Babies and Bitchface

My favorite photos this week are a warm moment and a cold moment.


The blizzard photo was taken from a moving bus, using the Panorama function on my iPhone. Loving what happened to the tree.

After I took the photo of the baby, she totally pooped all over that outfit at Mass. Don’t worry, girlfriend, that’s how I feel about pink and church, too. (I’d be her godmother if I weren’t such a dirty atheist, as evidenced by the previous statement.)

Speaking of photos, here’s the most accurate one taken of me in a long time:


That’s what my Bitchface™ looks like.

Dan tried to take a photo of me eating nachos. Like I need more unattractive photos taken of me. So I scowled. I love this photo. Dan’s a great photographer all around.

He also took this one you may vaguely remember from ages ago, when I was, apparently, a happier person:

Winter does unpleasant things to a person’s spirit.

Please pay attention to me.


Photo booths are the original selfies. They’re what happens when you want a picture of you “having tons of super-fun! look at me!” and you don’t have anyone who actually wants to take the picture.

You mug. You duck-face. You toss up gang signs. You try too hard in an effort to show how effortlessly cool you are.

Does that mean I can resist a photo booth or selfie? No.

This planet has 1.236 trillion bones, twelve billion eyes, and six billion voices. Statistically, I’m insignificant, and that’s really hard to take. I like to pretend I matter. I want to be noticed. I want to be liked (and, well, “liked” in the Internet sense, too).

It’s just not me. Everybody wants to be appreciated. 

Give a little extra attention to your friends and loved ones this season.


  • Tell them they look awesome.
  • Tell them their contributions matter.
  • Bake them cookies.
  • Bring Thai food over.
  • Give their pet a holiday scarf.
  • Fawn over their kids. Do that stupid thing they’re tired of doing with the kids, like reading Thomas the Tank Engine three times in a row. This will make you eligible for sainthood in their eyes.
  • Call them or leave them a hilarious Skype message. (Does Skype allow video voicemail messages now? OH YES. YES IT DOES. Leave Skype messages for everyone, preferably from your dog.)
  • Finish a book that you think they’ll like? Hand it over.
  • Draw a picture and stick it on their fridge when they’re not looking.
  • Purchase a sheet of gold stars and put one on their sweater.
  • Remind them of that hilarious time when the two of you did that terribly stupid thing and miraculously didn’t wind up in the hospital.
  • Take a photo of them doing a silly thing so they don’t have to do it themselves… Put it on the Internet, then don’t care if it gets “likes,” because you two have them in real life.

I cling desperately to my mild successes in the face of many, many flaws.

A few Thanksgiving ago, my dog (black and white) gave my mom’s dog (tricolor) a concussion.

This year, no pets were injured, so I am going to stamp it a Holiday Success. (My standards are low.)


Another mild success: my friend’s baby shower. (See image below of me and her, holding an owl quilt my mom made.) I looked good (bottom right), gifts were well-received, and there was baklava to eat.

Best yet: the guests didn’t catch on that I had no idea how to throw a baby shower! Pretending to be a person success! 


The “pretending to be a person” business sounds like a joke, but it’s kind of not. I’m often struggling with inexplicable emotional reactions to things. (When I first heard the word “schadenfreude,” I was relieved that I wasn’t alone in my wickedness.) I also can’t figure out how to do things others do smoothly, such as:

  • How to apply nail polish properly.
  • How to wrap a gift.
  • How to comfort people in emotional disarray.
  • How to get along with cats.
  • How to amuse children.
  • How to stay awake past midnight.
  • How to flirt. (Luckily this is no longer relevant.)
  • How to keep in touch with people who have moved away.
  • How to keep a cool head in an argument.
  • How to host a party.
  • How to manage my hair.
  • How to accept a compliment.

I have so many minor fails that I have to celebrate my successes.

Thanksgiving and the baby shower were wins. I’m holding onto them as I enter into the tumultuous holiday season ahead.

2013 Costume Awards

Is this post a valid awards ceremony or just an excuse to post pictures of my friends in costume?

Puzzle it over while I show you pictures of my friends in costume.


The hosts of the party knew far in advance about its Hogwarts theme. That didn’t mean they weren’t up at midnight the night before trying to figure out how to rig Mad-Eye’s eye, of course. But they were able to pull together a pretty good group. In the back are Hagrid, Madame Trelawney, Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye. In the front are Luna Lovegood and Hermione. (Nope, nobody wanted to be Harry or Ron. But the cool thing about Jo Rowling is that her secondary characters are arguably just as interesting, sometimes more so, than the primaries.)

How I Blew off My High School Reunion for a 5K, and What I’ve Learned Since Gym Class

When I was a kid, I used fake asthma flare-ups to get out of gym class.

Yesterday, I ran my first 5K despite a legitimate asthma flare-up.


I never thought I’d be the sort of person who voluntarily decided to take on 3.1 miles (or, in the case of this course, 3.4) at a fast clip, but I’ve learned a few things about athletics since gym class.


“Teams” aren’t for everyone. 

Our middle school was arbitrarily split into the “blue team” and the “white team.” Your team never switched during your four-year stay. Your younger siblings inherited your team by default. At the end of the year, different academic and sport accomplishments that each person accrued counted toward their team’s total.

It was like Hogwarts, but shitty.

You’ve never seen given people so much of a fuck over something so arbitrary. People were proud of their teams. People got dead serious about Blue vs White field hockey, basketball, volleyball, etc in gym class. I was like “Can’t we all see how dumb this is?” And no. They could not.

And it’s not, necessarily, that the Blue/White system didn’t matter. It actually spurred a lot of hard academic and athletic work from a lot of middle schoolers. It’s just that group activities are not much of an incentive for many introverts.

My introversion didn’t make a lot of sense to me when I was younger. I didn’t want to fight over something I didn’t care about. I didn’t want to bond with people just because they were on my “team.” Which leads me to…


You can fly solo.

There are days I just want to listen to my headphones alone.

Guess what allows for that? Running. Lifting. Taking the dog on long walks.

I think that a lot of things would have been different if a sports coach and given me a no-skip CD player (remember those?) and said, “Go at your own pace. See how many you can do. Then, next week, see if you can do more.”


You don’t have to win.

Here’s a sporty tip: Sometimes sucking is okay.

I woke up Saturday morning (the day before the run) with a chest of painful mucus.

I almost cried.

“I won’t be able to breathe. I’m going to hold everyone back,” I thought sadly. “My friends that are running with me are going to be bummed that I’m going to completely kill their time.”

And now for a day-of surprise: when I had to walk, my friends walked with me. When my lungs let up, my friends ran with me. It wasn’t a good time at all (I’ve been able to run much farther, much faster), but it didn’t matter.

Which leads us to…


Groups can rock.

Sometimes it’s better to go with a bunch of people.

Your friends can talk to you. They can shout encouragement.

They can make you laugh when all you want to do is hack phlegm into the grass and take a nap.

(This is a true story. I was super-sick.)

Even introverts need a support system every once in a while.


Athletics can be its own reward.

You know what’s kind of nice? That day-after delayed-onset muscular soreness. On the surface, this obviously sucks, but you know that you did something the previous day.

Also nice: a solid, well-earned night’s sleep.

Other bonuses:

  • Being winded less often.
  • Looking leaner. (Look how tiny my waist is in pic #2. I swear I didn’t ‘shop that.)
  • Being able to talk to people who are into athletic endeavors.

There’s also the knowledge that — barring a zombie apocalypse, a plague, an alien invasion, a resurgence of dinosaurs, etc — you’re likely to live longer.

(I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi. I’m aware of the possibilities.)


Athletics can be fun.

I had a great time.