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P&P’s Guide to an Extreme Weather Event Halloween

9 Oct

Since the past two Halloweens here on the east coast have been effectively cancelled (see: Snowalloween, 2011 and Hurricane Sandy, 2012), this year we decided to get a head start on mother nature and propose a few extreme-weather-related costumes for when you’re holed up in your apartment not going anywhere this October 31.

El Niño/La Niña – The couple’s costume! First thing’s first, cut out waves from a piece of cardboard and paint them blue. Add a “Pacific Ocean” label, if you so desire. (Remember – only one of you can hold the waves at a time!) Dark pigtail braids for La Niña, who should carry a bottle of ice water and a hair dryer. El Niño carries around a hot water bottle and a hairdryer. The couple should douse some people and blow dry others (floods and droughts, people; floods and droughts) with La Niña doing the opposite of El Niño (be sure to hand off the waves!). Sorry to the feminists in our readership, but La Niña typically follows El Niño… so, for authenticity, La Niña should stay behind El Niño.

The Farmer’s Almanac – Needed: overalls, hay, crystal ball, smug smile (maybe with missing teeth from when the National Weather Service got a little frustrated during your last go-round).

Haboob –  We’re actually not entirely sure how to dress like a desert dust storm, but how fun is it to tell everyone you’re a Haboob? (Ed. Note: You could just roll in the mud, then roll in some sand. Give people a lot of hugs. Sand gets everywhere.)

Landslide – Dress like Stevie Nicks and look mournful. Maybe trail some mud.

Tornado – Wrap yourself in a Twister sheet. Bonus points if you pin on little sharks.

Hurricane – Too soon? Too soon.

FEMA – This one depends on your political leanings. If you’re a Republican/Libertarian, you’re going for a bloated look in a rain jacket with reams of paper sticking out of various pockets. If you’re a Democrat, you mean business in your minimalist rain gear and clipboard, and you should give out little packets of almond butter to victims of natural disaster.

Earthquake – San Francisco t-shirt with a huge black line in the shape of the San Andreas fault superimposed on an outline of California. For effect, carry around a stereo (do these things still exist?) with the bass turned all the way up and play some dubstep next to unsuspecting fellow party-goers.

Monsoon –  Dress in warm-weather clothes and get very very wet. Periodically go re-drench yourself. The goal here is to leave puddles.

Lightning Strike – This one is all about static electricity, so leave your shoes at the door and shuffle your socks across the carpet. Dress in dark blue with a white stripe up the middle – straight to your hair, which should be gelled to stand on end. Shock people at will. Resist the temptation to draw a lightning scar on your forehead as this will likely confuse other party goers, especially if you’re male with black hair and glasses.

Northeastern Chainsaw Tree-trimmer – Not quite as scary as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but you’ll be all set when the branches inevitably fall off of EVERYTHING in a few weeks because the unfallen wet leaves add undue weight and the trees can’t withstand gale force winds or blizzard conditions. Continue reading


The DOs and DON’Ts of Bridal Etiquette, by the Reluctant MOH.

5 Aug

I survived Bridezilla and all I got was this passive-agressive blog inspiration. Do research convenient accommodations for your out-of-town guests.

Do not plan bachelorette, rehearsal, and wedding events in opposite parts of the city and leave your guests to navigate Orbitz without recommendations.

Do find a season and venue appropriate bridesmaids dress.

Do not ask your bridesmaids to wear floor-length, dark blue gowns at an outdoor ceremony in August in tropical Florida.

Do find suitable alternatives for any expecting bridesmaids.

Do not expect all of your bridesmaids to wear the same unflattering maternity dress regardless of differing states of fertility.

Do select attendants who can easily and affordably attend all associated events.

Do not foist the responsibilities of Maid of Honor on your childhood friend living eight states away.

Do graciously accept any and all gifts the guests choose to bestow.

Do not include a request in your invitation that all gifts be in the form of dollar dollar billz.

OR Do not act surprised when a thoughtful card is filled with US Airlines, Orbitz, David’s Bridal, and Party City receipts.

Do focus on having a few nicely done aspects of the reception.

Do not provide guests with plastic serving ware, skimp on the favors, AND ask them to “Please Help Yourselves!” at the LIQUOR TABLE because all of your joint savings went to the 6k diamond rock.

Do be sure you want to be emotionally and financially chained to your fiance.

Do not cry on the phone weeks before your wedding to your MOH about how you will go through with the ceremony but maybe not get the marriage license because “divorces are expensive.”

Do have a relationship where if you cannot at least agree on non-negotiables (term c/o Patti Stanger) like gender equality and religion, you can talk about them.

Do not lie to your fiance about major life-altering decisions you’ve made in the past because you’re worried that with his close-minded, patriarchal upbringing he won’t understand a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.

Do make sure your wedding date isn’t during an annual season of natural disasters.

Do not simply cross your fingers and hope that this summer, weather will suddenly behave in a peaceful manner most out of character for the Gulf of Mexico.

Do adhere to as many of the above common courtesies as possible.

Do not direct a sideways glance at your MOH when, after you’ve neglected each and every one of the above suggestions, she brings her own oversized beach bag to carry out her unlimited salad and breadsticks at your hastily thrown together rehearsal dinner.

The letter I’ll never send

27 Jun

Dearest loved ones,

Yesterday I took a day off of work to recover from a non-serious malady that certainly didn’t need to keep me from sitting at a desk and typing. It was probably more of a mental health day than an immune system health day, but regardless, instead of being at my desk I found myself at Trader Joe’s looking at the selection of hummus. As I decided on roasted garlic and red pepper and placed it in my cart, a fellow shopper told me to get the edamame  hummus. He stood there waiting for me to add it to my cart until I complied. It was his favorite, you see. So for fear of disappointing this stranger, I bought an extra hummus I didn’t want or need.

Say it with me now! “Nooooo.”

I do this thing to myself where I say “yes” until I can’t anymore and my soul shuts down. Can you stay at work late to make sure this sensitive material gets sent out? I’m really stressed, do you have time to talk? Will you come to X, X, X, and X this weekend? It should be really fun!

This past weekend, the only time I had alone was when I was in the shower. Thanks to work politics I’ve been at the end of my stress rope for a few weeks, but instead of carving out time to myself to get a handle on things, I committed myself to just about everyone in geographical proximity. It’s not that I don’t like people. People are great. Especially the people I love. But people don’t relax me, they exhaust me. Which isn’t to say that on most occasions the exhaustion isn’t worth the effort! But while being “on” and charismatic and cheerful and pleasant isn’t unnatural, it isn’t easy to maintain for that long either. And at 11:00pm on Sunday night, after a weekend filled with pleasing people to whom I felt irrationally obligated, I shut down. I couldn’t keep it up anymore. And I felt certain that if the people breathing the oxygen in my car didn’t &%$#*% stop talking I would have an aneurism.

It isn’t a new pattern. In college I would get so bogged down in jobs, clubs, family drama, that I would have to take a day off of classes just to do my work for those classes. I overextend myself until I need to turn off and restart. I feel so badly telling someone “no” that I can’t manage to have any sort of balance in my life.

Is it “can’t”? No. It’s “won’t”. I won’t have balance in my life. As much as I complain and as much as I know it’s an unhealthy way to live, there is a part of me that worries if I’m not the giving friend who will always answer her phone and always be there when you’re having a tough time and always bounce around to seven different social gatherings just so I don’t have to turn anyone down, then what is it about me that’s remarkable? My defining characteristic is being a caring sister, friend, daughter, etc. who will drop everything to pick up whoever is down. And if I say “I’m sorry, I really can’t tonight,” is there anything worthwhile about me? Will I have any reasons to be loved? And is that THE WORST reason to be a giving friend in the history of everything?

This one’s on me. I need to figure out my own boundaries and limits. I don’t want you to stop coming to me when you need a friend because I always want to be that friend. I just can’t promise to be that friend 24/7.

On the bright side, the edamame hummus was actually really tasty. How are you? Are you ok?



Perhaps a more significant milestone.

22 May

Life operates in cycles. Sometimes for whatever reasons you just find yourself in a slumpy place and eventually you have to come out of it. (Allie Brosh can describe it all in a much more amusing way than I will here. With illustrations. She’s amazing. I bow.)

Anyway! The other week I checked in on my progress with New Year’s resolutions, and my marks weren’t terribly high. But, no offense meant to the minds behind the Gregorian and Roman calendars, January 1st is rather arbitrary.

Two years and one day ago today the world didn’t end and Penny and I graduated from college. Without any concrete plans, I decided to defer my acceptance to a screenwriting program with the hopes of finding a fulfilling job before getting trapped in the grad school debt vortex.

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

Since then I:

  • Was unemployed for a month and a half and lost my mind
  • Worked as a hoity-toity golf club bartender
  • Quit bartending to take an internship at a fancypants Store
  • Left that internship for an entry-level dream job
  • Officially declined the screenwriting MFA program
  • Moved out of my parent’s house
  • Ended a mostly dysfunctional relationship
  • Co-founded this blog which has done more for my sanity than any amount of collegiate counseling center talk therapy ever could.
  • Moved again (No Craigslist roommates from Hades! Woo!)
  • Entered a mostly functional relationship that brings me great happiness
  • Repaid loan debts to the Federal Parent Union

I could write more often. I could take on more projects. I could eat more healthily. I could try to work up to a half marathon. I could be the kind of responsible adult who throws out underwear when there is a hole in it and buys a new pair. But I can also recognize the great things going on.

Tonight I’m going to the crew wrap party for the second feature film I’ve been a part of since graduation. Maybe I’m not doing all that I can by New Year’s resolution standards to ensure the longevity of my mental and physical health, but it’s important to remember how good I’ve got it and how grateful I am.

And to end on the cheesiest of notes:

New Year’s Progress Report.

30 Apr

The mule and I share an uncanny resemblance. Four months ago I decided against resolutions, but I made a list of statements I hoped that over the course of the year I would come to accept and implement in my daily life. How these are different from resolutions I don’t quite recall.

But let’s check in, shall we?

1. I will not permanently damage any friendships if I utter any variation of the following phrase: “I can’t tonight, I’m a little burnt out and I think I just need an evening to myself.”

The one evening I had to myself last week was spent listening to a friend tell me for two hours what a fantastic wedding planner she’d be and aren’t her future in-laws just the worst? So, nope.

2. Uttering any variation of the following phrase: “I can’t come home this weekend, I’ve had a lot going on and I’d rather take it easy up here” will not permanently sever ties with my family.

I rearranged my surprise birthday party I was not supposed to know about because my mother was offended that my friends wouldn’t assume I was spending my birthday at home. (Take some time to unravel those double negatives.) Then I spent my birthday at home.

3. Prescribing strict or unreasonable diets for myself is unnecessary, but do stop making entire meals out of cheese.

Things I ate today: Nonfat yogurt, an apple, carrots, exactly 10 almonds, two hard-boiled egg whites, an undressed salad. No cheese meals, sure, but I fail on the impossible to maintain strict diet front. I’M STARVING. 0 for 3. (Ed. Note: This was written before dinner, at which time I ate a few more things.)

4. It is absolutely fine to write at home instead of in-between tasks at work. Except for right now because I already started this post. So tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll write at home.

The time of writing is 20 minutes before my work day ends.

5. Nothing will explode if I put off non-immediate tasks until the next day. Sometimes I don’t need to refurbish furniture at 3 am. Sometimes that second coat of polyurethane can wait.

Last week, after working an hour and a half overtime, I decided it was absolutely urgent to drive 45 minutes into another state to purchase a couch. This couch. For reasons I can’t figure out right now, this could not have waited til Saturday.

 I am officially too stubborn to do good things for myself that don’t involve impulse decor purchases.


17 Apr

We all know how Polly feels about cheese. It’s about that time of year when “prom proposal” stories start popping up all over the place.

 When did this become a Thing? Am I the only person who didn’t go to high school on the CW?

 My 17 year old sister* is officially Too Cool for prom and will instead spend this adolescent rite of passage eating chips and watching Adventure Time. And as she will not be contributing a prom proposal story to the universe this year, I thought I’d re-contribute mine. It’s simply too adorable for the internet to miss out.

Once Upon a Time…

Around mid-April of 2006, Polly acquired her first boyfriend since kindergarten. We’ll call him Saxon, as he hailed from the UK and played a tenor sax; he was a year older and went to another school, both of which made him mysterious. Below is the 100% accurate recounting of their prom proposal AIM conversation:

pollydancesalot89: hey saxon!!!!! :-) how was ur tennis game?
saxonserious88: good
saxonserious88: but its called a match
pollydancesalot89: o lol
pollydancesalot89: i cant wait 2 c u on friday!! do you want to get pizza b4 we see mission impossible 3? i <3 garlic knots and tom cruise lolol
saxonserious88: actually i think we should talk
pollydancesalot89: k…
saxonserious88: i just dont really have those feelings for u anymore
pollydancesalot89: did i do something?
saxonserious88: no
pollydancesalot89: k…
pollydancesalot89: i already bought the prom tix tho
saxonserious88: i can still go w/u as friends
pollydancesalot89: k.
pollydancesalot89: thanx.
saxonserious88: u good?
pollydancesalot89 has signed off.

And they lived happily ever after.

($20 says you heard the AIM door slam noise in your head. You did. I know you did.)


*Who just got her driver’s license! Go Sissy!

Words I just made up.

5 Apr


zombine [ZOM-bahyn] adj.

Devoid of emotion. Figuratively dead inside. Unwilling to expend more effort than necessary to meander at a molassein pace. “These past few weeks have rendered me zombine.”

molassein [muh-LAS-een] adj.

Exhibiting the kinetic properties of molasses. Excruciatingly slow. “We can outrun those zombies, they’re positively molassein.”

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