Friday, September 27, 2013

Bobbi Lately

Every time I feel compelled to write a Bobbi Lately post, I realize the seasons are turning.

I had an incredible summer in Chicago, filled with lots of drinks on patios and lots of shenanigans with some impossibly fun people. I definitely found my groove these past few months and it all involved a lot of saying 'yes'. Yes, I'll meet you for brunch. Yes, let's check out that festival. Yes, I'm game for three nights in a row (#YOLO). Yes, yes, yes.

As the weather has started to turn cooler, I can feel myself pulling back a little. Maybe it's the new apartment, having a place I actually want to hang around, but maybe it's also that I'm feeling a little more comfortable with my life here. I don't have to say yes all the time because the invitations will keep coming even if I say no, I'm staying in on Friday. I can lay low without the dreaded #FOMO. 

So, I'm looking forward to a calmer fall. Having girlfriends over for dinner. Taking Henley on chilly runs down my new running path. I bought a Groupon for 30 yoga classes for $39 at a studio called Yoga for the People, and I can't wait to see what kind of hippie dippie stuff my instructor Dmitri has in store for us. Also: Tights! Boots! Sweaters! Mittens!

 Me too.

I think there is something to be said for being in a happy place in your life. Namely, that you don't long for other seasons. You can walk gracefully into a new season without worrying if you savored every last drop of the one you're walking out of. As my dad would say, that's clean living.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I sit back in my desk chair, and let the whole thing go blurry: Two computer screens, countless printed Powerpoints, two notebooks with my cursive-print blend feverishly scrawled every which way, a vibrating cell phone with four new messages of varying significance. My Outlook and Gmail inboxes are pulled up like twin secretary soldiers: At my service, filing away messages for instant recall, business to the left, party to the right.

In my earbuds, more words:
Your smile is a drug / that I can't afford / mmmm, anymore
You're a tongue-tied talker with sleepy eyes / That always gets the last word
You're not broken / You're just tired / and it shows

I focus in on a lengthy email from a colleague--a term I'm still getting used to. She's providing information that I requested, but I have no idea what her answer means. I open up a reply window and think about how to ask for clarification in the most succinct way. I save it as a draft. I don't want to create more confusion.

I check the text messages--a request from a tenant, a two-word reply to my multiple sentence inquiry, a code from Macy's for a sale on a made-up holiday, and a vague "let's get together soon" from someone with whom I will not be getting together--soon or otherwise. "Sure thing." Hesitation. Delete. Delete.
To say I'll be alright would be a risky bet
'Cause I'm about as good as I'm gonna get, uh huh
These chains are tight / and that courage that I showed 
Left a long time ago / Just so you know

I take a deep breath, try to exhale as much as I inhaled. I let the screens go blurry again and rub my temples.

Sometimes it feels like my entire world is built on words.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flaws: A Manifesto

As I got back into the dating game this spring, I tried to set a mindset that was open and, to be frank, wouldn't set me up for disappointment: It's a number's game, so the more people you sit across the table from, a) the more chances you have of finding who you're looking for, and b) the more chances you have of narrowing down what you're looking for. Also, c) the more free vodka sodas you score.

Idea B is a slippery path, though. Sure, the more people you date, the stronger your conviction becomes that, oh, I don't know, an entire month is an unacceptable amount of time between phone calls. That's good. That's called Realizing What You're Worth. See also: Realizing that you'd like someone who has a permanent job, is a good listener, is interested in topics north of your ribcage, can have a somewhat engaging conversation without chugging 8 beers, and doesn't call you Sugar on the second date (or, really, preferably, ever). (True story, people. I cannot make this stuff up.)

But if you start really narrowing it down (zero relationship baggage, no commitment/trust/insert-insecurity-here issues, always on time or early, never loses his cool or forgets to say thank you to waitresses, etc, etc, etc), I'm fairly confident you'll start missing out on some really great people.

How did I realize this? By over-thinking it, of course.  Duh. Whose blog do you think this is?

I thought about my family and how often we fail each other by losing our tempers or pushing each others buttons. They let me fail over and over without ever letting it change how much they love, respect and support me. I realized that having flaws and accepting flaws is what love is. It's essentially the definition of grace. Working to bring out the best in someone and helping to ease some of their burdens is essentially the definition of partnership.

I started thinking about the other people in my life that I really love. I started with my best friends because I hope my husband will be my bestest of all my best friends. I realized that I love those girls and guys because they are so beautifully flawed. They have the most endearing idiosyncrasies and mind-boggling tics. They make these gorgeous mistakes that turn into remarkable lessons for others, or, sometimes, turn out to be the best things that ever happened to them. Sometimes those mistakes prevent other, far worse mistakes or put them on a different, more genuine path. Sometimes when they get knocked on their asses and call for advice, they are their most divine selves. It seems the farther they fall, the better advice they have for me, and the more clarity they have for how to move forward and thrive in this crazy world.

I hope my future husband is flawed like that. I hope that he has made some whopping mistakes and that his life has been an unpredictable road of twists and turns. I hope he messed up something so bad that he's become the cautionary tale for his friends: "Don't do what I did--but if you do, call me. We'll sort it out!"  I hope he has a lot of almosts that push him to try again later. I hope he's been pushed to the max so that he has some sense of what he's made of...but I hope he's got some surprises left for himself, too.

I hope he's been humbled, criticized, supported, championed, and vilified, because that's what teaches you when to do which to others. I hope that he has gained the wisdom that only heartbreak can teach and has already set to work on narrowing down what he is looking for. (Oh, he's looking for an almond-eyed brunette that manages to oftentimes jump in feet first despite over-analyzing just about everything? He's looking for someone who hasn't made her bed in 15 years, who sees no reason to shut cabinet doors if you're just going to open them again, whose primary mode of communication is bullet points!? God, Future Flawed Hubs is so specific, I love it.)

In all seriousness, it was the Sugar guy that stopped me in my tracks: "I'm really into challenging people. It's the only place growth is born." Oh, uh, you have a point there...sir. You can't really challenge someone who's perfect (or thinks they're perfect). Where's the fun growth in that? I'm down to grow; the Universe knows I need it. (But really, the cupboard thing must be genetic or something...)

Allow me to get one giant step even further ahead of myself and pontificate about children for a moment, too. I hope my children are so beautifully flawed that you can see the cracks from a mile away. I hope that they falter and teach other people lessons. I hope that they doubt themselves at times so that they learn how to trust themselves. I hope they let people down so they can fully taste the monumental impact of forgiveness.

I'm going to try my damnedest not to hold their hands too tightly or wipe away their tears too quickly. I hope they are too empathetic and too generous, and I hope that at times this is the source of their pain; it means that they overshot in the best possible way. I hope that they get the chance to enrage and be enraged by someone so intensely that they fall in stubborn love and can't walk away even though they're not sure why. (Everyone deserves this excruciatingly beautiful experience, don't you think?) I hope their hearts break just enough to realize that there is suffering in this world that is far, far worse than anything they'll ever know. I hope that they fail miserably at something they thought they'd ace so they can understand that it isn't talent that makes you, it's sweat and preparation.

What I am trying to say is that I'm realizing lately that our flaws are what make us loveable because our flaws are what make us real, and what makes us real makes us human, and our humanness is where connection stems from.

I hope that it doesn't take me too much longer to find my person, but in the mean time, cheers--to your flaws and mine. I mean, hey, free vodka sodas!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


  • I think that I am having a full-on third-life crisis. What other excuse is there for being down-and-out obsessed with a 17-year-old pop singer with a song called Tennis Court--about going down to the tennis court and talking it up like YEAH (yeah)? That's right, there isn't any other excuse. I'm having a crisis. 

  • I find myself mimicking accents back to people who have them. This does not bode well for speaking with my British coworkers. I can't bloody stop! 

  • I fear I am too old for takes longer than 4 seconds to focus my eyes on that random comment you scribbled across that blurry photo.  

  • I really love sitting in the portion of the bus that swings back and forth when you turn corners. It kind of feels like a theme park ride on my way to work. (I am such a nerd.) 

  • I avoid medications like the dickens, so I've never had to titrate any meds to get the dosage right. I know this is the right decision because I'm pretty sure that there's about an ounce of a margin in my coffee intake that moves me from sufficiently energized and "can-do!" to manic and slightly reckless

  • I know, I know, I know, I know. I'm going to regret saying this when my feet are numb at the bus stop in February, but today is the day that I proclaim that I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS HEAT.  

  • I have had 20-minute conversations about hair with three different co-workers within the last two weeks, and I find this perfectly reasonable. If you ever want to gab about hair, I'm your girl. Just be warned that, like just about everything, I have a lot of opinions about hair.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Silver & Gold

I'm sort of a broken record, I realize, but life really...hits me when I'm at the intersection of the new and the old, or the good and the bad, or the progressive and the familiar. It's like I get hyper-aware during periods of change--of everything, the challenges, the blessings.

The past two weeks are a great example. I've been a stress case, walking around with a mental to-do list on my shoulders that felt like I was piggy-backing an elephant. A thousand worries: Did I remember to switch that utility? How will Henley adjust to living in an apartment complex? Did I save enough money to get the apartment in reasonably sufficient living condition without eating ramen at the end of the month? Is selling my car really the right decision? Is anything ever the right decision? 

I can go from task to existential crisis in no time flat.

On the other hand, there is so much good happening: I'm so so excited to settle in, to decorate, to explore a new area, to have a place large enough to entertain friends.

Change, change, change. We all know I don't adjust easily. It takes me some time. It puts me off my axis.

Which is how I know it's time to kick into gratitude mode. A good friend of mine (Hi Leece!) once told me in a moment of anxiety: You are loved and surrounded and safe, my dear. (I'm paraphrasing; she always writes these poetic emails that are a little bit like Xanax in your inbox. The original message was probably much more beautiful.) It's my go-to reminder in a stressful situation. Your life might be in boxes, your dog might be barking at every new shadow, your mail may or may not make it to you for another week, you might not be able to cook for a week because you forgot to call the gas company (ooooops!), but you are loved and you are surrounded and you are safe.

One of the most precious things about moving to Chicago is that it has given me a chance to both reconnect with some of my oldest friends in the world while also making countless new connections. I've been blessed with some wonderful coworkers-turned-fast-friends, friends of old friends and friends of new friends. (Reminder: Wonderful things happen when you just relax and let people in, Bobbi.)

I'm thankful today for friends both new and old: For physically helping me move (it makes my heart so happy that it was my one of my newest friends, Whitney, and one of my oldest friends, Eric, that helped me move), for helping me strategize the decor, for helping me figure out the logistics of moving in the city, for patiently waiting it out while Meltdown Barbie was in town, for sending their love and support from afar, and for being raring and ready to celebrate with me when all is said and unpacked.

They say that illness, changing jobs, moving and dealing with a death of a loved one are among the most stressful life events one can face. I've dealt with all four in the last year of my life, and I am here to report that with a stellar support system, you can come out the other side happy and healthy.

From HI to CO, from MI and WI and MN to IL, I feel loved and surrounded and safe. Big love to all my silver and gold. You're my rocks.