Waste Not, Want Not

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Dear Future Boyfriend,

I was born near the end of the 20th century, and a good amount of the way I think about the world and the things I like are reflections of my age. But a good number of identifiers to my personality would leave an observed with the conclusion that I am around 65-70 years of age. The duality of my personality is such that I am on the one hand whimsical and a bit of a wide-eyed child, and on the other an old soul, somewhat a relic of an age gone by.

People often talk about the decade that they were ‘supposed to have been born in’, normally an affinity for one era of recent history based off things like music and clothing, creating an idealized time period for them as an individual. I too have thought about my ideal era, and have come to the following conclusion about the timeline my life should have had- I was born somewhere around the late 1920s, grew up during the Great Depression, came of age during the Second World War, married a veteran, and had a son who fought in Vietnam. A silly manifestation of my hyperactive imagination, but based in some fact of personality.

On a superficial level, I am a bit of an old lady. I don’t understand technology, wear a mixture of dresses from the 40s and big floral sweaters, and prefer Big Band and Rat Pack to all other types of music. My brother has often described my fashion and decor sensibility as Grandma Chic, and some of my mannerisms, such as wearing my coat draped over my shoulders indoors and carrying a large practical array of things in my handbag, are things I share with elderly women.

I actually wear my sweaters like that. And I have a quite large brooch collection.

I actually wear my sweaters like that. And I have a quite large brooch collection.

But these are only some of the most basic aspects of my status as an AOL (Awesome Old Lady).

I share values with an older generation that seem a bit outdated to those who grew up after the 1980s or so. I have internalized the frugalities first developed during the depression era, and demonstrate regularly the conservationist practices of WWII. I don’t throw anything out that can still be useful. My mother shakes her head at me at every Christmas and birthday as I, without fail, fold up every piece of wrapping paper to go in a drawer and be used again the next year. I hate wasting food, and have been known to wrap the bread up at restaurants so it doesn’t get thrown away. My dad and I planted a Victory Garden in our backyard. I’ve been working on my sewing skills so I can patch up and refit my clothes, and I love to shop in second-hand stores. In my house when I grow up, I want the phrase “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” blazed somewhere where they can be seen by everyone.

This sense of making things last does not make me sad either. I don’t deny all joyous or beautiful things just to save money or resources. In fact, I feel like I have a greater appreciation for special things. A homemade cake shared with friends is a perfect birthday celebration to me. Flowers made out of a torn paper bag are just as lovely as silk ones from the store. And sometimes old things are more beautiful than their brand new counterparts; they carry charm and the stories of their past. During the War people saved because they had to by law in some sense, but also because they felt it was their patriotic duty. Today we still have a duty to perform- to ourselves, our families, and the wider world around us.

I am perfectly content to be an AOL, to wear a sparkly chain on my glasses as I sing along to Frank Sinatra and can some homegrown vegetables. Now if only I got the discounts…

Love,

Meaghie

Best Band Ever

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Dear F.B.,

I have a bit of a confession to make. Well, its not really a confession since I’m not ashamed or embarrassed or anything. Well, I’m maybe a bit embarrassed. Its just, I’ve got this sort of guilty pleasure that I think its about time you knew about. You see, the truth is, my favorite band in One Direction.

They’re a bit more than my favorite band, actually. I’m absolutely in love with them. Not only do I love all their music, which makes me so ridiculously happy, but I adore them as people. They are just five darling boys, good people who are fun and joyous and normal lads despite the craziness that is their lives. And as a bonus, they’re all gorgeous.

Sexy and adorable and funny all at once.

Here they are being sexy and adorable and funny all at once.

Some people would tell me that I’m too old to be a fan of 1D, to which I would like to remind everyone that they are all men at this point, and that we’re all about the same age. And some would say that they’re not real musicians, to which I reply that they all have beautiful voices, which can be proved through any video on youtube, and that they all either already play an instrument or are learning to. And to those who say that they don’t make good music, I’d just like to say their stuff is way better than any of the stuff Justin Timberlake has put out recently and more fun to listen to than Miley’s Cyrus’s awkward/boring new music.

And maybe my love is a bit obsessive. I do after all dream of meeting them, becoming their bff, and marrying Niall. But I mostly just want to make sure they’re happy. I want to call Zayn up and make sure he’s eating enough, ask them if they’re getting good sleep on tour, protect them from some of the crazy fans. Watch Toy Story with Liam and forget the big world outside, talk to Harry about his tattoos and life, and dress in ridiculous disguises with Louis. I want nothing more than tickets to see them in Dublin in May, and what’s best for them.

So, I’m sorry to say, Future Boyfriend, you will sometimes have to share my affections with 5 pop stars. My fangirl love for them will last the rest of my life, just like the forty something fans of New Kids On The Block who still cry at their concerts. But don’t worry too much; at the end of the day, I have chosen you to be with, and I will every single time.

Love,

Meaghie

A Soap Opera in Action

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Dear F.B.,

Sometimes making dinner is the most uncomfortable thing. When I walk into the kitchen ready to boil some pasta, minding my own business, I am occasionally confronted by my flatmate sitting on the couch watching tv with a guy. Nothing wrong with that. And sometimes he’ll put his hand on her back affectionately, or she’ll drape her legs over his as they banter and flip through the channels. It’s all together a touching scene, and really I shouldn’t have a problem with it, unless I’m one of those bitter single people who can’t stand the happiness of others. Maybe I am one of those people, though it doesn’t seem likely. I can’t be the only one who hates to see my flatmate and that boy cuddling in my kitchen- I’m sure her boyfriend has an issue with it too.

And she’s told me about her boyfriend who lives in America and will be visiting over Christmas. They are going to travel around Europe together, ringing in the New Year in Rome or some other romantic location. So unless I missed the dramatic breakup, Local Boy has no business cozying up to her. And I know its not my business, that I’m not entitled to an opinion, that there’s nothing I can or should do about it, but its still super awkward for me to watch. And as entertaining as soap operas may be on tv, I don’t want to see how the ultimately goes down.

Because its going to end poorly. It would be naive to think that American Boyfriend will never find out about Local Boy. Which is what makes adultery so dumb. At the end of the day my flatmate will lose A.B. because he will be so hurt by the deception, and L.B. isn’t likely to stick around. I’m only half way through Anna Karenina, but I know how it ends (hint: the lover gets bored and runs off with some other chick, and she jumps in front of a train. For realz though). The thrill of right now will only result in the despair of later. Which is why I will never cheat. Besides, you’re too much of a catch to find someone worth having an affair with.

Love,

Meaghie

P.S. If you cheat, I’m more likely to go the Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood route and enact some Crazy rather than kill myself. Vengeance makes for better material than sorrow.

I don't want to turn into this, but I will. You have been warned.

I don’t want to turn into this, but I will. You have been warned.

NaNoWriMo Ahoy!

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Dear F.B.,

After a weekend trip to Belfast, I am now ready to dive headfirst into this year’s NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and through the entire month of November amateur and professional writers all try to complete a 50,000 word novel. Completing a novel in a month is certainly a herculean task, but I am extraordinarily excited to do it. Last year I didn’t reach the goal, but this year I am determined to. I’m gotten ahead on my school work, I’ve spent ages plotting and researching, and I’ve cleaned the whole apartment so I don’t have to worry about it again until I’ve finished.

The desire to complete NaNo goes beyond just wanting to reach a fun and challenging goal. I have decided that I want to be a ‘real’ writer- to just paid for the crazy stuff I type up and for people to actually read what I’ve written. The only way to do this is to practice- to write until I finally write something worth the ink to print it. I want to finish a novel in the month of November to prove that I can in fact finish a novel, that I’m actually capable of creating a complete product. Because, let’s face it, its hard to make a living off of fragments of pieces.

I recognize that its hard to make a living off of writing at all. Getting a publisher to read what you have, let alone agree to pay you for it, is incredibly difficult in the over-saturated market. And when you start out, unless you’re Stephanie Meyer, you will not be astonishingly sucessful; you will need to write a lot to make enough to quit your day job.

So to be smart, I have a plan for my day job. I will go into editing, working in New York for a few years before getting a transfer to London. Or else teaching, maybe back in Hometown Cleveland. But even as I’m living this conventional, practical life, I’m going to be writing. I can’t stop. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know if I like writing; all I know is that I have to write. The words that swirl in my head need to come out somehow, I have something to say, even if I don’t quite know what it is yet. I don’t have the talent for singing or acting, but I can still be a storyteller through the written word.

So for the month of November, I will be writing like a madwoman. I’ll probably eat too much chocolate, stay in my pjs a good amount, and have my head in a far off place. And when I emerge, exhausted and victorious, I will thank you for putting up with my crazy by making you read the mess I’ve written and reassure me that its not complete caca.

Love,

Meaghie

No-shave November

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Dear F. B.,

Happy No Shave November! Whether you are participating in Movember for men’s cancer awareness or are just feeling lazy/chilly, this month in an exciting celebration of facial hair. I’m not very picky about facial hair: from baby-faced to Orthodox Jew, I’m pretty ok with all levels are beardiness. There is the awkward homeless phase in growing a beard out which is always slightly uncomfortable, but its necessary to get the desired end result, and in November, anything goes.

Cat beard=win year-round

Cat beard=win year-round

I too enjoy participating in No Shave November. While I don’t let my mustache grow (Eastern European heritage for the win?), I do let my razor take a break when it comes to my legs. And before you freak out about how hairy women legs are gross, I would like to explain a few things.

The first is that its freaking cold in November. Just like you’re beard keeps your face warm, my leg hair is insolation against the chilly fall air. But more importantly, its too cold outside to walk around with bare legs. I will be wearing a pair of tights every single day for this month, and in fact have been since the middle of October and will be until mid-March at least. So it doesn’t matter how hairy my legs are because no one is going to be seeing them.

And this is about when you begin to protest because you think you will be an exception. You (hopefully) know me well enough to know that I actually hate wearing tights and will whip them off as soon as I get home, leaving everyone around me, friends, roommates, and you F.B., exposed to my hairy legs. So now I bring up my second point- I am fairly lazy. I have never been one of those people who shaved everyday, nor will I ever be. It is not uncommon for my to let my legs get a little out of hand, even during the summer when I’m wearing shorts and such. If I let you see my hairy legs its because I’m not trying to impress you, which means I trust you. You should feel honored!

And really, the norm that women have to have perfectly smooth legs is just another manifestation of female supression through unrealistic ideals of beauty. And no, you can’t come into the bathroom until I’ve finished plucking my chin.

Love,

Meaghie

Spooky Days

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Dear F.B.,

Halloween fast approaches! My window’s are covered in bats I cut out of paper bags and the cold Irish winds whip the fallen leaves into spectral columns. I absolutely love fall, the world’s last burst before settling in to a long sleep. Brisk air and warm apples and thick, cushy sweaters, all culminating in the spookiest night of the year. I love everything about Halloween, from the ancient rituals of Samhain to It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. My absolute favorite part though is, of course, dressing up.
I love finding random things from Target or the thrift store and combining them with my regular clothes to become characters from fiction and history.

I like to think I’m good at it too; the past few years have been full of some creative costumes. Two years ago I was a hippie, complete with protest signs and a draft card to burn. The year after that was Minnie Mouse, my ears homemade from some scrap paper and a red headband. This year I’ve decided to take on an American icon, using that old red bandana I’ve hung on to for ages in a Rosie the Riveter costume. I’ve slowly been developing the next few years worth of costumes as well. And in case you were wondering, I have the perfect idea for our first couples-costume.

Quite often couples-costumes are really awful. They’re tacky (outlet and plug anyone?) or uninspired (if I see one more prisoner and sexy cop…). But there are some really cute ones too. Ones that say ‘I like this person enough to want to be part of a set with them, and when we’re together we’re creative and fun’. Mary Poppins and Bert, Han Solo and Leia, or a pair of bandits make great costumes. As do Tom and Sybil Branson!

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If you ever give Downton Abbey a chance (and I really hope you do), you’ll understand why the Bransons are my absolute favorite couple of all time. Words can’t truly describe their perfection, or why I want us to be them, at least for one night. We’d go with their season two uniforms, I think, which are more recognizable.
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I would be the youngest of the Earl of Grantham’s daughters, the feminist Lady Sybil. During World War I, she was volunteered and trained as a nurse because she believes women have value beyond their marital status and wants her life to be useful in some way. She is kind, beautiful, and a bad-ass, and I just generally speaking want to be her.
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You get to be Tom Branson, Irish radical socialist revolutionary chauffeur turned journalist turned estate manager. This picture is from when he was still just a chauffeur though, because he stayed working at Downton even while he wanted to go off to Ireland and fight for their independence, waiting until Sybil was ready to run away with him. He fixed cars for three years and waited for the war to end so Sybil could realize that didn’t want to go back to the way things were before, and go to Dublin with him where he could fight for the Republic and she could stay a nurse. He said some really beautiful things during this time that make me cry, and Sybil clearly liked them too because they do end up getting married and living happily ever after until half way through the next season (I don’t want to talk about that right now though. It still makes me too sad). But besides being the perfect romantic hero, Tom’s chauffeur uniform is pretty sexy ;)

In conclusion, one perfect couple (us) should naturally portray another perfect couple (the Bransons) on Halloween. It would be completely awesome/adorable/awesomely adorable, and my friends would be totes jealous because they’d think you were the best boyfriend ever.

I think secretly I’m not giving you a choice in the matter: this will in fact actually happen. But in case you absolutely refuse, I guess I’ll just have to go back to drawing up the sewing pattern for Sybil’s harem pants from the first season.
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Happy Halloween darling Future Boyfriend, and know I will still love you even if you don’t want to wear riding goggles like Mr. Toad from the Wind in the Willows. But I know you think its a great idea too, just admit it.

Love,

Meaghie

Save the Last Dance for Me

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Dear F. B.,

I read a few years back a fabulous quote by Ginger Rogers: “When two people love each other, they don’t look at each other, they look in the same direction.” She is referring to how in ballroom dancing it is bad form to break frame and look at one’s partner. Dancing is equated to being in love- the connection is the same.

That feeling of connection is one of my favorite things about partner dancing. In my life I have tried an extraordinary variety of dance forms. I’d be hard pressed to think of something I haven’t done; I’m learned a little bit of everything from Israeli folk dancing to ballet to modern. But my favorite is partner dancing. Lindy hop and foxtrot and tango. The rhumba. An energetic quickstep or the slightly ridiculous polka. What ties these various styles together is that other person, the way your two bodies move together with the music with the kind of sensuality and energy that can only come from spontaneous performance.

And partner dancing is sensual, even in the ‘non-sexy’ dances. It’s fun. It’s exhilerating. It’s falling in love with a stranger for just a few moments. It’s good for your health! It’s something I want to be doing for the rest of my life. This weekend is the Cork Jazz Dance Exchange, and I will definitely be making it out into the city for some lindy and balboa and maybe even some blues. And I hope you would want to come out there with me if we knew each other yet, but you don’t have to. I don’t expect you to be one of the professional dancers from Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing With the Stars. I don’t need you to come swing dancing with me every weekend, or do a sexy tango in the club. But it would be really nice if you could give it a go, to every once in a while take me in your arms and sweep me into as graceful (or clumsy) a waltz as you can manage. Because for every moment of dancing magic I experience out on the floor, I will always come back to you. Michael Bublé knows what’s up, and my last dance belongs to you.

Love,

Meaghie

Birthday Blues

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everyday5

 

Dear Future Boyfriend,

This past weekend was my birthday. I spent a good part of the weekend trying to decide what I was going to spend my celebratory time doing. I wanted to do something fun, like going dancing, or nice and simple, like making a pretty cake, with friends. But my friends were all out of town, busy with other plans, or difficult to get a hold of. I eventually did coordinate things to do, and got presents from my darling flatmates (thanks chicas!), but the process gathering people and ideas was quite exhausting and very un-birthday like.

What I would have loved would have been for my friends, assisted by you of course, to have planned some sort of birthday adventure for me. Nothing too over the top- no need to book out a pub or anything like that- but something special that shows you remembered it was my birthday. Of course, for you to be able to do this, I would have needed to tell you that my birthday is coming. But I don’t like to draw undo attention to myself. I don’t want to be one of those obnoxious people who talks about my birthday everyday for a month before it happens. Who expects too much.

I work really hard to not be a burden with many things besides my birthday. There’s a concert I want to go to at the end of the year, but I can’t afford the tickets. So I secretly hope my parents or someone will get me tickets for Christmas, but I would never dare ask for them- its the sort of gift that would seem selfish to ask for. I don’t tell anyone when I’m upset, just wait for them to figure it out, and why. Its a perilous game I play. I don’t want to make a big deal out of myself or inconvenience anyone, and yet I want them to be able to intuitively know when a bigger deal than normal has to be made.

I would like to apologize in advance, because as my future boyfriend you are going to come up against this quite a bit. I’m going to want things from you, but if it doesn’t seem like a ‘big deal’ and will be an inconvenience to you I won’t ask, and then be unhappy later. But know that I will never resent you for not figuring out that I hate your friend Larry and actually don’t want to spend a weekend in a cabin with him and his not so bright girlfriend. I know its my own fault when I’m disappointed, because you’re not a mind reader. And if you are then this has gotten slightly awkward and we should move on; you don’t really need to know what I’m daydreaming about when Cillian Murphy is on the tv.

Love,

Meaghie

Have Boyfriend, Will Travel

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Dear Future Boyfriend,

Some people absolutely love to travel, and want to see as much of the world as humanly possible. I would not necessarily consider myself one of those people. I’ve done a good amount of traveling, but I don’t enjoy the process of getting from one place to another much, and I feel like there is so much world to see that it would be near impossible to do it all satisfactorily. I would much rather pick one particular place and fully immerse myself into the everyday life of the people there. That being said, I do have a list of places in the world I want to see, experiences I want to have. These places are all quite nifty, but they go from nifty to fan-freaking-tastic when shared with a loved one. This list of places I want to visit with you will create wonderful memories (and neat-o photographs) to share with the grandkids. Or on facebook. Whichever.

Longaberger Basket Company Headquarters in Newark, Ohio- Also know as the world’s largest basket. In the middle of nowhere in the Great State of Ohio, there is actually a building the shape of a giant basket. My homestate is better than your homestate by a landslide, and at some point in my life I need to pay homage to our greatest landmark. And you’re coming with me because Giant Basket. There is no valid arguement against Giant Basket.

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Baker Street- The home of Sherlock Holmes. From being the only one in my class in high school to actually read the book to my current obsession with the tv show Sherlock, Mr. Holmes has had a place of prestige in my life. And even though my childhood dream of being a detective never came true, I would love to walk up and down Baker Street with you, pretending we’re posh and clever.

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Various National Parks- The United States has 59 National Parks, located across 27 states. I would love to get in a cozy little trailer/RV and drive around, stopping at as many as we want. Inspired by all the posts on Pinterest tagged ‘glamping’, we’d take our traveling home throughout all of the US, carving our own way along the Oregon Trail and experiencing the Great American Road Trip. Imagine the number of books we could make about it/from it too!

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Isle of Man- I have always had an irepressable desire to be near the water. A big part of me has always been drawn to the island life, even as the rest of me shudders at the thought of leaving my various urban sancutaries. To compromise, I feel an extended visit to an island is in order, and Isle of Man seems perfect (though I would also enjoy Geurnsey: southern and the setting of a fabulous novel). Craggy and harsh and beautiful and historical, there is nothing much else one could want from an island. Its desolation would be made even more hauntingly beautiful when shared with a lover.

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Sailing across Lake Erie- So this isn’t a place to visit so much as an activity. But having grown up on the lake, I’ve over the years become quite fond of it. As as stated above, I have a love of large bodies of water. When I was a child I read The Wanderer by Sharon Creech over and over again, imagining making a trans-Atlantic sailing journey just like the thirteen year old girl in the story. I have now gotten a bit more realistic in my dreams, and feel that a Great Lake is plenty far enough. Once I learn how to sail I will journey from Cleveland to Canada, and I am going to need a First Mate.

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New Orleans- I have already been to New Orleans, many times. And I absolutely love it, and want to share it with you. It is truly a unique place, a culture unto its self. From the exuberant celebrations of Mardi Gras, the history and architecture, riding the street car down St. Charles, the Fly, a bit of Voodoo in the Quarter, the birthplace of jazz, and the most delicious food in the world, there is so much that makes New Orleans one of the greatest places pretty much ever. I could go on and on and never truly do it justice; it is something you have to experience for yourself, and I would love to guide you along as you do.

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This is not an exclusive list of places I want to go by any means; if there are places on this planet you want to visit, I’d be happy to check them out with you. The most important part of traveling is gaining new experience and insight, and as long as we are experiencing wonderful things together, then I will be happy.

Love,

Meaghie

Monday Morning Pastiche

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Dear F. B.,

Every good couple- real or fictional- has ‘their song’, a song that perfectly describes their relationship and sparks visions of their happily ever after. But it’s a tinge difficult to pick our song when I don’t know anything about our romantic dynamic yet. So instead what I’ve decided to do is take some lyrics from a bunch of my favorite love songs and squish them together into one song-type thing. In the literary world I believe this would be considered a pastiche (‘a musical, literary, or artistic composition made up of selections from different works’ according to Merriam-Webster, who I assume knows what’s up), but its mostly just random stuff I stuck together. I hope you enjoy nonetheless.

Our Song 

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.

And sometimes we don’t say a thing;

just listen to the crickets sing.

Everything I need is right here by my side.

Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years.

I’ll love you for a thousand more.

And you can tell everybody

this is your song.

Just for this moment, as long as you’re mine,

we’ll meet beyond the shore.

We’ll kiss just as before.

We may never, never meet again

on that bumpy road to love,

still I’ll always,

always keep the memory of

The way you hold your knife (do do do do do do).

You had me, I was yours.

We danced out on the floor,

and with each passing day

I only loved you more.

If I never knew you I’d have lived my whole life through

empty as the sky,

never knowing why,

lost forever.

You’re the kind of reckless that should send me running

but I kind of know that I won’t get far.

So while you’re waiting,

know that I’m saying

I love you.

I love you

I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.

Dearest Future Boyfriend, I hope you were touched and/or amused. And don’t worry, we can come up with a real song somewhere down the road.

Love,

Meaghie

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