Tag Archives: guest post

Keep It Down, Please

If the saying, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” is true, that would mean I am approximately 103 years old and counting.

Not only do I physically feel old and barely recognize myself in the mirror any more, but I also go to bed by 10, enjoy prunes, gripe about technology and the clothes teenagers wear, forget what I said five minutes ago and often put “the” in front of things that don’t require it—such as, “The Target” or “The Twitter.”

I would like to think I’m simply an old soul. Yes, let’s go with that.

But one more thing that I’ve noticed lately is that I can’t stand loud things, which inevitably means I’m going to start standing on my sidewalk and yelling (ironically) at cars driving by to turn down that garbage on their radio or asking people to use their indoor voices when speaking into my good ear.

This new thing has been silently sneaking up on me but I’m noticing it more and more.

It’s like everyone has ramped up the volume when they speak, most likely because they have their head bent over their phone or forget what it’s like to actually interact with another human when not connected via Internet.

However, it’s not just vocal volume that is grating on my nerves. It’s the sound of doors shutting a little too hard, staplers smashing down on papers and lord help me—people typing on their keyboards like they’re playing Whac-A-Mole with their fingers and the keys.

And the sound of people slurping up their drinks or eating corn on the cob? I’ll admit it sparks feelings of rage comparable to when I hear someone TYPING REALLY LOUD ON THEIR KEYBOARD.

Perhaps I’m just overstimulated with all the noise we’re faced with every day, but most likely I’m just oversensitive and undermedicated.

All of this is to say that at 30, I still have a hard time believing that the ’90s were 20 years ago and that 2012 is a “thing.” When I hear that some of my favorite athletes were born after the glorious year of 1981 when I graced this planet with my presence, a tiny little tear drips down my wrinkly face. 

OK. In my old age I may be prone to slight hyperbole, as even in my advanced state I remembered enough about the ’80s to share some of my memories over at funnynotslutty.com. If you’re so inclined and want to see a picture of me grabbing my boobs, head on over that way.

Just please gently shut the door when you go…

Like the blog? Buy the book.

Life’ Suggestion Box: To coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

First seen on Kid Free Living as my guest post.

I know you’ve probably read it over there already, but I figured I should have a copy on my own blog.  A new post will go up tomorrow, if I remember what I was going to write about and then remember to write it.

To: Coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

I’m a writer/editor and generally go to work to produce things. In fact, I’m even paid to go to work to produce things. One thing I will never produce is offspring, and no disrespect, but I am not paid to find out exactly what the offspring you produced said that was “so cute” or what they produced while sitting on potty.

I have it written in my contract.

Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy personal interaction with you and other coworkers in minimal doses, and although I would rather have a root canal once a week for the rest of my life than have children, I respect your decision to reproduce. Casual conversation about life outside the office can be lovely, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

What we’re talking about is when you invade my space and force me to hear stories of possible allergies and prolific artistic talents with macaroni and glue, forcing me to concoct ideas on how I can use office supplies to plot your untimely and mysterious disappearance.

I can block you on Facebook, I can choose to “leave discussion” or “delete conversation.” But this option is not available in real life and any attempt to implement these solutions in the office is apparently frowned upon.

So in the interest of keeping the peace in the office—and resentment and homicidal tendencies to a minimum—I thought I might make a few suggestions to help us move past this:

  1. Take off the baby blinders and look for the signs. Perhaps you think I’m interested because I’m looking past your head, pretending to look busy at my computer,  breathing deeply (sighing, not in a creepy panting “What are you wearing?” phone call way) and occasionally nodding my head politely. I’m not. In all actuality, I tuned out the second the words “kidlet” and “breast pump” were dropped into conversation as you dropped off my mail.
  2. Keep pictures to a minimum. If you bring in normal pictures and the situation is casual, I might take a genuine interest in seeing what the little bugger looks like. I do not need them emailed to me from your office account and I do not need to receive a mouse pad with your offspring’s picture on it. No one not related to you does, and even your relatives are just being polite.
  3. NEVER force me to look at an ultrasound picture, as all embryos look like aliens and freak me the heck out.
  4. Understand that when I say I don’t want to have children, I really mean I don’t want to have children. Please do not look at me as if I just declared I don’t want to ever have fun or time to myself again, as for me, having children would amount to never having fun or time to myself again. To put it in parental terms, it would be a permanent “time out” for me.
  5. Finally, if you bring your child into the office to show them off, please do not be offended if I don’t immediately come running out to make conversation in a high-pitched voice, hold them or pet them. I understand that you’re proud of the little mouth breathers, and I’m sure they’re lovely, but kids are not my thing. If you bring in a puppy, it’s a totally different story.

If we can reach a mutual understanding that my office is a kid-free environment, things will go much smoother in the future. If not, the personalized mouse pad will be used as a dartboard.

You’ve been warned.

Guest Post: You Maggots

I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled ramblings to bring you a very special guest post today from Amy Vansant from www.KidFreeLiving.com.

Kid Free Living is one of my favorite blogs ever, mostly because Amy is exactly like me—only married, a million times funnier and much more talented. I’m hoping to have a guest post over on her blog next week—I’ll link it here—but for now, read this and then go check her out on her home turf.

And if you’re looking for something to look forward to, my next post is about another leak. How’s that for a teaser, eh?

You Maggots

I was working out, trying to peddle away from the cheese steak and bottle and half of wine I’d enjoyed the day before, when my husband Mike entered the room. He walked back and forth past my stationary bike.

"Look at this. You’re peddling so slow I can WALK faster than you."

I rolled my eyes. "Ha, ha."

Mike cut the small talk . He sighed. I felt a vague feeling of dread wash over me. He paused, allowing me to fully appreciate the tension, and then uttered the six words that never end well for me.

"I need your help with something."

I looked up at my beloved. Chances were good that he wanted me to help him pick out a shirt. The ritual is a daily stress for me. He wants me to choose between two shirts,identical, except for color. Maybe the the only difference is the type of logo critter on the left breast. But I can’t just say, "They’re both nice." I’ve made that mistake before. I have to be wildly passionate about one over the other, or he doesn’t think I’m trying. I have to have a GOOD REASON, why the red polo is nicer than the green polo on any given day. "The blue, because it goes with your eyes," is starting to sound canned.  I need new material.

"We have a problem," he said.

I nodded, probably not thinking the same thing he was at that moment. I was thinking my next husband shouldn’t be color blind.

Mike put his hands on his hips.

"Maggots."

Wait…what? Maggots?

"All over the trashcans. We have to clean it up. It’s horrible."

Tired and sweaty I shook my head, defeated. This was much worse than shirt-picking.  A moment ago, all I wanted to do was get off the damn exercise bike. Now the alternative seemed much, much worse. On the positive side, now I had a recipe for weight loss success. Put people on exercise equipment, and then tell them when they’re done, they get to clean maggots out of a trash can. Some of them might stay on their treadmills for weeks.

I knew there would be no way to avoid Mike’s request for help. If left to my own devices, I would just wait until the maggots all turned into flies and flew away. Or I’d drag it to the curb and let the trash men deal with it. Maggots are just an occupational hazard for them. But I knew my much neater husband could NOT abide by maggots all over the trash. I remembered the chicken carcass we’d thrown out a few days earlier and groaned.

We went outside.

The smell was HORRIFIC. I would just capitalize the "H," but that wouldn’t do it justice. How could our delicious chicken have turned on us like this? This couldn’t be just a chicken. I imagined our weird neighbors had dumped a ritual sacrifice into our trash. I immediately implemented a mouth-breathing-only policy to keep from retching.

I peeked around the corner. In the can, hundreds of maggots writhed blindly in the throws of rotting chicken ecstasy. Sharing the rapture were giant black bugs, 2" long, never seen before. They looked like a beetle, a silverfish and an ant had had a menage a’ trois and produced demon spawn. I choked back a gag reflex and danced back and away from the scene.

Mike and I exchanged a silent "This is going to suck" look.

Mike tried to get the hose off the sprinkler, but couldn’t with his already wet hands. He handed it to me and I easily removed it, because I was wearing gloves. Secretly, I hoped our neighbors had been watching his struggles, and now thought I had superhuman strength.

We dumped the maggot covered bag into a huge contractor bag and tied it up. Then we put that in another one.  This Russian Nesting Doll of Maggot Protection might have gone on forever had we not run out of bags. Mike began to spray the writhing white nasties off the cans and away from the side of the house. He sprayed. And sprayed. I watched him spray a maggot-free spot for a full minute. I was afraid I was going to have slap him.

We poured bleach on everything, stopping just short of lighting the whole area ablaze.

Finished, we stood there, panting and sweaty.

We went inside and got showers.

And then I happily picked Mike out a shirt.

Living La Vida L.A.

It’s time for another post swap and some improved visual scenery around here, so without further ado, please welcome Eden from Eden’s Eats!

eden

I love her in a non-creepy way.

Abby has once again let me on her turf, and the fact that she lets me do it surprises and humbles me every time. I tried to think of something that she would never write about. So I decided to bust a few myths about my hometown where I still reside, Los Angeles.

If you’ve read my blog, you probably know I’m a fan of myth busting.

So without further ado….

Myth #1: L.A. is just filled with wannabe actors, musicians and plastic surgeons and, like frozen yogurt, it lacks culture.

la1

Yes, we boast our fair share of all of the above, but L.A. is actually a giant patchwork of communities. There are so many different areas in L.A. with so many different cultures. This is one of my favorite L.A. characteristics. And, it makes us a great town for ethnic food. With so many immigrants and access to wonderful produce, we end up with really authentic eateries. There might be better pizzerias in Rome or better noodle shops in Taipei, but we have really, really good knockoffs and they all happen to be a few freeway minutes away from one another.

Myth #2: Everyone is Beautiful and Skinny

la2

We have lots of “beautiful” and slightly emaciated people here, but they are highly concentrated in trendy nightclubs and sound stages. I’m proud to say that we have lots of ordinary people that simply make a little effort to look their best (like me). And that leaves the majority of our population as overweight and ordinary as the rest of the country.

Myth #3: It’s Always Smoggy

People assume that because L.A. is known for being a very car-loving city, that we lack any fresh air. Well, it really only gets kinda smoggy in the summer or fall, and it’s not as bad as it used to be. During the winter and spring, Los Angeles has plenty of clear, blue sky days. The beach areas are generally less smoggy all year long. Plus, it’s very chic to be “green” in L.A. so everyone buys a Prius.

funny-graphs-prius

Myth #4: We Have Perfect Weather

Actually, this is no myth. Don’t hate us just because you’re jealous.

*Editor’s note from Michigan: Yes, I kind of hate you a little. All of you.

Myth #5: Everyone’s an A** Hole

I don’t know why, but I’ve met a lot of people that perceived L.A. as this fast-moving, jive-talking abortion-inducing city where morals are extinct. To be honest, this city is no less of an a** hole than any other city (but then again, I don’t work at a law firm or agency). Look, having tough skin is important no matter where you live, but I find there are actually plenty of intelligent and perhaps overly friendly people around here –some even willing to help you out if you’re “hip” enough.

There you have it. I used to hate living in L.A. and a few year away from it while in college reminded me you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone. And if you ever make your way down here, let me know. I’m way wittier than those studio tour guides and I won’t accept tips. (OK, that last bit was another myth).

Before you head over to her blog to read my guest post and then decide you don’t like me…

Are there any myths about your city you would like to debunk?

Eden and Julia

It’s time for another post swap! After you enjoy this gem from Eden of Eden’s Eats, head on over to her blog to check out my guest post. A change of scenery does a body good, no?

Hi “Issues” readers! You may remember my last post swap about yoga. But I thought I’d indulge you with some nuggets of wisdom from one of the people that not only inspired me to go to culinary school, but to actually start getting help to sort my own “food issues”.

Julia Child is my fairy god mother, at least that what form I’d imagine my fairy godmother would take. My mom idolized Julia. We’d watch her cooking shows on public television and my mom was a big fan of her cookbooks. This isn’t meant to be a sad post, but for those that dont know, my mother passed away when I was 14. I firmly believe she and Julia are messing up omelets and gorging on French food up there.

Anyhow, there are few lessons I learn from this wise woman. She truly inspired me to not only become a chef, but to find confidence and self worth, something I think I still need to work on.

Without further ado, here are my lessons learned from Julia:

Always abide the 5 (or 30) second rule:

I have problems throwing away perfectly good food anyhow, but Julia reinforced this. One of my strongest memories of Julia was a remark that she made during an interview (I don’t think it was part of a cooking segment) when the discussion turned to kitchen disasters and what to do about them. She told a story about carrying a roasted bird into the dining room, tripping and dropping the bird on the floor. Scooping up the fowl and placing it back on the tray, she’d gaily chirp “Oh, thank goodness I made two!” and whisked the errant bird back into the kitchen, rearrange it on the tray, and brought it back out again. Hey, a few germs build up your immune system.

It’s ok for food to not be beautiful:

She did some sort of Christmas special with Martha Stewart where they made croquembouche (a tower of creme puffs). Julia warbled, “Oh, I like yours!” as we see Martha’s perfect OCD pyramid of cream puffs. They then they panned to Julia’s, which looked like a pile of rocks. I bet Julia’s tasted better though.

Laughter IS beautiful:

Julia’s beginnings were not all that exciting. She was in college during the depression and had lots of menial jobs before she even dreamed of becoming a chef, but she always found a way to laugh. “I had a very good time doing virtually nothing,” she has said of this time. “There was always lots of fun and laughter.” Scientists say that a smile, even forced or fake, sends a certain happy message to the brain. And if a smile is the happiness equivalent of a cup of coffee, then laughter is a double-shot of espresso. When I watch or listen to Julia, I’m reminded how beautiful laughter can be indeed.

Most likely, the first of anything will be messed up:

It’s superhuman to get things done right the first time. I remember watching her as a child and hearing her say that when making crepes, the first is always a mess. It is very true and whenever I make crepes I expect and have no problems with the first one being tossed in the garbage. But this applies to life as well. You get better at things over time, after a few tries, have no regret and guilt about having your first go be a flop.

Never be afraid of being yourself :

At 6’2”, with a warbling voice, Julia Child was hardly the sort of person you’d expect to see on television, yet it were these qualities that people found so endearing.  She was fearless.She spoke her mind, and was unafraid of showing mistakes and flaws. This unapologetic realness made her accessible – if she could learn to cook, than so could we.

Sometimes, the simplest things taste the best:

A few years ago there was a hamburger episode she did as a guest on Emeril live. They made hamburgers and she made hers very simply with tomato, mayo, etc.; a very basic all-American style burger. Emeril, like he is prone to do, went off on a tangent and made something like a burger with confit, gorgonzola, organic sprouts on a recycled bifurcated Lebanese roll with ginger soy and pepper vodka remoulade. You get my drift. She looked straight at him and said “I don’t think I would like that at all”. I hear ya, Julia.

Mom jeans will never look good:

I love Julia, but she had some serious mom jeans in her cooking show wardrobe. Not that I expected her to have on the latest fashions, but she just minded me that yup, mom jeans are kinda ugly, even if you’re 6’2”.

A little butter won’t kill you:

Actually a little of anything won’t kill you.  Julia Child had such a sensible attitude about food in this crazy era of food and eating disorders. I sort of wish she was there when my eating disorder developed to steer me out of it. She took great pleasure in food, especially butter, but she was all about moderation.  At age ninety, she was asked how she stayed so healthy and vital, and her answer was “moderation, small helpings, a great variety of foods, and good wine.”

Did you have anyone famous you admired growing up? Who influenced your love of food or cooking?

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma

I have a fun surprise for you today! Eden from Eden’s Eats and I have executed our very first “post swap.” So, without further delay, I am honored to have Eden explain how her karma ran over her dogma.

Don’t forget to check out my post on her site in the next couple days, as well. And if you haven’t been there before, stick around and read some of the archives. You won’t be disappointed.

mylife002

Welcome to Abby’s blog!

I feel honored that I get the chance dispense my pearls of wisdom through her site because Abby has truly been one of my inspirations to begin blogging again after a two year hiatus I took.

Abby wrote a pretty stellar blog post over at my blog, so writing this was challenging. I could certainly not top her whit and genius I can only hope I’m just below par.

You may have seen me in the comment section from time to time, and maybe you even clicked on my name and ventured over to my site. But if you didn’t, I’ll fill you in (briefly) about me.

I’m a professional trained chef and yoga instructor. I started out like any kid born and raised in Los Angeles—wanting to be an actress. I majored and theater in college, did a few stints on television and dropped out my junior year to go to culinary school.

Towards the end of culinary school, I entered a unique treatment center to deal with an eating disorder that I struggled with since I was 13. I had a wonderful experience in treatment, mainly because I didn’t go to a “normal” facility and I had excellent support when I got out.

But I know what you’re thinking — a chef and you have an eating disorder? It sounds like an oxymoron like “fat-free half and half” or “floppy disks.” But as many people that have struggled with an eating disorder will tell you, when you malnourish yourself, you tend to want to feed others with reckless abandon.

Fast forward about a year and I decided to train to become a yoga instructor. I can go on and on about my life, but that’s not what I want this post to be about. While brainstorming about what to write for this post, I asked myself, “What would Abby’s readers like to know about my profession?” I considered writing about food, but that’s very cliché for me. I mean, I feel that my whole life is centered around food. I was also considering touching upon my own “issues” with food and exercise. But there are plenty of sites for that.

So, I thought I’d tap in to my other area of expertise—yoga.

eden

I have been practicing yoga for over a decade, but I’ve only been teaching professionally for about a year. I’m currently getting my 300 hr certification (in addition to the 200 hr certification I already acquired) so you could say I’m a pretty experienced yogi. And from my experience, I thought I would dispense some pearls of wisdom about this ancient practice:

While some of my favorite teachers happen to be men, the guys I see at my local yoga studio take the class for the dumbest reasons. Need a breakdown?

1) Some (maybe 2%) honestly do it for the REAL purpose yoga was invented for: to prepare and strengthen the body for long periods of meditation. I fully respect these guys and they can come yoga it out with me anytime.

2) A bigger percent do it for the physical benefits: flexibility, core strength, improved balance, to protect the back and learn to relax. That’s OK in my book as well. Anything to get them out of the meathead gym is cool by me.

3) A big percentage of the male college students that attend class do it for this reason: to use the yogic breathing exercises to help them take the deepest possible bong hits.This doesn’t bother me too much, but it does when they come to class baked and distract me by trying to be steady in something as simple as child’s pose.

4) Probably the largest percent of most males attend class because it’s usually filled with a sweaty, spandex-clad pantheon of models and dancers who can rest their feet on their head.

5) Lastly, some perverts do it for this simple reason: to go down on themselves.

cat-yogaBut regardless of one’s intentions in practicing yoga, after some time certain realizations will come.* For example:

You will gain an understanding of your own body far beyond what’s available to anyone but a mortuary technician taking liberties after the autopsy.

Assuming you gave them up sometime after kindergarten, head stands are tremendous fun. The trouble is that seven-year-olds are short and fearless, and it can take years to build up the strength and confidence to try it as an adult.

So, there’s the gist of my lesson. For the record, I don’t do yoga for the “meditation” and I love meat (there you have it, another oxymoron—a meat-eating yoga instructor.) I’m not your typical yoga instructor, and I’m not your typical chef.

Because like Abby, I have “issues,” too.

*Note: Side effects include hums, mantras and mild chanting