An unassuming jean skirt, or . . .

I may be a bit of a packrat, but I am generally pretty good about getting rid of clothes — whether it be because they no longer fit, they’re out of style, I just don’t like them, I’ve ruined them in some way . . . you know. There are a million reasons to get rid of old clothes, and only a handful of reasons to keep them.

Since the end of a particularly heart-breaking relationship several years ago, I’ve generally been able to pack up old things and place them in a nice little “boyfriend box” — a stash of momentos from past relationships I keep under my bed. I’m sure my current significant other isn’t thrilled about its existence, but I think he understands that some of that stuff . . . some of that just can’t chucked out. Whatever the reason I have for keeping old dog tags, photos, cards and printed e-mails (yes, I have printed out plenty of e-mails!), they’re all together in one common place, gathering dust out of sight but oddly still within reach.

Except for the clothes.

For years, I’ve tormented myself with constant reminders by keeping around old tops, skirts and sandals purchased when I was a completely different person — physically, emotionally. Even though I routinely go through all of my clothes and pack of bags of them to give to charity, there are a few items I just couldn’t bring myself to give away. Until this weekend.


Exhibit A

I know — it’s an unassuming, albeit short, jean skirt. Probably not that trendy. Definitely doesn’t really wrap around me quite the way it used to . . . and it’s incredibly wrinkled from the years I’ve had it shoved in some dark, cold recess of my closet. But I bought it on an important day . . . and wore it on an important day. But three and a half years later, I don’t need the jean skirt anymore.

I got rid of a lot of other clothes, too — clothes I thought I would have to save forever, just “because.” I read somewhere (or heard somewhere?) that if you’re emotional about having to part with something material, take a photo of it — you can keep the picture forever, but you don’t have to worry about the stuff taking up space in your house — and your heart — anymore. It’s just stuff.

To paraphrase home organizer extraordinaire Peter Walsh, “Will you choose the stuff, or will you choose your life?”

Needless to say, I’m choosing my life.

So, goodbye to . . .


Exhibit B


Exhibit C

Exhibits D & E

Exhibits D & E

Not something you can easily part with

high_school_musical_3_poster My mom had David Cassidy. Friends had Rick Springfield, New Edition, New Kids on the Block and Michael J. Fox. My sister and I lovingly adored Hanson, ‘NSYNC and, occasionally, Devon Sawa and Jonathan Taylor Thomas (oh yes, J.T.T.!). And now, in yet another chapter of “teenage rites of passage,” my 12-year-old cousin has Zac Efron, the Jonas Brothers and “High School Musical.” It’s hard to believe we’ve already gotten to that teen-crush stage, but I’m happy we’re able to share some of that heart-pining misery!

Now, I’m 23 years old — not exactly beyond the realm of school-girl crushes. And I still have a few! Start up a friendly chat about John Mayer, James Franco or James McAvoy and I’m right there with my latest spate of celebrity gossip. Either I really dig boys with “J” names in general or I’m never beyond the realm of ogling a cute guy.

Do we ever really get beyond the realm of ogling a cute guy?


We still love Hanson!

And even though Hanson has been out of the limelight for ten years or so, my sister and I have religiously followed their careers, marriages, children and various other activities since I was 11 — and she was 8. Eight years old! That’s not something you easily part with.

And my mom reminded me in 1997, as she reminds me now, that these fads come and go — all young women need someone to screech and squeal and discuss at slumber parties and walks around the mall. Take the Beatles as Exhibit A. Does anyone really get over their first-time-discovery love of the Beatles? It’s pretty much impossible.

Continue reading

Book review: ‘Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’

Another late night for me, finishing up Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist — a young adult novel co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I had reasonably high expectations of this short novel after reading many glowing reviews all over the place! And, for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed.

We meet two 17-year-olds on the brink of major life changes — Nick, the straight bassist of a “queercore” band who’s desperately attempting to get over his relationship with high-maintenance Tris; and Norah, the daughter of a powerful record exec out for the night with best friend (and perpetual drunk) Caroline in New York City. Nick’s band (the name of which is not entirely appropriate for a little friendly blog like mine!) is playing a gig downtown and we open in the novel with Nick’s thoughts running rampant — Is Tris here? What is she doing here? Is she with someone?

Enter Norah, an innocent bystander at the club trying to keep one eye on Caroline and another on Nick’s performance. While instantly attracted to him, Norah is trying to recover from the recent re-ending of her own relationship — and not really looking for someone new. All the same, Nick feels compelled to not look like a schlub in front of his ex as Tris makes out with her new model-like boyfriend — and he promptly asks Norah to be his “five-minute girlfriend.” When she accepts, bewildered, he plants a giant kiss on her. Enter electricity.

The rest of the book flows through like a modern-day fairytale, I suppose. If you know the surreal quality of the movie “Penelope,” you’ll see what I mean. Nick and Norah journey around Manhattan “falling in and out, and maybe in and maybe out” of love several times. They journey to a strip club featuring provocative nuns (yes), eat at a diner, walk all around the city, sit idly by as Nick’s old car refuses to take them home and hold hands as the first few pink rays of sun begin to light the morning. The tension between them, they explain, is electric — they feel it underneath their fingernails, behind their eyes. It’s all-consuming.

They forget about Tris; they forget about Tal. Norah’s best friend Caroline is left to meander her own way home with two of Nick’s bandmates. They become dead to the world and only alive to each other.

About halfway through the book, I started to feel like maybe it was getting just a little too far-fetched . . . two teenagers wandering alone around the city with barely any money — and no one concerned about where they are and what they’re doing, traipsing around the city with strangers in the middle of the night? But I guess that’s just my own maternal instincts kicking in! Norah does check in with her father later in the book, so that made me feel better. I don’t really know what was up with Nick’s parents; they’re not really a presence in the story.

But putting my nurturing instincts aside, I definitely felt a little swept up with those nacent feelings of young love, lust and want bubbling up inside them. Wanting to know each other — wanting to know everything about each other. Wanting to share yourself with someone so completely, they know every little tiny piece of your thoughts, dreams and ambitions. Suddenly wanting to be more — and wanting to be better — for them. Because they’re now here. And that’s exactly how Nick and Norah come to be Nick & Norah.

Because, as Nick’s friend Dev explains in the story, love isn’t about want-need-sex-pain-heartbreak . . . it’s about wanting to hold hands. And speaking highly of The Beatles, Dev explains:

‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants . . . Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche or . . . a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have such a feeling that they can’t hide. Every single successful song of the past fifty years can be traced back to ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding. Trust me. I’ve thought a lot about this.”

And the novel is sprinkled with little stories like that — little moments of illumination. There are several others that struck me and made me say, “Huh. Yeah. That’s really true.” I wish I’d had a highlighter with me!

The only thing that distracted me a bit from the actual story was the constant, constant cursing. In some cases I can see it was humorous or necessary in some way, but in so many other situations, it was just a little ridiculous. It was like taking a really decent movie — a really funny movie — and throwing in all this blood and gore out of nowhere to add “spice” to the script. I’ll be interested to see how the movie handles many of the “adult” issues the characters grapple with in the book.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 037584614X ♥ Purchase from AmazonRachel Cohn’s Website
David Levithan’s Website

Personal copy purchased by Meg