Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The other day I watched a documentary on the TLC channel. It was called "I Eat 33,000 Calories a Day". Just seeing the title of the program piqued my interest, because not only am I currently dieting, but stuff like this is just amazing to me. Unfortunately, I missed the first 20 minutes, but I can tell you I was riveted to the screen for the rest of the program.

It was about 4 people--two women who are well on their way to becoming homebound, thanks to their weight; and two men who are so morbidly obese they cannot get out of bed. These are grown men who have to wear diapers because they literally cannot get up to go to the bathroom.

What amazes me is how they have let themselves get this way. I mean, it's one thing to be overweight, or even fat, but to allow yourself to reach that point where your mobility is compromised and you are facing serious health problems because you can't stop eating is just crazy to me. One of the men has to have an oxygen tank. Because he's so overweight, he has a hard time breathing.

Think about that. The guy's literally killing himself. He's eating his way into his grave. How truly sad.

It was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster to watch. At first, I was disgusted. Some of these people eat NINE POUNDS of food every day. Their typical day would go like this:

Breakfast -- anything and everything, basically one of everything from an IHOP menu: eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, hashbrowns, toast, pancakes, french toast...etc. This is one meal.
Mid-Morning Snack --a box of cereal with milk, a whole bag of potato chips (one of the big bags) -- one guy ate 48 little bags of chips per day!
Lunch -- Take-Out Chinese. The whole thing. I think they ate something else, too. I think it was a box of Little Debbies or something.
Afternoon Snack -- Extra Value Meal from a fast food restaurant, the largest size available. One pound of M&Ms or some other kind of candy.Maybe a plate of chocolate chip cookies--the homemade kind.
Dinner -- A delivery pizza. The whole thing. Or, more fast food meals.

One lady had to eat the following just so she wouldn't get hungry in the middle of the night:

Two sticky buns
3 Twinkies
3 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
A can of soda pop

This doesn't include her midnight snacks, either. Watching her eat that made this Sugar Queen want to barf. I mean, I thought no one could top my sweet tooth, but she's got me beat, hands down. Watching that made me want to eat a salad.

Did I mention that these people are consuming between 8-10 cans of soda pop per day? Yeah.

At the rate Miss Bedtime Snack was going, she was gaining Fifty-Two pounds per month.

This was way, way worse than watching Super Size Me. (Which I highly recommend if you haven't seen it already.) This was totally disgusting, especially when the producers would lay out on the table all the food they eat in one day. It filled the table completely. Everything on it was junk food. Not a fruit or veggie in sight.

Then, as I continued to watch, I was simply concerned that people live their lives that way. They can't enjoy anything because their whole lives revolve around food and eating. They had to eat something constantly. At the expense of doing other activities. No hobbies, not much to look forward to. Their family members were concerned or upset about it. They can't leave their house--imagine not being able to leave your house! I don't know how they paid for it all. They weren't working. So they are unemployed eaters, I guess.

My next emotion was sheer pity. They were all depressed and sad. They had lost so many wonderful things in their life. They didn't know what to do, because even if they stopped eating the food, they were immobile, so they can't exercise. They had no willpower whatsoever-- there are lots of people willing to deliver junk food! At one point, the bedridden guy who is wearing diapers at age 42 said something along the lines of, "People look at me with disgust. They say, 'How can you do this to yourself? It's disgusting.' And they look down on me and think I am a totally unworthy person who has no control over himself. They say to me 'Just stop eating. It's just that simple.' But would they be saying and thinking the same things if I were surrounded by empty whiskey bottles instead of food packages?"

And you know what? He's right. These people are addicts, bottom line. It's not because they like how it tastes, necessarily. It's not about lack of willpower when it comes to dieting. It's nieve to think "Duh. Just stop." -- That's not how it works. It is a flat-out addiction, just like a drug. Would you tell a methhead to "just stop"?

They described feeling "high" when they got to eat, they went to ridiculous lengths to get their favorite foods, they ate to escape their emotions, their quality of life was affected by the food, they ate in secret when no one was around to judge them, they always needed more food than the month before, they had lost friends over it, they were dealing with depression....all classic signs of an addiction.

Unlike heroin or meth, which are illegal; unlike alcohol and cigarettes which are just looked down upon; you need food to live. There is no such thing as cold turkey. It's not like they can just cut it out of their lives. They have to re-learn their entire relationship to food. The only downside to indulging in it is getting fat (and losing your health, eventually). It doesn't affect your behavior, your criminal record or ability to hold a steady job. You won't necessarily lose friends or put others at risk from eating a whole chocolate cake. It won't even affect your bank account all that much. Finding the motivation must be terribly difficult.

So these people are in a really sad, very serious situation. The Diaper Guy has finally realized he's killing himself and is trying to lose 150 pounds so the doctors will let him have gastric bypass surgery. In order to do so, he has hired someone to come to his house for 12 hours per day (he lives in the UK, so I am assuming it is free?) and supervise his eating and help him with daily life sort of things. Get this: the poor man has so little willpower that he has posted a sign in his kitchen which gives strict instructions to the caretakers: "I am not to have any of the following foods: [and then he lists all his favorite foods]. If you give me these foods, I will have no choice but to fire you. Because I am going to ask you to get me some fish and chips. I will beg, plead, try and place a delivery order, whatever. But I really want to lose this weight, and I need your help. If you won't help me, you will be let go."

In one scene, Bedtime Snack Lady was being interviewed in her living room about her weight and eating problems. In the background, you see someone place a plate of cookies on the dining room table. She told the interviewer that she could eat the entire plate in one sitting, but that was an activity she would normally do when she was alone, so she could sort of hide it. So people wouldn't know how much she eats (which I find funny, because, um, well, I think the cat's already out of the bag on that one! She weighs like 500 pounds!) And she was starting to grow anxious because she didn't know when everyone would leave so she could gobble them up. Being denied cookies brought stress into her life. Wow. She said her mom was the same way, and would often have hidden stashes of food all over the house.Wow.

But actually, doing stuff like that when you are alone -- indulging in secrecy -- is a classic sign of an addiction. As is hiding your stashes--addicts fear a cut-off from their supply or that someone will find out just how bad of a problem they have. If you've ever seen When a Man Loves a Woman you know what I'm talking about. (Actually, that is a really great movie for illustrating what it's like to be an alcoholic. They did a really good job at portraying alcoholism and its signs accurately. And trust me, I know what alcoholics are like!)

Anyway, I just thought I'd share my thoughts on all this, since I can relate to addictions and a general love of junk food. I did eat 2 pounds of jellybeans in one day, once. So I'm sure I have the ability to be like this, somewhere deep inside me. Scary, isn't it? This is sort of the other end of the "That Could Be Me" spectrum.

It's important to recognize danger signs of addiction. They aren't always obvious or detrimental to your life. No one can help you--you have to help yourself, which can be one of the hardest things to do. You have to admit you are out of control, which is really hard to do. I think many people can easily become addicted to a variety of things. I believe there is such a thing as an "addictive personality" and that it's more common than we think.

I hope the people in this documentary get help soon. Being trapped in addiction is a horrible place to be. Especially when it's something like food, which you can't go cold turkey with. Something you need which isn't illegal, expensive or difficult to obtain. Something which doesn't affect their personalities or behavior. Gosh, it must just be awful for them.

On a similar note, I think it is really cool that Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner has chosen to not only admit her problems, but has taken the long, hard road to sobriety. And now, she is speaking out about it. Admitting to a fault, learning from it, accepting it as part of who you are and changing your life is admirable. To me, that is a role model. I hope she will use her position to raise awareness, not just to promote herself. That would make her commendable if she became an AA spokesperson or something. (Of course, I'm giving her a HUGE benefit of the doubt. I doubt she would have changed her ways before being busted. I'm sure she's just going to do her little Playboy shoot and be done with it.) Let's hope she can stick to sobriety. Or at least influence some of the other contestants.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hot Neighbor and Fun Bobby

Readers, I need your advice.

I wish I could say I had news about Hot Neighbor. But I don't. I haven't really seen him.

Except this one time. *shudders*

You see, I think The Universe is trying to tell me, "Do not date this man." Why? I have my reasons....

1. He has yet to see me looking nice. Am I having a bad hair day? Wearing a goofy outfit? Just got up? Have a giant zit on my chin? Am dressed like a Professional Couch Potato? Then this is the day I will see Hot Neighbor. He will want to talk to me, and the whole time, I am cringing. I want to interrupt him mid-sentence and say, "I can look really nice! I swear! I have high heels and makeup that I like to wear! I'm just going to the gym, that's why I look like this! Normally I am presentable and chic! I clean up really well!!!"

See, if he would just ask me out, I'd have a reason to look nice. But whatever...

The other morning, I was awakened by my doorbell. Groggy and disheveled, I opened my front door. Horrifically, it was Hot Neighbor. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I thought.

Dirty hair? check.
Sleeping in to an absurdly late hour? check.
Pre-coffee brain? check.
Morning breath? check.
Oh-so-sexy flannel pjs? check.
No makeup? check.
New zits? check check.

He apologized twice for waking me up, and then started telling me about his brother of all things. Something about his brother wanting to attend the college where I work and did I know anything about admissions and registration?

I answered his questions, squinting at the sunlight and mumbling incoherently until he went away. I closed the door. Could that have gone any worse?? I doubt it. Maybe if I had barfed on myself. Or on him. I banged my head against the door, bemoaning my poor luck, and then went back to sleep.

When I got up, I wondered why in the hell he was even asking me all that stuff. It's on the website. There's a phone number he could call. Most people would just call or look it up themselves, instead of walking to a neighbor's house and waking them up. Was this an excuse to talk to me? And I just royally f--ked it up? Wonderful.

So I'd like to hear what my male readers have to say about this. What is he thinking when he sees me looking like a bag lady? Does anyone have any advice, other than looking really good every time I step outside? Can I do some damage control? Or are things beyond repair?

2. Ok, this one is just me being superstitious. But his license plate ends with the following letters: URX. As in, "Your Ex". I am taking this as a sign that he is just like some awful ex-boyfriend of mine. Like The Universe is trying to say, "Look, date him if you want. But in the end, he'll end up being just like all your other exes. Don't say I didn't warn you." I know I sound crazy. But I have noticed that some people's supposedly "random" license plate letters can be quite telling.

3. In the past two weeks, we are never outside at the same time. One of us is always inside. Which makes having conversations difficult. Obviously. The lack of communication is letting me think about the situation, though. Do I really want to date my neighbor? If it ended, it would be awkward at best and disastrous at worst. Do I really want to date someone with three kids? That's a lot of kids. Cute or not, it's a big responsibility. Scenes of that Julia Roberts movie, Stepmom, keep flashing through my head. Do I want to be that girl? Dealing with exes and in-laws?

Don't you love that I imagine all of these things, when he hasn't even hinted at asking me out? I'm ridiculous.

Of course, it would help if he'd stop wearing plain white t-shirts. They fit him just-so. I get a little peek at his biceps. Mmmm. Plain white t-shirts are one of the sexiest things a guy can wear. Especially if he pairs it with jeans and bare feet. I know that sounds weird. But it is the hottest thing a guy can wear. It even beats tuxes in my book.

Time for a subject change. So I can get that image out of my head...

Fun Bobby. Ok, that worked.

Fun Bobby and I have talked twice now. He still hasn't sealed the deal. This is irritating because it wastes my time. We have established that we can have decent (read: very average) conversations. It's time to see if there is in-person chemistry. We've gone as far as we can without having an actual date. He's hinted around at asking me out, but still nothing. (Male readers--are you taking notes? Don't be a Fun Bobby.)

Aside from this irritation, Fun Bobby has something else working against him: his personality is....average. He's nice. He sometimes says something sorta funny--enough for a polite chuckle. He seems smart. But overall, he's just

Last night, Healthy Girl had a dinner party. (I met Fun Bobby through her.) So Fun Bobby was at the dinner party. And I realized why I didn't remember meeting him the first time--in person, he's also He's "eh" in pretty much every way, from what I can tell. So I am officially not interested in going out with him. Fun Bobby just isn' enough.

Considering I spent most of the evening catching up with two girlfriends I haven't seen in about a month, here's to hoping he won't call me. I'm hoping he will take that as a sign. Or a hint. Or something discouraging.

Unfortunately, I think he will call. So I have to give my "I'm sorry, but I..." speech. I hate giving that speech. It makes me feel bad. But I will have to give it, because nothing is worse than going on a date where you know you are wasting time and money. Where you watch the guy put forth all this effort, knowing that it's a lost cause. That's the worst feeling. Somewhere out there, is a girl who really will see him as FUN Bobby. She needs to meet him. Which means he needs to remain single.

Some girls can give pity dates, or "freebie" dates where they give the guy one more chance. Not me. If the chemistry ain't there, it just ain't. Guys don't grow on me. They hit me like a brick wall.

Guys prefer the upfront honesty, right? No one wants a pity date, right?

In other news...this diet stuff is for the birds, y'all. I could really go for some chocolate cake and french fries. But I've already lost 5 pounds [readers applaud and cheer] so I'm not turning back now. I'll get used to it soon enough. I just have to let myself have the occassional treat so I don't lose what's left of my mind.

Luckily, Healthy Girl makes very low-cal, healthy food, so her dinner parties are guilt-free. She even had sugar-free gingerbread cookies for us.

Tuesday nights are Major Gym Night. This is usually when I hit the gym for 2 hours. That way, if I do have a few fries or chocolate cake bites, it won't mess me up too badly. Is anyone else doing Weight Watchers? That's what I'm doing. I've done it before and I lost a ton of weight. So I'm back on the wagon again.

Crap, now I'm hungry.

BSF#7 -- Cont.

I am so enjoying all the discussion from my last B.S.-Free Post (see below). My readers always bring up such interesting points. I love it. I will try to think up more questions for #8, but until then, I will reply to your comments here.

Question #1 (about how most women now live without a husband, and do men now feel they have nothing to offer?) -- I think most of you feel more women are just choosing to remain unmarried. This sounds about right and could simply be the end of it. Stuckey and mysmileisfake bring up a good point, which I missed, and that is this: guys don't think about what they are offering a woman until later in the game. This makes sense, since we all know that until they are successful, the only thing men are pondering is how to get you to remove all your clothing with them in a dark room. It's only after that they begin to wonder if they can offer a woman something.

Seems kind of backwards, doesn't it?

I'm just kidding. Har har. (Did anyone get that?? Maybe it's just funny in my head.)

And I do agree with my female readers that guys who feel threatened by independent women are not really the kind of men we're interested in, anyway. They can jump off a cliff for all I care. While they're at it, they can take all the submissive wives with them. Independent women are doing themselves a great service by holding out.

Like mysmileisfake said, our priorities have shifted somewhat. Our careers are important to both men and women nowadays, so we all like to get on firm ground with those before tackling the search for a life partner. We do college and careers for a while, then start thinking about having a family. Back in the day, I think it may have been the other way around. Hence the smaller number of unmarried women a couple decades ago. I am not saying one version is better or worse, I am just noting a trend. And TGOV, as usual, brings up a very good point about how there are good things and bad things about being an Independent Woman these days. I always appreciate her intelligent point of view. Smart lady.

I have a married friend who says that it's not about settling. It's about finding someone whose faults you can live with. Marry the one you can tolerate, basically. At first, it sounds depressing, or even like settling, but if you stop and think about it, it makes sense. WLF (my dad) was a total slob, smoked cigars like a chimney and spent money like it grew on trees. Did this bug The Czarina? Yup. Was it so irritating that it wasn't worth marrying him? Nope. That's why it's important, IMO, to really stop and think about the things you can live with and those you can't. Think about your values and which ones must be present in a potential spouse, which ones should be present, and which ones are just a bonus.

Then again, what the hell do I know? I'm single. This is just my plan. I haven't figured anything out. But I do believe that I'll know it when I see it.

Question #2-- About jock straps and cups. I am only slightly more clear about this whole thing. Men sure are secretive about it. Jeez. And yes, I grew up with 3 brothers, and I have seen jockstraps. But for crying out loud, it's not like it was a popular topic at the family dinner table.

"Mom, can you pass the salt and pepper? Thanks. So, Fat Dog, tell me about jock straps."

"Well, VB, what do you want to know?"

"Do they prevent saggy balls? Because they should."

See what I mean? Not. Appropriate. Sibling. Topic. Just weird and awkward, even in theory. What gives, guys? I mean, I can sit here all day long and answer your questions about bras and tampons. Assuming you want to know. I am just curious. Do guys have to wear jock straps when they go running? Are they uncomfortable to the point that your wiener could fall asleep? Because jock straps look a lot like girdles. Do they have underwires in them if you are...uh, blessed in that department? Because they should. Let me tell ya, it makes all the difference in the world if you're talking about support.

I am entirely too curious about jock straps, I think.

Question #3--Approachability. Stuckey has brought up something I've always believed: Guys will view you as more approachable if you seem to be having a good time already. There are several reasons for this: he doesn't have to work as hard to get you in a good mood, you seem happy and friendlier, you know how to have a good time...etc. I have always thought this made girls more approachable. It can be said for guys, too. Who wants Mr. Morose to talk to you? Any takers? Didn't think so.

I see there is somewhat of a disagreement here about whether or not to approach a girl who is part of a group (larger than 3). Let me explain. Because I can speak for all women around the globe, don't you know. (right...) The general rule of thumb is what Stuckey said: Three or less, knock yourself out. But if it's Girls' Night Out (often this would mean a flock of lovely women in a group of 4 or more), you should probably forget it. However, if there is a gorgeous specimen of a woman to whom you must speak, all is not lost. Your options include:

1. Figuring out a way to be introduced to one of the girls in the group (this is, obviously, easier in a smaller city) so that you may make a seamless transition into the group. If you are successful at this, keep in mind you are still interrupting Girls' Night Out, so you should move along after a few minutes. Meet, greet, get the digits and be gone. Please don't ruin GNO by not taking no for an answer. Just go. Away.

2. Catching the object of your desire as she is separated from the herd. This method is similar to the lions picking off the weak, sickly and young stragglers of a herd as they are fleeing. This does NOT imply she is weak or young. Or sickly. To act accordingly would probably get you ignored at best, and slapped at worst. Where was I? Oh yeah. So tap her on the shoulder as she's headed out of the bathroom. Notice I said "out of". Please don't make her choose between her bursting bladder and your adorable face. It's such a tough call. Or see if she heads to the bar to get drinks--this is a very good time to approach a girl, as she might need help carrying the drinks back to her friends. Thus, you are both cute AND handy to have around. Also, if the bar is busy, she will have about 10 minutes to talk to you as she waits. If she wants to continue talking to you, she will invite you to join the group (see #1). If she is really loving GNO, she'll say thank you, give you her number and go about her merry way.

3. Doing what Justin suggested: Grab your enormous cojones, walk up to the whole group and mack on her in front of her friends. This is, of course, the absolute most risky of all behaviors and should be attempted only by men who possess either incredible flirting skills or little to no pride. I highly recommend thinking of something immensely witty to say ahead of time. It should be blunt and funny. That is the only way to do it. If you are not the witty type, do as Justin did and just say something really incredibly sweet. Don't worry, if you are sincere, her girlfriends will be instantly on your side, egging her on to give you her number. So decide which method you will employ. With this one, you have about a 50/50 shot at making a total idiot out of yourself. DO NOT under any circumstances, attempt this after your third beer. You will just be "The Drunk Guy Who Hit on Amanda". Don't be that guy. Because that's what all of them will call you for the rest of your life. Not good. However, feel free to use your drunk friend as a prop in this method. For example, burst into their circle with your drunk buddy and say something like, "Excuse me, but I just found him on the bathroom floor. Does he belong to you?" At the very least, you'll be known as Random Funny Guy. This is good.

Hmmm...I don't know if there is a #4....those are all the methods I can think of at the moment.

But back to Stuckey's list of How to Be An Approachable Female. He says he needs an indicator. Good point. I have to say, this is probably something I don't use to the best of my abilities. Sometimes, I will encourage my group of girlfriends to shift our position closer to the cute guy. I figure, the closer I'm standing to him, the higher my chances. But some days, I just don't have the confidence. I will have to remember this and utilize it more fully. It's good advice.

I'm glad to read that men sometimes have low-esteem days, too, and just aren't up to hitting on anyone. This is a big relief. Sometimes I feel like women are the only gender with self-esteem issues. Guys are always so confident. Guys must just be better at hiding it.

And Stuckey pointed out that my list has more to do with the post-approach rather than what makes a guy approachable. To which I reply: duh. I don't hit on guys. I am Southern and old-fashioned. Maybe other girls feel comfy hitting on guys. I am not one of them. So no, I can't really tell much until they approach me. But I'm not interested in guys who don't have cojones anyway. It's a good screening method. If they don't like what they see enough to walk across the room and talk to me, they must not be that interested. I prefer to date guys who are interested.

Does this make me high-maintenance? You know what. Don't answer that. I'll discuss it in #8.

Friday, January 26, 2007

B.S. Free Zone 7

If you are not familiar with these and want to read the first 6, see my sidebar. Scroll all the way down. See 'em? Ok. Come back here when you're done.

Holy cow, I haven't done one of these in.....forever. But I've wanted to do one, it's just taken me a while to come up with some good questions. Are they any good? I guess I'll find out soon. Here goes.

1. Men: Now that it's been determined that more women than ever are living without a husband*, do you think it's true that men feel they have nothing to offer the modern woman? Are you thinking, "What can I offer her? She has it all already."?

I think that this is probably another manipulation of statistics put forth by the media. A lot of women (especially those from the Baby Boomer generation) are living longer than their husbands, and so they are now widows. Thanks to modern medicine, they are living as widows even longer than before.We all know men kick the bucket before women do. So these widows are being counted into this 51%. Remember that these statistics are also including divorcees, so it does not mean 51% of women are single/have never been married. But I am betting that the single/never-been-married women numbers are on the rise, too.

What I want to know is this: are men feeling threatened by independent, self-sufficient women? Are we not getting dates because men feel they would only be a burden to us? Are women shooting themselves in the foot by having and doing it all? (Don't get me wrong, I think it's cool. Just playing devil's advocate here.)

2. Strictly a curiosity question: When do men wear jock straps? Only when they are putting themselves at risk for injuries to their balls? Wait, I guess that would be a cup. Wait, are cups the same thing as a jock strap? Are they sold as a set? And the cup is an insert, much like a pad in a push-up bra? How about when they run--does the jock strap serve as a sports bra would for women? I would think it would be important to wear one. Men worry about saggy balls, right? And if they don't, let me tell ya, they should be. Because, ew. Do they come in sizes like bras do? Are they shaped like briefs or thongs? Although it sounds crazy, I bet the thong-style jock strap would be more supportive.
So I am curious about male undergarments. Someone please explain this to me.

3. What makes a man/woman unapproachable? Can you smell desperation? Do high-maintenance women have a certain aura? What about bitches? What about men who live with their parents still? Is your decision to approach based on timing? Like if you've had a bad day, you don't talk to her? Do you have any rules for when/how/deciding whether to approach someone?

Or, if you are an old-fashioned gal like me, what determines your decision to let a guy hit on you vs. telling him to go...well, you know. (Not that I say that. I'm a lady. Usually. And not that I get a lot of practice with guys hitting on me. I don't. In fact, I'm having quite the little dry spell right now. Let's not talk about it, ok? Just answer my question.)

Let me think about my answer. *VB utilizes her over-active imagination* I'm at a bar, with my girlfriends. (Or, if I'm daydreaming, I'm at the bookstore, alone--I've always wanted to meet a guy in a bookstore. We have a laugh over some weird funny book, he buys me coffee, we discover a mutual love of jellybeans...but I'm rambling now, so...) Two guys approach me and begin to flirt madly with me. (See? I told you it was over-active.) The guy who gets to approach me and avoid getting a knee in his crotch and get my number has the following characteristics:

*he's funny (this is a deal-breaker if he can't make me laugh--there's a reason why this is #1 on my list)--bonus points if he can make fun of himself
*he's smart and well-educated
*I feel safe around him
*he has a job at which he works hard and exhibits some ambition (those guys who are going to have the same job, forever? bor-ing!)
*he seems mature, polite and kind (all kind of the same thing, really)
*he seems happy, confident and interesting (I think these things go hand-in-hand)
*I'm reasonably attracted to him
*he is not drunk or high (I've got such high standards, right?)
*he is not blowing smoke up my ass (this can cover any number of things...)
*he is apparently single and straight

Everything else is just gravy, really. If he has all these traits and the cojones to approach me, he'll probably get my number if he asks for it. Jeez, what am I saying. If I see a guy who seems to exhibit most of these qualities from across the room, I might just "accidentally" bump into him. Hard. And cop a cheap feel. Right on his hot ass. Yeah, baby.

At the very least, he'll probably catch me checking him out. Twice. And smiling and waving.

And he won't get shooed away or blown off if he's funny, interesting and smells good. I might not give him my number, but I sure will talk to him all night. Which definitely increases his chances of growing on me.

Things which would cause me to flee to the ladies' room (and if necessary, climb out the ladies' room window) in order to escape include:

*guys who cannot keep their hands to themselves (major pet peeve of mine)
*drunk guys
*guys who seem bitter or angry, especially at women
*guys who need to carry their egos in a suitcase or seem to have lost their self-confidence entirely in a baggage mishap at the airport (moderation is key in this department!)
*guys who make it seem pretty obvious they only want to know me in one way, and that way would be horizontally.
*guys who are going nowhere with their lives and don't really seem to care
*guys who aren't "into" anything. Hobbies are good, people. Yes, even hockey. I can live with it.
*guys who can't accept the fact that I. Do. Not. Drink. Alcohol. Ever. No. Not. Even. On. New. Year's.
*guys who are obviously with a woman (I'm not interested in applying for the "Other Woman" position! Go find a drunk slut to do that!)
*guys who have the maturity of a 12 year old
*clingy, desperate types, especially if they are trying to put me on a pedestal! I am not perfect. I cuss like a truck driver. I can be over-dramatic, sometimes to the point that I annoy myself. I'm a total bitch when I'm tired. I like cigarettes. I am overweight. I take eons to get ready. I have judgemental tendencies. I hate the outdoors. These are all things that I feel are fairly obvious, especially in a bar. I don't know why people don't see these things.

Then again, maybe they can, and that's my problem lately!

Re-reading this is making me wonder if I am high-maintenance. If my standards are impossibly high. Am I asking too much? (I guess that is question #4?)

Ah, nothing like your own blog posting to help you figure yourself out. It's sort of like self-therapy, isn't it? And yet so much cheaper.....

What do you think? *in Cawfee Tawlk voice* Discuss amongst yourselves!

*If you want the whole article, go visit your local public library. They can get it for you for free. Don't pay for it online. Your tax dollars already do that.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday 13

13 Songs I Like to Work Out To, Part 1

For all my fellow Blog-Wide Workout readers! These songs really get me moving. I'm pretty sure you can find most, if not all of them, on itunes. Having new music really helps me work out. Hope you can find at least one good one on here...

1. Pitbull -- "Culo" (Culo means booty in Spanish, I guess! Seems fitting.)

2. Gwen Stefani -- "What Ya Waitin' For?"

3. Jimpster -- "Don't Push It"

4. Rammstein -- "Du Hast" (This song gets me really pumped up, even though it's really kind of angry!!)

5. Freestylers -- "Push Up" (warning: this might get stuck in your head)

6. Groove Armada -- "I See You Baby" ("...shakin' that ass...shakin' that ass...")

7. Sugababes -- "Hole in the Head" (also an excellent song if you are recently broken up...but I digress...)

8. Benny Benassi -- "Satisfaction" (kind of techno-y)

9. Any song by Rob Zombie. No, really. Anything. His remix album is especially good.

10. Michael Jackson -- "(Don't Stop) Til You Get Enough"

11. Marilyn Manson -- "Rock is Dead"

12. Just about anything from The Prodigy

13. Lunatic Calm -- "Leave You Far Behind" (especially good if you are running)

Some of you might recognize a lot of these songs/artists as coming from the soundtrack to The Matrix. You would be correct. It's a great workout CD.

I have a lot more. Next week I'll do part 2. Until then, hope you've found something nice to add to your playlists.

What do you listen to when you work out? I'm always looking for new songs. Share with me!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I Wanna Be On Track!!

This past week, I've had some bad habits return (cigarettes, my sweet tooth, gorging on Mexican food...). And it has been so much fun. I loooooove carcinogen-laced rolls of tobacco. I would drink that Mexican cheese dip if you poured it over ice. Don't believe me? Ask my friends. And I believe that candy actually consists of 4 distinct groups, all of which should be added to the Food Pyramid: sour, chewy, chocolate and fruity.

In this past week, I have also managed to stop going to the gym (ok, not totally, but mostly). As a result, I have re-gained the four pounds I lost this month. So now, I have to start all over. [insert string of expletives here].

The worst part is, I have no one to blame but myself. It's enough to make me want a cigarette. Of course, that's t-o-t-a-l-l-y out of the question. No. More. Ciggies. Stop now, before you need oxygen tubes, VB. For real. Forever.

I have to get back on track. As of yesterday, I went back to healthy eating (and by healthy, I mean "no desserts"--it is important for me to keep my sanity, people. Limit a girl like me to nothing but salads and I'd end up either smoking to dull the pain or slitting my wrists).

Hmmm...I wonder if there is a connection between dieting and suicide...someone should do a study on that....where was I? Oh yeah.

Today will be gym workout #2 for the week. And I'm going to the "OMG, She's Trying to Kill Us" class. Go me. (I'm sure I'll regret this decision about 30 minutes in.)

Like the woman in the Lean Cuisine commercial, I am thinking to myself, "I wanna be on track!" Don't know what I mean? Watch it here...

Yeah, that's exactly how I feel today. I had similar feelings last night when I was at the gym. I saw her.

Not Anorexia Gym-Addict Girl. (Seriously, someone should talk to her mom!)
Not the Buff She-Man who can kick my ass if I were so stupid to presume I can speak to her directly.
Not Miss "Thank God I'm Not That Bad" (Oh shut up, you know you've thought that before, too, you catty little thing.)
Not the "Seriously, What Does This Woman Eat for Breakfast?" aerobics instructor. We all know aerobics instructors are robotic droids, not real actual people.

No, it was worse than that. Last night, I saw Little Miss "That Could Be Me". I live in fear of seeing these women. They serve as a reminder of my full potential. They are about my height and build. They aren't movie-star thin or freakishly muscular. They aren't necessarily cooler, smarter, richer or prettier than I. They are just a lot better at being "on track" when it comes to diet and exercise. They look really, really good. If I were a guy, I'd probably check them out. Or maybe even grab their ass and pretend like it was an accident.

And everytime I see them, I can feel the needles of envy, frustration, self-anguish and self-loathing. These little needles deflate my ego like an old balloon, leftover from a big party held a few nights before. My ego was already sort of sagging and limp, weakly floating on such optimistic cliches as "Rome wasn't built in a day!" and "Hard work always pays off!". My goals seem attainable, if I just work really, really, almost inhumanly hard. I can get back up there, up to the rafters where the happy, perky and taut balloons are. I know I can.

But along comes That Could Be Me and her obvious dedication and willpower send me hurtling to a sudden ego-death. Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft...........and all I see is Flabby Me, consumed by a lust for sugar and an aversion to exercise. Awaiting my inevitable fate: The Big Girl Sizes. All I can think is, "That could be me. If...." and then the "ifs" come in.

Kind of like that scene in Disney's Cinderella, where Cinderella's Evil Stepmom says she can go to the ball...."IF..." and then she tells Cinderella to complete a ridiculous list of chores, much to the dismay of the Evil Stepsisters, who protest this idea. "Mother, do you know what you just said?!" one of them cries incredulously.

"Of course. I said 'if' " says the Evil Stepmother, who then chuckles. Then the sisters realize what she means, and all the evil characters have a good laugh. Meanwhile, Cinderella is upstairs, doing her chores, thinking it could actually happen. A dream is a wish your heart makes and all that bulls--t.

That's exactly how it felt. And then I felt bad for even thinking like that, because this Could Be Me girl has probably worked really, really hard to get where she is. "Stop turning pea-green!" I think to myself. "She should be your goal. Learn from her. Remember that you, too, have the potential to look that good. Ask her what she does to look so good. Find out what diet she's on and what kinds of exercising she does. Stop comparing yourself to other girls and just try and be the best you can be. There's no reason you both can't look good. See how good you could look?"

Eventually, my own voice morphs into The Czarina's voice. And the Fat Girl Lecture begins. I like to refer to this as my "Inner Mom-o-logue". According to the US Post Office, my mom lives in Virginia, but they have no idea that she is just as alive and well, kicking and screaming, inside my head, which is currently located in South Carolina.

I wonder if That Could Be Me uses a little "Bibbety-Bobbity-Boo" magic, courtesy of her Fairy Godmother. Seriously, how does she do it? The only way I can look like that is if I live at the gym and eat nothing but salads and turkey. *sigh*

I think the lack of sugar, melted cheese and nicotine is affecting my brain. Does anyone else think like this? Or am I going bonkers?

Well, crazy or not, it's time to get back on track. Control is remembering what you want.

Argh. I've already annoyed myself with that stupid saying.

*raises arm, triumphantly* To the gym!

*dashes to car*

Monday, January 22, 2007

The House-Warming Party

My party was so much fun! I wish all my readers who live far away could have been there. Unfortunately, the pictures aren't ready yet. But at least this time, I actually took pictures.

K and I spent Friday night buying stuff for the party and baking. Navy Guy, my roommate's ex-boyfriend, made a surprise visit and ended up helping us get ready for the party. Saturday morning, we cleaned and organized the house, with Navy Guy's help. Saturday afternoon, he left to go home and so we went back to more cooking and baking. Here was our menu:

Bacon-Cream-Cheese Wraps
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Brandyn's Mexican Dip
Chicken Fingers
Cheese Ball with Crackers
Veggies and Dip
Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lemon Bars
Turtle Brownies

I think that was it...I'm sure I'm forgetting something because we had truckloads of food. So much was left over, in fact, that I took tons of stuff over to my guy friends, The Wild Youngins, the next day. J-Rich, JD and the rest of the crew were really excited when I dropped off 2 bags of food, a case of beer and a case of Dr. Pepper at their house. They, along with Blonde, Nurse P, a couple of coworkers, Stuckey, my girlfriends W & E and their respective boyfriends were the only ones who couldn't make it to the party. But we still had a nice-sized crowd anyway.

My friends trickled in and out from 4pm onwards, with the party peaking around 8:30pm. I saw a lot of K's friends: The Preacher's Son and his wife, Mr. Bill, Sassy and her boyfriend. I got to see some of my friends, too: Brunette, my real estate agent, German Nurse's parents, some coworkers, Healthy Girl and her hubby, an old boss and her hubby... One of the reasons I like to throw parties is because I get to see most of my friends in one night, without leaving my house. This party was a perfect example of that. And you know what? My friends give really great housewarming gifts. I cleaned up! I can't wait to use all my new stuff. Wanna see what I got? Ok.

How cute is this serving set??? KT and MJ have great taste.

This was from my coworkers K-Rod and L. They know how much I love Mexican food and how much I envied K-Rod's Quesadilla maker when she brought it in one day. Good work, co-workers!

My other coworker gave me tea towels that look a lot like these. (I love tea towels. I think I have about 20 already.) She also got me a candle and some soaps.

I got some more candles, a wind chime, a basket, another utensil set, a couple more serving platters, two gift cards to Pier I said, I cleaned up. Woo-hoo!

I even got to meet two new people. I love it when I expect to only see old friends at my parties, and then end up meeting new people too. I got to meet "Ahty" and his dog, Halo. (She's a Boston Terrier, too.) Ahty also brought his friend Clay Aiken. (No, he wasn't really Clay Aiken, but he kinda looked like him. Only...not as gay. Kinda cute, actually.) So when Ahty and Clay Aiken got there, all hell broke loose.

And by hell, I mean Sammy. He began barking at Halo and terrorizing her. They took turns fighting over the tennis ball and generally making a lot of noise. Mostly, Sammy barked at her because he wanted her to play with him. She thought it would be more fun if she just played keep-away with the ball. Chaos ensued.

Soon, MJ and KT arrived. They brought MJ's boyfriend Steve. (Ahty and Clay are friends of Steve's.) At this point in the evening, there were lots of people in my house and the dog barking was starting to get really old. Steve asked me if I watched The Dog Whisperer with Caesar Millan. I said no, which is surprising, considering how much I love dogs. Steve explained a little bit of Caesar's philosophy, and then demonstrated on Sammy. It was like night and day, y'all. Sammy went from this obnoctious, high-strung, barking dog to the meek and obedient pup that he normally is when no one's at the house. I was an instant convert. I can't wait to check out an episode.

By 10:30, we began talking about transferring the party to the bars. One of our favorite local bands, 88 Rewind, was playing at The Flying Saucer. KT, MJ, me, K, Steve, The Preacher's Son, Ahty, Clay Aiken and a couple other people went there to check it out. As usual, 88 Rewind didn't disappoint with their great covers of all the 80s songs you know and love.

What was just as entertaining, though, was Clay Aiken, who proceeded to spend most of the time there sucking face with a very, very drunk girl. He had to hold her up half the time. We were all laughing about it and teasing him. We even got it on film. Hee hee.

By 2:30, K and I were pretty pooped, so we left our friends and went home to crash. I didn't wake up yesterday until 1pm! I haven't slept in that late in at least a year! I dragged myself out of bed and ran some errands. I happened upon a department store here in town that's in the process of closing. Not surprisingly, they had a fantastic sale going on. So, of course, I bought more shoes. (I saved a fortune, too! They would have been $300 for both pairs at full price, but I snagged both pairs for $40!!)

Unfortunately, I can't find any pics of them online, so I'll just have to take my own pics and post them later. I need to show a lot of my shoes, actually. I should make a shoe post and show you my collection....hmmm...

Anyway, then I went back over to the Wild Youngins' house to watch the Colts/Patriots game with them. I was glad to see the Colts win, as I am somewhat of a fan. Can't wait for Superbowl Sunday!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Fun Friday

Gosh, I haven't done one of these in a while. Here goes...

This is a fun little test which tells you how smart you are, compared to all the other idiots living in this country.

These guys have entirely too much time on their hands. Enough time to conduct experiments with Diet Coke and Mentos...

If you are as big of a Ricky Gervais fan as I am, then you have to check out his website. Obviously. There are links to some free podcasts, too! (Guess how I'll be spending the next few minutes...) Did I mention that his book, The World According to Karl Pilkington has kept me and Lady Starfish in stitches all week? It's a scream.

And, under the Why Does this Website Exist? category, I present to you Tampon Crafts. "For any time of the month."

Finally, there's a video on this site called "Tacos Rule" and it's pretty funny. Good thing we don't solve office disputes this way. Although, it would make work more interesting...And wouldn't it be great if we had Jedi powers??

Much thanks to my coworker, L, for most of these recommendations.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I'll be deep in the bowels of hospitality this weekend. A recap of my housewarming party will follow. Cross your fingers that I actually take pictures. You know how I always forget. And no, my digital camera still isn't here. Considering I ordered it in mid-November, I am starting to think this is getting ridiculous.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday 13 -- Movie Hits and Misses

Ugh, it is frickin' freezing here. And drizzly. The weather is miserable. It makes me wish our roads had iced up a little better so that I wouldn't have to be at work right now. Instead, I could be home, with some hot cocoa, eating popcorn, watching movies or TV...

Thirteen Movies/Shows I've Never Seen

Forgive me for not linking each of these! But if you want more info, you can just enter the titles into IMDB.

1. Citizen Kane (I fell asleep about 10 minutes in...what the hell is it about, anyway, with that whole "Rosebud" thing?? This movie looks stupid.)

2. Grey's Anatomy

3. Desperate Housewives

4. Lost

5. Dancing with the Stars

6. A Clockwork Orange

7. Reservoir Dogs

8. Annie Hall (or any Woody Allen movie, in that case)

9. Tootsie

10. Stand By Me

11. Pirates of the Caribbean (the 2nd one)

12. The West Wing

13. 24

Now that you are convinced I'm a complete freak and wholly culturally clueless, let me recommend some movies and shows you may have missed, which I have seen and really enjoyed. You too are missing out!

1. Crash -- one of those movies that makes you think

2. The Last Emperor (I really should buy this. Fantastic movie. FYI: If you don't brush up on your Chinese history a little beforehand, you will probably be lost.)

3. Bridge Over the River Kwai (I am not much on "guy movies", but this one really is good. It's about a POW camp in WWII)

4. Tom Jones -- A very goofy romantic comedy, set in 18th-century England. I think it could probably fall under "chick flick", but he does go on a lot of adventures, some of which involve sex. So it's a good date movie.

5.The Bad Seed -- A really creepy horror movie about an evil little girl.

6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- Anyone who knows me in real life is probably really sick of me nagging them to see this movie. It makes you think about your love life. I love it.

7. Big Love -- I am telling you, this show is awesome. One man + 3 wives = drama!!

8. Rome -- Strictly for history buffs. If you don't know anything about ancient Rome, you will be lost, as far as the main plot is concerned. You could still watch for the hot sex scenes and the subplots, though. I majored in Ancient History and even I had a hard time following some of it. It's not one of those shows you can sort of half-watch. You have to pay attention or you'll miss stuff. But man-oh-man is it good.

9. Amadeus -- You haven't seen this yet? What is wrong with you? Rent it immediately! You don't need to know anything about classical music or history to get this. It's just a really friggin' great movie.

10. Donnie Darko -- One of the strangest movies I've ever seen. Just...bizarre. Don't watch it alone because it might give you nightmares. Also, you will want to talk about it when it's over, so it's best seen with someone else. But worth seeing, because it's another "makes you think" movie. (Can you tell I like those?)

11. Quo Vadis -- Ok, so I love really cheesy ancient history movies from the 1960s. If you liked The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Spartacus or Cleopatra, you'll love this movie. My favorite part is when Nero sings these awful songs. He thinks he's this wonderful musician. He sucks. He annoys everyone with his "lambeth flame".

12. Fawlty Towers -- I also adore British humor. This show from the 70s stars John Cleese of Monty Python fame. He plays a hotel owner who is a complete ass. Most episodes leave me with tears of laughter streaming down my face.

13. The Office -- I am referring to the original British version, not the American one starring Steve Carell. (Actually, anything Ricky Gervais does is hysterical. So I'm going to lump HBO's Extras in here, too.) If you haven't seen the original version of this show, you must. There are only 2 seasons, so you could watch it over a weekend. If you have a binge. Which you will, because it's awesome.

Hope you found at least one good one to try out! Ok, off to catching up on some blogs...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WLF & His In-Laws

Not much is going on right now, aside from the upcoming party at my house this weekend, and the fact that Lady Starfish is currently in town. (She and I are having a blast, by the way.)

So today, I thought of a random, small-world story to tell you about my dad, WLF.

Since The Czarina lost both her parents at age 21 and did not meet WLF until she was about 27 or 28, my dad always assumed he never met his in-laws.

Or did he?

When I was in middle school, my parents went into Richmond for the day. They returned home to tell me and my siblings a fairly incredible story. At some point in the day, they had some time to kill between errands. The Czarina decided to show WLF all the houses in Richmond where she lived when she was growing up. They pulled into this one neighborhood.

"Oh. I know this neighborhood!" WLF exclaimed.

"You do?" said Czarina.

"Yeah! One summer, when I was in college, I had a summer job as a Fuller Brush salesman. I went door-to-door, selling stuff to housewives. This was one of my neighborhoods," he explained.

"You know," replied Czarina, "my mom used to buy all kinds of stuff from the Fuller Brush man. Which summer was this?"

It turns out that the summer my dad spent as a door-to-door salesman was one of the summers that my mom lived in that neighborhood. They thought, "Hmm. That's interesting."

Then they turned the corner. "There it is!" said Czarina. "That's where I used to live!"

WLF said, "I remember selling stuff to that house. They were one of my best customers."

I wonder what they thought of my dad. I wonder what he thought of them. You never know who you meet sometimes, I guess. Little did they know...

Weird, huh?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Lowe" Expectations

This past weekend, I was supposed to go out on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Instead, I fell asleep on my couch at 8:30pm both nights.

I am officially old.

I was going to recount my rather uneventful weekend here, but I really doubt you're interested in knowing what I bought at the used CD store on Sunday. Blah.

You see, most of my weekend was spent cleaning, organizing, painting my kitchen, hanging pictures and doing other household chores in preparation for my housewarming party this coming weekend. So it wasn't much to write home about. My room is finally clean and my kitchen is now blue. The end.

There are really only 2 bits of news I want to share:

1. I have lost 4 pounds. Go me.

2. Lady Starfish is in town for training this week, so I finally get to see my best friend. [Insert "YAY!!!" here.] We have only talked on the phone for the last year, so I am about to pee in my pants at the idea of actually seeing her and talking face-to-face with her. This means we will inevitably go out to eat, where I will proceed to re-gain all 4 pounds I worked so hard to lose. Not to mention the fact that all my alloted gym time for the week will now be re-allocated to long, analytical discussions about our love lives. Or, in my case, a lack thereof.

I do have a quick vent, though. I made a couple trips to Home Depot and Lowe's this weekend. And I have decided I hate both of these stores. Being a girl who is both a first-time home owner and extremely mechanically challenged, my first order of business in these places is to catch an employee and cling onto them helplessly until I get what I need from them: the answers to all 463 of my questions.

As if that isn't hard enough, I then have to select and make my purchases, take them home and figure out how to use/install them. If I am successful, I have bragging rights among my circle of girlfriends and a new feature in my home. If I fail, I have wasted time and money, and I have to continue making trips until I am successful. Which gets tiring.
I am ignorant of the environment, fearful of what lies around each corner and do not speak the language of the natives. I am only armed with the most insignificant of weapons: my poor knowledge of all things home-improvement related. And I'm most definitely not dressed to blend into my surroundings.

In short, going to Home Depot and Lowe's is the Wild Safari of the Single Girl.

I have been looking for Hercules Hooks because I really suck at hanging pictures, and I think they'd be great. I had heard they were sold at these two stores. The employees of these two businesses looked at me as though I had just asked them if I could buy Lichtenstein. They had no idea what I was talking about. You'd think that being A) male and B) into home improvement inventions would equal C) a thorough knowledge of Billy Mays' infomercial. Apparently not.

Fine, I thought. I'll just move down my list and see if they have the other things I need.

"Ok, how about a 13 x 19 air filter?" Doesn't exist, according to these guys.

Of course, what no one told me was that if you look closely at the air filter, on the other side of the cardboard frame, it says in large numbers "14 x 20", which is a very common size. I found this out when I got home and looked at it again. Previously, I had looked at the more detailed side of the frame.: "13.5 x 19.5" it read. Argh.

Nice work, home professionals. Keep up that fantastic training. Way to help the end user with their needs.

Next on my list...

"I have a lamp that doesn't work," I said. "The switch to turn it on/off doesn't catch. I need a new...thingie." (One of the things I dislike about these places is that unless you can 'talk shop' with them, you are reduced to using words like "thingie", "dohickey" and "what's-it-called". Because you don't look stupid enough already, wandering around in there like a lost little lamb. Then, when you are explaining what you need in plain English, they look at you like you are either mentally impaired or speaking Swahili.) It's always tempting for me to yell, "Look! Stop being assholes! You know what I'm talking about!" -- I guess I am a little paranoid that they are getting sick pleasure out of my desperation.

Then again, I can't really blame them. I would be doing the same thing if I were them.

While I will give them credit for actually understanding what I needed [Note to self: The technical term for lamp thingie is: " replacement lamp socket"] and showing me where it was, they neglected to realize that I have no experience whatsoever with dismantling small electrical equipment, and therefore, am totally terrified of anything which has the potential to electrocute me. I am also inexperienced with the following: tools, wires, electrical currents, dismantling, reassembling, knowing the names of small parts and of course, sockets. So I said to the guy, "Are these relatively easy to do yourself, even if you don't know how to do it and have never done it before?"

He replied, "Oh, yeah. You just remove the influx capacitor, switch the wires around, making sure the copper one is on the right-hand side and that they're not touching or twisted, and then you tie the Underwriter's knot in the wires, which prevents the nucleus of the energy units from mitosis. After that, you insert one pi's worth of energy into aligning the socket switches, taking care not to confuse this type of socket with one only capable of handling no more than 100 units of calendration at any given time. Then you just screw in the bulb and go. Theoretically."

At least, I think that's what he said.

I replied, "Ok, let me rephrase that. Are these relatively easy to do if you are the dumb blonde, first-time home owner, mechanically challenged human that I am, running loose in the home improvement store like a free-range chicken?"

He laughed, and then repeated what he had just said.

Needless to say, my lamp still isn't fixed. Look, I feel smart when I get the proper bulb wattage in my lamp. Replacing the entire "malfunctioning lamp socket" is entirely out of my skill set, people.

I went in looking for ten items, and ended up buying two fan pulls and a diet Coke. Quite the productive trip, no?

So much for "building something together." Because I can assure you, Home Depot, I can't do it. And you apparently can't help me.

Next time, I'm going to Ace Hardware. At least they bill themselves as "The Helpful Place". I'll have to put that idea to the test.

I think I need to hire a guide for my next trip. Someone who can interpret the natives and hunt down things much better than I can. One day, I'm gonna get hurt out there.

And if I ever see one of those guys here in the library, and they ask for back issues of Popular Mechanics, I'm going to snicker, and then reply, "Ok, first you look at our OPAC, which will take you into our catalog. Once you do a title search, you need to see if we carry it online or if we have a hard copy. Then, you have to see which issues and volume numbers our specific branch has here, to see if we have the issue which contains the article you're looking for. If we don't have the actual issue you need, either electronically or physically, you must fill out an Interlibrary Loan request form, located do have the title, page number, volume of the issue and author of the article, right?"

Friday, January 12, 2007

Updated Sidebar

My sidebar has been updated. Please check to see if your blog is listed. If not, please bring it to my attention. Soon I'm hoping to just have a Bloglines link to my blogroll, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet...

Shoot. I just realized I forgot to add Frog Princess. I'll do it in a sec.

Also, notice I have listed my tools for my weight loss project. Much thanks to Dating Dummy for his Blog-wide Workout idea. If you want to lose weight, too, you should join us!

Also, today I discovered Fit Day, a free online diet/exercise journal. I can't wait to get started on it. Thanks to Frog Princess for reminding me that keeping track of your food is a good way to help you lose weight. You should check it out if you have a tendency to "forget" how many cookies you ate. I know I do!

My mantra until further notice is: Control is remembering what you want.

It can be applied to any number of New Year's Resolutions. I really like it. It's on my fridge, right next to the Victoria's Secret model who has the body I want. They're at eye-level, of course.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Changes, Part 2

Ok, first you have to read Part 1 or this will make no sense. Go on, scroll down. I'll wait.


Ok, good. I lied. This post and the last have nothing in common other than the fact that they are both about me. (This is a blog, people.) I just wanted to make sure you weren't trying to squirm your way out of reading each and every one of my posts. Slacker. You're so busted.

Anyway, I thought my readers might like something a little more juicy than the last post. Ew, not that kind of juicy, you sicko! Gah, put the kleenex down. I just want to give you the Hot Neighbor update. Are you jumping up and down and squealing? Because I am. Which makes it kind of hard to type this.

I've had two (TWO!!) conversations with him since the last time I mentioned him. Right after I posted about him and the Mystery Skank, I drove home and walked my dog. Oh my goodness. Who is that, getting out of his car? Why, it's Hot Neighbor! What a coincidence that Sammy had to pee at the same time! (Good boy, Sammy!)

Sammy, being the furry social animal that he is, ran right up to him. (Good boy, Sammy!) That is when I noticed that HN was not alone. There were two little girls with him. Sammy had to sniff them, and they petted Sammy for a minute while HN and I chatted.

HN: What was your name again?
Me: Virginia. *grin*
HN: And you're a....teacher?
Me: No, actually, I'm a librarian. I used to be a teacher, a long time ago.
HN: A long time ago? I thought you were like, 22.

[Can you hear the points racking up?? They make a "cha-chingggg!" sound.]

Me: Oh, no. But thank you. I'll be 28 next month. [Hint, hint.] Are those your little girls?
HN: Yeah, I've got three kids.

[Can you hear my brain grasping this concept? It sounds like "Ohhhhhh..."]

HN: Their names are blah blah, blah blah and blah blah...[I sort of stopped listening at this point, because my brain was occupied by a single thought: Brown eyes. Gorgeous brown eyes. Soooo hot...not too old...I think I caught their ages: 4,2 and baby. Or maybe it was 5, 4 and 2....dang, he's got nice eyes.] I don't get to see them as much as I'd like to.

[This snapped me back into reality. My inner Sherlock Holmes kicked in. I mentally took notes: based on the ages of the kids: recently divorced? check. good father? check. on civil terms with ex? check. likes children? check check.]

Me: They're adorable. [No lie. They really are cute. Plus, they like my dog.] Well, have a good night!
HN: Ok, you too!
Girls in chorus: Bye, Sammy!

Sammy got a lot of nice treats after that walk. Then, this morning, I was walking him (Sammy, not HN). We reached the end of the driveway, and who pops out of his house? Yeah. This was 2 for 2. If I was playing baseball, I'd have one hell of a batting average.

HN: Good morning!
Me: Good morning! [I was thinking, "Crap! I have no makeup on! Crapcrapcrap!!"]
HN: So, you like your job at [my place of work]?
Me: Yeah. I do.
HN: That's good.
Me: So, what do you do?
HN: I am in medical sales. I work for [insert name here] Company.
Me: Oh. Do you like it?
HN: Yeah, I am in charge of the whole state. So I travel a lot. I'm sure you guys are thinking, "What's up with his schedule?" [Actually, yes, that's exactly what we were thinking.] but sometimes I have to go across the state. Other days, I can work from home.

[Mental notes: good job? check. not fleeing at the sight of me without makeup on? check.]

Me: Oh, ok. Sounds good. Hey, my roommate and I are having a little get-together. Sort of a house-warming party. Not this weekend, but next weekend. So if you want to come...
HN: I'd love to! [Mental note: enthusiasm at invitation? check.] You said it was next weekened?
Me: Yeah.
HN: Friday or Saturday?
Me: Saturday.
HN: Ok, great! Well, have a nice day.
Me: You, too.

Holy cow, you guys. That whole conversation was a miracle, because the sun was shining right in his eyes, which makes him thisclose to irrisistable. Yowza. I definitely kept my cool. And Sammy is loving the sudden increase in the treat department.

And that's the story of how my crush is coming to my party.

Changes, Part 1

Well? What do you think? No, not her. The font change. It's easier to read, isn't it? It's not as cute, though. I'm trying it out for a while. I was getting tired of the same-ol' thing. I will try and make some more changes gradually. New year, new look.

And no, that is not me. But it does give you a hint about the theme of this post.

What I really wanted to change today was my ridiculously long blogroll (see sidebar). I was hoping I could just put a link over there to my subscriptions on Bloglines, but I can't figure it out, because Bloglines wants to know my username, and all I know to put in is my email address, which doesn't work. (Note: This is where all my highly intelligent, extremely attractive and helpful readers tell me how to do this....)

By the way, if you are on beta (and by "you", I mean Anny and MJ and anyone else I may have missed), for some reason Bloglines is not picking up your feeds, which means I may not be reading your posts, because I normally only read my Bloglines feeds.


I said I may not be reading your posts.

Whatever will you do without my highly-opinionated comments? I'm sure your life depends on it.

Actually, maybe it's a blessing for you....maybe you switched to beta to get away from me...

*Realization sets in*

*Sobs into hands*

I won't think about that right now. Instead, I will get to the main purpose of this post: I have a new project. I am calling it: 40 Pounds to Freedom. (A gold star to the first person to get my reference....)

Oh, yes, ladies and gentlemen. I am talking about that ever-so-cliche of resolutions. I am going on a big, fat DIET. Actually, I've been on it since New Year's Day. I've already lost 2 pounds. Or three. (My scale and I cannot agree on the exact calculations, because I weigh myself every 4 hours.) This means I have 37-38 pounds to go. Until freedom.

The truth of the matter is, my current BMI falls dangerously close to the "obese" end of the spectrum, something which highly offends me. But then I thought about it (read: The Czarina lectured me about it. Again.) and realized I'm tired of looking at my closet longingly. I'm tired of the fat rolls--you know, the ones that spill out over your bra? Or the ones that gather around your waist? Ick. Hate those. I'm tired of looking like an apple on toothpicks when I wear high heels. Living in fear that someone who hasn't seen you in a long time might think you are pregnant, sick or just severely bloated is frightening. I miss my old Thin VB Self-Esteem. (I had to turn it in when I ate a gallon of ice cream in one week. Followed by an entire package of Oreos. Yeah.) It's time to begin what I like to call...(drumroll, please)...The Hot Girl Lifestyle. I'll talk more about that in a second.

So right now, my fridge is full of veggies (yipee...) and I'm trying to go to the gym every day. Gone are the drive-thrus, the candy jar and the "Oh, screw it!" attitude. Now I have weigh-ins, salad bars and an "I Can Do It!" attitude. I have learned that the more people you tell, the easier it is to be motivated. The only thing worse than being the "dieter" who shoves a Hostess cupcake down their gob is the cupcake-shoving dieter who has told everyone and their uncle that they are on a big health kick. I guess I am motivated by the belief that other people are as judgemental as I am.

To prove my determination, I am joining some of my coworkers in a communal diet, free of breakfast Krispy-Kremes and homemade baked items. We are proverbially holding hands and jumping into the deep end of healthy living. Gone are the candy, the cakes, the take-out Mexican food. Oh how I will miss them...Now we take walks and go to the gym.

I have also joined in on DD's Blogwide Workout. Together, we are reporting the number of times we hit the gym every week. For good or for bad, our little circle is there for support. It's easy and free, so if you'd like to join, just head on over! I am proud to say that I have been 3 times this week already. Go moi. Nothing motivates like the expectations of others.

I am looking forward to the freedom brought by my weight loss. (Hence the name, 40 Pounds to Freedom.) I will be free to wear anything I own. Free to feel confident again. Free from feeling gross and guilty about what I eat. Free from worrying if the cute guys won't talk to me because I'm too fat. (Soon I will know it's because of my personality! Process of elimination, right?)

Ha ha. Ok, that isn't funny...but it does bring me to another point I'd like to make. That is, I have almost always lost weight in the hopes of attracting men. Not that it hurts my chances, but we all know: you have to lose it for yourself. And since I never have, it has always come back. You can't lose weight to get a guy or to keep a guy. It doesn't work. I can say this with conviction, because I've been on both sides of the coin: I was skinny and I was dumped. I was fat and my heart was broken. So really, there is absolutely NO connection between your love life and the number on the scale.

That is why I am losing my weight for ME and no one else. Losing weight doesn't guarantee that I'll have men crawling all over me. (But it can't hurt, right??) I am losing this weight because I'm living a very unhealthy lifestyle right now (um, hell-o, you can't have a 9pm Ice Cream Appointment and still be thin, VB!). I need to get serious. No more cigarettes (Pray for me, y'all!!). No more couch potato stuff. I am losing weight so I can live longer than my dad did. He never took care of himself. I don't want to follow in his footsteps.

So that's what's going on. I am going from this girl...(notice how delicious the chocolate looks. Mmmm...chocolate...)

To this girl...(notice how her nose is not in the refrigerator, but pointed directly at the camera, in a "Come here, big boy!" kind of way.)

So wish me luck! And pass dieting tips and encouragement my way! If I stick to it, I will try and do a HNT for y'all. Woo-hoo! I know you're excited. Now don't mess up your pants, it's going to take a while. Until then, pretend I look like her.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dating Tip #47 & The Skank

Men, if you have a friend who is setting you up with a woman you met briefly, and you get the woman's phone number, make sure you put it to good use. By that, I mean that if you are going to take the time and effort to call her, then ask her out when you call her the first time. Trust me, she has already heard about your supposed interest, and she is not only expecting your call, she is expecting you to seal the deal. So take your balls out of your purse and ask her if she's available for dinner Friday night. You liked her enough to get her number, so you must like her enough to see what she's doing this weekend.

Tip #48, which serves as an addendum to #47 (see above), states that during this initial phone call, you are prohibited from conducting The First Date Interview. If I'm going to sit through 45 minutes' worth of small talk which feels like the Spanish Inquisition, I should at least get a drink out of it. Interrupting my day to get to know me better before committing to even the most casual of dates comes off as self-important.

Needless to say, the initial conversation with Fun Bobby didn't go all that well. I should have told him he was calling at a bad time (he was). But I didn't want to be rude, so I sat there and let him totally dominate the entire conversation. He went on, and on and on with the questions. It was like a dating interview, really. If you were to keep score by counting the number of questions asked, it would go something like this: Fun Bobby -- 53, VB -- 2.

Aside from talking my ear off and not asking me out, he seems like a nice guy. He said he'd call again later. I can only assume he needs more information before making the oh-so-serious Weekend Date. It's such a major commitment, you know.

Then again, maybe he has beaten me at my own game. I like to pride myself on my efficiency. What if this is his way of being efficient?? He has the initial conversation, decides if he likes what he hears, and then, if he has any doubts, he cuts his losses and aborts the mission. If this is his way of saving time, trouble and money, he has gained new respect from me. My kinda guy.

Not that I really want him to call again. He's kind

What I really want is Hot Neighbor to come to my house-warming party. If only I could catch him when he's outside of his house...I am too chicken to knock on his door. That seems too contrived. So does an invitation in his mailbox. I want it to come off as a spur-of-the-moment idea. I imagine it something like this...

Me: (Looking fantastically thin and having a good hair day) Hey, here's your hose back. Thanks again for letting me borrow it.
HN: (Coincidentally, he is doing some shirtless yard work!) You're most certainly welcome. By the way, has anyone ever told you that you look ravishing today?
Me: (giggle) Why, no! But thank you so much!
HN: You're welcome. (Wipes sweat from his brow with his slightly tan, very muscular arm)
Me: Oh, hey, I almost forgot. My roommate and I are having a little get-together in a couple of weeks. On the 20th. You should come by.
HN: (Squinting his gorgeous blue eyes into the bright sunlight that is causing all the sweat on his pecs to glisten like a shimmering ocean of manliness) That's great! I'd love to!
Me: (Entirely unfazed by his gorgeousness) Um, yeah, and if you have a girlfriend or anything, you can bring her, too.
HN: (Expression of concern on his face) Oh, no, I don't have anyone like that. Not at all. That woman with the kid is just my sister. I'm, uh, quite single.
Me: (giggling again, and flipping perfectly-coiffed hair) Oh. Ok. That sounds....perfect. 6pm, then?
HN: (Casually rubbing his six-pack) Wouldn't miss it for the world!

That's how it goes in my head, anyway.

Unfortunately, I seriously doubt this scene will ever take place. Not because it's too cold to do shirtless yard work this time of year, but because the Mystery Girl (henceforth referred to as "The Skank") has made another appearance. Now, now, I'm sure she's a perfectly nice girl. And I don't have any proof that they are dating. But it just makes me feel better to call her The Skank. It's my blog. I can call her whatever I want.

I got home from work last Friday, to see Hot Neighbor and The Skank running around, putting luggage from her car into his car. They were going somewhere. Together. Overnight.


Coincidentally (I swear! Not planned!), I was walking Sammy when I saw all this. I managed to catch the tail-end of her cell phone conversation. She and HN were running around, like I said, parking cars and transferring things--they seemed to be in a huge hurry. They were late for something. So, of course, I want to know what's going on, and I begin to try and listen in. The Skank said to someone on her phone, "...Hot Neighbor and I are trying to get to my parents' house before..."

Did ya get that? "MY parents' house". As in, NOT Hot Neighbor's parents, but HER parents. She didn't say OUR. She said HER. As in, "My parents want to meet you, Hot Neighbor, because you are an incredible specimen of a man and they really want us to get married and have lots of babies, so they want us to visit them next weekend so they can begin calling you 'Son'."

HN and The Skank were gone until late Sunday night. And then last night, the Mystery Kid arrived around dinner time in HN's car. I assume The Skank picked up the Mystery Kid after I went to sleep at 10:30. If they aren't dating, why is he babysitting her kid?

And that's how she earned her nickname: The Skank. I'm sure she's a very nice girl. But right now, I think I hate her.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I'm Back!

Yowza, I've been gone a long time. All my travels are over, thank goodness. I hope I never see another airport again as long as I live. I have had some writers' block these past few days. Work is really busy right now, too, which isn't helping.

Unfortunately, I don't have too much exciting news to tell ya. My holidays were mostly uneventful. Some highlights...

1. My luggage was lost twice. Fun times.

2. I didn't see as many people in Indy as I had hoped to. I guess you can't go back. That makes me kind of sad. I was hoping to see a lot more people. I think I just picked a bad time, too--people are pretty busy around the holidays. Do you have a hard time re-connecting with old friends, too?

3. I did get to see a group of my friends from high school/college, which just made my day. It was like we hadn't skipped a beat since we saw each other last. We caught up, got all the high school and college gossip, looked at wedding pictures, had lunch and did some Christmas shopping together.

4. Most of the time I was there, I stayed with my friend J and her fiancee. I've known her since 9th grade. She has changed a lot since high school. In some ways, the changes are good. She's beautiful and thin, with a fiancee who worships her. She has a group of really close friends, an adorable house and a challenging job. She does modeling on the side. So in those ways, I have to admit, I'm probably a little envious. In other ways, her changes are...not so good. I don't want to get into specifics. Let me just say that she and I will probably never be really close again. Which is fine. We have different values now, that's all. We can remain on good terms and still email and call occassionally. But she and I have grown up into two very different people. (I've talked about J on here before. You might remember her friends, The Assholes. Yeah. I'll let you take from that whatever you want.)

5. I stayed with my ex-boyfriend for a few days. Which was...interesting. I guess I read too much into his drunk dialing, because I was thinking we might take a trip down memory lane (wink, wink). But when he picked me up from the airport, one of the first things he told me was that he had a new girlfriend. Apparently this was a recent development. Oh. So much for that idea. He and I still had a good time and went out with his friends a couple of nights. I hadn't seen his friend Brian in forever, and I had forgotten what a sweetheart he is. He and I really hit it off. He might have to come out here next month for work, and if so, we are meeting up for dinner. He's dating someone casually, but I could have sworn he was flirting with me...hmmm....

6. Speaking of friend Healthy Girl had a housewarming party a few weeks ago. I thought Blonde and I were the only single people there, but apparently not. Healthy Girl's friend, Fun Bobby, asked about me. So with my permission, she gave him my number. I remember the conversation we had, but I have no idea what this guy looks like. I can't remember. Guess I'll find out.

7. Speaking of parties...I'm having a housewarming party in a couple of weeks. (I'd invite my readers, but y'all are spread out all over the country. You'll have to settle for pics.) I am having a hard time figuring out how to have a party which encompasses all of my friends, who range in age from 20 to about 65. I don't want my younger friends to feel they can't party hardy in front of the "mom" crowd, but I don't want my older friends to be annoyed with the "young whipper snappers". Does anyone else have this problem? Anyone know of any solutions to make everyone feel comfortable? I'm hoping the older people will come early and the younger ones will come later. Maybe I should just let the guests worry about it.

8. I'm still waiting on my digital camera to arrive. It's on backorder. But soon this blog will be full of fantastic pictures for y'all. I know you are excited for more of my fantastic photography skillz. Don't worry, I won't quit my day job.

9. This is the last and final thing I am buying for my house until I have some money saved up. But I really need some kind of a computer desk, and this one closes up to hide my inescapable clutter. It looks nicer than having my computer out in the open, I think. Since it was on sale, I went ahead and bought the last one in town. I have to put it together this weekend. Pray for me. And extra special thanks to Stuckey for helping me get it to my house!!

10. It's official: I have a major crush on my neighbor. *sigh* He knocked on our door the other day. With my luck, of course, I wasn't home. But we've been having problems on our street with our garbage pick-up lately, and so he talked to K about it. He wanted to know if our garbage had been picked up. It hadn't. He said he was going to call and see what was going on.

The thing is, our garbage bin was down by the curb, overflowing with bags of garbage. It was pretty obvious the trash guys hadn't picked up our stuff this week. So was he really coming over to ask about our garbage? Hmmm. Methinks not. K insists he was actually looking for me, as she is far too young to date him and she thinks he's awfully friendly towards me.

One can hope, right?

I'm going to ask him if I can borrow his hose tomorrow.

Not that hose, you perv. I need to wash my car.

Have good weekends, everyone!!! I'm off to catch up with all of you now...

p.s. Has anyone tried the new Blogger? Do you like it? Should I switch?