Tag Archives: natalie dee

Give Me a (Moisturized) Hand

It’s the time of year when my hands get so dry and cracked that my fingers snag things and I fear inflicting a gaping wound on myself with one haphazard itch of my face.

Winter weather equals dry air, dry air leads to dry skin, and no amount of molesting my home humidifier helps prevent bloody knuckles and fingers that rival those of a prize-winning boxer.

I admit that I don’t do everything I can to prevent this, as you’ll see below, but I am really trying to remember that typing with Band-Aids on my fingers does nothing more than create a new language that even I can’t understand.

But for those with less of a self-sadistic nature than I apparently have, let’s examine our options.

Apply lotion early and often.

This is obvious and something I do year round to just about every square inch of my body, sometimes because it’s needed and sometimes because it smells pretty. But in the fall/winter, my skin soaks it up like a sponge and I have lotion on my desk, in my purse, etc.

its-a-full-time-job-basically

The problem is that my brain often runs out of order, and so the cycle goes something like this: Put on lotion, get distracted and go do something else that necessitates washing my hands (basically everything, which I know is part of the problem) or getting them wet, realize what I’ve done and make a mental note of mistake, reapply lotion, forget mental note 1.3 seconds later and repeat the cycle again.

In other words, I go through more bottles of lotion than a horny teenage boy. Learn from my mistakes people—or buy stock in Jergens.

Limit your time in the shower and use only warm—not hot—water.

It’s been my experience that showers are a great place to spend 4 minutes thinking about all of my problems and 1 minute actually showering. I also read the shampoo bottles out loud in the multiple languages —“Shampoo/shampooing” “cranberry oil/huile de canneberge”—and compose great literary works in my head.

I think it’s something about the steam releasing all the creative things from my brain or something. Look it up. It’s probably a thing.

Anyway, while I try and limit my time in the shower—and my water bill—I do enjoy these moments of self-proclaimed genius before they’re sucked down the drain with the suds. Plus, it’s nice and warm in there, so I (incorrectly) figure extra lotion will make up for the five minutes of warm misty love.

Wear gloves when doing dishes.

This is a great option in theory. In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to purchase thick yellow gloves from the store and keep them next to the sink. However, much like putting the vacuum in the middle of the floor and then walking around it for a good day or two before using it, availability does not guarantee usage.

whaaat-i-never-do-that-especially-not-all-the-freaking-time

The sad thing is the damn gloves are right next to the sponge that I use, yet I still don’t put them on every time, as if the effort required was comparable to putting on a NASA space suit. But when I do put them on, I sometimes forget that I’m wearing them and dry my still-gloved hands with the towel because I’m a genius.

So to summarize, do as I say and not as I do and you might make it through winter okay. And for that, I shall give you a (moisturized) hand–and then promptly go wash mine again.

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Why I’m Glad I Grew Up When I Did

Children of the ’80s and early ’90s had to endure the mental anguish of trying to manually untwist the insides of  a cassette tape, but all in all, I look back and think we were pretty damn lucky.

trashbags

Now: Pinterest and “vision boards”

Then: A bulletin board filled with color-coordinated push pins, pictures of teen heartthrobs, quotes created from random cutout letters that end up looking more like white trash ransom notes and school pictures of friends that perfectly captured their awkwardness. Speaking of which…

Now: Selfies (for the record, I have never taken a “selfie”)

Then: Cameras. People took pictures when something special happened, not when they ate breakfast. As kids, school picture day was a big deal with the most important decision being what “laser”-color background you wanted. You couldn’t wait to get the free black plastic comb so you could bend that sucker back and forth a few times until it got hot and brand the kid next to you with a touch.

And the anticipation of getting a roll of film developed really can’t be overstated.

Now: Jeggings and skinny jeans

Then: Stirrup pants and stonewashed jeans. Pants today are basically tights, which were something I loathed when forced to wear. Stirrup pants—they’ll stay in place forever!—and stonewashed jeans—they’ll hide any wear and tear!—were designed for function much more than fashion.

Now: Blogs

Then: Diaries, and god save anyone who tried to pick the flimsy lock and read the drama of trying to decide what color rubber bands to get in your braces. Thoughts were private and you didn’t WANT to share every detail of your day, mostly because like pictures taken of yourself in the bathroom—see above—you were aware that no one would care.

haha-dork-i-bet-your-dogs-name-is-ipod

Now: Politically correct “holiday” parties with “refreshments” from Costco or Whole Foods in which there is no trace of sugar, peanuts, lactose, gluten or fun.

Then: Actual Halloween/Valentine’s Day parties with room mothers who would bring in homemade goodies and roller skating parties with a “couples” skate when pre-teens with sweaty hands would shuffle across the rink together with Boyz II Men playing in the background.

Now: Reality TV

Then: The only real slime on TV came from “Double Dare” and we had actual TV shows with actors and a real TGIF lineup. I’m talking about Full House, The Cosby Show, Family Matters and Alf, that smart-mouthed, cat-murdering alien we loved.

Now: Smartphones and texting

Then: Landlines and notes. I remember dragging the cord into my room to have what I’m sure was a very important discussion about Punky Brewster or zits. Instead of texting and getting instantly rejected, we were forced to actually write notes, those of which an inordinate amount of time was spent folding into a specific shape for delivery.

he-already-has-a-pencil-but-hes-still-writing-the-note-to-be-nice

Plus, we knew how to spell and how to write—even cursive. OMG. LOL.

Now: Ecards

Then: Because computers were huge monstrosities with a four-color screen, use was relegated to games of Junior Jeopardy or Oregon Trail. While we eventually got Print Shop to make birthday cards and banners, hours were spent cutting out construction paper to create our own cards with scented markers we had to resist the urge to lick.

Also, the joy of getting a card in the mail also can’t be overstated.

Now: Kindles and iPads

Then: Scholastic book orders, Book-It and the smell of library book pages illicitly dog-eared and worn. It was fun to wait for the order or go to the store. True, Book-It rewarded kids for reading with a free personal pan pizza full of grease and devoid of veggies, but we all lived to tell—and read—the tale.

Plus unlike a Kindle, books don’t break when you drop them.

Now: Instant gratification

Then: Patience

Okay, maybe not patience, but we had to wait for our favorite songs to play on the radio, stand in a line without checking a phone and make up games or Mad Libs on car trips instead of watching a DVD on an iPad. We kept ourselves busy by creating things instead of relying on something else to keep us busy.

True, it might have involved law jarts and hypercolor T-shirts—Sweaty armpits? Show them off with your heat-sensitive teal shirt and hot pink pit stains!—but at least no one could take a picture on their phone and share it on Twitter.

Ugh, like, gag me with a spoon.

I’m glad I grew up when I did.

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The War on Wedgies

While I am a grown woman, I’m not “girly-girly” at all, and the description of my wardrobe and beauty regime can be summed up with “comfort” and “if I have to.”

But when you think about it, the things that women do in the name of beauty are rather ridiculous. Do men let strange women attack their face with hot wax? Do they stuff their legs into nylons like a sausage is stuffed in a casing? Do they glue fake eyelashes on their eyelids and stick multiple hoops through their ears?

OK, some of them do, but most of them don’t and neither do I.

I understand wanting to look nice and whatnot, but women just complicate things. Men don’t complicate things. While some women worry if pants make their ass look big, I highly doubt that men worry if a pair of jeans makes their penis look small.

But there’s no greater proof than the comfort chasm between the sexes when it comes down to underwear.

underwear-mishap

Not all underwear, of course, but the fancy crap.

I get that one is expected to own something a bit sexier than a six-pack of Hanes from Target and agree that everyone should have something small (or medium or large) they can wear that makes them feel good. Even if no one ever sees the contents of it in action, a little extra color or some leopard print design might be just what you need to get your proverbial panties out of a bunch some days.

But let’s be practical, people.

For the cost of one pair of those fancy underoos, you can purchase a dozen pair that you won’t have to try and discreetly pull out of your crotch by pretending to get something from the front of your jeans.

Don’t act like you haven’t done it.

For most men, (hopefully) clean is their favorite color of underwear and they would probably rather have you comfortable and happy instead of distracted by the thread creeping far up your ass.

So to summarize: What’s the point of wearing something uncomfortable that practically nobody else sees anyway? Okay, okay. In the interest of balance, I’ll play devil’s advocate.

Perhaps you are some sex maven that can do a triple back flip off your sex swing with perfect form, and wearing a $45 thong is necessary to complete your performance and dazzle the spontaneous suitors you entertain on a daily basis.

But for the majority of us who have retired the sex swing in favor of a Papasan chair, it just doesn’t make that much sense.

And I have to think that if by chance you are swept up in a spontaneous moment, your suitor most likely won’t care if you’re wearing a Victoria’s Secret four-color, invisible line lacy bikini bottom with magic unicorn dust or a Ziploc bag bedazzled with Puff Paint and scented magic markers.

Save the money and the stress of a wedgie-filled existence.

It’s truly what’s inside that counts.

Like the blog? Buy the NEW book here. Why? It has stories about drunk nuns, Vanilla Ice and adventures at the ATM. It’s obviously destined to be an American classic.

P.S. I’m nosy and have to think a couple of you are nosy, so I’m toying with doing an “Ask Abby Anything” post. If you have questions about anything—me, writing, picking up men in Home Depot—either email me or leave a comment on my Facebook page. If I actually have interest, I’ll use them in a future post that will probably embarrass me.

A Matter of Taste

The fact that the employees at my local grocery store pretty much know me by name is no secret. Along with multiple stops during the week for myself, I also do the grocery shopping for my mom (she hates it) and for my uncle (he’s physically unable.)

I don’t mind it, so I do it.

Grocery shopping for someone else is entirely different than grocery shopping for myself. Considering I’m not going to actually eat any of the items I’m purchasing, I’ll admit that I’m much less particular. A banana is a banana and an apple is an apple.

When I’m shopping for myself, I morph back into that delightful (annoying) person who carefully selects the best green beans out of the bin one by one and performs a full body of scan of a potential potato purchase with the intensity of a DNA expert on CSI.

Given the amount of produce that I eat in a week, I consider it necessary to ensure that the money I spend is going towards quality stuff. I will NOT be satisfied with limp beans, people. I will not!

Once my purchases are home, I am vigilant about washing the items before they wind up in my mouth (or on my shirt first, in all likelihood.) I’m not a freak about it, but I’ve witnessed people sneezing on open produce and little kids licking a vegetable and putting it back more times than I’m comfortable with.

That’s why a recent trip to the store has prompted this long-winded post.

First I was cruising through the aisles in pursuit of the two containers of overpriced pineapple my uncle has me buy every week when a middle-aged man walked by the green bean bin, grabbed a handful, started chomping down like a small woodland creature and continued to walk through the store.

What the hell?

Who walks by a bin of green beans and treats it like a buffet with no regard to the fact that a) it’s technically stealing and b) it’s technically gross (see above for snot and saliva encounters, which in this case, serves the dude right.)

Brushing it off, I wheeled my cart towards the grapes and spent 42 minutes trying to open the plastic produce bag before being joined by an elderly lady. From her lowered position on a Hoveround, she began popping grapes in her mouth from a number of bags with the dexterity of a Wack-A-Mole champ.

At this time, please see the paragraph above under “What the hell?” replacing “beans” with “grapes.”

Noticing that I was simply grabbing a bag of grapes without much fruity fanfare, she went on to lecture me about how I was wasting my money by not tasting each batch. She had been “scorned in the past” and was forced to throw out a batch of (literal) sour grapes, and now appeared determined to help others avoid a similar fate.

I politely told her that I was fine and that I would “buy on blind faith.”

Looking at me as if I had two heads—neither one of which was being supplied with green grapes—she went on to warn me of the perils of my decision. At that point I told her I wasn’t shopping for me, but for my uncle, and gestured to the denture cleaner and Right Guard deodorant spray.

Still skeptical, she was either full or thought I was full of it, because she shrugged her shoulders, popped another grape and left me with, “Well, suit yourself.”

As she turned and left in a motorized huff, I couldn’t help but notice that her basket contained no grapes. I guess there’s truly no accounting for taste.

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It’s the Little Things

We’ve all had those days when nothing monumentally bad happens, but yet there are a bunch of little things that simply make you want to absolutely lose your shit, so to speak.

so-not-funny-i-forgot-to-not-laugh

Big picture? They’re not a big deal.

Small picture in that moment? The straw that broke the camel’s back. The last thing you need. THE BIGGEST DEAL EVER!

Let’s begin, perhaps with someone overusing CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!!

Anyway, I love my hooded sweatshirts. When it’s freezing outside and I want to pretend I’m a turtle with the option to retract myself back into my shell, the hood serves as my delusional means of escape. Plus, it’s warm.

But there are times when the string of my hoodie will mysteriously disappear into the depths of the hood itself. Sound the alarm! Call in the rescue squad! This is a traumatic turn of events, as it will then require me to somehow try and manipulate the string back to the opening through the use of tweezers and profanity.

By the time I prove myself as a hoodie hero and restore balance to my universe through the miraculous string rescue, I’m exhausted and ready to retreat back into the comfort of my cotton cocoon. I think I should start a support group.

Let’s journey down to the other end of the clothing spectrum and the socks I’ve already shamed.

If you’ve ever worn snow boots outside, you know the scenario. You come in, try and slip your boots off and move on with your life and find that your sock has been swallowed up into the depths of the boot. Of course you discover this when you pull out your foot and step down into the pile of snow that your boot has just left on the floor.

The only thing that makes this situation worse is when you go to put your sock back on and discover you have a jagged little piece of toenail that gets stuck on a string inside of the sock, creating a painful, snag-filled scenario or a new hole in the sock and your sanity.

Sigh…let’s move on.

Like most people, I enjoy a hot shower. What I don’t enjoy is turning off the water of said shower, discovering that although I’ve just spent 10 minutes in the direct stream of water I’ve neglected to rinse out my shampoo and that I also forgot to put a new towel on the rack.

The cat is no help, as you know.

Then there’s this food situation, and for me, anything that involves food is usually a highly-serious “situation” not to be messed with. There’s nothing more disappointing than cutting into an avocado and discovering that it’s a) 50 percent pit or b) bruised beyond belief. This can apply to other fruits and vegetables as well, but it will usually only happen to the one item you were REALLY looking forward to eating at that exact moment.

Put down the sharp kitchen objects and slowly back away from the counter. It’s not worth it.

And while I could add a million and 12 different technology-related items to this short list, I will narrow it down to leaving a very long and insightful/witty comment on a blog only to be confronted with a captcha. Not just any captcha, but one that completely resets the page—erasing your comment in the process—every time you fail the captcha (one that looks like an impossible Rorschach test, I might add.)

Adding insult to injury? Having to look up how to spell “captcha” in order to complain about it. At that point, it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. The last thing you need. THE BIGGEST DEAL EVER!

Just take a deep breath and retreat into your hoodie. Everything will probably work out—except that flipping captcha.

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It’s a Funny Thing

I’m not an easy person to be close with. There are a few quirks you have to get used to, and I’m sure I’m frustrating more times than not.

hermitnataliedee

But there are moments when I can be semi-humorous and/or introspective, and it’s been my experience that people don’t always want introspection—they want to be entertained.

I’m no exception to this rule.

While getting introspective and “deep” can be helpful, sometimes I think that writing about it all the time ends up sounding like I’m just dwelling on things.

So instead of publishing posts that make me sound like a drag, I often try to find the funny and share the posts that make me sound like a weirdo. Humor is a great distraction from things and most people like to laugh—me included—because who wouldn’t want to be happy?

But here’s where I let you in on a secret.

Sometimes when I’m at my (relative) funniest, that’s when I’m at my lowest, and each tweet, update or post is simply me grasping at sanity straws. I might be snarky, but chances are I’d rather be in bed with covers over my head pretending the day isn’t happening.

Don’t get me wrong—sometimes I’m genuinely happy with things and I’m naturally a sarcastic smartass. On those days when I’m able to write, creating something—anything—makes me happy, ridiculously happy, mostly because I feel productive and useful for at least a few minutes in time.

Then there are times I epically fail, and instead of trying to search for a laugh, I go and search for the covers. Unfortunately, those days happen much more often than I’d like to admit.

But while there is often real suffering, there is also self-created suffering. While there is often real happiness, there is also self-created happiness.

I forget this when I’m not only without a funny blog post, status update or quick quip to read or write, but also without the desire to care either way—about that, or really, anything. These are the times when I get stressed, as I simply want to be funny and LAUGH DAMMIT! Why is being happy so hard?

But as Thich Nhat Hanh once said much more eloquently than me, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

True, Thich my man, true.

It’s rather unrealistic to think you can be happy 100 percent of the time. That would be weird and unnatural, like how people’s faces vibrate when they try and hold in a yawn. (Just let it go, people.) And even though many of us have good lives and good opportunities, normal life isn’t easy for anyone—even those without depression.

But we can try to create small moments when things seem most bleak. We can remember that behind everyone’s smile, there might be some pain. Behind everyone’s laugh, there might be self-doubt. Behind every dark moment there has to be light, even if it’s buried under eight pounds of crap.

Where there’s humor, there’s hope.

It’s funny how those things work out.

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This post was kind of written in response to a company called The b Positive Project, a T-shirt company that has become more of a “positive movement” of sorts.  As their site states, “We know that everyone encounters tough times, but we believe that, in those moments, everyone also has the choice to ‘b Positive.’”

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They have a really cool story and they reached out to me to share something, I was honored, so you have this. Oh! And even though they offered to send me a shirt, I haven’t been compensated in any way. I just think they’re cool. But I do love T-shirts, so there’s that, too.   

If anyone else wants to send me a T-shirt, I’ll totally write you a post.  

The Campaign Trail

There are two things I will probably never ever write about with any seriousness on this blog—religion and politics.

me-for-president

That would be because I’m not religious (although I give the stereotypical eye roll-inducing response that I’m spiritual) and I hate politics. So instead of debating either, I will accept the label of being an apathetic heathen.

Don’t tell my grandma.

But it’s already started—the unsolicited phone calls from automated political headquarters, yards filled with signs endorsing candidates for elected positions I never knew existed and the annoying ads on TV.

You can’t avoid it and they’re all the same.

If a candidate really wanted to get my attention, he/she would make an effort to differentiate their platform somehow. Down with spending millions of dollars on a campaign instead of actually fixing the roads or funding the schools! Down with the attack ads claiming their opponent hates kittens and sunshine!

That negativity doesn’t endear them to me.

Just once I would love for a commercial to end with, “I’m (insert name of candidate here), and I once woke up in the back of a horse trailer with a bra wrapped around my head and the smell of Jager floating up in the air. I approve this message.”

In fact, I would actually endorse a candidate that approved of the following messages and made them part of their platform:

  • Yoga/workout pants will now join khakis as being classified as “business casual,” even if smattered with cat hair (hypothetically speaking.) 
  • All 20-year old girls who shriek, “OMG, I’m getting so old, you guys!” will be exiled to a special hut where they will be forced to listen to John Tesh albums and clean mini-blinds.
  • The Fashion Police will be given adequate resources to affect change in the area of footwear—people wearing sandals must not have nasty feet and anyone wearing Crocs is not allowed to be upset when not taken seriously.
  • Companies that send you an email confirming your unsubscription from their emails will be sent an email informing them that’s why you are unsubscribing from their emails and then banned from All The Internets.
  • If the toilet paper roll is installed in improper underhand fashion anywhere and you are not able to correctly adjust it, you have permission to leave and go somewhere else where it’s “right.”
  • Most of the ridiculous words added to the Oxford Online Dictionary—such as “Grrr,” “Totes” and “Woot”—will be removed to include useful ones, such as “Peegret”: The regret you experience when you leave hastily from a location without relieving yourself.
  • There will be no such thing as gay marriage. It will henceforth just be called “marriage,” as that’s what the hell it is.

My name is Abby, and I would approve of this message.

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