My Record Cake Collection

Conversations with Friends

This is a conversation I just had.

Me: I don’t care if he pushes me against a wall and invokes the spirit of Hemingway, himself. I’m not sleeping with him.

Friend: Hemingway? I would think Henry James would be better.

Me: Henry James was gay.

Friend: The Tropic of Cancer guy?

Me: You mean Henry Miller.

Friend: Oh yeah.

This is also one of the many reasons I’m single.

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Big Girls Don’t Cry

When I was 10 I had a boyfriend named Zack. He was my boyfriend for two days.

It was a thrilling proposal. I think my friend Jennifer was more excited that me about the prospect of us “going together” and it was the equivalent of an arranged marriage in my world. Jennifer asked him if he wanted to go out with me, then turned and asked me if I wanted to go with him and…POOF! I had a boyfriend. To celebrate a bunch of us kids went to play in the creek that ran behind our suburban Austin homes. That’s  when I sliced my foot open on a rock. I didn’t cry in spite of the pain, but I also wouldn’t let Zack comfort me.

I begged some of the other kids to go get my mom and eventually she appeared, pulled me from the large stone I had perched on in the middle of the creek and helped me hobble to the car.

I never talked to Zack again and we moved to Nashville two days later. (Zack, if you’re reading this, you should know I’ve moved on and you should, too.)

It occurred to me that I did the same thing today, 23 years later. Only this time, when I need my mom, she’s not really thrilled to find out I’m in a bind. In fact today was the first time I’ve talked to her in the eight days since I totaled my car. I was with a friend when she called me this afternoon and as I hung up the phone I fought back the well of tears struggling to surface in my eyes and shrugged off the comfort offered from someone who was trying to help. I’m in this one alone, but what bothers me more is that there’s nobody around I can even cry to.

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Jumping

The only way you’re ever going to know if you’re any good at something is to do it and do it with everything you have.

I don’t want to devote the same time and energy to writing that I would to making a Mosaic tile table top, a weekend here and there until it’s ready to show off to the world. I’m never going to become a remarkable tile artist, but I know I’m a fantastic writer when something inspires me.

My computer has been down for a week and I’ve been half crazy being kept away from these people I’ve been writing the last few months. However, I have managed to flush out another idea in the meantime, but this isn’t going to be a DIY side project this time. This time, I’m jumping.

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The Story of Record Cake

Once upon a time I had a really, really good friend that we’ll call Marvin. In retrospect, I thought more of my friendship with Marvin that he did.

I have lots of friends, so the friend part isn’t really the story.

Anyway, Marvin was a guy and I happen to be a girl. Marvin also happened to have a girlfriend. We’ll call her Betty. I met Betty on a few occasions, but Marvin insisted that Betty didn’t like me and she thought there was something going on with us. There wasn’t.

I find that it makes it incredibly awkward to hang out with your guy friends’ girlfriends when you know they don’t like you hanging out with their boyfriends AND suspect you have ulterior motives. I didn’t.

Let me interject that I’m the kind of person that brings in chicken biscuits from out of town because your favorite biscuit place closed down their local locations. Or maybe I’ll bring you coffee mug emblazoned with your favorite team and filled with M&Ms in their colors just because I had a layover there. I’ve even been known to ship Kroger brand tea to a friend who has moved to a land without Kroger because she’s convinced it’s better than anything else in her market (even though I suspect it’s just one of the few tangible ties she has to her childhood). I’m not saying this to brag, because it’s really a selfish act. It makes me happy to make my friends happy.

Because of said desire to do random things for people, it’s not really surprising that when Marvin and Betty broke up right before his birthday, I showed up at midnight to usher in said birthday with a cake, decorated to look like a vinyl record. A nod to his treasured collection. His cake was, of course, subsequently posted on Facebook, where Betty saw it. Betty wasn’t amused.

Betty, like me, enjoyed tweeting. One day, as I cyberstalked Betty to see if there were any good breakup posts, I noticed that the conversation between she and her friends seemed to be discussing me, my dinner and anything else I had offered up to the black hole that is the internet. They were convinced I had been sleeping with Marvin and blamed me, in part, for their break up. I even had my own hashtag, #recordcake.

I bumped into Betty a lot over the next few months. Apparently, we had a lot in common. After one incident wherein she stormed out of a bar and a few near misses with her friends drunkenly calling me out (which she apologized for), one night I decided to try and talk to her. Slowly, the way you might approach a wild bear if you were so inclined, I walked up to her in a crowded, dark bar.

I explained to Betty that nothing had been going on with me and Marvin and told her I hoped we could at least be civil, since her new regular hangout out appeared to be my “Cheers”. Betty agreed and we became Facebook friends.

We exchanged the occasional friendly post and she offered to cook me dinner and bring me books and trashy magazines after I had surgery. Soon we were making plans for concerts and celebrating birthdays. When my car was demolished by a tree in a storm, she was there to pick me up that night so I could watch a playoff hockey game and drink a much needed beer.

I think everybody on both sides is a little impressed at how close we’ve become. Everybody but Marvin, that is. As it turns out, Marvin was exacerbating any actual tension between the two of us and was probably the only one that thought we shouldn’t be friends. Our regular bartender might actually agree on that point just because we are a lot of t-r-o-u-b-l-e when we want to be.

Last night, I found out that Betty had reprimanded a guy in a bar last week when I wasn’t there and he’d said I’d be pretty if I lost weight. She knows I’m pretty amazing just the way I am. Betty is a pretty awesome friend like that.

Marvin, on the other hand, is now married, which I’m happy for. He also quit talking to me last January when he decided to get serious with the new lady, who I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with for a time.

I could look back on this and be mad that somebody was a crappy friend, or just sad that he and I aren’t friends anymore, but things happen for a reason. I got a cool friend out of the deal and I’ll never be sad that I made an effort to let him know that he was important to me at the time.

The point of this story, if there is one, is just that you shouldn’t hold stupid grudges against, and otherwise judge, cool people just because somebody else says you should; and you shouldn’t let people, even your friends, get away with hurting you, either. That, and I think it’s pretty cool that I had my own skanky girl, home wrecker hashtag.

The point of this blog is just to share the stories. I have a lot of them. They’re all my record cakes.

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Birds of a Feather

Within ten minutes, three different friends had posted these three pictures to Facebook. I think it’s pretty clear that I have awesome friends.


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I Have No Fucking Idea What I’m Doing

“I Have No Fucking Idea What I’m Doing’ is easily my favorite blog post ever written. Jenny Lawson is amazing and you should be reading everything of hers if you aren’t already.

My favorite quote from the blog (which could have been stolen from my journal):

“It’s been eating at me for the last week, but I think I’ve finally figured it out.   My five-year-plan is to never be the kind of person who’s stable enough to have a five-year-plan.  It’s technically the same plan I had five years ago, and guess what?  I’m totally on track.”

Read the post: I Have No Fucking Idea What I’m Doing

Read the blog: The Bloggess

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There’s No Crying At Britney

Last night I made the nearly fatal mistake of going to see Britney Spears. I thought it would be fun to transport myself back to the late-90s and hear some fun Brit-Brit. You know, back before she went all crazy and shaved her head.

I was wrong. It wasn’t fun, however, that’s another blog.

What I am still confounded about this morning is the crying girl in the bathroom after the show. There weren’t any straight men there so it couldn’t have been guy drama. It certainly wasn’t because she was overcome with emotion after hearing Britney’s closing song, Till The World Ends (By the way, I just had to utilize Google to see what the name of the song was as it sounded like 75% of the others I heard.). Perhaps she was just very sad because she, much like me after my first Fleetwood Mac concert, had waited so long for this day and it was over, but I don’t think that was it either. My guess is that Nikki Minaj’s opening set gave her a headache, which had blossomed into a full-blown migraine by the end of the night and she was in pain. I hope she feels better today.

I am continuing to cry silently, weeping for the loss of three hours of my life and $16 which would have been better spent on Harry Potter.

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It’s Not Always Noodle Salad

One of my favorite quotes from a movie comes from As Good As It Gets. I’ve always loved Jack Nicholson’s character, Melvin Udall, and his ability to break things down to an uncomfortably basic level. At one point in the movie Melvin, Simon and Carol are on a road trip to Baltimore as Simon is explaining his estrangement from his parents to his travel companions. Carol states that everybody has horrible stories to get over.

Since first seeing this movie on Valentine’s Day in 1998, I have heard Melvin’s reply when I hear people focusing on all the negative that has happened in their life.

It’s not true. Some people have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it so good.

My life has certainly not always been good times and noodle salad, but the past couple of years I’ve been making a concentrated effort to have more noodle salad to make up for the times like I’m having now (not horrific, but not great). I try not to dwell on the negative and I don’t broadcast every bad thing that happens in my life. Everybody is going to go through hardships, some more so than others, but you can’t live in it and it’s definitely not doing anybody any good to focus on everybody who seems to have it better.

There will be adversity. You will be faced with uncertainty, hard decisions and heartbreak. You will be held accountable for your mistakes, people will hurt you and, believe it or not, whether you mean to or not, you will probably hurt other people. In the midst of all of this, try to remind yourself that there are good times and noodle salad to be had, even if you have to make them yourself.

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Baby Birthdays and Other Reasons You’re Oversharing

Each morning I get up, let my dog out and wander aimlessly into my kitchen to prepare whatever low-carb, lo-cal “breakfast” I believe I can force feed myself without incident. This morning as I was spooning cottage cheese out of the container I noticed a pastel green party invitation laying casually on the granite counter top. It was one of the customized, glossy photo invitations that everybody is using now for everything from bah mitzvahs to Christmas cards. The light green back ground was covered with floating daisies and, in the center there was a cockeyed picture of some stranger’s fat, redheaded, smiling baby.

The invitation encouraged the recipient to come and celebrate the life and happiness of Baby. All I wanted to celebrate when I looked at this picture was Baby getting into some clean clothes that hadn’t been covered in green puke (which I was later informed was Baby’s first taste of guacamole. Who puts that in a public photograph?).

I placed my breakfast back in the refrigerator, content that I was about 100 calories closer to a girlish figure than Baby due to my now non-existent appetite.

What happened to cute first year pictures? Was a matching outfit, or an appropriate photo really too much to ask? I would have settled for a photo sans a regurgitated lunch.

With the rise of digital photography, Facebook and photo sites like Flickr, we’re much more apt to take and share pictures of the mundane and sometimes even digestively offensive, but does that mean that it’s okay to send invitations to your loved ones for a birthday party, where, if the invite is any indication, I’m more likely to walk away having been puked on than I would at a Vanderbilt frat party?

This is just one more instance of over-sharing in today’s world. Just because you can put it out there doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

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The Grace of a Woman

Ten years ago I realized I was in love with my best friend. The guy I hung out with, talked to every night on the phone and who also had a girlfriend who was moving to Nashville from Atlanta to be with him. I had avoided the thought of getting involved with him because I was young and couldn’t imagine being in a serious relationship with anybody. I loved the relationship I had with him and didn’t want it to change, but with the impending arrival of his girlfriend I was forced to contemplate a world where that relationship was going to change drastically and not in a good way. What followed was three months of heartbreak and turmoil, the likes of which I hadn’t yet witnessed in my young life. I cried, obsessed and generally subjected myself to daily torture. It was incredibly masochistic of me. Eventually he broke things off with her and all was right with the world. Five years later when that relationship ended I remember thinking that I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I didn’t know if I wanted to. Who wants to imagine a world without the person you love the most?

Fast forward ten years and in the last few weeks I’ve come to realize I have feelings for one of my close friends, but this time I see the signs. We have such a great relationship as it is, that I’ve always pushed thoughts of anything further happening out of my mind. I don’t need a serious relationship right now. The only problem is that I think he’s about as close to the idea of my perfect guy as actually exists.
A few weeks ago we were hanging out and suddenly the vibe felt a little different. In the few weeks that have passed we’ve had to have conversations about us and what we both want. First, and foremost, we want to preserve what we have. Second, I think we both have a lot to think about. I’m unsure about being in a serious relationship, but know that I can’t handle being involved with him in the least and him continuing to date other people. He’s made the comment that he’s fairly sure I’m the one and he’s having a hard time wrapping his head around it. We’re going to sit on it for a while and continue on like normal for the time being and I’m going to push those thoughts back to the recesses of my mind.
Ten years ago this would have been turmoil. It would have meant me crying, wanting to talk about it with him constantly and subjecting myself to torture. A little life experience and having a feeling that he might actually be “the one” (even though I haven’t admitted that to anybody) is letting me sit back and enjoy this for what it is, two adults who want to be deliberate with their actions, who don’t want to hurt or lose the other one and want to make sure they’re ready for what we both foresee as a commitment.
I’m not posting cryptic messages as my Facebook status or cyber-stalking anybody this time. I’m not pushing him or me. I’m sitting back and enjoying the occasional nights I get to spend sleeping with my head on his shoulder.
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