Saturday, November 7, 2015

In Which I Get a New Bestie

What's this? A visitor? At the library? Pony, is that you?

It is you! Oh, you make every day so much better when you're around. I'm so happy you've come to stay.

What's that? You're not here to stay at the library, but you want to come and live at my house forever and ever for always and you want me to pet you and hold you and love you?

That can be arranged.

I'll knit you a little sweater when we get home. In the meantime, you can hang out here at my desk and help me get some work done. Remember, we frown on book-eating at the library, so try to snack on some publisher catalogs instead.

Don't know anything about Pony? He's featured in Kate Beaton's The Princess and The Pony, a picture book released this year, as well as on her website, Hark! A Vagrant. If you know her work and are already in love with Pony or if you are so obsessed you defied Kate Beaton's advice and have Pony tattooed on your lower back, you can order one here

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Good Morning

Today I woke up to find that The Bloggess had found my church shoe buckle story funny enough to retweet, which is the high praise. Also if you haven't read some of the other hilarious / embarrassing stories people have been sharing with her, read this post from her blog.

And if you can't remember this story from my childhood, read a longer version here. It is simultaneously the funniest and most embarrassing thing I have ever done in church (or anywhere else). It continues to haunt me almost two decades later, even though my mother stopped telling the story as soon as I asked by bursting into hysterical tears at my grandmother's house.

When I crawled out of bed, my neck had locked up and hurt like mad. I carefully took out the heating pad, trying not to move my head, and then figured I'd get cleaned up before I curled up to relax my neck muscles.

I grabbed my shampoo bottle, LUSH I Love Juicy, and opened the lid. It is one of those lids that open when you press down one side and close when you press the other, like a seesaw. When it clicked open, it spat several droplets out, one on my arm, a few in the tub, and one in my left eye.

I Love Juicy is made of fruit juices. Also other things, but lots of fruit juice goes in there. It's a bit acidic, which makes the whole clarifying thing happen. Unfortunately, when you get an eye-full of citrus, pineapple, and various other juices, you FEEL it. It was like the time I cut a bunch of chilies and then took out my contact lenses. It was like I imagined an eyedropper full of  sulfuric acid would be like. I half expected there to be a chunk of eye missing. My eyes teared.

I tried to flush my eye with water, but I forgot I had the faucet on hot, so I scalded my burned eye before I managed to turn the handle to cool. I also used up half a bottle of eye drops flushing my eye out. It was the sort of red of the apples stereotypically given to elementary school teachers. It took me over a half hour to manage to keep my eye open. Almost another half hour before it stopped feeling like my eyelid was made of sandpaper.

Now, of course, I want safety goggles for the shower, and I'll never trust this particular shampoo bottle again. Stupid life. Stupid burned cornea. And what was I thinking, not having a white button-down shirt? I would so have worn boots and black pants and an eyepatch and gone to work as a pirate today. The kids would've loved it.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Well, I am sick of zombie references and dystopian naturally I'm writing one for NaNoWriMo. In my defense, this will be less about actual visible zombies and more about human nature, and less about dystopia and more about hilarity. Also my protagonist is not going to be the savior of all people. She is going to be socially awkward and an accidental survivor.

I have had mixed success with NaNo. Lots of my issues come from the "no plot no problem" side of things. I find that I tend to get lost on tangents when I write if I don't know where the story is going, and sometimes endless tangents can take over longer stories instead of being humorously charming the way I pretend they are on this blog.

Please don't disillusion me...I choose to believe you love my tangents.

Tangents are awesome for word count. Deleting them means a day of work is all gone. That's fine when I'm not doing NaNo. I don't mind getting rid of things that don't matter. But when I'm looking at a daily word count goal, I get bitter and keep things in that should go, especially since the whole point of NaNo is to WRITE and not edit.

Here's what I'm doing this year: I'm editing. Yep. I know.

Editing will probably make this more work for me. It will probably suck, be frustrating, maybe even make me throw a small tantrum in my bedroom with only the non-judgmental face of Kate Beaton's Fat Pony looking on (the Fat Pony is my desktop background). But I know me, and that means editing has to happen.

Speaking of tangents, there were three of the sickest people in the world at the library this morning, and I probably have tuberculosis now. Thanks so much, Random Mother, for bringing your sick children to the library to touch all the toys and cough up mucus on the computers. I'll think of you next week when I have bronchitis during my vacation.

I wish I could give that ecard to the mother on her way out. But that would be unprofessional. Instead I'm just leaving it up on my computer monitor REALLY BIG to see if she reads it.

Back to NaNo: I'm also using a technique a few writer friends use, in which you get a sticker on your calendar when you make your word count goal. Also I am bribing myself by giving myself a preward (like a reward, but given BEFORE you do a thing, not after) of a Fat Pony stuffed animal from Kate Beaton's TopatoCo store. Because nothing motivates me like the Fat Pony. I love that pony. SO MUCH.

Basically I wake up in the morning because I can look at the Fat Pony book some more. The Fat Pony is my spirit animal.

I'll let you know how NaNo is going this month by complaining a LOT about deadlines on Twitter! Also my daily tea consumption will probably quadruple.

Are any of you doing NaNo this month? If you are, let me know how your book is going! I love to commiserate with fellow deadline sufferers.

Now, I'm going to go bleach the computers. I hope your Monday is going better than mine.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dear Past Laura: Running Lessons I Wish Someone Had Thought to Tell Me

Okay, one more post in which I impart fitness wisdom. Yeah, I know you're sick of these. This is a letter to Past Laura from Current Laura, teaching the lessons CL learned by trail and error that PL never found on the internet, even though she looked for it.

Dear Past Laura,

By now, you're realizing that Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD taught you that if you're not gasping, sweating, and near collapse, you aren't actually working out. And since you're so good at her DVDs now, you're looking for a new challenge. So you've picked up running! That is really awesome. I've always wanted to be one of those running people I see from my car as I drive along, eating an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen (only 49 cents!) on my way home from work. I never thought I could because I sucked at fitness, but thanks to your hard work, you don't suck anymore! You can do 30 Day Shred, Ripped in 30, and whatever other DVDs you've tried, so you are READY for running. You have muscles. Thanks to you, I can run! That's pretty awesome. Feel proud of that.

But here's the thing: Other people aren't you. Running is easy for them, because they just have to put on shoes and go. But your body is a broken wasteland of aftermarket parts and salvaged materials. You are barely alive when you wake up in the morning. Have you SEEN you? I have. It is not a pretty sight.

You are not going to be a running success story like those blogs you read the other night. Yeah. I saw that. Not everyone is a success story right away. Not everyone becomes a marathon runner after a happy year of training. Some people never get one of those pretentious stickers for the back of their car, and that's okay! You are going to hurt yourself pretty quickly. Also you will probably not get better, because you're you. Also here are some more things you should know:
  1. Guess what? You have chronic shin splints. This sucks for you, doesn't it? It sucks for me, too. 
  2. More running makes chronic shin splints worse. Running every day makes them feel deadly, like your shins are made from fragments of broken glass that grind together with each step. Running two days in a row makes you want to cry. Adding distance too quickly will temporarily cripple you.
  3. Couch to 5K doesn't work for you (see 1 and 2). It adds distance too quickly and will just make you feel like a failure. Plus it's use of timed running/walking splits doesn't actually build distance if you're running with shin splints. It just builds pain. Throw out the papers and delete the app.
  4. Here's what DOES work. Go outside. Run until you feel like you're going to die, either from lack of oxygen (asthma), heart rate, or shin pain. Then walk until you feel like you might survive. Then go back to running. Repeat this cycle until you're feeling like a good workout has begun. Then TURN AROUND. You still need to get home. Do not run the next day.
  5. At the most, run three days a week. Don't run those days back to back. Do not try to make up runs. Do not do a "long run" or a "short run." Those terms work for people who can handle various distances.
  6. Do not run by yourself. Not only does this make street harassment more likely to happen, it also makes you sad. Sad running is stupid, because it defeats the purpose of running, which is to make you happier. Have someone ride their bicycle along with you, or take Darcy and run shorter distances. This will keep you running for longer, meaning you won't get depressed about everything sucking and quit for three months before starting over again.
  7. Give up on all workout clothes except Old Navy's. Their leggings come in Tall.
  8. Seriously, get your shoes fitted. And when the sales clerk tells you to come back when your legs start hurting, resist the urge to walk outside, turn around, and walk back inside to tell her your legs never stop hurting. She won't think your chronic shin splints are as darkly funny as you do.
  9. The treadmill won't actually kill you. It is pretty much designed not to. There are safety switches and everything.
  10. Races are not for everyone. You might never run another race again. That is totally okay. You don't need to do that just because the running bloggers you like run them. Races are expensive, and they're only worth it if they motivate you.
  11. Find out what DOES motivate you and do that thing. Maybe it's spending time reading running books or blogs. Maybe it's looking at cute fitness wear on Pinterest even though you will never shop at expensive luxury exercise clothing boutiques. Maybe you just have fun running with your dog. Do those things, even if you think you're "supposed" to be motivated by other things.
So there you go. Running lessons from someone who will never be an awesome runner and is okay with that. 

Current Laura

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FINALLY: A Haircut and I Give Unsolicited Advice

Well. It has been like three months or maybe longer, but I finally followed through and got a haircut. It basically grew back to the length it had been before I got it cut short. That is how bad I am at adulting. I am just bad at hair.

Complete with temporary curls, behold: new hair.

It isn't my fault (...yes it is). No one ever taught me how to deal with hair! Hair is a SKILL you need a hair savvy mom or older sister to teach you. I can't braid my hair, I can't use fancy pins or slides to put part of it back. I have two sorts of hair: Up and Down. Up is a ponytail of varying size, Down is just that. Down. 

I spent the majority of my childhood trying to avoid my mother's attempts to style my hair, because she wasn't good with a curling iron and kept accidentally burning my skull by holding the iron too close to my head. Also it kept catching my hair and pulling strands out. Also the curls only lasted about 15 minutes before they were back to Down, so why bother? Eventually we settled on a style that worked okay-ish, but it involved me hacking off all of my hair (actually a stylist did it) and starting over.

My hair game was terrible for most of my life. Heck, it is still terrible some days. But it is much improved, and that is because I have learned to cope with having my hair, which is both thick AND fine.

Here are some things to know about thick hair: 
  1. Thick hair is your enemy. It is the bossy girl on the playground who will only play the games she makes up and no other game and insists that you join in or else she'll treat you like dirt. You don't want to be friends, but you have to deal with her anyway. Thick hair is like that. It will defeat any style you attempt to inflict upon it, so stop fighting. Let it do what it wants to do and move on. 
  2. Everyone will envy your hair and refuse to acknowledge that the struggle is real. The struggle is real.
  3. Get used to broken hair elastics and bent bobby pins. No clip or slide will ever close. Just buy elastics in bulk and don't get too attached.
  4. If you do not use a blow dryer, your hair will never dry ever, even if you wash it the night before.
  5. If you do not use products, your hair will own you and create its own style, even if that style means you can't see all day, or a chunk is pointing directly vertical for no reason you can discern.
Oh, but just when you think you understand think hair, get ready for fine hair:
  1. Fine hair refuses to accept your hair products.
  2. Also wait, you have hard water? You will never have volume. Give up now.
  3. Seriously, all of these hair products are bumming fine hair out. It wants to lie down and cry. It's just going to do that for a while.
  4. Except you wore a wool sweater today so it will FLY ABOUT and STICK TO THINGS! STATIC! EVERYWHERE!
  5. Basically fine hair is sort of bipolar.
After trial-and-error, lots of terrible hair, and tons of money I wasted buying stuff that only made me look homeless, I have a few things I love for thick AND fine hair. 

one / two / three / four / five

I'm trying out this conditioner because it is especially for fine hair and I wondered if it might be even more lightweight than the Clear Total Care Conditioner. I can only hope. I have liked Macadamia Healing Oil Spray in the past because it deals with all the dryness of my during the winter, but right now I'm trying this out because it's so much cheaper and comes highly recommended.

Clearly, I am not a hair stylist. This stuff works for me. It might not work for you, and that's okay! If you have something you like better, tell me in the comments!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Methane, Night Vale, and Other THINGS

My workplace has smelled of sewer gas for three straight months. They are trying to figure out why, but in the meantime, I am sucking methane all day and I'm pretty sure if someone lit a match in here, the whole building would go up. If methane is explosive. Hold on.

Yes. Methane is explosive. I mean, in certain concentrations. So, probably I am okay. Which is good because we have lots of electronics in here that could cause sparks, and books are good tinder for raging fires. So, yes. Methane.

Also they are working on the roof, which needs a bit of attention to stop it from raining on us indoors. I walked into the library today under a giant lift machine with limestone dust raining down from above and thought, "Well, if I am struck and injured, at least I won't have to breathe sewer gas all day."

So that's where I am, mentally. Anything to escape the sewers. I don't even have a giant rat to teach me ninja moves. I will never join the ninja turtles now, which is another childhood dream, crushed. *

What would I be doing if I were recovering from a chunk of fallen limestone crushing me? I would be finishing my audiobook, Welcome to Night Vale.

I was afraid I wouldn't love the book as I love the podcast, but I do. I do love the book. SO MUCH. The deadly librarians alone make this book worth my Audible credit this month.

Cecil Baldwin narrates, and it is brilliant and hilarious and filled with vague yet menacing government agents. I highly recommend it. And seriously--go for the audiobook. Night Vale isn't the same without the voice of Cecil Baldwin.

I want Cecil to narrate my life.

Well, not really, because my life isn't all that interesting and would be boring for me to listen to, having lived the life in question, but you get the idea.

Other things I'm loving lately: THIS oatmeal muffin recipe and THIS pasta**, my new Punk Rock Authors knitting bag/purse (see below) from Out of Print Clothing, bought locally HERE, plus the broccoli salad I had at Rachael's house yesterday, because that stuff was freaking awesome.

I don't know why I love this so much, but it is my favorite ever.
What are you up to this week? Apparently I am mostly eating. So there's that. But I'll be running today, so maybe that will cancel some of that out. I hope. Because darn, those muffins are amazing.

* I always thought April was a wimp, because there she was sneaking around being a reporter, getting kidnapped every third episode, when she SHOULD have been taking a leave of absence from work, learning all sorts of fancy kicks, THEN going out to investigate things so she could defend herself when things invariably went wrong. This did not stop my child self from collecting TMNT trading cards. 

** They make you register for a trial to get the recipes, but it is completely worth it. Buy a ream of paper, register for the 30 day trial, print every recipe you find vaguely interesting, then cancel. Or be like me and become so obsessed with ATK that you buy a yearly membership. Up to you.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bean Boots: First Impressions

I promised a review of the L.L. Bean boots I ordered to someone...I can't remember who. If you are that person, see? I remembered! If you are not that person, go eat a cookie and come back later. Or read this. Or maybe eat something else. It's up to you. I don't judge your food choices. You do you.

I ranted on Twitter a few months ago about how my rain boots were completely useless in rain because they are not even a little bit waterproof. Also they aren't warm. So on cold, rainy days, I would put on my boots and spend the rest of the day with wet, freezing toes. That was useless. Basically these shoes are only good in mud. Not really wet mud, more like sticky mud. There is a difference, which you would know if you lived in the country. Also this is why you don't live in the country, if you are a city person. Because if you did, you would know more about mud than anyone really should, and your shoes would be filthy.

I wanted warm, dry boots. I suspected that such boots were imaginary, because I had never found any that managed to be both warm AND dry at the same time. Then Kate said, "Bean boots?" Because she knows things. Also because I trust Kate to make all my decisions for me, I ordered them. And then I wrote a blog post about it.

(This was around when someone said, "Let me know how you like them!" And I promptly forgot who that was. I did remember the question, though! I get points for that, right?)

My boots arrived on Thursday morning. They were at the post office, because we live in the country and they don't deliver packages to our house, because that would involve more than rolling down the mail car's windows and shoving a stack of envelopes in our mail box. Our local post office is open from 9:00 AM to noon. I luckily managed find time during the morning pick up the boots. Otherwise they would have sat there at the post office for weeks. This is also why you don't live in the country. FedEx and UPS don't deliver to your house. Plus the USPS doesn't either, unless the package is in a standard envelope.

I immediately tried the boots on, and to my shock and joy, they fit.

Straight out of the box, photographed by Mum.

See, when you order Bean boots, they say, "Get the size down if you're a whole size! Or hey, if you're a half size, go a size and a half down. Then they will fit! Unless you want to wear heavy socks. Then get your normal size. Unless you're a half size. But really. Do that." *

I have narrow feet, so I decided to pretend I knew what I was doing, and I ordered a size 7 narrow, which was a half size down plus also skinnier, which made me think maybe I could possibly get away with wearing them, with thick socks or, if that didn't work, normal socks. I crossed my fingers.

I waterproofed them and have spent the last few days breaking them in by being a typical college girl, wearing Bean boots as a fashion accessory. It was worth it, though, because now they are all broken in and cozy and I can slip them on easily.

I was thrilled to find that Bean boots suspect that you probably have an arch to your foot, so they make their boots with arch support. Imagine that! Barely any shoes do that. It was like Christmas, finding that out. Also the tongue of the boot is attached to the sides, so there will be no random icy bits of snow working their way in around the laces. This is a plus. And unlike my Uggs, they don't pull my socks down and off my feet as I walk around, so I don't have to scuff my heels against the ground in an attempt to keep the socks from slipping off. This is a complicated method honed on the hilly streets of Italy. It works, but it makes you walk like a duck, and you seem stupider than normal. Now I can look marginally more intelligent and less like a neanderthal, because I can walk upright. I am practically evolving as I type this.

I won't know for certain how they behave in very rainy weather with puddles on the ground or in snow (because we have luckily not had any of that this early), but they do very well in chilly Indiana fall weather. My toes were never cold.

* It is possible I paraphrased this a bit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Writing Out April Nardini: A Noble Quest

I hope by now you have all heard the GLORIOUS news. The Gilmore Girls are coming back! On Netflix! Amy Sherman-Palladino is back! Everything is happy again!

As I read discussions online about what people wanted to see in the new episodes/mini movies, I thought of the one part of Gilmore Girls that I don't want to see. APRIL. April is the worst thing that ever happened to the Gilmore Girls. Seriously. That child was a plague, with her atonal voice and her bizarre bicycle helmet and her constant whining.

I cannot deal with more April.

We wish Luke had a goat instead of a child. We wish.

So, for the purposes of assisting Amy Sherman-Palladino with her writing, I have decided to compose a list of things she can use to explain April's absence.

  • April is attacked by bees. They swarm, cover her, and when the swarm dissapates, April is gone.
  • April becomes a part of the avocado tree she grew. It's the pits.
  • A temporal phenomenon erases April from history. Wait. Who's April?
  • April is abducted by aliens she spied through her telescope. Her memory is wiped, and she is left alone in Siberia forever.
  • In order to finally win the science fair, April accidentally creates a zombie-virus. She is subsequently consumed.
  • April is the first confirmed case of spontaneous human consumption. Her ashes are featured on an upcoming X-Files episode.
The truth is out there, April. Trust no one.
  • The ghost of April haunts everyone. She is exorcised by Mrs. Kim's pastor.
  • April decides to go on a trip to explore the desert. She is eaten by snakes.
  • April meets a gorgeous, tan guy who looks like Mickey Hargitay, and ends up wearing a moomoo playing the tambourine and jumping up and down at the airport, part of the same cult Babbette left behind years ago. Later she is pushed from a moving car.
  • April moves to a shack in the woods where she writes long and rambling letters to celebrities, stops bathing, and believes all other scientific minds are conspiring against her. Life goes on without her.
I mean, sure, Amy Sherman-Palladino could just not mention anything about April and hope we all get the point, but I think it would be more satisfying for me, as a viewer, to see her consumed by angry angry bees. I mean, it's feasible, right? Wasps attacked me once! Bees could totally go for April. Maybe they're attracted to turquoise. It's much more believable to think of April drawn up into the sky in a beam of light than it is to think that Luke would have a surprise kid who just-so-happens to be a kid genius and appears suddenly when Rory's finally "grown up" and her cute kid time is over. Don't think that isn't why April's character was developed in the first place, because IT IS. Someone really believed they had to replace Sweet High School Rory with another precocious highly intelligent kid after she became Living With Boyfriend Rory.

That someone was wrong.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Jello or Ectoplasm

Saturday we had library tours running and I thought I would be an awesome tour guide because I would tell people what they really wanted to know about places, like the cold honest truth, and the tours would be fantastic and everyone would be mystified and maybe also a little afraid of my knowledge, because no one wants to know where someone has pooped on the floor years previously.

I would walk people around a fancy old house, and I would say things like, "This is where we found something we thought was ectoplasm this one time, except really it was something gross someone brought inside and spilled. Or it could have been ectoplasm. We didn't ask a lab to check or anything. Jello, or ectoplasm."

I would point at doors and say, "this is where we found a spider the size of my hand," or "a baby fell down there because his head was so big, he stopped running but his head didn't." Babies tend to grow into their giant heads. But the falling down thing is always funny for a year or so.

I also would play fun guessing games, like, "What do you think we found living in this room? Multiple choice options: A. Mice, B. Feral Cat, or C. Person?" Correct answer? All of the above!

I would point at the wall of the old house and say, "That wall is fake to hide the mold!" or "This is where we put buckets when it rains."

Seriously, an historical house should hire me.

We would walk into the door and I would say, "This place is either possessed or haunted, but the boss won't let us hire ghost hunters. Sign the petition on your way out! Plus also one time someone was murdered here, or maybe they just died. Or they could have moved. The paper didn't say."

My goal would be for the people to learn what was important about historical places, like how many bodies are buried on the property, not just when it was built. No one cares about that. They do care about how many accidental decapitations took place before they fixed that nasty broken stairway, though.

(In other news, this entire post was written when my blood sugar was so low, I felt like I was going to pass out. But I ate some Oreos. I'm better now.)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Little Lost Dog Pupdate

Yes, I used the "pupdate" joke again. It gets funnier every time I use it. At least it does this inside my head.

Mum and I stopped by the shelter this week to see the little lost dog we rescued! Padfoot, which is her name (the shelter asked us to name her and my brain automatically goes to Harry Potter, apparently, and I'm proud of that), is still at the shelter. She's been going through treatments to help her skin heal from the irritation she had, getting lots of good food, and she looks like a completely different dog.

We walked in to see her, and she jumped right up, walked over, and wagged her tail like crazy. This is a dog that was so exhausted and weak, she looked ancient when I found her. Now she looks like the adolescent dog she actually is. Her coat is filling back in and is glossy and black. Her eyes are bright. She gobbled up the bacon treats we gave her. The man who runs the shelter told us there are two families interested in adopting her when she's well enough.

I am so happy.

I love that I got to see her doing so well. Now the image I have of her will be of a happy dog, not of her sick and frightened. And the shelter workers all know us now, so they're keeping us updated on her condition and will let us know when she finds her family.

So. Happy.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Recommendations! Because Reasons.

I'm going to be quiet for a bit this week. I need some mental health time, because REASONS. Instead of leaving you with nothing to read, have a few book suggestions!

It's Banned Book Week, so go here, pick a title, and read a banned book to celebrate your freedom to read! Here in the U.S., no one actually legally can break into your house, steal all your books and burn them! We hope! Who knows? I mean, we don't know what will happen if Trump becomes president, other than that I will be leaving this country for Canada, which is much better in many ways, including health care, ready access to yarn, bears, and also Tim Horton's. While you're reading your banned book, read this article about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks being contested because. to quote the author, "a parent in Tennessee has confused gynecology with pornography."

I've been reading memoirs lately, and here are two you MUST read:

Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), Touchstone, 2015.

I adore Felicia Day, because she is the sort of quirky and funny I wish I was, but I know I'm not actually cute enough to pull it off and end up seeming much more crazy in real life. I identify so much with her drive to be perfect (yay, 4.0!) at the expense of everything, and reading her book, I could laugh at myself a bit as I read about her struggles in completing the Worst Math Class of All Time. Although unlike me, Felicia actually double majored in violin and mathematics, while I cannot play the violin or math effectively. Whatever. She's hilarious, read her book. I want to be Felicia Day when I grow up.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Flatiron Books, 2015.

Now it is time for a story about how I found Jenny Lawson, because it is funny to me and maybe will be to you.*

Back in the days of dial-up internet, I started a blog in my spare time between college classes and working four jobs at the same time. I gave the link to a few friends, expecting nothing to come of it and wondering if I would give up on this thing within a few weeks. Time passed, and one of my friends came up to me and brought up the blog. She told me my writing style reminded her of The Bloggess and I cautiously replied, "Oh, thank you..." because I had no idea what she was talking about and was afraid I was being made fun of, as I usually am when someone gives me a compliment. **

See, I had no internet at home that could load pictures or frames or sound or colors or words, so I didn't read blogs much. I only knew what blogs were because some lady came and gave a talk at our college about blogging and blog culture. I was like, "Why am I awake for this?" Because she was very boring.

All while my friend was talking to me, I was thinking, "Who the heck is The Bloggess and should I be insulted that she's comparing me to some lady on the internet, maybe I should look this lady up because I am afraid, is my style really unoriginal? I am unoriginal. I am a failure. I suck at writing and life and I will die miserable and alone."

I don't cope with things well at all. My panic/anxiety-riddled visions of the future always end with me, miserable and alone, all my family and friends gone and me curled up in the fetal position, unable to cope with all the loneliness and despair. Somehow, even though my real-life health is terrible, in my anxiety-brain, I outlive everyone and end up aged and alone forever. I cannot decide if this means I subconsciously think I am immortal or if I am just really narcissistic, in which case I am so sorry, friends and relatives, for being a massive jerk.

I then looked up The Bloggess and read about a giant metal chicken named Beyoncé and laughed so hard I cried and then had to use my inhaler. It turns out my friend actually liked me after all. Also now I had a new blog to follow, which made me extremely happy.

As I read, I discovered that I was not the only one who created terrible images of the future out of sheer panic--Jenny Lawson does too. Her new book, Furiously Happy, explores the dark and the delightful aspects of mental illness, and it makes me love her even more. I am super-grateful to the friend who led me to discover Jenny, and to Jenny for being awesome in all possible ways.

If you haven't read it, you should also read Jenny's first book because in it is a story about Jenny running into the corpse of a deer, which she lived through, somehow. Pretty sure if that happened to me as a child, I would be institutionalized, screaming "BAMBI, WHY? BAMBI? WHYYY????" until my voice was gone forever, lost to the void along with my sanity.

Okay. Now you have reading material. Enjoy yourself while I crawl underneath this desk and wait for everything to explode, or implode, or maybe wither into nothingness. We'll see how this week turns out.

* I almost cut this whole section because to me it seemed like maybe I sounded like a self-satisfied jerk, which is something I worry about a LOT. 

** I think she probably meant that The Bloggess and I both write about weird/terrible things that happen to us in our ordinary lives in an effort to amuse others, not that I am actually good at writing things, because we all know I never edit anything and write these posts on the fly, stream-of-consciousness, when I feel like it and on no sort of real schedule. Also I have no taxidermy-anything at my house, just lots of cheese.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The World's Most Sexist Fortune Cookie

Yesterday I decided I wanted noodles, so I ordered some, stopped by the closest Chinese restaurant (which is in no way authentic at all, but is better than no Chinese food at all), and went home. I gobbled up my noodles, which were delicious, and cracked open my fortune cookie, because while fortune cookies taste mostly of cardboard, I still like them in the same way I like the crust of a pop tart better than the filling.

Here is my fortune:

I am tempted to say this is the fortune of all women, if we let our voices be silenced.
I wanted to send it back to the fortune hell it came from, so I read the wrapper and discovered that the fortune hell it came from was THE UNITED STATES, and the fortune was both baked, written, assembled, packaged, and shipped all within the USA.

Instead I took its picture. This was the caption I chose: "My fortune cookie might as well have said, "TASTE THE ETERNAL BITTER TRUTH OF THE PATRIARCHY.'" And then I sent it out onto the internet so other people would be offended with me and I would feel validated.

Then I ripped the fortune up into tiny pieces and set it on FIRE because it seemed appropriate.

I thought maybe I should check and make sure that the fortune cookie company wasn't owned and operated by the Republican party, but the company didn't say so on their website. It's unfortunate that the company didn't think to include that. I mean, I am all about corporate accountability.

Then as I sat there, fuming, I thought about how lucky I am to live in a place where I can say, "This fortune cookie sucks various anatomical parts and is untrue!" Not everyone has it so good. And we won't keep that freedom, unless we stand up for women, organizations that help women, like Planned Parenthood, our rights to equal pay and fair treatment, and insist loudly that women deserve paid leave when they have babies.

So I wrote this post not because the fortune sucks, but because it is a reminder that all of us should be loud about things that suck, stand together, and make the world a better place.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Fingernails are gross. Mostly I don't notice them, but when I do, it's because of grossness. You know how I feel about feet. Fingernails have the same potential for grossness, but usually people see and care for their hands, leading to not as much disgusting. But sometimes, basic hygiene fails, and that is where our story begins.

Rachael, her husband Joel, and I went to a festival in an undisclosed location over the weekend. We ate yummy food, there were people playing music, and I worried that Rachael would fall face first down various small hills and into potholes or slip in mud because reasons. At one point, we were standing in line and I looked over to a group of people standing in another line.

I regret one thing from yesterday, and it was that I failed to whip out my cell phone right then to take a picture of what I saw in that line, because I don't know if any of you will believe how horrifying this really was without a visual record. * It was grosser in person, guys. Way grosser.

There was a woman, holding some of what I thought was beef jerky. It was thick and twisty, but also a bit round, so maybe, I thought, it wasn't jerky for humans but some kind of dried jerky pet treat? I've seen those come in long strands, you break off bits for your dog. And then your dog gnaws on the treat because it is hard and gross and dried. Who buys that for their pet? This woman, I presumed.

But then I realized she wasn't HOLDING anything.

Then I realized that the strips were attached to her.

Then I realized the strips were not beef jerky at all, but her long, twisted, curling fingernails.

Then I realized that they were over a foot long.

Then I realized that, stretched out flat, they were probably more like three feet long.

Then I threw up a little, in my mouth.

She had painted them ruby, glittering red.

I could not let the fingernails go all day. I kept trying to, but then I'd have a fingernail flashback, look over to Rachael, and say, "She could till the earth with those fingernails." Or, "Why would you even do that, because there is already a hideous record for fingernails like that, and it's for both hands of fingernails, not one hand."

And Rachael said, "How does she brush her hair?" "How does she function?"

And I said, "She was with people. That means she has friends, and the friends let her do that to her fingers."

Then Rachael took this picture of me, which I feel sums up my emotions at the time. I am including this instead of showing you real pictures of real people who have grown out their fingernails to appalling lengths because you can Google that on your own time, it's gross enough in my memory without adding more real life examples.

Photo credit to Rachael, who is my witness to this actually being real and happening.

* Well, two things. I also stopped on the way home at the home of all cheap pizza, Little Caesar's, for Crazy Bread and accidentally ate all of the Crazy Bread myself plus also some of the pizza I bought there, because it was only $5.00 and I thought, "Dang, I could have pizza too!" But the pizza was gross and no one ate it, so I regret that part. Not the Crazy Bread. I do not regret the Crazy Bread. That stuff is freaking amazing.

Friday, September 18, 2015

In Which Laura Buys BOOTS

Okay, I buy boots a lot. But this time, I did something different, and I didn't buy them because they were cute. I bought them because...

I couldn't resist. I'm not even sorry.

Winter is miserable, and I hate it like a sickness. I am always cold, I have to drive in the snow and on ice every day, there's nowhere to run but on the treadmill at the gym, it is dark when I go to work and when I leave work, and I get seasonal effective disorder every year.

Before I started college, I spent almost no time outside in the winter. But when I started walking from class to class on campus, the cold became a Problem. I decided for my sanity, I would buy the warmest boots I could find, so I ended up with the first version of Uggs released in the U.S. They were (and are) hideous, but I didn't care, because finally my toes were warm. 

That was 13 years ago. I still use the same pair.

Here's the thing, though. Uggs are warm, but they aren't waterproof, even when I spray them with waterproofing sealant every year. When wet, heavy snow falls, I have wet toes. This does not bother Darcy, but it does bother me. They also provide no traction on ice or on wet flooring, which means I fall down a LOT. All kinds of falling. Great, giant bruises. Every year. Darcy thinks this is bizarre and will stand over my prone body as I lie on the driveway or sidewalk, wagging her tail and waiting for me to get back up or die or something. At least she cares.

Last year, I decided it was probably time to buy a new pair of winter boots. But I didn't bother. 

Then spring came and we had so much rain, I had to break out my rain boots when I walked Darcy. And then I discovered that they also leak. Yes, two pairs of utility boots, both with leaks.

I dared Twitter to find me a pair of waterproof shoes because I didn't think that such a shoe existed. And then my friend Kate told me she'd had Bean boots from L.L. Bean since she was 16 and they STILL didn't leak.

The ordering process was a bit confusing, because the sizing is odd. They base what size you should order on the thickness of sock you intend on wearing with the boots. I had no idea what to get. I read many reviews. I read blogs. Finally, I settled on going down a half size and ordering narrow, then buying whatever thickness of sock I needed to buy in order to have them fit comfortably. I hope I made the right choice, because the wait to get these boots is LONG. I placed my order last Saturday, but they won't ship until the 28th. Apparently, people with money order multiple pairs and return the ones that don't work. I could not afford that option.

I hope I don't regret getting the unlined ones, but I can still change my mind. I'll just have another month-ish long wait. Which is obnoxious. But I'll cope.

I hope Darcy understands how dedicated I am to not dying on our walks together. It's expensive not to break your neck on ice.

So, after looking like a college student from the early 2000s, I will now look like a college student from the current decade. That's something, at least. What is it with me and boot fads? I don't buy based on fad, but I still cannot escape trends in cold-weather footwear. I don't drink pumpkin spice lattes, though, so maybe there's hope for me?

(Probably not.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In Which Dad Observes a Cake Walk and Becomes Disillusioned with Humanity

Dad and I wanted to get tenderloins for dinner, and since there was a festival nearby featuring our favorite food truck, we decided to go. The problem was, the food truck had never heard of Square, so we had to bring cash. That is a problem because we don't carry cash, or if we do, it's a few dollars and not enough to buy food for four people.

We visited the single ATM in the tiny town where the festival was taking place. It took me almost ten minutes to convince Dad that purchasing things in a business meant that parking in their lot was okay, as long as we were speedy getting our food. He felt we should leave the lot INSTANTLY after buying breakfast food and using the ATM. "Dad," I said, "It is no big deal. There are no parking police. If we left the car here all night, there would be a problem, but we are going in, getting food, and going home. That is QUICK. Under ten minutes, including wait time."

"Not if I see someone I know," he hedged.

"Smile, say hello, keep walking," I said. "When people greet you, they usually don't want a twenty-minute chat. They're here for a festival, remember?"

"Okay..." Dad clearly did not believe me. I would call this rampant narcissism, but he is a pastor and is usually in demand at all times. But this time, I would ditch him and walk home if he decided to do a counseling session next to the tractor pull, I resolved.*

Dad had gotten money from the ATM and promptly used it to buy groceries. This made me concerned because we hadn't bought the tenderloins yet. I envisioned myself walking all the way back to the ATM to take more money out because we'd bought groceries. Who knew how psychic I would turn out to be?

From the first step into the festival, Dad saw someone he knew. From prior experience, I knew that standing there was of no help to me or anyone, because I would only be ignored and the conversation would be longer because I was there, so I kept walking. I got to the food truck and thought, "Yep."

Then I saw someone I knew, so we both said hello and moved on with our lives like normal people do, not like Dad does, because we were not pastors. I kept waiting. Soon I saw Dad, wandering toward me, looking both confused and horrified. I thought either someone had thrown up in front of him (that was how weird he looked) or he had just learned a Startling Truth. Eventually he saw me. Then I went back to the ATM because OF COURSE.

At this point, I had reached the Hangry stage, called The Brother, and nearly broke down into tears on the sidewalk because he'd not been at work all day and I had, yet I still ended up dragging myself to the festival for food because no one gave me any other option. Why did I have to go? I hadn't wanted to go. I resented going. Also I had already forgotten Dad's pin number, and it had only been two minutes. The Brother told me we were even, but this was a lie (and remains so), because he never goes to the festival for food, and I go every year. Clearly The Brother wants me to suffer. I hung up.

Then I called Dad four times trying to get him to tell me his PIN number. When he did, I pulled out more money. $5.00 in ATM fees later, we had enough money for food. We bought it and went home.

During dinner, Dad was abnormally quiet. I figured this was because he knew how close to the edge I was. But I ate and felt better, except for the exhaustion.

"What is it?" Mum asked. Dad just sat there.

"Seriously Dad," The Brother said. "You look weird."

"I was at the festival," Dad began. "And there was this man. He had a microphone. He had very bushy hair and a beard and a mustache that he curled up at the ends. He was wearing shorts and flesh-colored socks."

"Oh yeah," I said. "I saw him."

"He was doing the cake walk," Dad said. "He was talking into the microphone and saying over and over again, "Find your number, I need more dollars! I need more walkers here!" Over and over again. Then he would put on music."

I nodded because this is what cake walks are like. You buy a ticket, stand on a number in a big circle, and walk around to music, like musical chairs. When the music stops, you stop, and if you end up on a number that matches the number of a cake, you win the cake. This has been going on for longer than there have been grocery store bakeries. Longer than bakeries. It has been going on since back when white sugar was too expensive for normal people to buy, so instead you cooked with molasses and whatever bug-infested flour you could scrape out of the bottom of the barrel you kept in your kitchen in between bouts of Typhus and Yellow Fever. You were lucky if you survived to the end of the cake walk without dropping dead of something, because there was no doctor for over 100 miles, and all that doctor had in his kit was a bottle of castor oil and a hacksaw. Also everyone wore petticoats to hand-milk the cows, except the men who were busy killing bears with clubs and hunting knives. **

"These people were walking in a circle," Dad continued. "They kept walking and walking."

Clearly this was bothering Dad for some reason. I did not know why.

"They weren't even smiling!" He exclaimed. "They just wanted cake!"

This was when we all started laughing.

"Nobody was smiling! Not even the children!" Dad said. "I thought, "Have I walked into MORDOR?'"

"Yes," I said.

"I mean, why are you even doing this if it isn't fun?!"

"Because cake," I said. That is my motivation for a lot of things.

Dad just shook his head, because he had Seen Things at the festival and nothing would ever be okay again. In fact, the world had been broken all along and he'd never realized it. For some reason, he'd just walked past all the other cake walks of his life, never noticing the horror.

This is from my new favorite Tumblr, Nihilisa Frank

"You realize this is a metaphor for the human condition," I said. "We all keep walking and walking, hoping we'll get cake, knowing we probably won't, but we keep walking anyway because the chance of getting cake is better than giving up and never having cake at all."

Dad nodded sadly. We collected our plates and took them into the kitchen to load into the dishwasher. There was nothing more to be said.

* Tractor pulls are things that happen. I don't even know why. From an outsider's perspective, it seems to be a method of finding out how manly you are but using a tractor and a BIG measuring tape instead of the other way.

** I actually had a great-great-great grandfather somewhere down the line that killed a bear with nothing but a club and a hunting knife. He also once hurled a hatchet through the air and killed a wolf, which was asleep. That only proved he could throw a hatchet, not that he was a good hunter, because killing a sleeping wolf is not sporting at all, and is a sucky move. Also he was so afraid of his wife finding out that he bought a new rifle that he hid it in the barn from her because they were pacifists and pacifists don't buy guns, even in the 1800's. Even though they kill sleeping wolves for no reason.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Yep. See what I did there? Pup update...PUPdate? Heee. This is all related as it was told to me by Mum over the phone, which could mean that some details were left out because Mum doesn't remember the names of medications like I do, because she is normal and I am a freak of nature with the memory of a computational device.

Mum stopped by the shelter yesterday and wound up volunteering to be a driver for them, because the little lost dog had an appointment but no ride. The dog, henceforth known as Padfoot because that's what's on all her charts at the vet so now it's official, is in very good health considering the circumstances! Her heart and lungs are healthy, she is heartworm-free. She's filling out a bit now that she's getting regular meals. The vet also told Mum Padfoot's around two years old. Mum called me yesterday after work to report all this, because she knows how worried I've been about the poor dog and thought I would be relieved to know she wasn't seriously ill.

Padfoot's only real problem is the skin irritation that caused her to itch out her fur, but that can be treated with an antibacterial wash. Apparently, malnutrition can cause dogs to get skin infections? News to me, because I don't run into lots of malnourished dogs. Usually, dogs I meet have been spoiled rotten with lots of cheese and other goodies. Padfoot is still in quarantine at the shelter, just in case, but can move in with the rest of the dogs soon.

I can't tell you how much better I feel about Padfoot than I did when we dropped her off. Mum says she's getting lots of attention and love from the shelter workers and volunteers. The vet and his assistants were lovely with her. Mum brought treats for all the dogs as well as a new collar for Padfoot without another dog's information on it. I can sleep better knowing she's being treated well by good people. It also feels better knowing that we didn't do what the horrid people did to her before--we haven't abandoned her.

I have no idea how much I'll find out about who might adopt her in the future, but I do know how careful the shelter is during the adoption process, so I know she'll go somewhere nice. Hopefully with one of the MANY library patrons I keep ordering down to the shelter to meet her...because I'm that kind of librarian. "Oh, you like dog books? I know a little dog at the shelter that needs a home. Her name is Padfoot, you know, like in Harry Potter, and she's lovely. Go meet her! No really. GO MEET HER."

This means you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What I've Been Up To Lately

Reading. I've been working on a few books at once, including The Poet and the Vampyre. I wanted it to be something that it isn't, but it's still informative and makes me want a restraining order against several Romantics-poets even though they're dead. Especially Lord Byron. What a jerk. I'm also beta-reading my friend Lindsie's new book. It is amazing and you should be jealous. Also my friend Allison sent me this link which made me laugh my sides off, which is always a good thing.

From now on when someone says "corndog" I will think only of this.

Crying. I found a little lost dog last Wednesday night. The poor thing was hungry, frightened, and had fur loss either caused by anxiety or a skin condition. She was incredibly well-behaved, trained, and had such a sweet disposition I wanted to keep her forever, but Darcy is not cool with other dogs. She had tags from our vet, so we waited until the office opened and took her there, only to discover that the tag on her collar was actually for another dog. We had to take her from the vet to the shelter (which is no-kill), but it was completely heartbreaking. I spent lots of time sobbing after that. Mum called for an update on Friday, and she's eating well and getting medical care. We were both still all upset about it, though. We started feeling a bit better after we decided to go to the shelter a few times a week to play with her and help in any way we can.

We've named her Padfoot. If you're looking for a dog, she's your girl. She's a black dog, between 20-30 pounds, looks like a lab mix, and is better behaved than Darcy is--something I did not think possible. Call the Wabash County Animal Shelter and go say hello!

Cooking. I've stuck to my vow to have only vegetarian, clean-eating lunches from now on. This means I'm cooking at home a lot, not to mention spending about 30 minutes every night trying to figure out what I'm packing in my lunchbox for the next day. Thinking up lunches I won't hate has been hard. It's so much easier just to swing through a fast food place and get fries. We'll see how long this lasts, but as of now, I'm liking it. I spent yesterday making Minestrone soup. I froze a bunch and saved some for this week. I'm also eating a lot of hummus.

Running. It's been hideously hot outside, and I'll admit, I've not been very enthusiastic about exercise lately. That tends to happen when I get anxious. But I've been forcing myself to run a few times a week. For extra inspiration, I've subscribed to a running magazine so I can have a monthly reminder to tell me, "Yes, you do need to run now. Go outside, lady."

Marathoning. The X-Files (because new episodes are COMING, Father Brown (series one is cute, but someone give this show a bigger budget!), and now Partners in Crime (which is Agatha Christie's Tuppence and Tommy mysteries. I want to live on the gorgeous sets, especially T&T's house. Those windows).

Knitting. Lots of stuff. I can't show you because all the projects are SURPRISES. I did start a Harvest sweater because I have to have SOMETHING I can knit outside of my house. I want it to be biggish and cozy, so I'm thinking I'll size up a bit. I'm letting Rachael tell me what size that should be. Surprise, Rachael!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Okay, here's what lunch on day two ended up being:
  • Organic, preservative-free, happy macaroni and cheese. It's happy because it wasn't doused in chemicals before landing in my lunchbox.
  • Baby carrots
  • Hummus
  • Yogurt
Sure, no meat, but did Laura bother to make the tzatziki sauce she was going to make last night? NO. Instead, I went for a run and when I came back, I was sweating so much that the sweat went into my eye. It was both gross and painful, and I thought no, I am taking a bath now, and then I watched The X-Files and knit. At about 9:30, I thought, "Someone should make me lunch." That someone was me, so I went and packed my lunchbox with as little care and attention as one could possibly give a packed lunch.

This is why I never stick to things: because they involve planning and careful execution and are OPTIONAL. I am, it turns out, rather lazy and not good at Adulting.

Will I make it a full week? Will I last longer than that? I'm taking bets.

Lunch Plans, Week One

So I went to the grocery store with no plan at all. I had no idea. I mean, I suck at making lunches. I usually make dinner, divide it into single servings, and bring the same lunch all week until my will to live is sapped and I am a broken shell of routine. Or, more often, fail to make any lunches at all, and end up eating many bowls of soup at Culver's.

As I have decided to change things, Mum and I went to the grocery store to pick out weekly lunch things yesterday after work. I really had no clue what I was doing. Here is what I ended up with:

  • Cheese (cheddar, feta, Philadelphia cream, and pepper-jack.)
  • Avocado
  • Cauliflower (who knows why)
  • Carrots (itsy bitsy ones)
  • Herbs (sage, thyme, etc.)
  • Berries, mixed
  • Cantaloupe
  • Hummus
  • Tomato bisque
  • Bread (sandwich and flat)
  • Yogurt (plain and Pumpkin Noosa)
At home I had:
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Onion
  • Potato
  • Peas
  • A lot more stuff
And the meals I'm planning include:
  • Deluxe grilled cheese sandwiches with cheddar, pepper-jack, tomato and an herb cream cheese spread with tomato bisque (this lunch is code-named Risky Bisqueness, because technically I shouldn't eat tomato at all. But it's yummy.)
  • Flatbread sandwiches with hummus and mixed veggies or feta, mixed veggies and tzatziki sauce. You get the idea.
  • Roasted cauliflower curry with potato, onion, and peas. I will make that up as I go along.
  • Something with avocado when the avocado ripens. It needs a day or two.
That should cover meals until this weekend, when I will reassess. The plan will be to do all the prep work (cooking, shopping, and so forth) over the weekend for the following week. This will eat into my sitting and doing nothing time, but it will be better to do all of the prep at once so packing my lunch will be faster.

I'll be making vegetable stock over the weekend, then hopefully a couple different soups which I will freeze in single servings. I'll whip up a few sandwich ideas, or I'll prep some veggies to bring along with cheese, crackers, and olives or pickles to nibble on. We'll see. The goal is to have satisfying lunches that aren't just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches day after day, because I won't stick with that. I will quickly grow to resent it and then give up this whole exercise.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it. I'll be happy if I just make it through this week and next week without crying with frustration, or sneaking out to eat something fried.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Clean Eating?

I have a food problem. The problem is that I love food so much, so so much, that my cravings are completely in charge. I eat based on whim. So I want to eat three blocks of delicious cheese? Okay. I will. Hungry for salt and vinegar kettle chips? Better try a dozen brands until you find the best out there. No worries. But that is...terrible for you. Majorly terrible.

To add to my problem, I eat when I'm anxious. If I'm eating, I'm concentrating on chewing and deliciousness, not on how I'm about to die because some unseen force is going to destroy me and everyone I love.* That's bad, because when I'm anxious, I go from eating small meals to eating constant meals. As in, I leave the dinner table and munch on chips. Or I come home from work and eat lots of cheese. Or I impulsively buy ice cream on the drive home from work because it will make me feel better. Or I buy a lemon meringue pie and then eat nearly all of it in 48 hours. (Thank goodness Mum wanted a few pieces over that time span, because it would have been ALL of the pie if she hadn't helped.)
As always, The Awkward Yeti understands my life.

But food can't make you feel better. In fact, it usually does the opposite for me. I eat too much junk, then I feel gross. Not guilty (I never feel guilty for eating, which is good I guess?), but sick because I can't digest the same way I used to now that my gallbladder is resting in that giant medical waste dump in the sky.

Here are the food observations I've had in the last month of high-anxiety:
  1. If your life sucks before you eat a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips, it will still suck when the bag of chips is gone.
  2. If you are anxious, you will probably stay that way until your brain decides to be your friend again. Food will not speed this process.
  3. Cheese is really awesome.
  4. Good cheese is expensive.
  5. Expensive cheese is not an everyday sort of treat.
  6. Stop spending $17.00 at the cheese store like it's normal, Laura.
  7. No, really.
I need to make more healthy decisions. Since I suck at self-control, I've decided that these decisions need to happen at work, because there, food is a choice. At home, it's a slot machine. What is there to eat? Who knows. Stick a quarter in the machine (the fridge) and pull the handle to find out! It will be different than what was in there last time you you checked. If you close the refrigerator door and open it right away, it will be different again! Nothing in the fridge is ever the same. Do not trust the fridge. The fridge lies.

So I have decided to do healthy, meatless lunches beginning Monday. I will embrace clean eating at lunch, since breakfast is already good (usually natural peanut butter on whole grain bread). Then, I will be so in love with my new clean-eating lifestyle, it will become second nature and I will become repulsed by fast food. This is totally doable, coming from nowhere without a plan. I mean, I checked out two books from the library. That's all I need, right? If I even succeed in having half of my weekly lunches and dinners healthier, I'll consider it a victory.

I'm thinking I'll be eating a lot of dry lettuce while I figure this thing out.

Seriously, though. This might become something of a challenge for me. I hate beans, so I look at a website that announces yummy meatless meals and...they are all beans. Beans everywhere. What do vegetarians eat when they aren't eating things with beans in?

If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or make lots of meatless meals please give me recipe ideas that do not include beans, lentils, chickpeas, or other hated legumes, because that isn't happening. Also any food blog recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

* Yeah, really. That's anxiety.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Best Cheese Ever: Sartori MontAmoré

Once upon a time, I had dinner at Jazz on the Lawn with my friend Emily, and she brought cheese. Actually this was a few weeks ago, so not really once upon a time, but just recently. And the cheese was the best. The best cheese. There is no other cheese like this cheese.*

Yes, I sometimes have a life. And Emily is a master chef.

I photographed the label. Emily said our grocery store had it in their cheese case, so I went right to the store and bought my own brick of cheese, which I then consumed in less than a week.

Heaven. Heaven in a paper wrapper.

And then I went back to the store for more of the Sartori MontAmoré cheese. Only to find that there was no more cheese. NO MORE CHEESE. Sure, there was lesser, inferior cheese. But that cheese doesn't count. I asked the deli lady whether more of the cheese was coming.

And she said no.

This led me to a sort of massive cheese-related meltdown.

This guy is pointing at my life, in the distance, burning into cinders of cheeselessness.

I went back to the library (I'd gone during lunch to the store), I bemoaned the lack of my delicious MontAmoré cheese. My poor coworker had to listen to me sadly discovering the cheese, while available online on both Sartori's website and, had a shipping cost of $20. Librarians cannot afford that sort of shipping, even for cheese sent to earth by God himself.

Part of my soul crushed like a grape under the wheel of a grocery cart, I took to social media. I hoped that my grocery store chain would hear my misery and decide to order the perfect MontAmoré cheese for all its stores forever. The Sartori people reached out at once, but I would still have to contend with shipping costs...

And then I remembered our local fancy wine and cheese store. I thought, "They aren't a chain--and I bet they'll special order cheese for me if I ask really nicely or maybe offer to marry whoever is working behind the counter!"

I called.

"I need some cheese," I said. "I was wondering if you could order it."

"What kind are you looking for?" The woman at the wine and cheese store seemed nice. I could so marry her, I thought. Plus employee discount on cheese, so match made in heaven.

"Sartori MontAmoré," I replied. "It's from Wisconsin." Maybe I could move to Wisconsin, I thought. Wisconsin is a land of cheese.

"We don't need to order it," she said. "I have three blocks in the fridge. Would you like me to save you some?"



I went home with all of the cheese. I ate one block in less than three days. The other I hoarded for a while, then attacked on Tuesday. It is nearly gone now. It's time for another trip to the wine and cheese store.

And that is why local shops are made of awesome, folks. Shop local, support small businesses, and for goodness sake, buy the cheese if you see it. It is the best cheese ever, and you need that kind of love in your life.

*Again, no one paid me to write this post, because really, I get paid for almost none of the things I do on a daily basis, except for the library things.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Let's Talk Feet

I know, feet are gross. We need to accept this and move on, because your feet are part of you, and they deserve some attention. Especially if you like sandals.

I was at a restaurant the other day, and I looked down when I dropped my napkin. The tables were close enough together that I got a glimpse of the feet of the man at the table next to me. Suddenly, I wanted to burn the napkin, the carpet, and the entire restaurant to the ground. Because his feet were a whole new level of repulsive. I'm talking dry, cracked, calloused heels that have whitened and then picked up filth from the world outdoors...that kind of nasty.

Grossed out yet? I certainly was. I was so grossed out that, on the pretense of throwing away the paper napkin I had dropped, I moved seats so I couldn't see the man's feet anymore. I wish I could forget ever having seen them. But I can't.

When you wear sandals, you need several things:
  1. Clean feet. Wash your feet. Wash your whole self. If your feet look dirty, that means you're dirty. And that is why showers were invented.
  2. Nails that are not yellow, flaky, chipped, or otherwise diseased. Are your nails gross? There's probably a cream for that. Or a pill. Go to the doctor. Your nails are sick, and you need medicine.
  3. Good circulation. If you have bad circulation, you really shouldn't be wearing sandals. It can really screw with your feet, because you don't get support that's good enough. PLUS there are more opportunities for you to injure your feet, which then will not heal properly because bad circulation. Your doctor probably told you this already.
  4. Heels that do not look like a medical experiment gone wrong. Do you spend a lot of time walking? Do you have calloused heels? That is okay. All of us have callouses. It happens. There are methods to deal with this.

Well, I am going to be straight with you and say I am number four. Not like the YA novel, but like, my feet are all dry and gross, no matter what lotion I buy. I have used so many different creams, you have no idea. The hemp one from The Body Shop? Done. Fancy ones from LUSH? Yep. Shea butter? Of course. I have even rubbed olive oil on my toes, then slapped on a pair of socks and nestled my feet under a warm electric blanket in the hope that warmth would help them absorb moisture. Nothing works.

I also have callouses from having weird toes, including one in the center of the ball of my foot that makes it feel like walking on a pebble all the time. No one ever sees this one, but it hurts and I don't like it.

I decided to be a librarian and do extensive research because that is what I do instead of dating people.

It turns out the weird callouses I get on the ball of my foot is because my second toe is longer than my big toe. This is called a Morton's Toe, and it causes all sorts of foot problems all of which may be solved by snapping your toes like matchsticks and resetting them correctly. You still have a Morton's Toe, but the other problems go away. Toe-breaking does not sound like fun to me. I figured I would try another option, one that still left me able to walk. I would remove the callouses. They would come back, but at least no broken bones! I went to Ulta.

There, I found the world's most amazing creation. I have had it for one day and it has already changed my life. If you have not tried it, you MUST. It is a callous shaver. Yes. Words cannot express the weird pleasure of removing your callouses with this thing. It doesn't hurt at all. And, suddenly, you can walk around without pain. I even have less tenderness in my heels. It is like magic. Foot magic.

I am not going to go into the play by play of using this thing, except to say you need to use it in the bathtub or over your trash can or something, because no one wants to sweep up dead skin or worse, find dead skin on the floor abandoned by a family member. Ever seen shaved ice? It is like that, but made of callous. Gross, but pretty awesome.

It's so cool to use this thing, I actually want my callouses to come back so I have more of an excuse to play with my magical new toy of foot magic. I should run more. Running makes my callouses worse. Or I should wear heels. Something. I just really love this toy. It is the best toy.

What it does is give you all the joy of going and having someone else give you a pedicure--without you ever having to be touched by another human being. I've never had a pedicure because I don't like to be touched by strangers, but this is what I imagine a pedicure is like. Like magic. And your feet feel so nice afterwards.

Plus my feet LOOK better. I keep telling my friends and coworkers about how magical this is. It is only $12. It is not a massively-expensive electrical device. It is not a somewhat expensive electrical device. It isn't even an expensive manual device. It is a tiny, cheap little tool, and the blade is even replaceable so after the initial investment, it's still cheap. I am in love.

Another thing I picked up to help my feet feel happier was the Earth Therapeutics Gentle Foot Peel. It is both gross and amazing, just like the callous shaver. Oddly, it has no scent that causes me allergy problems, which must mean it isn't made of petroleum byproducts. This is always a good sign.

After I did this foot treatment, I used bright, happy nail polish to finish my pedicure because clearly I am always wearing my sandals now. Except not really because my toes get cold in air conditioning. And everywhere I go has air conditioning. When I  wear sandals to work I go home with toecicles, which are like icicles made of toes.

So, if you are grossed out by your feet, try this stuff and see how it works. And if you have more ideas for me in my endless quest to have the soft feet of a wealthy courtier, please let me know in the comments. I'm always open to foot care suggestions, especially if they involve magical new pedicure tools I can spend money on.

Because apparently I like spending money on things. Who knew?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Funnies for Tia

My friend Tia needs funny happy things today, so I decided to assemble as many as possible in one place so that she wouldn't have her Twitter or Facebook feed spammed full of Laura stuff. Because reasons. I cannot find all the sources for these things, so if someone knows them, let me know and I'll attribute things properly.

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(That was just to get your attention.)

I have felt this way about food before. I feel this way about a LOT of food, actually.

A bit of Martin Luther humor for you.

I don't know what is happening in this picture, and I don't want to know.

Here is a picture of a dog wearing a horse mask. This is why the internet was invented.

I love this so much, I printed it out and had it on my wall for several months.



Never has a cat been more angry, or plotting more destruction.

This is an accurate translation.

The only reason to ever visit McDonald's is to get this box and put it on your corgi.

Poor puppy. There is a dude who dresses his dog up like this and then runs and the dog chases him, and then people see and become horrified because it looks like a giant spider and not a dog. I want this costume for my dog. For...reasons.

How helpful.

This poster should be on display in all schools and workplaces. Forget the other poster. The other poster is WRONG.

I have felt this way before. Many times. Usually during childhood when I tried to climb trees or jungle gyms. 


This is my favorite thing that Colonel Sanders ever said about chicken. I choose to believe he DID really say it, because it makes him more awesome than if he really just ate chicken all day while he drank sweet tea.

This poor child. This is why my parents never let us celebrate Halloween. I think they knew I'd make this face.

I don't even know how to explain what is happening in this picture.

When I was a kid we had hamsters. Once one escaped and stole a potato from the potato box, which he somehow managed to open with rodent super-strength, then carried the potato across the house, up onto the sofa, and drug it into the couch cushion where he proceeded to eat/shove into his cheek half of the potato. The remainder he left in the couch. When we woke up we found him outside of the cage, waiting to be put back inside. Several weeks later, we discovered the potato. Did I mention the hamster was named Bilbo? Because he was.