Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Word About the Folks

Tonight, I called my parents for the first time in quite a while. For me, “quite a while” means for the first time in probably a month or so. I had been busy with work (and apparently, with blogging!), so I hadn’t called them in quite some time. I have e-mailed them, though, so I’m not a bad daughter. Honest, I’m not!

When I started talking to them, I realized how much I missed them. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, talking to my parents after having not talked to them for a while is like walking into a kitchen and smelling apple pie baking. It’s that comforting, loving feeling of home. I just know that no matter what happens in my life, my parents will always love me. And that’s a pretty good feeling!

I gotta say, I’m very lucky to have these people as my parents.

My Mom is the kind of woman who always wants to make sure you are taken care of. She’s a Mom, after all!—and a wonderful one, at that! In my awkward teenage years, she sat there and listened to my problems (oh, what problems teenagers have, you know!) over and over again, and held me as I bawled over the latest boy who had broken my heart. I can remember her saying to me, many times as I was growing up, “It’s going to get better, I know it will.” And you know what? She was right! Things have gotten better for me throughout the years. I am more secure in myself now, and I’m married to the most wonderful man in the world. Things have gotten damn good! I hope my Mom knows how much I appreciated her always being there for me. And of course, nowadays, she’s still always there to offer a hug or a prayer or a word of encouragement. I’m very lucky to have her.

And then there’s my Dad. My Dad is the kind of man who would do anything for his family. I can’t even count how many times my Dad has helped my siblings and me throughout the years. He was always there for all of us, helping us during bad times, and laughing with us during good times. He helped my siblings and me move countless times, and he’s the Mr. Fix It of the family and is always willing to help out where needed. I remember one time when he was working on my brother’s roof, and he fell off and broke his toe! We laughed, relieved that he had only broken his toe. (Of course, later we found out that he fractured his sternum, too. Ouch!) But he of course recovered and just kept on helping. Even nowadays, he helps build houses for Habitat for Humanity. I’m very proud of my Dad.

And both of my parents have a great sense of humor. I think that’s what helped them get through all those years of raising 8 kids! When I was little, my Mom would sing me silly songs (like Mairzy Doats—if you don’t know what that is, you’re missing out!) while she washed my hair, and my Dad would wake me up in the morning with a funny rendition of “Good Morning to You!” (Again, if you don’t know what this song is, I’m telling you, you’re missing out!)

Even tonight, my Dad made me laugh while we were chatting on the phone. I was telling him about some troubles that I’d had lately, and that I was strong and overcame them. He responded, “You know, I never thought you’d be such a bad-ass daughter!” Wow, I’m bad-ass! My Dad is 80 years old and just called me bad-ass.

I’ll tell you something, I’m one lucky bad-ass.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not So Perfect

Here’s one thing about the idea of possibly having many lives…

It sure helps me relax!

I mean, when I think about it—if we have many, many lives to become the best we can be, then I don’t have to try to be perfect all the time!

Yes, perfectionism runs in my family. My Dad is a bit of a perfectionist—I think he’d really like to be perfect and right all the time (don’t we all?). I remember this little statue he had when I was a kid that said, “I once thought I was wrong…but I was mistaken.” And I don’t know why I know this (I must have done laundry at some point when I was a kid), but I remember his sock drawer being extremely organized, with all the socks perfectly folded and lined up in a row. I always thought that was funny.

Now I find myself being like him and trying to be perfect, too—although not so much with the sock drawer (he would probably cry if he saw my sock drawer nowadays)—but in the way of always trying to do everything exactly right. I suspect that some of my siblings share the same drive toward perfectionism. I absolutely hate it when I’m wrong about something. (Although this rarely happens—ask my hubby! On second thought, maybe don’t ask him...he’s proven me wrong more times than I’d care to remember.)

But most of all, I try to be calm, loving, and patient all the time. And I fail at this sometimes—especially the whole “patient” thing. Well, and the “calm” thing, too. Damn, and the “loving” thing, as well. I am just not perfect, as much as I’d like to be.

Now, if I have many more lives to live, I can continue to try to do my best, but when I fail, I can forgive myself and realize that I have perhaps hundreds of more lifetimes to become that perfect calm, loving, patient person.

For a perfectionist like me, that would really be a relief.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sick Day and Deja Vu

I am sick today. I have sinus and tummy issues. Both extremely fun issues, let me tell you.

So I called in sick to work. The worst part of the day was that my head feels like Paul Bunyan stepped on it. The best part of the day was that I got to sleep a lot (which I love), and I got to read a very interesting book. The book is called “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Dr. Brian L. Weiss. Essentially, this book is about reincarnation.

I’ve always been interested in the concept of reincarnation, but I’ve also always been skeptical about it. If there is a heaven (and I believe there is), why in the world would we want to return to this earth, which for all its good points, also has so much negativity in it?

Then I read this book. It was fascinating. The book is written by a medical doctor and psychiatrist who had never had any experience nor belief in reincarnation. However, one day, in the midst of using hypnosis to treat one of his patients for extreme anxiety, his patient began recalling a life before her current life, in stunning detail. The doctor was interested but still skeptical. He couldn’t believe she could have made up all of those details, but he still had doubts. Then, in subsequent sessions of hypnosis, the woman remembered more and more of her previous lives, both happy times and sorrows and pain. And through all of her sessions, without consciously receiving “traditional” therapy, all of her symptoms began to improve. Just through recalling previous existences and events, she was healed.

OK, this doctor could be making it all up. By why would a well-respected medical doctor and psychiatrist risk his entire reputation and profession to tell this story?

You might think I’m crazy for believing this, but something in my gut tells me it’s true. And why would we want to return from heaven to this earth? To learn lessons. To grow spiritually. And we often need to suffer, to feel pain, in order to grow.

I’ll tell you one thing. If and when I come back, I want to come back to a life exactly like this one.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Fabulous Day

Yesterday started off with an oil and vinegar tasting and ended with a wine tasting. My kind of day!

And the moments in between were all wonderful, too. Here are my 4 favorite events of the day (besides the oil and vinegar tasting—I already wrote about that in my previous blog entry):

1. Ducks and Rats

On the walk back from the oil & vinegar tasting and shopping, my friend Diane and I stopped on the Dearborn Street bridge to watch a mother duck and her ducklings swimming down the river. They were so adorable that we decided to walk down the stairs to river-level to watch them. Did you know that ducklings don’t quack? They tweet! And it’s the cutest little tweeting you ever could hear. Diane and I sat to watch them, and a moment later, we saw a rat running out from behind a pillar, and then run back behind it. Twice more, we saw the rat dart out. The third time, the rat kept running and got a little too close to us. We decided that it was probably best to get the hell out of there.

2. The Reagle Beagle

OK, so no one likes the Reagle Beagle as much as I do. Truth be told, it has a limited menu and is a little overpriced. Maybe I like the idea more than the actual place. Either way, we had fun. I enjoyed being Chrissy, and hanging out with Jack Tripper, Janet, and Mr. Furley. Mr. Furley entertained us with stories of strange objects that he saw earlier in the day on North Avenue Beach. (I won’t elaborate. Trust me, it ain’t pretty.)

3. The Wine Tasting

Buck had a bottle of estate Sauvignon Blanc wine from a Texas winery. To do the tasting, he purchased 2 additional bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joe’s—a Chilean wine and of course, the requisite 2-buck Chuck. Buck had been holding on to the bottle of estate wine for a while, and we looked forward to trying it and comparing it to the others. Iwanski set up the blind taste test. Two of the wines we enjoyed, but one of them was very sour and bitter-tasting. Guess which one that was? The estate wine! We were surprised. The 2-buck Chuck came in second, and the Chilean wine was the favorite. The best part was that the Chilean wine was only $4.99. Score!

4. The Game

We decided to play a “game” (that’s what I call it, anyway) where we each wrote our names down on a piece of paper, and then every other person had to write down 5 things they like about you. At the end, each person had a list of 15 nice things the others thought about him or her. It was a fun exercise that turned out to be a nice little self-esteem boost for each of us.

We also each wrote down 5 goals that we had for our lives. We all hoped that writing our goals down would be the first step toward making them become reality. It was fascinating to hear what everyone’s goals were.

Today, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I live in a city with delightful natural and culinary experiences around every corner, and I get to experience them with the most wonderful friends one could have.

I am very blessed.

The Tasting

Yesterday, my friend Diane had mentioned that she wanted to go to an Oil and Vinegar store here in Chicago. When she told me that, I thought, OK, whatever. It doesn’t sound too exciting, but if she wants to go there, we’ll go. Was I in for a treat!

We ended up going to “Old Town Oil” in the cute Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. I had assumed that this place was just going to have oil and vinegar sitting in bottles for purchase. I was wrong! Instead, there were probably about 30 big metal “kegs” filled with different types of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. And the best part for me—and I had never heard of this before—is that you could taste them all! How fun! All you had to do was take a little tiny paper “cup” from under the keg and “tap the keg” to give yourself a little taste.

And the taste of these oils and vinegars? I was absolutely astounded. Everything we tasted was so delicious! For me, this was an especially amazing thing, because: a) I’ve never liked olive oil, except for the “light” kind that you can buy (which doesn’t have much flavor, anyway), and b) I’ve never much liked balsamic vinegar, either.

But this was no ordinary oil and vinegar. I learned that with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, you really do get what you pay for. And although this stuff was on the pricey side (an average of $16-17 per 12-ounce bottle), I am telling you, it was totally worth it. I have never tasted anything so wonderful.

I learned that pure extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is remarkably different than the cheap olive oil you can buy at the grocery store. To me, there is absolutely no comparison. EVOO is outstanding. And they had about 15 different olive oils. (Click here to see the oils on their website.) I love, love, love garlic, so their garlic olive oil was my absolute favorite. The salesman really won me over when he said it was really excellent for making grilled cheese sandwiches. Yummy! But I seriously could have bought every single oil I tried—they were all so delicious. It was a tough decision, but eventually Diane and I settled on buying the garlic, blood orange, and lemon oils.

And the balsamic vinegar was also completely different—and much, much better!—than any balsamic vinegar I’ve ever bought in the grocery store. According to their brochure, Old Town Oil only buys vinegars that are aged for a minimum of 12 years in wooden barrels. Wow, what a difference that makes! They were all so delectable—I could have bought every one of those, too! (Click here to see the vinegars on their website.) Again, it was a tough choice, but Diane and I eventually decided on the pomegranate and tangerine vinegars. Yummy!

You might be wondering how we chose those particular oils and vinegars (and if you’re not, I’m going to tell you, anyway!). Well, I’ve already told you about the garlic oil/grilled cheese connection. That was a no-brainer for me. But the other ones were special recommendations by the salesman, who made two mixtures for us to try: blood orange oil with tangerine vinegar, and lemon oil with pomegranate vinegar. Outstanding! Miss Healthypants’ salad dressing repertoire just opened up substantially!

Later that day, we bought a nice crusty loaf of French bread and did a tasting with Iwanski and Buck, who also agreed that the oils and vinegars were fabulous. They liked the blood orange/tangerine combination the best.

I was just so surprised by the whole experience. What I had expected to be a normal, perhaps boring visit to an ordinary store turned out to be a delightful new experience. My taste buds—and I—were well-pleased.

A Taste of Heaven

You know how sometimes people have what they refer to as “The Day from Hell”?

Well, yesterday was a day straight outta heaven for me. I enjoyed a wonderful new “tasting” experience (actually, two great tasting experiences!), got to hang out and go shopping with my good friend Diane all day, and later enjoyed great food, wine, and conversation with Iwanski, Buck, and Diane—three of my most favorite people in the world. What’s not to love about a day like that?

More details will follow…

Friday, April 25, 2008


I am very excited about tomorrow. My good friend Diane is coming down from Wisconsin, and we’re going to eat, shop, and just have a great time chatting and exploring this lovely city.

Then, for dinner, Diane and Buck and I (and maybe Iwanski) are going to the Reagle Beagle. The Reagle Beagle, for those of you who don’t know, is a 70’s & 80’s themed restaurant/bar that resembles the Regal Beagle Lounge from Three’s Company.

I. Love. It.

So Buck said that if he, Diane, and I go to the “Beagle,” he would be Jack Tripper, and I (the blonde) would be Chrissy, while Diane (the brunette) would be Janet. Then I said that if Iwanski came, he could be Jack’s friend Larry. But Iwanski insisted that he would be Mr. Furley. That’s right. I’m married to Mr. Furley.

Don’t you envy me?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Iwanski Rules

On Sunday, I hinted about a list of “Iwanski rules” that exists. This is absolutely true. The list of rules that Iwanski has is seemingly endless. But I have picked 15 particularly enjoyable rules (Miss Healthypants REALLY enjoys these rules!) to share with y’all. Here they are. Enjoy!

1. BE CAREFUL. If there ever was a number one Iwanski rule, this is it. He is a very cautious person and strives to avoid carelessness at all times. (See rule #4, the Dreaded Salmonella.)

2. Don’t ever, ever touch the screen on the computer—it will leave greasy fingerprints on the screen—GOD FORBID!!!!

3. “I don’t tell stories on stairs.” This rule, which applies to Iwanski only, was just revealed this past Sunday. I think it’s quite specific (i.e. strange), don’t you?

4. The Dreaded Salmonella—you must be careful to avoid the dreaded salmonella bacteria. It’s absolutely wonderful to hear this repeated over and over again whilst cooking in the kitchen. The funniest part of this rule is that Iwanski, despite his neurotic obsession with avoiding salmonella, accidentally got salmonella food poisoning at the Taste of Chicago last summer. The un-funniest part about it is that Miss Healthypants got salmonella food poisoning, too. Blech!

5. When Miss Healthypants does yoga, she cannot lightly lay one hand on top of the large 32” tv to get her balance. Apparently the immensely heavy tv will tip over from the slightest touch.

6. Waiting in line at any chain restaurant (i.e. Chili’s, TGI Friday’s) is absolutely not allowed. (Note: this rule has occasionally been bent when the wait is 5 minutes or less. But only occasionally.)

7. Be careful to never, ever inconvenience anybody. Ever. Even if it’s zero degrees out, it’s better to stand in the freezing cold waiting for a train, rather than getting a ride from someone (even if the person is insisting over and over again that they want to drive you).

8. Don’t cut anybody’s hair when you’re drunk. Probably a good rule. Buck knows this rule very well.

9. Don’t electrocute me!—-i.e. no blowdrying of hair in the bathroom while Iwanski is taking a shower. This is strictly forbidden, even if Miss Healthypants is being very careful (see rule #1).

10. Don’t ever leave the house if the toilet is running. If you accidentally leave the house without checking, be sure to open the door and listen in until you’re sure it isn’t running any more.

11. Don’t ever—I repeat ever!—drink from the cup that’s by the sink in the bathroom. Iwanski thinks this is disgusting.

12. After ordering at a restaurant, be sure to wash your hands after touching the menu. You never know who touched the menu before you!

13. While dining in a restaurant, if a tiny morsel of food accidentally falls from your plate and touches the tabletop, don’t even THINK about eating it! This is absolutely not allowed.

14. Watch your purse! Iwanski really likes this rule and repeats it often.

15. If Iwanski is tivo’ing a sports game, and Miss Healthypants sees or hears part of the game, she is not only not allowed to tell him what happened in the game, but she also cannot tell him that she even KNOWS what happened. Iwanski fears that he will begin trying to deduce what happened based on the fact that she knows what happened.

So there you go folks—-the top 15 Iwanski rules. Neurotic? Maybe a tad bit. But at least he amuses me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Expensive Food and Free Speech

Tonight, a good friend and I went out to eat at the Grand Lux Café on Michigan Avenue. Here is my review of the Grand Lux Café in one sentence: girlie, froo-froo, elegant, rather expensive, yummy restaurant. It’s totally a place to take your girlfriends. Iwanski will never go there.

But the description of the conversation with my friend? Fun, hilarious, intelligent, and thought-provoking. Especially thought-provoking.

I always love it when someone says something that challenges a thought I’ve had for a long time. For example, I totally believe in free speech in our society—with the obvious exception of, for example, you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater, and that type of thing. But I’ve always believed that in order for free speech to work, you need to allow all people and groups to speak their minds. So yes, that means even the crazy Nazis.

But tonight, my friend said that she doesn’t believe in complete free speech—and not just the not yelling “fire” stuff, either. She believes that if a group is inciting violence, they should not be allowed to speak freely in public. Hmm, I thought, I agree with that. I mean, someone can’t just say to a crowd of people, “Alright everybody, let’s go take baseball bats and start hitting all Republicans over the head!” (As much as we’d sometimes maybe like to!) But that would be inciting violence. (And besides, some of my best friends are Republicans. Well, okay, my parents are, anyway.)

But what if the Ku Klux Klan are just having a peaceful protest? Granted, they may be holding up signs and chanting words that are extremely offensive, but does that mean they are inciting violence? My friend believes they are—particularly because they have committed violent acts in the past. Hmmm, I thought. What do I think about that?

I came home and started discussing this with Iwanski. As he always does, he doesn’t just tell me what he thinks, but instead starts asking me questions and reminding me of other things that might help me make a decision for myself. (He’s good at that.) He did remind me that in Germany, there is no free speech for Nazis. Not that that’s right or wrong, but still, you can kind-of see why they have that law.

I haven’t quite made up my mind yet on this one. I still feel like allowing all people and groups to speak their minds is the right thing to do, but I haven’t thought enough about it yet.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me, because I can see all points of view and I have a hard time making up my mind. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not running for president.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bad Day

I had kind-of a bad day today.

Today, I feel like nothing I say or do or write comes out like I want it to.

Did you ever have a day like that?

I blame the full moon.

Yes, there’s a full moon tomorrow night, but I think I’m already feeling the effects of it. I know there’s no scientific evidence of it, but I do notice that people today seemed a little more aggressive/crazy than usual.

And I want out of it!

Stop the world and let me off!

Did you ever feel like that?

I already know that I worry too much about what people think of me. And my ego is just rearin’ its ugly head again today. I just want people to know that I only want good things for everyone in the world.

What I want for the world is peace, love, and brotherhood—and for God’s sake, a sense of humor! But sometimes despite my best efforts, people think bad things about me. That’s just a fact of life that I have to live with.

But I don’t have to like it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thrilled About A Spill

Here’s a little-known fact about Miss Healthypants.

It seems that almost every day, I spill something—usually a cup of water, and usually all over magazines and remote controls that lie upon our coffee table. I don’t know why this is.

My hubby apparently knows why this is. He loves to advise me against being “careless.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this before. And let me tell you, it’s loads of fun.

But yesterday I didn’t spill anything. Yesterday was a remarkable day for Miss Healthypants.

John and I went out to lunch at an Indian restaurant, and at the end of the meal when he reached for the check, he tipped his water glass all over the table. I was on the way to the restroom, so I just grabbed a couple of napkins for him and left him to clean up the mess. (Yeah, I’m nice like that.)

On the way back from the restroom, I saw John really struggling to fight back laughter.

“What?” I asked. “What happened?”

“I’ll tell you in a minute,” he giggled, putting on his jacket. “Let’s get going.”

The restaurant was 2 stories up, so we started down the stairs.

“What happened?” I repeated. “Tell me!”

John was just laughing and laughing.

“Tell me!” I insisted.

“No, I don’t tell stories on stairs,” John said. (Yes, this is apparently just one of a whole list of “Iwanski Rules.” I’ll have to tell you about them sometime.)

So once we were at the bottom of the stairs, he told me what had happened.

Apparently, a very nice waiter had come over and cleaned up all the water he had spilled (which was really quite a bit—it was a big water glass). And just as he finished cleaning it all up, John moved his arm and accidentally tipped over a bowl of pea soup—again, all over the table. He and the waiter both started laughing, and people around him just stared at him.

The nice waiter once again cleaned up the Iwanski spillage, and then John was left sitting there alone, staring at an empty, extremely clean table. He was trying hard not to think about it, but the image of him spilling the pea soup kept coming back into his head. And right there, sitting alone at a table in the middle of a crowded restaurant, John started laughing out loud. People were staring at him again. And the more they stared, the more he laughed. That’s apparently when I came along and we high-tailed it out of there.

As funny as it was, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that this time, I got to give Iwanski the lecture about being careless. These are moments that a wife lives for.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chin Hair!

I am embarrassed to tell you this, but I will, anyway.

I have one long blond hair that grows on my chin ever so often. I know, it’s weird. Why would a woman have a chin hair? The first time I noticed it, I laughed about it and said some silly comment to Iwanski that involved the words “not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”

Now I’m starting to get annoyed that it keeps cropping up. Why would I have one long chin hair? Why would God grace me with such a thing? Well, I guess it’s better than having several long chin hairs.

My Mom suffers from this same affliction, and I remember teasing her about it when I was younger. Maybe this is karma coming home to roost (or something like that).

Last night, while I was working late (i.e. chatting with a coworker), I noticed that the hair had grown long again. I asked her if she had a scissors, and she procured said scissors from her desk drawer for me. Then I looked at her and said,

“Could you…?”

She started laughing. Then I started laughing.

“Cut my chin hair!” I demanded. We were both cracking up. I imagine that it’s not a common favor that a woman asks another woman to do for her—but I could be wrong.

I decided to go into the bathroom and do it for myself. Just a quick snip, and it was gone. But it’ll be back. I know it will.

It serves no purpose and keeps coming back again and again. I think I’ll name it Ralph Nader.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Confession

I have something to confess. I know this may offend many people, but I have to say it.

I have absolutely NO interest in celebrity gossip.

There. I said it.

I just couldn’t care less about what some guy or gal in Hollywood is doing these days. I am much more interested in what my blog buddies are doing!

I would rather hear about what Lorraine or Sfoofie are cooking up tonight, or what types of fascinating sights Buck is seeing on his way to work in the morning. I am also interested in hearing about Danny Wanny’s trials and tribulations. (Did you notice you never can have just “trials” or “tribulations”? You can’t have one without the other!) And of course, Iwanski’s life is particularly fascinating to me. And there are so many others that feed my need for “celebrity” gossip—I can’t even begin to list you all, but yep, I’m talking about YOU!

You people are my celebrities. I am fascinated by what you may consider to be the daily hum-drum of your lives. Bring on the hum-drum! Y’all fascinate me.

And feel free to share pictures with me of yourself doing some mundane activity, like filling up your tank or waiting for a bus. I promise I won’t make fun of what you’re wearing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Disgusting Creatures

Here’s why cats are the most disgusting creatures on earth:

1. They vomit routinely, whenever and wherever they feel like it. It is an especially wonderful experience to encounter one of these “vomit piles” in the morning, when you step on it with bare feet.

2. They lick their own butts. ‘Nuff said.

3. They use their dirty, nasty paws that are full of litter schrapnel to scoop water out of their water dish.

4. They lick each others’ butts.

5. After licking their own butt and each others’ butts, they stick their entire heads into their owner’s water cup and lap up the water with the same tongue that they just licked their butt and each others’ butts with.

If you own a cat, you know what I’m talking about. They are filthy, disgusting animals. But they’re entertaining; I guess that’s why we keep them around.

On Second Thought, I Think I Will Step On You

I had a special experience while on the way to work this morning.
John and I were in our apartment building’s elevator with a few other people, and a dude got on. Trying to help the dude fit in the elevator, I started backing up. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that as I was backing up, I was getting a little close to the chick standing behind me.
The chick yelled loudly, "Ah, are you gonna step on me, or what?"
"Oh, sorry!" I said, shocked by her attitude. Really? Is there a need for that kind of attitude when you’re in the elevator with a complete stranger? Did she really think I was trying to step on her? Of course not. She just decided to be a bee-hotch.
I turned to John, and we stifled giggles as we rode down the remaining 10 floors. Her attitude had taken both of us by surprise.
We got off the elevator and walked outside. The woman got into her sporty sports car and tore off down the street. I said to John, "If somebody is that miserable, you just gotta feel sorry for them."
Seriously! What would prompt someone to be rude to a complete stranger? I am always surprised when this happens. I just don’t understand this behavior. If you don’t even know the person you’re talking to, why would you assume the worst of them? It’s ridiculous, in my mind.
Still, I feel sorry for her bitter little ass. She must have some real pain in her life to feel that it’s okay to act that way toward a complete stranger.
I hope something wonderful happens to her and she realizes how dumb it is to act like that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Strange Condition

There’s something weird about me that few people know.

I associate every number with a color. I don’t know how or when I came up with this system of numbers = colors, but it’s been in my head for as long as I can remember.

For example:
1 = white or black
2 = blue
3 = pink
4 = red or orange
5 = brown
6 = pink or black
7 = orange, red, or yellow
8 = green
9 = pink or black
10 = black or white

I know, it’s weird. And even weirder, several years ago, I began picking out my clothes to wear based on what the date was. For example, if it was the 2nd, I wore blue. If it was the 13th, I’d wear pink. I’ve since outgrown that behavior. Probably a good thing.

I also associate letters with colors. For example, did you know that the letter C is yellow? It is in my world.

Recently, I discovered that there is an actual name for this "condition." It’s called synesthesia. Wikipedia defines synesthesia as:

A neurologically-based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

I was fascinated! There was a name for my weird thought process!

And apparently I’m not the weirdest one. I only associate colors with numbers and letters—I don’t actually physically see the colors—but apparently some people do! I was fascinated with this quote from a fellow synesthesiest (I wonder if that’s a word?):

"'Until one day,' I said to my father, 'I realized that to make an R all I had to do was first write a P and draw a line down from its loop. And I was so surprised that I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line'."

Wow! People’s brains are fascinating, aren’t they?

I also discovered that there are those that experience colors in response to certain sounds…and then, the absolutely strangest ones to me, those who experience particular tastes in their mouths, when hearing or reading certain sounds! Can you imagine what that must be like?

But me? I’m just a regular ole’ number-letter-color associator.

And guess what? I’ve recently discovered that both Iwanski and Buck (see my blog links above, at right) experience a similar phenomenon! Iwanski associates a gender with each letter and number (yes, folks—the letter K is a female!), and Buck, like me, associates colors with numbers and letters.

I guess great minds think alike, huh?

Or maybe we’re just a bunch of mental patients.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Show's over, folks!

Well, I made it through the show. And I had fun! I was surprised at how quickly the time went by. I enjoyed it because I was with the very entertaining Jason Boskey and John Iwanski. After a while, I just felt like we were hangin’ out, chatting. And that is something I like to do!

Fun times!

I'm Co-hosting!

Guess what? Looks like I'm gonna be the emergency backup co-host on the Iwanski/Winter show tonight. The planned guest co-host bailed, so I'm the runner-up!

Check it out--7 PM Central,*

And promise you won't laugh at me--unless I say something funny!

*Also, on Wednesday, the show will be downloadable on or itunes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I just found out that "Juno" is coming to video this week. And so is "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With."

Don’t ya’ just love that title?

That pretty much sums up how I feel about my hubby. He is fun to eat cheese with and also just to sit with and do nothing with. I love the fact that I can sit with him at a restaurant and say nothing for several minutes while we tear into chimichangas (his) and taco salad (mine). I love being with someone that I don’t have to actually talk to.

On the other hand, when we do talk, it’s always a fun conversation—whether we’re trying to remember the words to the "Banana Splits" theme song, or we’re talking about how Obama is going to win in November.

You wanna know the words to the Banana Splits theme song now, don’t you?

Well, I’ll just give you a little taste…

One banana, two banana, three banana, fourFour bananas make a bunch and so do many more…

Flippin' like a pancake, popping like a cork Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork.

Tra la la, la la la la Tra la la, la la la la

Now, mind you, I’ve never even seen the Banana Splits show. But I love love love the theme song.

In fact, I love any song that’s about bananas. For example…


Have you heard this song? Well, if not, you must! Here’s the link:

And then, of course, there’s the song from Barney that I actually like:

I want to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas,
I want to oat, oat, oat, ohpples and banonos,
I want to ite, ite, ite, ihpples and baninis,
I want to ate, ate, ate aepples and banay-nays!

Oh my Lord! I really do need to have children, don’t I?

Anyway, I love my hubby, and I love banana phone! And that is all.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I have recently realized that I love cinnamon.

I know, it’s a startling realization. Cinnamon, for God’s sake!

Yet I do like it. I particularly like it in tea or coffee. It’s refreshing.

I read that cinnamon has shown promise in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, memory function, and even leukemia and lymphoma. Brilliant!

I just know that I like it. And it gives me energy.

Mind you, I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon rolls—too sugary. But cinnamon tea is quickly becoming my favorite drink. And when I was a kid and was home sick, my Mom would often make me "cinnamon toast" (for those of you who don’t know what this is—you crazy communists—it’s just buttered toast topped with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar). Yummy!

Even Jerry Seinfeld jumped on the cinnamon bandwagon. In one episode, he and Elaine, on their way to a dinner party, just miss out on getting the last chocolate babka at a bakery. However, there is a cinnamon babka. Elaine is hesitant to buy what she considers to be "a lesser babka." But Jerry insists, saying, and I quote:

"I beg your pardon? Cinnamon takes a back seat to no Bobka. People love cinnamon. It should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, "Oh This is so good. What's in it?" The answer invariably comes back, Cinnamon. Cinnamon. Again and again. Lesser Bobka - I think not."

Seinfeld knew what he was talking about. And I loves me some cinnamon!

OK, I can’t believe I just wrote an entire blog about cinnamon. I’ve officially bottomed out.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Modern Art

Despite the cloudy, rainy weather, it’s been a lovely day today.

Of course it’s been lovely—it’s Saturday! What’s not to like about a Saturday?

As usual, I slept in late, and then John and I went out for lunch and for a walk. Then we stopped in at the Cultural Center, which always has interesting art exhibits. Well, today’s exhibits were no exception.

The first exhibit was photos of folks in 1967, looking at the Picasso about a month after it was revealed to the public. People were astounded and perplexed by it. Their reactions were interesting.

Then we saw a most fascinating exhibit. Entitled "Slightly Unbalanced," it featured modern art from people expressing their neuroses. The works of art were freaky, funny, creepy, and thought-provoking.

One of the really creepy ones was a small woman’s head with a doll’s body, trapped under a folding chair that was lying on its side. The creepy part was that the head had a video playing in it, of a woman’s actual face, and she was talking. It was like a real woman’s head was trapped under a chair, and she was talking to us like it was perfectly normal to be trapped under a chair. I remarked to John, "This is the creepiest thing I have ever seen."

Another one that really left an impression on me was a bunch of colorful pie charts where the artist had shown him or herself as, for example, 80% sad, 10% guilty, and 10% happy. Some of the charts just had "sad" on all three of the sections of the pie. Wow. Suicidal much?

But my absolutely favorite exhibit was a video (fictional) of a woman who had just won a cruise, being interviewed by the radio station that she’d won the cruise from. The interviewer just wanted a good promotional clip of her saying "Thanks, WCLU, for the cruise! I’m so excited to go!" or something like that. Instead, the woman turned it into her own personal documentary, where she shared some of her own works of art and basically used the interview to serve her own personal ego needs for recognition and appreciation. At one point, she said to the interviewer, "I bet you didn’t think you’d be doing a documentary of an artist today." It was extremely funny, and I definitely recognized myself in the character. I think all of us, whether artists or not, have a need to be loved, appreciated, and complimented sometimes. Our egos feed on approval. And I don’t know about anyone else, but when I have a creative moment, I sometimes have to work at remembering that it’s not "me" that’s being creative—it’s really coming from something bigger than myself, and I really can’t take credit for it.

Anyway, the video and all the works of art I saw today really made me laugh, and also really made me think.

And after all, isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I have realized something. Writing takes energy. I could be using this energy to do an aerobics tape, walk on a treadmill, or do yoga. But instead I sit here and try to put some words together that maybe sound remotely interesting.

Oh, who am I kidding? If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be watching Big Brother on Tivo or taking a nap. No, I’m really not that healthy for being Miss Healthypants. And I’m also not very exciting.

You know what, though? I like being boring. One of my favorite things to do is to take a walk. Who does that? Old people, that’s who.

I also like to lie on the couch and watch t.v. I’m guessing that’s a typical old person’s activity, too.

My apologies to any of you young’uns who, like me, enjoy a simple walk or a simple lie on the couch.

Ah, a simple lie on the couch. That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

I have also discovered the simple joy of using a sugar scrub.* Have any of you tried this? It’s the most remarkable feeling. You rub this grainy, painful mix across your dry, raw knuckles (sounds great already, doesn’t it?) and then you rinse it off—this is where the fun part is—and the oil in the mix coats your dry hands like the wonderful feeling of lying under a soft blanket. On the couch. ‘Cause that’s what I like to do.

*My favorite sugar scrub is Bath and Body Works’ Aromatherapy Sugar Scrub in Lavender-Vanilla. Not only does it feel great, but it smells wonderful and puts me into a nice dreamy sleep. Yay!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not For Everyone

Lately, John and I have been discussing taking a trip up to Wisconsin soon, to see my parents.

My parents are wonderful people. They are both very kind, generous, and loving. They are also small-town people. They do not like big cities. And I happen to live in the 3rd biggest city in America.

My parents only came to Chicago to visit John and me once, in May of 1999. And they’ve never been back—that tells you how much they liked it!

As I look back on that weekend, a few events stick out in my mind that might have had something to do with the fact that they haven’t been back here since then:

1. Our toilet exploded on my Mom. I remember my Dad, John, and I were sitting in our living room, and all of a sudden we heard my Mom screaming from the bathroom, “Help! Help!” I walked in to find her desperately trying to plug the holes on the back of the toilet that water was shooting out of. I knew I had to turn the water supply off, but she looked so freaked out that all I could do was sit there and laugh and laugh. Luckily, John stepped in and turned off the water. I couldn’t stop laughing.

2. While buying an ice cream cone at McDonald’s, a homeless guy approached my Dad and mumbled “Can you spare some change?” My Dad didn’t hear him and asked him, “What?” The guy repeated, “Can you spare some change?” This time my Dad heard him, but I don’t think he knew how to respond. He looked so uncomfortable that I stepped in and said to the guy, “Sorry.” The guy understood and walked away. My Dad’s uneasiness was understandable; where he lives, there are no homeless people on the streets asking for money.

3. We were all getting dressed up to go see the play/musical “Ragtime.” I put on a skirt, and my Mom absolutely could not get over the fact that I didn’t have a slip to wear underneath it. She kept mentioning it, even as we were walking to the show. (Two months later, when I visited them in Wisconsin, my Mom brought out a “present” for me. I unwrapped it to find a slip! I couldn’t believe it. She’s too funny.)

4. That whole weekend, it was cold, windy, and rainy. We walked to the train and it rained. We walked to the play and it rained. We walked to church and it rained. I don’t think Mom and Dad were fans of walking everywhere, instead of riding in a nice warm, dry car.

Overall, to me it was a funny weekend. To my parents, it was probably an uncomfortable weekend. Oh yeah, and while driving out of the parking garage, they had the pleasant experience of having to pay $40 for parking there for the weekend. I’m sure they loved that.

I guess the city is not meant for everyone…at least not for my parents!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What Could This Mean?

I have been having horrible, but weird dreams this week. Last night I dreamed that I had this big important test with 20 questions that I had to pass, OR ELSE. Or else what? I have no idea. I think I might not have graduated college or something.

In the dream, I was sitting at a desk in a classroom, with a bunch of other students. The test questions were read aloud, by a professor, and we had to remember each question and write down the answers. The first question was: What’s the square root of 2756? (The answer is 52.49761899362675, by the way.) I was completely freaked out about this question and how to even go about tackling it, when the professor asked the 2nd question: what’s the full name of Chicago Bulls player Nocioni? I actually knew the answer to this one! Still, I raised my hand and asked the professor, “Do you mean his real name or his nickname?” The professor replied, “His name.”

Just to be safe, I wrote: Andres Nocioni (AKA “Noche.”)

The next question was, “What is the name of another Bulls player?” I confidently wrote down “Kirk Hinrich.”

I don’t remember the rest of the questions; but I remember all of a sudden I had this huge headache and I took some Ibuprofen from the bottle that was sitting, conveniently, on my desk. Then the professor walked up to me and said, “I think this will take care of your headache.” He handed me a bottle of Valium.

It was then in my dream that I thought, “What is this all about? Why am I so stressed out?”

Then—at this point we were halfway through the test—the professor announced, “Just a reminder that after the test, you all will be giving your speeches.”

I have to give a speech, too?!?!?!?! I started panicking even more.

Then I thought, “Wait—this is what it’s all about. They’re just testing me to see how I react to stress.” And then I extrapolated this idea further, “Maybe that’s what my life is about. Maybe God is just testing me to see how I react to stress.”

I know it sounds weird, but it sort-of made sense to me in my dream.

I don’t know if I ever passed the test----but maybe that’s what I have yet to find out!

I mean, I believe in an all-loving, kind, and gentle God…but what if he does put certain obstacles in our way…maybe not to test our faith, but perhaps—in a strange way—as a reminder that he is there to help us through them. And that if we truly believe in the power of God/the Universe/Ourselves, that there will be even bigger and better plans revealed to us…

Or maybe I just had one weird-ass dream.

Monday, April 7, 2008


To many folks, my hubby and I may seem like pretty boring people. Our idea of a great day is a good lunch out, a nice long walk by the lake, and later enjoying a couple of beers and country music on tv.

But once in a while we get a little crazy. One such time was this past December, on a Saturday night.

As usual, we settled down with a couple of beers and a recording of the Porter Wagoner show, courtesy of Tivo. Well, a couple of beers turned into a couple more beers, and before you know it, we were both dancing around the living room, cranking up Hank Williams Jr. and Ice Cube, alternatively, on our stereo. We were both enjoying ourselves so much, that when the phone rang, we barely heard it. But then we heard a voice on the answering machine, and we turned the music down to listen.

“Hello, this is the front-desk security. We’ve got a complaint that there’s loud music coming from your apartment. We ask that you please turn down the music as a courtesy to your neighbors. Thank you.”

John and I looked at each other and just burst out laughing. Busted! We didn’t think the music was that loud, but okay, we didn’t want to make our neighbors even more mad. We turned down the music more.

Then John got the idea that we should listen to our police scanner, just in case someone in our building decided to call the actual police on us. So we turned off the music and headed into the bedroom to listen to the scanner. Nope—no noise complaints; just the usual Chicago murders and robberies. Phew! We were safe.

Just then, we heard a knock on our door. “Security!” the person yelled.

Acting on instinct, I instantly jumped into bed and threw the covers over my head. I’m sleeping—that’s my alibi—was my silly, panicked thought. (Okay, I was a bit under the influence!)

John, acting on his instinct, instantly jumped up, turned off all the lights (including the computer monitor) and ran his hands vigorously through his hair, making it all messed-up. Then, mustering up his best sleepy-guy imitation, he answered the door.

“Hello?” he grunted.

The security guard got an apologetic look on his face. “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We had a noise complaint—but we must have the wrong apartment. So sorry!” He stepped away from the door.

“That’s okay,” John replied, yawning.

“Well, goodnight—and sorry again,” the security guard said as he headed to the elevator.

“Goodnight,” John replied and shut the door.

He came in the bedroom and we both burst out laughing, trying not to be too loud so the security guard could hear.

“I can’t believe you did that!” I laughed.

We felt like we were a couple of college kids, trying not to get busted by the dean.

Wow. Partiers with loud music, lying to security—I guess we’re not so boring, after all!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tastes of Tuscany

Recently, I saw an advertisement that read “Try three new entrees inspired by the tastes of Tuscany.” Hmm, I thought, Tuscany! That sounds good.

Guess what the advertisement was for?

Cat food!

Yes, that’s right. Fancy Feast has a new line of cat food called “Elegant Medleys”—some of which are apparently “inspired by the tastes of Tuscany.”

So I thought to myself, “Let’s see if our cats like the tastes of Tuscany.”

I brought home a can of “White Meat Chicken Tuscany in a Savory Sauce with Long Grain Rice and Garden Greens.” (I would eat that!)

I held the can in front of our cats’ faces and said, “Do you want to try the tastes of Tuscany?”

Autumn said, “M-raow.” Hattie said, “Meh-he-he-he.”

I took that to mean, “Yes, we would love to try the tastes of Tuscany. Please put some on little plates so that we may partake in the Tuscan chicken with long grain rice and garden greens.”

So I did just that.

Hattie ate for a minute and then ran away into the bedroom. Apparently she did not like the tastes of Tuscany. Autumn licked her plate clean and then licked Hattie’s plate clean, too. Success! Apparently we have a cat who loves Tuscan-inspired food.

Hmm, do you think if I cooked up a batch of Tuscan ravioli, Autumn would eat it?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Postcards from Chi-town

About once a week, I send a postcard to my Grandma in Wisconsin.

Now, don’t go “aww, how sweet” or any of that sappy crap, because really, how hard is it? Once in a while, I have to pick out and buy some Chicago postcards (which I really enjoy doing), and then I have to write a few lines to say hi and talk about what’s going on my life. Again, really, how hard is it? But she really enjoys it. And that makes me happy.

It all started about 3 years ago, when one of my other sisters suggested that we all call or write my Grandma once a week. Well, I pretty much hate talking on the phone (except for once in a while—or for the rare exception—my friend Diane—with whom I can easily spend 3 hours on the phone)...and I’m not big on writing letters unless they’re in e-mail format (my 90-year-old Grandma doesn’t even know what e-mail is) I came up with the postcard idea. It’s quick and easy and shows my Grandma I’m thinking of her. What’s not to like about that? The hardest thing to do is make sure I have postcard stamps on hand.

So now I’ve been writing her these postcards for a little over 3 years. And usually it’s something pretty mundane, like “The weather is so beautiful, John and I went for a nice long walk today.” Stuff like that. Stuff that pretty much describes my life—happy and relaxing. But once in a while I have something interesting to tell her. Maybe it’s the latest fascinating book I’m reading, or maybe it’s an upcoming trip we’ve decided to take...whatever it is, I slap it on the postcard and send it on its way. And when John and I do take a trip, I buy a postcard from wherever we are and do the same thing. It’s become a weekly routine.

About a year ago, while visiting my Mom and Dad, my Mom said, “I have something to show you!” and brought out a shoebox. In it were all the postcards I had sent to my Grandma for the past 2 years. Wow. There were so many of them! I began shuffling through them and reading the messages about my life for the past 2 years. Some of them were simple and mundane, but so many of them were reminders of things I’d forgotten, of experiences I’d had that were so long ago lost in the sea of my life’s memories. I was grateful that my Mom had kept them all, and very grateful for the many wonderful experiences I had had.

So now when I write a postcard to my Gram, I sometimes think about my future self and wonder how my message will be read 2 years from now. I can only hope and pray that I will be as happy then as I am right now.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Boss

As I’m sitting here, reading my e-mail and doing some blog-surfing, our cat, Autumn, will not shut up.

You see, she’s knows it’s 8:30. And 8:30 means she gets a can of moist food.

I’m telling you, this cat can tell time. It doesn’t matter whether my husband and I are watching tv or eating or reading a magazine, when it’s 8:30, the whining begins.

At first, it sounds cute. A little high pitched “meow.”

Then, she turns it up a notch. She gets cranky and begins to pace around the room, loudly proclaiming, “M-raow!” over and over again. Sometimes she makes an indignant “mmmmmhhhh” sound that sounds like Marge Simpson when she gets frustrated with Homer.

And she won’t give up. She turns to new tactics. It’s like in her little brain she’s thinking, “Hmm, what can I do to annoy them further? Let me see…I know! I’ll walk all over the computer desk and stomp all over important papers and push stuff onto the floor.” So of course she does this, all the while continuing to whine. We yell at her, and she gets down and stops momentarily. But then 2 seconds later, she’s back up on the desk again, this time to put her paws into the little cubby holes and drag the phone bill and computer CD’s onto the floor. We yell at her again.

There is a momentary reprieve as she jumps to the floor and wanders into the kitchen.

Then, all of the sudden we hear a smaller, even higher-pitched voice. “Meh-eh-eh-eh!” It’s our other cat, Hattie. Now we’re in trouble. Between all the pacing and all the “M-raow”s and “Meh-eh-eh-eh”s, we have no choice. It’s time to feed the cats.

Man, who’s the real boss in this house? Who are we kidding? They know it’s them.

Happy Pills

I finally fulfilled a three-month-long dream by going to the Reagle Beagle last night. And it was everything I’d hoped it would be! Good food, good drinks, great music (of course!), and fun 70’s and 80’s tv shows and cartoons showing on several tv screens. At one point, my friend and I caught a particularly psychedelic 70’s cartoon on one of the screens. Awesome, dude!

Then we went over to the closest Starbucks and spent the next 3 hours yapping. (I told you I like to talk!) It was a lovely evening.

At one point during our Starbucks yapping marathon, I had finished my latte and had to go up to the counter and buy a bottle of water (I was apparently parched from the constant yammering). As always is the case at Starbucks, the staff was very friendly. I requested a cup of ice for my luke-warm bottle of water, and the barista behind the counter handed me a big cup of ice with a smile and a “have a great night!”

Walking back to my comfy chair, I remarked to my friend that I just realized how friendly the baristas at Starbucks always are. (That’s always been my experience, anyway. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule—but I hope not!) And then I remembered my experience at a little fast food restaurant in California, about 10 years ago.

My husband and I were vacationing in the San Diego area, staying with his cousin and her husband. One night, all 4 of us got a craving for burgers. So we hopped in the car and headed for the drive-thru at the local burger place, In N Out Burger. Driving up, we heard an extremely chipper female voice over the intercom: “ Welcome to In N Out Burger, what can we get for you tonight?” We placed our order, and with an even more cheerful voice, the girl said, “Thanks so much! Please drive through to the next window.”

At the next window, the next person on the In N Out welcoming committee flashed us a huge smile and said, “Welcome to In N Out burger! How are you all doing tonight?” My hubby’s cousin said, “We’re good,” and in the back seat, my husband and I exchanged amused looks. “Are we in some kind of bizarro world?” I whispered. “I think they’re all on drugs,” my husband replied.

After we paid and collected our food, the chairperson of the welcoming committee continued, “Can I get you some extra ketchup or napkins or anything?” We said no, and she flashed us another huge, enthusiastic smile. “OK, then I hope you all have a wonderful night!’

As we were driving away, I said, “Wow, they were extremely friendly there!” My hubby’s cousin laughed. “I know, they’re always like that.”

Believe me, it was a strange experience to meet up with such overly-friendly people—and apparently it’s still like that at In N Out Burger today. A simple Google search I did today sent me to the following comment by a fellow In N Out diner: “I don't know what kind of happy pills they're feeding their employees, but I have yet to meet a single person who works for In N Out who doesn't seem genuinely enthusiastic and eager to help.” See?

I remember being astounded by the In N Out folks, and thinking: what would life be like if everyone you dealt with was that friendly? I mean, I’m sure we all run across people who are unfriendly or rude or even downright mean. What kind of world would this be if they all suddenly started being friendly and nice? Wouldn’t it be amazing?

Then again, it might be pretty boring. I mean, what would we talk about, if we couldn’t bitch about other people?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nostalgic for What?

Tomorrow night, I’m going out to dinner with a good friend of mine. I’m kind-of hoping that she’ll agree to go to the Reagle Beagle, a 70’s- and 80’s-themed restaurant/bar. I haven’t been there yet, but it sounds like fun. After all, I love the 70’s and 80’s—especially the 80’s.

I love anything 80’s. I love 80’s music, 80’s sitcoms, 80’s references…I really love the “I Love the 80’s” tv show.

I know it’s all quite lame. I know this. But I don’t care. I guess it just has some nostalgic value to me. I can hear a song from the 80’s and be instantly transported back to junior high school.

Come to think of it, why is this in any way a pleasant memory to me? Junior high was not exactly the best experience of my life. I was a huge nerd with big permed hair and even bigger glasses. I was not popular. (But at least I was smart.)

In my 7th grade class, there were only 6 girls and something like 30 boys. And all 5of the other girls in my class were cheerleaders. At least I was cool enough to not be a cheerleader. I can remember vividly sitting on a swing, trying to ignore the 5 of them as they cheered over and over again: “Ready?—OK! Take it to the limit, take it to the top, we are the mighty Wolves and we can’t be stopped…so take it to…the TOP!” And then the worst part was the inevitable “Wooo!”s that followed the cheer. Really? You think your lame-ass cheer is something to “wooo” about?

And then there was the boy I just had the hugest crush on—throughout junior high and much of high school. I will never forget how much I wanted to go out with Brian. He was probably the most popular boy in the school—mostly because he was a pretty funny guy. Once, I had the chance to dance with him at a school dance, ON MY BIRTHDAY. I was in seventh heaven!

So I guess they weren’t all bad moments in junior high—just most of them.

And I’m still a huge nerd. You wanna know how much of a nerd I am? I am the only person I know who can hear the song “We Built This City” and get teary-eyed.

Now that’s nerdy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Quiet and Shy (Not So Much)

I have been banished to the bedroom. Well, okay, not really banished so much. I choose to come in here on Tuesday nights while an internet radio show (co-hosted by my husband John and our friend Dan) is being broadcast from our living room. Why, you ask, do I choose to banish myself in this way? Well, for a number of reasons…but mostly because if I’m in there, I have to be quiet. And quiet is not something I do well.

Having grown up as the youngest of 8 kids in a sometimes pretty loud household, I have a really hard time controlling the volume of my voice. I guess when I was growing up, in our house, there was just a lot of competition to speak up and be heard. And I learned how to compete very well.

Then there’s my Dad. My Dad is a very kind, loving soul with a loud, sometimes booming voice. I remember in my parents’ old house, whenever someone yelled something loud enough, you could actually hear the sound of our front doorbell reverberating throughout the house. My Dad made the doorbell “ring” on an almost daily basis.

Nowadays, whenever I talk to him on the phone, I have to hold the phone at least 6 inches away from my ear. Now that’s loud.

In recent years, other people—particularly coworkers—have made me truly realize how much I take after my Dad, volume-wise. Just today at work, I was explaining to a coworker how I wanted to “gouge” myself on pizza. Then I asked, “Not gouge—what’s the word for it?” From way on the other side of the floor, another coworker phoned me and said, “Did you mean to say ‘gorge’?” We had a good laugh about “gouging” ourselves on pizza, but then I hung up the phone and thought, “My God, how loud am I?”

And it’s not just the volume of my voice, either. I love to talk. I love to tell people things. I guess it’s just the sociable Gemini in me.

Recently, I was taking a long walk with my husband, and he suddenly turned to me and said jokingly, “Do
you ever stop talking?” Believe me, he’s not being mean. I do chatter pretty much nonstop.

Except when I’m working or watching tv—or writing. Perhaps writing this blog is a good way for me to avoid driving my poor husband crazy.

And you poor blog readers—you’re just stuck having to endure my endless chatter—that is, if you’re still reading this.

And if you’re still reading this, thanks. Because I really do love to tell people things.

Hello, my name is Carla, and I’m an addict.

I have to admit, I’m addicted to 2 things: I’m addicted to approval, and to the Sims.

I believe I can break my addiction to the Sims. After all, they’re just a bunch of whiney people who can’t even get themselves to the bathroom without my help. What a bunch of pathetic losers!

And then there’s me, the other pathetic loser who likes to play the game. I guess it’s fun to feel smarter than a bunch of computerized people. See how crazy I am?

But I can stop playing the Sims. I have done this in the past, and I have survived. This has been proven.

However, I’m not so sure about my addiction to approval. I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering what people are thinking about me. Most of the time, I just assume they’re saying bad things about me. Why is that? I walk past 2 coworkers talking in hushed tones, they look up at me briefly, and I think, “What bad things are they saying about me?”

Or a coworker is unusually quiet, and I think, “Is she mad at me? What did I do to upset her?”

Why on earth do I think I’m so important in these people’s lives? It’s pretty sad, really.

I realize that it all really boils down to my ego. I know logically that what I really need to do is give my ego a big swift kick in the ass. My ego thinks that people are always thinking about me and commenting on me. Here’s what I think a conversation with my ego would go like:

Ego: Waa, waa, waa. Why is everyone always thinking and saying bad things about me?

Me: Dude, no one’s thinking or talking about you. And even if they were, why do you care?

Ego: Because I want people to like me!

Me: (SMACK!)

Ego: Ow! What’d you do that for?

Me: Because you need it. I oughtta do that more often.

Ego: Waaaa!!!!

Me: (SMACK!!!!!!!!!!) There. That should do it.

(Long Pause)

Ego (with an evil laugh): I’m still he-ere!

Me: Damn.

So much for beating up on my ego.

Is there a 12-step program for this? If not, I would like to invent it. I’d invite a bunch of people, lead the meeting, and then sit around afterwards wondering what they all thought about me.

Is there a way that I can choke my ego? I’ll try that next.