Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A little harsh. A little funny.

Tonight, I was all literate and saw author A.J. Jacobs speak.

I luuuuurve him. But, as I told him as he signed my book, "not in a creepy stalker sort of way."

He looked me in the eye and said, "I love creepy stalkers."

Sigh. And I love self-deprecating authors who are funny and smart and basically awesome.

Jacobs writes for Esquire and has made a living out of trying stuff and writing about it. His first book, The Know-It-All, detailed his efforts to read the entire encyclopedia. The Year of Living Biblically followed his efforts to follow all of the rules in the Bible - including a long, freaky beard and stoning adulterers.

Now, Jacobs is touring to promote his latest book, The Guinea Pig Diaries. Each chapter is about a different month-long experiment. He outsourced his life - including fighting with his wife - to a team in India. He tried to live like George Washington. And he tried out radical honesty, where folks are not only are brutally honest, but have no mental filter. That last one? Not so good on the personal relationships.

The talk was engaging and funny. But I was totally taken aback by some of the questions from the audience. One woman stated that she has OCD. Jacobs has written that he has mild OCD; she wanted to know if his year of living biblically helped his symptoms.

Other folks asked about the spiritual side of trying new things. And one man asked if Jacobs had any luck with one of the most difficult rules of the Bible - forgive thy enemies.

It occurred to me that we're all searching for something. If people feel comfortable and compelled to ask a complete stranger - in a room full of rapt strangers - for passive spiritual guidance? Well, it's a sign that none of us really know what we're doing. That's both comforting and totally disconcerting. Who's in charge if none of us really know what we're doing?

As for the forgiveness issue ... Jacobs admitted that he wasn't super great at it. He said he realized that he practiced superficial forgiveness - forgiveness of the "I'll forgive you but I'm going to remember what you did and file it away for later in case I need it" variety. And that wasn't quite what Jesus had in mind.

Ooohh. Yeah. I relate to that just a touch. And if I'm practicing half-assed forgiveness, yet I can't even manage to get that far? Wow - I must have a black, black heart.

So, it was only fitting that after the festivities, I stood at the elevator and fished my keys out of my purse. My keys were momentarily stuck on something in my bag, and then catapulted out of my purse with surprising force - surprising force that vaulted my car key right into that delicate spot where your upper lip meets your nose.

My first thought? "Oh, thank God no one saw that."

My second thought? "Oww - that really hurt."

Then? "I'm bringing sexy back."

My final thoughts, after I put my hand to my swelling nasal / lip area? "I just bruised my face with my car keys. It's a bruise that will be a nice complement to the gigantic zit next to my nose. I'm like The Picture of Dorian Gray come to life."

And then I got over it and drove my black, black, unforgiving heart home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I don't want to cheat off your test. I just need some help.

I was a late bloomer. I didn't get any teeth until well after my first birthday. I didn't get my driver's license until a whole month after I turned 16. And I won't tell you how old I was when I lost my virginity. My parents read this blog, after all.

(Oh, Mom? Dad? I'm totally saving myself for marriage. If you need me, I'll be at church. Or the library.)

So, sometimes it takes me a while to figure things out. I am cautious. And sort of clueless.

My latest adventure in delayed development?

I'm realizing that a) I need to take better care of myself; b) It's ok to need time to recoup and oh yes, I'm one of those people who needs this time; and c) A balanced approach to stress doesn't mean gogogogogogo, have a few nights of falling asleep at 8, then gogogogogogo again.

Like I said, I'm a little slow on the uptake. And I'm realizing that I don't know how to find that middle ground between stressed and hitting the wall. I don't know how to decelerate.

So. I need your help.

How are you kind to yourself? What do you do to keep things at an even keel in your world? What are your favorite stress relievers?

I'll even go first. Having dogs is sort of a built-in "be kind to Cha Cha" feature. Foxie Doxie and Lil' Frankfurter think I'm awesome, even when I'm not. Walking them is a great stress reliever. However, as I'm looking for ways to manage stress, I have to realize that more dogs do not equal less stress. Actually, I think more dogs equal collecting newspapers and becoming That Lady on Hoarders.

And even though that show always compels me to clean, becoming That Lady that isn't a calming thought. So. What's your favorite way to find a little balance in your hectic day?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sleep and sheets and football and pottytraining.

The lovely Coco at Screaming for Chocolate gave me some bling! The Honest Scrap award is for "blogging from the heart."
I think that might be code for "airing your dirty laundry and calling it art." Whatevs.

In honor of this honor, here are 10 things about me that are honest and true:

1. I am a tired girl. I am worn down, and feel weary by the travel and work and time away from home. I guess I'm more of a delicate flower than I would like to admit. I prefer to think that I can do anything and am quite invincible. Instead? I'm exhausted and have a sore throat.

2. When I got home from my recent work travel, I arrived home at 12:30 at night. And I didn't change the sheets my dogsitter / housesitter had slept on. I just fell into bed. And the night after that, and the night after that. Yes. I slept on someone else's sheets. I'm sort of gross.

3. I sleep with a nightguard. I don't grind my teeth, but I clench my jaw.

4. Said nightguard has a chunk out of it, courtesy of Foxie Doxie. Evidently, he mistook my $400 nightguard for a Nylabone. Luckily, my periodontist filed down the missing corner and I didn't have to shell out dinero for a new nightguard.

5. When I talk about my periodontist or spend money on stuff like a dental nightguard, I remember what I thought it would be like to be a grown up. This ain't it.

6. As a child, I thought driving on a freeway was the ultimate in glamour. Keep in mind that my hometown has exactly 11 stoplights.

7. My junior high PE teacher's son is a big, big stud for the Iowa Hawkeye football team. My entire hometown is so proud of him, and Brent Musberger mentioned my hometown during Saturday night's Iowa / Penn State game. I feel sort of famous.

8. I love college football. I wore Iowa Hawkeye t-shirts all weekend and about jumped out of my skin after Saturday's big win over Penn State.

9. The Guy With Two Dogs watched Saturday's game with me and didn't act surprised or distressed when I jumped up and down, yelled at the TV, or cussed like a sailor.

10. I am starting to really fall for Guy With Two Dogs, and not just because our football viewing styles are compatible. This is both exciting and completely terrifying. Terrifying because I could get hurt, but mostly because I could hurt him. It's like my friend SG talking about her niece: when asked what big-girl underpants meant, this potty-training novice mumbled, "Sponsibility." It's like that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things that are awesome.

Last night, I had a headache. So, I watched Dancing With the Stars. And then I took an Advil PM. And then I fell asleep watching an Oprah replay of her interview with Mackenzie Phillips (which I can't even comment on except to say that Valerie Bertinelli looks exactly the same).

And then?

Then, I had trouble waking up this morning. I am exhausted. The travel has just made me realize that like it or not, I have delicate flower tendencies and need a little time to recoup. I've been exhausted all week, and that, combined with the Advil PM, made me a little slow on the uptake this morning.

Lil' Frankfurter and Foxie Doxie were not amused.

In the middle of the night, I had evidently knocked one of my pillows - my favorite pillow, actually - off the bed. And when I failed to spring into action with my alarm clock?

Well, the boys showed their dissatisfaction. By peeing on my pillow.

Yes. Both of my dogs managed to flip me the bird even though they don't have actual fingers. They peed on my favorite pillow.

As you may recall, this is my second pillow felled in two months by dog body fluids.

Basically, I walked around my house roaring like a dinosaur this morning, attempting to express the gravity of the situation and my superior, alpha standing in our pack. I don't think I was successful, but at least I have an excuse to go to Target this weekend.

And, as one of my coworkers so helpfully pointed out, when your dog pees on your pillow? Well, the rest of your day is bound to be an improvement.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Be my own best friend.

One of the great things about spending a week sitting on your ass in the sun is that the ocean air clears things up a bit.

I'm not talking about skin. I actually am still sporting a lovely heat rash on my feet. It's like I have foot leprosy. Yay!

No, more like it clears up your brain. Or at least my brain. And my heart.

I had a bit of an epiphany. The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful? He hasn't changed.

Earlier, I had confused his apology with change. Now, apologizing is a good start. But it isn't the same as structural, foundational change. And without that sort of deep, serious change? Well, Ex-Wonderful isn't a good force in my world. He isn't a suitable partner, and we aren't capable of being friends.

This time of year has proven to be really difficult, because it's like revisiting the time when The Shit Came Down last year.

The night before I left for vacation, Lil' Frankfurter was so excited about my mom being in the house that he kept running from my bed to her and back again. In the midst of that ongoing ruckus, my sleep-deprived self realized that it was the Friday night of Labor Day weekend. And last year, the Friday night of Labor Day weekend? Ex-Wonderful mentioned as we were going to bed that we hadn't been getting along, and perhaps we should take a break.

I was wearing my pink nightgown. The sheets were blue.

I was shocked and hurt. And he announced that he was too tired to talk about it, and so he turned off the light and fell asleep ... while I literally cried myself to sleep.

The next day, I was shocked to find that he still expected me to go to a football game and act like everything was normal. It was like the ground was shifting beneath me and I couldn't steady myself.

These are the flashbacks I'm having.

I want to be a lady of grace and dignity. But the truth is, I don't forgive him. Not yet. Someday, yes. But not today. I don't forgive him for his narcissism and utter lack of respect for me as a human being. I don't forgive him for sending me a self-help book after we broke up because I'm such a fucked-up mess. And I certainly do not forgive him for hurting me so much that even a year later, I'm terrified of getting close to a good, kind, honest man who cares about me very much.

I'm angry.

But I'm also hoping that the ceremonial ripping off of the scab that was his apology will end up being the closure I maybe didn't have when we broke up. Because really? There's not a lot of closure to "I loved this man and we were going to get married and then he went batshit crazy."

But now I realize that he is not capable of loving me the way I deserve to be loved. And that's really too bad for him.

I kept thinking I saw him everywhere in my travels over the last two weeks. For a split second, I would stop breathing. And there were all these young families at the beach, and many of the kids were wearing these Crocs that had eyes and fins and looked like sharks. My gut reaction was that the Ladybug would love those shoes.

He kept telling me I wasn't good enough. If loving them this much wasn't enough, what would be?


And I guess that knowledge is a gift.

So, yet again, I'm still here. I'm trapped in autumn, which is currently like the shittiest section of Disneyland ever. It has attractions like:

  • The Maybe You Should Get a Personal Trainer Helpful Suggestion House of Mirrors
  • The Just Because I Only Vacuum Twice a Year Doesn't Mean I Won't Yell at You for Wearing Your Shoes on My Carpet Silly Silo
  • The Try to Please Me Even Though You Know It's Impossible Rigged Ring Toss
Like I said, I'm still working on that forgiveness bit.

Maybe tomorrow. But for now? I'm good.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Corporate Behemoth MVP.

Today was only the second day in 17 that I have been at Corporate Behemoth. Yeah, I know. It was a bit of a shock.

I decided to treat myself and actually eat lunch in the cafeteria. I heated up my leftovers and sat down with a copy of Vanity Fair. I spent 15 decadent minutes flipping through the magazine and devouring pasta.

Then? I got annoyed with the middle-aged women at the table next to me. For the duration of my lunch, they were discussing the merits of the CBS Monday line-up. One woman could just not let go of one point.

"I know it's supposed to be a good show, but I just don't get the title. 'How I Met Your Mother?' Who is the mother? They never talk about her. How am I supposed to enjoy the show if it's named after someone and I don't know who it is?"

And then another woman would talk about Two and a Half Men, and then Clueless Lady would jump in with, "That is a good show. Much better than 'How I Met Your Mother.' I mean, who is the mother, anyway?"

And then they'd talk about Charlie Sheen, and then Clueless Lady would thoughtfully add, "Yes, I do like that Charlie Sheen. At least his show is about what the title says it is about: two and a half men - although that kid is getting big. That's much better than 'How I Met Your Mother,' which isn't even about a mother. None of those characters are even parents. I mean, really. What do they even know about child rearing?"

And then, I flung my empty plate at her, like a Frisbee of death. It hit her square in the temple, thanks to my ninja-like prowess. She fell to the ground, and I beat her to a pulp while everyone in the cafeteria hailed my efforts. When the carnage was over, my coworkers carried me on their shoulders back to my cube.

The cheering is still ringing in my ears. Obviously, I've still got game.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mr. Clean is hot.

When I finally looked around my house on Friday, I realized that not being home for two weeks has an impact on your home. The dog hair was about two inches thick on all surfaces, not including the actual dogs.
Because they are sleek and sophisticated.

So, today, I cleaned. Like, really, really cleaned. Like, moving-stuff-instead-of-just-cleaning-around-it cleaned. I know some people do this all the time, but I don't know those people. And I'm glad.

I washed windows. I took down valances and threw them in the dryer. I washed my shower curtain (baking soda, vinegar and a towel in the washing machine). And I spent an hour and a half chamoising dog hair off the couch. (Yes, it works, but it works best when your couch isn't actually made of dog hair.)

Also, I finally tried My Amazing Cloth. My mom gave me this little chamois-like cloth and kept asking if I'd tried it. No. Leave me alone, Mom. You know I don't believe in housework.

Except! Except I tried it today, and it's amazing! You can wash windows with just water and they don't streak! And you can use the cloth again and again and again. It's the ultimate in green cleaning products. I am in no way a paid spokesmodel (oh, a girl can dream!), but I would totally give away My Amazing Cloth - from lovely Duluth, Minnesota - as Christmas gifts. Baby Jesus loves a streak-free shine.

So, I now have dish-pan hands. But my house is clean. And I'm starting to feel like I'm a little more in my element. Two weeks of being away, not writing, eating weird and the like has me feeling a bit off. It's not like cleaning is part of my natural state of being, but I guess it literally gives me a clean slate.

I did all this without, umm, getting dressed. It's 9 p.m. and I'm still in my pajamas. I'd forgotten how kick-ass Sundays can be.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How I spent my summer vacation.

My sweet mama and I went to Clearwater Beach. To get there from the airport, we booked a shuttle ... a shuttle that ended up being a Cadillac. A shuttle that ended up being driven by a very nice man who held up a sign with our name.
We about wet our pants. He let us take his picture.

And then we got to our fancypants hotel, where we were ushered to the VIP check-in lobby. They served us champagne. We tried to act cool, like we are VIP check-in sort of people. I don't think we were successful.

Perhaps the fact that we took pictures of each other posing with our champagne around the room is an indicator: we are not cool.
However, we're a hellova lot of fun.

So, basically, we had a really intense routine for a week. We'd sleep in. Then, we'd eat breakfast in our room. Then, we'd take 20 minutes to slather sunscreen all over ourselves, like warpaint, in preparation for the intense activities of the day.

Then, we'd go down to the pool. And sit on lounges. And read. And when we got hungry or thirsty, we'd lift the little flag that was attached to each lounge shade, and a waiter would come over and attend to our every VIP need.

Sometimes, we'd mix it up and walk on the beach.

Obviously, it was a really intense week.

Sitting around a pool proved to be an excellent stress reliever. I highly recommend it. It also proved to be an excellent opportunity for eavesdropping.

We heard a group of men energetically espousing the merits of the FryDaddy. "Y'all, you can just throw any ol' thing in there an' it fries right up!"


And then there were The Germans, middle-aged men who sat around in their Speedos and spoke boisterously in their native tongue, which - let's be honest - is not one of the more beautiful languages. I'm not sure if they were talking about the FryDaddy or not.

Then, there were two women with thick southern accents who were explaining to their husbands why men prefer southern women over their northern counterparts.

"Y'all, southern girls just take better care of themselves. When I was growing up, I had a horse and was always ridin'. Southern girls are in better shape, and we care how we look. Men like that."

The other woman agreed. "Yeah. And southern girls are good girls - they're religious. Northern girls aren't church girls - they're liberal."

Now, I know that the Midwest is probably not the same as what these airheads were considering "The North," so maybe I shouldn't have been so personally offended. But the idea that you aren't nice and aren't a churchgoer if you're liberal? And if you live above the Mason-Dixon line, you're fat?

Well, bless your heart.

So, then my mom and I went around calling each other "dirty northern girl" and "skanky yankee." That was fun. And I didn't have to break a nail beating up those women - always a plus.

We did get a little slap-happy ... like the fun we had with a lovely bit of wall art.
And yes, I did just post a photo of myself in a bikini.

Because I am sick in the head. Also, I'm trying to live up to a lovely award Coco over at Screaming for Chocolate gave me ... for honesty in blogging. But more on that later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yeah, I'm living the dream.

Another Friday night eating cereal for dinner and watching Say Yes to the Dress. And yes, I'm in heaven.

So, I had my fabulous vacation adventure, which I will dish about in the coming days. And then I was home for two whole days (that's 48 hours to those of you playing along at home) before I had to up and go to Boston on behalf of Corporate Behemoth.

I got home at 12:30 this morning.

And then at 9 a.m., I had a mandatory human resources workshop about accountability.

I was accountable. I was there. I was even clothed and semi-conscious.

And tonight? Obviously, I have never been so happy to be vegging on my dog-hair-encrusted sofa in my whole entire life.

It's been more than two weeks since I last blogged. I've missed it terribly. I've missed the creative outlet and recording the mundane stuff that makes up life. And I've missed my friends. I hope you haven't all forgotten about me. I hope you come back.

I guess coming back to blogging is a lot like coming home. I haven't been here in the last two weeks, so I find myself looking around and saying, "I like my house!" It's filthy and the milk in the fridge is slightly sour. But I'm so glad to be here. And even though I'm tired and this is a totally dull post, I'm so glad to be blogging, too.

In the next few days, I'll share such exciting tales as:
  • How waterfowl almost kidnapped my mama

  • Vacation book report: four books that are, like, good and stuff

  • Why I almost had to kick some southern girls' dainty asses

  • Where my brain is regarding boys, men and everything in between

  • The importance of remembering where you are when you adjust your bikini bottom
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Well, friends, it's been a red-letter day.

Remember Poop Watch 2009? The dental floss Lil' Frankfurter never passed?

I found it floating in the breeze in the backyard this afternoon. Not quite sure if it was gacked up or ... well, if it went all the way through his system. But it's not in there anymore.

So, that's obviously a cause for celebration.

Also? Today, I got my first-ever bikini wax.

I felt very Sex and the City, wearing a pencil skirt and cute heels, walking into a building of lofts to go to the salon after work. The infamous Greek man who owns the building flirted with me in the elevator, asking if I was there for a photo shoot, because obviously, I didn't need a thing done with my hair or face.

Oh, go on.

And then I had a glass of Pinot Grigio, stripped from the waist down, and allowed a stranger to drip hot wax on one of my most delicate areas. When that first strip went RRRRRIPPPPPPP, I no longer felt like Carrie or Samantha. I felt delirious. But, once you've started, you have to see the whole thing through. You can't just have half your hoo-haa waxed, you know?

Note to self: slam the wine before the wax. Next time.

The biggest surprise? I bruised. The esthetician was like, "Oh - are you on Accutane? You're bruising."

I said, "No, but I'm on Zoloft ... so I guess I don't care?"

So, basically, I look like somebody kicked me in the crotch. But I have faith that this will morph into The Perfect Swimsuit Body by Saturday.

In celebration of such a great day, it's time to name the winner of Miss Noodleroux Cultural Heritage Costume Queen!

There were so many worthy contestants, and you are all winners. Who will the queen be?

Picking just one winner is stressing me out. And I'm already stressed about going on vacation already. Oh, it's so hard to be Cha Cha, with so many witty and kind and seriously funny commenters who make me cackle and bring me such comfort.

So, I'm going to defer to Julie, whose description of her own fantastic costume started out with, "I want to live in Iron-dom!"

Yes. Your friend and mine, Iron Needles, is officially crowned Miss Noodleroux Cultural Heritage Costume Queen! Picture her cultural finery:

National Costume d'Iron Needles depicts comfort and ease and freedom of movement. Women living in Iron-dom wear jeans (or shorts, depending on season/temp) and tees (long or short sleeved, see above) with the occasional sweatshirt overlaid in cold seasons. This look is so loved it is worn on all weekends, and changed into immediately upon arrival home from labor, even though labor costume is jeans with casual shirt, with comfortable shoes...Iron-dom is not very glamorous but the general consensus in Iron-dom is that glamour might just be overrated and hard to garden in...

I am so very much behind comfortable shoes. Trust me - the bikini wax was probably my one and only stab at intense, girly personal maintenance.

Iron Needles, shoot me an e-mail -noodleroux at yahoo dot com - and let's talk about your crown, duties, and fabulous prizes.