes just about everywhere, so he probably WAS much warmer walking with me than he usually is. I made a mental note: lacking in common sense.

When I broke up with him a few days later, he asked if it was anything he had said or done. I thought of all the possible responses, but really, what was the point? Someone else might find his cotton jacket charming.

"No," I lied, hoping to come across a down-clad, wool hat-wearing suitor soon.