Friday, March 30, 2007

For the love of fishing

So, after I met my (then future) boyfriend and established that he was adorable and we actually had some viewpoints in common, I asked our mutual friend for some details about this boy. This friend, being the quintessential male, had little to give me. Just, "He likes to fish."

Interesting, I thought. I've never fished. Hmmm.... Then my friend said, "No he really likes to fish."

The first time I went to my boyfriend's apartment and saw the stacks of "In Fisherman" magazines I got an inkling of what my friend meant.

So it wasn't long until I was taken on my first fishing trip. My boyfriend even bought a little fishing pole just for me. (I wanted the one with Snoopy on it, but he insisted on getting a real one. Bummer.)

He woke me up at 5:00am on a Saturday the day of fishing. Even Starbucks isn't open that early. I was not happy. But he was as giddy as I've ever seen him, so I decided to be a good sport. This could be fun, right? Right??

He had put the lure and the line on my pole the night before. Since I had never been fishing before, I was figuring on catching fish about the size of the guppies I usually see on the edges of ponds. You know, about the size of my pinkie. I thought the hook on the end of my line was a bit extreme. It was bigger than the fish I was figuring I would catch!

When we get to the pond, I quickly learned that I had to be quiet. Once I was shown the fundamentals of casting, there was no real interaction....until I caught my first fish.

To me, this fish was HUGE! In reality, he was probably a little less than a pound. Still, I had caught him! I was so proud. I promptly dubbed him 'Alex,' and had my boyfriend take him off the hook. We then returned Alex to his home. (Ever the environmentalist, my boyfriend always does the catch and release thing. Being a lover of all animals (and fish apparently) I had no problem with this.) I decided that I was going to name the fish that I caught in alphabetical order until we were done. I was laughed at (I think it was one of those "you're such a girl" indulgent laughs) and warned that sometimes you don't catch many fish at all.

After Bart was caught about 5 minutes later, and Carl about 10 minutes after that, and I had my boyfriend take both of them off the hook, I realized that he hadn't yet caught anything.

To be fair, he was going after the big five-pound bass further in the pond. They're a bit harder to catch. I was just happy to catch anything.

When Louis was caught, and my fishing partner had only caught Alex, I sensed that he might be getting a bit annoyed with having to take the fish off my hook every 10 minutes or so. I figured it was time to stand up and be a woman. So when Matt came up on my line, I mimicked what I had seen, and attempted to remove the hook from his mouth.

Ten traumatizing minutes later, Matt was back in the water and I was in tears.

When my boyfriend came over to see what had happened, I explained that A) I had no idea that bass had teeth, and B) Matt had proved a wiggly little fella and actually went back into the pond under his own power after bouncing on the grass for a while. I was sure I had killed him. (He swam off, much to my relief.) I again got the "you're such a girl" indulgent laugh and he went off to try to catch Bernadette - the five pounder that we could both see, but who didn't seem interested in his line at all.

After Omar, I decided to call it a day (yes, my boyfriend removed both Nathan and Omar from the hook - at this point, the annoyance was obvious.) As the morning had progressed, it had been longer and longer between fish, and I was tired. Around noon, we finally got to leave.

Noon. That's six hours. And I think we would have stayed longer had I not mentioned (several times) that I needed lunch. I mean, I was trying to be the good girlfriend, but after six hours, I figured my duty was done. I had also learned that bug spray was actually invented FOR fishermen, and after 6 hours, it loses its potency. Even if you put it on again. It's either that, or the mosquitos become immune. Or mutants. Either way, I wanted air conditioning with no bugs.

My boyfriend had ended up catching Corey. I had caught Omar. We don't talk about that.

What we do talk about is how resiliant fish are, and how I'm a strong woman. I should have no problem with a little thing like taking the hook out of a fish's mouth.

I've gotten better. I'll take the fish off the hooks (I would still rather someone else do it.) But I still just fish to catch anything. From half a pound to a pound and a half. I don't care. My boyfriend is always on the prowl for the "big one." We fish together about twice per summer. Twice out of the 75 times he goes (and that's a conservative estimate) He's explained that it's different when he's with the boys. I understand. Rollerblading alone is different than rollerblading with him. I get it. But in the back of my mind, I can't help but think....

Perhaps he just doesn't want to be beaten by a girl

Friday, March 23, 2007

I guess I really AM a Butler alum....

To me, the bracket picks are a staple of the NCAA tournament. I mean, why else would you care about 63 basketball games (some between teams that you've barely ever heard of) unless you have money riding on the outcome? You win the bracket, you get money to designate to the charity of your choice.

(My personal favorite is "My Checking Account." Please feel free to make donations at any time. It's a good cause. Without it, you would not have the pleasure of reading the blog you're currently enjoying.)

You don't have to know much about college basketball to make picks - especially if you're in a pool with friends. The number of people in the pool I'm in varies from 20-90. This year, there are approximately 75 people who made picks, most of which are my close friends.

Implied in "close friends" is "those with which I have a friendly competitive rivalry."

So my picks started out at sixth, inched their way up to third, and eventually settled down at second.

The picture below? Yeah, that's the current standings.

It's a bit small, so if you can't tell, that yellow row at the top? Those are my picks. Since it's at the top, that means I'm #1. Uh huh. Right now, with 52 out of 63 games played, I'm leading the pack. Which should be great, right? You know me....I love competition. I love trash talk. This should be great.

But do I get to trash talk? Do I get to revel in leading the pack? Do I get to call my friends and call attention to the fact that I follow very little college basketball, and yet I'm kicking all their butts???

Ummm...all the way to the know, where it says "Champion?" Please note that next to my name it says "Butler."

I picked Butler to go all the way.

Let me say that again.

I picked BUTLER to go all the way.

I mean, of course I did. I'm a loyal alum. I never do well in my bracket picks. I just do them for fun anyway, so why not pick my school to go all the way. We all know I'm not going to's a fun way to waste my money, right? Go Bulldogs!!! picks start doing well.

And now I'm leading.

And my Champion has as much of a chance of winning as I do of getting Tyson crate trained before I'm 40.

So there can be no trash talking. There can be no gloating. There can only be praying tonight at 7:10pm ET that Butler can knock out the defending champion Florida Gators.

But you know....slim as it may be....there IS a chance. Tyson WILL eventually be crate trained...and every so often, the underdog really does win.... So if it crosses your mind, say a little prayer for the Butler Bulldogs (and Emily's bracket picks) tonight

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

To be? Or....not to be?

So, here's the problem. I mean, if you see the flaws in your relationship, and you can tell that they're not getting fixed, when is it best to pull the plug?

If it kills you to break it off, is that the best decision?

If you realize that the relationship is this close to being "the one" but it's just not quite there, is it time to throw in the towel?

If you look at other people who are simply glowing in their certainty that the person they're with is their other half, and then you realize that you don't feel that way at all - should you be more concerned that you're comparing your relationship to those of others, or that you're falling short every time?

People don't change unless they really want to, right? You can't do it for them. If someone isn't making you happy, you can't change that, and you should accept that it's just not going to change, right?

I guess that's my problem. I've never before just accepted that I can't do something. Bummer. I guess this hurting thing is just part of letting go, right?