Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I'm obsessing about right now...

Khiels lotion

My fall/winter uniform: sweater dress and boots

Sugar Free Jello Pudding snacks- 60 cals for all that creamy chocolate goodness? Yes please!

My Uggs- how did my feet stay warm with out them?

Gold necklaces- not in the gangster or Italian sort of way. Think J. Crew...

Dreaming about what I'll be when I grow up. Is it bad that I don't know yet?

Glee- just bought Vol. 1 of music from the show- it's stellar!

Teaching my lab- my students are a hoot!

Netflix- movies straight to my computer? Where have you been all my life?

Traveling- on the short list of places I want to go next: New York, Puerto Rico, the UK and Chicago

Reality TV: Kardashians, the Hills, the City, Tough Love...

Zumba- most fun I've ever had at the gym

Yoga in my room instead of the gym

Hating on overrated popular Twilight.

Being an Aunt!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Cat"astrphoic Conversations

You know those people that tell stories about their cat or their weekend of fishing in painstaking detail? They're on minute twenty of talking about Fluffy and suddenly you're hoping for a nose-bleed. an earth quake, ANYTHING to get you away from there.

Sometimes I feel like that person. It all starts innocently enough...

Them: So, Holly, what do you do?

Me: I'm a grad student. I'm getting my masters in Mass Communications.

Them: Mass' is that?

This is the response I normally get when I tell people what I'm getting my masters in. If people know what mass communications is (I'll explain it in a second here) they usually ask what my emphasis is. That's because if you major in communications as an undergrad you pick an emphasis (advertising, public relations, journalism, broadcast, electronic media). But for your masters, you study all those areas.

Once I get people up to speed then the conversation usually goes like this...

Them: So you study all areas of communications? Like what do you study?

Me: Well, for instance, I did a study of blogging moms. We surveyed them to find out if blogging and reading other mom's blogs affected their self-esteem and if they feel pressure from comparing themselves to other moms.

(Usually at this point they're still with me, though some already have eyes glazed over.)

Them: Cool! So you do surveys and stuff. About blogging. That's neat. What else do you study?

Me: Um. Well, my thesis is on the effects of alcohol advertising responsibility messages on adolescents. I interviewed 120 adolescents and asked them what they think about "drinking responsibly." Then I have to transcribe the interviews and...

(at this point I've lost about 90% of people, so I switch tracks)

I wrote a paper about the discrepancies between American and Russian responses to human trafficking. You know, like that movie Taken?

Them: Oh yeah! Taken! Great movie.

(Aaaannnd they're back.)

I can't blame people. Looking in from the outside, it's boring as hell. Research is a labor of love. Finding and reading upwards of 40 obscure journal articles that can *hopefully be useful for a literature review. Doing statistical gymnastics to get your numbers to mean something. Thank goodness for SPSS. Writing and re-writing and re-writing and still not making sense. Sometimes by the end of it I think I'd rather have to stop drinking Diet Coke rather than read the draft again.

But when you have 20 pages of blood, sweat, and tears down on paper and maybe, somehow in a small way it contributes to the ever growing patchwork of knowledge of how we all talk and learn and interact and feel on top of the world.

Researchers are curious and never satisfied and always learning. And sometimes boring. So, if you've ever asked me what I do, or what I study and I bored you to tears, I apologize. Consider it payback for when you told me stories about your cat.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bitter has left the building

In an effort to truly put myself out there, I’ve dated (meaning been on more than a couple dates with) approximately 10 guys in the past 12 to 13 months. That’s a lot of guys and a lot of dates. I’ve learned an awful lot about myself (and some of it really was awful). Like, sometimes I think too much, and don’t say enough. Sometimes, I don’t think enough, and have word vomit. High expectations can be good, but those expectations have to be tempered with kindness and a dose of reality. Ugh, reality. Judgment can and should be used, but only judge someone as harshly as you’d like them to judge you. Good on paper doesn’t always mean good on a date. And sometimes when a guy only meets the bare minimum of items on the checklist, the chemistry can be out of this world. Oh, and sometimes, if I don’t sleep and have one too many Rockstars (the caffeinated beverage, not actual Rockstars) I can say some really weird things. (One guy called me crazy. And it wasn’t like “Whooo-hoo! You’re just crazy amounts of fun! It was in no way, shape, or form a compliment.)

During the past year, dating has been, shall we say, painful. Imagine how you feel after an 18-hour day of wearing 4-inch stilettos. On the outside it looks great, sexy even. But by the end of the day, everything hurts, and if you can’t take the heels off soon, you might stab yourself in the eye, just to forget about the pain in your feet.

The list of atrocities I’ve suffered seemingly never-ends. I’ve been flaked out on. One guy cancelled a date like three nights in row because he was too tired. Seriously. Drink a diet coke. I’ve been offered dinner from a vending machine, and asked to a hotel room (both were the same guy). I’ve been left hanging. I went out with a guy three times and he said he’d call, but never did. Where do those guys go? Off to the Island of Lost Men? Turns out, he got back with his ex. Why not just tell me that so I don’t have to wonder what I did wrong? I’ve been treated like a child. One guy asked what I was looking for in a guy, so I told him. Little did I know, it was a trick question. After I divulged, he said, “You know, I think girls should focus a little more on what they can offer a husband, and a little less on what they want out of a husband.” Condescending much?

I’ve been lied to. I’ve been booty-called, I’ve been name-called, had my heart broken and just generally disrespected. Now you might look at me and say, “Holly, get a grip. These are your problems? Some mediocre dates and a few bad break-ups?” Well, sir, I look at you and say, “Yeah my life’s not so bad, but what’s a blog for if not for some self-indulgent whining?”

Not that I haven’t had some fun, and some good experiences. And sometimes, lets be honest, it just comes down to the fact that you’re not a match. But dating is a means to an end. And when you can’t seem to reach that end (yes, I mean the “M” word) all the negative experiences can become overwhelming and discouraging. I mean, I have a righteous desire, and I’m doing my part, so what gives?

Despite sometimes feeling like I’m at the end of my rope, I’ve decided this: No matter how bad dating gets, no matter how long it takes to find that guy, and no matter how many break-ups I suffer through, (and no matter how many dates I am asked on by text message) I refuse to carry that baggage forward. I will be kind and sweet and positive. I will be optimistic. I will not make one guy atone for the sins of the previous 8 or 9. I will not be cynical, bitter, or jaded (or maybe just enough to stay a little feisty, cause let's be honest, we all like that). I will be humble enough to recognize my shortcomings, and gracious enough to overlook the shortcomings of others. (Now you're saying, "Yes, this is what blogs are for, some public self-realization.")

And if all else fails, and I’m still single at 40, I’ll just take a trip to the animal shelter and adopt a dozen cats, start a knitting club, and hit up my nearest Mervyn’s for some elastic waist pants.

Just kidding. I will NEVER wear elastic waist pants.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I love being a girl (most of the time).

I have always been a girly girl. My parents tried to sign me up for sports. I would have none of it. Not that I think there is anything wrong with sports, it's just not in my nature to care about them. I have always loved music and singing and the performing arts. Instead of soccer or gymnastics like most girls my age, I wanted to take singing lessons.
When I was young, my mom would sit me on the toilet backwards and would brush my hip-length hair out and then french braid it or crimp it, or put rollers in it. Even though she yanked the heck out of my head (love you Mom!), I loved the end result. I picked out my outfits the night before, carefully matching and color coordinating my Keds with alternating colors of layered socks, leggings and t-shirt. Now, I'm more into Banana Republic and Nordstrom, but I started refining my taste at an early age.
I was an early bloomer (I had boobs at age 10- yeah, it sucked), I wore as much makeup as I was allowed to, and would bring it to school so I could reapply as the day went on. If only I had know about Sephora at that point!! I was still carrying my Cover Girl compact in my back pocket. I remember waking up extra early just so I could spend an hour doing my hair. And, my feet are now numb because I started wearing 3 inch heels to school when I was 15. Not in a slutty way, but just in a clearly-heels-are-more-awesome-than-tennis-shoes way.
I love dressing up, being feminine, being a sister and a daughter. I love chick flicks, and Jane Austen, and Ben and Jerry, and chocolate. I love that boys open doors for us girls, pay for our dinner, let us lay on their shoulder and tell us how good we look and how good we smell. I hate spiders, and being cold, and scary movies. I love that I get to be a mom, and at some point also have a career, if I want to. I really love ALMOST everything about being a girl and almost all girly things (except Twilight. That is a girly thing I do not love).
But sometimes, you feel helpless. When you're alone in a parking lot at night, or you're alone in your apartment at night, or you can't move something, or you really just need a hug. I hate feeling helpless. I hate the acute realization of my limitations. That's when I hate being a girl. But, most of the time, I LOVE it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Holly Hobbie

To all those of you who actually read my blog, sorry I have been such a slacker!

I've realized lately that I have no hobbies.  What are hobbies anyway?  Why do people invest so much time and effort into them?  I mean coin collecting?  Really.  I'm going to spend thousands of dollars on some old coins? Try again.  I could buy a really nice bag with that.  And birdwatching?  My arms get tired just thinking of holding up binoculars for hours.  Not to mention, I don't give a crap about birds. 

One of the stock questions you can count on being asked when dating someone is, "What do you like to do for fun?," or "What are your hobbies?"  My stock answer usually includes some variation of reading, going to the gym, shopping, hanging out with my friends, and anything to do with food (like cooking it. Or eating it.)  This is usually followed by a minute of silence and a slightly confused look.  "No, but what are your hobbies? You know, what do you do in your spare time?" Like the emphasis will change my answer. That's...what I do.  

Oh, wait.  Does shopping not count as a hobby?  And if not, why not?  At least if I spend money I have more to show for it than some old stamp or coin.  I think the confusion lies in other people's narrow definition of the word hobby.  According to those guys Merriam and Webster (who are experts, by the way) a hobby is anything one pursues outside of their regular occupation especially for relaxation.  All of the hobbies I mentioned fit this definition PERFECTLY, thank you.

Although this post was spurred by a recent conversation, it's root is in previous dating experiences with "super outdoor adventure guy" and "what are your passions guy".

Yes, my hobbies fit nicely with the dictionary definition, but to these hobby minded men, my answers were not satisfactory.  Outdoor guy (remember the guy with the vacuum lines?  Same guy.) was headed off every weekend to "canyoneer" or "backpack" some treacherous terrain.  It was clear that even though he could not stand up from a sitting position with out groaning old man style, these excursions made him feel all testosterone-ish and manly.  He would casually work into conversations how he had "summitted" some high altitude peak or another, and tell tales of sheer cliffs with no place to grip (however did he make it up!?).  I suppose these mentions would have impressed a more outdoor savvy girl than myself, but then, I prefer heels to hiking boots. So I told him, "I totally found Rockin Republic jeans for $80 at Nordstrom Rack this weekend." That was an amazing find.  The shopping equivalent of summitting peak yadda yadda. What do get in return? Yeah. Blank stare.  I acted like his hobby was cool, why can't he return the favor?

Then there's passions guy.  He's always talking about how he's passionate about things and blah blah.  Maybe if he wasn't so passionate about riding his road bike he'd be 34 and married instead of 34 and single.  Yeah, I said it.  Well, he was always asking me, "what are your passions, what are your passions?"  My passion is you not asking me that at this particular moment.  So I told him what I care most about is my family and the Church.  "Noo, but what do you like to dooo."  So I gave him my stock answer.  Blank stare.  "You read? That's cool I guess."  What- now reading isn't a hobby?  

What these guys were looking for were answers that fit their perception of "hobby," which apparently only means something active that you do outdoors.  I admit my some of my hobbies are not very traditional, and maybe I only have a few, but I have good reasons.

Number 1. I'm fickle.  I know this about myself.  I have hobby ADD. I get really excited and spend lots of time and money, and then 'poof!' I'm bored.  For example,  I took up road biking a few years ago, and totally loved it.  So I bought a really nice, expensive bike thinking that it was a good investment.  Well, I've ridden that bike approximately 10 times. 

Number 2. I like being outside.  For a bit.  But long periods of time outside leads to discomfort such as mosquito bites, sunburn, or getting cold and/or dirty.  So lots of outdoor hobbies are out.

Number 3.  I like school (which is currently my job), so I don't really have this huge need for another outlet, besides just being around good friends.  And when I enjoy the company, it really doesn't matter what we do.

I may not have many hobbies, but what I do have are books to get lost in,  friends that I cherish, family that I love, and lots of cute clothes.  What else does a girl need?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gee, thanks, feminists.

I recently had plans to go on a date with a guy.  Fortunately, before we met up, we had quite a long phone conversation.  The conversation veered to the topic of what each was looking for in a future spouse, as conversations with dates are apt to do.  Well, I can tell you this guy's list was, shall we say, comprehensive.  

He wants a woman who is a great cook, who keeps herself looking good (i.e. frequents the gym and dresses well), likes and wants kids, high sex drive, homemaker extraordinaire, frugal, spiritual, oh and he wanted someone who was willing to financially contribute, because why should the responsibility of providing lie solely on the man?  

A career driven, sex-crazed, hot to trot, betty-crocker-super-mom. 
If that's not the epitome of a paradox, I'm not sure what is.  Where does such a woman exist?  In the words of Elizabeth Bennett, "She would surely be a fearsome thing to behold."  

I blame the feminists for men's unrealistic expectations of what the women in their life should be, and for women everywhere feeling inadequate when they don't accomplish everything on the above-mentioned list.  Rosie the Rivter might as well be saying, "We can do it ALL."  But let me tell you, it's false advertising.  And it's too much to expect.  The problem with shouting for decades, "WE CAN DO IT!!," is that eventually society will call your bluff .  Well, I'm folding.  I don't want to do it all, at least not all at once.

What woman feels like having sex after a long day of the gym, getting her-self and the kids ready for the day, working, picking up kids, soccer practice, cooking dinner, homework, cleaning house.  
I want to be a great wife and mother, and I'm willing to put aside career aspirations when that time comes.  What better way can a woman contribute to the world than to raise happy, healthy, productive children, and supporting and caring for her man?  Scoff if you'd like, but my husband will love his life.
When I hear a man saying he wants a woman who can do it all, I don't appreciate his modern approach to gender roles.  I think... he must be one lazy SOB.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This video is just too funny! Gladys and I would be friends I think!!

I saw the movie "Taken" this weekend. Wow! It was so suspenseful I thought i might 
pee. Anyway, It was great!! It deals with the subject of human trafficking. Human 
trafficking is basically modern day slavery. There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 
humans trafficked every year. Usually, people are lured to another country on false 
pretenses of a job. Often they are asked for a down payment to secure their spot.  
Once they reach their destination, their papers and passports are taken and they are 
forced to work in horrible conditions. I have decided to focus one of my papers this 
semester on trafficking. I think this topic needs to be brought to light. It's a topic 
that is not often studied, because unlike other human rights issues, the victims are 
hostages and have no voice. This blog is a little random, but it was on my mind.