Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things That Scare Me More Than Halloween

As the plethora of pumpkins and décor would indicate, we’re getting closer to Halloween. And while I’m not really a Scrooge, I’m also not that into the holiday anymore.

I write about Halloween five months out of the year for one of my magazines at work, and if I want candy, costumes and creepiness, I can go to WalMart and wander among the shoppers any day of the week.

Plus, a lot of the “scary” things associated with the day like skulls, witches and spiders—okay, I’ll give you that last one—don’t really scare me at all. Even the stray black cat that hangs out here crossing my path doesn’t spook me at all, (although mouthing “you’re screwed” and giving me the finger when it walked by just seemed rude.)

Anyway, I even did the haunted house thing a couple of years ago but decided that I would never again pay $20 for people to jump out and yell at me when there were things in my daily adult life that scare me even more—for free.

halloween

Getting a notification that I’ve been tagged in a Facebook picture without having any idea what picture it is.

Sneezing while driving.

Seeing a picture of myself as a toddler in a bathing suit and realizing my boobs are still the same size.

Getting my mortgage statement.

Touching the remote control at the gym, or worse, being stuck on a cardio machine near someone who evidently marinated in Axe cologne.

Being selected as either Dr. Oz’s assistant of the day or “going to Flavortown” with Guy Fieri.

People without a sense of humor.

Seeing a bug inside, running to get a paper towel to dispose of the bug, and coming back to find the bug has since departed to regions now unknown.

Losing the Internet for more than five minutes.

Using a toilet away from home and having it refuse to flush.

Eating the last bite of something without realizing I just ate the last bite of something. I am never more emotionally unprepared.

Going to feed the birds and having a mouse jump out of the birdseed bag.

Three words: Company Teambuilding Activity

Accidentally hitting the switch for the garbage disposal instead of the light above the sink.

Trying on a shirt in a dressing room—scary enough as it is—but then getting stuck in said shirt, providing the security cameras with a panic-filled performance of attempted removal.

Typos.

Having to touch a bathroom door handle, noticing it’s wet, and not knowing if it’s because someone washed their hands or if they didn’t. (Thank god for hand sanitizer.)

My grandma trying to hook me up with the new 90-year-old resident at the home because, “I can’t afford to be picky anymore.”

Realizing more people will read a Buzzfeed quiz in one day to find out what their “Spirit Vegetable” is than will read my whole blog/books in a year.

(For the record, I would be a Brussels sprout—often steamed and rather bitter.)

So as you can see, Halloween really has nothing on my general day-to-day neurosis. Bring it on, Freddy Krueger. Bring it on.

What would you add to your list?

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Annie from “Swirleytime” Has Issues

Today’s brave blogger sharing their issues won me over not only because she’s funny or because she bribed me with the promise of the spare change she found in her couch, but because she’s also a) close to her mom and b) familiar with the role of caretaker.

We’re keeping things light today, but it reinforces the theory that humor can be used to heal. Then again, so can copious amounts of carbs and it’s really a toss-up some days and quite frankly, a win either way.

Anyway, meet Annie (and her mom, who she describes as a “vigorous greeter”.)

Anna2

Name – Annie

Blog www.chicagonow.com/swirleytime

 Where, what and why do you write?

I work from my jacked up office/playroom in Chicago. I mostly write about things that annoy me like my mom, my kid, the 12,000 construction projects currently going on around my house and people who park in rush hour lanes. As far as I am concerned, if you block traffic due to pure asshattery, you deserve to get your car keyed.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

“Who is this man sleeping next to me?” Then I slink out of bed, quietly open an overstuffed drawer and put on pants. Only after I am clothed do I whisper to myself. “That man sleeping in bed is named Lee-Roy. He is my husband. You are a total freak for all the wrong reasons.” This is 100 percent true 90 percent of the time.

(Editor’s note: I think the same thing, except it’s “Where did this almond on the pillow come from?” right before I shrug and just eat it. This is 100 percent true 100 percent of the time.)

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Merge lanes. Specifically assholes who deem it acceptable to sit in your blind spot as you try to jump on the highway at speeds faster than 4 MPH. And just as you enter their lane, they move over to the right to exit. Dicks.

(Another note: Yup. We’ve been over this. It’s remarkable how we’re the only people on the planet who don’t drive like Helen Keller.)

Three websites you visit every day.

I want to say BBC (because I am international like that), Lumosity (I am too cheap to subscribe) and Epicurious because I am a fancy foodie. But that would be a lie. If I am being honest Bradsdeals (you’ve got to spend money to make money, fools), ChicagoNow and Slate.

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I can recite pretty much the entire script of Overboard (1987) from memory. “Andrew, are you going to bring me my lemonade or do I have to squeeze it from my hat?”

Favorite place to be?

Movies. Phone off, kid hopefully with sitter, endless carbs, stealth consumption of booze and a break from the chaos inside my noggin.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

Creation of season six The Wire would be federally mandated and funded.

People who:

  • text and drive,
  • stand on the left (walking) side of escalators,
  • turn off their lights on Halloween so kids don’t ring their bell, and
  • shame moms for doing this or that. They should be rounded up and systematically punched in the babymaker.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

Freaks and Geeks. Preferably as a geek, though I suppose they aren’t mutually exclusive categories.

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

Can of Ready Whip and 4-week-old Brussels sprouts. And some moss. A lot of moss.

(Editor’s note again: So…the Ready Whip is the best thing?)

What question do you wish I had asked you?

Does wearing a Lululemon sweatshirt I was given as a gift make me an a-hole because I don’t do yoga? I’m not one of those ridiculous people who spends $300 on yoga pants and gets them hemmed–HEMMED–like the Lululemonites. But if i take the zipper toggle off, it becomes less obvious. It’s just a black sweatshirt and I like the thumb hole thingies that keep your hands warm, but now i feel like a huge hypocrite.

(Last editor’s note: This is a dilemma. Normally I would say anyone who spends more than $50 on yoga/exercise pants is crazy, but considering it was a gift, wear it. Especially seeing as you’re in Chicago. You need to keep those fingers warm so that the middle one can be used to express your delight at people who don’t know how to merge. You’re excused. )

With that cleared up, go check her out after you play our game. SHARING IS CARING.

Speaking of “questionable” clothes, I have to admit that I have my “good T-shirts” and my “home T-shirts” (along with “good” yoga pants and “home” yoga pants.)

What is your “I probably shouldn’t wear this out in public” article of clothing? 

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What Happens When You Live Alone

I’ve lived alone for about six years now. And while the only problem with being independent is I have to do everything myself, for the most part, I love living alone.

In fact, I honestly don’t know if I could live with somebody again. I’ve been spoiled with endless opportunities to watch whatever I want on TV, not be grossed out by other people’s fingernail clippings in the bathroom and I can sprawl on my couch every night without judgment.

I get my couch. My couch gets me.

But there are a few misconceptions and/or disadvantages to living alone. For instance, it doesn’t mean I flit around the house naked. In fact, I still find myself wearing a towel when I go from the shower to my bedroom and once in awhile I instinctively shut the bathroom door when I pee.

Why? I have no idea.

And even though I know it’s ridiculous, I still instinctively peek around the shower curtain like I assume a crazed lunatic is in there checking his smartphone while he waits for me so he can attack.

More realistic but equally creepy is the fact that bugs are always my problem. I can’t freak out over a spider and delegate removal to anyone else, so either I “remedy” the situation or consider the arachnid to be my pet.

bugbean

A new pet is not in the plans.

And bug relocation isn’t the only thing that won’t magically take care of itself or be done by somebody else.

That tiny twist tie that I dropped on the floor as I ran out to work in the morning is still there when I get home. No one has picked it up while I was gone and I can’t blame it on anyone else.

Trash can Jenga—the act of stacking up the trash as high as you can until something tips over instead of taking it out—is a game to be played only if you’re a) living with someone else who might break first or b) at the office. Much like the twist tie scenario above, the trash fairy does not come while I’m gone.*

*However, the trash man will come once a week, and if I don’t remember to put the big bin out the night before, it won’t magically roll itself out to the curb and will instead fester for another whole week.

Low battery smoke detector beeps are always mine to investigate, and I swear I could live in a house the size of a shoebox and it would still take me an hour to find which one it is.

*beep* Wander around the house looking for it until it beeps 60 seconds later, somewhere that I am not. *beep* Wander around the house looking for it until it beeps 60 seconds later, somewhere where I am not.

You get the picture.

Folding sheets becomes a matter of neatly folding the pillowcases and then taking the actual sheets, attempting to find the corners and align them to fold before haphazardly bunching them up and throwing them in the closet.

Of course there’s also the fear of choking and being found by an emergency crew bundled up in robe with a mouth full of hummus. I imagine it’s just a slow spiral of shame down from there.

It might even start that with the absence of a second opinion in my house, I find that I have a commentary on everything that I occasionally still say out loud. It’s like I always have an audience, and no sane person has as many conversations with inanimate objects as I do.

When putting out a new candle, I might opine to the television that, “Yes, I think that looks nice there,” or “Hmm, I should add paper towel to the grocery list I’ll forget to take with me tomorrow.”

I admit it’s a little weird to notice the self-speak going on, but on a positive note, at least I’m wonderfully supportive of myself.

After all, no one else can do it for me.

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Noa from “Oh Noa” Has Issues

The blogger spilling her issues today had made an appearance on this blog many times, but super secret like some super secret spy ninja.

You see, Noa from Oh Noa is the chairwoman, founder and super secret spy ninja leader of “The League of Funny Bit*ches Council” that I am proud to be part of.

In addition to pretending to be my friend, Noa inspires (commands) me to put away the snark for at least one post a month and put on my serious face—a face that basically says, “Resting bit*ch face is really a thing”—and write about her monthly focus topic.

So in some way if you haven’t read her blog before, you already kind of know Noa. And the best part? You can blame her for the crap that I put on this blog at least once a month.

Win-win!

At any rate, here she is in all her glory.

Noa

Name: Noa Dangerballs Gavin

Blog: Ohnoa.com, Oh Noa and The League Of Fu*#in’ Bitches

Where, what and why do you write?

I can write pretty much anywhere, but mostly at my coffee table, sitting on the floor like I’m living in Japan and not sad in Texas. I write a lot of different things: comedy sketches, inspirational things, journals, short stories, novels. I’M A DABBLER. I write because it’s honestly the only thing that keeps me sane. I associate with the world through stories, so without them, I feel very alone.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

I want an effin’ taco.

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Women’s rights to make me sound cool (and also because people freaking hate women and that shit needs to stop.) The biggest one I faced today was the fact that chip companies cannot seem to standardize the taste of a barbecue potato chip, and screw that.

Three websites you visit every day.

Cracked, Listverse, Slate.

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I was once in a bizarre sort-of-fight-club when I worked at Best Buy. I worked for another huge corporation within Best Buy and I got to be friends with some guys who were fighters, and I wished I was. So, one night we got drunk at one of their houses and they said, “Let’s start a fight club,” because that’s what drunk white boys do. So we did-and I wasn’t terrible. I lost, of course, and ended up with ALL the bruises, but I didn’t back down.

(Editor’s note: Umm…I got nothin’ with this one.)

Favorite place to be?

Outside on a warm patio with a cool breeze, a beer and a cigar and no mosquitoes. Preferably by an ocean. Or lake. River. Pond. A general feeling of water.

(Another editor’s note: I’m no expert, but if you’re looking for an escape from mosquitoes, you probably want to avoid the water when it’s warm outside. Then again, maybe the cigar smoke would ward them off? Carry on as you were…)

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

1) Everyone retakes the driver’s license exam every 10 years. You fail, you lose it forever. Driving is a privilege, not a right. People are so, so terrible at driving and I am tired of watching out for others on the roads.

2) Outlawed focus groups for movies and TV. They’ve done too much damage to the world of entertainment.

3) All grocery stores deliver. I hates it.

(Another note: 1) Yes, except I could be the exception. 2) Let’s just ban groups in general. For everything. 3) Considering I live at the grocery store, I can’t believe we’re friends.)

What TV show would you want to appear on?

Animated? Attack on Titan or Fullmetal Alchemist. Not-Animated? Top Gear. I want a chance at The Stig.

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

I just moved, so best: food. Worst: non-food item that I cannot ID.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

Do you love tacos? OH MY GOD I LOVE TACOS SO MUCH, ABBY. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TACOS ARE? TINY MEXICAN SANDWICHES THAT CRUNCH AND ARE SPICY. YOU CAN PUT ANYTHING IN A TACO WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES. TACOS ARE THE SPIRIT OF MY LIFE.

Well there you have it. A taco-loving, punch-throwing feminist with unidentifiable food in her fridge and mystery bruises. Go show her some love after playing our little game:

Tacos are to Noa as (insert food of choice here) are to you. And…go!

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Out With the Old

Remember that trip to Kohl’s in which I actually found shoes?  Well, you know where those shoes are now?

shoebox_thumb1

Still in the box in my dining room—a month later.

Now do you see these shoes?

shoes2

These are the old janky ones I’ve had for around six months, and I can’t tell you how many miles I’ve logged in these suckers.

From going to the gym, for walks or to work, they’re basically my go-to footwear every single day. But as my stellar photography attempted to display, you can see that they’re not exactly in the best of condition.

I’m not blind. I can see that.

I can also see the box with the new shoes sitting right there on the floor.

I’ve walked by the box a million times, usually after taking off my worn-out shoes above, and the rational thought crossed my mind that I should just make the switch. I should demote the old pair to my “garden” shoes and lace up the new ones for every day use.

But yet…the old pair isn’t dead! There’s still some life in those laces!

I realized I do this with quite a few things, and perhaps this is simply a cry for help or an intervention that necessitates multiple snacks and a cocktail or two.

I start running out of something or fear I’m wearing things out, so I buy another new (insert anything here—vegetable steamer, pair of yoga pants, etc.) that will end up sitting around until whatever I’m replacing has simply just given up hope.

  • I will buy a new stick of deodorant, but use the old one until the container scrapes the inside of my armpits.
  • I will squeeze every last drop of a 99-cent tube of toothpaste like it cost me $20.
  • If the Kleenex box perfectly matches my bathroom, I will leave one tissue in there until I get tired of walking to the other bathroom to blow my nose.
  • I would use a tube of ChapStick until the plastic hurts my lips, but I still maintain that anyone who can keep a tube of ChapStick around until it’s gone without losing it is some sort of genius.

And while some of these practices are, well, practical—it’s good to use all of a product and makes financial sense not to waste things—some of it’s clearly insane.

What’s even more ridiculous is that sometimes I’ll notice that something like a bottle of body wash or dish soap is low and buy a new thing of the stuff. I want the backup—just in case—but then resent that I have to use up the old crap instead the “new scent” of said purchased product. I want my dishes to smell like a peaceful seaside escape!!!

Sigh.

I guess the conclusion is that even though more people see my footwear than smell my dishes and cups, I’m more excited to use a new scent of dish soap than I am to wear a new pair of shoes for some reason.

However, change is all about baby steps, and I did throw away my old bath towel the second I bought a new one. Now the next baby step that I take should probably be in that new pair of shoes…

But first, I have to do the dishes.

That soap isn’t going to use itself up.

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The Psychological Purgatory of Depression

I’ve heard depression described as walking towards a sunset. You can see the light ahead of you, but even when you’re basking in the warmth of the light, you’re always aware that the darkness isn’t more than a heartbeat away.

sungirl

That sounds pretty accurate, but what makes depression so hard for those on the outside — and even those on the inside — to understand, is that being depressed and being happy aren’t always mutually exclusive.

People with depression can be happy, sad or funny just like anyone else. And while we’re all aware of the dangerous places depression can go, what no one seems to talk much about is that there’s a kind of psychological purgatory that exists somewhere in between the high points and the end of your rope.

When you’re having a good day, no one can tell you’re depressed because the symptoms aren’t as obvious as we think they should be. You might not be feeling that miserable “I can’t get out of bed” type of way, but your internal dialogue and view of the world is pretty similar.

There’s relief in knowing that you appear normal until one little thing sets you off — a comment, an obstruction to your routine, maybe nothing specific at all — and down that slope you go sliding again.

These are the times I sit at my desk at work, feeling panic and claustrophobic with a need to literally go run away from myself.

These there are the times when I’m at home on the couch, mindlessly flipping through the same websites, the same channels, feeling nothing but a need to not think.

These are the times when I should reach out, but the world I created is so narrow that I retreat back into my head, to distractions, to exercise to numb out the pain. These actions become habit, the habit then becomes an obsession and from there I’m stuck in a vicious cycle again.

But in some ways, as miserable as you — well, that I — can feel, you get used to it.

Depression doesn’t ask much of you other than to suffer, whereas happiness — in as much as you can remember it — simply can’t be trusted. It’s undependable and often fleeting, and while depression saps your energy, happiness is exhausting in a different way.

Even though you know there are people willing to help, you can never tell them everything. Revealing the plot of your story would give away that tiny shred of control — or the illusion of control — that you so desperately feel that you need just to get by.

Plus, seeing happy people makes you feel as if you have some kind of obligation to get well, and you don’t want to have any obligations or distractions that you don’t invite yourself.

So instead you avoid people when you can so you don’t have to make yourself vulnerable to questions, to wondering if everyone knows that you’re really a big jumbled mess, unable to figure out how to get back to “happy,” or at the very least, back to “content.”

That’s why it can be such a dangerous thing.

You can appear absolutely normal and functional to the outside, but be silently screaming on the inside. And when you’re down, you wonder why you can’t just “be happy” again, and when you’re happy you feel guilty for those times you’re stuck in the dark.

Then there’s the middle — that psychological purgatory — neither way up or way down.

These are the times to remember that isolation is a symptom, not a solution, and that flowery language aside, there still are those small shards of light. For me, sometimes it’s sitting outside. Sometimes it’s trying to be funny to people I see. Sometimes it’s getting lost in a book or emailing someone I trust.

Those things can spark the good days.

Of course you have to sift through the muck and the mud, but it helps to just enjoy the good days for what they are and not question why. Life isn’t easy all the time, even to the most well-adjusted individual, and the dark times aren’t a reflection of weakness or selfishness or anything you might tell yourself.

In other words, just because you deal with depression doesn’t mean that you are depression. A bad day/week doesn’t mean a bad life. After all, it’s not sunny every day but we know the clouds won’t last forever.

Enjoy that light when you can.

Originally published on The Huffington Post

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Patti from “Insane in the Mom Brain” Has Issues

I was introduced to this week’s blogger on Facebook by Rach from RachRiot because a) they’re best friends in a “can’t imagine them in the same room” type of way and b) apparently both me and Patti had some of our blog material stolen by the same lovely, considerate person.

And as everyone knows, nothing bonds two people quicker than a mutual hate of someone else. Oh, and humor. Something else that she has a ton of and I pretend to have.

So without further ado, welcome to her world. Buckle up.

patti

Name: Patti Ford-Reedus-Pratt

Blog: Insane In The Mom-Brain

Where and why do you write?

I write in a van down by the river. I write a bunch of nonsensical words that spew out of my head very quickly and without any thought whatsoever. Most of the time I think to myself “Girl, nobody is gonna get this and they’re all gonna think you’re an idiot.” Then I post it anyway because if I don’t let all of this weird crap out of my head then I will probably explode.

Also, I’m an attention whore.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

The first thing I think when I wake up in the morning is “F*ck you, alarm clock!” Then the second thing I think is, “Yay! It’s time to get up and have coffee and poop!” The third thing I think is, “I may have some sort of mood disorder.”

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

My main frustration right now is that I’m not “allowed” to kick the junk all of the people who annoy me. I’d like just one hour to go junk kicking. ONE HOUR. No murder. Only nad and taco kicking. I mean, come on!

Three websites you visit every day.

Facebook (attention whore, duh), Amazon (one click ordering and free shipping are my bitches) and HOUZZ (who ARE all of you people with the beach mansions and why aren’t you inviting me over?)

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

The fact that I won The Nobel Peace Prize for my accomplishments in the field of Physics in 2011. The reason that I can’t put that on a resume is because it isn’t true. That doesn’t keep me from saying it though. I think that most people are too lazy to research things anyways, so I could probably get away with it if I started wearing glasses or something so I looked smarter. And maybe just every now and then I can throw out words like “Alpha particle” or “Transverse Wave.”

Man, pretending to be an award-winning physicist is easy.

Favorite place to be?

On a beach in Mexico with a Modelo in my hand, at an awesome drag bar, on the back of a motorcycle being drive by Norman Reedus or anywhere in my imagination. Except when my imagination involves spidery or murdery things, which is actually quite often.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

If you’re a bully, asshole or Internet troll (all kind of the same thing) then you get a public junk punching followed by six months of house arrest where you have to watch only The Kardashians and listen to Celine Dion and Mariah Carey on a freakin’ loop.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

I’ll tell you what I don’t want to appear on: Naked and Afraid. My ass is my least favorite part of my body and that seems to be the part that they showcase on that show.

Ain’t no way no how I’d ever let all of America see my naked butt. Utah, maybe, but the rest of America? No thanks.

As for a show I’d like to go on, I’d want to either be a zombie on The Walking Dead (the first zombie that gets a make out session with Daryl) or maybe I’d like to go pickin’ with Mike and frank on American Pickers or do that Tight Pants dance with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

I don’t know if you mean best as in most healthy or most delicious. You really should be more clear in your questioning if you’re going to interview very important people such as myself. I mean, seriously.

Well, if you mean most healthy then that would be spinach. If you mean most delicious that would be slice and bake cookies. The worst thing is some fresh mozzarella that’s been in there for weeks and has gone bad but I don’t want to touch it to throw it out because stinky cheese scares the crap out of me.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

I wish you had asked me what I did this summer. I would have said, “I spent most of it at the beach. I met a boy there.” Then you’d say, “You hauled your cookies all the way to the beach for some guy?” Then I’d say, “Well he was sorta special.” And you’d say, “There ain’t no such thing.” Then I’d say, “He was really romantic.” Then I’d have started performing “Summer Nights.”

Oh well, opportunity missed.

Good going, Abby.

Good friggin’ going.


I know, I know. What’s my problem? Anyway, go check her out and I’ll see you back here on Sunday with a new post. I’m sure “Summer Nights” will be out of my head by that point.

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