What's happened? Since when am I not 23 anymore? For some reason that's the age that I always am in my mind. Maybe it's because that's how old I was when I packed up the disco couch and gear table and moved a thousand miles away from home to start a new life in Seattle.

Or maybe it's just random.

At any rate, it seems to me that the signs of aging are coming more and more rapidly. I most certainly am not 23 anymore. And the really sad thing here is, I'M STILL YOUNG! But, here are the top three signs that prove the passing of my youth:

1. The grey hair. The grey hair! They keep sprouting up all over and I'd like to know where they are coming from. I'm holding out coloring, because I falsely believe that they are going to stop coming. Surely they will. Surely. I've never colored my hair, and I LOVE my hair. It's my favorite feature. The thought of coloring it stresses me out, which probably spurs the growth another one or two grey hairs each day.

2. The elevens. What are the elevens? Well, every morning when I look into the mirror, first I think, "My God, when did my mother move in?" (Disclaimer: Mom, you look fabulous and I hope that I can age as well as you... just not yet!) But then I look closer and see two wrinkles on my forehead running about an inch long on either side of the bridge of my nose. And the worst thing about them is that they are getting deeper, and in the morning, the areas around them are red and puffy. It's as if I sleep with my brow furrowed. Do you know why, Internets? Because I sleep with my brow furrowed! Why? Why do I do this? Why am I an angry sleeper? I have no idea, but apparently a lot of people do it, and have therefore coined these wrinkles "the elevens."

3. This is the worst of all... chin hair. I'd actually say there's a recent fuzzification of my face, but the worst are the crazy errant chin hairs. They are wiry and they grow in all dark and poky. And if I don't tweeze them immediately, when I'm distracted and in a semi-conscious state (say like in meetings at work), I will play with them. It's not like I'm braiding them or anything, but I'll feel them there and grip them as if I can pull them out without tweezers. And then I'll "wake-up," mortified that I was just fidgeting with my grandma chin hairs in public.

I can deal with the grey and the elevens adorning my face. I'm not a big believer in cosmetic surgery, but am thinking that at the rate I'm tweezing I'm bound to burn through many a tweezers.

Note to self: Check into electrolysis--and while you're at it revise your "no cosmetic surgery" decree.


How I chose to ignore the Nora Ephron screenplay that played out before my very eyes

I sat down to write this post thinking I had nothing. But then, through a seemingly random yet quite fortuitous IM conversation with my dear and wise friend, the Tiger--think more roar than Woods--I suddenly have so many blopics! (Not the least of which is that word itself, blopic. Look it up. I think she coined it, because if I search the Internets on "blopic," there are only 43 results, of which most are typos for the actual word "biopic." So by the power of the Internets granted to me, I give the Tiger credit for combining blog and topic to give us all blopic. And you don't even have to pay her royalties to use it. Of course now that I've used blopic five times in this opening paragraph, you will probably see this post near the top of your search queue, which in my book gives even more credibility to the Tiger and her ability to create words. The people--search engine--has spoken.)

And, maybe you're thinking that this whole post is about blopics and coming up with new words? Well, think again, buckaroo. It's not.

The Tiger and I continued to fire messages back and forth, each message seeming to be one blopic after another. Like the one about how I like to start "big" things in my life on the first day of the month, or the one about how she created a new word--are you familiar with the word blopic? But the real big juicy blopic is this one:

I had an experience that every single heroine in modern day chick flicks or chick lit dreams about, and I did absolutely nothing about it. That's right. Nothing. But I can explain.

You see, partly I did nothing about it because at the time it happened I was with New Friend (some may say we were boyfriend-girlfriend, but he does not count as one of the some) and I didn't do anything because I was happy (oh, Little Ms. Notetaker), and partly because I'm not 100% sure there isn't some mouth breathing issues here (which is me falling into my typical MO of sabotaging a potential date by invoking ridiculous judgement).

To make a long post longer (you have missed me, right, Internets?), here's what happened. I was on the first leg of two home for Christmas, and was sitting all cozy in my seat when a family came on board. The three of them (one being a small and fussy child) were in separate rows--dad and kid next to me. The prospect of small confined space with fussy child bearing down on me had really gotten me down, so I oh-so-generously offered up my seat to the weary mother, who was probably a little excited that she was going to have a couple hours of peace and quiet away from her kid, but here comes that single lady to squash all her fun, as we do. She shot me a glance that only a woman would read, one that on the outside said, "Oh, that's so nice of you, I would love to sit with my beautiful family," but really deep down said, "You just took my last thread and snipped it right in half. You should be ashamed of yourself--just wait until you are in my shoes and then you'll understand." But I had backed her into a corner, there was no way she could turn down my offer; not in the spotlight in front of her family, namely her very needy, very fussy toddler. So we moved. And I ended up sitting in an row with a good looking, and seemingly good-natured guy. No ring. I have prayed for this exact scenario to happen every single time I've stepped on a plane as an adult. And every other flight, I've fallen asleep on the tiny little pillow dreaming of how this scenario would play out, only to awake with a small fussy child kicking and screaming next to me. But this was not every other time.

We didn't talk the entire flight.

I was doing something really important, like the in-flight magazine crossword puzzle, and I just couldn't be bothered with small talk. However, we eventually did strike up conversation upon landing. Very casual.

LMNT: Do you live in Portland?
HIM: No, Seattle.
LMNT: Me too. But I just happened to have this weird indirect flight.
HIM: Yeah, me too.
LMNT: So where in Seattle do you live?
HIM: The Central District.
LMNT: Me too.

And on and on it went, with strange little coincidences. But I was trying not to think too much of it, because of well, New Friend. We realized that I work with someone he is really good friends with, and I realized that he is literally Marinara Jar's backyard neighbor. And it just kept going and going. We eventually made it to the gate for our Seattle flight--which of course was delayed by a good hour--so we kept the conversation up. At this point it became clear to me that this was indeed the stuff Meg Ryan's made millions off of, but I was trying to ignore it. So, with a certain glibness, I mentioned that, "the guy I'm dating and I had been to that place," or "had done that," or something to the effect of "don't get your hopes to high, I'm not single." I think he was a little crushed, but he bounced back and the conversation continued--all the way through the flight up to Seattle and even the ride home from the airport. Yes, generous little me offered the Commish and Monster as his personal taxi--he does only live mere blocks from me.

At some point we exchanged e-mail addresses. And he's sent me a few messages and friended me on Facebook. But I haven't really pursued anything. The friend of his, whom I work with let me know that he was very interested in me and if I were ever single again, that I should maybe consider this as a golden opportunity.

And wouldn't you know it, I'm single again.

So when I shared this with the Tiger, she immediately started quoting Sleepless in Seattle and how this whole thing, "It's a sign." And she started planning my wedding for me and writing my screenplay (dare I say, biopic). True, I live in Seattle. And true, I was with a guy who was decent, but wasn't the one for me, one with whom there wasn't "magic." And true, HIM and I were both in Sea-Tac airport at the same time. But, I retorted, isn't it also true that Meg Ryan was with a mouth breather (okay, he was a snorer, but I'm willing to bet there's a strong corollary there), and didn't she call it off with him?

Which strangely brought both the Tiger and I to the same conclusion: I should connect with this guy. The way I see it, if there's any truth to what Hollywood sells us, he's either the one, or his mouth breathing will drive me to finding the one.


Surely not to be named Most Photogenic

I'm 98% committed to online dating again. I'm trying something new this time and we'll see how it goes. You do realize what this means for you, Internets, don't you? Yes. More frequent blog posts due to the almost certain crazy dating stories I will be collecting.

But you'll have to wait until I muster up that other two percent of commitment. One half of it is paying for the genius algorithms to find me prince charming, and the other half is me finding some more recent--and decent--pictures of myself, of which I have none.

It appears that in the last 6-9 months, the only pictures that have been taken of me are either me in heavy stage make-up and a sky-high Marge Simpson/Amadeus wig, or of me doing barracuda. What is barracuda, you ask? Well it is simultaneously the most funny and most hideous picture that has ever, E-V-E-R-! been taken of you. It's like a college hook-up, fun for a night, but after that you must destroy all evidence of it ever happening. And because I have no photographic evidence of barracuda to show you (seriously, this is the stuff that would ruin political careers), I'm just going to have to tell you how to do it yourself.

Step 1: Take a deep breath and face the person holding the camera. Make sure they act quickly, this happens fast and they can't be slow on the trigger.

Step 2: As obnoxiously as you can, blow all the air in your lungs out through your mouth with your lips closed but loose. You should be making what best resembles "motorboat" mouth, or, you know, that horse sound.

Step 3: As soon as you start doing that, the person with the camera needs to take the picture. If you have a slow one, they should probably press the button while you're taking your deep breath.

Step 4: Look at the picture and pee your pants laughing, because you look ridiculously terrible. I'm sorry to say it, but you do. Guaranteed. The only people that look good in these photos are those who are doing it wrong. Looking good is impossible.

And, because I'm trying to make a good impression with potential suitors, barracuda photos will not be posted on the dating site. It's a face that not even a mother could love, but damn if it's not funny.


Retail therapy

I have a post-break-up tendency: shopping. After the Marinara Jar, I escaped to IKEA with friends and impulsively bought a dresser. A dresser? A dresser. It's not that I really needed a dresser either, but a little bit I did, and that little bit is what overtook my brain and made it unfathomable for me to leave that store without it.

This break up, however, has been very different--musings on that later this week--it's been healthy. And I feel really good about myself, the situation, and even good about New Friend. But just because it's different doesn't mean that my urge to shop dissipated, I've just been able to channel that energy toward more effective things, like shoes!

Let's get one thing straight, Little Ms. Notetaker does NOT like to shop, except if it is for shoes. And another thing, Little Ms. Notetaker is practical, so even in the midst of her footwear frenzy, she is always a) searching for a bargain, and b) thinking of the sensible shoe. Look and style are extremely important, but comfort and quality cannot be trumped.

This past weekend, I went up to Vancouver to visit some very dear friends, and as luck would have it, we stumbled into a shoe sale at a store that has now become the "happy place" I will visit in all future meditations. I went in looking for a pair of brown boots. Having no luck finding a suitable pair after trying on a dozen, I settled on finding a pair of dressy brown shoes, which I found and fell in love with immediately. I also proceeded to find a pair of red shoes, black shoes, and for good measure another pair of brown ones. Look and style, check. Comfort, check. Quality, check. And the bonus? All of them were at least half off. I will admit that it was still quite an amount to declare at the border, but I also emphatically declared to the border guard that they are well worth it.

Note to self: Sometimes little splurges like weekends away and shoe shopping sprees are just what you need--good for the sole and the soul.


Fine, I'll be that into me

Note to self: You're worth it.

I had it all planned out. I would leave work at 5:00 (for the first time in a long time), and treat myself to a movie before play rehearsal at 8:00. As of late, I've been working right up to the start of rehearsal and then even through rehearsals, but tonight I wanted to buck that 12+ hour day.

Ever since I was given the Kevin Arnold, I've been itching to see He's Just Not That Into You--it's just too apropos. So I found it playing at a local theater and took myself to it. And when I walked into the lobby, I thought I had accidentally walked into the lobby of the W Hotel--posh furniture, fire places, something wasn't right. In the absence of a plexiglass ticket window, I walked up to a few people standing around computer terminals and blurted out, "One for He's Not That Into Me... er... You." I don't think it was too obvious why I was there, alone, do you?

One of the guys looked at me, punched the order into the computer and said, "Sure. That will be $27."

"What the FU--" I stopped short, because apparently this was a classy theatre.

"We offer more than your average theater. It's an intimate viewing experience, with fewer seats than a crammed theater, options to view [view, not order. Ordering costs more] our food and beverage menus, cushioned chairs that fully recline--"

"No way is that worth it."

"Oh, it's definitely worth it--these are really comfortable seats."

"No, I meant that movie."

I left, and on the way to the parking lot I thought about returning to work instead of keeping this "date" with myself. And as ridiculous as it may sound to spend more money on seeing the movie in the theatre than it will be to own it outright when it reaches DVD, I honored my self date. And I had a good time, I probably won't wait the customary three days to call myself, and best of all, there's absolutely no pressure to put out.


Because I recycled the actual can

And now for something completely different. Look what I found while browsing the Internets, a picture of Malcolm Gladwell: But if you look closely you'll see, it's a picture of him, speaking at my work, at a podium, with his can of Pepsi. Tell me, what can't you find on the Internets?


Giving him "friends"

There is something going on inside the male brain that perplexes me greatly. And I've heard it enough times to think it's more than just a coincidence. I think it's a little more global, it's what I like to call the Kevin Arnold (KA) syndrome. And to be fair, whenever I encounter someone suffering from the KA syndrome, I immediately have a Becky Slater (BS) reflex.

The Wonder Years was pretty foundational to my adolescent development, which is why I think this syndrome and subsequent reflex resonate so soundly with me (and potentially why all the 30-something guys I date seem to have this chronic disease). This particular episode is emblazoned in my mind--and absolutely nails how people generally are in relationships... in junior high and even as adults. In the event you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the gist:

Kevin is going steady with Becky, but he really likes Winnie. When he realizes he may have a chance with Winnie, he breaks up with Becky and it goes a little something like this:

KEVIN: Becky, we have to break up. I still like Winnie Cooper. We can still be friends though. [BECKY half-turns then turns back. KEVIN pats BECKY's shoulder... BECKY punches KEVIN in the stomach as she stands up.]

BECKY: Oh yeah, "friends?!" [Another punch in the stomach.] I'll give you "friends." [BECKY slugs KEVIN's chin, knocking him to the ground, then storms out of the room.]

In the endings of all of my longish-term adult relationships, this has always been one thing that's driven me crazy, the "I'd-like-to-still-hangout-and-be-friends" phenomenon. I was talking with DangerGirl yesterday, and she joked about how it's always like the guy is giving us a consolation prize, "Thanks for playing. Sorry you didn't win, but I have an excellent parting gift for you, you can continue hanging out with me!" Whoopee!

And it's that absolute idiocy that triggers my BS reflex. When New Friend made me the Kevin Arnold offer, it was everything I had not to punch him in the gut and give him "friends." Instead I scoffed at the idea and told him that I hardly think that will be possible. Which got me thinking, as I drove away from his place, "why do guys always think that's the alternative we're looking for?" Which lead me to, "why do I always reject it immediately?" Which has me thinking now, "maybe I can be a little more open to forgiveness and love."

Note to self: You can be better than Becky Slater. Rise above the BS reflex.

That's not to say that I'm going to actively pursue friendship with New Friend, I'm actually going to do nothing for awhile and there is still a huge part of me that really wants to de-friend him on Facebook. But maybe, just maybe if I take a moment to pause and think of him in terms of friendship, it will serve me better than thinking of him through the resentment I'm carrying in my heart. Just a thought.


Hello, Drawing Board.

And just like that, Little Ms. Notetaker is single again. And I knew, I knew it was going to happen, I was just in serious denial. I wanted to believe so badly that it wasn't, that my gut was wrong, but it wasn't and I knew it. Ugh. Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.

I'm angry. And I'm hurt, but mostly I'm tired. I really don't want to have to do this all over again. It's exhausting. And there's a little feeling in my gut that I will always be single--and that I really need to accept that fact. And the sooner I do that, the sooner I can just get on with life. But that's not the reality I want. So what do you do about that? Cry about it to the Internets on a Friday night? Well, that's what I'm doing.

Deep down (buried just beyond my bitterness), I know that this is a blessing. That this is actually freeing me up for amazingness beyond my wildest imagination. But that's the thing, how long can a girl sustain her imagination? Someday, New Friend will be replaced by a better, newer, thinner--ooh, did I say that? Well, I did mention that I was hurt and bitter, so I may as well add passive aggressive--friend. Someone worthy. Someone who will feel a damn spark. What the hell? It's not like I'm a cold wet rag, am I? I like to think I'm actually fun, outgoing, and sparky. So what's with all the duds?


Like liking it

Internets, have you noticed how anything caramel-related, is now salted? And if it's really fancy, it's sea salted. When did this become all the rage? Overnight, I think. I think there was a memo to all the cafes, bakeries, chocolatiers, and Trader Joe's of the world.

I'm not complaining. I like caramel. I like salt. I like the sea.

In fact I'm liking them all together. Right now. I can't stop liking them.