Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Epic Act of Laziness

As Tad gathers in his arms the pile of Amanda's laundry that has been sitting in the living room chair for a week:

Amanda: Oh wait.
Tad: Wait what?
Amanda: That stuff is clean. Let me find a bin or something to put it in.
Tad: Ooookkkkk?
Amanda: So it doesn't get mixed with the . . . or . . . I suppose I could just fold it and put it away.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gym Rat

The only thing worse than being surrounded by sweaty, farty guys is when the treadmill beside you is suddenly occupied by some chick who just spent the past five minutes outside with Mr. Marlboro.


It's rude to be judgemental at the gym. Everyone is there for the same reason, pretty much. But going five minutes super fast on the elliptical at a resistance level so low I can hear the wheel inside loosely clanking as it spins isn't going to get you ahead of the pack.


I may or may not have used a blow dryer in the locker room to rid myself of some of my head sweat before heading to IHOP for free pancake day.


I may or may not have accidentally been looking at some guy's butt sweat when he happened to catch me in the action thanks to the gym's bazillion mirrors. Oops. (This guy was also wearing a garbage bag shirt...why oh why wasn't I looking at THAT?)


I may or may not have a fear of butt sweat.


What would YOU say if you were sweating it out on the elliptical, while totally enamored by this History Channel special on Adolph Hitler's charisma (and how he may or may not have had magic devil powers of persuasion), and out of nowhere some guy comes bustling up, ready to change the channel, and says:

"Are you watching this?"

How do you answer that? Is there any acceptible way of owning up to actually ENJOYING a special on Hitler? Is that even allowed?

"Nein....Uh, I mean no. No. No, I'm not watching that at all. You may change the channel to whatever you like."

(He was unable to find a worker to help him change it, so I had to spend the rest of the workout sneaking glances at the subtitles...because I felt that guy's eyes on if he was saying "Yeah, I knew you were watching that. You horrible, horrible person. You should be ashamed.")

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Crusty Elf

I have a tendency to stare off into the distance. For long periods of time. With my mouth open. It's so extreme that a co-worker at Logan's Roadhouse called me Space Case on occasion. At which my manager pushed my mouth closed.

While this tendency is a point of humor for those who know me, it is nothing short of a point of confusion for those who do not know me.

Point and case . . . the mall food court.

I was seated at a table, waiting for Tad to join me. (He got held up at Burger King. I swear they never have more than two workers each shift). The table was pushed up to this elevated flower bed (though I think there were ferns in it), and on the other side was another table.

As I waited, I drifted off in to the imaginary world that so often claims my attention. But apparently I had drifted facing the wrong direction.

Seated at the table on the other side of the fern bed was a black girl, happily eating her dinner...and noticing my stare. The thing that broke me out of my stupor was when I heard her tell her friend,

"This girl keeps staring at me."

The friend mumbled a response (the ferns did a good job of breaking up vocal frequency).

I shifted a bit, suddenly realizing that while I HADN'T been staring AT her, I HAD been staring directly PAST her. FOR THE PAST MINUTE OR SO.

And then that's when I heard her say,

"She look at me like she a crusty elf."

A crusty elf.

I looked back at my food, embarrassed. And hurt. And I thought. And I thought. And I realized that her description was probably accurate.

After all, what do you expect a crusty elf to look like, except a befuddled, blank-faced, pale white girl with blond hair, and a mouth that's catching flies?

And just for kicks, "Crusty" is defined here in the Urban Dictionary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trying to Relate to Olympic Dissapointment

To the Korean speed skater who missed out on a silver medal because his teammate, Lee Ho-Suk, got greedy and tried to pass him and ended up making them both fall and lose,

Wow. That really sucks, man. I hate when stuff like that happens.

I mean one time when I was in college we had a huge all-campus event where we all went rollerskating and at one point in the evening the DJ declared there would be a race, so I was like "Ok. I'm pretty fast. I'll compete" and made my way out to the floor.

There were about five or seven or ten of us out there and when we took off I realized that I really was faster and more stable than most of my competitors and that I had a really good chance of winning. So I was about to make my move for the lead when out of nowhere this girl who obviously had no idea what she was doing came flailing from behind me and GRABBED ON TO ME SO SHE WOULDN'T FALL. It rattled me, threw me off balance and slowed me down while practically knocking me over.

And there went my dreams of winning the 200-meter skate at the South Side Roller Dome.

All I can say is hang in there and keep your head. There will be a next time.

All the best,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 Reasons I'm Back to Wanting a Great Dane

1. This video

2. Last week's episode of The Office

3. Their longer expected life span

4. A fear of buyer's remorse

5. A solution to Tad's "No Dogs on the Couch" rule. A Dane is so big, it can cuddle you without having to get up beside you.

I promise this is the last time I change my mind.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Boring Email Addresses - The New Cool


These are just a few of my internet aliases over the years.

Should I go on?


Ok, so maybe that last group was fake, but I think you get where I’m headed here. There is a point in every internet user’s life when it’s time to grow up.Time to adopt a plain and boring alias.

For some, it may look like:


For others:


And still for others:


But no matter how boring or dull, it’s better. Better for job hunting. Better for making new friends. Better for winning the maturity race.

And somehow when you’re standing at the register at Express or Ethan Allen and they ask for your email, it’s a whole lot less embarrassing to spout out something boring than it is to whisper

Way less embarrassing.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Gold Medal for Reading

Every Olympics, I go through a sort of funk. The type of funk that is typically reserved for a 50-year old male who's facing a sort of mid-life crisis (complete with a yacht, motorcycle and pair of deerskin chaps).

Don't get me wrong. I completely enjoyed the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding saga. (My fingers were crossed for Tonya--I found her to be prettier), and watched EVERY MINUTE of the 1996 US Women's Gymnastics team competing in Georgia (and kicking butt!), feeling nothing short of happiness and pride.

But I also felt something else.

The funk officially hit during the 1998 Winter Olympics when Tara Lipinski blew everyone's mind and took home the women's figure skating gold.

And I wanted to die.

Here was this tiny girl, only a year or so older than I, wearing an Olympic gold medal around her neck BECAUSE SHE WAS THE BEST FIGURE SKATER IN THE WORLD.

And me? The most I ever had to show for my efforts was a free personal pan pizza coupon from Pizza Hut that I won because I was able to read 20 books over the summer.

Leave me alone. I'm pacing myself. I mean, there has to be something wrong with achieving your life's goal at eighteen years of age.

Ask any high school basketball team captain.

Or Evgeni Plushenko*.

*At 19 he won the silver medal in men's figure skating at the 2002 olympics in Salt Lake. At 23 he won the gold. He then retired.

But now he's back. And 27 years old.

Two medals? At least I've never retired.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


After watching a sitcom in which the boyfriend got the girlfriend every cliche Valentine's gift he could think of just because it was his first Valentine's day while in a relationship, I turned to Tad.

"You got me that Spongebob our first Valentine's together," I said, referencing the small, plush toy that now sits on our bookcase. We had only been dating a month, so the gift was quite appropriate.

"Yup," Tad said, smiling.

Then, he added, "And I never got you anything since."

Sad, but true. I was just happy to know that my inability to recall subsequent years' V-day gifts wasn't a sign of relationship apathy. It was simply a reflection of the truth.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Slippery Road

Hello, Black Ice, pleased to meet you.

I’ve heard an awful lot about you from friends, family and overly-concerned older people, so it truly is an honor to finally put a face with the name. To be honest I don’t even know if I would have noticed you here if it weren’t for your subtle demeanor. So smooth. So suave. Why, it’s no wonder you make such a lasting impression!

Anyway, here we are at this small social gathering. You, of course, are stealing the show. Some are turned away by your chilling ways (like the gentleman directly behind me…he spun out quite abruptly, I must say), but I cannot help but stay and relish in this experience. This emotional high that only a person such as yourself could so nonchalantly put on people.

Meeting you has surfaced a number of emotions. Fear. Anxiety. Excitement. And also one that I did not expect to feel – nostalgia.

You see, Mr. Ice, as I sit here, careening toward my doom, I am reminded of my childhood heroine, Miss Nancy Drew.

Nancy had a blue, 1950’s Mustang convertible, and it was a given that at least once per story she would find herself in a precarious predicament with the vehicle. (You were involved a few times, if I recall correctly). To master such an encounter, her skill always came down to one, fluid motion.

A motion of which I am now reminded. A motion that could, quite possibly, save my life and thwart your advances.

So here I am, Mr. Ice, emphatically pumping the brake. Just like Nancy Drew. Even though I know nothing about these cars with brakes that lock. And though I am quite bad at handling them.

I pump. And pump. And wonder if maybe I should have been an amateur detective.

Or at least the owner of a 1950’s Mustang convertible.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

To Russia, With Love

Here is the main problem with finding friends from other countries on Facebook…you rarely know/remember/can even spell their last name. Which means finding one Masha—your Masha—in a sea of Masha’s is next to impossible. Sure, you can look up mutual friends and narrow the search that way, but can you ever be 100% sure that it’s the right Masha when you don’t even know her last name? No. You can’t.

I just friended a woman who I believe to be my Masha. We’ll wait and see. I could be wrong. It could just be some random Russian girl, petrified that some American with an even crazier last name (and former last name) has just decided to span the Atlantic and put an end to the fallacy that Russians and Americans are only fake friends.

Or, it could be my Masha. End of happy story.

I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out. If all goes well, and I don't get put on Putin's "watch" list due to my peculiar obsession with friending random Russians, then I’m going to embark on a quest to find the girl I stayed with while there. Her name is Anna.

And I kid you not when I say there’s no fewer than 10 bazillion Russian Anna's on Facebook.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day Away Salon . . . I'll Be Back

I have written before of my dislike for the hair basin at the salon. Nothing good happens there. Today was no exception.

My salonist was doing a wonderful job of massaging my head, helping me relax and NOT think about how awkward it was to lie with my neck in some sort of porcelain urinal while my head hung over a toilet basin. (Sorry for the descriptors there). And it was working wonderfully.

Her hands moved all along my cranium. Back and forth. Really expert-like and professional. It felt heavenly. Too heavenly. And I got to thinking ...

She does this to maybe 20 heads a day. Massaging out all the stress. Rubbing out all the worry. Pushing away anxiety. Person after person melts beneath her expert hands. Twenty people. Twenty heads. Every day.

It was this thought--this realization that my salonist was some sort of head expert that caused me to have a total (yet silent) freak out. Because one who knows heads so intimately, is also able to know their flaws.

And my head, in all its roundness, is flawed. Majorly flawed.

I found it two, maybe three years ago. This robot/Terminator-like bump on my skull. A bump that if John Connor were present, would result with a gun in my face and a surgical team looking for the answer to how I appeared so lifelike. So human.

Now before you disregard my claim and insist I stop blowing things out of proportion, allow me to describe this alien life-form to you. You see, the bump isn't really a bump, as head bumps go, but instead a perfectly round protrusion that is the exact size of, say a screw head. Yes, you heard right. Jutting out from my skull, covered perfectly by skin and hair is a bump that feels and looks like the top of a screw. Making it seem like my head was pieced together by scientists or some factory worker or maybe even Dr. Frankenstein.

After I first found it, I tried my best to imagine what else it could be. A tumor. A cyst. A random accumulation of iron or similar fancy element. But I always came back to the same conclusion. It was a screw and I was probably a robot. Or a Terminator, if that is your preference.

I've kept this to myself, telling only Tad of my strange possible mechanical past, but today, my salonist discovered my secret. As her hands moved back and forth over my head, there is no doubt in my mind that she felt the screw, realized who (or what) I was, and then made the decision that sealed my fate while I sat/reclined in horror.

She said nothing. Absolutely nothing. No reference to Skynet. No fingers digging in the back of my neck. Not even repetitive rubbing right around the location of the screw. Absolutely nothing. Instead, she nonchalantly moved me over to the barber chair as if I was made of flesh and blood. As if I was just like her.

I was speechless. What was there to say?

The tip did the talking for me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making Fun of Jack London

Character versus nature. A narrative conflict seemingly perfected by Jack London. At times it seems if it weren't for his paving the way for dog-obsessed literature, civilization would have gone without canine-focused classics such as Old Yeller. 101 Dalmations. And Beethoven's 2nd.

But Jack was so much more than that. So much more than the inspiration behind Lassie and Cujo. He was a master storyteller.

So, what was it about this successful American and his 'wildly' verbose fiction that spoke to the reader so?

Recently, Tad felt compelled to experience a bit of the nature boy's wonder, committing himself to listen to White Fang on audio cd. His findings are astonishing, and may help unravel the secrets behind Jack London's success.

1) Rope them in in the first 75 pages. Rather than introducing the main character within the first fifteen minutes, Mr. London knew best to keep his audience at the edge of their seats. In the audio version of White Fang, the protagonist, of the same name, is not born until disc 2. What brilliance!

2) Bring the story to life with descriptions that take just as long to read as they would to act out in real time. Reality and believability is the essence of a story. With that being said, what is more appropriate than a thirty-minute description of Fang's first frolic in a field? With London, you never feel left out!

3) Repetition is key. Jack knew too well...Americans are suckers for frostbite and feral dogs. And once he found the recipe to a bestseller, he used elements of it over and over. Did you think it was by chance that each work includes a character with missing fingers or toes?