Complainers Gonna Complain — Just Not to the Right People.

I’m terrible at complaining.

Actually, that is a total lie. I’m amazing at complaining. I’m just terrible at complaining to the people who can actually solve the problem.

For example, a friend of mine texted me today with a picture of an incredibly disappointing sandwich that cost her ten dollars.

Me after seeing the photo: Oh dear…

Her: I was so sad when I opened the box… This used to be my favorite sandwich!

Me: I would complain…. Actually that’s not true. I wouldn’t complain, but I’d want to, and then they’d come and ask me how everything was and I’d be all, “Oh this is delicious, thanks so much! Are you guys number one on Yelp around here? Because you totally should be.” 

Her: Same here! 

Me: And then I’d complain to everyone else in the world about it. Because I’m productive. 

And then something hit me: When do I ever actually complain to the person who can fix the problem I’m having?

If I’m not feeling well, I whine to Boyfriend about it instead of actually going to a doctor or the drug store. (Side note, I actually count this as partially effective because by complaining about it to Boyfriend, he often goes to the drug store and takes care of me, which in turn means that I actually did complain to the right person. He doesn’t necessarily agree. His reasons are ridiculous.)

If someone hurts my feelings, I will talk to everyone else in the world I can before I confront them about it. I will call my sister and tell her about it, and then I’ll call my best friend and talk to her about it, and Boyfriend will definitely get an ear-full for WEEKS about how frustrating and insensitive that jerk was to me, but if someone were to suggest that I actually open up and be vulnerable and confront the person responsible for my hurt feelings? No, thank you. BEING VULNERABLE IS HARD AND I DON’T WANT TO.

Bad service at a restaurant? You’re totally still getting over-tipped, but I’ll say something to my friends about how lame our experience was once we’re out the door because I don’t want to hurt your feelings and I’m sure your day was really hard or something like that.

At this rate, if my house caught on fire, I’d call my best friend who lives three hours away before I actually dial 9-1-1 and admit that something has gone wrong.

Why? Because addressing problems makes me incredibly anxious.

If I have to address an issue, it means telling someone that they did something wrong, or it means admitting to someone else (like a doctor) that I did something wrong. And nobody likes to be aware of their mistakes, and I certainly don’t enjoy being the bearer of bad news. I want to be the person that says “Hey! You did an awesome thing! And I feel awesome! Yaaaaaay us!!”

So, until I figure out how to look at a waiter or waitress and say “This food sucks… and you’re awesome,” I think I will just swallow my horrible sandwiches and complain about them on the Internet. Because that way we’re all happy, right? ….Right?

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Today is a sad day. This week has been a sad week. And because it’s only the 14th of January, we can say that this year has been a bit of a sad year.

I tend to go through a series of strange emotions when a famous person dies. I didn’t know them. Not really. So I always feel like a slight imposter in being so affected by their death.

But then, I think to myself, that I did sort of know them. From a strange and filtered distance, I knew them and their life affected mine, so why shouldn’t their death matter to me? Of course it matters to me. So, yeah, I’m going to shed a tear or two. I’m going to listen to Ziggy Stardust while I cook and I’m going to sing along at the top of my lungs. I’m going to watch Harry Potter movies all week and let myself focus a little more than usual on the greatness that is Professor Severus Snape.

And I am going to cry as if I knew them. As if they were my dear friends. I will cry as if we spent some real time together, because in a way, we did.

And I’m going to celebrate their lives by admiring in their work. I’m going to revel in it. I’m going to dance around. I’m going to be entranced by the fluidity of good vs evil. And I’m going to close my eyes and really sink into both of those voices (because my god, those voices…)

How lucky we are to have had these two great men. How lucky we are to have lived at the same time as each of them. How lucky we are that they chose to live their lives in a way that allowed us to know them in such a strange and beautiful way. And how lucky we are that we can continue to know and enjoy them. Always.

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I don’t understand why people always assume that *I’m* the crazy one in this relationship.

An actual conversation I had with Boyfriend while falling asleep last night:

Me: I don’t have enough blanket.

Boyfriend: …I know where this is going.

Me: What do you mean?

Boyfriend: You’re going to end up doing a crocodile death spin and taking the entire blanket.

Me: I do not do a crocodile death spin!

Boyfriend: Yes you do.

Me: Are you seriously claiming that I whip around in the middle of the night like a crocodile to gain the blanket?

Boyfriend: No. You don’t whip around. It’s more like a slow roll.

Me: Like a beached whale?

Boyfriend: If that’s the analogy you want to use.

Me: I can’t believe you’re comparing me to a beached whale.

Boyfriend: What?! You compared yourself to a beached whale! I compared you to a majestic crocodile!

Me: No. I drew the conclusion to the beached whale because you described a beached whale. 

Boyfriend: I don’t even know where to go from here, Emelie.

I think we all know who the real winner is here.

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It should go without saying, but just to clarify, I do not decorate with boobs or butts.

Every now and again I get this burning desire to just reorganize my entire home. I want to go to tag sales and find great new pieces and I want to use pallets to make my coffee table look more rustic.

This usually happens when I look through magazines or when the new Ikea catalog shows up at my house.

What always ends up happening, of course, when I finally do end up going to a tag sale and finding that great new piece is that I stop there. I have no idea how to execute my ideas. I fail at the follow-through. So then these weird little accent pieces just sit there, forgotten in my hallway. They somehow gain the power of the TARDIS and I manage to walk by them without even realizing they’re there anymore. Until all of a sudden, one day, I’ll stub my toe on the thing and BAM! I’m back into my “I should redecorate” phase.

And thus the cycle repeats itself.

I treat free or cheap furniture like puppies that follow me home. For example, a few weeks ago, Boyfriend came over to find that my entire living room had been taken over by large chests. Not large-breasted women. That would be a way weirder story if I told you that Boyfriend came over and found my home full of Hooters waitresses just hanging around and I’d be all “What? I just found them on the street!”

No. I mean trunks. Not butts. Trunks like what Harry Potter would travel with.

There is just no way to talk about these things without innuendo, is there?

Anyway, I had acquired a couple huge chests/trunks/boxes (oh god…), and Boyfriend was puzzled.

Boyfriend: Where are you going to put these?

Me: Right where they are.

Boyfriend: Just randomly in the middle of your living room? Where will we walk?

Me: …around them?

Boyfriend: But… what are they for?

Me: I haven’t quite figure that out just yet, but they must be useful, right? And don’t you like this one? It’s covered in blue tin!

Boyfriend: It’s all rusty… we’re going to need tetanus shots.

Me: Well, honestly, you probably should have done that when you met me, so that’s on you. Now, will you help me move these? They look ridiculous where they are.

Boyfriend: …………….sure.

So I guess this is sort of a success story. Go me!

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Maybe I should have just ordered pizza.

I was babysitting one evening last week and things went totally fine you guys. I made dinner for the kid and he ate it and then we played some cards and then he went to bed. It all went fine.

Except I made way too much macaroni. Like…. You would have thought I was feeding a family of six. You would have been wrong because I was aiming to feed just myself and an skinny eight-year-old who also decided to have an avocado and HAD I KNOWN THAT, I WOULDN’T HAVE GIVEN HIM SO MUCH MACARONI.

Alright fine. If I’m being honest, even without the avocado, there was too much macaroni. If I’m being even a little bit more honest, I’m still a little bitter that he didn’t split the avocado with me. He didn’t even offer. Rude.

Anyway, after I put the kid to bed, I was suddenly very concerned about the mass amount of macaroni that was sitting on the kitchen counter. At first I thought “Well, I’ll just keep eating it until it’s gone,” but just the thought of trying to force that mountain of food down my throat was making me sad, which is saying something because I love macaroni. The problem was that I had already attempted to eat way more than my stomach could handle during the actual meal itself. There was just no way I could eat more before his parents came home.

That’s when I had my brilliant idea: Take the macaroni home and no one will ever know… So I put all the macaroni in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag and ran out to my car to dispose of any evidence. SUCCESS!!!

A few hours later, I woke up to the sound of the parents’ car doors closing and immediately sat up to pretend that I was totally awake and that I totally hadn’t made a ton of macaroni. They came in, we chatted, and I played it cool. I was very impressed with myself as I sleepily drove down the street to pick up Boyfriend who was waiting for me at his apartment so that we could go and sleep at my apartment because love.

When he got into the car I said “Watch out for the macaroni.”

Boyfriend: What?

Me: I made too much macaroni and I was embarrassed, so I stole it all to hide the evidence. And for lunch tomorrow.

Boyfriend: Seriously? I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded that you had some macaroni leftover…

Me: It was A LOT of macaroni.

Boyfriend: Why did you make so much macaroni?


Boyfriend: ……

And here’s where things get weird, you guys.

The next morning I was getting ready for work and just before I left, I was all “Oh!! I almost forgot my macaroni!” So I ran to the fridge and looked.

Me: Um… where’s my macaroni?

Boyfriend: Excuse me?

Me: My macaroni. I did bring it in last night, right? It’s not still in the car?

Boyfriend: What the hell are you talking about?

Me: My macaroni! Remember?

I proceeded to act out the conversation from last night.

Boyfriend: I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

Me: What? Yes you do.

Boyfriend: I promise you that I don’t. You’re also going to be late for work.

Me: But…

Boyfriend calmly guiding me towards the car: Come on. We’ll find this “macaroni” when we get home.

And you know what? We never did. WE NEVER FOUND THE MACARONI.

This can only mean that one of us has amnesia OR that one of us is sleep-eating. Or sleep-hiding food. Either way, I’m incredibly concerned and entirely mystified.

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I’m kind of like a punching ninja when you think about it.

So last night we went to go see The Scorch Trials (which was delightful and I highly recommend. Unless – Spoiler alert – if you didn’t read the books, which you should – Zombies give you nightmares, because if that’s the case, you might not be in for the most enjoyable experience.) and to say that it was an intense experience would be underselling it. Especially if you were sitting next to me.

I do not watch movies calmly. In fact, I tend to treat all film experiences as interactive. Especially when things get violent. Boyfriend, apparently, finds this incredibly entertaining because at one point in the movie, there was a zombie way too close to the good guys and I was all “Punch him in the face!” and then I made some fists and tried to demonstrate to the actors how one would punch said zombie in the face at which point Boyfriend laughed with some surprise. I assumed this was because he had never seen this level of aggression from me until we got out of the movie.

Boyfriend: I need to teach you how to throw a punch.

Me: What do you mean? I can totally punch! *Aggressively starts punching through the air as we walk to our car*

Boyfriend: You punch like… a boxing nun – or how I imagine Tigger would punch.

Me: What? Is this why you were laughing at me?

Boyfriend: Why did you think I was laughing at you?

Me: I just figured you were taken aback by my toughness.

Boyfriend: No dear… I was laughing because your attempt at being tough was absolutely adorable.

Me: Well… crap. That’s not what I was going for at all…

But here’s the thing… I disagree completely because if I ever found myself in a fight, everyone would expect the normal punch, right? They’d be all “jab-jab!” and then here I come with my weird bicycle-pedal-fist swings that just confuse the shit out of everyone and THAT is how I knock ’em out.

Basically I’m so good at punching that my skills are unrecognizable. Like a ninja.


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WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN? And more evidence of my aging.

So I have this text chain going with some old roommates of mine. We lived together when we were studying in England and now we’re all spread out all over the States, so this is how we randomly connect and feel like we’re still sort of hanging out in our tiny kitchen with weird green chairs.

Anyway, I think it’s definite that we’re not in college anymore and that we’re all growing up because this conversation just recently occurred.

Fair warning: I’ve changed their names for their own privacy because no person should have to publicly admit that they’re friends with me.

Me: Also, does anyone understand this song about not being able to feel your face, but still loving someone? I’m super confused and I can’t get it out of my head.

Jessica: No!!! That song has ridiculous lyrics. We, along with my mom are all like whaaaaa?

Me: THANK YOU. Did the person drug the singer, making his face numb? So like “Hey, you totally drugged me and now I can’t feel my face, but I still love you, so nbd.” Because that’s unhealthy. In many ways.

Jessica: You’re not alone in not understanding… Those guys are making millions too.

Me: Well maybe they can use that money to seek treatment for their face-numbness.

Holly: Ignorant here. Who are these numbed face people?

Jessica: The Weeknd and they spell it like that too.

Holly: Because of course they do.

Me: I hate everything about them now.

Jessica: Not a typo.

So I think it’s official: I’m a cranky old broad now, but I mean, really… what does this song even mean? Can someone explain it to me? Does this band even know?

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More things.

Last night I read something I’d written at a public event.

To a crowd of people.

A small crowd, nonetheless, but it was still a group of people.

My friend/fellow writer/mentor was being named Poet Laureate of our town (yes, Stars Hollow has a Poet Laureate because DUH), and she asked our writer’s group to come to the open mic night that was being done in honor of this announcement.

And so I got up there. And I read. I also sweat a little bit, but mostly I read.

And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. I actually got laughs (in a good way) and people seemed to genuinely enjoy what I was reading. There was even some clapping when I was done.

It’s not like I’ve never read my stuff out loud before, but usually I only do that when I’m reading it to my writing group in order to get some feedback. I’m never “performing” it. And while posting my writing on this blog is a way of performing, I don’t get the immediate feedback. Sometimes I don’t get feedback at all, actually, but when I do get responses, they’re through the screen. I don’t hear you all laughing or sighing. I don’t see you all nodding your heads while you listen or read. I just push “publish” and hope no one writes me an angry or hurtful comment.

This is not to say that I don’t love hitting that “publish” button. I think I actually look forward to it more now.

Reading my stuff out loud to a group of people – most of whom I’d never read to before in my life – was an entirely new and thrilling experience. It made me want to keep going.

This past year has turned me into more of a writer than I ever was before. I can’t pinpoint what changed and when exactly, but I recognize that my desire, drive, and ability as a writer has increased and that’s exciting. I never would have done what I did last night before, but now that I’ve done it? I want to write more stuff to read out loud. I want to write more things to not read out loud. I just want to write more things.

And I just think that’s something worth noting.

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Just try and tell me you wouldn’t smile the entire time you iced a cake with this.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us are happier when things are cuter.

Puppies. Kittens.  Baby Bunnies. Little kids when they’re not being annoying.

Admit it, all of these things make you happier than say…

Grass. Flashlights. Junk mail. Dirty dishes.

Right? I’m right, right?

So, in my opinion, it only makes sense that when there is an opportunity to make something that isn’t ordinarily cute even cuter, that opportunity should be taken.

Which is why I can’t resist adorable kitchen items such as these:

Meet Pastasaurus and The Grumpy Egg Beater (who has justified reasons for his grumpiness, I mean, come on… you’re literally using him to beat his dead friends. It’s actually kind of morbid when you think about it, so I just try not to).

This brings me to this past weekend when Boyfriend and I were out lunching and wandering around on this quaint little Main Street strip of shops on a Sunday afternoon like we were in some sort of Audrey Hepburn romantic film in the sixties or something. We strolled into a kitchen shop and my eyes kind of glazed over because cooking is not really my thing, but it is Boyfriend’s thing, so I knew we couldn’t simply pass by without going in.

As he bounced around looking at really expensive knives I knew he would never let me touch and pans that I couldn’t understand why they cost over $100, I spotted it. The new object of my affection:


A pigula.

And he was only $4. How could I say no?

Me: I must have him.

Boyfriend: …seriously?

Me: Come on, you know I can’t resist something this cute. GEB and The Pastasaurus need a new buddy.

Boyfriend: Fine. How about this: You can have your cute kitchen items and I’ll have my practical ones.

Me: What, they can’t be both?

And then I got this look that seemed to say “You don’t really expect me to use a pig-spatula with any sort of seriousness, do you?”

So I walked up to the register.

Me (slightly louder than necessary): I would like this Pigula please!

Cashier: Oh, aren’t these great?

Me: I mean, I can’t resist something this delightful.

Cashier: And you know what? They’re actually really great spatulas, too!

I’m going to put this one in the “Victories for Emelie” column.

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Metaphors for writer’s block and other cliches.

I wrote this a few weeks ago when I couldn’t think of anything else to write, which was kind of refreshing because writing about the fact that I couldn’t write actually ended up helping me to write… Anyway, I shared it with my writer’s group and they all really liked it, so I thought I might share it with the rest of you as well because… well, why not?


I’m dying to write more often, but I’m finding that every time I sit down to look at a page, my mind goes completely blank. This weird whirring sound begins in my brain and my eyes tend to glaze over. What is that about? It used to be that I could get the words to start pouring out of me if I tipped my lexical pitcher just enough. Now, however, it seems like that pitcher is full of molasses instead of lemonade. It’s not that there aren’t any words at all within me (I always have words, ask anyone who has ever engaged in a conversation with me), but instead it’s like they’re all locking themselves up in some tower in my mind. They’re rebellious teenagers who refuse to come out for dinner. It’s infuriating. Almost as infuriating as the fact that I’ve switched metaphors three times within this paragraph.


So I’m getting the axe (and sticking with the locked up metaphor) and I’m busting down that door and marching those words downstairs because they’re mine, dammit, and I make the rules. Right? Ugh, I sound like my father… And you know what? Just like moody teenagers, words are going to do what words want to do whether you like it or not. Sure, you can force them to come out, but they won’t behave properly. They’ll still have an attitude. They’ll interact as minimally as possible and when they do manage to come up with a sentence, it’ll be a grumpy one that leaves you feeling hurt in a way you didn’t think possible.


So what do I do? I could go on a writer’s retreat. Take my words camping and get them to come out of that protective shell they have built so carefully around themselves a little bit! We’ll relax out in nature and interact with other words from other families! It’ll be refreshing! Until we get home and three days after the fact, we’re back in the same old place. The words are up in their tower and I’m down in the living room, just trying to figure out what changed.


So I guess the answer is to just keep trying. Keep interacting. Keep waking up every morning and making breakfast for the words. Keep going back to the words and keep trying to have a positive interaction with them until one day you’re having a full-on grand time with them. Sentence after sentence is happening and before you know it, you and your words have bonded and there’s a story there. It’s a story that you and your words will tell for decades and it’ll be your thing that the two of you have and that no one can ever really take away from you.


And then they’ll go back to being moody for a little while, and thus the cycle repeats itself.


But the stories will be the things that you think of at the end of it all when it comes to your words. It won’t be all the locked doors or silent treatments, but it’ll be the stories that the two of you created together. And, hopefully, you’ll end up closing your eyes and thinking, “Damn. We did good work.”

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