Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tasty Breakfast

Take heed: I have a new favorite breakfast. I experimented this morning.

Apple Pumpkin Oatmeal

Steel cut oats (or any of your favorite, I just like the fiber!)
Skim Milk
Canned Pumpkin
Cinnamon Sticks (or powder)
1 grated apple (I use gala, but your favorite is fine)
Maple Syrup

Prepare oatmeal according to package directions, substituting skim milk for a quarter of the water needed. For example, if the directions call for 1 cup water, use 3/4 c water and 1/4 c milk. Add a stick of cinnamon or powdered cinnamon to liquid so it steeps while boiling. When oats are cooked, add a couple of big spoonfuls of pumpkin, a drizzle of syrup, and grated apple. You can grate the apple over the oatmeal. Stir to combine. Add Splenda to sweeten if desired and enjoy!

Steel cut oats take about 45 minutes to cook, but the cinnamon flavor gets really intense over time. Quaker makes steel cut oats now, so they shouldn't be too hard to find. However, the recipe is just as good with instant oatmeal.

So there's that,


Friday, December 28, 2007

Who Buys Stamps?

This is my third entry of the day - I'm on a roll! Don't forget to read the first two regarding Caligula and Spicy Chicken.

I did something I rarely do today. I typed up a letter of complaint.

My Lane Bryant account has been past due for 10 days, which is bad, I know, but they've been fucking me over. I like to pay everything online, but since they changed their credit company, I haven't been able to log on to my account. Since I refuse to pay by phone, I waited it out. I finally paid today, but wrote the following letter immediately afterward. Enjoy!

December 28, 2007

Customer Service
PO Box 84073
Columbus, GA 31908-4073

Credit Card Inquiries/Disputes
Spirit of America National Bank
PO Box 580
Milford, OH 45150-0580

Dear Sir or Madam:

I want to thank you for making the recent changes to Lane Bryant’s banking institution; hopefully switching to a 16-digit account format will work well for Charming Shoppes and its new customers in the future.

I have been a loyal Lane Bryant customer for nearly ten years, and I write now with a slight critique of the complications that the switchover in banking systems – while necessary – has caused.

I prefer making payments online. This is a convenient feature for everyone who doesn’t have the time to make their way over to an LB store or care to sit through a lengthy automated call which – annoyingly enough – is rife with time-wasting advertisements. I know about Right Fit jeans and career wear. I’m fat; I’m going to keep shopping at Lane Bryant, so don’t worry about me.

However, since the changeover, I have not been able to make payments online. In order to continue accessing my online account, I need a 16-digit card number to re-subscribe. Since a new card was never mailed to me, I haven’t been able to log on.

I emailed customer service earlier this month to assist me with the problem, but for my credit security, I was directed to call 1-800-888-4163 for personal assistance. When I called the number, I was informed that due to technical difficulties, I could not reach a customer service representative. I called again this morning, and still no human could be found.

As a result, I have had to pay my credit account over the phone for these past few months. This normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but each time I am charged a convenience fee of $5.00. This makes no sense to me. Your pay-by-phone system is automated, and like the online payment option, requires little human capital on your part to process my specific payment. I make the entries. I spend the time. So why do I get charged $5.00 for doing something that I would rather do online anyway?

In short I would appreciate it if at least one of the following actions were taken:

  1. Send me a new Spirit of America card so that, at the very least, I can retain my online payment account.

  2. Make the proper adjustments so that 9-digit LB Card cardholders can continue to make online payments.

  3. Credit the $10.00 I have spent on pay-by-phone inconvenience fees to my account.

  4. Eliminate the $5.00 phone payment fee altogether.

  5. Create a secure email address for credit disputes and inquiries. This is the digital age; who buys stamps?

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email


Laura R. Meyer

So there's that,


Is This Guy a Dentist or Caligula?: More on Naughty Dentists

Here's an article I found while doing an image search for Tim Whatley, the Seinfeld dentist who "uses an upstairs invite as a springboard to a Super Bowl sex romp." This is my second post today, so make sure you read George Likes Spicy Chicken below for some more Seinfeld humor.

Embattled Calif. Dentist Says Breast Rubs Necessary
Fox News ^ 10/15/07
Associated Press
Posted on 10/15/2007 10:03:18 AM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway

WOODLAND, Calif. — A dentist accused of fondling the breasts of 27 female patients is trying to keep his dental license by arguing that chest massages are an appropriate procedure in certain cases. Mark Anderson's lawyer says dental journals discuss the need to massage the pectoral muscles to treat a common jaw problem. Police say Anderson said during recorded phone calls that he routinely massaged patients' chests to treat temporo-mandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, which causes neck and head pain. Attorney Robert Zaro told administrative law judge Jonathan Lew at a hearing Thursday that he should let Anderson keep his dental license while disciplinary appeals proceed. Anderson would be supervised by two assistants and would no longer do the chest rubs, Zaro said. Zaro said Anderson, 48, of Woodland, needs to keep seeing patients so he can feed his seven children and pay for his defense. The judge made no immediate decision. Lew suspended Anderson's dental license last month. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and sexual battery. Yolo County prosecutors are investigating complaints from more than two dozen women who say they also were groped in the examining chair in the last five years. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Phillips gave Lew three new complaints, including one from a 31-year-old woman who said Anderson fondled her at least six times over two years. She took to wearing tight shirts with high necklines, "and Anderson would still get in under her shirt and bra," according to a police report.

So there's THAT,


George Likes Spicy Chicken

Michelle reminded me that my dentist episode yesterday - like most things - can be likened to an episode of Seinfeld. I'll make sure I'm tucked.

Excerpts from Seinfeld - The Jimmy

Kramer: So you got any cavities?

Jerry: Just one....gotta go back.....Oh but get this. Elaine, you will appreciate this. I'm sitting in Tim Whatley's waiting room...He's got a Penthouse right out on the table.

Elaine: Penthouse?

Jerry: Yeah!!! What is that? I mean isn't that sick. I mean , I'd be embarrassed to have that in my apartment.

Kramer: So what's wrong with that?

Jerry: (outraged) He's a doctor!.I mean it's supposed to be like a sterile environment.

Kramer: So... Did you take a look?

Jerry: Of course.... But that's got nothing to do with it.

Kramer: Well I'll tell you I'm looking forward to my appointment on Thursday. I might even get there a few minutes early.


Jerry: Looks like he gave you some Novocaine

Kramer: Ohhh H'am loaded.

Jerry: So what about the Penthouse. Did you ask him?

Kramer: Well he said that humm.. you know.that it helps his pathients relax a little bit..and he's got a new polithy: Adults only.

Jerry: Adults only?

Kramer: Yeah!!!

Jerry: What the hell's going on over there?

Kramer: Well you know its.. great. You know, no kids ..allowed. you don't have to watch your language.

Jerry: You find you need to use a lot of obscenities at the dentist.

Kramer: He..he... When they pull that needle out I let the expletives fly.

Kramer reaches for a glass of water and drinks but manages to have it spill out on to the floor.


Tim Whatley's dental office. Jerry is sitting in the chair.

Whatley: Sheryl, would you ready the Nitro, please?

Whatley inhales the gas mask before handing it over to Jerry.

Jerry: Oh! where's Jennifer today?

Whatley: OH!! She's over at Dr.Cessman's office. We find it fun to swap now and then.

Scene cuts to Monks. Jerry and Elaine are talking.

Elaine: ....Maybe you were still under the gas.Maybe you were hallucinating you're coming out of the gas but you were still under the gas.

Jerry: I don't think so. I think they were getting dressed and not only that; my shirt was out!!!

Elaine: Your shirt was out?

Jerry: I think so.

Elaine: Well, what kind of shirt was it.?

Jerry: You know! Like a tennis shirt.

Elaine: Oh! Well ... You don't tuck those in?

Jerry: Sometimes I tuck'em sometimes I don't.

Elaine: Well. Were you tucked?

Jerry: I think I was tucked!

Elaine: All right then say you were. I mean...what do you think could have happened?

Jerry: I don't know but I was spitting out and rinsing like there was no tomorrow.

Elaine: Ughhhh.

Jerry: Is this guy a dentist or Caligula?

Elaine: What are you gettin'?

Jerry: I don't think I'm hungry.

Elaine: Okay...So you were violated by two people while you were under the gas. So What? You're single.

Jerry: But I'm damaged goods now.

Elaine: Join the club.

So there's that,


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gag Me

I just got back from an endodontist - he's going to give me a root canal on one of my back teeth. This guy was kind of creepy though. He's the kind of dentist that asks you questions to make you feel guilty. As in, "How did your tooth get this bad?" "I'm not a good flosser?" "And...?" "I don't brush very well?" "Tell me, do you gag when you brush your back teeth?" "No?" "So it's not difficult for you to brush back there?" "Yeah? I mean, no? I mean, yeah, I can brush back there."

What do you want me to tell you, guy? You clearly know the answer already, so why the fuck do you need to string me along? Of course I'm a bad brusher! Of course I'm a bad flosser! Why would I come to you with this problem if I'm not? Son of a bitch.

"Well, I can fix it, but the question is whether it's worth fixing. There's enough tooth left for a crown, sure, but once you have that crown are you going to take care of it?" "I guess I have to."

Why the fuck do you care? You're getting paid for it, brother. This isn't fucking Judge Judy; I don't need you to advise me on how rotten my life is (teeth are) and what I have to do to change. You're getting paid to fix my problem, and you know what? If I don't take care of it after that, then that's my shit. Oh well. New shoes for your dog.

He was also VERY touchy. While he was telling me what was wrong with the tooth, he caressed my cheek. Yep. It was pretty intimate. He put his hand on my cheek, rubbed it not softly, looked in my eyes, and said, "Tell the truth." It was offputting. He rubbed my bicep the same way, too. Needless to say, I won't opt to be put unconscious in his care.

To his benefit, though, he did have a Garbage Pail Kids poster of RUTH Canal. Well played, Dr. Crane. Well played.

So there's that,


Friday, December 21, 2007

Reason for the Season

Before I depart for the holiday, I want to remind you why we are celebrating this glorious time of year.

I thought these photos summed it up best. They're from a barn between Martinsville and Franklin, Indiana. These murals offered me great hope in my travels between college and home. I hope they do the same for you!

You know I'm shitting you, right?

So there's Christmas,


Avoiding the Christmass

In a few short hours I will be on my way home to Indiana for four days to celebrate Christmas. I'm so unbearably excited that I can't focus on my work!

I've spent the past few days checking out The Onion online - my apologies to those I've inundated with links to funny stories - and eating. Man, have I been eating.

It hasn't been too bad, really. There are just so many treats around that I can't ignore. Just the other day, my friend Cheryl gave me a bag of her homemade ginger almond biscotti. How am I going to turn that down? I drink coffee, so it can't hurt to have a little dip of hard cookie loaded with almonds and crystalized ginger, can it?

So it can. Fuck you. I had my weigh in last night, and I gained a pound. That's not too bad. Hell, it's not the 10 pounds that I can gain from week to week. I have a feeling that once these damn holidays are over I can really focus on my weight.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the best of the best treats - in moderation, of course - while I can, and by next Wednesday I'll have control again.

Oh! And Saturday's my birthday. I'll try and blog about my entry into the 2nd half of my twenties, though I doubt it will be very interesting. So I can rent a car...big whoop.

I'll leave you with my favorite infographic from The Onion. Can you guess my favorite?

So there's that,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Shout Out to the Good Old Days

The Onion

Teenage Boys Helpfully Point Out Fat Girl's Shortcomings

WATERBURY, CT-Shortly before homeroom, Staunton Junior High students freely offered an in-depth critique of Shelley Griese's many flaws.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fiber Check

If I haven't mentioned it before, then here it is: I love fiber.

It's the first thing I look for on a nutrition label, followed by calories, fat, sugar and protein. I enjoy a high-fiber, heart-healthy diet, and that's why I can never go carb-free. I love it so much that I don't like regular pasta; it has to have 6 grams of fiber or more per serving. Anymore, you can get whole wheat pasta for the same price as regular. I don't care for sandwich bread, unless it's that 35 stuff that I can only find at home in Indiana. I love beans, whole wheat couscous, Fiber One cereal, Kashi GoLean and Kashi Good Friends cereals, oatmeal. I don't eat much rice or even brown rice; 3 grams of fiber is not enough for me.

Did you know that doctors recommend 25g of fiber a day for women under 50? If you're over 50, it goes down to 21. For men, it's a range of 30-38g. Considering all the processed foods that we eat today, most people are lucky to get 5 grams of fiber into their diet. I can easily say that 8 years ago, I was in that category.

A good way to get your fiber is by making small changes. Eat more salads. For this purpose, I always keep a bag of baby spinach, a cucumber, and a pint of grape tomatoes in stock so I can throw together a quick salad - just dress it with red wine vinegar. You'd be amazed how good this is.

Eat more whole fruit. My fruits of choice include oranges (which are cheap this time of year - try a couple of baby clementines that they sell in boxes) and frozen raspberries. You can get the berries for less than $2 a bag anymore - just make sure there's no added sugar. I put them in a
ziploc box with plain fat free yogurt and add Splenda at lunch time for a midday dessert.

Read your bread and pasta labels. Every grocery store sells high-fiber alternatives - with no taste difference. The aforementioned "35" bread is amazing - Mom and Dad have switched to buying only that bread now, and Mom is probably the most finicky food skeptic of the family. If I try and make something healthy, she'll fry up a steak for herself. But the 35 bread pleases all. And whole wheat pasta - let me just say that regular pasta has lost its luster for me. This stuff just seems more hearty.

I feel like I'm making my body jump through hoops to digest these complex carbohydrates. Fiber is good for the heart and good for healthy bowels. I said it. You just have to make sure you drink plenty of water.

This is all just preface for my new favorite meal discovery this week: Vegetarian Chili. It's got beans and veggies and soy protein. I know, that sounds scary, but it's really very good. And guess what the nutrition breakdown is?

Fiber: 10g
Cal: 150
Fat: 1g
Sugar: 4g
Protein: 9g

That's some good looking chili. And that's just half a can!

Of course, I doll this chili up a bit. I chop up left over roast beef that I made on Sunday and add it to the pot; so it's not totally vegetarian. Then I toss in some frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's. I top it all off with some low-fat sour cream, low-fat cheddar shreds, chopped onion and chopped canned jalapenos. Oh! And I serve it over whole wheat couscous that I steamed in chicken broth.

When it's all said and done, I've consumed an entire can of chili, plus a serving of couscous. Fiber total: over 30 grams. Yeesh. Add to that the cereal I have for breakfast (11g) and the salad I eat for lunch (probably 6g) and the raspberries (4g), I've had close to 50 grams of fiber each day, for the past 2 days.

And I'm feeling it.

So I'll chug me some water and say how-de-do.

So there's that,


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Bretzville Mafia Christmas - First Edit

My cousin Michelle sent an email out to a few family members yesterday about Christmas memories at my Grandma Meyer's house. What ensued was a long thread where everyone chimed in with bits and pieces.

When I was thinking on these things, I could really see her home and the yard with all its outposts start materializing again. Long-gone buildings I had forgotten had started to rebuild themselves; an avocado green kitchen was redesigned - down to the root vegetable wallpaper and the pencil marks of children's heights on the doorframe.

I would like to update this post often as other memories come rolling in.


I was driving out to Ron & Karen's yesterday, and I started to have flashbacks of Christmas past. Now not very many families can say they spent Christmas Eve & Christmas day with their Gram & Pop. I guess we just had so much fun that we did it twice. First of all as a child, going to your grandparents house was special no matter what the occasion but for me Christmas was the most special time of the year. I can always remember being so excited to see the green roof top come over the horizon ...I knew then we were almost there. Here are a few other things that I remember well about Christmas time. I hope it sparks a few of your own memories...

1) Gram had the coldest bathroom ever, when Pop would go into the bathroom to take a pee...he would yell "seat's cold". Let me know if you don't get that one.

2) Even in the winter time, Gram would run around in one of her short sleeve jungle bunny dresses, Pop usually wore what he wore to work, and my uncle lurch will more than likely have shorts on....and no shoes required.

3) The kitchen table was always the center piece of adult conversation. Filled with hard liquor and food. The kids would be elsewhere in the house, usually destroying something....usually my toys...since their toys had already been safely taken to their cars.

4) Christmas slush. I can remember the first year I got to try some, Ithink I was 12, which is legal drinking age in the Meyer family.

5) Sometime in the evening a prank call was usually made by my cousins Amanda and Stephanie. It's a very good thing that I didn't see them more than I did...they were a bad influence on me. I mean look what they did to Duane ; )

6) Gram's Christmas tree & ornaments. I loved her Christmas ornaments, they were old and nothing expensive, but to me they were the coolest things in the world. To this day if I see an old fashion glass ornament I think of her...and the year that Toot got a bundle of switches.

7) The wood stove in the living room. Why could we not resist touching it. It was really hot, and we used it to burn all the wrapping paper and boxes after the unwrapping....The Meyers were Green before Green wasn't cool. No landfills needed.

8) The year it snowed hard, and we stayed overnight. I got to sleep with my Aunt Kris, she was like my older sister she did what her older sister did to her...act like there was a monster in the bed. I also remember that night because all the brothers and sisters went to Midnight Mass and we got to stay behind and play.

9) The year my Gram played Santa...and I sat on Santa's lap, came back and told my mom...Santa looks a lot like Gram.

10) The year that I didn't believe in Santa anymore. I can remember going out on the back porch and seeing all these presents just sitting there, and then about an hour later someone made a loud knock on the Santa had "left them"....It lost it's thrill...I was sad.

11) Rat & Sissy sitting in the corner of the kitchen curled up together, and laying on the old rags that was their bed.

2) The smell of instant coffee.

I was thinking the other day...what is going to happen when all the Aunts and Uncles are I still going to get together with my family on Christmas Day...who will carry this tradition on? Being the oldest of the cousins is it my role to make sure this happens? As much fun as we all have together...I'm sure it will be easy to do.


Thanks for the memories. I could come up with lots more.

1. Do you remember my dad playing Santa? Nice.

2. Family Christmas exchanges?

3. Getting together on Christmas Eve and then again on Christmas Day.

4. I would so look forward to going to Gram's on Christmas Eve that I would curl up in front of the fireplace at home and take a nap. No wonder I had so much energy to tear up the rest of the night.

5. I do remember all the alcoholic beverages on the kitchen table. Food did not seem to matter to us as much did it? What happened there?

5. Ah, yes the woodburner--that's all you have to say.

6. After the best grandparents in the world passed away, the anticipation of gathering at Lurch and Maggie's. They always had the place looking so inviting and beautiful.

7. The year Michelle told Manda and me there was no Santa Claus. I was so distraught. I eventually asked my mom (a memory I can still recall so vividly because we were in the bathroom--which happens to be my mom's focal point of the household, not because she is using the bathroom, just because that seems to be her place of refuge. Shane is probably the only one who can relate to me on that.) an she was pretty upset with Michelle having told us that, but did tell me there isn't a Santa and not to tell my brother. I cried like a little bitch that night. THANKS!!!!

8. The year I still believed in Santa and shortly after we had returned fromGram and Pop's house, mysteriously there was "Santa and his reindeer" on our roof. It was a white Christmas that year, but I eventually wised up years later to find out it was Kris and BRAD on the frickin roof. Once again, probably from the Christmas slush.

9. When the bathroom was closed because of frozen pipes, we used a child's potty that was centered in the kitchen, on the other side of the microwave. I can still see myself looking down in that potty and seeing poop curled around that small bowl. Then probably climbing on the hutch and stealing some gum from the corner.

10. Going to Grandview on Christmas Day. As a child, it seemed so far away. Beck always had the most beautiful house there. I can still picture and smell it. Is that weird? Michelle playing the organ after dinner. And sometime throughout the day, fucking up some of you and Rita's stuff. Also, Beck's bedroom and the room with all the dolls in there. I still think there must have been locks on those doors when we were expected. That we is referring to Amanda and Stephanie.

11. Why did the three families who lived so close to their parents house still drive there? Was it to see how many cars could fit in the drive? And so Lurch could drive either through the field or the wrong way on the shoulder of the highway?

12. I do not remember the prank phone calls, but not surprised that it happened. That was just something we did on a normal basis, why would Christmas be treated any different?

I too wonder about the future. I still want to carry on all the traditions that were created for us to remember and enjoy. Things I will cherish the rest of my life. One of the biggest reasons I want to find or build a bigger house for us. Yeah, it sounds stupid to want a house that is bigger than we need because Shelby will be leaving us in a few short years, but my hope is that she will always have a home to come back to, and all of my cousins to help her throughout life, and somewhere to come celebrate the wonderful family that we have. We are so lucky. I could just cry thinking about it.

Uncle Gary:

I thought Pop said the WATER was cold...anyhow, I think the legal drinking age at the Meyers' was about 5 or 6. At that age I remember going with Pop to Grandma Meyer's house whenever he needed her to cut his hair. After awhile, she would give Dad a glass of wine with us looking on. She would then say "yah Atolf, it would be okay if I gave them chust a little glass of vine, wouldn't it? A little bit wouldn't hurt them." Dad would always agree. And Grandma Hoing practically bottle fed me on coffee when I stayed over there when I was 5 or 6. Just think how much taller I could have been had it not been for that! A couple years later we would get to sample her homebrew. Ah for those old Cherman Grandmas.


You are was water....thanks for the correction.

Then, to Duane:

Do you remember the year you got a hot wheel, and wore a head band likeRambo?


I honestly don't remember much about the Christmas parties. I must have been too young or have a horrible memory.

I do appreciate reading your thoughts though.

Laura (Me):

I remember Duane's headband! I can see his fine spiky hair sticking up from it.

I have just a couple of thoughts before I start work today...I could spend all morning reminiscing.

1. In Gram's attic there was a big stuffed purple dog (I think it was filled with styrofoam pellets) that had a felt mouth, like something you'd win at a fair. For some reason, there was always a pearl-tipped pushpin in it. I used to think that pushpin was the neatest thing, like some kind of treasure. Lord knows what it was doing in that dog.

2. I can remember the dusty wood smell of Gram's attic. I think that smell was the reason I bought my last apartment - the back porch smelled just like it.

3. As for Christmas, Mom had this zany tradition with Gram for St. Nick's Eve. Manda and I would write out our letters to Santa, and when it got late, Mom would walk us over to the rabbit hutches out in front of Gram's shed. Manda and I would check the next morning and the letters would be gone! We thought - or at least I did - that Santa materialized in the night by the rabbit hutches to get our wishes! I think at least once that our stockings were in those hutches the next day, too, but most of the time they were at home in our room. Mom still stuffs the stockings she sewed for us when we were little and puts them under the tree. Some years I still get them in the mail around St. Nick's!

4. Gram would always sit with us to look at the Sears Catalog. Actually, she'd lie on the couch and we'd brush her hair and give her a "toothbrush pedicure" while she looked through it. I would flag down dolls and toys that I liked, knowing that I couldn't have everything - I just liked to dream! She would surprise me with one for my birthday and Christmas. I still have them at the house. I remember I loved this red haired porcelain doll with a white dress and cape. I carried it around all Christmas Eve and I remember hugging Gram when she was sitting at the head of the table (near the hutch) with the adults and telling her how much I loved it.

5. My birthday is December 22, and most years I had school on that day. Dad would always take us over to Gram's very early in the morning - maybe 5? - and I remember one year, I was the only one there, or I got there early, or hell, maybe it was a Saturday, whatever. I had to be probably 6 or 7 and Gram surprised me with my birthday present - a fisher price flashlight that had colored gels to rotate over the light. I remember sitting on the table, and she was standing across from me by the stove, just as excited as I was. It needed batteries, and it had to be opened with a phillips screwdriver. When she was trying to open it, the screwdriver slipped and stabbed her in that papery skin between her thumb and forefinger. I felt so bad! I started crying and saying I was sorry, and she was muscling through and saying it was nothing, that I shouldn't worry. We put peroxide and gauze on it and taped it up. I was so embarrassed that my gift hurt her. To this day I think of that moment every time I ask for a gift or something. I always feel guilty about making people go out of their way. I know people aren't going to stab themselves, but I can never forget that feeling.

6. I remember Gram's ornaments, too! The round bulbs with sparkling stars indented into them. My favorite ornament of hers was a little half-walnut shell that was a little cradle for a hard, popcorn-sized baby mouse with a little smile drawn on it. It had a blue blanket glued over it, and a pink bric-a-brac handle. The outside of the shell still had the "Diamond Walnuts" stamp on it. We hang that ornament on our tree now.

7. I remember the Christmas Eve when Dad came home tipsy from his work party and left the truck in gear. He was in the living room when the truck started rolling down the driveway, across the highway, and into the field. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it was hilarious! Dad was embarrassed, but he was tipsy enough to laugh at it. I remember Mom tsk-tsking about it. Later we went to Gram's party and told everyone about it.

8. I loved having Christmas parties at our house. It wasn't Gram's, but I think Mom wanted us to continue the tradition in her memory. I know Mom loves to entertain, too. I thought it was fun to have everybody over, to have a clean basement at least once a year, and to see the adults enjoy themselves. I don't know why we ever stopped, either. Mom still makes all the food; seriously, we have way too much every year. At Thanksgiving, Dad always urges Mom to lighten the menu for Christmas. It's like his annual holiday missive: "I hope she doesn't make too much food this year. It's wasteful." Honestly, I would love it if people just popped in on Christmas Eve. We could take it. Hell, we've helped out people who've run out of gas before! Let's have a new tradition!

9. I remember when Lacy and Kara were toddlers at Gram's Christmas. They had on very frilly dresses, like little puffballs. The babies are always the most fun at Christmas!

10. Remember how we called the hill behind Gram's house "The Snake?" We used to sled down that hill using old ceiling tiles, even in the summer.

11. This isn't Christmas related, but Gram used to sit on the swing every afternoon and wait for the mailman. Shane and I would play in the dirt pit under where the tire swing used to be. She used to sing Allelujah, and would call the mailman a slowpoke or a pokey joe if he was running late. (Incidentally, I associated those words with a kind of breakfast sausage, "smokey links," and found it silly that Gram would call another person that.) When he finally came, Shane and I would race down to the mailbox to fetch it for her. I have a few memories of Pop sitting out there with her, with his big outie bellybutton sticking out like a dinner roll.

12. Remember the playhouse we made out of the old truck-cap in the yard? It had built-in cabinets and a click-on ceiling light? I loved playing in that thing, until a big garden spider built a web out in front of it. I couldn't go in it ever again - I hate spiders!

13. Remember the Just Say No Club? Ha!

14. Remember picking honeysuckles and strawberries in that field on the northside of Gram's house?

15. Shane and I used to play with his Ninja Turtles under the sink in the cold bathroom. The pipes made it look like a sewer. I remember the glass-tiled tub, how some of the tiles were cracked, and Gram wanted us to be very careful around them. I remember the cabinet above her toilet that she kept Avon bubble bath and lotions in. I used to think that spiders lived in the potted plant structure that she kept in the corner. I had nightmares that Manda and I were held hostage by the spider kingdom in there.


I'm kind of in the same boat as Duane...I don't remember much about Christmas at Gram's. I remember the attic was the coolest attic in the world. It was always fun going up there because there were so many interesting things to see. There was also the summer kitchen (I think that is what the hut in front of the house used to be called...but whatever that was called...) Shane and Laura would always go up to the upstairs of that hut to see the "spooks". Haha you couldn't get me to go up there for anything! I do remember sitting on top of the big propane gas tank and watching my dad and uncles tear it down.

I also remember that one building where the roof was accessible from a tree growing nearby. I'm not sure what it was called, but we could only get on the roof. The inside of the building itself was always flooded and whenever went in there. Right by that building there was a busted TV. I remember Laura and I fighting over who was going to use it for their science project. Because you know we were both electronics experts by age 5.

It seems like Duane was always playing with fire. He'd always start fires in the trash burning center. To this day I can always remember singing "We didn't start the fire...DUANE DID!"

That hill that ran by Grams backyard and eventually to Charlie's house. Shane and I used to race our bikes down that road. Actually I can remember we played on that road quite a bit. We used to find paths of flowing water along the road and call them "hospitals". I'm not sure why, but I think it had something to do with the fact that there was water. Then there was that tunnel that ran underneath 162. Shane, Clint, and migrated all the way through it to the other side...there was a big pool of water and we peed in it to mark our territory.

I definitely remember the Just Say No Club. The "clubhouse" was underneath a couple of cedar trees (I think they were cedar). It was nice, shady, and secluded...except for the door that lead to the bathroom that was never opened...there were steps leading up to it. Shane would always write Just Say No Club on each of the steps with a rock, and then someone would walk on them and he'd have to do it again. I suggested making a sign to put outside instead, but that never happened. Then there was that time where we made a "sink" which consisted of one of us pouring water into this bowl and the water would run from a bowl down this pipe we found and then onto the ground. I wrote a letter to the editor about it...groundbreaking technology for 5 yr olds for sure.

Duane made the Just Say Yes Club once...but that clubhouse was down near the tunnel that went under 162. The JSYC was a little more selective though. We had to pass some tests to get I can remember was how we had to smell this wood and say what it smelled like. It smelled like coffee.

Someone lit a firework that zoomed straight into a mailbox on the forth of July once. I don't care who you are that's funny right there.

This had to have been the last Christmas at Gram's house, but I remember Kara walking around looking for Cassie saying "Mere Assie....Mere Assie". I think Cassie was one or two at the time.

I dont' remember much about Pop, but Mom says he used to let me play with his cigarette lighter. I used to call his cigarettes "cigars" (pronounced like siger). I also remember watching him cut down a tree.

There was ALWAYS something to tear up in that shed that stood away from the house by that field. I don't remember much about it, but it was the prefect place for a bunch of kids to play in.

I think Mom may still have some of Gram's old ornaments. I know her TV still sits in our basement. Mom hates it though because it won't quit working, so there's no reason to get rid of it.

I definitely remember the woodburning stove. Pop's chair was right by it, and if you were sitting in it he would stand there and whistle until you got out. Seems kinda possessive haha....maybe that's where I get it from? I also remember Rats and Sissy. I can't tell you what color they were, but I think they were wiener dogs. Ha I also remember how cats would get stuck in the wall. There were always a bunch of cats underneath the front steps leading up to the front door. I think Mom and Dad have one of those steps underneath the deck at the house.

That's what I can remember for now. Like Laura, I could spend all day thinking about these kinds of things.


Well...if we aren't going to keep it just with are a few.

1) Every time I see or smell pink Dove soap, I think of Gram.

2) Cold Cash in the freezer, and I remember her green billfold.

3) I loved that even on the hottest day of the year, at night when the fan was turned on in kris's bedroom it would suck air through the house and itwas very comfortable.

4) Goober Peanut Butter & Jelly, Big Red, and the Schwan man. Oh and all the root beer gallon jugs in the attic.

5) The red berries that used to grow on the evergreen bushes.

6) The Rose of Sharon bushes, by the house next to the water hose...that I was always fearful of keeping on too long.

7) I always loved when Gram would come to our house, always early, and one of the first things she wanted to do was clean my mom's refrigerator.

8) We had a holiday tradition the day after Thanksgiving...Mom, Toot, and Grandma and I (sometimes Kris) would go to Evansville and go Christmas shopping. We would always go to Target, and to this day the smell of popcorn, and slurpies reminds me of those times. It was also a chance for me to cuss and not get into trouble. Do you remember the Go To Hale sign next to Target?

9) Riding in cars with Pop. I remember when I would come home from Grandview with Pop on a Friday afternoon and spend the night with them. He would always stop at the Red & White Store and get groceries. He would let me pick some candy out. Which w usually consisted of Garbage Can sweetarts or the there was another kind that was in a plastic coffin. I remember he would listen to would listen to AM radio, and I can remember staring at the gum that was stuffed where the glove compartment knob used to be.

10) I remember one night mom, grandma, and Kris and I wanted to borrow his car (The Dart I think) , and he said ok...but don't "Cowboy it".

I could go on and on. I really think I'm going to make a book.

Laura (Me):

Um, that building with the roof accessible by trees? The root cellar. I remember very well the tarpaper on top and the apple tree in front; and I remember talking about the science experiments, too! I went inside it a couple of times, but we found wasps nests in there once, and I couldn't get the nerve to go in it again. Shane would always dare me to and call me a "pussy" - before we knew it was kind of a bad word. I would also occasionally find empty vials of insulin buried in the ground there. I think it was just trash that happened to get stomped into the ground on the way to the fire pit, but I thought they were treasure. Back then, I loved little bottles and boxes - Gram would always let me look through her jewelry drawer at all her clicky ring boxes.

Remember her locket with Pop's military picture?

Remember when Gram would clean out her insulin syringes when she was done with them, and we would fight over who got to play with them? We used them as squirt guns.

I remember Dusty sitting in Gram's rocking chair and crying because Shane and I were saying "grass" nonstop, which he thought was a bad word.

Pop's chair by the woodstove? I remember the smell of his cigars, and the smell of the natural gas from the stovetop. When I was little, I had a lisp, and I had to go see a speech therapist at school. (Just a sidenote: Calling it a "lisp" is pretty cruel. I had a lithp? I had to thee a thpeech therapitht? Who'th name wath Mitheth Thternberg? Jerkth.) I remember sitting on Dad's lap in Pop's chair before school, when he would go through my speech words with me. Like Mrs. Sternberg, he kept telling me to tuck my tongue back behind my teeth, but all that would do is turn my lisped S's into dreadful forced hisses. Even then, Dad kept insisting that it was an issue of mind over matter. I eventually thuktheeded.

Shane and I used to build a tent behind Gram's rocking chair by midmorning everyday. I know this because she would be watching Price is Right and Young and the Restless while we did it. We used the soft yellow blanket (I think Manda has it now), and tucked it into the cushion on the back of the chair, up into the chain loops of that bordello style light fixture by Kris's bedroom door and over the loveseat. We put pillows up to baricade ourselves in. We would also take big cabbage leaves from the fridge, hunker down in our tent, and nibble it like rabbits. Dorks.

Shane and I used to play in the kitchen everyday after lunch. After we'd eat our Banquet boil-in-bag salisbury steaks (over a slice of bread - my favorite treat to this day!), we would pretend to be dragged down under the table by witches. We would escape and lure the witches into Gram's dryer.

I remember Gram making pink lemonade. I thought she was magical.

I remember sitting on the washing machine by the fridge and making meringue pies with her. Again, I thought she was magical when she showed me how to whip egg whites. I thought, "Man, you can make whipped cream out of egg whites? Now I can have whipped cream everyday!" She loved making coconut cream pies and lemon meringue pies. They're my favorites now, too.

Remember when she'd make teddy bear pancakes? It was a tradition that she would come to our plates and cut the heads off first, making this sick screaming noise. It was hilarious! You don't have to wonder where we got our twisted humor from.

Gum on the hutch.

We used to make her turn out her dentures and chase us like a monster.

I think she had a crush on the Schwann's man. I loved Strawberry Fruit Bars and Gold'n Nugget Bars - the original Snickers Ice Cream Bar, if you ask me.

She kept chicken bones in a big ice cream tub in the back porch fridge. Michelle, Manda & Steph told us that it was our dead cousin Jonathan. Clint got freaked out the most.

One time we gave Clint orange juice and Ex-Lax and told him it was chocolate. We put the juice in a champagne glass like it was a treat for him. We all watched him eat it. Gram was pissed!

We filled one of those pumpkin trash bags with newspaper and phone books and kept it in the Just Say No Club as a beanbag chair. It was there for years, and it was nasty. No one used it after the first rain.

I used to take fern fronds from the tree outside the JSNC and make "soup" in one of Gram's pots - using our innovative "faucet" water. People, we were scientists!

I thought the closet under the stairs was the scariest thing ever. I'd never gone in there, but Manda and Steph kept "warning" us about it.

I remember holding baby rabbits in our laps in the living room.

Gram had a cat that would rush in at the same time every morning when she opened the door. It would hop onto the hutch, then walk over to the dryer, then onto the counter where it started eating the food out of the big yellow cup she soaked it in. I always thought that was the way you prepare dry cat food - by soaking it in warm water. Turns out, she was just nice.


I definitely remember when you gave clint ex-lax hahaha.

We always had an obsession with Freddy Kruger (see attached file if you dont' know who I'm talking about...well actually it's a pretty safe assumption that you do know who I'm talking about...I just wanted to send out a picture with this email). One time Laura and Shane told me that they saw Freddy Kruger walkign down the road from Shane's house to Gram's house. To combat Freddy Kruger, we ate a bunch of Mr. Freeze things (flavored water that you froze...when you ate them some of it melted which resulted in there being a bit of liquid at the bottom of the package after the frozen part was gone). We combined all of the leftover liquid into one package and it was a magic potion that we had to give to Freddy Krugar in order to ward him off. The plan was to stay in Gram's room until Shane gave the word. After Shane gave the signal, Laura jumped out and showed him the potion and that was supposed to scare him away. I, being the gullible little brat I was, wasn't assigned an important task; my job was to wait in the bedroom, which I still couldn't do right.

Do you remember when my mom would take us all swimming at the huntingburg pool? I think it mostly consisted of shane, steph, amanda, laura, clint, and me.

Laura (Me):

Ha! I do remember the Mr. Freeze antidote. We also used it to ward off zombies. We would flip up the plastic really fast and take it in like an IV.

I was just telling someone at work that I was hungry for swimming pool pizza - that rubbery microwaved junk that was the "Whopper" of the pool menu. I also loved the Jolly Rancher sticks.


One Christmas Pop took me out to the kitchen sat me down and gave me my first taste of blood sausage, with molassas. He told me it would grow hair on my chest. I told him, but Grandpa, I’m a girl, I don’t want hair on my chest.

When I was about 12, Lurch had this black and white truck that he let me drive across the corn field, some how I remember him taking the key out of the ignition and the truck still running.

The turtles that lived down in the root cellar to be fattened up for soup making.

Dialing 3 digits (611) and hearing… Dubois county time..temperature.

I remember Maggie taking us to the pool, and playing washer dryer (which was taught to me by Kris), and making up a new game called surfboard, and being the oldest and biggest I got to be the surfboard. I also remember a kid Steph called RED, and being accused of taking money, after being framed. Ah yes the pizza, fun dip, and combos.

I remember on Saturdays Gram got the ring washer out, which I feared. I was so afraid I was going to get my fingers caught in there, just by looking at it. She then would us the water to wash her floor, but I think she added pinesol.

So there's that,


Monday, December 17, 2007

Skinny Fat Pants

Hey Everybody!

Sorry for not posting on Friday - we had office holiday party festivities all day. I got a little tipsy on the white wine and danced like Elaine Benes (on purpose). Submitted below is file footage for your review:

Sweet Fancy Moses!

I had a great, busy weekend - the first in a long time, since I've started shielding myself from the outside world and flaking out on plans with friends. I met my friend Katherine for brunch at Ann Sather, and as I was eating their amazing cinnamon rolls, I wondered why I didn't bring people here more often. I had been to Sather's before - believe you me - but I never think to take out-of-town guests there. Word to the wise: if you come to visit me in Chicago, make me take you to Ann Sather. It's just a fifteen minute walk away.

Anyway, Katherine filled me in on her demise at Taste America Catering, making her the fifth person to leave the company after me. We then went Christmas shopping at Threadless, Foursided, TJ Maxx and Best Buy. Guess what? This day started at 11:00 am, and I didn't get home until 6:00 pm. That's a lot of freaking shopping and to-doing. Plus we had a pop-up blizzard, so this was all happening in the wet slushy cold. By Sunday I think we had 6-8 inches on the ground in my neighborhood.

A quick note: If I ever write the word "nayb," that's my slang for neighborhood. I say it in speaking, but if I wrote it, I think people would have a harder time getting my gist. For you spelling bee veterans out there, I'll use it in a sentence:

Suffice it to say that after this blizzard, it was difficult to negotiate the side streets of my nayb.

Yesterday I took the suburban Metra train out to Lake Forest to have lunch with Mary Ann, my former supervisor at Edward Jacks and Company - my first job in Chicago. I think of Mary Ann like my Chicago mom. When I was working there, she was always looking out for me, worried about my commute, shielded me from my boss when he was upset. In short, Mary Ann's my mentor. This woman has class out the ass, and she is a smart businesswoman with heart. She even comes to town to see my shows - Manda, Scott and Cody got to even meet her one time.

We ate lunch at this new restaurant called Chief's Pub. She said it was opened by Lake Forest and Lake Bluff firemen, so I was expecting firehouse-style fare: chili, family-style service with big portions. Heck, that's how I'd market it. Instead it was mostly apps, sandwiches, salads & soup (including chili), but it was all food warehouse products. Circle S had a better quality selection.

The ambiance was nice, though, and so was the company. I planned to stay for three hours, but MA and I talked so long that I decided to stay an extra three hours for the late train back to the city. We went back to her house for coffee and cherry chip cake and exchanged gifts. I just brought her some lemonade salt scrub, but she gave me a bunch of gifts from Edward Jacks and Company - candies galore, an ornament, coffee, and a leather mousepad. It was so nice of them to think about me. I still think that was a great company to work for; I just wish my commute wasn't four hours each day!

I can't go to the nutrition clinic tonight because I have to get my wisdom teeth evaluated. They are on their way out! I am going to get weighed in on Thursday night, so I'll let you know how that pans out.

I'm celebrating a little non-scale victory today: I can fit into my skinny fat pants. There is such a thing...for me at least. I bought a pair of black dress pants this fall that could take on some extra thigh; they fit just right. Then right before I went to New Orleans, I thought I should upgrade to one size bigger, for fear that my pants would split or I wouldn't feel comfortable running around in just-right fat pants. I've been wearing them ever since.

I busted out the skinny fat pants on Friday for the holiday party, and they were great - not too snug and not as loose as the big ones. I'm wearing them today, too, and I feel svelt-esque.

"Here's to us that wish us well, and those who don't can go to hell...All right, who's dancin'?"

So there's that,


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just Too Good To Be True

All Right.

Like I mentioned at the end of yesterday's post, I did end up loving Jersey Boys. It pretty much told the story of how the group got together out of a life of crime. The founder of the group would run small scams, rob jewelry stores and the like while trying to keep his band afloat. He also took young Frankie Valli under his wing and tried to keep him out of trouble while trying to keep the group together over punctuated jail sentences.

I'm not going to give a huge synopsis, but I guess I learned a lot about the group and what they really went through. I always assumed that these preppy white boy groups of that time were just slapped together by record labels and never really struggled like the black groups (who always think were immensely more talented). I learned that there was indeed struggle for these guys - struggle to overcome the draw to street crime, struggle to survive marriages that couldn't stand after all the success, struggle to pay back loans. The founder of the group, Tommy DeVito, got into immense debt with the mob to the tune of $160,000 - all unbeknownst to the band. In addition to that, he let a tax debt of over half a million dollars pile up before the mob called him on it. Frankie Valli stood up for Tommy and vowed to pay off that debt if it took him all his career.

Tommy and the bassist quit the group and Frankie and Bobby (the young songwriting talent) stayed together to create Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Much of their early work was done to pay off the debt.

I have to mention this guy Bobby. He wrote the "We Wear Short Shorts" song when he was 15, when it became a #2 hit. Bobby was introduced to The Four Seasons not long after, when they were just giving up all hope. The guy who introduced them? Joe Pesci.

The guy who played young Joe Pesci was awesome. He was a pipsqueak who got pushed around by Tommy, and in the end, Tommy ended up working for him. If you ever see the Lethal Weapon movies, little Joe Pesci was just as fast-talking and bullied as he was in this show.

And Bobby? Outstanding. If I would be a character in a story like this, I would want to be Bobby - the guy who just wants to do good work and who really believes in himself. No ego, just ethic. He wrote the "You're Just to Good to be True" for Frankie, and kept pushing the stations to play it even though they wrote it off as too artsy and experimental. When it finally busted through the crap, it became one of Frankie Valli's signature songs. What a talent!

Hey - It was good enough for Lauryn Hill to cover.

All right, I guess I've synopsized a bit. It was a pretty good show. The vocal talent was outstanding. The history was inspiring. And it had some good drama.

Now I have to download some of these songs!

So there's that,


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sherry Baby

I don't have much to report today.

We had a "milestones" party at work today, where our division got together for an hour and a half to eat sandwiches and celebrate the milestones of some of the staff. We watched footage of 2 weddings, 1 baby, and listened to speeches about another wedding, another baby and a recipient of a long-sought graduate degree. It was a really sweet event that celebrated big personal accomplishments of the year. I hope that next year I can celebrate a milestone with all these great people!

And when we came out of the party, our boss had roses placed on our desks. It's a nice little arrangement with two red roses, some holly berries, and evergreen sprigs. It smells like the holidays!

I didn't get to work out today, since that event was our built-in lunch break. I probably could have gotten away with it, but I didn't want to look like an opportunist - sneaking out for another half hour when we pretty much got a 1.5 hour break already.

On top of that, our office building had a light dessert reception from 2-4 today in the lobby. There was a long table with various frosted cookies and my two weaknesses - mini-eclairs and cream puffs! I would have completely missed this event had I not decided to run out to Walgreen's for contact solution! (Thanks Manda, for bringing me to sappy sister tears in our correspondence - my contacts got cloudy!)

Unfortunately, I fell prey to the nibbles. But I didn't go overboard, and I don't think they'll kill me. I've resigned myself to the idea that this may be my "big-eating week" of the month: with the celebration today, our division and company parties on Friday, and two holiday brunches with friends over the weekend, I can't really escape food; I can just make good choices. Besides, I know I can control myself over the Christmas holiday. It's just in these big scale social situations that I feel the most food pressure.

I can't work out tonight, either - my Aunt Paula called me about an hour ago to offer me a ticket to see Jersey Boys with her and some friends. My Uncle Bill got sick, and they didn't want to waste the ticket. I'm meeting them at a pub at 5:30, and then we'll see the show.

If you don't know what Jersey Boys is, it's the musical about the life and success of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons - performers of hit songs like the title of today's blog, "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Oh What A Night." It incorporates that music into the show. I kind of think of it as the TV movie "Jacksons: An American Dream," only about white people, and much less interesting (considering I love The Jackson 5 more than life). It didn't really seem too appealing to me, but I guess everybody's going nuts about it, and hey - what's the harm in a free ticket? Plus I get to hang out with my aunt, who's a flippin' treat.

Watch me write tomorrow and be completely amazed. I always am after seeing a stage show!

So there's that,


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

1/2 Pound of Prime Angus Beef

I went to the nutritionist last night, and I gained 1/2 pound at my weigh-in.

I was immediately frustrated and I spoke to the counselor about it. I said the same thing I thought last week: I'm used to losing 5 pounds every week when I start a diet program, and now I'm struggling. I've been measuring and weighing my food, working out for 30 minutes EVERYDAY, and I don't get what I'm doing wrong."

He said that I certainly shouldn't stop the excercise routine or crash my diet. He put it in great prospective for me by noting that one year from now when I've lost a lot of weight, I won't remember these weeks of no losses. At that time, there will be a definite long-term benefit from making the right changes and choices now, when it seems so difficult and fruitless.

The man's got a point. I have to say that I feel like a different person than I was a month ago. Back then, food ruled my decisions; my every thought was, "What can I eat next?" Now I'm saving a lot more money by bringing my lunch and preparing my own meals (which I've always loved to do, but easily backed out of in a moment of weakness for a quick fix of enchiladas). I'm planning my modes of attack when I'm invited to meals, and I'm taking control of my options.

Yesterday, a couple of ex-coworkers asked me to lunch on the spur of the moment. They wanted to go to Boston Blackie's, a renowned burger bar with a small menu, mostly meat. I researched my options online, and decided on a sliced pork loin sandwich. I ended up eating the meat with some barbecue sauce, tossing the big bun to the wayside, and eating the coleslaw, pickle and tomato. It was a very satisfying lunch. I let the conversation be the most important part of the meeting, and soon I wasn't thinking about what was on my plate - or anybody else's.

I'm doing good. I'm doing okay.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Them's the Breaks

Here's what the dentist has to say:

5 cavities.

1 root canal.

Wisdom Teeth removed.

Needless to say, I'm brushing and flossing like crazy now. That cleaning was an awful experience - not to say the dentist was bad, but being poked on was...not fun.

She referred me to an oral surgeon for the wisdom teeth, and another dentist for the root canal. She's gonna get the cavities.

And it looks like I'll have to book the wisdom teeth surgery for the same weekend I wanted to have my 26th birthday party. Ho-hum.

So there's that,


Friday, December 7, 2007

My Gym Partner's an Asshole

I guess the update I just posted took a lot longer to write than I imagined. You just can't get me started on anything.

What I really wanted to write about today was my feelings on co-ed gyms.

For the past few weeks, I've been working out over my lunch break at the gym in my office building. It's a good opportunity to get off my ass in the middle of the day and work in 30 minutes of good cardio on the elliptical machine or stair-climber. The result: I have a new favorite habit.

The one thing I don't like about it is the men.

It's not that I don't like men - I mean, send 'em on over - but there's something about guys in gyms that just pisses me off. I don't think they mean to do it; I'm pretty sure they're just trying to be as unassuming as me. But for the most part, I think they're a little too into it, like they own the place.

For example - when I went in yesterday, there was a guy (a really hot guy, really cut) running on the treadmill. I took my position near him at the elliptical, and I just kept getting the feeling that he was staring me down. In fact I know he was staring me down because I caught him doing it a couple of times. I'm not going to be brazen enough to think that he might have been attracted to me: hell, I was all ass in my black pants and white Hanes v-neck. I looked at my reflection in the window and considered the attraction thing for a sec, then I watched my hips jiggle around as I pushed it. No way he was interested - I was totally out of his league.

At best, he probably thought, "Wow, she's fat - but it's good to see her trying to do something about it." At worst, he thought, "I'd rather not see that when I'm working out, but at least it's motivation. Man, I never wanna look like that."

But it's not the treadmill guys I can't stand - it's the weight room guys. At this gym, it's all in one room, so about 20 feet away is some guy who's flexing in the mirror.

There's nothing wrong with weight-lifting, but some of these guys need help. I believe there's nothing more unattractive than an over-toned man. You know? Some guy whose veins pop out of his wrist when he takes a sip of juice. Really? I think it oozes insecurity. There's got to be something in him that makes him think he'll never be good enough.

I've seen this in studies, or at least, I've conducted my own studies. I've gone out with 3 guys with perfectly cut abs. Perfect. You could crack nuts on 'em. Each one was obsessed with working out, obsessed with talking about working out, and obsessed with themselves. I've since made it a rule to be wary of all men with washboard abs. They just can't be seen with an imperfect woman. They'll go wild for you in private, but fuck if they'll let you meet their friends.

I guess what brings me to the topic is another thing I witnessed yesterday. I was the only one left in the room with a guy who was lifting. In the window's reflection, I could see him practically climbing the walls in that corner, trying to fit in every kind of lift known to man. When I finished up and came out of the locker room, this guy was trying to lift himself between two stair-climbers. Seriously. He was doing push-ups suspended from the handles of two unstable devices. We made eye-contact, and I just rolled my eyes. What the fuck are you doing? Is it that goddamned important to get that lift in? Jesus Christ!

And these guys grunt, and they play Metallica, and they play Metallica. And. they. play. Metallica. I'm sorry, but that just screams insecurity to me. And date rape. Enter Sandman has passed it's peak, fellas.

I guess I've been spoiled. I've enjoyed a membership at the all-women Curves for going on 4 years, and I didn't realize how much I loved it. Now, I don't like talking to the women all that much; I'm there to work out. But it's so much better than dealing with machismo and male insecurity.

So there's that,


Update: Dentist

Thanks for the responses!

Manda - I think secretly, Dad wishes he could get up the nerve to go to the doctor for things that freak him out. I think he has a real fear of diagnosis; he doesn't want to get laid up until he's ready, and he'll never be ready. He told me once that he started hating doctors when they fucked up Pop's cancer diagnosis. I guess Pop went to the doctor a few weeks before he died, and they didn't know there was anything there, or they didn't say it at least, or something like that. Then there was nothing they could do to prepare.

Also, he doesn't want to play "the insurance game." I swear every time I'm home, we talk about insurance and national health coverage (which I believe in, to an extent), and he goes on about how the pharmacy started charging him more for his prescription when he told them he had insurance. I guess when he was uninsured, he just paid out of pocket and didn't care. But when he turned it into insurance, he saw on the statement that even though he paid less for the drugs, they charged the insurance company more than they ever charged him before. Now he just says, "I don't give a damn, I'll pay for it out of pocket." He's afraid that if he uses it too often, the benefits will be taken away. I guess that makes sense: after Mom had those tumors removed, Frank couldn't afford to keep him on the small company insurance. That's how he got on Mom's work plan, then got fucked over by being uninsured for years after the divorce.

But he loves nurses. When he broke his ribs, that's all he liked about being in the hospital. The food was great, and the nurses all cooed over him, he watched soap operas. Same thing about his finger getting cut off when he was a kid - it got him attention from the ladies. Which reminds me about his story about riding the bus. I guess when he was in grade school (like 1st, 2nd grade), all the 8th grade girls would go wild over how cute he was. He always grins sheepishly when he talks about it and says, "I loved it!"

Michelle - Do you mean GLEN SCHEPERS, DDS? Yes! That guy is a freak. I think he's the one that turned me off dentists in the first place. He gave me a root canal once, and explained everything he was doing in minute detail - "Now I'm going to drill all this dead tissue out of here, get that cleaned off. Yeah, then I'm going to stuff these dead nerves with concrete so they don't get infected! *Drill sounds: Buuuzzzzzhhhuhhhh, Buzzzhuuuhhhh, BUUZZhuuuhhh!* Yeah, that will be better in no time." Ugh! And he never. stops. smiling. What? Does he think he can show it off? Plus, I met his wife and child while doing a show at the Jasper Art Center - freaks. All of 'em. Stage parents, freaks.

Justin - I want to use my benefits to their full extent, but I guess I just get afraid of the diagnoses, like my family. I don't want to be a hypochondriac, but I don't want to be sick, either. Now for the most part I think, "I'm 25 - there can't be that much wrong with me." Besides my thyroid, my doctor says I have the clockwork of Michael Jordan - great blood pressure, good cholesterol, all right stamina. So the best thing I can do for myself is to keep up a high fiber diet, stay away from processed foods, and keep excercising. It's easier said than done, but I can commit to something once I get the hang of it.

I guess the real update is that I made my dentist appointment. Saturday afternoon. I looked specifically for a female dentist because the men just creep me out. The men are either old, talkative, and look down on me for the state of my mouth; or they're young and gorgeous and I get a little crush on them so much that it embarrasses me to have him poke around my mouth (without putting his dick in it - zing!). It's much safer with women because I don't give a fuck what they think. It's like the gynecologist rule.

Remember, Mr. T. says, "Brush them gums, fool!"

So there's that,


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Piss and Moan

I have to complain for a moment.

I ate some popcorn last week, and I think I got a little of the kernel skin stuck in between my back-most molar and my gums. Ever since then, I've had the worst mouth pain! The gums around that tooth are swollen, and now the inside of my right cheek is starting to swell. The right side of my tongue is sore, too from my teeth gnashing it against the swelling. Mommy!

I need to go to the dentist. I haven't been since 2004, and isn't that very sad? First of all, I hate dentists. They are some freaky people. Secondly, I hate paying for it. Why do I hate paying for a dental visit, but I'll gladly pay the doctor? Do I think dentistry is quackery? Not necessarily, but I just don't enjoy the experience much.

A dentist visit is like bad sex. Think about it: Dentists breathe in your face, when they drill it smells like burning hair, and they like to tell you what they're doing as they do it. It creeps me out. When I get out of the chair, there's always a sheen of sweat left behind. The next time I go, I worry about going nuts like Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors and screaming "Candy Bars!"

The thing is, though, that I have dental insurance now. I should be able to pay for this; however, I've heard from other coworkers that their dentists make them pay upfront including the co-pay if they have work done at the visit. It's discounted mind you, but I don't need to be blindsided by having to fork out $250 for a root canal when I just came to get some kernel removed, ya dig?

There are greater fears. I need dental work done - extensively. I brush twice a day, sometimes more, but I can't floss well because my teeth are jammed so close together. Seriously, the last time I went to the dentist was the result of an emergency: One of my molars broke into pieces while I was flossing. Scary! Apparently an old filling was loosened over the years and the tooth became unstable. That resulted in a root canal and crown. Yipe - that's some money!

The reason why my teeth are close together is because my wisdom teeth are in. Every few months, they cause me about 2 weeks worth of pain. They're just knocking into my mouth, trying to claim residence. My whole mouth gets tender and I freak out about going to the dentist, end up not going, and wait until another mouth issue comes up before considering the dentist again.

And I got cavities. My teeth are looser than a drunk girl on rohypnol. I need help!

I think I get this wariness of medicine from my parents - especially from Dad. He doesn't like going to the dentist because he knows they'll have to give him dentures. If he thinks he broke his leg playing soccer with Cody, he'll "wait and see." He just muscles through it. Seriously, I think if we had a Meyer family crest, it would have a hog, a turtle and the Latin words for "Work Always in the Avoidance of Immutable Inevitability."

Any of my cousins out there agree?

So there's that,


Dinner with Friend

Tonight I'm having one of my coworkers over for dinner. We're going to excercise together, then she's coming over to give me some decorating tips while I give her some cooking tips. I'm very excited about the simple meal I have planned:

Sauvignon Blanc served with Thinly Sliced Manchego Cheese and Tart Granny Smith Apples

Fresh Italian Bread torn into bite-sized pieces and tossed with halved Grape Tomatoes, Basil, Unfiltered Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Grated Parmesan, Red Pepper Flake & Cracked Salt and Pepper

Main Course
Whole Wheat Linguine tossed with Prosciutto & Baby Peas in a light Parmesan Cream Sauce

Ladyfingers & Almond Butter Thins served with Raspberry Puree and a nip of Bailey's Irish Cream

The best part about it is, I had most of this stuff stocked in the fridge and cupboard. The items I had to purchase for the meal - meat, bread, cheese, milk, cookies - only came out to around $15. Thanks, Trader Joes!

What's your favorite entertaining trick?

So there's that,


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yes, Mr. Pitt

Last week I signed up to participate in my division's Secret Santa festivities. It's completely voluntary; you only submit your name with a list of 4 gifts under $20 that you'd like. There's little guesswork involved, so that's nice.

I drew my Secret Santa today, and I couldn't keep it secret. I shared the news with 3 other women here because it was funny news to share.

Of all the people in my division who volunteered to participate, I drew the most unlikely of names. He's another new employee, very prestigious, and about 60 years my senior. The funniest part is his list of requests:

  • Handkerchiefs

  • Burt's Bees Hand Cream

  • Athletic Socks

  • Cookies of any kind

They're all very age appropriate, don't you think? I think this list is so cute. It has all the essentials, and then "cookies of any kind." How can I not get him everything?

It's the athletic socks that get me. I read that and immediately thought of the episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine has to buy socks for her new boss, Mr. Pitt. Even though I know my gifting won't happen like this, I still like to think of Dr. F reacting just like this:

From Seinfeld - The Chaperone

New scene - Elaine at Mr. Pitt's. He's trying on the socks she's brought him.

ELAINE: So, what do you think?

PITT (pulling up the socks): No.

ELAINE: You don't like them?

PITT: No, I don't like them.

ELAINE: What's wrong?

PITT: They're too tight.

ELAINE: Too tight?

PITT: There's no elastic, you need to pull too much .

ELAINE (examining the socks): I think they look good!

PITT: They're cutting off the circulation.

ELAINE: Alright, well, I'll just take them back.

PITT: Hello?

JERRY: Hi, Mr. Pitt! Is Elaine there?

PITT (hands the phone to Elaine): It's for you.

ELAINE: Sorry. Hello?

JERRY: Hey Elaine, it's me.

ELAINE: Jerry?

JERRY: We're going to Atlantic City.

ELAINE: Really? When?

JERRY: Today, right now! Are you in?

ELAINE: One second, hang on. (To Mr. Pitt) Excuse me, Mr. Pitt? Would it be alright if I got you the socks tomorrow?

PITT: Tomorrow?


PITT: But I was hoping for my new socks today!

ELAINE: Well, it's just one more day.

PITT: I'm sorry. I must have them today.

ELAINE (to Jerry): I can't go.

JERRY: Why not?

ELAINE: Because I have to return the socks and get different ones.

PITT: Elaine!

ELAINE: I gotta go.

So there's that,


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An Ounce of Prevention

Well, the verdict's in, and I'm not happy with it. At my weigh in last night, I found I lost only an ounce this week.

1 Ounce.

1 Oz.

What. The. Hell.

I thought about beating myself up over it, but I tried to stay positive. In the past week I've excercised more than I have in 3 months. The Taft Test has proven a non-scale victory in that regard: I'm turning fat into muscle, which takes up less space but weighs more. That could have caused me to break even; I always maintain for a while when I start working out.

I'm also celebrating my period this week, and I have historically unsuccessful weigh-ins during that time. Not because I overeat, but because I retain. It's just the nature of woman.

On the other hand, I have to be honest enough to admit I was a little sloppy in my measuring this week. I drank 3/4 of a bottle of wine over the weekend and a couple nips of Bailey's to usher in the snowy weather. I don't drink as a practice, so I don't anticipate those added calories posing a problem in the future.

Because I was a little depressed last night, I got a little self-destructive and went to Starbucks and got my milk serving in the form of a nonfat chai latte. And I had a nibble of carrot cake. And I went to the local tacqueria and ordered chips y salsa and some chicken fajitas. BUT, I only ate 3 corn tortillas full of chicken and veggies (about 1 cup), a couple of bites of rice and beans, and about 12 chips. I stopped when I was full, and my heart wasn't in it. I left behind 3/4 of the chips and 3/4 of the food plate, and I poured flaming hot sauce over everything to stop nibbling. Self-Destruction: 0.5, Willpower: 0.5.

I just need to persevere, not be so hard on myself, and not set unrealistic goals. I'm pretty sure the pounds of cure will come off in time.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Tip of the Hat

I'm giving myself a tip o' the hat for healthy thinking today.

  1. Even though I woke up late this morning, I still put my lunch together so I wouldn't go out and buy it.
  2. I knew I wasn't going to be able to work out tonight in my office building because I have to go get weighed in right after work. So I packed a t-shirt and my tennis shoes so that I could get some time on the elliptical during lunch. I didn't think I really would.
  3. I really did! I logged 30 minutes on the machine, then threw my dress shirt and sweater back on. I prepped my lunch - Sausage & White Bean Pasta, Spinach Salad, Raspberries & Fat Free Yogurt - and brought it to my desk. Now I'm eating it!
  4. I made good choices today!

I can't wait to weigh in. I must have made good progress! If not, I'll cry...

So there's that,


The Taft Test

When I was working in Montana, I had a weekly tradition. On the last day of work before the "weekend" - not always Saturday through Sunday - I would take a long soak in the tub and scrub down with body oils and such. I called this my spa day. I would get pretty, dress up and go out on the town with my friends.

While I was in Montana, I focused hard on weight loss, so during this time I had two means of gauging my weight. The first is more obvious: Every Friday, I would weigh myself on the freight scale at the loading dock.

What? There wasn't a normal human scale to be found for miles, so this was my most convenient option. Near the end of the day, after they had loaded all the trucks, I would hop on this 5'x5' platform and watch the climbing calculations of the digital readout.

Every day of the following week while I was working, those red numbers would be burned into my memory. When I pulled sheets to untangle them from the knots they made in the washer, I would race to get it done - working my arms as fast as possible to tug the damp linen from the clump, sweat dripping off my face - everything was a challenge to me. I would load sheets on the iron the fastest, feed towels in the folder, sort soiled bath linens from the conveyor belt - all while making it a big competition in my mind. It was the best gym I ever went to.

But the other way I gauged weight loss was in the bathtub on that spa day. In the beginning of the summer, I was stuffed into the tub like a loaf of bread in a pan. As the summer progressed, I would notice that my hips would move away from the sides inch by inch, that I could slide lower into the full tub without overflowing it. I call it the Taft Test in honor of President William Howard Taft, who was so heavy that they had to design a special tub to fit him and all his girth.

I ended up putting myself to a Taft Test last night during my ritual bath. A couple of weeks ago I was a loaf of bread; last night, I felt oddly slimmer. Kind of like a loaf of bread that had been cooling and has begun to pull away from the pan. It's not a huge difference, but I'll take it.

I weigh in tonight, so let's hope that my Taft Test will prevail!

So there's that,


Sunday, December 2, 2007

This Week's Recipe

I don't know if I mentioned this before, and I don't care to review my writings to see if I did, but I try to write a new recipe every week. For the most part, they're mainly one-pot dishes that I can make on Sunday, then I store them in disposable aluminum pans and scoop them out for lunch every day. I think I'm in love with the doozy I came up with this weekend.

Yesterday, we had a little blizzard and ice storm, so I got in the mood for a warm hearty dish. On one of my first nights in Chicago, my aunt Janice made this sausage pasta dish that I LOVED so much. My aunt Janice is skinny; I consider her the best skinny cook I've ever met, and I marvel that she keeps whole milk and butter in her fridge. How?

As for the pasta, I just remember good chunks of sausage, the taste of red pepper flake & greens, maybe parsley. I got to thinking about it, and decided to try and recreate it using light ingredients. Today I braved the weather (cold rain, washing the snow and ice away) for all the tasty treats I'd need. This is the spicy, savory result:

Sausage and White Bean Pasta
(Janice's didn't have beans; I just love fiber.)

1 lb. (package) Whole Wheat Textured Pasta - Rotini, Bowtie, etc.
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced in thin strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Italian Style Chicken Sausage, sliced thinly on bias
1 head Green Kale, rinsed, dried and coarsely chopped
1 head Red Kale, rinsed, dried and coarsely chopped
1 can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 cups Chicken Broth
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
2 Tbsp Fresh Sage, chopped
Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Let stand in sink.

Return the pot to the burner and reduce heat to medium. Add oil to pan, then saute onions and red pepper until golden and translucent. Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Toss in sausage and cook until browned and warmed through. Toss in red pepper flakes and sage; stir and cook for 1 minute. Add beans and 1 cup of chicken broth.

The kale must be added in batches, since it's so big. Add enough kale to reach the rim of the pot. Cover and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until kale is tender and can be stirred into sauce. Add remaining kale, cover and simmer until tender, as above. Add more stock as neccessary to steam greens. Stir to combine.

Add the pasta back to the pot. Toss with all the ingredients and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste; served topped with grated parmesan cheese.

If you can't find kale, use another dark & hearty green, such as collard greens. Just make sure you rinse the sand from the leaves first. You can use all green kale, too; I just used both red and green because they were the same price and they looked pretty. This is a pretty cheap dish, too. The one splurge I guess is the chicken sausage - 'round here it's $4-$6, but it's worth it. Otherwise, the greens and onions and peppers are like $10 for the lot. Plus, this stuff will last forever because it's so pumped up with veggies.

So there's that,


A Good Read

If you're ever bored (read: at work) and you only have a computer at your disposal, I can highly recommend reading the transcripts from Larry King Live. You can find them here:

Mind you, I never watch Larry King because it's boring, but these transcripts make for the best entertainment. You can really see how inept he is at interviewing people. He hops around topic, he interrupts; I daresay he has no in-depth journalism skills whatsoever - that is, unless you can count marrying someone that he could have statutorily raped many decades over. Wait, I don't think that's a journalistic skill. favorite celebrity interviews thus far include Jerry Seinfeld and Judge Judith Scheindlin ("Judge Judy: Order in the Court!"). In the Seinfeld interview, he just fucks up a lot and Jerry calls him on it. In the Judge Judy interview, he asks her opinion on hot topics like the death of Kanye's mom. I love that in the end of that interview, he offers condolences for Ms. West...after having her judgment to undergo plastic surgery summarily scoffed at by Judge Judy.

Another gem is the interview with Baby Grace's father and grandmother, and the tactless segueway to an interview with Wayne Newton afterward. The "What a weird case" comment to the two grieving family members of the murdered toddler is utterly priceless.

So go forth and enjoy. It's on me.

So there's that,


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Update: Lunch

I was sluggish getting out of bed this morning, so I didn't have time to pack today's lunch. My fallback plan for days like this is to get a simple turkey sub at Subway.

I can't go back to the one around the corner from my office. I don't care for the smell of the bread.

Yep. My first job was as a Subway Sandwich Artist, so 1) I know how the bread should smell; and 2) I know how to build a proper sub.

Let me digress a little here to discuss how Subway's quality has waned since I worked there - gulp - 10 years ago.

  1. Why all the bread options? It just hurts profitability by upping the inventory costs. And everybody just gets white or wheat anyway. Guess what? I'm wheat.

  2. We did the U-Gouge. Remember when the top of the bread was actually separated from the bottom? I miss those days. Now they cut the bread like they're gonna put hot dogs in there. It comes down to this: a sandwich is made from 2 pieces of bread; when I eat it, there should be a bottom and a top. I don't want to maneuver my sub to keep all the contents inside. If I wanted to work that hard, I would have went for tacos.

  3. The sandwich used to be built from the bottom, up. Now they put the meat and cheese on the top half of the bread, and the veggies on the bottom. What the heck? They want to put the sauce on before the veggies, too! I don't want to eat dry lettuce! And I don't want the meat to slide around over the top of those veggies when I bite into it. It's unstable. When they're making mine, I order them to put the meat and cheese on the bottom half, the veggies and sauce on top of that...and they act like it's the craziest thing they ever heard.

Paulie: "Meat underneath the veggies? Are you serious, lady? Cuz' I can't reverse it once I do it. Hey Kwan, get in here! This bird wants me to put the meat on the other side of the bread!"

Kwan: "Say what?"

Paulie: "I said, she wants the meat on the other side of the bread!"

Kwan: "On the outside???"

Paulie: "Nah, she wants the meat on the 'bottom' half of the bread."

Kwan: "You mean the side that's facing her, right?"

Paulie: "Nah, the side that's facing me."

Kwan: "Can you even do that?"

Paulie: "I dunno, but I'm gonna try."

Kwan: "I gotta see this!"

Meanwhile, the other customers start to gather near. A couple of cabbie-capped old guys in the back of the place stop playing chess to come over see what the commotion's about. A little boy in suspenders who had been trying to scam dimes from customers so he could buy a cookie runs to
the door and yells to the kids playing marbles on the street - "Hey Chuckie, Carl, Fist-Lips! You guys gotta see this! They're gonna put the meat on the bottom of this broad's hero sandwich!"

Bottom line: You always put the hamburger first on the hamburger bun, right? Subs aren't any different. Now gimme my Dagwood...tootsweet!

Digression complete.

But this bread just smelled weird. Like old freezer burn mixed with curry and cardboard. Not pleasant.

So there's that,