Your Daily Dose Of Embarrassment And A Free Photo

[I apologize for all who tried to comment on the guest blog by Jen on Monday. Apparently, there were some issues with Explorer not allowing comments. Thank you for your emails and all the great advice! I really appreciate you guys. But more importantly, why are you still using Explorer?]

Yesterday, the moon was in the second house. The sun was shining. It was quasi-warm in the Midwest for the first time since Christmas. The alignment of all these rare events led to a brilliant idea on my part. And by brilliant, I mean an idea that led to devastating embarrassment.

I decided, for the first time in five years, to clean out my beautiful baby Saturn. I have oft neglected such duties on account that my baby is 12 years old, has a hole in the hood, leaks on me every time it rains and is probably about to breathe it’s last breath. And I figure that would just be quality time wasted on cleaning, when I could be Twittering or Facespacing, or thinking of more reasons to hate Neil Diamond.

Let me first set the scene for you. I had just gotten out of the shower and I let my hair air dry. Let me just tell you that you’ve never seen anything like an air-dried pile of half-curly, unruly Italian hair. That being said, I also had applied some white zit cream to my chin and left cheek due to an overly stressful week. I put on my “house glasses” and all of you who wear glasses know what I mean by that. You have the normal pair, which can be seen in public. Then, you have the “house” pair, which used to be a normal pair until someone sat on them or the prescription became outdated and now they are solely used for laying in bed and watching TV. Also, since it was warm, I was wearing my daisy duke plaid PJ shorts and a wife beater. And Ugg boots.

I went in the garage and started cleaning. The world was at peace and that’s where this story should end.

But it doesn’t, cus I’m full of bright ideas, remember?

I thought to myself, “It’s sunny out and everyone is at work. I’m just gonna back out of the garage for a bit so I can see things better, but I’ll still be inside the car so no one will see me.”

Well, I suppose that would have generally been the case. But NOT YESTERDAY. Around the corner, I see a man walking by out of the corner of my eye. I had the driver side door open, with one leg out, like some sort of car straddling white trash person.

I ignored him at first, because, I’m sort of the hermit of the neighborhood and no one talks to me.

Except, of course, new neighbors who move next door and want to introduce themselves.

Are you starting to connect the dots?

He walks straight over. Probably about thirty. Gorgeous, wearing a suit. As he approached, I instantly panicked. There is NO WAY I can escape this. He shouts, “I’m new here, trying to get around and meet all the neighbors.” I stared down at the floormats and kept cleaning. I said, Oh, nice to meet you.”

For goodness sakes, isn’t that enough recognition for any ordinary person? This is America, after all.

Then, only because it’s my life, he kept walking closer. He stands right next to me and I quickly adjusted the shorts, considering the very compromising position I was in. At that moment, I was so preoccupied with not flashing him that I did not recollect the zit cream on my face until he blatantly glared at my chin. As he stuck out his hand, he said, “I’m Todd. I work for the local news. Nice to meet you.”

Oh, the news. Of coursssssssse you do.

I get a lot of emails asking if people can purchase photos from my blog. So….I introduce to you: Free Photo Fridays.

[Free Photo Fridays are a little break from my regular blog posts. I love photography. And I love sharing it with other people. So, on Fridays, I post a high resolution download of one of my favorite pictures for you to use. Hang it on your wall. Use it for your desktop. Frame it and give it to your mom. Do whatever you want. Also, if you have a picture you’d like to add, send it to me at and I’ll feature it with a link back to your site. Share the love people.]

Since it is finally getting warm out, I will start with this picture of melting Midwestern ice. Click here to download. [3216 x 2136 px]

Fievel Goes West: Substitute Fievel For Blunt

[written whilst in the middle of the desert]

Well.  If it wasn’t confirmed by my first trip to New Mexico four years ago, it is definitely a fact that I am allergic to the Southwest.  My body has rejected it in every possible way.  Not in the same way it rejects mayonnaise, but in the way that it rejects the voice of Neil Diamond, where essentially everything shuts down and stages a protest.  I’m sorry if I make so many Neil Diamond references, but it’s the quickest way I know how to convey feelings of hatred,  loathing, and utter disappointment.

As I’m writing this in my composition notebook [obviously, cus I’m a total notebook snob], I am staring at the vast expanse of orangish rocks and dried up bushes that is the New Mexican landscape, while trying to ignore this altitude sickness and the fact that my nose is so dry that it refuses to breathe.  Even transportation via car is miserable, considering the bumpy, mountainous roads and my propensity for motion sickness. My hair is currently in a braid, but not in the figurative sense that you’ve come to expect.  Quite literally, my hair is in braids. Why? Well, what I can tell you with absolute certainty that it has nothing to do with my desire to appease or fit in with Native American culture, rather it has everything to do with the fact that my $150 straightener was broken in half during transit.

P.S. Have you ever seen my dad’s hair? Well, let’s just say that I have inherited more from him than just his sensitive stomach, lack of coordination, and irresistible charm. It’s quite the package.


[TMI: there was a point and time when I was wearing everything in the airport gift shop, including the T-shirt covered in chili peppers that said “Juan in a million,” while I was riding that Navajo horse in the background]

And while we’re on the subject of trips, have we discussed flying yet? Oh, we haven’t? That’s probably because I love it as much as I loved getting peed on after that jellyfish attack.  Not saying that necessarily happened, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to in order for me to know that I didn’t like it.

On the flight back to my beloved Midwest, it was a bumpy ride.  Thatswhatshesaid. There were high winds and turbulence the whole way. I was busy writing, when I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker.  Immediately assuming that they are informing us of impending death or that we’ve been hijacked, I rip my iPod from my ears so I can prepare myself properly.  Preparing myself properly, of course, would involve nothing but alot of crying, praying/pleading, sweating, and grabbing the neighboring passenger’s leg.

I hear the Stewardess [except it was a dude, so Stewarder?] say the following:

Stewarder: Please draw your attention to the large circular formations on the ground below us.

Me: [thinking]  Great.  Alien formations? I KNEW there was something to that Donahue episode I watched in 1988.  Terrorist camps? Missile launching sites? Or is this just the plot of soft land we’re supposed to aim for when we are thrust out of the burning plane?

Stewarder:  Those are pizza farms. [obligatory laughter from any coherent passengers]

Me: Are you fricken serious right now?

I’m gonna go ahead and take this opportunity to grab the loudspeaker and make an announcement of my own: NOTHING is funny when I’m suspended 40,000 feet in the air. Especially not from you, creepy flight attendant guy who handed me very questionable peanuts.  Cus really, from the looks of things, I wouldn’t be surprised if you turned out to be the one who hijacks us later.

That’s enough about that. Adios!

Commitment: The Fire Breathing Dragon That Eludes Me

It’s fall.

If you reside in an area of the country [I like to refer to it as God’s favorite] where you experience the change of seasons, then you understand the sheer elation I’m feeling at this very moment as I put on an extremely worn-in hoody [the kind that barely keeps you warm anymore cus there are so many holes], eat a caramel apple [but only the kind I make myself], and drink a hot beverage [preferably a pumpkin spice latte] while staring at the crispy orange leaves outside my window.  Wow, don’t tell my 6th grade English teacher about that sentence, cus it definitely violated a few grammatical laws of nature.  If you can’t experience fall, then my heart aches for you.

Something about the fall just makes me think of new relationships. Why? Well, because it’s absolutely impossible to resist falling in love with someone during this time of year.  In fact, I believe almost all of my relationships have started in the fall.  In fact, I believe anything good that has come out of my life has started in the fall. Wait, but none of those relationships were good. Stop confusing me.

apple-orchardSo why am I talking about fally wonderfulness when this blog is about commitment issues? Well, you should know better then to ask me questions about why I do the things I do.  Here’s my thought process: crisp weather —> I’m cold —> hoody —> wow, I need a pedicure —> fall —> unrequited love for Jon Stamos —> new  relationships —> WHAT? I’m all out of pasta? —> commitment.

All of you know that I suffer from a very serious condition that we might call: issues. Particularly, of the commitment genre. I can’t commit to and entire box of one type of cereal, thus, my cupboards overflow with mini-boxes, which lead visitors to the general conclusion that I am either a foster parent to a surplus of midgets, or that I run my own daycare.  That being what it is, if we’re talking about way more important issues such as: weekend plans, underwear colors, or hair dye you can expect hives and/or cold sweats at some point.  And if we’re talking about anything that will monopolize 6 months to a year of my time, I lose feeling in my forearms.

This was the exact feeling I experienced when I closed on my condo, followed by nausea and hyperventilation. Needless to say, it presented quite a challenge when I had to sign all that paperwork with a numb arm.

While trying to psychoanalyze myself, I’ve come up with a number of scapegoats on which to place blame for this senseless paranoia. The first, of course, being my mother.  I have no idea why, but it just seems like a logical conclusion to just about everything.  The second, being my string of bad luck with overly possessive boyfriends.  The third, being the changing of the tides or humidity levels of the rainforest.  All of which make more sense than the actual truth, which is, I’m nuttier than that box of assorted off-brand Valentines Day chocolates still rotting on the bottom shelf of your fridge.  Guys, seriously, what did I tell you about Valentine’s Day gifts?

When I come back, I not only promise that I will be extremely parched, dehydrated, and tan – but that we will return to your regularly scheduled blog programming and I will have an announcement for you that you may or may not be excited about.  I’d like to say it is an announcement so big that it might blow your socks off, but then I remembered that I hate when people say that.  I mean, is that even possible? Come on, people.

Get real.

I miss you already!


Someone Alert The Environmentalists


But first, a note from our sponsors.

Dear Everyone Who Reads This Blog Whether You Like It Or Not,

As of late, I realize that my online presence has been replaced with tumbleweeds and probably a surplus of tears.  To attempt to explain exactly what has been going on, which has kept me from you like an unjust prison sentence, would require more space than the internet can provide.  I can only beg for your forgiveness in this matter, and instruct you to refer to my book.  That I will write.  Someday.  As soon as I can figure out what will be in it.  But the past two weeks, you can be assured, will be in it.

Patience is a virtue,


As I was running out of the house with my arms full, I realized that I just absolutely could not survive the next 4 hours without a box of Rice Krispie treats.  I stumbled into the kitchen, reached up into the cupboard, and that was the last moment of life as I knew it.  Had I met my soul mate?  My maker? Did I experience an epiphany that somehow pieced together every bit of my crazy life into a beautiful puzzle of clarity?

Not quite. As I was staring at my kitchen floor/cupboards/rug/fridge covered in olive oil and shards of glass, I shouted every bit of language I’d remember from my French class.  Which, unfortunately, was nothing since I took Spanish.  An entire 48 oz bottle of olive oil (extra virgin, of course, cus what am I a cheap bastard?) had been knocked off my counter by my extemely oversize (but tragically attractive) purse.  And. Holy. Crapballs. It was a freaking mess. Have you ever tried to clean up oil? OH wait, you haven’t…cus it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

OF COURSE, I was already 20 mins late. OF COURSE, I had no paper towels.  BUT OF COURSE, I’m a neat freak and couldn’t handle leaving a mess of this magnitude so my immediate reaction was to reach down and pick up pieces of glass. WHICH OF COURSE, resulted in about 6, 3459 cuts on my hands, which isn’t even possible. AND OF COURSE, when I went to change the clothes I tracked olive oil onto my carpets that were just cleaned.

Finally, I said screw this and I put bathroom towels over my entire floor and took off.

But of course, I’m not the only one in my family who’s been doing permanent damage to the environment lately.

You should know that here in the Midwest we’ve experience an extremely unlikely, cold, and damp summer.  So the other night, I went over to my parents house for a “bonfire.”  I walk out in the field and I quietly assume that this is what my dad was referring to:


Have you met my dad lately?

That’s what I thought.  Apparently, nor have I.


And as we quickly ran to escape the nearly 100 ft flame scolding our faces and the atmosphere, we all took a second to rethink Heaven and Hell.


And we started stripping off layers of clothing due to the surmounting heat, my father stood back and watched like a giddy Boy Scout.

Me: Well, I guess our town might as well stop recycling for about a year, cus we’ve probably just reversed any progress they’ve made.

Dad:  [laughing in a way that makes it impossible not to love him]  Tell Al Gore I’m sick of this cold summer, would ya?

Mom chimes in: I think the only place Global Warming is happening these days, is inside Al’s mouth.

Ah.  This is the heart of America, folks.


Dear Midwest, Without You I’d Be Famous

You know your hair is too long when you have to start using conditioner meant for a horse.  Gees, people.  I’m just saying.  But on a side note, it works rather nicely.  So I’ve heard.


People always ask me, actually they harshly criticize and often yell at me, for the fact that I’ve never moved out of this God-forsaken craphole of a town. For those of you who don’t know, I live in a suburb outside of Chicago, where nearly everyone is a loser with zero motivation or aspirations in life.  So when I put it that way, I guess I can see their point.

Friend:  But you could be a big time writer in New York and travel the world.

Me: I’ve already traveled everywhere I want to go in the world.  And New York has too many rats.  And snobs.  And pricey food that comes on a giant platter but is the size of what I can only consider, a midget snack of sorts.

Friend:  But you could move to L.A. and write for tv shows and movies.

Me: I’m brunette, no one would take me seriously in L.A.  Besides, I can’t deal with the fakeness.  I would call everyone out and then they would hate me.  And then I’d run home to my lonely, roach-infested apartment, where I’d cry big, fat elephant tears and eat myself ugly. 

Friend: But you could move to the downtown and work for the Tribune.

Me:  I hate the news.  It’s depressing.  Plus, I probably wouldn’t get by with throwing in sarcastic comments when I was writing about the Korean missile crisis.  That job would blow chunks.  Give me a break, I’d never move to any of those places.  Seattle.  Now there’s a place I wouldn’t mind moving.

Friend:  You know that Grey’s Anatomy isn’t actually filmed in Seattle right?  So you wouldn’t be meeting McDreamy, or McSteamy, or any of the Mc’s?

So could all these people be partially right? Perhaps.  Is it true I want to continue my writing career on a larger scale? Mmm hmm.  Is it possible for me to accomplish all my dreams living here?  Heal no.  So what on earth could possibly keep me sandwiched here in the middle of the country, suffocating for air, slowly dying from lack of culture and white-trashy influences, you ask

Is it the ice-cold winters, which seem to get longer with every passing year, that make me contemplate roasting my own dog [or I guess my neighbor’s cus I don’t have one] over a rotisserie just so that I won’t have to leave my house for food?  Not exactly.  It’s much more complex than that.  But when isn’t it?

The other day, I was bronzing myself on the back porch, as the landscapers were mowing my yard.  I arose from my position to make sure I was decent as they were mowing right in front of me.  The last thing I need is a sweaty, landscaper-stalker.  But on a serious note, could they possibly point that grass blower thingy in another direction?   Then as I was gazing at all my patches of dead grass, a thunderbolt of realization occurred to me.  Um, why can I see those?  Where is the tangled pile of hose that has been laying in my backyard and covering the dead grass since I moved in?  Wait a minute. THESE PERVERTS STOLE MY HOSE! @#$!  And now they’re blowing grass at me.  What the?

As it turns out, my father had slithered outside at some point and drilled a bracket into the side of my house and wrapped the hose nicely around it.  BONUS: he was smart enough not to install one of those plastic roller pieces of crap that break after two seconds, which would result in a lifetime of frustration and ultimately, the death of more grass.  EXTRA BONUS:  He planted grass seed.

Folks, I’m sorry, but with quality service like this, the Midwest has a hold on me.