2010 February | Somewhere in Middle America

Alice‘s recent blog post reminded me that I had this draft in the hopper. The pothole situation in Omaha is worse than bad. It’s dangerous. Pete Dungey‘s pothole gardens wouldn’t remedy the problem, but they would make driving down Omaha’s battered streets a bit more pleasant.

(via A Cup of Jo)

There was once a girl who loved talking on the phone. She loved it so much that her Bat Mitzvah theme was telephones, and her corresponding birthday present from her parents was her own phone and phone line. Flash forward to today. The girl now has a BlackBerry, which she uses all the time… but not for chatting. She relies on it for checking email, updating her Facebook status, text messaging and taking photos.

Obviously, that girl is me. But maybe it’s also you. Somewhere between 7th grade and today I lost my gift for gab. If I have big news to share I’ll still ring up my closest companions and tell them all the details. But when it comes to chatting just for chatting’s sake, well, I have trouble with that one. Do people really want to hear about the mundane details of my day? My guess is no. And since I generally find my life to be pretty boring, I have many, many friends who haven’t heard from me in quite a while. It’s like I’m afraid to call to say hi if I don’t have anything else interesting to say.

However, I understand that if you want to maintain friendships, especially long distance ones, avoiding the phone is, well, unavoidable. Which leads me to the next challenge – when’s the best time to talk? Cell phones may make us accessible 24/7, but that doesn’t mean that we are–or that we want to be. If I’m desperate to talk to a friend or family member, I’ll answer the phone while in the supermarket or even at work. (But I’ll never, ever pick up the phone while I’m in the car, and you shouldn’t either.) Ideally, I like to be at home, relaxing on the couch without distractions. But how often are conditions absolutely perfect for any venture? I know, I know, I’m just making excuses. Just pick up the dang phone, PJ.

There are so many ways to keep in touch nowadays that talking on the phone almost seems archaic. I love the convenience of being able to draft an email with snippets and highlights from my life at any time of the day. I can start in the morning and finish in the evening. But an email is so one-sided, and there’s something to be said about being an active listener, too. If I can focus more on listening rather than on talking, perhaps I’ll feel more inclined to make phone calls. I won’t have to worry about awkward silences or not knowing what to say.

So I’d to issue an apology to all of my friends out there who haven’t gotten a call from me recently. It’s not you, it’s me! Just because I don’t think what I’ve been doing lately has been particularly noteworthy doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what’s been going in your life.

Still, I know I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t particularly enjoy talking on the phone. (To be truthful, I may actually diagnose myself with having a mild phobia of the phone.) Fellow “telephobiacs,” how do you push yourself out of your comfort zone?

(images source, source)

Besides men’s figure skating, I’ve enjoyed watching anything have to do with snowboarding this Olympics – specifically, anything having to do with men on snowboards (see Shaun White, above), including snowboard cross and half-pipe. Don’t worry ladies, I’m not totally prejudice. I was rooting for my girl Julia Mancuso during the women’s ski events. (I may be the only American who is not a Lindsey Vonn fan. She just seems like such a diva. And, as someone commented on Twitter, she looks like a Seventeen magazine cover model from the 80s. Not sure that’s a compliment.)

What haven’t I been enjoying? Ice dancing! The costumes themselves almost make the “sport” unwatchable – and I’m not really convinced ice dancing is truly a sport. It’s definitely more of a performance, isn’t it? What do you think?

The pics in this post are from a photo essay by Ryan McGinley, The Highfliers, which beautifully captures some of our favorite Olympians up in the air, doing what the do best – including Mollytic‘s favorite, Johnny Weir (below).

(via you are my fav)

This textile canvas by Laura Amiss is absolutely darling – though perhaps a bit seasonal. Fall decor, anyone? Still, I’m sure I can find a year-round spot on my wall for it.

(via poppytalk)

According to Ben Franklin, in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. Here’s a third: I will never own a Hermès Birkin Bag. I will never have thousands of dollars to spend on an accessory, no matter how timeless or magical it may be. However, I am definitely able to afford this I Heart Birkin tote. Printed on an American Apparel cotton tote, it features the a Birkin bag in a variety of colors. I’ve added it to the wishlist!

(via Real Simple)

I love my BlackBerry for checking email on the run, but, for the most part, I’m a pen and paper kind of gal. I recently purchased a paper planner for keeping track of my schedule and appointments and would absolutely love this letterpress address card file by one canoe two for my contacts. However, I can see myself not using it for fear that I’d run out of address cards and be unable to attain more. (Who am I kidding? Do I have more than 75 contacts??)

(via Oh So Beautiful Paper, image via one canoe two)

Shame on me for not paying any attention to the U.S. men’s figure skating team before last night’s short program–especially the theatrical Johnny Weir. Thankfully Mollytics’s enthusiasm for the self-proclaimed Russophile is contagious. I wasn’t sure what to expect from his performance, as I had never seem him skate previously — I thought he was going to perform to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” — and I found him to be graceful, strong and artistic. Boo to those who say he isn’t as much of an athlete as the tall, dark and handsome Evan Lysacek. Here’s a secret: you HAVE to be athletic to pull off the jumps and spins that ALL of the figure skaters do.

Some of the tweets I read about @johnnygweir during the men’s first competition were disheartening. His fans truly that homophobia impacts how he is perceived by the commentators and, maybe, the judges. Sure, his pink corset and single shoulder tassel were a bit effeminate, but were Evan Lysacek’s ruffles and wrist feathers any more masculine? (Sorry, Vera Wang.) Did Johnny not execute his program nearly flawlessly? Yet all the commentators could talk about was his costume and his off-the-ice antics. They ignored the fact that he, too, is competing for a medal. Boo, again.

Per Mollytics, I followed Marissa’s live blogging during the men’s short program and look forward to her (and her mom’s) thoughts during the long program. And just so we’re on the same page, I would be happy if Evan were to win the gold medal. I just think that Johnny deserves to be taken more seriously. Go Team U.S.A.!

Click here for a great piece on the theatrics of men’s figure skating.

(image source)

If I had $225 burning a hole in my pocket, I would spend it on Jessica Hische’s Letterpress Drop Cap poster.

It’s not a celebration without a pink Funfetti cake! After a delicious Valentine’s Day brunch at Dixie Quicks and a trip to the movie theater to see “An Education,” J prepared dinner while I made dessert. I thing serving pink Funfetti cakes for special occasions is becoming a new tradition for us.

We made our first back in January for my dad’s birthday, and it was so yummy and festive that we’ve become addicted. A couple of weeks ago for a dinner party I used chocolate frosting instead of pink vanilla on a Funfetti cake, and it definitely wasn’t the same.

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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