Seems like an unfair advantage


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Because I’m geeky as hell, I belong to several different writing groups on Pinterest. At the end of September, I saw a post or two about NanoWrimo.

Now it’s really started.

National November Writing Month is something I discovered in college, and I was initially thrilled at the aspect of writing ALL month long. Then I remembered I was in college and was required to write for all my essays and projects and still go to class, etc. Halfway through the month, I was out. If I even made it that far.

However, this was the first time I’d ever seen people busting out tips and strategies far before the month even started. Apparently, this is a real thing. This is the stretching you do before the marathon. This is the studying you do before the SATs. These guys are professionals, and they are not fucking around.

I brought this up yesterday to Til, and one of our other writer friends joined in. Here’s a snippet of conversation:


Til is right. It still feels like cheating. Someone from our friend group does it every year. However, he also runs actual marathons. I run like the following:

It’s based on a sentence from The Fault in Our Stars that says, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly and then all at once.” By the way, I’m reading another John Green book. It’s hard reading other books by an author whose best book you’ve already read, and I’m not saying the books are bad. I’m on my third book by him, and I’m just really hoping it’s better than the last one I read. Because that was disappointing.

I’m probably not going to participate in NanoWrimo. It’s less than a month away, but nothing’s in stone yet. I’ve still got time.

That’s better


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The other night, one of my friends shared this sentimental post:


A little extreme, but sweet. Since she dedicated it to her husband, I reposted it and dedicated it to my husband. Why the hell not? Parker saw it later.

Parker: This is intense. I mean, I don’t think “missing you” is either of our hobbies. That’s a really lame hobby.

Me: Yeah, I guess you’re right. I thought it was romantic though.

Later in the evening, Parker went into the kitchen to heat up a baked potato.

Me: While you’re in there, can you throw me together a salad?

My family has this tradition where when we need something and we’re tired or sick (or just savoring the act of sitting), we wait until someone else gets up and then ask them to get us something. While I’m aware that other people do this too, my family is particularly bad about abusing this power of laziness. My great uncle used to wait until my grandma actually sat down on the couch before he’d say, “By the way, while you’re up…”

Parker: “Throw you together a salad?” Okay.

I expected him to toss some spinach and carrots into a bowl and dollop on some dressing and slide it across the counter to me on the couch. Then I hear him chopping something.

Me: What are you doing?
Parker: I’m throwing you together a salad.

By the time he was done, it looked like I went to Sweet Tomatoes. There were chopped up pieces of celery, chopped up carrots, sunflower seeds, and dressing on top of my spinach.

Me: You didn’t have to do all this.

Parker: The longer you spend in the other room, the more elaborate this is going to be.

Me: Guess you’re not going to bed tonight. I didn’t intend for you to put all this effort into it.

Parker: I know, but you seemed disappointed by my lack of enthusiasm for the picture and my critique of the “missing you” hobby.

I think what he’s trying to say is that he puts more work into our relationship than merely missing me when I’m gone. Which is much more rewarding when you think about it.

The life of the party


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Recently, I decided to host a party at my apartment, because sometimes my brain tricks me into believing I want something then laughs at me when it becomes miserably obvious that THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! Thanks, Brain. You give false advertisements. This brought up some old memories along with a weird type of social anxiety that I rarely experience. Now I’m scared of my own party. More accurately, a potentially failed party.

As most of you know, I have some anxiety issues. I don’t like to talk about it, because talking about it worse. This is not only upsetting, but irritating. To everyone. Despite what naively positive people believe, anxiety is not something you can “just get over.” If it were that easy, none of us would suffer, none of us would know what that word meant, and we would all live in castles made of gumdrops which would be gross because it would melt and get all gooey anytime it was warm, rainy, or both. You couldn’t even eat them, because gumdrops are kind of gross. Unless they’re Dots, and then like one of those mini boxes is okay or maybe the cinnamon ones, but not in large quantities. We would have no nervousness about the melting though, so that’d be cool.



The idea of hosting sounds so great at first. It starts with being lazy but also wanting to hang out with people. “What if I could go to a party, but all I had to do was walk into the other room and wait for friends to show up? I could wear WHATEVER I wanted. I mean, it’s MY house. If I feel like putting on pajamas at some point, I could just do it! It’s not weird, because they’re ONE ROOM AWAY!” My mind is its own pyramid scheme.

It’s actually a lot like Mike Birbiglia’s stand up bit about how hard it is to wake up. I also have a hard time waking up, but really, becoming a party host is a lot like this.

Secretly, I’m always aware that it’s a lot more work than just being there. But I write it off. “No, this will be good!” I insist. I even tell myself that I really needed to clean the house, and the only way is guests. That part is true, but it’s never something that feels voluntary the moment that I actually am forced into cleaning.

In high school, I was something of an extremist. I used to go from one social event to another until I collapsed from exhaustion and missed school. Hosting was easy, because I lived 3 minutes from school. So if I invited people over after, they couldn’t turn me down. How? Walking to my house took 15 minutes (20 depending on what side of the school you started on). If I was late, my boyfriend could come over and pound on my door (that happened). When I was sick, my friends could drop to see how sick I actually was (they did, because it was almost always chronic fatigue, so rarely was it contagious).

Ever since I joined the work force, even if I’m not working, the idea of putting on pants and leaving the house fills me with dread. There is nothing worse than going to an event and realizing that you would have had much more fun doing nothing at home. I didn’t understand until I worked full time, and then I really questioned the kinds of events I was committed to attending.

All of this might have slipped by me. Except another friend posted an event the day after mine. He made an awesome pitch. People want to go.

I’m not good at selling my parties. I can never be like “YOU GUYS THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST.” Mine are more like, “This is what I’m going to be doing…you guys could do that too. It might suck. No, there’s no promise after that, I’m just saying it might.”

At some juncture I decided not to have parties at my house anymore. It’s not even that I temporarily wised up to my own act of the simplicity ruse. There’s no specific reason I can point to for this turn of events, but I can narrow it down to a few things.

Oscar the Grouch meets Ernie is kind of a terrible host

My family has weird traits that get passed down from generation…and some of the weirdest ones are the ones that affect both sides. Like the Joni Mitchell song except about genetics and nurturing. When people talk from time to time about what genetic problems their family members typically suffer from (note: not necessarily what kills them), most folks say things like heart disease and cancer. Then my friends look to me and say, “What about you?” and I’m obliged to say, “Depression, suicide, and alcoholism.”

And hoarding.

No one makes movies about that one. Both sides of my family hoards. My husband’s family hoards. Apparently, the women in my family never learned how to clean (I say women not because I’m being biased, but because guys in my family do know how to clean). At some point, my mom’s house got so bad that I just stopped inviting people over. Fortunately, one of my friends from high school ending up hanging out with me all the times since neither of our parents are very good house keepers, so we were the only people we weren’t worried over inviting to our houses. It sounds terrible, but if you can’t bond with people over mildly to completely traumatizing experiences, then how can you bond with them? Don’t answer that, just keep reading.

What’s Up, Richie Rich?

I went to a high school where many of the students came from affluent families. Many, although not all, of my friends came from medium to low income families. Which meant that the friends who DID host all of our cast parties had fantastic homes, because how else can you fit a cast of 30 somewhere? You can’t. You need large, entertainment rooms.

Must escape vs. escaped too much

Introverted affairs like avoiding my mom’s tough emotional outbursts from the end of high school until I moved out after college and living in Texas for 3 years also didn’t help. My high school writing teacher once told me that one of my weaknesses was accepting criticism, and every year I’m alive that becomes truer. Now I don’t know how to make parties cool. My problem with having plants is I’m either too involved or too absent, and I struggle with that aspect everywhere in my life, including parties.



The party hasn’t happened yet, but there you go. If it’s extra awkward or amazing, I’ll try to give a full update. If it’s somewhat forgettable, I’ll try to find another subject to post about and slip it in fast.

Conversations that prove my husband and I are meant to be


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(Parker’s eyes are closed)
Me: Hon? Are you sleeping?

Parker: Sorry, I drank most of a bottle of port. What you’re seeing is me inebriated. Also, I have “Part of Your World” stuck in my head…

Me: This is so weird! My friend just posted about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I had a dream about them last night!! This is the second dream I have ever had about them, and the first one in AT LEAST 20 years. It was primarily about the orange one…okay, that sounds a little sketchy.

Parker: Was it a sex dream?

Me: Fortunately, no! Can you look him up? Because my friend was talking about Raphael, and it would be extra weird if it was the same turtle.

Parker: You dreamed about Michelangelo, which makes sense, because he’s the funny one. He spends a lot of time surfing.

Me: What this quiz SHOULD be called is “The Hardest Zoolander Quiz You Will Ever Take.” Because it is. Which is to say that it is also the only one I have ever taken. I am so disappointed. I thought I knew that movie better than this.

Parker: We will just have to watch it again. We should watch it TONIGHT.

Me: Okay, but I want to watch this video called “The Top 10 Movie Theme Songs of All Time.”

Parker: That’s fine, but as soon as it is over, that is it. No more internet videos. We have a movie to watch.

Parker: Your mom asked if I was getting you shoes for your birthday. It’s like she doesn’t even know you.

In the words of Cards Against Humanity, Bees?


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Not bees.

I found these two beautiful, speckled balls (ha ha, yes it’s funny) outside today on the ground, but I wasn’t sure what kind of tree they came from. I showed them to Parker.

Courtesy of
Parker: I’m pretty sure those are wasp eggs.
Me: What!? Ewww. No, they’re so pretty! Can you look it up?

Yeeeeeeup, they are galls. So I had to chuck them away instead of creating a lovely fall arrangement like it suggests on the flyer by the mailboxes. WHAT A TRAP THAT WAS. My apartment complex is self-destructive and secretly wants a wasp problem. Waspception.

Parker: Ready for more wasps? Look, there’s this video where someone has a wasp nest incased in glass.
Me: AH! NO! No wasps. Wasps are bees that refuse to die. They’re bee zombies.
Parker: I’d be really afraid that in the middle of the night, the glass would break, and the apartment would be swarming with them. Like the story I told you about the couple who had to escape due to the massive wasp problem.
Me: And then we’d have to escape to the bath room and have the fire department rescue us.

According to this literature, it takes two years for them to develop. Not taking any chances though!

So if you’re like me and you find something pretty outside to make the Autumn arrangement in your home complete, make sure it isn’t a potential danger. I also once picked these beautiful branches I found in November as a bouquet and brought them home. Then I became incredibly sick, and my mom deduced that I was allergic to them.

Be careful with nature, my friends!

Out of State Plates


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As a kid, I used to motor my way through Sweet Valley High fictional series. I loved the elementary school years, the junior high years, the high school years, and I even read some of the college years and special editions.

The series revolves around the Wakefield twins, but there are two side characters that both come from affluent families: Lila Fowler and Bruce Patman. For most of the series, these two hate each other even though they are similarly snobby in lots of ways. The reader is told that Bruce comes from old money and Lila comes from new money. Lila’s family wants to modernize Sweet Valley, and Bruce’s family want to maintain the history.

The other day, I realized is how I would describe Oregonians.

When I was little, I learned that for some reason Californians were despised by Oregonians. Since I have family from there and spent some very memorable vacations, I figured this was jealousy over the awesome cultural sites, a kick ass flag, and the abundance of sunshine.

The intensity didn’t really hit me until one day at work, my co-worker put down the state. “Hey, what’s wrong with California?” I asked. Said co-worker began to complain about people who got plastic surgery, drove badly, and were snobby. “My mom is from there. They drive fast because they have 6 lane freeways and a higher speed limit,” I responded. “And not everyone who lives there gets plastic surgery.” She didn’t have much of a response, but I conveniently left out the part about being snobby or the comment “the pot calling the kettle black.”

The real reason, I learned, was not specific to Californians. Oregonians did not like it when the masses started moving to their state. There was a big population change which affected traffic, jobs, and housing. But the population changed everywhere. Whenever my mom and I were in the city of her youth, she always pointed out suburbs that used to be trees and rolling, lazy hills.

I began hearing and seeing it everywhere. Even the djs on the radio joked that Oregon should change their signs to notify out-of-towners to leave. I failed see the humor. While I was waiting to get my oil changed one day, I started a conversation with a woman who’d moved from out of state. She said that people had actually slashed her tires, and they had talked down to her since she was a transplant. I was horrified.

My husband and I went to a museum earlier this year, where two elderly women were talking at the entrance while we looked over literature and informational packets.

“I’ve lived my whole life in Oregon,” one of them said happily. “My family moved from Wisconsin.”

“Oh,” the other woman paused. “So you were born out of state? You’re not originally from Oregon?”

They continued their conversation, but I had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling at the old woman. Of course this lady she was speaking to was an Oregonian, because of the simple fact that she LIVED in Oregon.

When people found out I was moving to Texas, they all shook their heads. People told me I wouldn’t like it. But I no longer believed them. I’d heard too many “I could never live anywhere else,” or “I’m a real Oregonian. I like the rain.” I used to tell people that the reason I ended up moving out of state was because I was stuck in months of rain, had a bad day at work, and my then-boyfriend said, “I’m up for a promotion, but we’d have to either move to Texas or Florida.” And what I said was “Good, I am SICK of this rain. I’ll start packing all the sun dresses I can never wear.”

Everybody welcomed me when I moved to Texas. Everyone was nice to me. They all wanted to know how I was adjusting and if I liked it, etc. Living there wasn’t what I expected, but I did realize that I missed home.

Not everyone here is like that, but sadly, too many are. There’s a difference between having pride for your state and being a supremacist. Caring about your home versus having a statewide immigration policy. Truly loving something instead of bragging just to brag. Keeping people out because they’re not like you or you’re afraid. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

I was born and raised in Oregon. I enjoy visiting other states. Summer is my favorite season. I like to tan. But I cried when I found out they were renovating the airport and pulling out the carpet I had known since childhood. I was saddened when I heard they were shutting down Cartopia. I don’t watch Portlandia, because as my dad so aptly said, “It is New Yorkers making fun of Portlanders.” And every time I find out a celebrity is from or has moved to Oregon, I feel a sense of pride whether they’ve just arrived or have been here from the beginning.

Every morning for the last year on my drive to work, I stared at the blue hills, the evergreens, and felt peace rush over me. I try to remember to welcome every person who moves to the Portland area, in case no one else has. I encourage my old co-workers to come visit me. We’ll have a coffee or a beer. I hope I can start a new trend where everyone is welcoming and friendly. Let’s show people just how great we can be.

What about you, readers? What do you love about your home state? What do you dislike about it? Have you moved, and if so, how has that affected the way you think about where you live?

I’m sure all of your regrets involve corn, too



Writers were the kids that got caught passing notes in class. The ones that lobbied hard for the SAT to get an essay portion. We are the champs that are always rethinking the title for our autobiography, and we will befriend other writers so that someday in the distant future, someone fantastic can help our less wordgasm and saddened family members write our obituaries and make the aisles laugh with tears in their eyes at our funerals.

So when a blogger or an author says, “I have something to day,” and starts typing, no one doubts this.

Today, words fail me, but I can’t stop thinking that I want to say something so I will bumble through it so that I can have something of a satisfaction from having a thought come out of my head in a neat little cookie cutter cloud bubble.

I would hesitate to call this a bad day or a great day, but merely a different kind of day that can be seen as an opportunity or a catastrophe depending on who you ask. Overly simplistic is the person who could call today one or the other, although we do, and I am guilty of that myself.

I don’t want to get into specifics. Nobody died and no one was born, but there are two things I can say for certain: When it was all said and done, there was an awkward exit on my part, and while I’m going through different emotions right now, the overwhelmingly consistent one is the fact that I didn’t get any white cheddar popcorn.

Physical Therapy stretches


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As of last Wednesday, I’m on parole from physical therapy. They are allowing me to continue to do stretches at home only, so I’ve graduated on account of my dedication to excellence. This is an older post I started, but since I’m still doing them all, it still applies.


I’ve been going to physical therapy for my back for awhile now. It is superior to what I imagined it would be, because I imagined it would be a lot like working out. For those who don’t know, I hate working out. Whenever I start a regimen, I feel like I’m dying, I usually get sick, and then I give up. I would say that it’s hard, but not impossible. I feel like Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises without all the bulging muscles or basically anything that makes him Batman. You know that montage sequence where he’s training? It’s a lot like that, except spliced in with the part from Hot Rod where Rod falls down the hill in the forest. Which means both films have become more believable for me in the long run.

It’s definitely a challenge. I got done with a session three weeks ago, and for some reason that plus the fact that my cd player switched over to an Adele song sent me into tears. Being an adult woman means randomly crying at an Adele song you’ve been laughing at other women for crying over, and then you get all judgy on yourself. Of course, it was also really hot out. I’m not sure if my body goes into hyper stress because of the heat or what. We used to live in the South, and I cried all the time although only part of it can actually be attributed to the weather.

I tried explaining the stretches I am doing to my friends the other day when Parker and I went out to brunch with them, but I had trouble finding a way to explain them. Since that happened, I decided to come up with names for them. The other reason is because when I do a new stretch, sometimes it requires a second pair of eyes at home to make sure I’m setting it up right. As a result, I kept saying, “Parker! I need you to watch me do the leg stretch! No, not that one, the OTHER one. Where’s the picture?” At which point I’d find the fan had bitch slapped the hand outs into a corner and the dog cowering in the opposite corner since flying papers frighten her (don’t ask me why, maybe because she’s small?). I’ll try to find pictures so you know what the hell I’m talking about.

My favorite named one is Prince Charming, probably because it sounds like a kama sutra pose or a piercing you wouldn’t show your family (relative of Prince Albert). I also call it The Proposal, because you crouch down on one knee without a ring. I guess you could have a ring, but you have to hold the stretch. I’d feel awkward with my ring in my hand asking the wall to marry me and then waiting the other 26 seconds while I waited for a response. I also started a fake speech the other day. I’m still waiting on a response from the wall.

The second one I call The Wall or Fake Sit, because it looks like I’m trying to sit in a chair against the wall. Just imagine Jon Snow caught by other members of the Night’s Watch about to sit, but he sees them so he stops midway in this kind of awkward position of “I’m totally standing!”

Parker and I named one of my stretches The Creeper, because I have to prop my leg up against the wall and lean into it, so I usually do it on the corner and lean in while watching tv. You can only see half of my face. I also started doing this stretch the same week we started watching The Fall. 

The hardest one looks a little bit like a Popeye waddle where I put my hands on my knees and walk sideways.

I have more stretches, but those are the best named ones so far. I’m off to do them.

8 out of 10 would bang, but who SHOULD bang? Sex reference and flow chart


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In the recent past, someone I know was railing against bangs. My knee-jerk response was to feel defensive and discriminated against, but instead I held back and thought about it for awhile (usually a good decision).

Now that I’ve ruminated on this, here’s a chart to help you ladies decide.

bangsThere you go. If you don’t need them but do it anyway, then you’ll probably look heinous.


I started playing some Van Halen while writing this


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One of the most defining aspects of my personality, in my opinion, is that I either care too much or not enough. My coping strategy is to get super grumpy about issues, pedantic or otherwise.

I’ve written a lot about health, particularly mental health. The importance of maintaining good health, the frustration and aggravation that goes along with having a bad immune system and a flawed body/mind because of this.

This morning, I was drinking my coffee and scanning news articles for interesting bits of info. I’m not great at sitting down and reading news articles, but I am pretty skilled in finding things to pick apart.

That’s when I came across this article: Golden Gate Bridge Board Approves Funding for Suicide Barrier. Here’s how I imagine this came about.

Politician 1: We have GOT to do something about this suicide issue. People just keep jumping off the bridge. It’s an epidemic.

Politician 2: Here’s the funding we could get for the project. We can spend it in any way to decrease the number of deaths each year.

Politician 3: I know! We can increase awareness for mental health. We can create ads, increase our budget for psychological counseling and mental health both at the academic and community level.

Politician 4: Nah, that sounds complicated. Let’s just build a barrier. We can put the least amount of effort in possible. This way, people can still kill themselves, but they won’t do it on the bridge.

Politician 3: The bridge has been around since 1937. It’s gorgeous. Building a barrier will change the entire look!

Politician 1: Yeah, but people have started calling it “the bridge of death.”

Politician 3: Who calls it that?

Politician 2: Certain family members of people who have jumped and those that may have witnessed it.

Politician 1: It’s settled. We will build this ugly barrier to avoid people thinking of the bridge as a way out. They may still try to kill themselves, but at least it will happen in other, less public ways. We’ll just make it more difficult to do it on a bridge.


To me, there is a missed opportunity here to help promote good mental help, to get those suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts/attempts the help they need, and a way to change society for the better.

Who the fuck calls it the bridge of death? I used to live outside San Francisco, and that bridge is beautiful. I recall chewing gum and blowing my first bubble in the car on the way home while we drove over that bridge.

On the other hand, I never witnessed anyone killing themselves on the bridge. I guess that would make it considerably less beautiful.


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