Archives for posts with tag: Complaining

Three years ago my step father, Frank, passed away from complications of ALS. The disease robbed him of his speech, his ability to eat, and the use of his arms before it eventually took his life. I’m still not very comfortable talking about how cruel ALS proved to be when it struck my family.

As the #alsicebucketchallenge grows exponentially it seems necessary pin down how I feel about this social media madness. I feel annoyed that my newsfeed is overrun with these posts. I feel embarrassed for all the people that drop the bucket on their heads. I feel a pull at my chest each time I hear or read those letters “ALS”.

That’s where I get stuck. That pull at my chest. ALS feels like a swear word. I don’t like saying. I don’t like hearing. It doesn’t sound like any other disease to me. It sounds hopeless. People forget when they post these laughing and shrieking and even stoic declarations of support that real people have ALS. Friends and family members of ALS victims see these posts.

This man doesn’t know ALS will take him before he turns 60: Frank

On the other side, as I’m sure Frank would argue, this has generated a tremendous amount of money and support for the cause. For all the pulls at my chest and all the annoyances, that’s certainly worth something.

If you’ve been challenged or you’d just like to donate to a good cause let me suggest donating to the Robert J. Packard Center at John’s Hopkins University. Their focus is research over awareness and that research is damn impressive. 

Who says silliness can’t benefit a good cause?



Let me start this minor rant by acknowledging that this week’s episode of Girls, “Beach House”, was the best of the season. Though that’s not saying much:


Each episode the characters seem less and less human. More caricatures. Hannah never stops talking about herself, Shoshanna falls deeper into the naïve girl worm hole, we’re all shocked that Marnie is alive, and Jessa exists strictly for shock value.

Wasn’t this supposed to be a revolutionarily honest show about modern girls? Our lives? Our loves? Our friendships? Our bodies? (Yes, I think we’ve talked enough about Lena Dunham’s body. Maybe someone can tell her she shouldn’t wear a swimsuit for 48 straight hours. Even if she is so very comfortable with her body. She’s going to get a goddamn kidney infection. Didn’t her mother tell her that?)

Maybe, I’m over reacting. Maybe Lena Dunham knows what she is doing and she is as talented as HBO and Buzzfeed* want us to believe. Maybe there is a planned, reasonable trajectory for the season. Anything is possible, but I’m beginning to lose hope.

More likely, it seems Lena Dunham is a victim of her own success. By reaching the professional heights that she has at such an early age no one is checking her logic or her storytelling. How else could that whole grief storyline exist? No one checked that? Seriously, asking a widow about a book contract at the funeral? At the fucking funeral. Holy shit. Have a little fucking tact.

Perhaps an even bigger problem than the lack of oversight is that Dunham seems to have lost touch with real girls – actual humans who exist in the world. Real girls who have friendships that aren’t entirely toxic. Real girls who have complex emotions but are still able to interact with other humans. Real girls who have jobs AND artistic ambition (the two are not as mutually exclusive as Dunham thinks).

Whether I’m over reacting or not, I’ll likely keep watching because this kind of complaining is really quite fun.

*Buzzfeed’s unrestrained Lena Dunham love is nothing short of suspicious. Proof Here. And Here. I know, right?

Today I came home to a neat little, squirrel sized hole where I had just planted an array of tulip bulbs. The first bulbs I’ve ever planted. Onion skin husks sat six inches beneath the surface. Mocking me.

The squirrels in my neighborhood have been trying to drive me out since the first wisp of spring. They crawl into my potted flowers and aerate my lawn without my consent. With canine-audible tittering they tease the dog from the front window. Hell, they won’t even leave my green tomatoes alone. This is as big as my little ones have gotten:


Damn you, little fuckers. Next year I’ll be prepared.

Our little poodle was sick for the first time last week – trust me you don’t want to know the details. I took half a day off work to get these expensive pictures taken of her:


All clear. Even in black and white she’s adorable.

Whatever she ate off the sidewalk isn’t lodged inside her somewhere. She doesn’t have a tumor growing around her tiny little stomach. Whatever she has seems to be something akin to the dog stomach flu and she is recovering.

Still, I’m glad we went to the vet. That day, however, I was a bit conflicted. Should I really leave work for my dog? Am I that dog-mom? Then I was angry about being conflicted. For the time being, this little poodle is my baby. Hell yes I should leave work. What if she is bleeding internally? What if she ate something poisonous? What if she is about to explode!? She isn’t exactly a wolf in the wilderness, capable of caring for herself – despite what she may think.

I am grateful for a work schedule that makes taking a half day possible. I am grateful for a boss and coworkers who understand what it means to shift your life around a dog’s health. I didn’t expect to be this kind of pet owner but I can’t imagine being any other kind.

I am reading The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin.


The book has received a fair amount of critical and popular praise. Thus far, I like it. Some history, some love, some violence, some beauty, some isolation. All good things made better by combination. I’ll let you know the final verdict when I’m done reading.

I’m struggling now with trying to read without the MFA voice chattering in my year. Maybe you know that voice. The one that says, “That comma doesn’t belong. I don’t trust that narrator. That character is pretty flat.” Yeah she’s annoying, I know. Mostly I can ignore her, but not always.

Early in The Orchardist two new characters are introduced– Jane and Della. An introduction of new characters often throws that omniscient narrator’s voice into question. Here, let me show you a paragraph:

Sentence #1
“Jane disapproved of the communication between Della and the man, though she said nothing to Della about her behavior.”

Ok, I’ve found my footing. The narrator is close, in the character’s head. Even though Jane didn’t say anything we know of her disapproval. Cool, got it.

Sentence #2:
“ Perhaps Jane didn’t know about it, but that seemed unlikely, since she knew everything.”

WTF?! What do you mean she might not have known. You just said she disapproved. Not she might have disapproved if she’d known. Not that Della expected her to disapprove. What is going on here?! How am I supposed to understand the world if dear narrator doesn’t. Oh the horror!

Yeah, I told you, she’s annoying.

I’m still reading though. That seems like a good sign for the book and a better sign for overcoming the MFA. Excessive analysis cannot ruin my love for reading. Maybe it did for a bit but that voice won’t win every time.

Today I’m grateful for Crossfit. But first:

Work was kind of crappy today. I didn’t get much done this weekend (as mentioned with my previous post about The Walking Dead, which yes I did get caught up on). The election anticipation is driving me bonkers. The poodle keeps hiding her treats in places I’m likely to sit on them. It gets dark at 430 now. Birds pooped all over my car. My life is super hard.

Then: 5 Rounds

400m Run

30 Situps

15 Deadlifts (83lbs for me)

We started the WOD running as pack – which I haven’t really done since high school. The pack can make running feel more fluid, more fun. I don’t think as much about the cold air burning my lungs or my uneven gait. That seemed to set the tone. Even when I thought I was going to puke on round three of the run and thirty sit-ups seemed insane and my deadlift form faltered. I felt good. Crossfit made everything OK.

Well for at least the next hour as my brain swims with sick amounts of endorphins, Crossfit made everything better. Tomorrow might be a different story.

Our new “we want to buy a house” budget has made us more mindful of our shopping habits. What will we really eat? And when? Have we devoted too much freezer space to ice cream? Each item is considered far more than n our freewheeling grad school days where we ordered Indian food and pizzas with abandon. (Rough life, I know)

I tell you all this to complain about a bag of Green Giant frozen corn we purchased. I’m from Iowa, you see, so corn is a central part of my diet. The girlfriend had an exciting new chili recipe AND we had a coupon. Done. Biggest bag of corn we could find.

As we started cooking (ok, she started cooking), we found this:

What the hell is that? Butter Sauce – the package says. Green Giant, why have you failed me!? This isn’t green .  All I wanted was some tasty corn in my chili, a little of Mother Midwest’s natural candy. Why Green Giant? Why?!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of person to complain about over processed food or the state of our nation’s dietary peccadillos.  Sign me up for some candy and packaged snacks and fast food on any road-trip or lazy day.  But this product pretends to be healthy.

Fore shame, Green Giant, fore shame

(or earlier, let’s be honest)

Day three of the new job and I still wake up before the alarm. I anticipate it. I don’t want to wake the girlfriend or the poodle curled into a cinnamon roll at her knees. This won’t last. It can’t last.

On the plus side, nights on the couch with a glass of wine feel much more valid:

That poodle loves her some salad.

My reviews are generally positive. I like to find the good in books, movies, life. It just feels better to finish something and feel like you haven’t wasted your time. On that note, I did not care for The Human Experience.

Jeffery Azize and his brother set out from Brooklyn, New York to discover, “What it means to be human?” They spend time with the homeless of New York, the orphans of Peru and the Lepers of Ghana. In concept, I’m sold. Not so much in practice. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes and saying, “Oh fuck off, buddy,” in the thickest Minnesota accent I can muster.

Here’s why:

First, Azize’s revelations are childish at best, “You become more humble…you can feel the humility that homeless people go through,” he said after two nights on the street. Seriously? Did he grow up in a cave? Second, where does his funding come from? I’d sure like to fly off to Ghana for a visit. It’d be nice to hear a little acknowledgment that this brand of soul searching costs money. Finally, Azize’s motivations end up sounding alternatingly confusing and inauthentic. He wants to find a purpose in life or understand the meaning of life. Maybe his father was abusive. Maybe his parents just got divorced.

That’s a big sticking point for me. I have little patience for people who blame their adult problems on divorce. Get over it. I know some people have a rough time of their parent’s divorce but lives change. Relationships evolve. People don’t end their marriages to screw with their children, they do it to save them.

Hell, maybe I’ve just gotten my fill of the supposed search-for-meaning documentaries.

Yesterday, the girlfriend and I officially announced our engagement. Family, friends, facebook (in that order).

Then we waited for the likes to roll in, the facebook love, the affirmation of our relationship, the approval we don’t want to admit we need in these modern times.

Then, well, things got a little tense.

All of our mutual friends (even those friends of mine who had only met the girlfriend long enough to deem a friend request appropriate) liked her status. Only her status. As her likes reach closer and closer to 100, mine have stabilized around 30. Obviously her likes are my likes. People like the relationship thus they like us both. Oy, I’m tired of saying like. But this division is like a gnat buzzing in my ear. It seems to work like this: I requested the relationship change and she accepted. Thus, with her action being final, she ends up in the newsfeed. Why would facebook integrate this kind of divisive coding into its rulebook and not combine the likes as it did with this adorable picture of us?

Let me be clear, facebook is not really ruining my engagement. I’m head over heels in love. I’m stoked. I’m already dreaming of the Target registry and planning the reception. Though I’m not sure how I’ll wear my hair…

This simply isn’t a problem I expected to encounter. History says the good ‘ol days never were. Life has always been hard. Yet here, in this particularly modern conundrum, I can’t help but wish for a simpler time.

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