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Jan
18
2013
Not An Announcement About Doping

I have two announcements and luckily neither of them is that I sat down with Oprah to tell her and the world that I won the Tour de France seven times by cheating. Unfortunately, neither announcement is about early retirement either (although I did sign up for a day-long retirement seminar at work in March and I’ve never been so excited about a work-sponsored training in my life).

Oprah hasn’t asked to interview me yet, but my fellow Precipice author, AmyBeth Inverness, has! She publishes an interview every Friday and I was thrilled when she asked if I would participate. You can read the interview here. AmyBeth asked great questions and I really enjoyed answering them (I suppose if I didn’t enjoy talking about myself, I wouldn’t have a blog, eh?). Also, getting to discuss my Precipice piece allowed me to bask in the afterglow of getting something published one last time before turning to the decision of whether or not to push my luck for the second go-round of the literary anthology. Interesting that I just wrote “push my luck,” since the theme for Precipice this year is “luck.” 

The second announcement is that I’ve started a new blog about ice cream. As I wrote more and more about my ice cream hobby here, I started to think it would be nice to have a special place to focus only on that and keep Logy centered on writing and humor and, well, everything else. You can check out the new blog and my first post about ice cream inspired by the buckeyes I “enjoy” making every year for Christmas at Get the Scoop.

Stephen at Company of H helped me out again with the blog design and I’m pleased with how it looks and functions. I think he believes I’m crazy for not building the site on self-hosted WordPress (especially since my Logy host would let me add a second blog for free), since it limited what we could do with the design a lot, but I wanted to have the built-in community of WordPress.com. I’m so happy with the new look of Logy Express, but I miss how easy it was to connect with other WordPress users on the free hosting platform. If I had it to do over again, I don’t think I would’ve moved Logy Express, I would’ve just tried to tweak the design to make it prettier.

So there’s a blogging tip in addition to my two announcements. Don’t say I never give you anything.

Mar
1
2012
Spinal Tap 11 Meme

My blogger friend Jill at the Cinquecento Project tagged me on a meme featuring 11 questions (I guess because it’s one louder than ten). It was called “Blogger Tag” in Jill’s post, but I’ve decided to rename it the Spinal Tap 11 Meme.

Spinal Tap 11 Meme Rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

Jill’s 11 Questions and My Answers:

1. How old were you when you had your first kiss?
My initial reaction: “eek, this is so embarrassing!” Then I remembered I wrote about it in some detail. Too late to be embarrassed now. I had my first kiss at 18.

2. Do you have a preference in how your toilet paper rolls? If so, over or under?
I do, so is it weird that I just had to go look? Under.

3. How long have you been blogging?
Since November 2010. My original intent was to write a productivity-related blog based on my online to do list (featured in my charming first post). Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…I have no idea why I thought that would be a good idea. Quickly morphed into memoir, humor, food, career, and just general blathering.

4. Who made the biggest influence on your decision to blog?
Dave has provided support and the all-important permission to write about personal stuff, but the person who made me want to blog is Linda at All & Sundry. I’ve mentioned her writing before, but what I really covet is the lovely informal community she’s built. She doesn’t just receive comments, but starts real and respectful conversations. I would love to get responses to my questions, like this post where she asked for running song recommendations and got 144 responses. It’s like she has a pool of thousands in her “Phone a Friend” bank.

5. What is the most compassionate act you made today?
I smiled and nodded at someone who stepped on my foot leaving the metro today when she apologized rather than glaring at her in a huff like I might usually do. Like the time I yelled “you are a jackass” at the guy in the SUV who almost ran me over as he was trying to apologize to me. I’m not the world’s most compassionate person is what I’m saying. Unless we’re talking about animals. Hey! I sat on the porch with Chuck for 45 minutes this evening even though it was chilly and drizzling because I knew Chuck wanted to.

6. Where is the next place you would visit, if you could take a trip anywhere?
Nepal to see red pandas? Australia to see koalas? London to see Wimbledon?

7. Is altruism real or are we all fulfilling selfish desires when we help others?
Is this a trick question? I think anything we do after having time to think about it stems from our own desires and needs, even if those desires tell us to help others. We help others because it makes us feel good, because we want to avoid guilt, because we would want others to help us or our loved ones if we were in the same situation. I think it might be more telling what we do when we don’t have time to think about it.

8. When was the time when you felt the most brave?
Probably when I tried to defuse Dad’s anger growing up. It usually worked. Until it didn’t.

9. Do you donate money, time, both or neither to charity/your community?
I donate money sometimes. I would like to volunteer at an animal shelter or with a rescue group, but I worry I wouldn’t have the stomach for it. I’d want to bring every dog home.

10. What did you do last Saturday?
Postponed my 6-mile run (wind). Went to a planning session for a Meet Up group. As is often the case around people I don’t know well, didn’t say much. Became painfully aware of my silence. Left early. Went to dinner with some new friends that thankfully went much better. Dragged Dave to a custard place across town as part of my ice cream “research.” Got annoyed that they were out of custard two hours before closing on a Saturday! On way back to car, walked by a coffee shop with live music (involving a concertina, Dave’s new instrument obsession) and Dave said, “I’m going to blow your mind and say that’s the Rodger French Trio.” Agreed to go in and listen to them for 30 minutes even though it was jazz (see, I can be compassionate!). Got ice cream somewhere else. Made two batches of ice cream mix to freeze on Sunday.

11. If you could choose a job that everyone should have at least once, what would it be and why?
I think most people would say waiter/waitress, but since I’ve never done that, I’m going with survey developer. It’s shocking how easy it is to get people to answer questions incorrectly. Never believe survey results. 

My Questions 

I’m tagging more than 11 bloggers. I recently joined a new community called “We’re Not Mommy Bloggers.” As I’ve said before, not being a Mom, particularly at the ripe old age of pushing-40 can start to get a little isolating, so I was very excited that Katie and Bernie started this community. I thought tagging the group would be a good way to get to know each other. And I’m nosy.

So I’m tagging everyone linked here. If you’re not tagged, and you want to answer any/all questions, I’d love to read your responses (have I mentioned I’m nosy?).

1. Why do you blog?

2. Do your friends/family/coworkers know about your blog?

3. How long does it take you to write an average blog post?

4. How do you keep up with the blogs you follow?

5. What is your bedtime?

6. Introvert or extrovert?

7. What is your biggest fear?

8. What is the best job you ever had?

9. Dog person/cat person/both/neither?

10. Want kids someday/on the fence/don’t want kids (since I’m tagging a group called “Not Mommy Bloggers,” I’m assuming “have kids” isn’t a response option–see I’ve been a survey developer)?

11. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Obviously if the tag-ees don’t want to play/want to play but change the rules/want to sponsor legislation to ban memes, it’s all good. 

Dec
31
2011
2011: Year in Review

I like traditions. I’ve been reading Linda’s yearly recaps for years so it seemed natural to do this little quizzy thing myself last year when I started the blog. Even though trying to come up with answers to some of these questions makes me realize how piss poor my memory of day-to-day stuff is, here is my 2011 recap.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Started writing memoir and linking up to Write On Edge, an online writing group. Completed my iPod shuffle challenge (listened to my entire music collection without skipping a single song). Saw Paul Simon in concert. Saw a Broadway musical. Came out of the childfree closet. Had one of my posts “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress.com. Learned how to make videos out of my pictures. Celebrated my husband’s 40th birthday. Finally rented a dog-friendly beach house.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Here are the goals I set for 2011, along with my assessment of how well I did. Since this whole blog is basically the articulation of my goals, I’m going to discuss my 2012 goals separately.

-Get more sleep. Not so much.

-Exercise in the morning rather than the evening. Jesus, no. But I did do a decent job of keeping up with running anyway.

-Keep running (see last year’s post for specifics). I ran with a winter running group, and improved my personal best at this year’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race, but I didn’t run any races longer than 5K after that. Even though I tried several times, I also couldn’t break a 30 minute 5K.

-Get stronger (see last year’s post for specifics)Oops.

-Be more productive (see last year’s post for specifics). On one hand, I don’t feel like I’m more on top of things now than at the beginning of 2011. But I also added things (blogging, meeting new people, thinking about a career change) without taking anything away. So while I still think I need to become more productive, this year I feel I need to do that by letting unimportant things (and my perfectionism) go, whereas last year I was just piling unrealistic expectation upon unrealistic expectation. I need to give myself a break.  

-Become a better photographer (see last year’s post for specifics). I signed up for the County’s photography class in summer and fall, but it was cancelled both times. I also wanted to make better use of my pictures. To that end, I did a massive photo digitization project in 2011, made videos for Chuck’s and Dave’s birthdays and our anniversary, and I framed and hung some of my photos in our powder room (post forthcoming). 

-Take a French class (see last year’s post for specifics). Non.

-Be more social (see last year’s post for specifics). It’s difficult for me to assess my progress in this area, and given my introversion I don’t think it’s fair to be too negative. We did host two get-togethers at our house and have made a pretty big effort (for introverts anyway) to meet new people and stay in touch with friends.

-Eat dinner in the dining room and not in front of the TV. Not even once. In my defense, the dining room table was inundated with stuff for big projects (photo digitizing and the Advent Calendar) most of 2011.

-Walk Chuck in the evenings (see last year’s post for specifics). I feel like I did better at this in 2011 than 2010, especially while I was still doing my iPod shuffle challenge. But Dave would probably beg to differ. Dave still does more of the evening dog walks than is fair.

-Fucking chill (see last year’s post for specifics). This might be the most important goal, but it’s vague. We did take a nice, relaxing (non-driving to visit family) vacation this year. But I wasn’t good at leaving work on time or taking time to relax, or avoiding angry reactions. And I also experienced more anxiety in dealing with people than I’d like.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I hope not, because I don’t remember any babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

Outside the U.S., zippo. I entered the public lottery for Wimbledon tickets next year, so fingers crossed for a trip to London in 2012.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

An inner voice on career that says something other than “this is not it.”

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

New Year’s illness (see #10), seeing the D.C. fireworks for only the second time in my 15 years of living here, my birthday weekend in Erie, seeing the look on Dave’s face at his 40th birthday celebration, walking on the beach with Dave and Chuck during our week at the beach and feeling peace.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally getting all of our pictures (mine, my family’s, and Dave’s family’s slides) digitized. I also feel pretty slick for pulling off 40 gifts for Dave’s 40th birthday. Honorable mention for reaching my 15th anniversary at work.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting enough sleep.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Dave and I both got horribly sick over New Year’s (days after I had bragged about my hand washing and good health in my 2010 review post). Not a good way to start off a year. It was the first time I’d vomited since 1994 (if only I could say “vomit free since ’93…”). I also had a pretty annoying cold in June.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Photo digitizing services from Foto Bridge (post about this is long overdue).

12. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, savings (early retirement, baby!). The photo digitizing, beach vacation, and 40th birthday celebration for Dave were also fairly large (but totally worth it) expenses.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Blogging (finally getting some readers and also finding some great new blogs), taking a vacation, making new friends.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I’ve been obsessed with Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel for most of 2011, but I have to be honest, the song I will most associate with 2011 is a ridiculous song by Beetlejuice of Howard Stern’s “Wack Pack” fame. Dave and I have been saying “Let it roll” all fucking year (although the best part is his emphatic “yeah!”). Sorry about this:

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  YES! I find the more I work on my issues, the more emotion-ey my emotions are. So I’m happier and sadder.

b) thinner or fatter? pretty much the same

c) richer or poorer? financially better off

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleep, relax, read

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Being anxious, looking for stuff, trying to do things perfectly

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We always spend Christmas in Erie with my Mom. The twist this year–we went to my brother’s in the afternoon. So Mom, Dave, and I decided to open presents Christmas evening, making 2011 the only year ever that I didn’t open presents right after waking up on Christmas morning.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Switched at Birth. Makes me want to learn sign language. I also started watching How I Met Your Mother on my Mom’s Roku over Christmas vacation and I’m hooked. And also pissed that Dave convinced me not to start watching it back when it started in 2005.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I’m pretty open on this here blog, but this shit is embarrassing. I finished (wait for it…) one book this year. I partially read a couple of other books, and my list of books I’d like to read grew even larger, but…I guess the Sweet Valley High sequel has to be my favorite (and least favorite!) book of 2011. Good lord.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

As we learned through my iPod shuffle challenge and re-ignited obsession with Simon & Garfunkel this year, I need to infuse some new music into my collection. I don’t think I have any favorite music from this year. I (like everyone else on the planet) liked that Adele song “Rollling in the Deep.” I’m going to train Pandora to feed me great new music in 2012.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The embarrassment continues. We saw The King’s Speech in the theater and I believe that’s it. We rented Blue Valentine and Crazy, Stupid Love on streaming video. And we are going to see the Muppet movie tonight (best New Year’s Eve plans ever, eh?). I’m guessing the Muppets will win me over for favorite film of 2011.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I ran a tenth of a mile for each year. I went to the Erie Zoo with my Mom, Dave, an old friend from high school and her two kids and rode the red panda on the carousel. I turned 38.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to spend however I want.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Sahalie butterfleece sport pants.

26. What kept you sane?

(Who says I was sane this year?) Having this place to write shit down. Dave. Loving on my dog.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Still need to learn to apply this to my life.

Nov
11
2011
Logy’s First Anniversary

Would you have preferred a clock?


Becoming a Writer

I attended a blogging workshop before starting Logy Express. First thing, the instructor asked for a show of hands, “How many of you are writers?” She might as well have asked me to explain quantum mechanics, I was so stymied by this question.

I envy children, who answer these types of questions with an enthusiastic “Yes!” because they haven’t developed self-consciousness about talent yet. Most everyone immediately raised their hands while I considered my response options. If I raised my hand, did that indicate writing was my profession (it isn’t), or that I claimed to have writing talent? I decided I was not a “writer.” Which was good, because by the time I’d finished thinking about it, I had missed the opportunity to say yes.

The instructor looked perplexed, “OK, how many of you aren’t writers?”

I raised my hand along with one other guy. She sighed tiredly.

The guy planned to start a visual arts blog, so he would share pictures rather than text. Sharing text was apparently all the instructor had meant by “writing.”

Oops.

She clarified that I planned on typing words into a computer and then clicking “publish.” Voila! I was a writer (and a moron).

Year One of Logy Express

I had trouble articulating my goals when I started writing. The workshop instructor suggested we have goals and offered several examples:

  • Reach a million followers
  • Land a book deal
  • Get paid to write about cupcake tasting (OK, so I made that one up).

Since I’d only been informed I was a writer a few minutes earlier, the calibration of these goals seemed a touch off. I had a vague sense of wanting to find my voice and connect with people. Not necessarily a million people, but definitely more than my husband and my Mom.  

The internet is vast and it is challenging and time-consuming to carve out space in it, so much that I’ve asked myself several times this year if it’s worth the energy. I’d read tips like: “be patient,” “be yourself,” “don’t publish posts with typos.” So it was easy for me to get frustrated when I read posts elsewhere with mistakes and only fair to middlin’ (as my Dad would say) content that got  dozens of comments like: “Brilliant,” “You’re so funny,” “You should write a book!”

I would feel like I could write a post that’s the equivalent of juggling knives while defeating a fire-breathing dragon and discovering the cure for cancer, while simultaneously fellating Dave and riding a unicycle backwards and still only get a few hits. And at most one or two comments from people who would never visit again saying “Great post, stopped by from the unicycling fellatio group.”

Luckily writing a blog means reading blogs and I’ve found many bloggers who amuse and inspire me. I’ve gained more clarity about what I want and had the excitement of having a post featured by WordPress that resonated with some people. I am so grateful for everyone who has stopped by this year and offered their thoughts and experiences. I’m not always quick to respond to comments but I voraciously read and value each one (well, maybe not the token unicycling fellatio group comments).

I hope you all stick around for a while. I’ll keep the fridge stocked with cold beverages for you. I also plan on sprucing up the place very soon. I think Logy Express deserves to look prettier.

As one of my new favorite bloggers said about what I’m writing here: “I’m just getting going and I’d like to be going faster.”

If anyone has suggestions for things you would like me to write about, please let me know. And I would consider it a great anniversary present if you’d stop by on Facebook and Twitter as well as hanging out here.

Oct
24
2011
The Versatile Blogger

Versatility

A mantra that became very familiar about starting a blog was “you need a theme.” I heard this from my blogging instructor (yes, I took a blogging class), when researching blogs on the internet, from my one real life friend with a blog, from random people on the street. This worried me and kept me from starting this blog for a long time.

You see, I don’t do themes. AT. ALL.

When Dave and I got engaged, several people asked me what the theme of our wedding was going to be. “Uh, how about getting married?”

So there’s no real theme to what I write about here other than “whatever the hell I feel like.” Sometimes this makes me feel lame, like I lack passion. But I don’t have a passion for any one thing; I’m interested in lots of things. This might negatively affect how many people read, but c’est la vie.

So when JT and Natalia both tagged me with the Versatile Blogger meme, I was verklempt. Although versatile is probably a euphemism for “unfocused.”

Thanks to JT and Natalia for tagging me. Reading JT is like having a thoughtful conversation. He says he likes thoughtful conversation (me too!) on his about page and it shows in his writing.

Natalia is a wonderful photographer. I wished she lived close enough to do our holiday card photo shoot. We’ve been doing it ourselves the past few years and it’s difficult to get the camera to focus on us when we aren’t all in frame at the time of auto-focusing. I blame the camera, but it’s probably user error.

Now is the time in the Versatile Blogger response when I provide seven random (useless?) facts about myself. I recently wrote 38 things about myself in honor of my birthday, so I’m going to have to dig deep here.

Seven Random Facts About Me

1. Having freshly groomed eyebrows makes a surprisingly big difference in how I feel about myself.

2. I feel naked without Carmex.

3. I suffer from early morning calf cramps more than I think is normal. They wake me up and I had three last week, two on the same day.

4. My house is decorated with several things from Pottery Barn Teen and (gulp) Pottery Barn Kids.

5. Perhaps related…I keep waiting to feel like an adult and it keeps not happening. The older I get, the weirder this feels.

6. I worked as a telemarketer for part of a summer during college. “Part of” because I walked out on a break one day and didn’t go back. I’m going to out myself as a snob now and say that I couldn’t deal with taking direction from people who thought “rebuttal” was a verb (“Rebuttal ‘em!!!”). Also I sucked at telemarketing like I’ve never sucked at anything before or since. When the poor schmuck on the phone said “no,” that was good enough for me. My “superiors” were constantly berating my unwillingness to “rebuttal ‘em.”

7. I love to step on and crack acorn tops, to an almost obsessive degree. As in, I will walk out of my way to step on one. Fall is a satisfying time.

Blogs I Love

Now I will tag some others, not because I want them to feel any pressure to acknowledge it or keep the chain going (I know some have been tagged already), but because I want to show my appreciation. I don’t do that enough and I want all of these people to know I’m glad I found their blogs and enjoy reading.

When I first stumbled across blogs years ago, Linda at Sundry Mourning was one of the first bloggers I ever made a point to follow. Her honesty and humor sucked me right in and I’m often astounded at how well she writes. She writes posts you wish you could write, like this post about genealogy. There aren’t many “can’t miss a post” bloggers for me and Linda’s one of them. She has more Twitter followers than Dave’s favorite band, but I’m giving the shout out anyway.

A newer favorite is Abby at Abby Has Issues. I was hooked after reading this post about work that gave voice to exactly what I was feeling (well, except for the Stallone love child bit). Her posts are often truly funny. I often find posts that are clever or amusing, but one of the only blog posts I remember ever making me laugh out loud was this one about Abby’s road rage. Loved the WWJD line.

I love Katie at Chicken Noodle Gravy because her blog has “no identity” either, but is inherently readable. She wrote about the identity thing here and it obviously resonated with me quite a bit. She occasionally shares recipes (check out the charming recipe on her blog header), but also writes poignant memoir and dark, clever fiction. Katie also is a founding member of the Lightning and the Lightning-Bug community of writers.

Kelly at Cordelia Calls It Quits just rocks at this blogging thing. Two of her posts have been featured on WordPress and with good reason. Her mission to live more deliberately and “quit” the things that “sap her time, energy, or money to no good end” is inspiring. She has a running list of “quit posts,” and it’s like she wrote this one about hitting the snooze button for me. She accepts quit posts from readers too. When I submitted my idea (which I still need to finish and submit, oops), she didn’t know me from a hole in the wall but got back to me right away and also visited my fledgling little blog and sent some much-needed encouragement my way. 

Jill at the Cinquecento Project recently said she fantasizes about the career stability I have while I’m totally enchanted by her current temporary Italian life. Proof that the grass is always greener. I love the upbeat theme to her writing. I’m amazed she can come up with five highlights for most days. Many days my highlights would include things like: “my couch is still comfortable” and “managed not to accidentally blurt out snarky thing in my head at work.”

Margaret at Figuring Out Fulfillment guest posted for me a couple of weeks ago and her posts are wise and calm and give me hope about, well, figuring out fulfillment.

Tracy at The Heso Project is also on a quest to do what she loves. I believe she will create a job for her heart and soul (heso, get it?) and I will enjoy reading about it along the way.

When I first found Half Empty For Now, I thought, “huh, that could have been my theme, why didn’t I think of that?” Ms. HalfEmpty is a super-pessimist married to an optimist and she writes about her quest for passion in a compelling manner. As someone who once said “I’m cautiously not pessimistic” at a staff meeting, her half empty yet hopeful point of view warms my cold black pessimistic heart.

Catherine at Inside Out certainly represents versatility. She writes everything from memoir to book reviews to recipes she’s tried. She writes with an honesty that makes me wish I could talk to her over some coffee. And I don’t even drink coffee. She’s even knowledgeable about fashion, which I’m hoping will rub off on me.

Cindy at Beside a Life tells a mean story. This one inspired me to speak my mind the next time someone insults me.

Scales of Libra is doing a music listening challenge inspired by the shuffle challenge I did. I was so honored she decided to do it. I’ve been enjoying her write ups of the experience. And she taught me how to play Tetris in my Mac’s Terminal. And she has a “Castlevania” tag. Awesome.

Kim at Let Me Start By Saying is a fabulous writer who I found through the Write on Edge (formerly The Red Dress Club) writing group. She had me at her beautiful memories of her Nana and her lilac scent. She’s since had her latest post about hemorrhoids explode (sorry) her Facebook likes and readership and she deserves it. And she doesn’t write about hemorrhoids all the time, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Roxanne at Unintentionally Brilliant is another blogger I found through Write on Edge. She is truly versatile and I enjoy reading her funny stories about online dating, touching stories about her young son, and stunning fiction like my favorite, the Agnes series.

Last, but not least (these have been in no particular order), I want to take pictures like Rebecca when I grow up. I had trouble picking the post to link to, so I just went with her latest. The fall colors are astoundingly beautiful.

I know I’m leaving out many cool blogs I love, but I have to stop somewhere. This post is over 1,500 words and I’ve been working on it for over a week. Time to cut bait. My reader is full to the brim with great stuff I’m so happy to have found and I’m always on the look out for other great blogs to read.

Have any suggestions?

**************************************

Hey, do you like me? Do you really like me? Why not like me on Facebook? Or follow me on the Twitter.

Sep
13
2011
If My Mom Ate An Apple In The Forest, I Would Hear It

Mom called me at work on Friday all excited about something she’d seen on Regis and Kelly.

“I know what’s wrong with you,” she said.

You see, I’m extremely sensitive to noises, like those made by people eating (and breathing if we’re being honest here). We’ve spent years thinking I was just an intolerant bitch, but as it turns out, I have a disorder (Misophonia)!

And Kelly Ripa has it too! Maybe we could get together and bond over our common affliction. We could throw a big party, use her fabulous Electrolux kitchen appliances to cook up a feast, then be forced to leave in a huff when the guests insisted on actually eating the food. Damn people and their infernal chewing!

For those of you who don’t suffer from Misophonia, let me describe it for you. I already made reference to it in this post. But I wrote that before my diagnosis.

My Dad was always the worst offender. The sound he made while chewing, which I always referred to snottily as “chomping,” was absolutely unbearable to me. Once I made such a fuss about it at Elby’s Big Boy, he stormed out of the restaurant and walked home. If he thought my Mom and I would stop eating our meal to go after him, he didn’t know us very well. I was a little afraid of what he might do when we got home, but mostly I was relieved to eat in peace.

According to my Mom, Kelly Ripa has to leave the room when her husband eats a peach. Honey, join the club. When my Mom eats apples, I could cheerfully kill her. She likes to cut them in quarters and savor each piece to maximize my torture, because she’s sweet like that. The sound of the crunching and the smacking rattles a nerve inside my brain. If I can’t leave the room, I fixate completely on the noise and pray for it to stop.

Sometimes she calls me while sucking on hard candy. I think she does this just to irritate me. She’ll be talking and all I can focus on is the sound of the sucking. When it’s my turn to speak, instead of responding to what she said, my response is usually, “What the hell are you eating?” And she’ll say, “fuck you.” The love runs deep.

Even my beloved husband is not immune to my Misophonic venom. He is the youngest of five boys and learned early that you eat quickly or you might not get enough food. I cannot reason this imprint out of him. I say, “there are only two of us and you’ve made enough food for six people!” But he is an eating machine. He often puts a new bite in his mouth before finishing his previous one. This creates a sound I can only compare to what I imagine it would sound like to swallow a live rat. Sometimes I have to wait to eat until he’s done so I can enjoy my dinner.

Once I knew I had a disorder, I looked it up on the internet. I knew I’d found my peeps when I read Lucy’s comment “It makes me sooooooo angry like I could shoot people in the face!” and laughed out loud. OMG, like me too! I was glad and somewhat disturbed to find so many others with this affliction. I was also glad Lucy mentioned she’s receiving therapy. Not surprisingly, not everyone found Lucy’s comment amusing. “Rugbyman,” who has a stepson with this affliction, apparently doesn’t think getting shot in the face is funny at all. Oh, dude! Don’t be so prickly, when we say we want to shoot you in the face, we are just kidding…sort of.

Aug
25
2011
Thirty-Eight

I’d like to welcome everyone who found Logy Express through Freshly Pressed on WordPress.com! I was overwhelmed, in a good way, by all of your thoughtful comments. I’d love to keep the conversation going. Make yourselves at home. Perhaps you’d like a cold, refreshing beverage? We restock the Belgian beer annually.

Beer Mania!

I was on vacation during the whole Freshly Pressed thing. Oops. I’m still going through the comments and loving every second of it.

The notification about being Freshly Pressed came from someone who signed her email “Story Wrangler.” Who knew? I’m totally adding that to my list of coveted job titles.

I turned 38 this week and in honor of the occasion, I thought it would be fun to provide “38 More Things About Me.” At first I thought this would be difficult, but I’m the world’s foremost expert on me.

1. Red pandas are my favorite animal. I celebrated my birthday on Monday by visiting them at the Erie Zoo and riding the red panda (on the carousel, people!). EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to my friend Erin for the heads up about the carousel red panda!

I'm 38.

2. I’m an introverted Leo. So while people can sometimes drain my energy and I don’t like calling attention to myself, I want people to notice, be interested in, and like me anyway. This is as problematic as it sounds.

3. I’m a recovering perfectionist. The phrase “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” could have been written about me. I’m working on being more efficient and simply letting some things go, because I have a lovely front porch on which I’m dying to sit.

4. My only sibling is nine years older than me. Due to his early influence, my taste in music overlaps disturbingly with that of a middle-aged man (see: Rush).

5. I curse. A lot. (see: older brother).

6. I have no first cousins.

7. My Mother preferred to keep me in shorter hair styles growing up, which I detested. Ever since it has been up to me, I’ve kept my hair long.

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8. I love having blue eyes. One of my teachers in high school once said, apropos of nothing, “dark-haired, blue-eyed women are the most attractive women in the world.”

9. Lest you think this swelled my dark-haired, blue-eyed head, another high school teacher once told me she could tell I was from the Baltic countries because of my “pale, oddly-shaped face.”

10. There are a bunch of things most people take for granted that I can’t do: snap my fingers, whistle, wink, tie shoelaces. OK, I can tie shoelaces, but I have to tie two loops together.

11. I need more sleep.

12. One of my favorite things is the feeling of waking up and realizing I can sleep longer.

13. I attended Catholic school from preschool through twelfth grade. Wearing a uniform for 13 years did not help my fashion sense.

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14. Catholic school did an excellent job of teaching me to think for myself. I thought myself right out of being Catholic.

15. At eighth grade graduation, I received an award for “honor,” which I still think is one of the coolest things ever.

16. Tom Ridge doesn’t believe I am lazy. He conducted my alumni interview when I applied to Harvard and argued with me when I replied “I am lazy” to his question about my biggest weakness. He also said he thought I’d have no trouble getting into Harvard (I did not get into Harvard).

17. The first presidential election in which I could vote was 1992. It was the first and last time I ever got excited by our political process. Between parsing the meaning of the word “is,” and the horror of the 2000 “election,” I now have to fight the urge to yell “la-la-la, I’m not listening!” when politicians speak.

Absentee Ballot 1992

18. I am smart enough to be painfully aware of how much I don’t know/understand.

19. Discussing things I don’t know much about makes me uncomfortable.

20. Tennis is my favorite sport.

21. I spent one summer during high school in the Netherlands and a college semester in Belgium. But my knowledge of Dutch/Flemish is limited to counting and phrases from Yahtzee.

Waterloo, 1994

22. I love taking pictures. I am irritated when I have to use Photoshop.

23. My only recurring nightmare involves really needing to go to the bathroom and not being able to find an acceptable place to do so. I go to the bathroom a lot.

24. I’ve never wanted kids. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve held a baby.

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25. Although…I never wanted to get married either, and then this happened.

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26. I hate musicals. They all remind me of the scene in “Elf” when Buddy sings “I’m in a store and I’m singing!”

27. Music, on the other hand, makes my world infinitely better.

28. My favorite band is the Police. For some reason this was the world’s most uncool thing to my classmates. There are millions of Police fans, and somehow I have never met another one.

29. Howard Stern wakes me up every weekday morning.

30. I own over 100 exercise videos and DVDs, have worked out with some of my favorite instructors, and have even seen the filming of several videos, but since 2008 have gotten most of my exercise through running.

me and Cathe Friedrich, 1999

31. Glass half empty or full? I once reported being “cautiously not pessimistic” about one of my projects during a staff meeting.

32. A nickname I’ve heard for my Myers-Briggs type is “the Inspector.” I don’t think all of the Inspector characteristics fit me and I certainly don’t believe rules should never be broken, but I do often notice when they are broken and I also sort of enjoy pointing it out. Maybe I should be a meter maid?

33. I have a thing for frogs.

Victoria Knowledge Totum frog

34. I don’t get flip-flops. They are neither attractive nor comfortable. They are good for the beach, pedicures, and slipping on for emergency dog walks. I could never commute in them.

35. Inept reporting of research findings irritates the crap out of me.

36. Dave does all the cooking. I don’t like to cook. When I cook, my food tastes only of my effort. I’m horrible with knives and my eyes tear up even half a house away from a cut onion. If I had to fend for myself, I’d eat a lot of takeout, eggs, starchy carbs, and dessert.

37. I brush my dog‘s teeth every day.

38. My favorite element is Molybdenum.

Molybdenum on the Periodic Table of the Elephants

Aug
5
2011
Photo Friday: Giant Snuffles

I will love him, and squeeze him, and call him George Peanut.

Honest to God, I didn’t realize this thing was going to be quite so big.

I never really outgrew stuffed animals. Dave says this would go over better if I styled myself as a “collector,” but that strikes me as even more weird than just admitting I like stuffed animals. Always have, seems like I always will.

Back in high school, my Mom got me a pink Gund Snuffles bear on a whim one Christmas. I named him Alonzo. After Alonzo Mourning. What? Ever since, I’ve had a soft spot for Snuffles. As his creator, Rita Raiffe, says in the linked video, “he’s stuffed with love.” The way she fondles her special Snuffles bear while she talks makes me feel a lot better about my own behavior. Gund celebrated the 30th anniversary of Snuffles with several new versions last year. I may have bought some number of them. Why they decided to make a 34 inch Snuffles this year I can’t say. But one of them now lives on the sofa bed in our guest room, leaving no room for any guests. Oops.

My behavior is nothing compared to the woman I saw recently on “My Strange Addiction” who treats her teddy bears like babies. I don’t dress my stuffed animals, or take them shopping, or spend FIFTEEN hours a day caring for them. I spend no hours per day caring for them. I don’t even talk to them anymore…much.

Jul
27
2011
Is It Wrong For A Woman To Not Want Children?

Hopefully this post won’t make me sound too defensive, because I’m feeling a little defensive. It’s the Today Show’s fault.

Today @ChildfreeOnline tweeted about a woman’s childfree status starting a Facebook argument. The article was interesting, and I agree with the author, Lilit Marcus, that “it shouldn’t be important whether a woman has children or not.” But what really got me about the piece was the link to a video segment about Lilit’s decision to remain childfree from yesterday’s Today Show. The video was titled: Is it wrong for a woman to not want children?

Unfortunately, the video wouldn’t load for me at work, so I worked myself into a tizzy before I got to see it. I know it’s the Today Show’s job to be provocative (good job, Today! I am provoked!), and admittedly, once I was finally able to watch the video, the actual piece was nicely done and never actually discussed that ridiculous title question. But seriously, why ask that question at all?

Please tell me y’all think that is a ridiculous question with only one correct answer right?

Just think about the following two wording changes for this question.

1.) Is it wrong for a woman to not want wine?

Here I go with the childfree food analogies again. I can’t stand wine. Tastes like poison to me. This might make me a bit unusual, and wine aficionados might want to answer “yes” to this question, but everyone knows the correct answer is “no.” Some people like wine, some people don’t. Some wine drinkers prefer white, others prefer red. None of these preferences signal a human character deficiency.

2.) Is it wrong for a man to not want children?

Doesn’t this question sound ridiculous? This is how ridiculous the original Today Show question sounds to me. I realize that there are many men who want children and who are deeply involved in raising their children. That’s fabulous. But it’s more fabulous that no one makes an issue (outside of their families I suppose) about whether or not men want kids. Men with children who didn’t want them are called deadbeats. Men without children who don’t want them are called men.

Why would we even question women who don’t want children?

As it turned out, The Today Show segment was fair. Sarah Brokaw, therapist and author of Fortytude, profiled Lilit Marcus and her decision not to have kids. After the profile, Ann Curry interviewed Sarah and Laura Scott, author of Two is Enough. And all three women did a nice job.

Sarah did start to lose me with all the talk of a “calling,” and I wish she hadn’t felt the need to end with a statement about how women can relate to children in ways other than motherhood.

It reminded me of the blog post on Sarah’s book website that one of the bloggers I read, Sara at Periwinkle Papillon, was kind enough to Tweet me last week.

It was an interesting post, and I’m curious to read Brokaw’s book now. Reading the post sensitized me to Brokaw’s proclivity for the word “calling,” which I came to find pushes my buttons. The focus of the blog post was on television personality, Rachael Ray, and her “different calling in life.”

Lately, it seems I’ve been hearing the “look at the celebrities who have chosen the childfree lifestyle” argument more and more. I appreciate these attempts to argue for the validity of the choice. I also understand why people point to Oprah or Rachael Ray or other celebrities to make the argument. They are well-known, respected, and admired women.

But they are also extraordinary.

So I’m not sure it sets the right tone. Choosing not to have kids is “OK” because Oprah’s not doing it either? Because Rachael Ray had another “calling?”

But I realized after the Today Show segment that the celebrity angle wasn’t really what was bothering me. It was the notion, even coming from someone who seemed sympathetic to the childfree choice, that the decision would leave a hole that needed to be filled with a calling.

I can’t help feeling a little resentment bubble up with the implication that it might be “OK” to choose a childfree lifestyle only if I’m extraordinarily productive or giving or successful. If I replace the calling of motherhood with a similarly deep and meaningful calling. If I find another way to “relate to children.”

That’s just not the way I look at it. I’m a regular person, who happens not to want children. There are a growing number of us, from me to Lilit Marcus to Oprah. No big whoop. I don’t see this as a calling, but rather as a preference, a choice.

I’m not doing what I do in lieu of being a mother. I’m just living my life and trying to have a reasonably enjoyable one.

I’m trying to be a loving wife to Dave; to be a good daughter to my Mom; to take good care of my dog; to be a productive and competent employee; to be a reasonably informed citizen; to be a better friend, sister, and aunt; to express myself through blog posts that hopefully might entertain a couple of people…all  while simultaneously trying to take decent care of myself, be a nice person, and carve out some time to just sit on my front porch and read a damn book already.

I feel like my hands are pretty full with that, so changing the world hasn’t made it onto my to-do list.

What is so wrong with this? Why would it upset anyone that some women might choose not to have children (or choose not to marry, or choose to marry another woman)? Why would anyone care whether or not I relate to children?

Could I be doing more with my life? Sure I could. We all could.

Could we start by dampening down the judgment a little? The expectations? I could certainly stand to do that too.

Let’s all do it. Let’s all care a wee bit less about how other people live their lives, OK?

What do you think? Am I just being too sensitive?

Jul
18
2011
Melon, Other Fruitlessness (or Why A Childfree Person Thinks About Having Kids)

Coming Out

I haven’t explicitly written about not having kids. I’ve been hesitant for two reasons:

1.) I don’t want to alienate anybody. I think some parents get uncomfortable around me once they know I’m purposely childfree (it’s hard to avoid the conversation now that I’m of an age when “do you have kids?” is the first thing new people ask me) because they think I’m judging their choice. But no. Really. As someone whose preferred number of children is an uncommon zero, I’m very sensitive to reproductive rights. Want 20 kids? Go for it, Duggar, just don’t judge my number.

2.) I get a “she doth protest too much” vibe, even from Dave sometimes, if I bring up this topic. Talking about not wanting children must mean I’m delusional, that I really want kids, but am just afraid to admit it.

Why Analyze Something You’ve Decided Not To Do?

I analyze everything—it’s just my way.

So few people choose this route, I want to reach out for support. While the proportion of women my age who have never had children has increased since 1976 according to the Current Population Survey, it’s still small. About 20 percent of women my age have never had a child (only 13 percent of women my age who have ever been married). It can get pretty lonely up in here.

Perhaps most importantly, I analyze it because I still can. I read somewhere that childfree people think about whether or not to have kids more than parents and it makes sense because we generally have a longer period of time over which to consider it. Parents kind of have to stop considering this question once they have kids. I can still change my mind.

I don’t think I’ll ever change my mind. But the biggest difference between myself as a 25-year-old and now is I’m no longer naïve enough to think it’s impossible. There’s no reason not to touch base on it periodically.

An Analogy

My Mom can’t understand why I don’t like melon. I’ve watched her cut cantaloupe for herself hundreds of times. Every so often she would encourage me to try a bite. “Oh, this is a good one, so sweet. Come on…”

Once I got past the age at which it was my job to stubbornly refuse all her food advances, I would occasionally give it a try. But I hate melon. All kinds. Even watermelon. I realize this is un-American.

1.) The smell: skunky, like it’s already gone bad.

2.) The texture: some might call it juicy, but it’s really just watery. It’s like eating a saturated yet solid sponge.

3.) The taste: it tastes sort of like it smells—off. Dirty dishwatery? Skunky.

But I can understand melon’s appeal. It’s brightly colored and its high water content can be refreshing on a hot summer day. Melon provides an economical fruit salad filler.

So because of Mom’s peer pressure and the ubiquitous overabundance of it in fruit salads, and my own desire not to miss out (if I had never tried new things I’d still be stuck eating a diet of Spaghetti-os, hot dogs, and sweets), I continue to try melon occasionally.

Like yesterday, for example.

 

In short, still no.

And Now I Go There—Comparing Children with Melon

I don’t want kids. None. Ever. I realize this is un-American. I have all kinds of reasons.

1.) The physical pain: I’m certain the pain of childbirth would kill me. When I spoke to the first of my friends to give birth after it was over, she said “there’s no way you could do that.”

2.) The emotional pain: I shudder over the idea of having to watch, helpless, as your children exhibit some of the same characteristics you hate most in yourself.

3.) The loss of freedom: I like my life the way it is and the things I’d most like to change are incompatible with parenting. I want to get more sleep. I’m trying to wrestle more control over how I spend my time.

This might ring hollow to parents, just as parents’ reasons can often sound vague to me. I’ve heard parents say it was just a feeling they always had, they just knew they wanted to have children. It’s the same for me really, just in the reverse. I’ve never had that feeling.

But I can understand the appeal. Creating a new life, having more people with whom you can share love. Giving my Mom more grandchildren, building a relationship with my child like the one I have with my Mom (hopefully). Parenting is an excuse to relive your childhood without seeming childish. And parents have at least one thing in common with most people they meet.

Unlike melon, I can’t simply try it out, decide I still don’t like it, and get left with only a temporary bad taste in my mouth. But like melon, it seems worth investigating, just in case. Even though it’s unlikely I’ll change my mind. So I do what I can do, which is touch base with myself, imagine it, make sure it isn’t just fear making me say no.

I’ve heard the argument that you can’t treat whether to have children as a rational decision because there’s no way to know for sure how you’ll react to it. That even if you don’t like kids, you’ll love your own. While I agree there’s no way to know exactly what it will be like before doing it, the idea this decision shouldn’t be considered rationally is just crazy talk. I have no doubt I’d love my own children. I think I could be a good parent (well, if I managed to survive childbirth that is), I just don’t want to.

Of all the decisions I’ll ever make in my life, this has to be the foremost on my list of things I’d rather regret not doing than doing. Will I ever change my mind? I can’t even imagine it. But occasionally I try. Because I can.