This is me admitting defeat: in one hour, there is one month and three days until my birthday, and according to my countdown, there are thirteen posts left to do to make my goal from last year. That simply isn’t going to happen. Better luck next time, Leah.
There’s nothing in the world that I can say about Cheeto Jesus that isn’t already floating around my Facebook timeline, and if I’m being honest with myself and I know my audience (about 1% of my Facebook friends on a good day), it’s just a matter of preaching to the choir. And clogging up more gigabytes with He Who Shall Not Be Named – and the only people I know who will vote for him unfriended me about four months ago. And it’s not even because I bashed Cheeto Jesus online (I haven’t, however tempting) – it had more to do with questioning the mental age of someone who would use the word “libtards” with no irony at all. (Side note: when a Canadian Jew with Russian heritage starts complaining about refugees, you do have to question their capacity for reasoning a little bit.)
Having not grown at all in the past decade, but still being hopeful that a few inches are yet to come, I’m happy to announce that I still fit into a pair of jeans that I’m pretty sure I bought in either junior or senior year of high school. They are bootcut, with holes on the inner thigh, super faded, and very loose around the waistband, so basically perfect for days when I don’t have to see people.
Sometime late last year, I decided that I needed a change in the theme I had on my blog (which Gabe had worked so hard on a few years prior), and I preceded to ruin it completely by trying my hand at WordPress design (spoiler alert: I’m not very good at it).
Fast forward to this summer, and I decided that if I’m going to convince myself to keep writing, I would need to have a nice space in which to do it. Since my current apartment doesn’t allow for a dream writing space (read: distressed wood desk, endless supply of tea, floor-to-ceiling windows, piles of cashmere sweaters, and perfect lighting), I would have to create that space for myself virtually – as in, redesign my blog.
I’ve spent the better part of the past twenty-five years preaching about my hate of Coca-Cola. I’ve never been a huge fan of soda in general, but the flavor and smell of Coke in particular made me queasy. I always found it a little too syrupy and sweet, and the better part of two decades living in a major American city has taught me that soda is the fastest road to being a statistic. You know, that statistic. The one where everyone is fat.
Two years ago, back in the fall of 2012, when a certain Swedish girl decided to hijack my phone and make me an Instagram account (shameless plug), I vowed to never take pictures of food. It was (and still is) really popular in Stockholm (and everywhere else with hipsters and iPhones), and I thought it was ridiculous, especially when I saw the effort people put into taking the perfect picture of their chocolate cake made with cacao harvested by blind children attending a music and farming school in India. There was also the perfect Iwokeuplikethis yogurt/raspberry/granola/magic-pill-that-makes-all-Swedes-beautiful breakfast combo, obviously with a perfectly distressed white tabletop and ample sunlight. And a glass of orange juice, of course.
While men all over the world are proudly growing caterpillars on their faces and the barristas and designers over on Brick Lane are temporarily having to find something other than their lumberjack facial hair to make themselves different from the rest of western society, I’ve taken on my own form of self-punishment this month. Having successfully completely Dry January earlier this year (depending on how you define ‘successfully’), and still not having quite regained my tolerance back to its previous form, cutting out sweets (including chocolate) seemed like a good plan knowing that a pile of Austrian cookies and multiple rounds of Glühwein are in my imminent future.
It is now Day 5, and this still doesn’t seem like it was a good plan. I may have started the weekend by cheating with a chocolate croissant, because Halloween weekend and croissants aren’t sweets anyways? Also … actually, I have no excuse, it was a weak start to No-Sweets November. But I think I sweat out most of it in the sauna last night (including the half of a cinnamon bun I ate afterwards, because Nordic pastries in wintertime are worth the shame).
The good news is, I have a box of Mozartkugeln and a bag of chocolate in my desk, and I haven’t been tempted once, so my success rate isn’t completely through the floor. Best of luck to all of the men out there who have so kindly given up their dating lives in the pursuit of a cure for testicular and prostate cancer.
I don’t think I’ll ever be British enough to actually use that title, so now I have it in writing once, may it rest in peace. Graduation was this past weekend (known as a “Congregation”), and true to Cambridge form, it was the most efficient and outdated process I’ve ever seen. Strict dresscode, uncomfortable gown-and-hood combo, line up silently in fours and file into an old, beautiful, and empty building. Hold onto a stranger’s finger, kneel in front of another stranger, listen to the two strangers converse briefly in Latin, somethingsomethingsomething I swear upon the Holy Trinity, make sure mom hasn’t passed out yet, get up, bow, and done. And now I’m a Cambridge graduate. Cool.
The Austrian had his family in town and I had my parents in town, so dinners took place in multiple states of confusion plus or minus a few bottles of wine and an increasing need for a walking/talking dictionary. We punted, formalled, wore gowns, and otherwise knocked the Cambridge experience into them. The result? A new Austro-American alliance to make the world spin with ginger cookies and Mozartkugeln.
I just typed in this title, and then Germany scored its 5th goal against Brazil … in the first 27 minutes of the semi-finals. And three of those in the past 7 minutes or so. There’s so many good World War II jokes that could be made of this, but I’ve already posted my best one to Facebook and Twitter, so no need to overdo it. Obviously this is all happening because giving a passport to an American with toddler-level language skills who jaywalks is like sprinkling gold dust on an angry cat for good luck. Or something.
I have to say, I can appreciate football. Soccer. Whatever.
Okay, now we’re up to 6-0.
The Germans are showing emotion, finally. I think I just saw a tear.
Phew. They haven’t scored again. So what I was going to say is, I’ve been pretty good about this World Cup. Generally, I don’t mind a game once a week or so, watching scientists get emotional about something, staring unashamedly at the German national team keeper. I’ve sort of figured out what ‘off sides’ means, and I know that the guy on the German national team is really, really good at corner kicks, which I think is a special skill, but I’m not entirely sure about that. I can also see some humor in being an American watching the world cup, which can be largely defined by this comic:
It’s been fun. We haven’t lost any furniture yet, only one shoe has landed on the roof, and there’s a good fraction of people at Wolfie who will probably have to add “sincere appreciations to the World Cup for thoroughly distracting me from my thesis” to their acknowledgments section.
The World Cup is literally a month straight with a total of 64 games. Sixty-fucking-four soccer games. In one month and one day. With a total of seven days off from playing. That is an average of over 2.5 games per day. And they all happen in the evening, starting anytime between 5 and 9 PM to cater to the countries playing (sorry, South Korea and Japan), and finishing anytime between 9 PM and midnight. I don’t really have to tell you what that means in a relationship.
Also, the Brazilians just scored their first goal. Felicitaçoes.
So, I mean, the first two weeks were the worst, for sure. There were like 3-4 games per day, everyday. Many of them went into overtime. A lot of energy was spent being into the game, leading to complete exhaustion afterwards. The World Cup is just generally not good for relationships.
But at the same time, the World Cup is only once every four years. It’s fun, it’s spirited, and there’s always a few songs by Shakira that don’t actually have any words, just some noises and a lot of hip action. People paint their faces, fly out to stadiums in the middle of the jungle on the opposite side of the planet, and stand in the rain to watch beautiful men kick around a black-and-white ball. It gives the anti-social academics in Cambridge something to talk about, and I’ve never seen so many people eating yellow, blue and green peanut M&M’s. And in the greater scheme of things, it’s only a month, and this time it happens to be the month exactly leading up to the day my thesis is due. Which is a blessing and a curse, since the Austrian is too busy watching games to distract me, but I’m too busy trying to figure out what the hell the rules of this game are to actually write my thesis.
Anyways, it’s over in less than a week, and I submit my thesis the day after. Until then, some words of advice from the Austrian:
Start a relationship in the year before the WC, then you have a full year to build up brownie points before it starts.