I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 32

What do you think your life will look like when you’re 32?

17-year-old Jaime: I’ll be writing for an entertainment magazine, married with kids and living in a cute house with a lemon tree in the backyard.

22-year-old Jaime: I’ll be writing for an entertainment website. Married with a little kid and living in a house in the suburbs. Manicured lawn, cute dog and a uniform of capri pants and flip-flops. I basically want to be Sports Guy…but less sports and more 90210. Cheer up, Brando! How about a Mega Burger?

27-year-old Jaime: Hopefully, I’ll be living in L.A and I’ll either be seriously thinking about kids or I’ll already have one. Cute little bungalow and maybe a dog. Hopefully writing for a living or working in the entertainment industry.

31-year-old Jaime:

I’m moving to a tiny apartment in a historical neighborhood. It has Spanish tile floors, it’s close to downtown and I’m going fill it with glitter, books and pictures of musicians. I’m going to learn how to cook malai kofta there and I’m going to spend sunny Sunday afternoons on the back patio, drinking blackberry gin fizz and listening to Big Star.

This morning, I sent a text message to my boyfriend telling him I like him because he’s like Elliot Ness from The Untouchables – smart, brave, upstanding and a total fucking bad-ass.

I don’t have kids or a dog but a lot of my friends have either or both. That means 100% cuddle time and 25% cleaning up bodily fluids time (25% because I’m not a monster. If your kid needs a diaper change, I got you covered. Seriously. Pour another glass of wine, dude).

In addition to doing other things, I do write for a living. And even though I make zero dollars doing so, I write about music and love every moment of it.

Obviously, my life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.

But, does anyone’s?

The past year has been the happiest of my life and like all good things, I am wild and free.

But also responsible as fuck as I have a good credit score, pay all my bills on time, take vitamins and know better than to drink cheap gin (again, not a monster).

My thirties have been really great so far and I’m excited to see what this next year will bring, so here’s to 32 – adventures, kisses, great meals, icy cocktails, cute dogs and lovelovelove all punctuated by live music.

It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive and I’m more than glad.

I am over-fucking-joyed.

Advertisements

Thirty-Nothing Or, We Make Plans and The Universe Laughs

I’m thirty. I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor – Nick Carraway. The Great Gatsby.

We all do it – lie to ourselves and call it honor.

The biggest lie most adults are guilty of is, “I’m fine” or “It’s fine” — a tricky little bit of dialogue which actually means, “It’s actually not fine but it’s easier not to deal so I’ll just let it go.”

So here I am again where everything is as it once was and yet, nothing is the same.

I never thought I would be here at thirty.

Thirty always seemed old, you know? I figured by the time it finally rolled around, I would have that suburban quadfecta: house, husband, child and career.

As it turns out, I have a recently-cultivated propensity to listen to NPR while driving, a new-found appreciation for vegetarian sushi and absolutely none of the above.

And that’s fine.

Actually, no.
That’s a lie.

It straddles the line between being fine and being a little disheartening, depending on the day you catch me.

Catch me on a day when I’ve been spending a little bit too much time on Facebook or Pinterest and I’m bound to be dejected because there’s something both lulling and seductive about a home that looks like a Pottery Barn spread, chubby little toes and lemonade sipped from mason jars on starlit porches.

Catch me on any other day and ask me if I’m ready for the responsibilities that come along with suburban bliss and the answer will most assuredly be, “Dude. Let’s start with a dog and work our way up, shall we?”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t have it figured out yet. I thought I did, but I also thought I was going to marry Leonardo DiCaprio and that fairies lived in the big oak tree at the end of the playground.

Adulthood smashed into me in my twenties and I learned some pretty important lessons:

– Learn how to cook well. Learn how to eat well. Feed people.
– The more complicated your cocktail order, the bigger a schmuck you are. Gin and tonic. Bourbon neat. Yuengling. Simplicity is a good thing.
– Not another soul will love your rotten bones in the way a dog does.
– Bukowski was right. So was Hemingway. So was Fitzgerald.

But the most important thing I learned was that there is nothing honorable about lying to yourself. If it’s not fine, don’t lie to yourself and pretend it is.

In a few days, I will turn 30 – a green breast of a new decade.

A blank page.

I’m a little terrified, but I’m also optimistic. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at – it’s filling a blank page.

Here’s to fresh starts.
Here’s to cold gin cocktails and feeling civilized.
Here’s to being with the people who love you – safe, warm and happy.

Here’s to honor and to being the person you want to be.

Here’s to a new year.

Happy Birthday Biffle!

This is my favorite picture of us even though I have on purple eyeshadow, Biffle’s eyes are freak-show blue (what is wrong with you, son?) and my face is…well, my face.

Biffle and I once had the following conversation:

Biffle: I’m really glad we’re friends.
Me (derisive snort): Lame.
Biffle: Seriously. You’re a good friend.
Me: Why are you being so weird? Are you dying?
Biffle: No. I’m trying to tell you I appreciate you.
(At this point, I am not even listening to him)
Me: OH MY GOD! Am I dying?!
Biffle: …..
(Biffle exits my room, shaking his head and assuredly wondering why, sweet Jesus, why I am the way I am and what he did wrong to get saddled with me as his friend)

Ten years of conversations like this where this poor bastard does something nice and I ruin it.

But we’ve also had ten years of singing R. Kelly, Biggie and The Eagles in the car, really loudly.

Ten years of #FatKidSwag, even-bad-pizza-is-good-pizza, family dinners and “Jeet? Y’auntto?”

Ten years of video game marathons, quality time with dogs that love him more than they love me and me trying my damndest to gross him out.

Ten years of that laugh where I sound like a dying witch, that horrible noise of shame that I will never make for anyone else and conversations between the both of us that take place without him even being involved.

Ten years of being family.

Happy birthday, bro.

I know use that term all the time, but in your case – I really mean it.

I would share all my sandwiches with you. Even the ones with avocado. And smoked cheddar. Oooh and that really garlicky broccoli raab with the red pepper flake that gives you zombie breath for like, three days afterwards? Yeah. I’d share that with you.

Man, I am the best friend ever…

Happy Birthday, Dana!

I have this dream.

Actually, I have many dreams and the more interesting ones involve Ron Livingston, Al Green’s greatest hits and a preposterous amount of body glitter BUT this one in particular involves traveling with Dana.

See, whenever we get together — I am guaranteed of two things:

1. I’m going to eat well.
2. I’m going to scream with laughter and say the word, “YES!” emphatically at least 40 times.

Couple that with the fact that she understands the importance of taking pictures and that the point of travel is to experience new things and well…it’s not surprising I’m echoing Augustana — “Put me on a plane/Fly me to anywhere.”

So to my girl on her thirtieth birthday, one day we will

– Hang out in tapas bars in Madrid and listen to Spanish guitar while munching on Manchego and membrillo.
– Buy spices and perfumes in a Moroccan souk.
– Visit an Italian agrotourismo, learn all about mozzarella di bufala and drink red wine until our lips are blue.
– Go apeshit in Paris and eat ALL the creme brulee.
– Visit Austin where we will eat our way across town, until they find us in a semiconscious heap somewhere with mustard-stained fingers, wondering, ‘What the hell happened?’
– Camp in the Smoky Mountains. Yeah, I know. I know but we’re kinda awesome at camping. Also, the next morning? We can get biscuits and hash brown casserole and stuff.

(Why do all my plans with you involve food? You know why? Because they’re goddamn amazing, that’s why)

I cannot wait to Bourdain out with you!

Here’s to the best year yet.

Love you! xx

Bruuuuuuce Or, How I Learned To Stop Crying and Accept My 29th Birthday

So, this happened today:

In the past seven days, I have cried three times and not the single tear-environmental Indian kind of crying. I’m talking wracking sobs that leave a girl all snotty with puffy red eyes.

Yeah. It’s real cute.

This whole 29th birthday thing is not treating me well for a variety of reasons and just…feelings. Ew.

I cried again today. In addition to making unintelligible squealing noises, flapping my arms and forgetting how to breathe.

(I’m pretty sure that Augs’ family was thinking, “There are a million girls in the world that he could be with and he goes out and picks the most crazy one. Awesome. Also, why is she so short?”)

I am so damn lucky to have such incredible people in my life.

My family. Genetic, extended, the whole bit. These are the most generous people I know and are always there when I need them.
My friends who never fail to make me scream with laughter.
My co-workers who understand the importance of birthday hugs, Magic Cake and giant fountain Diet Cokes.

And finally, my guy. I love him with all the madness in my soul…and if this past month has proved anything, it’s that there’s whole lot of cray packed in there.

Happy 60th Birthday, Paps!

It’s weird to think of Paps as 60. In my mind, he’s perpetually 40 and I’ve caught myself saying that when asked which always leads to weird looks and the inevitable, “Your father was 11 when he had you…?”

No. He wasn’t. I’m just an idiot.

BUT, I am a lucky idiot because for the past 29 years — this guy has been there for me.

Happy birthday, Paps. I wish I was there to celebrate with you but I promise Red Velvet Cake and G&Ts next time we see each other.

I love you.

Your dark-skinned, foul-mouthed eldest kid. You know, the one who doesn’t like anything.

Happy Birthday Biffle Or, In My World OTC Means Over-The-Counter Not Off The Chain.

The Atwood to my Cohen.*

As similar as we are (deep abiding love of sandwiches, appreciation of cold beer, spicy food and pro-wrestling, firm belief that Tom Brady is representative of all that is soulless and wrong in this world…), Biffle and I are remarkably different people.

He speaks when he has something to say whereas I talk to make noise.
He adheres to a live and let live philosophy whereas I should change my name to Judgey McJudgerson.
He’s so hood like DJ Khaled whereas I’m all about little boxes made me of ticky-tacky which all look the same.

My white-bread suburban mindset never ceases to entertain him, so in honor of his birthday – here’s an email I sent him a couple of weeks ago that crystallizes just how different we really are.

Even though I know you’ll never read this (Biffle doesn’t need to read the blog. He gets front row seats and a backstage pass to my inanity), I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t show you some blog love on your birthday.

Happy birthday, Brorannosaurus Rex!
I never knew how much I needed a brother until I met you.
Shut up.
I’m a girl.
I’m allowed to say lame-ass stuff like that.
Oh, the hell with this. Chipotle/TJ Flats run? I’m buying.

***

I’ve got Mrs. Officer by Lil’ Wayne and Bobby Valentino on my iPod and it plays pretty often when I’m commuting back and forth from work.

Because I’m harder than a concrete boner, I take great pride in singing along to this track every time I hear it, but it was only this morning when I realized something.

Weezy sings, “All she wants to do is fuck the police.”

At first, I thought this was some NWA shout-out, not really germane to the topic of the song, but then — BLINDED BY REVELATION!

The song is called Mrs. Officer and when Wayne sings about fucking the police, he’s actually talking about engaging in carnal relations with the titular subject!

It all makes sense now.

Oh Weezy F. Baby, you sly rascal.

* I just realized that’s a flawed analogy. Cohen’s with Summer and broseph, you would hit that like the fist of an angry God.
Does that make Augs Summer? Wait…is that why you call him ‘baby’? Oh, dude…I hate you on so many levels right now.