Shameless Plug!

Sorry I didn’t have a post for you yesterday! My brain failed me in that regard.

BUT, the other reason I didn’t have a post for you is because I was busy recording the small podcast I do with my friends Renée and Kath!

It’s called Sip & Bitch, and we put out an episode every two weeks. Each episode, we pick three topics (or usually, it’s two topics, plus a movie review, or something TV- or movie-related) and have a casual chat … usually while drinking wine.

In fact, we just finished editing our latest episode, which you can check out via SoundCloud:

In this episode, we talk about turning 39 (based on my post last week), our dislike of “to-do” listicles, and The Awards That Kath Shall Not Name. Have a listen, like our episode or comment on the timeline (especially if you have a SoundCloud account)!

If you prefer to download episodes so you can listen at our leisure, you can find us on iTunes – our episodes usually upload about 24 hours after we load onto SoundCloud.

We’re a low-cost operation (translation: basic), so we’re still learning as we go along. But I hope you’ll listen to the above featured episode, as well as our previous ones!

You can now find us on Twitter. Or, if you’d rather send us a note, you can email us at sippers.bottlereturn@gmail.com.

Happy listening!

P.S.: Despite my absence, I’m still part of a one-month blogging challenge with Renée and Kath, who are churning out some great posts, so please feel free to stop by their blogs and read their awesome work!

A Is For Alfredo

Man, I can’t believe January is over already!

Truth be told, though, the new year has been a bit … off-kilter.

It may have started on New Year’s Eve.

Things were “typical” enough. I attended a friend’s house party, which was completely packed, but still fantastic – just as New Year’s Eve celebrations should be. Some new friends of mine stopped by from another party, and we merry until about 3:30 a.m.

When we left, I presumed we’d either go grab something to eat, or go our separate ways.

Instead, we ended up at this other party (where they’d been earlier). I must say, the vibe, the ambience was unbelieveably random and just … weird.

A couple of us made conversation with this one guy. And a couple others came up to me.

I ended up making conversation with one of them for, like, five or six minutes. From what I could recall, it was small talk. Nothing remarkable.

At around 5 a.m., we finally decided to leave for our friend’s condo. We wished each other a happy new year … and he piped up that we should keep in touch.

Before I knew it, numbers were exchanged, and I was out the door with my friends … and a feeling I was all too familiar with.

If you know about me or anything I’ve written about in the past, it’s that (a) I’m not consistent with the word “no” and (b) I have this problem with NOT being … nice?

After my initial annoyance with myself, I sort of brushed it off, rationalizing that, if anything, he probably wouldn’t call for at least a few days.

Less than 12 hours later, I was puttering around at home, when I noticed a message on my voice mail.

It was the stranger from the party, calling to wish me a happy new year, and hoping that we’d speak soon.

Um. Huh. Ooops.

Just as I was trying to figure out how to suss out the situation, I was hit with a nasty cold virus that had been circulating, a couple of days later.

Before I felt my cold’s full phlegmy fury, though, I turned to a male friend to get a his opinion.

His verdict? This guy wasn’t looking for friendship.

Hmmmm …

Fast forward eight days later. I was alternating between working and keeping my nostrils unblocked. All I wanted to do was sleep. Social texting was the last thing I felt like doing.

Then, The Stranger texted. He was hoping I was having a good year so far.

I texted back that I hadn’t been feeling well, and apologized for not responding sooner.

And that was that. For about two weeks.

Last week, he texted. How was I doing? Was I back to work? Had I seen the movie Haywire?

Last Saturday, he texted while I was out working. He wanted to call me. When was a good time?

And on Sunday evening, he called.

We spoke for about an hour. The conversation was decent. It wasn’t horrible or weird. There just wasn’t anything remarkable about it.

At its conclusion, he suggested we should go and catch a movie, and that he’d call later on in the week.

I don’t know. I mean, he’s a nice guy. And I’m trying to give him a chance. But whatever he might be thinking or feeling, I’m not sure if I’m on the same wavelength.

I brought this up with a friend of mine the other evening. She didn’t think I was leading him on in any way (presumably because we hadn’t gone out yet), and that I should just stop communicating with him, cold turkey. No calls, no texts. Period.

I’m not so sure that’s the right way to handle this. But perhaps I should go to the movies with this guy before I decide for sure what avenue I want to pursue next.

Siiiigh.

The Nuances of Party Talk

ornaments‘Tis the season …

For neuroses.

That’s right kids, it’s holiday party season. A time when folks gather with family, friends and acquaintances … meet new people … or maybe finally get closer to people we want to get to know better, all in the spirit of fun and goodwill.

It can also be this time of year when, as the party circuit gains momentum, so does the potential to say or do something that might turn an interaction awkward …

And unleash that cold, sharp sting of emotional discomfort that can be hard to shake in the days that follow. 

Making conversation with people you may or may not know is a delicate art, even at the best of times. 

But around holiday time? The art of chatting during a time of merry-making can sometimes require the skill of a ninja.

And despite the best of intentions, you sometimes step right into it, without meaning to.

A case in point:

While kindly driving me home from work earlier this evening, a co-worker of mine and I were chatting about the work potluck we both attended the night before. It was great! Lots of good food, a chance to meet people and their spouses, or their friends.

But, she said, she thought she may have accidentally offended the wife of one of our other co-workers.

“Really?” I said. “Really? How so?”

Well, they’d gotten into a conversation about politics – specifically women in politics and powerful roles. The co-worker’s wife was making the point of saying that women should get a stab at high positions of office, such as President of the United States.

Essentially my co-worker’s point of view was that it shoudn’t matter – shouldn’t it just be the best person for the job? (There was a bit of pre-amble before that, so she just stopped short of saying this.)

My co-worker surmised she may not have gotten the drift of our  co-worker’s wife, because she got a weird vibe after that. And honestly, it wasn’t her intention to offend.

We probably won’t ever know what our co-worker’s wife was thinking. But it’s sometimes just one of those things.

And then there are situations that are, from the start, just friggin’ weird.

This past Saturday night, I went downtown for two shindigs. First stop was my friend’s birthday party at a bar.

I shed my layers, and saw one of my friends from work, in conversation with a few other women she knew. I asked if it was all right to join, to which they agreed.

After about five minutes or so, I introduced myself to each one. One of them I’d been hoping to introduce myself to for a while – the wife of another friend of mine.

Short story: This friend (the one with the wife, not the birthday) and I dated YEARS ago. So briefly in fact, it’s barely a wrinkle on the pleated slacks of Time. And by the time he met his now-wife, I’m pretty confident I was completely out of the picture and things were kosher.

And yet …

Have you ever been in a situation where you think you know in your head how something is going to play out, and it ends up unfolding in a completely different way?

I turned, and was ready to extend my hand when the woman said:

“We’ve met before. I’m ______’s wife.”

Huh.

Normally this wouldn’t have caused me to flinch. Except:

1) I’m 99.9 percent sure I’ve never formally met her. EVER. The closest I got to her was last year, when she was still engaged to my friend. I spent the wedding ceremony of a mutual friend of ours looking at the back of her head from my church pew. Our tables at the reception were on opposite ends of the room. I never even talked to her there, either.

2) While I wouldn’t say she was unfriendly, I’d say she was hovering around cordial. She didn’t even say her name.

I honestly don’t even remember whether I still dribbled out, “Nice to meet you”, or modified the response.

But at that moment, my brain flashed one big, neurotic, neon “WTF?”  

To her credit, she did talk to me a little later on – for about 25 seconds –  because we have friends in common, who happened to be old classmates of mine. Although come to think of it, I found that equally as awkward. 

Not to toot my own horn, but I’d like to THINK I’m kinda likeable? 

*sigh*

So kids, whether your tongue sets you up for a fa-la-la-faux-pas, or you end up being targeted for merry mayhem, some advice.

1) Keep your tongue in check. 

2) Always keep your poker face.

 3) Know when to duck.

And please – if you have any awkward party conversation stories, feel free to share. I won’t judge.