Thursday, July 31, 2014

Doppelgangers: The Ultimate Throwback Thursday Edition

Over at Ember Grey, Emily is worrying about some horrible drunk person telling her she looks like Glenn Close. 

I just want to reassure her that there are far, far ruder comparisons than being compared to a crazy sexy blonde with an incredible acting range.
Age 6:
I was called Dumbo because I had big ears, so I would hide them all the time behind my hair. This same boy followed me all throughout school and I got called various other things like fish girl.

Age 13: 
This bitchy girl in my eighth grade class said I walked like a nun. She later took out a full page in my yearbook saying if I changed, oh, absolutely everything about the way I look that I had the potential to be a knockout. Oh well, her doppelganger was (and still is) French Stewart. 


Age 15:

I also used to get Claire Danes a lot because of my fair skin.

Age 15 1/2
As the innocence of youth wore off, the comparisons began to be more toward horror movie stars, like Fairuza Balk from The Craft.  That was from an ex-boyfriend of mine. "You look like that girl from The Craft!" "Neve Campbell?!?!" "...No."

Age 17:
I gained a little bit of weight, which is what happens when you recover from an eating disorder sometimes, colored my hair bright red, and all of the sudden this fat shithead from my neighborhood would follow me around all the time calling me, "Quadruple butt!" and "Chucky!"

Then I lost the weight by graduation by running every day and my doppelganger was Veronica Lake. So fuck him sideways and I hope nobody ever lets him near a vagina.

Age 18:

So my other ex-boyfriend's brother used to call me Linda. They spoke Spanish so I thought he was calling me pretty, but I learned later he meant Linda Blair. And not pretty Linda Blair, but Linda Blair in costume. At this period of my life I was at my most made-up, thin, good-looking youthfulness I would achieve, so I wasn't sure why the comparisons were becoming more and more gross.  He was kind of a dick though. The rest of his family was sweet as pie, so he must have been the black sheep.

Hilariously, after I gained 100 lbs people were nicer about their comparisons.

"You look like that geeky girl from that show!"  Err, thanks!

Here are the girls I get now:

Kirsten Vangsness

Zooey Deschanel (I wish)

Elizabeth McGovern (omg I super wish!)
But when I go on those celebrity look-a-like apps on my phone I get these results:

So don't worry if you are being told if you look like a woman that looks like a man.  I have been told by an app that I look like an actual man and sometimes Angelina Jolie if I take off my glasses.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How I Secretly Feel About My Life

When I first saw that the title of this link up was "Wednesday Wishes" I thought, "This is right up my alley." 

I am a wisher, a hoper, a dreamer. I sit at home each night, sighing to myself.

"I wish I could stay home tomorrow."

"You always want a day off."

"I do! I want to stay home with you and the soft, furry kitty and hang out."

More often I want a day off to get everything done. How nice it would be to come home to clean floors, laundry done and put away, dinner in the crockpot or ready to heat up and enjoy. The daily pressures of running a household are overwhelming enough that I cannot keep up with the simplest tasks.

When I am at work it's food cravings or random wishes.

"I want macaroni and cheese.  I want Cheetos. I smell eggs.  Eggs sound good; I want eggs. I want to swim in an ocean of scrambled eggs. I want to go swimming. I want to be a synchronized swimmer."

And when I am driving home from work I think to myself, "I wish I could keep driving.  Driving until the nearest, unoccupied ocean. I want to be anonymous in a sea of people.  Just me, a sunset, a drink to my lips and just be."

When I wake up in the night and I am alone the wishes are darker, more intense. They become longings. There's a kind of lovely feeling about waking up in the middle of the night, even if it's because I'm not feeling well. I look outside and the world is still and at rest. The Maryland air's constant wet humidity dries a little and I breathe easier.

I am tired sometimes of wishing and hoping about the future and I'm ready to act on it. I'm taking action on that which I can change. I like that about me.

Overall I am not dissatisfied with my life. I am dissatisfied with my reaction to life. I have all the tools to do the things that make life worth living, but most days I steer towards the easiest solution that sounds great in the short term but does not do much for me in the long term.

Here are my loftiest wishes that seem simple but I have no idea how to grant to myself!

1. I would like to learn how to take magazine worthy photos. Some of my friends are excellent, even expert, photographers and I love their photos. I would love to save up for decent equipment and practice, practice, practice.

2. I want grown up furniture. Nice lamps, some area rugs, something that makes my one-bedroom apartment look like a grown-up lives there. Wayfair is probably why this is happening to me.

3. I want to do that thing where I do all my cooking in advance on Sundays and then have nice meals to heat up all week. 

4. Also on Sundays: I would like to lay out all my clothes for the week into outfits so I can find stuff.

5. On those mythical Sundays where I am simultaneously cooking for the week and having the perfect wardrobe, I would like to lounge about and read a good book all the way through.

Make sure to participate in this week's link up!

Love the Here and Now

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Shed More Blood! New Moves That Melt Hearts and Guarantee Marriage in Just 9 Years!

Eleven years ago today was interesting. 

I had just started dating my future husband, Greg, two weeks before. This was back when he still lived with his parents while going to college. He invited me to go out with his folks to Chili's at Arundel Mills for dinner, but I was not on time for the date. Greg decided to stick around and hang out with me at home instead and his parents were going to bring us back something delicious. 

So Greg arrived and we went to his house. Our favorite thing to do while casually hanging out was and chilled in his bedroom watching Empty Nest and gabbing. As we were lounging about, we got a phone call. It was his parents saying it was going to take longer than expected and that we should order a pizza. We did ... it was an excellent pizza! I swallowed three whole slices! Back then I was skinny and never ate so this was a superhuman feat. Now? I could eat pizza all day every day. After three slices I want three more slices.

After the pizza eating, we digested while watching Man on the Moon. This was my first viewing and I found the movie wildly perplexing. Andy Kaufman/Jim Carrey's antics seemed entertaining, but if I knew him in real life I think I would want to punch him in the face a little. Greg noticed I was upset and tried to cheer me up by tickling me. He started telling me he loved me and I just grinned and we started roughhousing and kissing and we got carried away and ...


I busted my nose on his forehead when I went to lean in for a cuddle! Or a headbutt. I forgot which!

It was okay but then blood started pouring out into my hand and the shock of it made me start to cry. Greg raced around trying to baby me back into good health, feeling totally guilty and embarrassed. I ran into the bathroom to go bleed into the sink and I looked in the mirror to see my face that was a bloody mess and I cracked up laughing at the sight of more blood than I had ever seen on me in a long time. I looked so terrible! I couldn't stop laughing and that made me bleed even more and made the blood spray everywhere: all over the mirror, sink, and wallpaper. It took forever to clean up. Greg wet a washcloth and washed me off gently and I bled into it, trying really hard not to laugh. He got me ice and anything I needed for the rest of my night, totally mortified at the idea of someone finding out he busted his girlfriend's nose on accident. I couldn't figure out why he didn't think it was as funny as I thought it was. I really couldn't stop laughing and joking about it, even though my nose killed

He kept saying, "How can I laugh at a time like this? My sweetheart busted her nose!" 

He was panicking and I was laughing and neither of us were really helping the situation.

Eventually I calmed down, snickering only a little, and he did too, cuddling me and babying me and reading me funny articles from the National Enquirer and I almost passed out from concussion, because I had one, so he kept me there for an hour or two to make sure I was okay. Then he drove me home and kissed me goodnight gently. 

Anyway, that is the guy I married.

You could not even tell that my nose is that sore. It's just red and there are bloody boogers inside trying to make scabs. Ever since it has been a little out of alignment.  However, this is not the only time my nose has seen trauma. When I was two years old I fell down a flight of concrete stairs.

When I was four I hurt my nose again.  This time I was in costume ready to pop out on stage at my dance recital and do my tap dance routine and my fellow tap dancers were practicing their curtsy. We all held hands and CRACK! (say crack again!) they smashed my face into a brick. I still went on, sobbing, dancing my little heart out. BECAUSE I AM A PROFESSIONAL.

Look how cute I am! I looked like this, only with lots of snot and blood on my face!

I have to tell you this picture gets weirder. Years later my aunt took a photo of my cousin in my hand-me-down costume and then photoshopped her into this photo with me (that's her elbow on the right of my elbow or what I like to call stage left). BUT I HAVE CROPPED HER OUT BECAUSE SHE DID NOT BUST HER NOSE DANCING. Hah!

Edit: Fine here we are; aren't we sweet?

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Sanity Is Not Safe With My Mother ... And My Mother's Sanity Is Not Safe With Me

This was us on my 32nd birthday at her house a few weeks ago.
I love my mom.  I do, she is absolutely my best friend. We can tell each other anything and we get along really well. Sometimes we are simply too alike. I do not write about her on here because she is super paranoid about people reading what I write and it getting back to her, but I suppose I will have to disappoint her this time. It is sort of an ode to our relationship.

We made plans this past weekend to visit my family up in Finksburg, Maryland.  The plans were made over a month ago.  I wrote it on all my calendars and it has been in the back of my mind as the very highlight of my summer. I turned down plans with people because I was like, "My grand-pop is in town NO SATURDAY PLANS GRAND-POP IS IN TOWN; GO AWAY." For some reason though, my mom was paranoid that not only would I cancel the plans to go, but that I was dead because I had not called her. Normal mom stuff.  Daughters don't call?  She's in a ditch somewhere.  Call your mother!

The week before this past Saturday was the busiest week I have had socially in a long time. Friday before I had a pizza date with my spouse. Thursday before I had coffee with my coworker until almost 8 pm. Wednesday before I had dinner with friends from out of town and did not get home until 11:30 pm. Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment that ran late, Monday was Monday, Sunday I spent sleeping after a Saturday from 3 pm-1 am party that included a live DJ, tree swings, amazing burgers, horror movies, a fire pit, and endless conversations with people.

By the time this past Saturday rolled around my phone was dead from using the navigation on it and not charging it, my laptop was off, I had not gone walking in more than a week, every square inch of my carpet had opened mail, shopping bags, or dirty laundry on it, and my hair had not been washed in almost a week. I smelled of failure. I hopped in the shower and stayed in there until the failure stench was covered in St. Ives.

In the meantime my mother called me on Google Hangouts at 10:17 am and 11:21 am to make sure I was still going. Obviously I was not logged in. Then she wrote: 

jenny, are you there?
it is 1123; let me know if you are still going

Then she tried again on Google Hangouts at 11:48 am as well as 12:07 pm.  She called my husband but his phone was off. She also called my phone at 12:06 pm, 12:06 pm, 12:58 pm, 1:05 pm, and then 1:31 pm twice while honking just so I'd know she was there.

I would take this to mean that she was in a hurry to get there, being that we were late from Bay Bridge traffic.

Apparently not.  

We still needed to pick up a card and candles for my grand-pop. 

We popped into Rite Aid and she snapped at me for rushing her many, many times. 

First we picked out the card.  At first we could not find a card for his 80th year, so I was running all down the isles looking for a decent one.  But there it was, finally, smack dab in the middle of all the other milestone cards. Happy 80th Birthday!

Of course my mother has to go and read the card, which is three pages of sappy shit nobody cares about. (I am not a fan of greeting cards. They are always full of meaningless schmaltz that seems insincere.) 

So we found a card, but we can't hurry up and buy it. It isn't enough that it is a birthday greeting card to put money in, and that it is for an 80 year old instead of a 100 year old where we cross out 100 and put 80, but my mom has to get her glasses out and take forever to read the whole thing, swirly font and all, out loud. 

We still had to find the candles, which were not in an aisle they should have been in, and honestly I thought this woman was in a hurry and was trying to help and apparently I was being a monster with PMS.  Every ten minutes a sigh and a lecture about how I cannot pull this stuff with her family, that I need to be on my best behavior, that I needed to be classy, that I will not be seen as good enough, that she will not be seen as good enough.

I want to say my heart ached for her, but I was just angry. My mother is this fabulous woman who has overcome so much. She is generous and intelligent. She has taken in stray dogs. She has fed homeless people and stray cats. She loves murder mysteries and true crime. She used to teach second grade in Baltimore City Schools. She was the cool mom, not because she let people get away with things (she did not) but because she listened to children and loved them wholeheartedly. She taught me to drive, get my finances in order, and has stayed in my life much longer than most parents do. When I was in the hospital she advocated for my care even as I was screaming at her from a padded cell in a straight jacket. She raised me up after I hit some tough times and she still does not see that she is a miracle. She has run a successful household, has had a successful government career, raised a successful daughter, and everyone loves her. Seriously, everyone absolutely loves my mother. I cannot imagine someone not loving my mother just for being who she is, but she does not see that she is wonderful and sometimes I worry she does not remember that both of us are wonderful.  That neither of us are our past selves.

The joy came when we ran down that green grassy hill and embraced our family.  And then it was picture time.

How is this beautiful man eighty years old???

When we were done and everyone left and it was time to go, my mother cried. It was hard for her to leave. There is so much love in her, so much beauty, so much sentimentality when she sees the possibilities of how easy it all is, how loved she is by others and how much it is that she loves.

It turns out the card we picked out?  It was the same exact card his sister picked out!  I suppose we were good enough after all!


I have to say that getting to spend an entire afternoon with my grandfather's sweet family was a treat. Picking out the same card was not the only coincidence, I learned.  It turns out that my great-grandfather Earl, who passed away right after I was born, also sang. They used to call him Bing Crosby and he would sing around the house and anywhere else he could. Everyone referred to him as Bing. We finally know where all my singing comes from, because nobody in my family really does that. My father plays instruments and my mother sings sometimes to stay awake, but I have a passion for singing. In the office people sometimes tell me that they wish they had my voice. My therapist tells me I have a lovely voice and should pursue finding a local music group to practice.  In addition I have always wanted to take singing lessons to practice my breathing so I can sound prettier.

I had this friend years ago who was marrying my other friend and at her bachelorette party she told her friends that they'd taken me to karaoke and my singing alone won them free drinks. This was very much not true, and I didn't catch on at the time but I think she was trying to convince her friends to do karaoke and they would not. I have never won any drinks singing, but I desperately want that to be the case some day. One day, I will take those two crazy kids out to karaoke and I will win them all the trendy craft beers in mason jars. And then I will turn into a frog and I will be a karaoke frog that only sings in front of them and never at bars so I will never have to be famous or rich and will still have a reason to blog. LOVE ME. ADORE ME.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How To Stick To It When You "Just Don't Wanna!"

Sometimes I am my worst enemy.  In therapy lately we have been discussing how I often start wellness journeys that have little flexibility. Must walk 1 hour a day. Has to be 5am. Has to be walking. Has to be perfect. Have to have breakfast first.  No excuses.

I understand a little bit why I set those limits. I like to walk early as it is the best temperature. I like walking because it is something I can do. I want to do it daily because it is good for me.  I want to get an hour in because it will help me lose weight.

We all get that little part of us though that doesn't feel like it. "I don't feel like it" is a huge problem I've been having lately. Rather than prioritizing taking care of myself I have been going out to see friends.  Most nights this week I have not gotten home before 8pm and some nights past midnight. 

I think it is okay to take a holiday, as long as it is just a holiday and not forever.  What my therapist wants me to do, however, is to fit things in. Fifteen minutes of cleaning here, a half an hour walk there. And I can't seem to rid myself of this all-or-nothing narrow mindset I have.  If it's not an hour, "I don't feel like it" wins.

I Don't Feel Like It - Showdown at High Noon
When "I don't feel like it" wins, I do not win. It is no longer, "I skipped a workout for cuddle time with the cat" or "I had a wonderful evening out with friends." It is now feeling bad about myself. Failure, loser, overwhelmed. 

Me: Procrastination, we meet again! 

*cue western music*

Procrastination: You will not go for a 30 minute walk.  Who are you going to impress with a 30 minute walk?  That's not inspiring. You have to enjoy exercise to live a happy, healthy life!

Me: Actually it is. Who needs to be inspired by exercise? Just do the work. I am going to go on a very uninspiring walk just to spite you. 

Procrastination: Yeah, but then you will walk all slow while everyone walks by you and you will envy them and feel bad about myself.

Me: If I don't go for my walk, I will lose the hard work and progress I have made over the weeks and become weaker and feel even worse.

Procrastination: You can't just make yourself walk.  

Me: I may not be up to the challenge of a mindless, uninspired task of constantly having clean exercise clothes, knowing where my keys are, and properly packed nutrition ready at hand. But if it is 8:30pm, then I will take at least 15 minutes to make something easier for me to get this walk in every day, even if it's not perfect.

Procrastination and Me take off in opposite directions for 30 minutes. By the time one of us shoots, we misfire and accidentally hit Ted Nugent in the head, which makes no dent at all. 


Anyway, here is something I found on Pinterest that made me very happy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday Snippets: Kitty Shenanigans, Old Love, Home In My Heart

 Annie Cat

When I am in the shower my kitty cat, Annie, becomes very curious about what I am doing in there and why I use a shower curtain. Annie thinks it is a game.  Annie convinces herself that she likes to crawl into the shower with me. Then Annie immediately jumps out when she realizes there is water in the shower and that water is wet. 

Annie does not like that water is wet because she has long, fluffy fur. Therefore sometimes Annie will remember that water is wet but is still curious about the shower curtain and will tap at me through the shower curtain.  Annie will also jump up on the toilet, peek in through the shower curtain and paw at me. 

This morning Annie somehow figured out how to climb between the clear shower curtain and the fabric shower curtain. As the shower water rains down on the clear shower curtain protecting her from the sudden unexpected waterfall, Annie is suddenly horrified. Annie scrunches up her face at me and lets out a loud, derisive, wide-mouthed meow as if I had trapped her there on purpose. Then Annie panic walks backwards to get out from underneath her shower curtain tent.  

A minute later, Annie cat is pawing again to get between the curtains, trying to re-live her thrill-seeking adventures of remembering that water is wet.

I Don't Belong Here

Twelve years ago today, we were standing at the gate after three glorious days of palm trees, blue water, and afternoon naps.  This was the third time I was leaving him and I broke down into very undignified gulps of tears as I kissed him. He laughed calmly in my face, stroked my cheek and said sadly, "Don't cry, my love, or the airline guards will think you're cuter than you actually are."


Age five. Inside a yellow tent the morning sun beats down upon a yellow fabric ceiling. Shadows of plant life sway in their sunny silhouettes. My eyes are calm as a baby's eyes in his crib, blinking awake from a nap. I serenely watch a grasshopper smack against my golden sky and land on a branch far above. I smell the dirt and stone beneath the tent and grit on my milky, little girl skin from all my playing the day before. 

I know love. I know when I unzip my tent I'll find my mother sleeping under the trees and sunbathing, a book overturned on its spine resting in her lap. I know my father in his snug flannel and denim will be off exploring the forest with his trusty mutt companion, Buffy. I know they will find more wood, deer, tracks. I know they will read the "news" campers, hikers, and wildlife leave behind with their prints and nests. 

I belong here. I am a part of the shadows, the sun, the breeze, the bay and its wildlife. I trust that I belong here now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


So I can across this seemingly legit pin:

And I thought, "That bokeh backdrop probably makes anything romantic and pretty."

So I picked up the grossest thing I could imagine on my desk to test out that theory. 

What could be sadder than a scraped out jar of peanut butter?  Pretty much nothing.  You can practically see it put its hands under its armpits when it is nervous and then smell them like that.

Here is my empty jar of failure peanut butter sitting on my desk right now, all sad, empty, and alone:

So I took a black binder with shiny stuff from the copy room, propped it up near my monitor, and gave a makeover to my peanut butter jar so it could feel like a superstar. SUPAH STAH.

And here it is during its beautiful photoshoot, feeling alive and at one with the world:


Oh, I forgot ... it definitely is not a makeover without a before and after.  Sorry about that! Here is the before and after:

I love how this pin taught me that we can bring out the photographer and the model in pretty much anything. I have no idea what  I am going to use this for in the future. It sure does look purdy an' fancy-like. SUPAH STAH! Go try it, I want to see the crazy stuff you decide to photograph!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"You WOULD wear rubber shoes in Hell!"

A few days before my birthday, this amazing blogger, Michelle at Rubber Shoes in Hell,  found me and started following me on Twitter. I do not remember why she honored me that way.  I'm looking through my Twitter around that time and it's my usual goofy self posting whatever comes into her head. Well I happened to catch one of her blog posts randomly two weeks ago and she's everything I could possibly want in a blogger-funny, insightful, loves me back. 


That is not entirely true, actually: she invited me through a DM on Twitter and I got so excited to be included I peed a little.  I live a sad, lonely, eager life.

Anyway, here is how the blog hop works: I answer the below four questions and then link four bloggers who will in turn answer the same questions and tag four other bloggers. 

And then they tag four bloggers.

And those bloggers tag four bloggers.

Here are the questions:

1)      What am I working on at the moment?

2)      How does my work differ from others of this genre?

3)      Why do I write what I do?

4)      How does my writing process work?

Q. What am I working on at the moment?
A. “People want to know: ‘So what are you working on? What’s going on with you? What’s the next page? What’s coming up for you? What’s on the horizon?’ And I say: ‘Oh. I’m done. . . . Yeah, I finished early. I’m actually living in a gravy boat filled with delicious gravy.’ ” - Maria Bamford

I like that answer. Blogging, at this point, is absolutely a hobby. I am actively working on the ability to coherently write again, to tell a story that makes sense. 

Like Maria Bamford, I have been recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Ever since I was a child something was a little off with me where I would start avoiding people, talking really fast, or making really bad life decisions. There have been times in my life where I have been unable to function, where I suffered from delusions and psychotic episodes. 

People merely thought I was a late bloomer or going through a phase, but as my bipolar went untreated the symptoms worsened. Always an advanced reader I suddenly did not have the ability to pick up a book and read it for more than a minute or two. My sentences did not make sense, I did not sleep, only paced the halls. Just getting dressed and going to school or eating meals was impossible.

I was hospitalized in 1999, but since then I did not adhere to treatment and over the years the rapid-cycling symptoms worsened, culminating in a psychotic mixed episode last November. I did not go to the hospital that time and knew exactly what I was experiencing. Getting help took much longer than it should have because I just refused to go to the hospital, but things began turning around for me around the end of June 2014 when I found the right doctor.

I am very fortunate to still have my job, my husband, a roof over my head, and friends but I am highly aware that I have hit rock bottom and am still digging my way out.

Q. How does my work differ from others of this genre?
A. As a serious, successful, and important blogger of my genre, my readers can count on me to give you the very latest on the panda bear eating Triscuit cracker crisis in the deep south, where Forrest and Jenny is like peas and carrots and the poopwater is always salty. I'm kidding. Mainly, as personal blogging goes, some days I might make sense and other days it's word salad (on those days I try to avoid blogging), but it will always be some typical girl's experiences working and living around Annapolis, Maryland. It's still my experience.

Q. Why do I write what I do?
A. I wrote in my blog the other day:

For those who know me, writing has always been my thing. My oxygen.  My outlet. I was that child before she even knew how to form letters who tried to write stories because she ran out of things to read.  I was that child in fifth grade who pulled an all-nighter because her assignment was to write a short story for class and she was so excited about it she could not stop writing, even with sores on her hands, that writing callus. I woke up and wrote, I went to bed and wrote. When other kids cut class to smoke and go to the mall, I cut class to write or to read.  It was always me with my nose in a book or my pen in a book.

I have been blogging for sixteen years, from the early days of Geocities and LiveJournal even. I have had many, many blogs and at this point it is habit. My life does not feel right when I am not blogging it.

Q. How does my writing process work?
A. My most ideal time to write is on a desktop computer during my lunch break at work or on my laptop at home when it is quiet and I am focused.  I write better if I give myself creative time to walk in the morning and get that oxygen flowing. It takes about five minutes for me to really get started, but once I do I have to stop right away because I am so proud of myself as well as intimidated by all the ideas that come rushing forth I have to get up and do a little dance. 

If you have read this far ... good work! You get a pie:

Here are four blogs I read on the daily (who will hopefully find this superfun and do it too so I'll have new blogs to read!)

Heidi at Life in Pink: I stayed over Heidi's house one time after a party and she babysat my hungover butt the whole day by feeding me bagels, introducing me to a good running store, and bonding over Sex and The City episodes.  I've been reading her blog ever since. It's a fitness and mama blog and it is one of the first "blog" blogs I ever subscribed to.

Arthur at RT Gomer Productions: Arthur runs an entertainment website which is kind of like HelloGiggles for video bloggers, gamers, and cosplayers. He is one of my best good buddies who I've never met in person.

Laura at The Everyday Joys: I like to live vicariously through Laura as my what if. As in, "What if I had kids, took photography classes, had an eye for design and art, and a great deal of faith and love in my heart?"  To say I love her and her writing is an understatement. 

Shalini at Reading and Chickens: She is on a blogging break right now, but this is my absolute favorite blog in the whole world. She was featured on BlogHer in 2012 in an entry about how she was angry with God which spoke to me and made me cry. When she writes I can feel the enthusiasm and thought behind each word. I will have to let her know I did this. Also she has chickens and they're stupid and mean and fuzzy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh God Why Is This Happening Now?

Lately I've had babies on the brain.

As a child-free person who enjoys her child-free, Peter Pan lifestyle, I am frightened, Auntie-Em.  My husband in no way wants kids. And I get around a baby and I am terrified wondering if I am scarring it for life just by being in the same room with it. Nevertheless, every coo, scream, and wriggle makes me smile.  

I also used to think I disliked most kids.  Kids always seem to see through my bullshit and say hurtful things.  Kids get in the way, kids are the reason that most of my adult friends are no longer available or no longer want to be around me because I'm not "family friendly" or I'm "unpredictable." That is becoming less true as well. As I get older I respect what children feel and think as just as valid as what I feel and think, with fears and concerns and ideas and joy just like I have.

I went to an awesome backyard barbecue this weekend and took to this tall nine-year old girl who was a very old soul. We bonded over laughing at dumb horror movies, the absurd fun of odd yoga positions, and laughing at other people getting hurt from falling. And whenever I left the room she made me promise to come back so we could keep gossiping about her classmates and I could help her come back with awesome things to say to mean kids like, "You are a hater and I don't have time for haters!" 

Her comeback was better.  This one girl told her she should have a license for being so ugly and she told her, "I do not need a license because I am beautiful. Also you dropped your license, you should be more careful." Girlfriend was wise beyond her years, so aware of her concerns about her changing body and what laid ahead for her in the future like driving or starting a family.  I was not like this at nine.  At nine I was all about fart jokes and pretending I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. In fact at thirty-two I am still all about fart jokes and pretending I am Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

I felt like I was nine years old myself and it was awesome to do things that nine year olds do and talk about things that nine year olds talk about. It was like being at a sleepover, something I have not done since my early twenties. I felt needed and loved in a way that made me feel nervous and giddy and maternal like I've never felt in my life. It was both frightening and exhilarating.  The best part about it was that my friend Elizabeth was there so I could bond over her with it too.

"That child is me, isn't she?  I am like that, aren't I?"

"Both of us were like that once."

I see Elizabeth as a sort of authority figure because, like me, she is not a mother, but she has been an aunt for most of her life and a great-aunt for about five years. Earlier in the afternoon her great-niece, who is normally fussy depending on if the wind blows wrong, miraculously napped in the tender crook of her elbow.  It was like magic.

But then I came home and my apartment stunk of rotten veggies in the trash and my clothes were all over the floor along with shopping bags, and the bathtub was still grimy, my financial situation still shaky, and I am still seriously unable to function or take care of myself. And when I think about it I'm not ready to give up my life for someone else. And when I say my life, I don't just mean my lifestyle of being a total slob who can't take care of herself and never makes future plans. I mean my whole life because when you become a mother the person you were vanishes and your child is your whole life. At least, that is the type of mother I think I would be. And I don't want that.

I think I am confusing motherhood with being a child. I do not want a child as much as I want to be a child or redo my childhood. I love the smart women and men my friends and loved ones grew up to be, but I hate their responsibilities that keep us from just calling each other up and rolling in the grass all afternoon with the dragonflies, the tree swings, and the rain showers sprinkling over our ecstatic faces.

Friday, July 18, 2014

You can't stop the mold from growing. Don't know what it is at all.

I've been trying to get back into blogging lately because when I had my psychological break back in November I felt that my life was over and that I was done.  Since then, everything I once loved I no longer loved and that included writing. A huge loss.

For those who know me, writing has always been my thing. My oxygen.  My outlet. I was that child before she even knew how to form letters who tried to write stories because she ran out of things to read.  I was that child in fifth grade who pulled an all-nighter because her assignment was to write a short story for class and she was so excited about it she could not stop writing, even with sores on her hands, that writing callus. I woke up and wrote, I went to bed and wrote. When other kids cut class to smoke and go to the mall, I cut class to write or to read.  It was always me with my nose in a book or my pen in a book. 

On the Depakote, my mind is much more silent and my thoughts drift off into nothingness. It is helpful because as someone with bipolar that stops my brain from cycling into racing thoughts and mania, but now I have to get used to a new writing process. For the first time in my life, my energy levels react differently, my brain is an empty room with no spark. There are whole days I go without genuinely smiling and whole days I go without a genuine laugh. The real me, the minute you are gone, is glad she can stop contorting her face into expressions to be the person you expect her to be.

I woke up wanting to be with only myself today. The sounds of other people's lives crash through my consciousness and I want to run. All the small talk, the niceties, all that I need to give back I want to keep to myself and give to nobody. "Happy Friday," I say, automatically. 

Part of being alive is acknowledging that, like, sneezing, feeling emotions, and sleeping: I must write. I must be part of the world, give people my face, my time, my love. It is a muscle I must flex. I took myself for granted, my loves for granted, my life for granted, and all of it weakened. I will give myself time.  Do the work.

Here is a funny thing that happened earlier today to end this on a high note. The week he started, Practical Joker coworker brought in a Mr. Bill doll and placed it in the empty cabinet in our main meeting room. It would just sit there and nobody noticed it. Then, before our fiscal new year party, Arachnophobe Coworker cleaned out the refrigerator by tossing everything that had mold on it or was expired and placing Post-It notes on everything dated 6/30/2014.  Practical Joker took Mr. Bill out of the cabinet and placed it in the refrigerator and dated it 6/30/2014. Then our division head took it out of the fridge and placed it on his desk and eventually Mr. Bill ended up back in the meeting room.

Arachnophobe coworker  threw away everything that was still dated that on July 7th. Last Friday, somebody's frozen Sunkist can of soda exploded all over the refrigerator, leaving permanent sticky orange stains all over the surface of the refrigerator.  We tried cleaning it the best we could. but they're still there, taunting us like drippy hookers. After this, Arachnophobe put up a sign that says:


I suppose she is going to try to clean out the fridge again.  Anyway Practical Joker coworker took a post it note and put it on his food and it says:

Ahahahahahah. Idiot! Earlier, describing how my brain has robbed me of enjoying what I used to enjoy I said that there are some days I go without a genuine laugh. I am so glad I work with cornball cornyheads and weirdos who get me so that is not always the case. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ten Ways to Annoy/Entertain Big Brother: A Tale of Phone Apps and Tin Foil Hats

I like to use MapMyWalk to track my fitness walking on my smartphone. Ugh, that sounds pretentious. But I really like it because it shows where I went walking and all the hilly terrains and how fast I went. For instance, I had no idea I walk about a half a mile slower when I walk in my Clark's sandals versus my Clark's mary jane flats. And my flats are way more comfortable than my sandals, especially when I wear socks with them.  Sometimes I'm really gross and I don't wear socks with my leather flats and for a few wears that's fine but it gets a little stinky if it's daily. Smelly feet are unacceptable for me, barf.

I was telling Coffee Date Coworker and Arachnophobe Coworker about MapMyWalk and how it uses my phone's GPS capabilities to track my walking. Then Coffee Date Coworker said when she shops at Nordstrom's they track her location in the store and Arachnophobe says she uses an app where she earns points for watching TV shows and that the phone knows which channel you are watching. How do smartphones track what TV channel you're watching on those apps you install to track your TV habits for points?  Coffee Date's husband believes that the phone can hear your TV and I was like, "How can it hear your TV?" and now I think my coworkers are dumb as hell.  Who knows, though, they might be on to something.

It is a hilarious idea that people could be listening in on my living room and might also hear my conversations. They would be treated to a constant barrage of ...




4. I can see your dick! (My husband's dick. Not my cat's.)

5. I can see your sexy butt! (Could be either my husband or my cat)

6. Aww, poor dumb kitty. (This is when she runs past a toy I threw for her and then can't find it.)

8. Shut up, cat.

9. No, you cannot has. (Again, husband or cat.)


I think all of you should start saying random things when you start an app on your phone, just in case people are listening. Just start yelling random shit like, "LINUS! TRISCUIT! ATTACHMENT A!"  Let them know you're onto them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wonderous Walkin' Wednesdays

As I've been walking/jogging around my neighborhood in the mornings I see other people out too.  Usually I try to at least say, "Good Morning!" as I am trying to make friends in my neighborhood.  I would be ecstatic, actually, to have a walking partner in the morning.   I see a lot of dog walkers out.  I cannot help but melt at their little puppy faces and talk in little baby voices about how cute their dog is. I don't think I am making a good impression with the dog owners though. This morning I was running down a hill and one of the dog walker's dogs got very excited and she had to get him to heel. As I was running I told her, "Aww, it's so cute how he's excited by just my footsteps!"

When I looked up at her though she had desperate, crazy eyes. "Please, don't!  He's a puppy and I'm trying to train him."

Oh man. And I ruined it. Well that's me. I'm Jen, Supervillain Extraordinaire, foiling your dog training plans with my talkative nonsense! 

My friend Kenny is good at training dogs.  Maybe he can train Crazy Eyes's dog and she won't be so paranoid about making conversation with her own neighbors while trying to walk her dog. I had to pass Crazy Eyes on the way back from the mid-point of my walk and I made sure not to make eye-contact.

It has been difficult to make friends in my new neighborhood. Sometimes I still feel like a kid on the playground with nobody to play with.  That is the worst feeling. I always had someone to play with except for one day in fifth grade when my best friend Lorrie and I were pretending to fight and I did not get a back up person to play with so I just walked along the playground all forlorn.  That was a really bad idea.

You know what else is a really bad idea? Pretending to sprain your ankle in gym class to get out of running your morning mile. I did that in ninth grade.  I always thought running the track was so boring and uninspiring.  At least if we were on a trail I would feel like we were exploring nature, but going around in circles felt dull and meaningless.  

So one day I was fed up with our daily mile run and pretended to fall down and hurt myself so I could stop.  I had turned my ankle, but not bad enough to really stop what I was doing and fall down. This was a really bad idea because I had to keep up with the lie all throughout that week at school. I refused to give in and this meant I had to walk with a limp around school for a few days and that I was not allowed to do things I enjoyed doing in gym class during free time, like jump rope.

I want to try to do that Chicken Fat workout. You know, the Apple commercial with the "Go, you chicken fat, go!" jingle. There's actually a whole workout routine in the lyrics of the song and I think that would be fun to try. 

Now if you will excuse me I need to see if there are other people's days I can ruin just by making conversation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mad Cubicle Disease: Tales From The Cubicle Farm

I was just thinking this morning that sometimes I really love having a tedious and boring office job full of menial tasks such as entering data into our financial system and arranging contracts for signature.  It is nice to feel productive but to also not have so much responsibility that I take home the stress of my job with me every day. Everybody in my section becomes a little giddy when it's after three so we start joking around and having fun a little bit.

Yesterday the air conditioner was on full blast as usual.  It is loud. When it activates it sounds like an airplane taking off. In the past we've mocked the old Southwest Airlines commercial. 

"Ding! You are free to move about the country!"

Anyway, I was walking down the hall delivering contracts when my coworker said, "Can I get some peanuts?" 

Another one rang out, "I'll have a soda and some pretzels!" 

I began demonstrating the exits for their safety and they laughed.

When I was finished delivering contracts my coworker was out of her seat filing so I said, "For your safety and comfort, please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign."

Later that day I told her she was free to move about the cabin if she could fetch me an alcoholic beverage.  She told me, "We do not serve alcoholic beverages on this flight."

"That's bullshit! What is this, AirTran?"

We're corny corn nuts. 

I used to have a coworker who was obsessed with corn nuts.  She would eat them quietly at her desk.  I loved her. She transferred departments though. I miss her. I walk over to her department almost daily and leave outside with her at the end of the day as if she still worked with me.

We replaced her with this horrible lady who chomps loudly at her desk all day. She chews with her mouth open, clears her throat after every bite, and sucks on her fingers and teeth like Curly Sue after every choke.  I am convinced she does it on purpose to annoy us. It's not like an elderly person tick, but slow and deliberately with a smirk.  Think Mimi from The Drew Carey Show, back in the 90's before all of you reading this were born, I'm sure.

So I do it back at her, smacking my lips really, really loudly, flicking my tongue over my teeth like she does.  It's childish, but I don't care because she's an asshole and mocking her makes me feel better. Or something.

That is when I really did wish that my job involved something important enough so I would at least get my own office. 

Because then I would feel important.

Because then it would be quiet.

Because she is annoying.

Or maybe I just need my old coworker back. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

End of Week One: 3 Health Lessons I Learned This Week

I did not want to say this, but I am on a weight-loss kick right now.  Yes.

I hate saying that I am because I feel like some people politicize that stuff, and I don't want to hear things like, "You're beautiful as you are!" or "You're doing it wrong!"

I've only been doing it for a week and so far I have lost one pound. I don't feel like I am any stronger, faster, healthier, saner, holier than thou, or that I deserve congratulations or anything.  I feel like I am doing what I should be doing and what responsible people do and it is very boring and good for me.

Here are some things I have learned or was reminded of in the past week about ... stuff.

1. I enjoy walking in the morning more than I do at night. The air is the best it is going to be all day during the summer, the cars on the road are less annoying as they're usually hurrying to work and not slowing down lost in my neighborhood on the way to a party, and I get all my piss and vinegar out early so I can be nice the rest of the day.  Climbing up hills beneath towering trees is nice and humbling and I remember that I am part of the universe and can be stomped by it quite easily.

2. It is great to wake up early and make breakfast a priority.  I used to sleep in until the last minute and run out the door, cold pizza in mouth with the neighbors giving me funny looks. Well, fuck them. Now I can watch the sunrise over eggs and peaches.   It gets me out of bed if I tell myself I can have anything I want for breakfast as long as I eat it before 6am. That something is usually eggs and peaches, but this morning it was a chicken wrap. If you wake up remembering there is delicious breakfast to be eaten, maybe the snooze alarm won't be so tempting. 

3. Sugar-free chocolate is basically laxative candy.  In fact, I think this is how I got thin in high school--just ate poop makin' candy until I was sick and drank a lot of juice.  All this time I thought it was Ritalin, but I really don't think so.  I had really unhealthy attitudes about nutrition and body image back then.

Why do I want to lose weight? Well, I'm fine with how I look, but before I started the "weight loss kick" I was experiencing sleep apnea and heartburn, and my rings stopped fitting. I do not know why I feel guilty or why I feel the need to explain why I want to lose weight. But I do. I want to be that confident girl wearing the Fat-kini and rocking the size that I am because in this moment I am exactly where I need to be, as I am, no more, no less. Thing is, I am not doing this for a bikini body. It is more than that for me. It always has been. 

While I was depressed I laid around without taking care of myself. There were weeks where the majority of the week I laid in bed, not even able to sit up. I lost a lot of my strength. I used to be able to run; now walking 3 mph is an amazing feat of strength for me.  I used to be able to lift; now just bringing in some of the groceries is impressive. I am not fat and fit. I would like to be thin and fit, sure. I will settle for fit at any size, as fit as I can be.

In the meantime, I am getting out of bed every day and learning new things. 

"You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in."

~ Dr. Seuss