Thursday, May 31, 2007

I Wanna Be Sedated

Nearing the holiday season in 2005, I expressed a vague interest in running to my sister. She – quite literally – ran with it, and crossed me off her list of people she was obligated to buy Christmas presents for with the purchase of a bright, shiny, and new Running for Morons book.

Between Christmas and the New Year, I read the book, cover to cover, and decided that I –Yes I! – would follow the eight week run/walk to 30 minutes running plan outlined in a nifty, easy-on-the-eyes chart... hell, anybody can do it! The book thought so. And who are you (who am I?) to argue with a book? That, my friends, would suggest some serious mental health issues.

Despite the fact that running 30 minutes straight (read: without breaking for coffee and/or a snack two, maybe three times) seemed to be a feat nearly insurmountable at that point in my life, I dragged my ass out of bed every other morning at 6am and walked to the gym where I would grudgingly step onto the treadmill for a torturous 30 minute run/walk combination. Two minutes walking, one minute running... ad nauseam...

It was quite the chore back in my early days o’ running. I armed myself with whatever I believed could divert my attention long enough to keep me on the treadmill for the allotted amount of time: my iPod, an US Weekly, an InStyle, a prime spot in the gym where I could view a television equipped with closed captioning, tuned to a morning "news" program. I needed entertainment. I needed distraction.

I am unable to identify the point at which everything changed – an "easy mile" stopped being an oxymoron; four or five miles started to seem a reasonable distance to run on a weeknight (you know, just like for the hell of it); the torment of the treadmill turned into a mild addiction, and my need for the Us Weeklies, the Instyles, and the talking heads evaporated. One day, they were just gone, leaving my iPod and I alone on the treadmill.

But yesterday at the gym, when I turned up the speed on the treadmill, pressed play on the iPod, and heard the all too familiar opening chords of “New Slang,” I looked around for something to read, maybe a Sodoku puzzle to fill in, a television to watch... something. I realized I was bored... with my Playlist.

Which brings us to now. Right now, I'm wondering if any of ya'll have suggestions of songs worth shelling out $.99 for on iTunes. I'm desperate to switch up the repertoire, and without a car, without a radio, and without much interest in a "music scene," I'm at a complete loss.

Below is my running playlist… I tend to stick to oldies and alternative rock (is that what one would call it?) when I run. I can’t run to fast pop music or rap, so Britany Spears, 50 Cent, or what have you aren’t going to get me moving; and I despise techno as a rule (though if I hear it in a salon or gym setting I simply cannot help but do what I like to call my “um-cha” dance). I'm looking for songs with solid, slow-ish beats, that I can potentially sing to (though the singing is ever-so-counterproductive to the actual running). Thoughts? Your help will be rewarded... not monetarily (what is this "money" you speak of?)... but with my unconditional love. That's worth it, right?

Running Playlist
New Slang/The Shins
Pavlov’s Bell/Aimee Mann
Take Me Out/Franz Ferdinand
Gimme Shelter/The Rolling Stones
Elevation/U2
You’re So Vain/Carly Simon
Soul Meets Body/Death Cab for Cutie
Ain’t No Sunshine/Bill Withers
Seven Nation Army/The White Stripes
Summer In the City/The Lovin’ Spoonful
What Goes Around/Justin Timberlake
Steady As She Goes/The Raconteurs
About Her/Kill Bill Vol. 2
Suddenly I See/KT Tunstall
Crazy/Gnarls Barkley
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg/The Temptations
I Will Follow You Into the Dark/Death Cab for Cutie
Going Through the Motions/Aimee Mann
Here it Goes Again/OK Go
Ohio/Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
How to Save a Life/The Fray

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

List-less-ness

I truly believe the term "social networking" is nothing more than a euphemism for "armchair stalking" and that MySpace was created for the sole purpose of spying on other people from a safe, no-threat-of-a-restraining-order distance. The price of admission is that you have to agree to let others spy on you... I feel like it's worth it.

So, the other day I was snooping around on MySpace, and I stumbled upon the profile of someone I have not seen in 10 years. There he was... the ex-roommate of my first "serious" boyfriend who I dated when I was 18 years old. Shortly before I met them in the summer of 1997, Ark, the boyfriend, and Hiran, the roommate, had taken up residence in an apartment near the Ohio State campus. "The Apartment" (as it was called) quickly became the hang out of choice among their friends, a group of musicians.

After the initial courtship, Ark and I didn’t spend quality time alone so much as we spent time, the quality of which I suppose is questionable, with his roommate and their friends, sitting around The Apartment, listening to music, playing instruments, drinking, smoking, and doing God knows what else. Looking back, I realize I had inadvertently cast myself in the roll of "groupie" for a band that always seemed to be on the verge of forming.

But, despite the fact that my entire summer was basically an intoxicated version of Groundhog Day, I believed I was having a blast, primarily because Hiran, who eventually emerged as the person I have the fondest memories of from that moment in my life, kept me entertained with antics I cannot even begin to give justice to by describing here. But, he… HE… was funny.

Anyway, while walking to the gym yesterday, I was telling @ about Hiran and how I found him on MySpace and freaked out, friend requested him, and then left him a comment about how he still makes my list of the “Funniest People I’ve Ever Known.”

@: You have a list?

Lou: Well… you know... it’s just in my head... it’s not like written down or anything.

@: Am I on it?

Lou (pauses, flustered): Um… I guess… Sure! Sure... you’re on it. You’re funny.

@: What number am I?

Lou: Twelve.

@: How do I go about moving up on the list?

Lou: Ummm

@: Who’s number one?

Lou (stops and looking quite serious, turns to @): Who do you think?

@: You.

Lou (resumes walking): Did you even have to ask?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Short Leash

This weekend I had a phone date with Laura, one of my closest friends from college. At one point in the conversation, she was telling me about her cat Charlie, who apparently must be put on a leash before he can roam about in her yard...

Lou: He needs a leash?

Laura: If I just let him outside he won’t come back.

Lou: He runs away?

Laura: Yeah. And I worry I won’t go after him. I’m just at a point in my life where if he doesn’t want to be with me, I’m not going to chase him.

Truer words, my friend. Are we still talking about the cat?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Still Had to Go Home

I’ve fallen in love with… the update post.

Water, Water Everywhere… Not a Drop to Drink
On Friday, I went to the gym after work with the intention of logging a few miles on the treadmill, but quickly re-evaluated my plan when I realized I hadn’t had nearly enough to eat to be running. I petered out after about 10 minutes and took up on the stationary bike with an US Weekly.

Flipping through the magazine, I came across a photo of Criss Angel, the magician, who has recently been romantically linked with Cameron Diaz. When the ex- and I were together, I began watching a lot of seemingly bizarre cable programming due to our inability to agree on anything. I sure as hell wasn’t going to watch Starship Whatever-The-Fuck and he wasn’t having Grey’s Anatomy. To compensate, and minimize television-related knock-down drag-outs (why let anything get in the way of arguments about my drinking?), we agreed upon new shows, which included Miami Ink, Intervention, and Criss Angel Mind Freak. I was way more into the Freak than the ex was 'cause I, with my ever-questionable taste in men, thought he was sexy in a long hair, intense eyes, dramatic poses kind of way.

As soon as the ex- and I parted ways, I broke myself of the mild infatuation/desire to get busy with Criss Angel and watched Sex and the City non-stop as a form of peaceful dissent against men everywhere.

Still, seeing him in the magazine turned me on slightly, so I biked faster and told myself to sweat it out. When in doubt, use physical exertion as a substitute for sex... or ice cream... or sex.

Been Spending Most Our Lives Living in a Hipster Paradise
I was probably wearing on @’s nerves yesterday when I asked her for the tenth time whether or not I looked “hipster” enough to go to the Hideout, a bar that is literally hidden in some industrial area of the city nestled among a row of nondescript buildings. It’s decorated with Christmas lights and they don’t take credit. They don’t have too. That’s how cool they are.

Lou (while sitting at @’s kitchen table drinking glass of wine #2): Do I have to drink Old Style or PBR at the Hideout? How harshly will ordering a Miller Lite be judged? What if I order an Amstel Light?

Lou (upon pulling up to the bar and noticing a young man in a weathered leather jacket sitting out front): OH… maybe I should have worn leather…

Lou (now inside the bar to @): I feel like I’m in a different state.

Lou (inside the bar to M&A): I feel like I’m on a different planet.

I felt like upping the ante there. Little exaggeration never hurt anyone. And, I got a button (which I swear, for whatever reason, I have received more buttons in the last three weeks than I have in the last several years; it must be the latest and greatest trend in swag) and I won (OK… I sort of “won,” someone was nice enough to provide me with an answer that led to my winning) a t-shirt. Productive evening. New t-shirt, new button. Perhaps I will wear them together.

She Must Be Delusional
Regarding the lead singer of the band that opened the show on Friday:

@ (Gesturing toward the lead singer who had taken to convulsing on stage while persuading us to yell “Yeah” or something): I think you two could have a conversation.

Lou: I agree with you; and I believe that conversation would be about delusions of grandeur.

He went BIG. I respect that.

Cure What Ails Ye
I made a point of drinking enough last night to ensure that any decisions I made could be believably blamed on my intoxication. Unfortunately (no… wait… that’s not right… rather… fortunately), I was still a little too self-aware three glasses of wine and four beers later to fool myself.

I decided not to go BIG. So, I went home and passed out watching Best Week Ever instead.

I tend to wake-up after a night of drinking in a state of panic, as though I’ve been cryogenically frozen for several years and have no idea where I am, how I got there, what year it is, or who this crazy guy in the lab coat is. I think I’m just nervous about finding out whether or not I’m going to have a hangover.

After much research, I have identified two types of hangovers:

  1. The functional hangover, which means I have a mild headache and am generally lazy. This type of hangover is best cured with getting my ass out of bed, chugging Smart water, and running. You can literally sweat out a functional hangover.
  2. The nonfunctional hangover, means that I am alternating between laying in my bed and laying on the bathroom floor, due to my inability to actually sit up for any length of time. This hangover is best cured by bartering with God (“If you make the pain go away, I will never, ever, ever, ever, never drink again… and I will volunteer to teach the children about the evils of alcohol and its painful affects on one’s head.”) and/or knocking yourself out with sleeping pills until and dealing with the pain in a comatose state.
I had hangover Type I today. Sweat it out sister.

Luckily, I already plans to run with Meg on the lakefront path. CES wasn’t meeting due to the holiday weekend. We made it approximately two and a half miles before we decided that leisurely walking while chitchatting would be far more pleasant. Thank God. I thought I was going to die.

I was starving when I came home from our run/walk, and against all conventional wisdom ate the following: Trader Joe’s brand Cheerios and milk, goat cheese, Oriental rice crackers, pita bread, and spray butter.

Grey Skies
I’m relieved it’s not bright, sunny, and beautiful outside. I just want to lay in my bed.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fun with Animals

I’m going to refrain from posting the beginning of this conversation for a number of reasons, but I think it’s safe to assume that this is why bad shit happens to me:

Lou: Do you ever have that moment when you’re looking at someone and you realize who that person looks like… only it’s an animal they look like, not another person?

@: No.

Lou: Really? You’ve never met someone that looks kind of like a dog?

@: No.

Lou: Really? Huh.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I’ll Show You, Karma (Think You Can Fuck with Me…)

About a week ago, the HR department at my workplace sent a mass email to employees announcing a blood drive. Without giving it much thought, I agreed to sign up as long as @ provided me with much-needed moral support by signing up as well.

I’ve never actually given blood before. I attempted to once, during a blood drive at “The Ranch” where I worked after college. As the bright-eyed, 21-year-old, Public Relations Specialist, I filled the critical roll of being the hub of Ranch employee communications, and as the "hub," it was my duty to document any and all work-related activities, the blood drive included. The people have a right to know!

My supervisor, PM, who was more like a big sister than a boss, had signed up to donate, and I followed her to the designated location with my digital camera to snap a few photos for the impeccable work of journalism that was our organization’s newsletter, the… wait for it… Ranch RoundUp. But no… PM had other ideas that day as we chatted and walked… she was bound and determined to convince me to give blood.

Impossible! I insisted. For you see, PM, I am terrified… simply terrified… of needles.

As evidence, I relayed to her a story about my teenage years, when I had sprained my ankle during cheerleading practice. Somehow the injury resulted in a red line of blood under my skin inching its way up my leg, which is – for reasons I still don’t understand – not good. Unable to drive yet, my father took me to the doctor, where they insisted that they must take blood. Ever the drama queen (and trust me as a teenager, I was worse), I refused, turned on my heel, and stormed out of the office (did I mention I was 16?). What’s worse, my dad actually let me leave. He just followed me out of the office to the car, and dove me home. Oh, my mom was pissed something fierce. You better believe she got back into the car (I’ll take her myself!) and threatened me with a laundry list of punishments (No driver's license for you!) until I agreed to return to the doctor's.

You could die Lou! Die! (And you were wondering where the dramatic tendencies came from…)

Right, Mom. Whatever.

Side note: The moral of this particular story: Never send a man to a mother's job.

I survived… the sprained ankle, the weird red line running up my leg, and the drawing of my blood. Regardless, the ordeal served another purpose; it solidified in my mind that I am intensely afraid of needles. For the better part of a decade, my fear of needles became a truth, there was simply no denying it, it just was – like the existence of trans fat or Chick Lit – and no argument would convince me otherwise.

Needles are evil... avoid at all costs.

PM was not impressed with my “needles and Lou don’t mix” explanation. And somehow, rather quickly (probably with the ever-popular, “you’re an adult” argument) she broke me. Never wanting to let my boss/surrogate big sis down, I reluctantly agreed to give blood.

During the entire ordeal, I shook with fear... while reading the “educational materials,” filling out the questionnaire, signing away my rights to sue if someone fucked up and I was left with nerve damage, and watching the nurse prick my finger to test my iron. I prayed (prayed!) for anemia… Please God... let my iron count be too low!

Luck prevailed. I failed the iron test and was disqualified. Relief rushed over me. As my breathing normalized, I vowed never to eat red meat again.

Eventually, like most irrational childhood beliefs, my intense fear of needles subsided. Once away from home and on my own, my "truth about the needles" faded into the background of my consciousness and I stopped being incorrigible when it came to having blood drawn. I mean, what is a nurse going to do with a screaming, uncooperative mid- to late-20 something? Probably gather up her nurse buddies for a session of good ol’ pointing and laughing. And frankly, I don’t need that kind of shame.

And, as it turned out, needles weren’t as bad as I remembered.

Which brings us back to last week. Even though I know better now, my fear of needles remains latent... at the casual suggestion that my blood might be needed, it creeps up on me for a moment before I recall, "No, no... me and needles, we're cool." But, still... it's not a choice recreational activity (You know what I really want to do today? Be stuck with a needle). And yet last week, I almost immediately volunteered to let a needle hang out in my arm for... oh... about ten minutes.

Why?

It just seemed like... the right thing to do. And maybe... maybe... I don't do enough right things.

Somehow, in my mind, I likened blood donation to a sort of new age Catholic confession… in the Church of the Universe, giving blood would be akin to a cosmic cleansing that would wipe my slate clean and rebalance the scales. A good deed to wash away the bad. It is, quite simply, truth: I scratch Karma's back... and in return... the Universe scratches mine.

Thursday 10:30am: I followed my soon-to-be-clear conscious to the conference room, which had been set up with snacks and juice, lounge chairs and tubing. I prepared myself for the worst... shaking, tears... and hoped for the best... less shaking, no tears.

Honestly, it wasn't horrible (no shaking, no tears)... and bonus... I got an awesome sticker announcing to the world that it better, "Be Nice to Me Today" for I, Lou, gave blood. (Bonus #2: The sticker nicely covers the permanent stain on my shirt from a unfortunate spray butter incident.) And... and... I ate a cookie... guilt-free because damnit I deserved it.

What do you think about that, huh Karm? And don't forget... there's plenty more where that came from! Maybe the Universe can swing back a bit in my favor? Blood’s gotta be worth little somethin' somethin' these days.”

Karma, oddly enough, responded.

Honesty, Lou, is a Universe best practice.

Truly…

I did it all for the cookie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In Bed With Lou

I should consider it a blessing that my wireless Internet refuses to cooperate with my new-ish MacBook. You may remember that my Titanium G4 laptop bit the dust in a tragic vodka incident last fall (may it rest in peace). The wireless worked fine with the G4, but no matter how many times I plug and unplug, start and restart, and follow my Mac’s a-four-year-old-could-master-this tutorial, the wireless fails to connect. I blame Comcast.

Really, it’s better this way. If it did work, I would probably waste my days lying in bed, participating in my favorite Web-based pastime, which is, of course, "armchair" stalking (though I suppose under these circumstances it would be called "bed" stalking... doesn't have the same ring, does it?).

Did I mention that I like to bring my computer to bed with me? That’s not too weird, right? Or, that I actually sleep with it sometimes? And by “sometimes,” I mean pretty much every night?

No? Hmmm...

This tendency to cart my electronics to bed with me started in 2003, when I briefly took up residence at my mom's house in Columbus the summer before my big move to Chicago for graduate school. Rather than having an entire apartment to fill with all my worldly possessions, I had a bedroom, which, by default, became a general-purpose living space. This included turning my bed into a makeshift office, where all of my electronics lived… my cell phone, my Palm Pilot, a TI-85 calculator, and the G4. They slept on one side of the bed; I slept on the other.

This “arrangement” repeatedly proved to be detrimental to the wellbeing of the electronics. For example, at the time I was taking a statistics class—you know... just for like the hell of it—and while studying on the bed one Saturday afternoon, I dosed off and rolled over onto the Palm Pilot cracking the screen, which rendered the stylus completely useless.

The mishaps failed to deter me, and through multiple cities, states, and apartments, I have continued to lug my laptop to bed with me (though I never replaced my Palm Pilot, and eventually, I no longer needed the calculator). In my current home, the laptop sleeps on the left side of the bed, the side closest to the wall, and as a “safety precaution” I stuff one pillow between the two-inch space separating the bed from the wall and cover the laptop with second pillow. That seems reasonable, right?

So on Monday, when my computer and I finally shut down for the night, I tucked it in like always (snug as a bug in a rug) ensuring it's security until the next morning when I would immediately hook it back up to the Internet connection in the living room and check my email. However, in the middle of the night, I woke up, startled, when I heard something in my bedroom—something heavy—crashing to the ground. I immediately lifted up the pillow to find the laptop safe and sound. It had been my hair dryer, which often resides at the foot of my bed where it ends up getting kicked to the ground every night... somehow it still works.

Close one.

It occurred to me then, at 3am or whenever it was, that my arrangement was lacking in the intelligence department, and if I was to seriously damage or murder another thousand-dollar computer, I would cry... probably uncontrollably. Unfortunately, while this reasoning made sense to my half-awake self, taking action did not. Instead, to compensate for my lack of brain's when it comes to taking care of my computer, I rolled over, threw my arm around it, and—yes—cuddled with the MacBook for the remainder of the night.

Ahhh... isn’t that sweet... Thank God I don't have pets... right?

I thought this was a sufficiently entertaining story to relay at work the next day, so, on the way to our biweekly staff meeting, I announced to a few coworkers that I have a tendency to take my electronics to bed with me, to which one of them replied:

TMI! TMI!” Oddly enough, she actually yelled the acronym rather than saying, "Too much information..." and she's like... my mom's age.

I realized... wait a second... that kind of sounded like - you know - like I was talking about personal electronics. No, no. Rest assured, that's not what I meant. I was talking about real electronics... expensive electronics... though I suppose the personal ones can get pricey... I mean, you can spend...

You know what... FYI... life is not an episode of Sex and the City, and I really don't need to have this conversation with you... via my blog, anyway. It would be far more appropriate to meet at a swanky brunch spot and discuss personal electronics over mimosas and eggs Benedict.

Ummm... mimosas.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thirteen Weeks Later

An update, if you will…

Shiny Happy People on the Path
Training? What training? All I said was that I going to get up – a one time deal – at 5:30am and run four miles on the lakefront path. No biggie. Don't get all up in my business looking for a commitment because… you know… that’s not my style.

Ah… come on. I'm all talk. You know I can’t say no to you.

Saturday’s four-miler was the kind of run you dream about, that is if you dream running, which I for one, do not.

Suffice to say, it was incredible. The weather was amazing. The lakefront path wasn’t a death trap of a few thousand runners, bikers, rollerbladers, dog walkers, and stroller pushers - a trampling waiting to happen no doubt (Note to self: steer clear of those who fancy themselves elite athletes... nothing gets between them and their marathon time... not you, not me, and certainly not some helpless halfwit who can't run a sub-eight minute mile).

But no, not Saturday. It was calm. It was beautiful. It was perfect.

It was… the kind of run you dream about… if one were to - God forbid - start dreaming about running.

The Deets
I decided I would give the 11:30 pace group another shot. Despite the 5:30am wake up call, the actual run part was amazing. For the first time ever, I held conversations with my fellow runners for nearly the entire distance, which means I wasn’t getting winded, and moreover, I was likely running with an appropriate pace group for my fitness level. I finished the run feeling as though I could have easily – perhaps happily? – gone another two miles or so. It got me super pumped up about training.

Sunday, August 12, 2007
Chicago Distance Classic... Calendar, consider yourself marked.

Bubble Burst
Wanting to share my joy with the world after Saturday’s run, I called my mom at 8am (9am her time) while I waited for the #11 bus. After imparting the good word onto my mother… she asked me this:

Mom: What are you going to do now?
Lou: Well, I’m going to go home, eat something, maybe run some errands; hopefully, I’ll take a nap.
Mom: You should take a nap. You’ll look better.
[Pause… mild confusion as my mother’s comment sinks in.]
Lou: What?!?! Geez Mom! Really? You can’t even see me. Why do you assume that I look bad? Thank you. Thank you for assuming I look like hell. You know what? That makes me feel good about me.
Mom: Get over yourself Lou.

Tough love. Somebody’s gotta do it.

Famous Again... Almost
I love when I make it into a virtual stranger's blog. It feeds my ever-expanding ego. Unfortunately, my cameo in this post is not quite as extensive as it was in Katzy's charming tale about my rage issues. Regardless, one of the women in my pace group is being sponsored by Pockets, a pita place, to train for the Chicago Marathon and reach her weight loss goals, which I think is pretty awesome. She’s documenting her journey at 50 Down and Marathon Bound.

If you read her post from Sunday, May 20 (Run #40), I am one of the “two chics” talking about the evils of Chipotle during Saturday's group run. True story. You know… cause that’s what I do…

At Your Own Risk
Oh Chipotle... you think you're so clever... with your fresh ingrediants and seemingly healthy fare... well played, my friend. Well. Played.

Like I said, at your own risk:
http://www.chipotlefan.com/index.php?id=nutrition_calculator

My burrito's stats (rice, black beans, guacamole, corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce):

Calories: 1205
Fat: 52g
Carbs: 149g
Fiber: 17.5g
Protein: 36g

Chipotle... allow me to introduce you to a little something I like to call "the List." Chipotle... List. List... Chipotle. And well, while we're here... Trader Joe's roasted red pepper spread... we might as well get this over with...

Update: Two jars of roasted red pepper spread gone in three days... that is what I like to call... bad news bears.

Talk about ever-expanding...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Your Move, TJ

A few months ago -- or maybe it was back in the fall sometime -- Trader Joe’s opened up a store about two blocks from where @ and I work. If you’ll recall, this inspired a string of posts about the grocery phenomenon that is TJ’s... and Go Lean bars. However, I was so intrigued by the chain I went so far as to do a little research. Research people! I typed the phrase “Trader Joe’s” and “something else I can no longer remember” into Google in an attempt to figure out how they kept their prices so low. I quickly lost interest. Because of this tendency towards adult ADD, I don’t have an answer for those of you out there wondering, “Yeah, how does Trader Joe’s keep their prices so low?” For the sake of moving on, I’m going to go with… economies of scale… something…diminishing returns… stocks… bonds… something… something… capitalism… I don’t know, OK? What do I look like? An oracle?

Regardless, the point is… Trader Joe’s never ceases to amaze… the only major issue I ever have with them is their inability to keep Go Lean bars in stock – those fuckers fly off the shelves like nobody’s business. I’m veering wildly of course here. That thing I just wrote was actually not the point at all.

This is the real point: @ says to me several months ago, “Lou, you simply must try TJ’s roasted red pepper spread.” And then she described to me several uses she had discovered for said “spread.” I might have nodded off during this mini-lecture on the many virtues of Trader Joe’s red pepper spread. Needless to say, I was not convinced. But my friends, I cannot fight fate. I cannot stop the future from happening. And so, one day while meandering through the aisles of Trader Joe’s, I stumbled--as though by chance--upon a jar of florescent orange red pepper spread and decided to give it a shot.

Not sure what to make of the orange “stuff,” I tasted it straight out of the jar. Hmmm…. I was not inspired. The jar sat in the fridge for a week or so until one day, while in the midst of a quesadilla bender, I ran out of salsa and was too lazy to go to the grocery store. Just so you understand the level of laziness involved in this decision, I should mention here that there is a grocery store approximately 20 feet from my back door.

Refusing to consider eating anything besides a folded tortilla with a little bit of reduced-fat Mexican style cheese melted in between the two halves, I saw the bright orange jar and I decided that the "orange stuff" deserved one more chance... if for no better reason than pure desperation.

Talk about a 180. Immediately, I was hooked something terrible. It just so happens--like @ said--that roasted red pepper spread is the perfect accompaniment to the quesadilla. It didn't take long before the jar was G-O-N-E. I had to have more! I could no longer fathom life without it. And then--not unlike most men--Joe let me down. The red pepper spread was gone.

Finally, today it was back on the shelves. I anticipated its arrival because I consulted Trader Joe's staff members as to its whereabouts early in the week. "Thursday night," they told me. And sure enough, on Friday at noon, the roasted red pepper spread was there. Just to be safe, I bought two jars, but I didn't stop there. I also bought tortillas and cheese. Then, feeling particularly ambitious, I went back to the office and started making quesadillas on my desk...

That's how badly I wanted--no... needed--the red pepper spread. Waiting until I went home to gorge myself with quesadillas did not seem like an option. The taco soup I had packed for my healthy and well-portioned lunch? Wasted.

I seriously ate like 42 quesadillas (OK... four)... while sitting in front of my laptop at work. I felt disgusting so, in an attempt to cleanse myself, I went to the gym... and almost threw up. Not really. I made myself stop eating at 3:30pm so as to avoid any real running and excessive quesadilla/red pepper spread consumption issues. Still, I never quite sweated it out as much as I would have liked.

After I finished my workout, I came home and, though not actually hungry at all due to my earlier eating indiscretions, did the only thing I could...

I ate about six more quesadillas (OK... three).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lessons Tyra Taught Me

Last night, as Big Tyra re-crowned herself the Queen of Fierceness and passed the American’s Next Top Model torch to her newest minion, Jaslene, I wondered why I had remained faithful for the show for eight cycles. I wasn't really invested in any of the contenders. I was neither rooting for nor against Jaslene. Truth is, I rarely pick a favorite on the show (though I tend to pick a least favorite) as I find most of the girls to be equal parts annoying and endearing. As long as the current cycle's resident bitch doesn’t win—and they never do—I don’t much care who does.

Honestly, after eight rounds, the show has begun to wear on me. I find Tyra's look-at-me antics to be little more than overbearing self-promotion, and her inability to gracefully share the spotlight with anyone, including the girls that she chose to share the spotlight with, to be tiresome at best. Not to mention, her use of the show as a personal marketing vehicle for her side projects (A music video... really?) is mildly infuriating. But, I put up with it – and her... through the ridiculous model challenges (I’m pretty sure "real" models don’t have to go through boot camp training) and the painfully obvious product placements (If I have to listen to Jay explain how to apply Cover Girl lip gloss one more time...).

And yet, I watch. And I know why...

It’s because secretly--or maybe not-so-secretly--I want to be America’s Next Top Model (sort of like how other people want to be the American Idol, or the Bachelorette, or the Biggest Loser, or the Survivor, or the Apprentice, or the rich, arguably good-looking, California-breed twenty-something leading a consequence-free life). It’s not reality television. It’s fantasy television, and not because it's scripted or contrived.

I’m willing to buy that reality television is real insofar as they feature "real" people playing the part of "themselves." I’m not about to challenge the existence of the genre. But, I believe that for the viewers... for at least a portion of the millions of us who are semi-addicted to American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll, The Apprentice, or whatever, it’s because we want to watch real people live out some fantasy we have--or had--and if they can do it, that gives us a little bit of hope that maybe it’s still possible for the rest of us. (And yes, there are plenty of other voyeuristic reasons to watch reality TV, first and foremost to mock the people who cry when they get kicked off their respective shows.)

Take, for instant, The Biggest Loser. I watch that show because I fantasize about losing 20 pounds in a week and a half. And The Apprentice, I was a fan during a time in my life when I was dreaming of the BIG corporate job in New York City (that was before I realized that I really have no desire to work at all, and frankly, no matter how many attempts Tyra makes at proving the contrary, I still believe that modeling would be a means to an end of not really working, but getting paid… writing for actual money would also fall under that category).

But for me, right now, my reality TV fantasy is all about living vicariously through the girls who compete to be the Next Top Model. Each cycle, a new group of ragtag wannabes are paraded out each hoping that she will eventually be Tyra's swan. Sure they're a little taller than the average woman, a few look severely underfeed, some are obviously pretty, some striking, and one or two always inspire a “Really? Her? Huh…” reaction. But for the most part, they are just normal girls, many of them surprisingly and seemingly unremarkable, which makes some of us "normal" girls wonder if maybe, just maybe, we figured out a way to grow an inch and a half (so close!) and were willing to crash diet our way to starvation central (or not, Tyra is all about the "plus size" models since she packed on a few) then maybe... just maybe... one of us could be one of them.

It's like make believe for grown ups. And since I live alone, I am afforded the luxury of taking my little Top Model fantasy one step further without being ridiculed. So once in awhile, if I'm feeling particularly drunk and inspired by one of Trya Banks' this-is-how-you-be-Fierce tirades, I will get off my couch and "stomp it out" across the hardwood runway in my living room straight over to the closest mirror where I will practice pose 1, pose 2, dramatic eyes, pouty lips, pivot, and stomp it back to the couch. I like to congratulate myself on my fierceness before returning to my regularly scheduled programming.

A girl can dream can't she?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Baby Steps to the Start Line

You know me… I’m all about compromise. You give a little; I’ll give a little:

Lou: Nikkie... question re: half marathon...
Are you there?

(40 minutes later)

Nikkie: Hey, I saw you were writing me but I got called in to a meeting. What's up?

(40 minutes later)

Lou: You there now? I just got out of a meeting.
I was wondering if you were going to train with CES at all. Like, are you going to go the first few week?

Nikkie: I want to go on Saturday.

Lou: Does it start this weekend?

Nikkie: I believe so

Lou: Crap... you're right.

(The following is a visual representation of me thinking… hard-like)

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Alright... I'm in.

Nikkie: I think it's a 4-miler

Lou: That's nuttin...
Ummm… BTW... if you're going... do you think it would be possible to pick my ride moochin' ass up on the way? I will help pay for parking and/or coffee.

Nikkie: :) Of course. I can pick you up as long as you don't mind my ghetto vehicle which hasn't been washed in over a year, is missing a hubcap, and the paint is peeling off!

Lou: I think I'll manage. So long as I don't have to suffer the CTA at 6am on a Saturday.

It is done.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Best Dog Ever.

I wasn't sure what else to do, so I posted some photos of our family dog, Maggie (aka Miss Maggie Moo, Mag, the Moo, Miss Moo, and Magabond). My mom called me this morning at about 9:30 to tell me that she was at the vet with Moo. It was "time."

The family talked a lot about this day. Moo has had health problems for awhile (a heart murmur, a really bad back--which she has been getting acupuncture for since she was eight years old--in addition to just old age). For about a year, every time Sarah and I visited Ohio to see my mom and grandma, we said good-bye to the dog convinced it was the last time we would see her. This time it was. The last time we saw her was Easter.

We had Maggie since she was seven months old. I was 11 when we took her home, Sarah was nine. We had her for about 16 years. She was the kind of dog that makes you think that you have the best pet in the world, that no other dog could possibly have as sweet a personality or disposition. It was impossible not to love her. Everyone loved her. How could you not? Scroll down and look at that face. People still mistook her for a puppy even when she was well into her teens.

I'm not really sure what else to say. This was the family dog, but she was really like my mom's third child; Mom often referred to Moo as our sister (not in a weird crazy dog woman way, but in a the dog is part of the family way). This was my mom's burden, her decision, and I know she struggled with it. Mag had a very long and happy life.

It's going to be weird to go home without her there.

Miss Maggie Moo



Thursday, May 10, 2007

Time and the Equation

Friends, brace yourselves, this is a long one.

So last night, my trainer says to me, "Lou. You pick up your CES training information?" It was a half question, half statement. I’m not sure how to punctuate it. But, it was accompanied by one of those sort-of knowing half nods.

Ummmm... Here's the thing...

I’m under a lot of pressure. I have repeatedly semi-promised my trainer, my friends... including Nikkie (who might come after me if I back out), and you guys (my beautiful readers) that I will train for the half marathon this year.

It’s just... I don’t know... maybe I have commitment issues or something... but I can’t seem to bring myself to sign up...

You see, I don’t believe it’s the actual running part that is causing a mental block between me and the CES training registration form. Training will hurt, my body will ache, sometimes I’ll take my running shoes off to discover a blood-soaked sock. But that's what makes me feel awesome... like a freaking superstar. Sure it sucks to be in pain, but the blood, sweat and tears that prelude the satisfied feeling of accomplishment is half the reason we do this kind of insane crap. Am I right?

Of course I am.

It’s not the running.

It’s the getting up at 5:30am every Saturday for my entire summer that makes me feel a little ill. Literally, I visualize myself lying in bed, the alarm blaring in the wee hours of Saturday, and my stomach turns.

What’s funny (in a "Huh" I-have-stumped-you way) is that I didn’t blink an eye last year when I signed on to give up my Friday nights and rise with the sun on Saturdays, partially because I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into... back then, 6-3-0 was just a couple of numbers in a sea of other ambiguous numbers that have now taken on immense meaning in my life (13.1 anybody?). But, no... it was something else. I was ready and willing to toss any semblance of a social life I had in the garbage at this time last year.

Well Lou... you’ve kept us in suspense long enough... why was it so easy last year and yet it is so hard this year?

I plan to tell you, but it’s hard to explain...

Give it a shot Lou... or we’re going to stop reading.

Oh threats now. I see how it is. Fine have it your way.

I’ve mentioned my most recent relationship a few times in this blog. I have alluded to that relationship being... a mistake (understatement)... perhaps a really, really, really BIG one...

A little bit of back-story: My ex and I had been friends for more than a decade when he came to visit me in Chicago about two years ago and… BAM! Insta-boyfriend. That was it... everything made so much sense. We were meant to be together (I mean, we already loved each other as friends... this was just the natural progression of our relationship).

It was just too bad he and I didn’t have this collective epiphany (of course we’d end up together!) when we were living in the same state. He eventually decided to move from where he was to where I am. And... we determined that it would be silly (just ludicrous!) not to live together... And... what would be even more absurd is to continue renting.

So there you have it. He moved here, our finances became inevitably, and infinitely intertwined, and we bought a condo.

And then we lived happily ever after... for approximately three months... in Hell.

Oh friends... our ship sank something fast. It was obvious... painfully so... from the literal day one when I had an excuse to skip out on unpacking his boxes (his parents had made the trip to Chicago to help him move) and, instead attended a party to send off a friend from graduate school in style. I told my boyfriend I would stay at the party an hour; he said not to worry about it; three and a half hours later, I was not sober and in serious trouble (I didn't do so well the with "getting in trouble" part of the relationship). But, that’s another story for another time. Needless to say, I quickly realized that he and I didn’t have the same “priorities” in life.

I learned last summer that one of the many very unfortunate side-effects of making a grand gesture of “love”—in this case moving across states and setting up a home together—and then realizing you made a major error in judgment is the embarrassment that accompanies having to explain to friends and family (some of whom are also—for whatever reason—invested in your relationship) that shit isn’t going to work out. It’s like having to say, “Hey [insert friend or family member name], remember that time when me and my boyfriend made a huge deal about our love, and because our love was so strong we decided to honor that love by purchasing a home together, and we did, and then a whole bunch of people pitched in and helped us out? Yeah... turns out... not such a great plan.”

No one wants to have that conversation. So for a long time, I choose not to. It was surprisingly easy to cut off communication with people, frankly because I knew if I was asked about my relationship I would half-heartedly answer with a thinly veiled lie, “Everything was good…” which would downward spiral to, “You know it’s an adjustment…” which could potentially descend into a river of tears (mine). Everyone would know. I avoided the conversation altogether and tried to convince myself that my relationship would work itself out. And with the half marathon training… I had an excuse to lay low.

The story makes me sick now... to think that I refused repeatedly to listen to my instincts (which were, by the way, not whispering, not nudging, not even talking at normal conversation levels... they were screaming for months that everything was wrong and I needed to get out) and took the risk of cutting people out of my life all to save a little face. Luckily, friends can be generous in their forgiveness. My sudden re-emergence into society at the end of summer 2006 never required explanation.

Oh how everything can change... a mere one year later, I am alone (and much happier) and going out and sleeping in have taken precedence in my life. The thought of giving up Friday nights so I can wake up to run excessive distances at 6:30am seems like much more of a sacrifice than it did when I filled my Friday evenings with fights about where the boyfriend and I would order takeout from and what television show we were going to watch. We agreed on NOTHING, NADA, NEVER. I’m rolling my eyes, but you can’t see me.

However, even now, despite my deep and profound love of drinking al fresco post-work on Fridays, I cannot stress how much I want to do the half marathon. Running is an important part of my life, and training with CES has given me the opportunity to belong to a community of runners. Group training cultivates a feeling of camaraderie; long runs give you loads of time to get to know and befriend like-minded people. I would hate to lose that.

And, I understand why the Saturday long runs begin at such an ungodly hour... it’s so I don’t dehydrate and pass out from heat stroke at noon because it’s 90-some odd degrees. I can get on board with that kind of solid—let’s say, logical—reasoning.

But I still don’t want to wake up...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

10 Things I Love About Lou

Last night should have been productive. Last night needed to be productive. Laundry should have been done; dinner should have been made; my lunch should have been packed. Instead, I got home from the gym and ate crackers while lying on the couch, laptop propped on my stomach, half clicking through Myspace pages, blogs, and old emails, half watching Heroes (and that beautiful man who plays Dr. Suresh). Men that beautiful shouldn't be allowed to exist; they distract me from the bright, glowing screen.

Sometimes I wonder about the purpose of my life. Still... after all this time.

So while absentmindedly clicking through my usual rundown of friends’ and strangers’ blogs, I came across Heidikin's post from Friday, May 4, which I thought was good times. In it, she listed 10 fun facts that someone like me… someone who has never met her, but reads her blog… wouldn't know about her.

I immediately said something to myself along the lines of, “I want to write a post with 10 fun facts about Lou!!!” And, I got all excited. Then I had an internal battle. "Would that be weird if I totally copied her idea and did it too?" Eh. That’s how I reconciled it and besides, the people need something to read! So, in conclusion, I am copying Heidi’s post for the people. I hope she doesn't mind.

10 Things To Love About Lou
  1. Sometimes I have all these intense thoughts, but I can't keep them in my head long enough to write them down.
I don’t know why I had to write that... I just did. It’s a quote from Sex and the City, season 1, the episode titled “Models and Mortals.” I couldn’t actually find the exact quote on the Internet so let’s assume it’s loose, at best. Here’s the real list:
  1. My name—my full first name—means, "fights with honor." I also am a huge fan of camouflage print and, in general, anything army green, including army-inspired clothing. I feel compelled to list these two facts together as though they are somehow related, so I have.
  2. I have a hard time remembering anything about my childhood. I used to think this was because I was blocking it out for some horrible reason, but the other day when I asked Keni to explain to me the title of my post, This Is Not Here (yes, you read that right. I had to ask Keni to explain it to me, and I freaking wrote it! I knew it was an inside joke between the two of us when we were kids, I just couldn't remember what it meant) it occurred to me that I may just have a bad memory.
  3. I was a cheerleader. Oh yeah, for like six years, and… AND… I am proud of it. Why? Because I was good. Not University of Kentucky good, but really, pretty damn good. In fact, one of my biggest regrets is that I did not try out for my college's squad (my other biggest regret is my last relationship... Haha! Couldn't resist). I had my priorities though. Substance abuse trumped athletics at 18. Regardless, I think Bring It On is an awesome (A-W-E-S-O-M-E) movie, and I will squeal with delight anytime I come across a cheerleading competition broadcast on ESPN. Semi-related side note: Once my college roommate and I got into a 20-minute fight about whether we were going to watch CMT or a cheerleading competition on ESPN. I hated CMT and somehow, during the course of our likely PMS-induced argument, I ended up in tears. True story.
  4. I grew up in Dublin, Ohio, a town where the "powers that be-ed" determined that constructing a field of cement corn was an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.
  5. Since I turned 18, I have lived in: Athens, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Evanston, Illinois; Troy, Michigan; Boston, Massachusetts (admittedly it was for, like, three weeks, but I went there with the intention of staying, it just didn't work out that way, but I think it counts); and Chicago. And I still, even with my age, wisdom, and the knowledge that I would not be able to maintain my current lifestyle, dream about packing it all in and living the life in New York City. I'm not exactly sure what that "life" would entail, though I doubt it would involve a personal trainer, Tivo, or a one bedroom apartment. I would live in a shoebox and eat Ramen noodles out of a plastic container... with a plastic fork... and get in workouts by running from muggers...
  6. I don't drive. I don't want to drive. In fact, going on two years without a car, it's likely that you won't want me to drive either. To me this means that I am slave to the Chicago Transit Authority. And, if I could have one superpower it would be teleportation, so I could just close my eyes, and click my heels, and be home. Screw you CTA!
  7. I have a subscription to the Chicago Tribune. It is delivered to my apartment building’s doorstep three times a week and I refuse to pick it up. Every time… I just look at the ground and think, “Crap, I need to cancel that.” And it just sits there… until I, or somebody, eventually throws it in a trashcan. And yes, I realize I am a horrible person, and by not picking up my paper I am somehow contributing to the demise of our environment, global warming, the de-beautification of my apartment’s courtyard, hunger in Africa, the war in Iraq, the flooding in the Midwest, the fall of democracy, and the perpetuation of uninformed American masses, but I am lazy… L-A-Z-Y. I don’t want to read the paper. I don’t even want to pretend that I want to read the paper. And, if the Chicago Tribune made it easy for me to cancel my subscription, it would have been canceled months ago. But, they don't make it easy; they make it hard, and as I mentioned earlier, I am lazy.
  8. As a teenager, I was in seven car accidents (this is an estimation; Sarah might be able to verify). One time I hit a fire hydrant because I was trying to light a cigarette while I was driving down the street in my cheerleading uniform to pick up my best friend/fellow cheerleader for a pre-game dinner. The cop asked me two questions: how did you manage to hit the fire hydrant, and are you in the band? I answered, respectively, I looked down to change the radio station and accidentally veered off of the road, and no sir, I am not in the band; do I look like I'm in the band? Please consult numbers 3 and 6 if you need additional information about cheerleading and/or driving.
  9. At the bright-eyed and ready-to-face-the-world age of 21, I decided to pursue a career in public relations because (and I’m quoting myself here), "I like people and I like to write." Eloquently stated, but as it turned out, I was only half right.
  10. It's the last one… got to make it a good one… so much pressure… everybody is watching… I have a "thing" for men with facial hair, preferably beards. Yeah. I said it. And no, I don't think Santa Claus is hot, you sick, messed up people.
Talk about anti-climactic.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

This Is Not Here

Dear Keni,

Granted, I’m not familiar with the “law,” morality, common decency, and other such nonsense, but instinct suggests that the picture to the right may not be… how do you say? Kosher. It occurs to me now, at the ripe old age of 27, that our parents not only agreed to, but also paid for us to dress like 11-year-old streetwalkers. Streetwalkers, Keni! And it wasn’t even Halloween! What would Chris what’s-his-name on Dateline’s To Catch A Predator say?

My rationalization for posting this picture is the following (by the way, this picture is far more horrific for me than it is for Keni): I, of sound mind, posted this picture to remind Keni of where she and I came from (which apparently on this particular day was whore school). Why? Because Keni is getting married in two—count ‘em—two days. And, since Keni is one of my most faithful readers and my oldest friend in the world, I decided in my infinite wisdom that she deserved something special.

"Special" being a blog post dedicated to her, complete with mortifying photo for the world to see. Sure it wasn't techinically on the registry, but I wonder if this counts as my wedding gift...

But I digress...

The way I see it, your impending nuptials provide me with an excellent excuse to take a very brief trip down memory lane (this is a blog after all, I can’t write a damn novel). And I do love me a trip down ol' memory lane. Shall we, Keni?

Like you really have a choice...

Keni, your readers and my readers may not know this but, I met you before people stopped calling you Keni and started calling you Kendra, before you became a Texan, before high school and college, before "real" jobs and quarter-life crises, before living with on our own and living with roommates and living with boyfriends, and yes, long before you met your husband-to-be Blake. But I knew you after you spent the better part of your elementary school years in Cincinnati. Yep, that's me. I'm the person wedged between the bookends of Cincinnati and Dallas, a mere pit stop on the road to all of the places you eventually went and the place you are now, a little town I fondly refer to as "The Bus…” that is, Columbus, Ohio.

In case you’ve forgotten… it was 1991 and for one year it was all about jazz class with Sandy, slumber parties, fashion shows, hanging poolside, our moms explaining that “Keni and Lou” weren’t boys, and our crowning achievement--our moment in the spotlight--the Jitterbug flip as preformed in front of approximately 50 parents and disgruntled siblings at the annual Dublin Dance Workshop recital. You taught me so much that year, like that the Humpty Dance wasn't just a catchy tune about some guy in a funny hat getting his groove on—it was about something far more sinister. It was a simpler time Keni… a simpler time.

And then, when we were 12, you’re family decided to pack it all in and leave “The Bus” forever. Sadface.

It's weird, Miss (soon to be Mrs.) Keni. I know that you know that I know that we're the outliers. We're those people who said we would keep in touch and actually did. For almost 17 years it’s been letters, phone calls, trips to Ohio, trips to Texas, trips to Michigan, trips to Chicago, emails, Web chats. Damn… we’re kind of old.

And now, you're getting married! I am so happy for you and Blake, and insanely excited that my mom and I will share this day with you (yes… my mom is my date to Keni’s wedding. No judgment people). What I'm really trying to say is… Congratulations! If there is one thing I know about you, Keni—from experience—it's that you can keep a promise (you said you’d write and damnit you did); the commitments you make aren't easily broken else I wouldn't be hoping on a Dallas-bound plane tomorrow. Texas Forever!

As Always,
Lou

P.S. Just to save a little face here, I'm actually four inches taller than Keni... now. I was a late bloomer, what can I say?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Once Bitten

I’m a pretty careful blogger. Topics that could get me into hot water with work or family or friends… I stay away from those. I never use full first names (unless someone is a frequent commenter and uses his or her full name to comment with), and I tend to exercise fairly conservative judgment when inserting someone—even offhandedly—into a post (@ always gets a “head’s up” before I write about her). Why? Because the only person’s life I have the rights to (celebrities and public figures aside) is my own.

That’s the way I see it.

Regardless, I screw up from time to time. A few months ago, I wrote about how, after my building supervisor told me that I should “get a boyfriend” to screw a light bulb into a ceiling fixture I could not reach (even with a chair and a few phone books piled up) my ex conveniently stopped by to drop off some remaining odds and ends I had left behind at the condo where he and I had lived together. I, of course, asked him to screw in the light bulb for me, which to say the least, pissed him off something terrible. He eventually conceded, but I was so annoyed about the fact that he had made such a big deal out of a little light bulb, that I wrote about it… specifically, I said that he needed to, “get over it.” And then… I published it on my blog.

Done and done.

Ok, sure. I didn’t smear his good name or make disparaging remarks about his character. It certainly didn’t qualify as libelous. But, our attempt at a friendship after our relationship was rocky—at best—and the last thing I needed to do was start talking shit, no matter how benign, in a public forum. However, it never occurred to me that he might actually read it!

When the next conversation with my ex-boyfriend took place several weeks later about something completely unrelated, the snarky comment I had made was a million miles away from my mind. But, without so much as a warning, our conversation turned ugly; he started yelling at me, telling me he didn’t want me bothering him anymore, for a “number of reasons,” none of which he had any intention of explaining. I was stunned, and then, after he hung up on me mid-sentence, I remembered what I had written. I immediately edited it… erasing it from history, removing my cheap shot forever.

Now, if you ask me about the proverbial “straw” that was our undoing, I will tell you a story about irrational anger directed at a simple request involving a light bulb rather than about somewhat justified anger directed at something I wrote. And... even though I don’t know for sure, I do know better.

A lot of people blog about different things for different reasons. I blog because I love it… so much so that with all those words in the dictionary, I cannot verbally express why or what… that’s how much love I have for this lil’ blog. I welcome—encourage—friends, family, strangers, anyone really, to read what I post. I once told @ that I thought I had about 15 readers (about 5-8 people who comment occassionally + some friends who I know are out there and faithful, even if they choose to remain anonymous). She suggested I enable my site to track the amount of traffic on my blog. That, @, was an excellent idea (you have so many of them)! So I did. As it turns out, 15 was a grossly inaccurate estimation.

Those of us who are willing to “put it out there” in this forum have made a choice (a bold one at that) to be read. We all have phantom readers--readers who don't know you personally and will probably never reveal themselves in the form of a comment, but are loyal and for whatever reason, interested. Maybe they found me by clicking on the “next blog” button in Blogger; maybe they followed a link from a friend’s blog to another friend’s blog to another friend’s blog, etc.; maybe they happened upon my Myspace or Friendster page; or maybe someone passed along my Web address. Six degrees my friends. Have we learned nothing from Kevin Bacon?

Sometimes, it’s odd to think that I’ve revealed so much about myself, said so many things (a few I regret), in this forum to people who are literally virtual strangers. But, when I began this blog, I made that choice to be read. That’s the one—if not the only—truth about blogging… if you’re writing it, somebody’s reading it and, it may not be the audience you initially intended.

I, personally, embrace that.