Why I Climb

I have to retract a statement. In a recent post I called kickboxing “the only workout I can stand.” It turns out that was a lie. I guess I didn’t know myself as well as I thought. You see, I’ve taken up rock climbing and I am smitten. 

climbing

Grace in motion.

A couple of years ago my boyfriend, Brian, and I were walking through the local Apple Harvest Festival and stopped by a tent for the nearby rock climbing gym. The young man who was manning the booth gave us a couple of free passes. In our joint quest to get in better shape, we finally used those passes in March. I was feeling a little worse for the wear after throwing myself whole hog into cardio boxing. I went to three classes in 7 days and by the last class I was seeing improvement in my cardio stamina but my abs were D.O.N.E. We got to the last 15 minutes of class and I could hardly pick my legs up off the ground. I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle.

So when Brian asked if I wanted to finally use our climbing passes that weekend, I lept at the excuse to not have to go back to the boxing gym right away. We took a belay class and were unleashed on the gym.

We haven’t looked back since.  Continue reading

Writing Exercise: Absent

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The assignment: Absent. Construct a character who is not present. You have many options here: people may talk about this character before meeting him, or after meeting her; you might choose to examine what this character owns, how he or she lives, under what conditions; you might use indirect approaches, like letters or documents that attest to the existence but not presence of the person. How do we know of people? Examine the ways we build characters in our minds and in our social environments before and after we meet them.

Continue reading

No One Should “Have It All”

The internet is on fire with reaction to the Atlantic’s cover story. Rather than try to explain what all the hub-bub is about, I’ll let someone else do it:

The whole how-can-women-work-and-parent-well-at-the-same-time is not exactly a new conundrum, but clearly something about this piece, written by former State Department official and current Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and the magazine’s cover (a toddler stuffed in a briefcase), struck a chord with The Internet.

A lot of the negative reaction to the piece is aimed at Slaughter’s contention that feminism sold her a bill of goods. That she was raised to think that she could “have it all,” but that, actually, it’s not so easy.

Oh, you mean having the equivalent of two full-time jobs isn’t easy? Ya don’t say… Continue reading

“You Wear Right Through Your Boots”

I remember being 17 and driving down to New Haven to see Ani DiFranco at the Palace. My friend, Patrick, and I were so excited. After the show we met a girl named Gina who “lived on faith” and kissed a homeless guy in Dunkin’ Donuts. We were so young, had so much energy and were so earnest and hopeful. That seems like a million years ago — I barely recognize those kids. To paraphrase Ms. DiFranco, “We’ve worn right through our boots.”

Graduations and class reunions have come and gone along with a thousand bad days, and a thousand goods days. New life. New love. Death. Heartbreak. Continue reading

Pondering Pick-Ups

By praram, Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve recently started watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. In marginally related news, I was browsing Craigslist as research for a blog post, and this all got me thinking about a conversation I had at dinner with a couple of friends last week. We were discussing an experiment we’d conducted where three of us posted dating profiles online. I got easily three times as many messages as the two guys combined. This isn’t surprising; girls are used to being on the receiving end of romantic overtures.

The more I thought about it though — in the context of How I Met Your Mother and creepy Craigslist personal ads — the more I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been straight up asked out in a real life situation. It might actually have been the prom… or by this tiny little gnome of a man I met in New York, who wore a ridiculous hat every day. But in TV Land Ted Mosby is constantly asking girls out in elevators, in bars, at the doctor’s office, etc. I just don’t believe this happens any more, which is funny because a quick perusal of any dating site will turn up hundreds of profiles with guys claiming they just don’t know where to meet women any more. Continue reading

Singleton

I love these kinds of stories… you know the kind that say unmarried women are, statistically, happier than married women — the opposite being true for men — or, in this case, that women living alone are happier than men in the same situation. But the funny thing about this article, is that I can’t stop thinking about MaryAnne Singleton from the Tales of the City stories.

But I digress:

But modern conditions make it possible to combine an active social and romantic life with the option to retreat to a solitary haven. When you can step outside your door and find three cafes, five bars, and streets teeming with acquaintances and intriguing strangers, living alone is no sentence to solitude. Still less so when, from your kitchen table, you can chat, text, email, or Skype with remote confidants.

I do have to wonder, though, if social media and other modern communication tools will help men who tend to isolate build better networks of support.

Surprise!

My home-buying experience has been insane. Yes, there’s the probably haunted house, but there has also been crooked contractors, hurricanes, and multiple closing postponements. It’s been stressful and insane. So when the sellers (family friends) said I could start moving in over the weekend, I was relieved.

My mother, aunt, and I started moving a few small things on Friday and cleaning while it was still empty. On Saturday the moving started in earnest. We got my storage unit emptied and most of my stuff into the house by early afternoon. Then I wandered in circles for awhile, not sure what else to do. My cousin took off to help her mom get her phone fixed. My mom said she was going to run home and return with food. This left my friend Melissa and I to search my boxes for utensils. So I was buried behind a bunch of boxes when I heard honking and pounding on my door.

I thought I was being home-invaded before I’d even officially bought the place.  Continue reading

A Power Shift?

Illustration from Slate's "Sex is Cheap"

Two of my best friends are celebrating important milestones. One is just days away from giving birth to her first child. The other got engaged on Saturday. So, I started reading this Slate article through the eyes of someone who is currently surrounded by evidence of other people’s major life commitments. While reading Slate’s “Sex is Cheap,” I kept thinking about an NPR show I listened to about “emerging adulthood” this morning, and couldn’t help but think of them as somehow connected.

The Slate article says:

The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it. And it’s all thanks to supply and demand.

Anyone who has been dating recently knows that much of this is true. There is nothing more stunning than young men’s complete unwillingness to put any real effort into dating. Continue reading

Can’t win ’em all…or at all

I was cleaning out my inbox this evening and came across an article I’d sent to myself quite some time ago, called Dating 101: Why Guys Dump Girls They Dig. I gave it a quick read, and realized it’s sort of like the opposite of that literary atrocity He’s Just Not That Into You (I’m being bombarded with the commercials for the movie version as I write). After reading the article, what I came away with was this: You just can’t win. Continue reading