The Inherent Romance of a Hypothetical Near-Death Experience

(photo via 1000 Awesome Things)

I know I declared romance to be all but dead just last week, but I wanted to share a recent text exchange between myself and my spousal equivalent, XFE. I think it perfectly highlights how love (and concern for your partner’s welfare) can continue to bloom despite distance, bad dining choices, and self-inflicted injuries.

Sure, it’s not the passionate stuff we used to send each other 10 or so years ago, but just knowing I can inadvertently scare the bejesus out of XFE on a moment’s notice is it’s own kind of small thrill.

Let me set the scene: XFE was hundreds of miles away on a mid-week work trip in a town with limited dining options. I have made dinner for myself at home, courtesy of Blue Apron.

This fairly typical, totally normal text exchange illustrates a couple of things:

  • Fried sage is a lovely and tasty garnish, but deceptively dangerous.
  • I am prone to choking (true.)
  • XFE is a very tolerant boyfriend who is used to high drama and hyperbole.
  • Cats are horrible EMTs; ergo:
  • I will probably die at home alone from a freak choking incident only to be found by XFE days later with a cat nibbling on my toe. (My biggest fear).

XFE: Took the crew to Ruby Tuesday for dinner tonight.

Me: Nice. Did you get fries?

XFE: No, I am having a salad, fish tacos and ice t

Me: If you come home and I’m dead, it’s because I have a piece of fried sage lodged in my throat. On the left hand side. Just scratching and stuck.

Me: Thanks, Blue Apron.

XFE: Try some water.

XFE: R u going to be ok?

Me: It’s just annoying. I’m not coughing or choking or anything.

XFE: Well, the “I’m dead” might have indicated it could have been more serious.

Me: Sorry. It was really annoying.

XFE: Glad ur ok

Me: I think I’m gonna make it. Call off the 911. Petunia finally showed up to seek her dinner, so I feel like I’m in good hands.

XFE: Glad to hear HR has u covered.

Me: You know it. Whew.

Me: Also, I burned my thumb. Knew I shoulda ordered pizza.

XFE: Sorry to hear. R u ok?

Me: Yes, it was actually really good. Now I’m watching a documentary with Toons. Bye.

Friday Links: Anti-Valentine’s Edition

A love story for the ages.

To quote some crazy dude in Japan’s Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Woman Are Not Attracted To: “The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again.”

I really couldn’t have said it better myself. Although, I do confess a certain fondness for chocolate capitalists.

Some links to help spread the love:

Friday Links: Dolly Parton, Sloths, and Love Edition


Dolly Parton is my spiritual guru. I love her. In difficult situations here at Poe Communications and Industrial Services (for all your writing/editing/industrial needs, just Gmail me at thepoelog), I often ask myself: “What would Dolly do?”

Then I give myself a little Dolly pep talk along the lines of pulling myself up by my bootstraps and going harder, and/or putting on some lipstick and rhinestones to make myself feel better. Those are the two WWDD answers I usually come up with.

So, of course, I’m digging this Mentalfloss list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dolly Parton. My favorite? She entered a Dolly Parton Look-a-Like Contest. And lost. You can’t make that stuff up. Priceless.

Here’s some other stuff I’m digging this week:

Hvar: Island of Hvarguments and Hvangovers (Part I)

Lest you think our vacation to Croatia was just sun-dappled blissfulness every single second, I bring you Hvar.

Hvar, Croatia

Actually, Hvar was really a nice little beach town. It was quaint, with narrow medieval streets, cute little square where throngs of young people sat in the shadow of a large church talking and eating ice cream, beautiful harbor full of ridiculous mega yachts that were close enough to give you a glimpse of how the fabulous live.

Hvar Town
Hvar Town (not my picture, by the way)

There were just a few hiccups in Hvar, and by this point we’d become quite spoiled (thanks a lot Villa Dubrovnik), so those hiccups felt like hemorrhages of pure annoyance.

There are approximately 1,000 islands in Croatia, so island hopping is a pretty easy feat. What’s not so easy is picking an island to go to. There are so, so many and they all have their reported charms. Should we go to Korcula, the reported birth place of Marco Polo? Or should we go to Vis, which was off limits to visitors for decades? Maybe we should go to Bisevo, which has a creepy yet beautiful blue cave?

In the end, we went with Hvar. It had lovely lavender fields, a twisty road running through it, and quite the cosmopolitan party scene. It was, we were told, where the rich go to play.

We took the car ferry from Drvenik (a bit north of Dubrovnik) over to Sucuraj, a tiny town on the tip of the island of Hvar. After a nice leisurely lunch in Sucuraj, we started along the twisty old road that snakes through Hvar island.

(Please notice I said, “road,” singular. There is only the one road running through the island. Sure, there are little trails shooting off from the main road, but they were largely unpaved. My point is: there is only one primary road. You can just make it out in the map below.)

Hvar map

About halfway across the island, we noticed that the road got significantly smoother and there were signs of new asphalt. How nice, we thought. Capital improvement projects at work in Croatia. Hooray!

We arrived on the outskirts of Hvar Town, carefully following the directions toward the place where we were allowed to park our car. You see, because Hvar Town is pedestrian (and yacht)-only, we had to park the car at a different hotel than the one we were staying at in the center of town.

We quickly hit a traffic jam on the tiny pedestrian street that led to our parking spot. A very frantic Croatian Good Samaritan came over and loudly proclaimed (with much gesticulating) that there had been a gas spill, that there was no way to get through and that we’d have to turn around. She estimated that the road would be open again in about 4 or 5 hours.

“You cannot get through! You can’t! You cannot!”

Unable to find an alternate route to the car park, we called the hotel, who directed us to a local paid parking lot. We then waited for the golf cart that would come and pick up our luggage to take it to the hotel. Just the luggage. We would have to walk. Which was fine, but just struck us as pretty funny.

The Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel was a typical European hotel in a great location. It had very sleek and modern interiors (think red lacquer and large, pixilated images of Hollywood icons), impossibly tiny rooms (we had to move ourselves and our luggage around like Tetris pieces to maneuver), and a hopping outdoor bar scene.

Hotel in Hvar, Croatia

Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel

Bathroom at Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel

They had given us one of their best rooms, which had a tiny balcony overlooking the outdoor bar and the harbor packed with luxury yachts.

Balcony at Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel

We knew that the Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel would be loud – it had an outdoor circular bar out front, for crying out loud. (That’s it below)

Bar below our room at Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel

We’d been forewarned and we had read (and thoroughly believed) the reviews. Hvar’s main open-air dance club, Carpe Diem, was literally two doors/patios down. So the nonstop thumping club music didn’t bother us at all. In fact, when we got there in the late afternoon, there was quite the daytime party going on at Carpe Diem, complete with bikini tops, suspenders, and country flags worn as capes or cover ups. Along with the ubiquitous Croatian naval cap.

Croatian sailing hats
The ubiquitous hats. I, in full disclosure, may actually have one of those striped ones there.

Party in Hvar

That’s Carpe Diem in that picture about three canopies over.

We had dinner reservations at one of Hvar Town’s best restaurants, Gariful, which certainly lived up to its excellent reputation.

Gariful restaurant in Hvar, Croatia

The waterfront location was lovely, the service was superb and our grilled fish platter for two was so good, we went out and bought our own grill basket so we could grill whole fish at home. The server did an unbelievable job deboning the various fish on the platter (amberjack, sea bass, and one more, I think). We accompanied it with a wonderful bottle of crisp Tomic Chardonnay.

Gariful restaurant in Hvar, Croatia

(Honestly, the lobster was overkill)

At around 10, Carpe Diem (which is next door to Gariful) started up again after a three-hour break/cleanup. We finished our dinner and were planning on making a quick stop at our hotel for an in-room pre-game drink before heading over to the club.

It is a universal truth that there comes a point in one’s vacation where one is quite touchy over the abundance – or lack thereof — of ice. Ice certainly is a very basic hotel amenity, and when your hotel converts into a bar at night, you’d certainly expect to be able to get a small bucket of ice.

Alas, the Riva Hvar Yacht Harbor Hotel was out of ice on this particular night, which led to what shall be forever known as “The Dumbest Vacation Fight in the History of the Known World,” and a cancelling of all evening festivities. Instead, we put in our earplugs and went to bed, the room vibrating around us.

Check back tomorrow for the gripping conclusion. Will either of us get any sleep? (surprisingly, yes) Will we break up after the DVFITHOTKW? (no, we did not) Will we ever find ice again? (yes) Will we ever get off the island of Hvar? (Now there’s a good question…..)

Lies I Ain’t Believing: Ray J’s “I Hit It First”

The cruel winter mistress has loosened her death grip on the DC region and allowed us all to thaw out for a minute.

Rather than go outside this evening for a run, or go and get a much-needed pedicure, I’m sitting inside the house typing up this blog post.

OK let’s be real: I’ll take any excuse to get out of a run.

But I do need pedicure. Right now, I have a sorta ghetto ombre situation going on where tiny chips of Cajun Shrimp cling diligently to a few larger toenails.

Petunia photobomb. Of course.
Petunia photobomb. Of course.

I did plan to run tonight. In fact, I downloaded this really catchy new song by this great new singer.

The song is about meeting a lovely young lady, falling in love and enjoying some intimate times. Alas, the love soon goes bad and unfortunately, the erstwhile lovers split up. They both move on to other lives and loves, but our young hero is not quite reconciled to the fact that they are no longer together. And so, in true troubadour fashion, he has written a song, letting other potential suitors know of his undying love for our fair maiden.

It’s called, “I Hit It First.”

Let me share some of the lyrics with you:

Candles lit with that wine, money still on my mind
And I gave her that really bomb sex
No matter where she goes or who she knows
She still belongs in my bed

Oh my! Candles and wine? How romantic! Tell me more about this storied romance, young Ray J.

I had her head going north and her ass going south
But now baby chose to go West…..

Well, she seems quite geographically astute, I’ll give her that.

She might move on to rappers and ballplayers
But we all know I hit it first
I hop in the club and boppers show love, and I don’t even put in work
I hit it, I hit it, I hit it, I hit it, I hit it, I hit it first
I hit it, I hit it, I hit it, I hit it, I hit it, I hit it first

So……let me get this straight, because I’m unclear: Are you saying that you knew this young lady back in the day? I mean, before the rappers and the ballplayers? It’s hard to tell because you keep repeating that you hit it, you hit it, you hit it first.

Also:  Ray J., your song seems rife with yearning. Dare I say, it seems to me like mayhap, you still pine for this lady, am I correct in my summation?

And if you were to come back to me
Girl I know just how you’d do me
And if you were to come back to me
Girl I know just why you’d choose me
And if you were to come back to me
Girl, I’ll get it wet – jacuzzi
And if you were to come back to me girl
We’ll make another movie

Yep. I think he wants Kim Kardashian back. Although, to be fair, he says quite vehemently that this song is NOT about Kim. No, more than likely it’s about another girl he dated and made a sex video with and who now dates sports figures and rappers. Not Kim. At. All.

I’m sorry, I can’t lie: That’s pretty amazing.

Listen, Ray J. Let me give you some advice. You need to move on. Believe me. She’s not coming back. She’s pregnant. With another man’s baby. While she’s still married to an entirely different guy. She’s kinda a mess.

I know how hard it is to get over someone. Well, I mean, I don’t know what it’s like from your perspective — I’m more of the heartbreaker myself. Yep, there is a very long string of devastated men left ruined in the Poe Path of Love.  Men of means and stature — successful men who have never faced a cyclone of love such as myself. There are literally single digit numbers of men who have been completely undone by my beauty AND my booty. Including strangers on the metro. (I mean, did you see my toes in the picture above? Who wouldn’t want to get with that?)

So I know the pain that  the love and loss of a fine woman can inflict on a man. But seriously, she’s done with you. Done. You need to go out and meet some other ladies. I hear this Gone With the Wind Fabulous lady is available. AND she’s got this amazing fan that I’m totally obsessed with.

So, go. Go hit that. Go make a Stallion Booty video with Ms. Moore. I look forward to hearing more about your future adventures in love.

Valentine’s Day Wet Blanket

GG valentines
What says “love” better than old single ladies?

Yes, today is Valentine’s Day, as you may have noticed from the obnoxious month-long “Every Kiss Begins with Kay” commercials. (Know what else begins with K? Kick to the kidneys. Knock out to the kisser. Knee to the gonads. So congratulations, ad man, you get paid this month, courtesy of Sesame Street brought to you by the letter K. Plus, I’m sorry but that bead bracelet in the photo booth commercial is just ugly.)

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And, while I’m on the subject, if my lover-for-life XFE sent me an Edible Arrangement for a Valentine’s Day gift, I would assume he’s telling me I’m too fat for chocolate and you really do not want to go to that dark place. Also: a teddy bear? What the stuffing? What grown woman wants a teddy bear? Where do these gift ideas come from??

As you can tell, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday heavily celebrated around thePoeLog household. (I’m much more of a birthdays girl)

You know where else it’s not heavily celebrated this year? Syria. Check out this cheerful quote:

“My business is almost dead. Most of my old clients, who once came to buy bouquets for thousands of Syrian pounds, have fled the country because they fear kidnapping,” the shop owner told AFP on condition of anonymity.

And don’t even get me started on this incredibly sad story.

If you’re married and you’re still looking for a gift, this lawyer in Michigan is giving away free divorces.

Walter H. Bentley III says he got the idea after a student at a night-school class he teaches invited him to a party to celebrate her divorce. He told ABC News that this led to a revelation: “Why not do something special for Valentine’s Day? You can’t find a new love before you close the chapter on the old.”

Indeed. And one last little cheerful tidbit. This infographic on the high cost of Valentine’s Day. On average, each American spends $120 on Valentine’s Day gifts! That’s a lot of Edible Arrangements, y’all.

Now, aren’t you glad you stopped by today? And be sure to check back for my rant on President’s Day (just kidding. I LOVE President’s Day.)

I Live With Kanye West, and You Can Too

I am, it goes without saying, an incredibly lucky girl (well, for something that goes without saying, I’m about to spend a couple of hundred words saying it).

I’m lucky for many reasons—my naturally curly hair being one of them—but perhaps I’m most lucky for having my personal chauffeur-chef-stylist-interior decorator-banker XFE in my life to boss me around, buy me things, and help me make good decisions: (ie: just always do what he says and my life is great.)

Girl, you would be so perfect if you just do what I say and let me makeover your whole closet.

I used to be a pretty tough chic. I rode a motorcycle and even changed my own oil. I travelled across country completely alone, more than once. I’ve changed a tire….in a dress. I stood my ground against potential muggers in London once (shattering my tough girl cred: I thought they were joking).

But now, I’m a total mush. I defer to XFE on a lot of things, and he makes most of the big household decisions. Primarily, because I trust him to a frightening degree; a trust which has been earned over time as more and more of his suggestions have slowly and surely proven to be the right ones. And, frankly, he gets shit done.

Once in a while I get in a tizzy about the power balance in our relationship, particularly when I feel like he’s just being overprotective. I remind him snarkily that I did basically raise myself for the first 34 years of my life without his help.

But for the most part, I’m grateful that he leads the way down our life’s path. We’re a team. Like competitive dancers. And there can’t be two leaders on a two-person dance team; you’d end up stepping all over each other’s toes or dancing in circles.

Girl, watch out for that curb. Wouldn’t want you to mess up your Louboutins.

This writer in Real Simple a few months ago put it best:

And when I’m feeling wifely these days, I remind myself that being part of a team doesn’t mean I’m lazy or can’t do something myself. It just means that, right now, I’m lucky enough not to have to.

I hear from many of my friends how lucky I am to have such a great partner. Apparently, many of the menfolk out there are slacking a bit on the whole taking-a-lead thing. So, to help my friends out, I’ll give you five suggestions on how to train your man. Now, these might not work for everyone. XFE is pretty dang special. But I have employed some of these techniques on other men in my life (like male co-workers) and sometimes they work.

Do a piss-poor job. This is especially true with anything involving physical labor. I discovered this technique purely on accident: XFE once had a great idea to paint our bedroom. I am not skilled at painting. At all. Sure enough, a few minutes in, I was demoted to the cushy position of company keeper: as in, “sit over there, don’t touch anything and just keep me company.”

Be an excellent assistant. Because I fail at many physical endeavors, I make sure to excel at other things, like fetching ice cold beverages, reading US Weekly out loud while being a company keeper, sharing good gossip. Which leads to the next tip:

Girl, you make the best assistant ever. And, thanks to me picking your clothes, you look super fly doing it.

Point out the flaws of the rest of mankind. When gossiping about people, be sure to point out all the ways in which your Alpha Male far exceeds everyone else out there. “I just read that Brad Pitt designed Angelina Jolie’s engagement ring. What a lazy good-for-nothing! Why, my schmoops wouldn’t be content just designing a ring, he’d go out and procure the diamond from the mine, isn’t that right, baby?”

Girl, do you smell that? That’s the smell of a bad outfit decision.

Try to make everything his idea. A lot of men are really stubborn and just dig in their heels on stuff. The more you try to point out it should be one way, the more they stick to the other way. So, I try to put the problem out there as a question that I couldn’t possibly answer. “I don’t know too much about these things, so I thought I would ask you: Do you think that headline is too long?” “Does that cabinet look crooked to you?” Then, just let the question hang there or quickly walk away from the issue. “It’s probably just me. I’m sure it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

Give in on the small stuff and save your ammo. I don’t like doing it, but I help wash the car every weekend. I get tire duty, which is no fun at all. It involves a lot of squatting and multiple scrubbing brushes. This whole exercise seems especially silly to me since it invariably rains two days later. But I do it, with a minimum of complaining, because it makes XFE happy. And, I can basically take the rest of the day off since I racked up cooperation points in the morning.

Same goes for work: we’re not saving lives here. If someone really wants things a certain way, might as well let them have it. I call that giving in and losing a fight, but bosses usually call that “being a team player.”

Girl, you know you want to be a part of this dream team.

So there you have it. Some tips on training your man. Good luck to all you ladies out there, and hopefully, you’re man won’t read this and figure out what you’re up to. Or worse yet, turn the tables on you. Now that all my secrets are out there, I’m expecting a double helping of tire duty this weekend.