Out with the old

When I returned from my holiday travel, there was a work crew at the duplex next door. The building has been sitting vacant for nine months and I've been waiting for the day that demolition would happen. Although I have yet to see any land use action permits or signs on the property, this place is going to go the way of too many Seattle properties--it will soon become a lot of 4-6 skinny townhouses. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this, the jury will be out until I see what sort of impact (please, oh please say it's positive) on my property value. But as I watched the work guys tear apart the house layer by layer, I figured it's time for me to rip off the asbestos siding of 2007 and get myself ready for 2008.

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about how I want to define the next year and I'm declaring it right here and now the year that Little Ms. Notetaker makes herself happy.

Lately I've just felt so blah. And I'm sick of moping around feeling sorry for myself so here is my short list of things that if I accomplish, it will make me and you happy. Yes, you too. Because, the happier I am, the more pleasant I am to be around; and the more pleasant I am to be around, the happier you will be. See, I'm looking out for you here too.

1. Dork out in Improv classes. Ultimately my goal is to be on stage at some point, but I'm not completely ready to commit to that goal yet, so I think taking these classes is a good start. I may try out for a play--and if I do, then heck I've exceeded my goal (if only it were like work and I could get some sort of monetary reward for doing that).
Why this makes me happy? Little known fact, my ultimate dream job would be to be on Saturday Night Live. Improv classes make this dream a little more of a reality in my small corner of the world.
Why this makes you happy? Just think about how much funnier and zanier I will be. Now if that doesn't make you happy, I'm not sure what will.

2. Bite the bullet and remodel the kitchen. It's time. I need to do this. I've been dragging my feet (mostly because I don't want to do it alone, and I keep hoping with every date I go on, that maybe I'll find someone that will stick through this remodel with me, maybe someone that lives nearby so that I can use their kitchen as a back up while mine is out of commission--yes I do think this--or at least maybe someone with a trade or a skill that can come in handy in the next few months), but now it's time to pick up those tootsies and get a move on it. I'm going to start by going to a "Remodeling Convention" in town this weekend.
Why this makes me happy? Have you seen my kitchen? Or really, have you seen my sink? It will be so nice to have this major thing crossed off the list, and I will feel so proud to have accomplished it. Such a big girl project.
Why this makes you happy? You won't have to hear (or read) my complaints about the kitchen, or my procrastination around the kitchen any longer. I see you smiling.

3. Find balance. This one covers a lot of ground... and as far as goals go, it's kind of squishy, but I like to think of it as balanced diet (um, I have to admit the last piece of fruit I ate was four days ago, shameful!), a balanced lifestyle (sticking to a workout regime that is more than just running), and maintaining a balanced mental state (taking time for myself, doing what I need to do to take care of me).
Why this makes me happy? Well, I'll be more serene... hopefully.
Why this makes you happy? Well, I'll be more serene... hopefully.

4. To touch my toes. It's been way too long since I've been able to do that. The picture of flexibility I am not. Yoga here I come, again.
Why this makes me happy? Less back pain and fewer quirky injuries (i.e., creating a major spasm just from putting on a sock).
Why this makes you happy? I don't know, just be happy for me.

So there you have it my 2008 goals: dorking out, remodeling, balance, and flexibility. Here's to our happiness in 2008!


I just couldn't wait

I have a whole different post brewing in my mind about this topic, but I just got off the phone with a guy and could not wait to blog about it.

For those of you that are in serious committed relationships and sometimes find yourself thinking, "Oh, dating is so fun. I miss dating," I just have to say, "No. No you don't." I mean sure there are fun things about dating, but the awkwardly painful getting to know you surfacy part of the first date or first phone call is not-so-fun, and really not anything that I will ever miss.

Now, I know some of you are scratching your head wondering what I'm talking about, since clearly I'm beyond the awkwardly painful getting to know you surfacy part of the first date with the J_______, I mean we had number four already (oh, and number five yesterday). So that's not bad there. Well, I just don't know what that is there. So in the non-committal spirit of keeping my options open, I've developed DADD (dating attention deficit disorder). More on that in another post.

This post is about one of the persons I'm "self-medicating" my DADD with. He e-mailed me the other day, and I thought, "hmmm, okay, he could be interesting to get to know." I e-mailed him back, and he then responded pretty much right away with his phone number. That could be potential red flag #1 there... he's just a little too eager. I didn't call him right away, and he subsequently e-mailed me to see when I'd be calling (yes, this was less than 24 hours after he sent me his number, potential red flag #2). In case you were wondering what his code name is, it's Quick Draw McGraw since he's so snappy in his responses--you can call him Quick Draw for short if you'd like.

I called him earlier this evening. Settled down in my favorite chair and one hour and 20 minutes later, I got out of the chair to write this post--thank goodness it's a darn comfortable chair.

Two things you should know about me. One, I really don't like talking on the phone all that much. Unless we are really good friends and I never get to see you because you live across the country and talking on the phone is the only way we can get caught up or stay in touch, you probably aren't going to come anywhere near having an 80 minute conversation. Let's just meet up in person. And two, I need my phone calls to have an explicit goal. Figuring out the details of when and where we're going to meet up, getting directions, ordering a pizza, even prank calling--although I haven't done it since I was a kid--always had a goal.

And, it wasn't like it was one of those phone calls that you have in the early stages of a relationship either. It wasn't one of those, I'm-so-excited-to-talk-to-you-and-it-feels-like-we've-known-each-other-forever-because-we-can-talk-about-everything-under-the-sun-and-it's-oh-so-interesting-with-you conversations. It was more like, "blah, blah, blah," and, "what's your response to blah, blah, blah?"

And not too far into the conversation, I honestly thought, scale of one to ten this is a SNORE (and I did have some DADD remorse and missed the J______ a smidge). Yet, I'm grabbing lunch with Quick Draw next weekend. I'm hoping I can do enough stuff this week to fill the conversation space, because we've already covered most of the first date fluff.

A belated merry post

Little Ms. Notetaker is back in action. I took an unintentional week off, and that's not to say there were not a kajillion notes going back and forth in my brain, because let me tell you there were. I just didn't have much access or time to blog whilst at home. Note to self: Neglecting the blog fills my mind with so many thoughts they spread like weeds. Time to break out the "round-up" and share a little. So let's see, which note shall I pull out of my brain today...

It finally did feel like Christmas for me, sort of. Well, maybe not Christmas, but I had a nostalgic feeling of home. Not so much home, like my parents house in the burbs, but home like good ol' Colorado. I don't think I'll ever move back to Colorado--the urban sprawl and strip mall after strip mall after strip mall just don't do it for me--but when I think about Colorado, and when I get to missing Colorado, it's a Colorado that exists only in my mind. It's a Colorado circa the late 70s. I picture my parents and their friends (who at that time were my age now) drinking Coors out of the classic red and white cans and John Denver playing on the record player. I also think of the mountains, with snow on the pine trees, and bright night skies with the moon reflecting off the snow. I think that memory is set in the 70s (and is always a little faded in color in my mind) because I have some pictures here that captured some of those times and that those pictures now fill the space of my memories.

It wasn't a 70s Christmas, but there was snow, and mountains, no Coors, but big bright night skies, and John Denver--this time it was a CD. It made me happy and sad simultaneously--longing for that memory of what Colorado was to me, but giving me the closest thing possible to that now.

Oh, and I kept getting massive nose bleeds there. The dryness. I don't miss that.


My lucky number

It just happens to be four. My jersey in college (and practically every athletics team I've ever been on) was number four. Last night was date number four, and it was really good. Good Indian food, good movie (Atonement, I highly recommend it), and really really good company. I'm all smiles today.

I could stand to repeat four a few more times.

Now it's off to pack for the trip home. Yet again I've procrastinated on that one... but it's easy to do when the alternative is four.


And here I thought it was today

Happy Solstice, everyone!

I know I had my bah-humbug post yesterday, but I've been looking forward to today for weeks. Why you ask? Not because it's the last day before a deserved vacation, and not because they were giving out yummy chocolate m&m cookies for FREE in the cafeteria today--hmmm, take four? Don't mind if I do! Nope. Those are all good things, but I've been looking forward to today because it's supposed to be the shortest day of the year. That was until I read this article.

Note to self: From here on out, factor in the Equation of Time, when you are trying to solve for happiness in the Equation of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

When I packed up and moved out to Seattle, I heard these words from everyone: "Seattle? It rains in Seattle." Really? Thank you, Captain Obvious. I don't mind the rain, in fact, it's partly why I've always wanted to live here. I just wish that one of those brilliant people would have instead said, "Seattle? It's depressingly dark there for 75% of the day in the winter." Now that was something I did not know, and that would have been good information. The darkness is wearing on me. It does every year.

But we've turned the corner, or thanks to the Equation of Time, we're a block away from turning that corner and I can't be happier about it. The other morning I turned my kitchen light off as I was getting ready to leave the house for work and it was pitch black. I yelled (honestly I did, I live alone, okay, I had to express this somehow), "AGGGGGH! You've got to be kidding me!" It was 7:15 AM. And there was no sign of sunrise yet.

And as I sit here typing this post, at 4:45 PM, we're already about 45 minutes past dusk. On the flip side, our summers are amazing. And we have sunlight for 75% of the day. There's something to be said for sunsets at 10 PM. Little Ms. Notetaker's official countdown to summer has begun.


Tis the season...

Really. 'Tis. I swear it.

I have to admit, since I've become a grown-up (I'd like to qualify that as "since I've felt like I am a grown-up" which is honestly only in the past five years), I just haven't gotten into the holiday spirit. I often wonder if I'm missing a really important gene. I have friends--and I'm often accosted by them for not being ho-ho-holiday--who absolutely adore Christmas, who get real trees, and actually decorate them. In my mind they do all that whilst cider is brewing on the stove and the Carpenter's Christmas album is on extended repeat on the stereo.

There is nothing wrong with that. I like cider, and a Karen Carpenter Christmas reminds me of home. But for some reason, I have absolutely NO desire to do any of that, ever. It puzzles me. My stock excuses are: 1.) I'm lazy, and if I don't put decorations up, then I don't have to take them down, and 2.) I'm never here for Christmas anyway, so what's the point. Those are definitely the easy answers. But I don't know if they are wholly true.

Oh, and I also don't send out cards or a letter. But that, I firmly believe, is laziness. If I set the expectation level low--like you're not getting a card--then you won't be disappointed when one isn't in your mailbox. In fact, consider this post your card, "Happy Holidays from my household to yours. And many bright wishes for a wonderful New Year." Look at that, you get all the glory of Hallmark, without all the loose glitter all over your hands, table, floor...

I know that I'm not alone feeling this way. Many people I talk to keep finding it harder to pour themselves that cuppa cheer. I wonder if it's because I'm single (last Christmas was the only Christmas I've spent attached), or if it's because I don't have kids? Maybe the wonder and joy they have is contagious? I sure hope so, because I'd like to think that some day I'll have a use for all the ornaments I have stashed in storage.

It just feels like Christmas has lost that magic--and it's lost in all the commercialism. For me, Christmas is about love and family. It should be special. And I don't think any amount of lights or any tree, real, fake, or otherwise, can bring about any of those things. Am I being too cynical?

My hope is that when I get back to my family, the warmth and the love I feel there will be all the specialness that I need.

Note to self: Until then, keep the ho-ho-hope alive!


Recipie for L-U-V

Here's what the J______ and I cooked up for date number three (please note that I was half paying attention to a TV show that used this recipe so it's by no means precise... or accurate, but it tasted good).

  • One jar of marinara sauce--yes, someone already pointed out the irony in that to me today
  • A couple spoonfuls (to taste) of olive tapenade--I HATE olives, but don't really get the taste of them in this sauce, it's mostly used for the saltiness factor
  • One can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Fresh chopped parsley--we may have had a little too much, so use this sparingly
  • Peeled, tail off shrimp--I really don't like shrimp, but I thought they sounded good with this dish, considering I don't like olives or shrimp, it's a wonder I liked this... and even more of a wonder that I suggested we cook it. What's up with me?!
  • Parmesan cheese--grate it yourself off of a fresh block, or cheat like I did and buy the pre-grated version
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer the marinara sauce with the beans, parsley, and tapenade. If the sauce doesn't have enough flavor, add more tapenade.

While the sauce is simmering, put the shrimp on a non-stick cookie sheet, or on parchment paper on top of the sheet. Maybe don't use an olive oil spray to make the sheet non-stick because when you broil the shrimp in your gas stove, it may start tiny little fires on the pan. I'm just saying...

Anyway, sprinkle cheese on the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and broil for 10 minutes.

When the shrimp are done, serve the sauce in a bowl with the shrimp on top. Enjoy.

Date #3

Nope, I didn't skip number two and move right into number three... I just didn't blog about date number two with the J______. Not because it wasn't good (I gave him high creativity points). Nope. Probably just because I've been a lazy blogger lately. But you lucky ducks, you get the scoop on date number three (along with more mundane, I mean fascinatingly interesting, details of my life).

One thing you need to know about the J______ is that he likes to evaluate our evenings. On a scale of one to ten how would you rate the first date? On a scale of one to ten, with ten being "right about now," how soon do you think that's going to get old? Don't get me wrong, I do love the fact that we are reflecting on the experience, and I know we're in the early on phase, trying the thought of dating each other on for size, and it's great to be honest and open--I really do respect that tremendously. But I'm just thinking if this lasts for much longer, we certainly won't. On a scale of one to ten how was that trip to the grocery store? Um, I'd have to give it a GET THE HECK OUT OF MY CAR.

So it's not fair for me to say that, as really I'm just trying to be funny and I think I genuinely could like this guy (how's that for being non-committal in the early stages of a "relationship"). He's a really good guy, passionate about life and his community, attentive, considerate, attractive, funny, well-educated and curious to keep learning... okay, so I could go on and on. I just wanted to be sure that I stated that the jokes I make are probably my self-defense mechanisms to keep me from jumping too deep, too soon.

So, for date number three, he came over to my house (and those of you that are wagging fingers of scorn my direction for inviting him into the sacred temple, just know that I did not shave my legs and we only held hands on my parents old disco couch). We made dinner, the recipe is quite simple, but appears gourmet and chic. It was actually going to be the topic for this post until I just realized that may make this the world's longest post. That one will be separate.

After a couple hours of good conversation--laughing about some of the most traumatic and dramatic dating situations we've faced--we ended up watching episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm on the couch I have in my TV room that I cannot bear to ever get rid of. Yes, that in and of itself is a whole different post. Oh, you have much reading in your future! At any rate, we sat there and he had his arm around me. The setting may not have been a picture of romance, but it was comforting and nice. And just the right blend of friendliness and chemistry to give me butterflies and tingles when he gently traced the outline of my fingers with his. Sigh.

Here's to the lost innocence that seems to be rare in the adult dating world. And here's to posts about food and crazy cool disco couches.


Protective gear

The past few years I've played on a flag football team in a co-ed league through work. I'm athletic and aggressive enough to be a presence out there, but really, I don't know all that much about what I'm doing. I know what I need to know: if they throw the ball to me catch it, and if someone from the other team has the ball pull their flag.

Before each game we have a little ritual with the ref, having to show them our shoes (to make sure they aren't the type of cleats that I guess could poke somebodies eye out), our badge (to prove that we actually work there), and our mouth guards (to help us keep our pearly whites in tact).

Last weekend my team was in the championship game. As the ref came over to us to do our gear check he asked to see our mouth guards and proceeded to tell us that the weekend prior someone had concussed and lost five hours of his weekend because he just couldn't remember it, so it's VERY important we have our mouth guards.

I turned to the guy next to me and wondered if all mouth guards prevent concussions? I mean, I may not know exactly what holding is, but I think I know some basics about where concussions come from.

Note to self: My next mouth guard should maybe not be the $.99 special from Walgreen's. I need a magic concussion preventing mouth guard.

I couldn't help but wonder if maybe the ref was he-who-was-concussed, and that maybe he lost more than just five hours of his previous weekend?


Who's the lush now?

When I got to work this morning, I headed into the kitchenette on my floor. For the first time in months, I packed a lunch and I was going to stick it in the fridge. When I opened the door, I was surprised that there was no room. Not because there were too many other lunches in there. No. Because it was filled to the brim with booze.

And I swear, it was not my Coors Light in there--however, there was an 18 pack of it in there. Along with the silver bullet long necks there were 18 MGDs, over a dozen Mike's Hard Lemonades, a dozen Pyramid Hefeweizens, and a six-pack of Redhooks. I'm serious. I had to open one of the crispers to store my lunch.

I'm hoping that someone was storing that for a holiday event or something to that effect? Otherwise we may need to have an intervention, says the girl caught buying beer at 8:00 AM the day before.


Starting out the week right

How did you start your Monday? I started mine with an early trip to the grocery store to pick up something I needed to take to work.

I decided to stop at the store by my office and pulled in just shy of 8:00 AM. There I was all dressed for work, walking down the aisle to get the one item I needed. I grabbed it and headed to the register. I set my item up on the conveyor belt and waited. The person behind me set a giant box of donuts on the belt--obviously it was his turn to bring in Monday morning treats. Me, well I had a six-pack of Coors Light.

Yes, that's right.

Note to self: Next time you need to purchase schwag beer, maybe think about the time and the place.

There is a perfectly good reason for my purchase. We were making a gift basket to be raffled off at our upcoming holiday party, and the group I'm in on this with decided to make ours a gift basket of wines from whence we came. And I'm from Colorado. And the chance of me finding a Colorado wine out here is slim to none. And Colorado is known for Coors Light, it's a Rocky Mountain original... just like me. And I tried to class it up in the basket by calling it "Le Silver Bullet" (with a silent "et").

Regardless of what I can justify, I was slightly mortified to be buying beer at 8:00 AM on a Monday, but I'm sure it gave the guy with the donuts something to talk about with his colleagues.


New virgin hair

Without further ado, the post you've been waiting for (oh, man I hope I haven't built this up too much...)

When was the last time you thought about your eyelashes? I mean really thought long and hard about your eyelashes? Well, if you belonged to my gym, they would certainly be top of mind, as they should be. I mean, eyelash health should without a doubt be a top priority.

Among the many amenities the gym boasts, one of them is an advanced spa/salon, that clearly has its finger on the pulse of breakthrough beauty technology. Below is the content--verbatim, people, I cannot make this stuff up--of a flyer posted in the locker room announcing some exciting new research:
J-- M------ Skin Research


Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner*
Breakthrough Technology

A Stunning Technology Gives You the Lashes of Your Dreams!
Your Lashes Will Appear Fuller, Thicker and More Lustrous!

Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner can produce dramatic improvement in the appearance of volume, texture and density.

By using breakthrough technology that features reconstructive components, Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner prevents new virgin hair from being adversely affected by cosmetic and environmental factors.

Plus, by increasing flexibility and preventing breakage, eyelash hair can reach its full potential. Users will quickly perceive that their lashes appear far fuller and more lustrous.

*.23 oz mascara-style tube with eyeliner brush applicator (one tube lasts about six months)
Just sit with that for a moment.

Note to self: Christmas is coming... I think eyelash conditioner would make the most perfect gift for everyone on my list.

I love two things about this. One, that this conditioner "prevents new virgin hair" from being hurt by all the vile and disgusting things in this world. We must protect the virgin hair! People, unite! I mean we all know cosmetics, and we all know that they only have one thing on their mind and that's to get in the proverbial pants of the nubile and pure eyelid hair. Thank goodness we have this protection we can dole out, but that really makes you stop and think, shouldn't we be teaching abstinence to the young and innocent lashes? Oh, my, this could cause quite a heated debate.

And two, my eyelash hair can reach its full potential. Finally! I mean seriously, it's been slacking off for quite sometime now. At first I thought that maybe there was something wrong with it and that it was simply underachieving, but now I know it was just bored. It will finally be able to live its eyelash destiny. Yesssss!


This post is not about the gym...

It's about the J_______ (aka, the date I had tonight). Let's just say it was relaxed, fun, intellectually stimulating, and just what I needed.

And I'm excited for the prospect of date number two.

Until that happens, keep holding your breath for the mother of all posts about the gym (I need to do some reconnaissance and hope to get up early tomorrow AM and do that for you, my faithful friends).

Sweet dreams...


How I think it got there...

My residence hall in college was a ten story building. I remember I had friends that lived on around the third or fourth floor. You could look out their window and see the rooftop of the cafeteria in the adjacent building. I was always fascinated with what you could see on that roof--after a weekend it would be empty beer cans, after a term finished it would be books, and at the end of the year it would be big ticket items that lazy guys wouldn't want to move, like couches and mini-fridges. I never knew how they got some of those things out the small windows, the windows with what we called "suicide bars" that were put there so despondent kids wouldn't jump. It was college, we were invincible, and where there was a will there was more beer... which usually lead to a way of getting a ratty old couch out a window.

The other day when I was at the gym, admiring the view from the elliptical, I noticed that I also had a view of the rooftop of the building next door. It was pristine--very unlike the Centennial Halls cafeteria roof--except for one item. On the roof there was one compact disc. It got me thinking about the random things I'd see on roofs in college and I imagined stressed out students, strung out on caffeine and No-Doz, post-final, thinking that the best way to celebrate and stick it to that Organic Chemistry prof would be to launch the book out the window. I'm sure they must have felt some release somehow. Take that, O-Chem!

I imagine the CD must have met a similar fate... one of the aerobics instructors must have had a particularly frustrating step class (no, I said grapevine, step, clap, what's wrong with you people?!), had a major meltdown (I picture steps and risers scattered everywhere in her wake), and sent her CD filled with Jock Jams, More Jock Jams, and Even More Jock Jams, soaring.

Note to self: Save yourself. Stick to the elliptical. Avoid the crazy step classes.

Critter Watch 2007

An update for all those concerned individuals out there, my you-know-what-traps are empty. Maybe that means the critter (mouse, rat, freeloading squirrel) was outside the house when I covered up his or her point of entry.

All I know is I still don't like going down into my basement.

Oh, and I didn't have to go out and buy a new hammer (but I also didn't bravely march downstairs and get my good hammer that day either). I happen to have my "Do It Herself" toolkit from college upstairs in my house and it happens to have a "Do It Herself" hammer that I gladly used to hang my item. Now if only it had a "Do It Herself" pest remover, then we'd be in business.


The gym for the privileged

Over the past six years, I've belonged to five gyms. And that's not to say I'm that picky about where I workout, because I'm really not. All I need is an elliptical machine or a treadmill, free weights, and some space to do crunches and maybe a push-up or two--I do love a good exercise ball but that's just icing on the cake.

When it comes to working out, I'm a minimalist. Which is why the gym I belong to now is a bit overwhelming. Is it the fact that when you walk in the door the smell of rosemary and lavender waft through the air? Don't get me wrong, it smells peaceful and lovely and not at all like the sweaty damp socks mixed with the metallic smell of dumbbells (or the smell of the 17 meat heads likely named Blade, Laser, or Blazer at the Globo-esque Gym I belonged to first). Or is it because in the lobby and in the locker rooms there is actual art, fancy art? Or that when you change into your workout clothes, you hear classical music? Again, a far cry from the death metal I'm used to at most other gyms.

It's not the equipment, in that arena it's like an average gym--the weights aren't plated in gold or anything. Maybe it's the view. Yes, the gym has a view. It's situated in a building on a hill that overlooks the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, Lake Union, and on clear days the Olympic mountain range. Um okay, I'm used to mirrors. And as much as I love to see my haggard work out face chugging away on a treadmill--oh wait, I don't. And perhaps one of the coolest things about this view is that on the second floor of the gym, it's the "dimmed" workout room. I don't know if it's dimmed to create harmony and zen on the treadmill, or if it's for people that are self-conscious working out in bright fluorescent lighting, but they don't turn the lights on and in the morning or the night, you workout in the dark and you just see the whole city in lights. Hmm, the last gym I belonged to was actually a really nice gym, but it was in the basement of an Italian restaurant.

Yes, this is the gym for the privileged. And the only reason I have the privilege to workout there is because it is completely subsidised by work. I don't feel like I belong at the gym, which is crazy to me because I am a gym girl, a jockette. I actually feel like I need to have nicer workout clothes, make-up and a nice smooth ponytail to be there. But I don't, and I won't, and I just can't. So I will continue to be the girl at the gym in a rumpled old t-shirt, with stray hairs sticking out of my half ponytail-half bun, and will be the minimalist amid all the excess.

Note to self: All I need is an elliptical machine or a treadmill, free weights, and some space to do crunches and maybe a push-up or two... and maybe the smell of rosemary and the view of the Seattle skyline.


Working out my workout

Outdoor running season is over; I think we're in for a rainy winter. So this means it's time for me to head back to the gym. And this is good for so many reasons:

  1. The obvious reason--I stay in shape, and keep that body all those fitness magazines promise me in their table of contents.
  2. The not-so-obvious reason--the gym is rife with potential blog posts, in fact I have three percolating in my mind right now. Just you wait... I think one of them may make some of you pee your pants.
  3. The I-can-justify-anything reason--by going to the gym I will decrease my carbon footprint and keep Al Gore off my case.
Now hear me out on that third one.

You all know that I love showers. And that my love for showers drives me to take ridiculously long, excrutiatingly hot showers. Well, I don't really like to take showers at the gym the same way I do at home. I stand there in my flip flops (yes, carry overs from public showering and fungi fears in college) and they get all slimy, so I tend to be a little bit quicker. Plus #1: I use less water.

Now, it matters not where I shower, I still love them scalding HOT. But at the gym, they have a ginormous water heater. They have to with all those showers. Plus #2: I never have to worry about the hot water running out during my shower.

And finally, showering at the gym means I don't use water or gas to heat the water at my house. Plus #3: My bills decrease, ka-ching!

Note to self: Get in shape, girl!

Thus begins a series of posts that will revolve around the gym.

Scaredy cat

Just a note...

I have something to hang in my living room, and my hammer is downstairs, on the workbench, near the you-know-what traps.

I'm tempted to go to Lowe's and buy a new hammer just so I don't have to go down there.


The ghost of Nutty past?

It's December, and it snowed in Seattle.

If you grew up, or if you live in a climate where it snows regularly, that sentence is not a big deal. But in Seattle, when it snows, it's the only thing anyone can talk about for the week. I'm sure that tonight, if I were to watch the news they would already have a snappy logo and a catchy nickname for this storm, like "winter storm blitz 2007," complete with dramatic music too.

For those of you worried about Nutty... I think he may have survived the raccoon rumble. Either that or his ghost, or maybe one of his peanut babies grew-up and like Pinocchio dreamed one day of becoming A REAL LIVE SQUIRREL.

At any rate, here's evidence of Nutty, or his progeny, or his ghost, plotting his revenge on me in the backyard.

And somebody has been digging through my planters on my front porch. Peanut babies everywhere.

But as I've mentioned before, Nutty is my nemesis. I firmly believe--if he was not eaten alive by raccoons--that he will stop at nothing to get into my house. And something is in my house.

Last night I hung more of my shelves and when I returned my drill and tools to my workbench in the basement, I noticed pellets on the bench. I've been dreading the day when I'd find a creature down there and now I'm one step closer. Based upon the size of the droppings I'm not sure if they are from mice, rats, or maybe a vengeful squirrel?

This afternoon I was hanging out with a couple of friends and I told them about what I suspect has taken up residence in my basement--it was determined that I needed to get a mouse trap RIGHT AWAY, so we drove to Lowe's in the snow. If anyone ever wondered if I am a girlie-girl, talk about rats and mice in my house and the fact that I have to trap them and then dispose of them, and then you'll have your answer.

After I danced around the mouse trap aisle (although I'm convinced it's a rat), I got the most humane trap I could stomach... one with glue and a nice anesthetic--so that as the rodent struggles to free himself from the sticky puddle he steps in, he just has to count backwards from 10 and he'll fall into a deep sleep. I shudder just thinking about it all. But the trap I have is a mouse and rat trap, if it's Nutty in the basement, I'm not sure the glue or the anesthetic will be strong enough. And I already know the exterminator will not do anything for squirrel removal, so if it is Nutty and the glue doesn't work, I may have to adopt a raccoon for the basement.

I just set up the traps and now I don't think I'll ever go in my basement again. Ever. Except that's where my washer and dryer are.

Note to self: Reread Little House on the Prairie to get ideas about how to use washboards down in the creek effectively.

I have recruited help (read: my friend's husband, presently the most dependable man in my life), and hope he'll be available to come by anytime I need to go downstairs to see what's waiting for him, I mean me, in the trap. Stay tuned...


Party for one

This post could also be titled: Worms, it's what's for dinner.

Note to all of you: I'm feeling sorry for myself this week.

I recently bought some shelving for my dining room, and the other night I decided to hang them. To do this, it required I insert some drywall screws into the wall. The screws that came with the shelves were not the greatest quality and to get them started into the wall I drilled a starter hole. But when I was drilling, I only seemed to get through the drywall. Perplexed I wondered if I had hit a stud--I don't own a stud-finder, maybe why I'm still single, [bah-dum-bump].

It was around this time that the marinara jar dropped by to finally bring me back my house key and other assorted relationship remnants. As he was leaving, I mentioned that I was having issues hanging my shelf and he came back in to give it a try. He had the same issue, couldn't get farther than the drywall with the drill bit. He looked at the drill, gave the trigger a little pull, shook his head and then laughed at me. Then he gave me a look, a look I never wanted to get from him, he gave me a look of pity.

"You've got the drill set in the wrong direction."

I laughed, because of course that would be it. But after he left I just wanted to cry. I so wanted to be all, "see, I don't need anyone, especially you. Look what I can do myself. And I'm totally fine." And I was so not that way. And his look confirmed it.

I admit it. Later I did cry (and I like to blame PMS). I cried because I need to renovate my kitchen, and there's the renaissance girl in me that wants to do it all myself just to prove that I can, but I can't even drill a damn hole. I cried because what am I doing with my life? I cried because I'm lonely. I cried because did I even really want to hang those shelves in the first place. I cried because he looked at me like I was a helpless child. I cried because after I adjusted the drill to go the right way, the screw jacked up my wall. I cried because I have dear friends who are suffering worse pains than me and my silly little drill. I cried because I was tired. I cried just because.

I think I still have a little bit of a hangover from that party today, two days later.


Inconvenient and true

A few posts ago I admitted to seven little known facts about me. Well, I thought of another one today. Truth be told, I have no idea why I feel the need to share this. Maybe it's the Catholic in me hoping that if I give my confession this "sin" will be forgiven.

Note to self: Admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it...

I like showers. Actually, I love showers. And I hate baths. Baths bore me. But showers, showers are the cat's pajamas. I could honestly stand in the shower, doing nothing, for a very very long time. And sometimes, I do. Cringe. I just like to stand there--after I've done all the duties in the shower like hair washing and conditioning, shaving, body washing--just standing there. And when my body gets used to the temperature, I make it hotter, and just stand there some more. A little voice inside my head says, "water is a precious resource and YOU ARE WASTING IT!" But the thought of getting out of the shower makes me want to cry, so defiantly I keep standing in the shower; take that little voice! And I try to justify it by saying that I typically only shower every other day, but that's not always true.

Some days, it seems as if it will take nothing less than Al Gore and his green cronies standing in my bathroom lecturing me on my wastefulness in his nasally drawl to finally turn the water off. Ooh, now the thought of that really makes me want to cry.

So I'm stuck in my shower and need to figure out why I love it so much and how I can maybe get that gratification somewhere else (like by doing my dishes... yeah, right), so I'm not such an eco-selfish-water-waster (did you just hear Al Gore's voice calling me that because I did).

PS--When I say "very very long time," we're only talking 10 minutes or so, however that's a good 7 minutes of standing around under the water.

The Greatest Hits

For the record, here's what I crooned--more like belted out--to the pre-Thanksgiving revellers at the Sawmill Saloon:

1. Anyway you want it--Journey (classic, gotta get it started with some Journey... that's the way you need it...)
2. Livin' on a prayer--Bon Jovi (as my mom would say, "Bon Jovi is HHHHHHHHOT!)
3. Sweet Caroline--Neil Diamond (did you know that song is about Caroline Kennedy? I read that last week)
4. Total eclipse of the heart--Bonnie Tyler (my voice was nice and raspy for this one)
5. Oh no! I don't even remember. You had to request two songs at a time, and I can't recall what I sang here, I just remember wanting to sing my last song so this one was a filler. But I bet you I killed!
6. Like a prayer--Madonna (my swan song)

When I finally do meet the man of my dreams, I sure do hope he appreciates the finer things in life like karaoke, dive bars, and the 80s!



I'm in a small town. Last year was the first time (since I was a toddler) that I've spent my Thanksgiving here. More on burgeoning traditions later, right now I've got another thing on my mind.

It turns out that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the "biggest party day of the year" here. Seriously, ask anyone on the street and they will utter that phrase word for word. Gotta love Wisconsin.

Last year, along with my parents, brother and sister-in-law, and handful of aunts, uncles, and cousins (we have a HUGE family), we hit up the bars on Main Street--who knew that the first one we visited would be the only one. Why, you ask? One word: karaoke.

I'm what some may call a karaoke fiend. And it's not so much that I can sing all that well. Sure, I can carry a tune, but I can sing loudly and I have absolutely no qualms about making a complete fool of myself in front of the crowd.

In the course of a couple of hours last year, I developed a nice little lounge act, complete with 10 songs, plugs for local businesses, and crowd participation activities. I made a name for myself, certainly my proclamation of "My name is Little Ms. Notetaker and I flew all the way from Seattle to sing for you!" helped. I was caught up in the moment... put a mic in my hand and who knows what you're going to get.

So it's one year later and time for my repeat performance. A few hours to go and I'm stuck thinking about what I'll sing and if I can use some of the same schtick from last year.

Note to self: You can't over-engineer the karaoke experience. You know this. Just let it flow.

Gotta go find me some lemon drops to suck on. These pipes need to be in tip-top shape.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Now boarding

Flying stresses me out. Flying during the busiest week makes me bite taste buds off my tongue.

I left home today for a Thanksgiving trip to the Midwest. Instead of begging a friend for a ride, I decided to be the conscientious little urbanite that I am and I took the bus. Since I moved away from home (the hermetically sealed WASPy suburbs), I've learned that public transportation is actually not that bad. Depending upon the bus you ride you can meet some interesting characters, but work subsidises an annual pass, so I figure why not go for free.

Although I have discussed at length my knack for procrastinating and living a just-in-time lifestyle, when it comes to getting to the airport, that is something I WILL NOT tolerate. I am always there so ridiculously early, but it makes me feel better sitting and waiting at the gate for an hour than staring at my watch counting each and every second in the security line hoping that by the time I make it to the gate, they'll still be boarding.

I left my house for a bus with plenty of time to spare (over 2.5 hours until flight time). I hopped on my local bus into downtown to catch the express to the airport. When the express pulled up 10 minutes late and overflowing with standing room only of holiday travelers, I panicked. Note to self: As trusty as public transportation can be, maybe, for my sanity, it shouldn't be a variable in the equation on the busiest travel days of the year.

The driver wouldn't let another woman and me on because he was over capacity. We contemplated sharing a cab, when another bus bound for the airport pulled up. However, this bus was not the express so it would take up to an hour to get there as opposed to the 20 minutes of the express (or even taxi). But it was free. But I would likely only be at the airport with just about an hour to spare. But it was free. Hmmm. Decisions.

The woman and I decided to try our luck with the bus. Therein began my neurotic commute to the airport. I immediately became "worst-case scenario girl," and called my aunt and my mom to let them know I probably wasn't going to make it back for Thanksgiving. Yes, I did make that call. And yes, it was a smidgen dramatic. But my logic was that if the airport bus was that packed, then the security line would be worse than the line for the Matterhorn during Disney's peak summer season--only there'd be fewer people snapping pictures and likely no french women with unshaven armpits bumping their sweaty bodies up against mine. The likelihood of me getting through that line in time was slim to none, and if I missed my flight (the last one on that airline for the day), there would be no way I could get on a flight tomorrow, I'm sure all of the flights are overbooked. So have a happy Thanksgiving and eat my share of grandma's mashed potatoes, I'm likely just going to cry my way back home. I was in such a frenetic state (calm and composed on the outside... but freaking out inside my head), that by the time we pulled up at the airport I was sweating and my heart was racing.

I full on sprinted into and through the terminal and when I summited the escalators to ticketing and security, there was nobody in the airport. Okay, gross exaggeration, but there was hardly anyone there. Where did all those people on the bus go?

I walked around the corner to security, and to my surprise, there was not a single person in line. Ou sont les dames francais? On one of the busiest travel days of the year, I walked right up to a TSA rep, in fact I had my choice of three. And, get this, I was there in enough time, that I hopped on an earlier flight--because it had several empty seats. And I even got a window seat.

Needless to say, I'll be eating my own share of grandma's mashed potatoes.


I think I just got dumber...

Guess what? It's the night before a trip and I haven't packed yet. And instead of hopping right on that (or on the assorted other things on my "to-do-before-you-leave" list), I have cracked a beer and plopped in front of the TV. But lucky for you I have my laptop in hand and will give you the play-by-play.

I am an infrequent TV watcher. In fact, I really only watch a couple shows regularly. I'd estimate TV viewing is less than 2 hours total each week. On principle, I don't have cable. So when I do watch TV, it's with rabbit ears--yes, Virginia, they do still make those. In this day and age of HD, LCD, and scenes so crystal clear, so crystal clear that I can't even come up with a good simile, I watch fuzzy TV with little squiggly lines that travel around the screen.

Despite the snow, and the lines, and the fact that it jumps from color to grey scale, does not stop me from getting completely sucked in. And if I happen to be somewhere where there is normal TV, or even dare I say it HDTV, boy howdy am I a goner (I'd like to give a shout out to my friends who recently got Direct TV, and the fact that it seems that I'm coming over more often for "dinner" is not at all related to exponential television viewing opportunities that have opened up before me). I will seriously watch anything, mouth agape, brain operating on negative mach speed, completely immersed.

Tonight it was the tail end of Inside Edition (Heather Mills was having a public breakdown), Final Jeopardy (What is smoking gun?), and How I Met Your Mother (okay, that's a guilty pleasure).

And now I'm at the end of my TV viewing/drooling while my brain goes numb time. Time to pack.

Note to self: Seriously, turn the TV off... wipe up the drool and close your mouth while you're at it.


Crud. I have to succumb.

Note to self: When in Rome...

So I know that there's this game of blog tag out there, and I've been officially tagged (secretly, I wanted to be tagged a good year before I started blogging. Oh, I'm such a nerd).

My VBFF from the second grade, the Iris Girl, got me. So here are seven little known facts about me:

1. My favorite smell is an old school hardware store. An Ace or True Value, you know the ones in smaller towns that also sell cards and random items. There's something about the smell in there (I usually am completely in it around the screws and nails section) that I just love.

2. When I was about 10 years old, I went in tears to my aunt and mother letting them know I had said the "c" word. Both of them were amazed that I knew what that word was. Clearly, they were thinking something else, because as I sobbed to them that I had said c-r-a-p to my brother they just laughed (the quote that is often recited back to me is, "I try so hard to be good--deep hyperventilating breath--but he just makes it so hard, mama."). My mom knew then and there that, she was very lucky to have such an innocent child.

3. It is practically impossible for me to leave my house in the morning without my bed made. I usually make it the second I hop out of it... accent pillows and all.

4. Before moving to Seattle, I had only slept in a tent two times in my life... and both times were in the backyard, and neither time did I make it through the night. I've become a little bit tougher and outdoorsy in my more advanced age.

5. When I'm stressed out, I bite taste buds off my tongue. I know this is gross. And I'm not sure why I do this, but have been doing it since I can remember. And I don't know if anyone knows this about me.

6. When I was younger I had imaginary friends. They were brother and sister and their names were C00koo and Baba. They were stick figures and they were fantastic. I could draw you pictures of what they looked like. When I started going to school (it was preschool at a farm, so cool!), and started to make real friends, I realized I didn't need them anymore. As a four-year old one day, I walked to the front door, opened it and closed it. My mom asked what I was doing and I told her that Cookoo and Baba had to go home. She said something to the effect that they would be back tomorrow, and I told her no. They had to go home for good. Their mom needed them there. Isn't the mind of little kids fascinating?

7. I have a secret desire to be on stage. Deep down, my secret career fantasy would be to be famous on Saturday Night Live (I so want to be Tina Fey). And in the spirit of seizing the day and not delaying life... there are some fun future posts that point this way.

So now I'm supposed to tag other people to participate in this share-o-rama. But I don't know that I know that many bloggers. So, if you blog, and you are reading this, and you have not yet been tagged, consider it done. Tell us seven interesting facts about yourself.



Hello. I am the pot and I am black. Oh, and I live in a glass house which is in no way conducive to my nasty habit of juggling rocks.

Remember how I went on and on about not getting a second date (even though I didn't really care about getting a second date with any of those guys)? Or remember how I had a second date this past weekend. Yeah, I thought so. Here's the deal. Date number two happened on Sunday and I'm not that into him. The hypocrisy comes into play because I'm using a few things as "excuses" for why I'm not that into him. Because I know you're itching for one of my longish posts, we'll dissect a couple of them:

1. He lives in a studio apartment--Okay, and yes, my last place was a pseudo studio apartment. However, it was a great space (and I had definitely created that feeling of separate rooms, and I made my bed and washed my sheets, and I LOVED that place), and you didn't open the front door and fall into the unmade boy bed. Nor did you have to crawl over said unmade boy bed to get between the living room couch where you will eat your meals and the kitchen. I know I'm being a complete snot when I say this, but I just feel like if you were trying to impress a girl on a second date maybe you would have at least made the bed which is the central focal point of your entire apartment. Or at least maybe done something to make it not look, feel, smell like a college dorm room. It's not so much the fact that he is living in a studio apartment (again, I LOVED my place), but the fact that it really didn't seem like he had much pride in his place or even in trying to impress me. Yes, I am shallow.

2. He made me lunch--Oh, and you all are going to have a heyday with this one. Is it abundantly clear that I do know that I'm a hypocritical brat for thinking this? Lunch consisted of boiling some Trader Joe's tortellini and opening up a can of marinara sauce and dumping it on top. Now, this is actually a common meal for me to make--for myself. And my friends reminded me later on Sunday, that I had actually toyed with the idea of having a dinner party on Sunday (to which this guy would have been invited) where I had also toyed with the idea of serving tortellini in a creamy tomato sauce. Once you stop laughing, you'll see that the difference is in the creamy tomato sauce. I have to saute garlic, boil the tomato sauce, gently stir in the cream, and add red pepper flakes. While it's not much more than opening a jar and dumping the contents on the pasta... it's a little something special.

3. He's too into me--I cringe at the fact that I just typed that. Yes, I did complain that none of those other guys were into me. Yes, I know.

What is wrong with me?!

Oh wait, I know what it is. Note to self: I don't think I'm ready for this yet. My last relationship (with the-jar-who-must-not-be-named) ended because he didn't feel a spark. And now, I'm looking for a spark, but am questioning everything I feel. "Was that a spark or just desperation?" "Was that a spark or have the two drinks finally kicked in?" "Was that a spark or am I just hungry?" See, if I had a spark with this guy, his apartment could probably smell like anything, and he could have made me PB and J, and I know I would have overlooked it. But because it's not there, and because I want it to be somewhere so badly, I've become the overly critical hypocrite.

Despite the fact that I don't think I'm ready for this, I continue to be completely obsessive compulsive on the online dating thing (because what if someone will be online and have e-mailed me now, or maybe now, or maybe now, or maybe now...). Despite the fact that I'm not that into him, I returned his call. And now I may have plans on Saturday. Hang on, friends, I have to go run and call the kettle...


A hand for my finger

I have a few posts brewing in my mind, but I have a little problem. I think I broke my finger, either that or I sprained it badly. So it's taking me a little longer to type this week.

It was at a flag football game, and sadly not even during the game, but in warm-up. I'll spare you most of the details except to say that I was at a party on Saturday where little smokies were served (uh huh, little smokies), and my finger looked frighteningly like one. A swollen sausage in the middle of my hand.

Oh, and it's my middle finger. Yes, I broke the bird. And I keep raising my hand to make the throbbing stop. Because the finger is in a giant silver splint, it's a little bit on the conspicuous side. When I raise my hand, sometimes my other fingers get tired, so I end up accidentally flipping everyone off. Oops.

Note to self: Don't underestimate the power you hold in your middle finger.

Did you know how involved your middle finger is in everything you do? Things like eating with chopsticks, the contact insertion and removal routine, tying your shoes, washing your hair. But the good thing is, my other fingers are really stepping it up (I'd like to thank ring finger for typing in the letters e, d, and c, otherwise all my sntns woul look lik this...).

Here's hoping the swelling subsides soon. Because, yes, I do have a second date about which to tell you.


What a girl really wants...

Who knew that my ramblings on my chronic first dating syndrome would get me thinking so much?

Note to self: Realationships are about interdependence, not independence times two.

While I can appreciate the argument that guys want to feel that they are providing for, or able to take care of, their partner--yes, I understand that is a primordial need--I find it really hard to let go of my independent ways. And in an effort to try and shed my "I can do it all" attitude, I came up with a list, albeit short, of the things where I'd LOVE to have someone to take care of me. So here it is. In case you wanted to know how I could be taken care of:

  • Edging--Gardening I enjoy. Weeding, I can even handle. But edging, oh how I loathe it. And my yard looks fantastic when it is edged (even when I edge it so short, the grass is burned... oops). But just think of the amazing yard I could have with someone who knows what they are doing.
  • Grill master--Love me a good BBQ, but this girl is anything but competent when it comes to charcoal and lighter fluid. I really hate to play the "stereotypical girl card," but when it comes to grilling, it's the only card in my hand.
  • Removing the squirrel tail from my yard--if I ignore it, will it go away? Or if I asked the next guy in my life to get rid of it, would he make it go away? Or worse, would that make him go away?

So, as I think about who I am in a relationship, I am giving the comments you made thought. I know I need to look for ways we (and when I say "we," I mean me and hypothetical future guy) can take care of each other... beyond my yard, my grill, and my poor poor Nutty.


Gang violence

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I witnessed gang violence in my neighborhood. And no, I'm not talking about gang violence of the people variety. No. What I witnessed was mother nature's gangs, if you will.

A few weeks ago, I was working on my computer (read: coming up with a undoubtedly fabulous post) and I heard a commotion in my backyard. Granted, my neighborhood is not insulated from incident, and as a single woman living alone, my awareness of noises or things out of the ordinary is heightened.

So I'm sitting at my desk, frozen. It's hard to describe the noises I heard. It didn't sound like people, but there was definitely a scuffle and some squeals--deeper toned than typical animals. Okay, yes, I'm a tad bit scaredy cat. As I sat there, I thought about my next steps. Too scared to just go to the window, I crept, and when I say crept I really mean crawled, into my kitchen. As I slowly rose to peek out the window, I saw three hefty raccoons precariously balanced on my fence.

The squealing had stopped. But the three masked bandits were certainly interested in something in my yard. It wasn't until I went upstairs and looked out of a different window where I saw a fourth raccoon happily devouring something under my holly tree. I just assumed it was something he pulled out of the garbage. It wasn't until this weekend when I finally did the yard work I've been neglecting for a month that I found out just what it was.

Note to self: Raccoons are not the cute harmless animal you may have thought. Oh, and they aren't vegetarians.

Let's just say I may have found the remains of Nutty, or maybe one of Nutty's friends. He or she was sadly, no match for the gangs in my hood.


30 going on 13

In an effort to try and get some sleep tonight (and realizing that every one of my posts is an absolute tome), I'll keep this one brief.

Date number one went well tonight. So much so that there will be a date number two (and there was much rejoicing).

Oh, and we made out, like seventh-graders. But the advanced seventh-graders who know what they are doing, with less slobber and no braces. Ooh, maybe we should watch "High School Musical" for date number two.

Note to self: Just see where it goes, let things happen, and enjoy the moment... and let little junior high you have some fun.


Election results and the transition team

With enough of the precincts reporting to call this one, I actually sent an e-mail last night here's what it said (names were changed to protect the innocent, and well, keep this still somewhat anonymous, ha!)

"Hey there!

Thanks for the e-mail. Glad you liked the
profile. And I think we work together at Contoso? Honestly, I hemmed
and hawed about writing this e-mail. Ultimately I didn't want to make it
weird at work, so I thought I should send something tonight.

I'm not
especially big on dating people from work (as it has the potential for
disaster). I want to be up front and don't want to give you the wrong
impression. I'd be game for grabbing lunch at the cafeteria if you're interested
in being friends.

And, can I just say that you shouldn't be shy about
posting your picture on your profile. You're a good looking guy--don't sell
yourself short. The girls are really missing out. :)

Little Ms.

I went to bed with a clear conscience feeling I had done the right thing. And, yes, it was a little awkward today when we eventually ran into each other in the hall (I mean how could anyone NOT see that one coming). But to his credit he did come by my office and agree that it was weird. He was shocked that I recognized him, because apparently, he did not realize it was me (what-ev-er). And we're having lunch on Thursday... and since we're friends, I'm sure he won't mind that I'm amassing a few more friends to join us then either.

PS--I apologize for Blogger's craptacular text formatting. I tried to make this post consistent but it just kept messing everything up. Something is off in the code. The fact that I know that makes me feel really nerdy.

Help me rock the vote

Little Ms. Notetaker needs your vote. No, not in Tuesday's elections, but in my official "Oh lordy, what do I do now?" Decision '07.

This message is brought to you by Concerned Citizen's for Little Ms. Notetaker's Tomorrow.

Let me set the scene, I received an e-mail from someone on one of my online dating sites stating that he liked my profile and pictures, that I sound fun, that I should check out his profile, and to contact him if I'm interested. And here's a twist, he didn't have pictures posted on his profile, but included a link to his flickr album in the e-mail.

Last night, I read his profile and he seemed like a nice enough guy, however, red flag number one shot straight up the pole when I read, "I'm too shy to post my pictures on the site..." Is it wrong that whatever he said after didn't matter to me? I'm sorry but this is an overt online dating site, you can't be too shy to post your picture or you're never going to get anywhere in this raccoon eat squirrel world (oh, friends, that's another post soon to be written... just wait for it). And if you're too shy to post your pictures to any potential Mrs. Yous, then how are you ever going to be able to appreciate my costume clad karaoke extravaganzas?

But since I had the golden ticket to go see the pictures he does have out there on that world wide web, I went and discovered red flag number two--this guy works right next to me. And when I say right next to me, I mean we share a paper-thin wall at work (and his office is directly across from my manager). Immediately I went through every single solitary phone conversation I've ever had in that office wondering just what he's overheard.

Note to self: Start whispering on the phone.


The funny thing is, I know that this guy has had a crush on me since the day I first switched teams and started working in my new building. On one of my first days, I was coming up the stairs and he was coming down, he made a really cute, but painfully awkward attempt at making an introduction. It was very endearing, but I think I was carrying a bunch of stuff on top of which I was balancing a salad and was really only thinking about making it up the stairs with out losing the precariously balanced hard boiled egg on the edge of the plate. Then a few weeks ago, he made an attempt to be chivalrous and help me with a dolly I had full of boxes for a workshop. Again, very cute, but very awkward effort. I told him I could manage it all as the elevator door closed (it could have easily been a scene from a standard chick flick--I would of course be played by a clumsy Geena Davis).

And before any of you click on the comment button to tell me that I should appreciate this effort, or reward his chivalry, just let me say, that I know I could have done that and that if I were interested in him, I would have done that (pain me as it may to play helpless little girl... if it would give him the ego boost he needs, I just may have been able to feign it, apparently it could get me a second date). But I'm not interested in seeing him, and I'm also not interested in being mean, so I keep playing ignorant.

Game off. There is NO way he does not know that it is me. He's seen my pictures online and he walks by my office, oh I don't know, a zillion times every day. And now I know that he knows. And he probably knows that I know that he knows. Agh! What's a girl to do?!

The way I see it (thanks to some help from friends earlier this evening), I have a few options and I need you, the voting public, to let me know what you think. So what should I do?

Should I...

  1. Pretend it never happened. If I ignore it, maybe it will all just go away? (Oh how I wish this were the answer you all would pick).
  2. Have a very loud conversation on the phone either talking about a make believe new boyfriend I have, or about how I could never date anyone who didn't have their pictures on their profile, I mean the nerve (okay, strike this one from the record, I could never be that cruel).
  3. Respond to his e-mail and say, "Hey, I think we work together?" And then throw in a line about how it would be awkward dating someone from work, or that I have a new make believe boyfriend, or heaven forbid I be honest and just say that I'm not that interested but give him some pointers that he should post his picture and try to build up his confidence in some way.
  4. Say anything at work... in person... gulp... please, please, please don't vote for this option.

I'm tempted to say I have a no-dating-work-people policy, but the thing is, I don't (beyond what I ethically and morally believe in). And if I said that and he said, "Well, that's good because I just quit," then I end up screwed because I don't have a policy on no-dating-work-people-who-just-quit-being-work-people policy.

Additional note to self: Maybe I need to come up with some policies and maybe they should factor in employment grace periods... kind of like COBRA. Only different.

I know the answer is probably to send an e-mail, and be genuine, and let him down as easily as possible. And I know that I should do that tonight. And sadly, tomorrow, I'll have to play a new game, called keep-my-office-door-closed-and-take-new-routes-to-the-printer-cafeteria-and-everywhere-oh-and-never-go-to-my-manager's-office-again. I'm not looking forward to that.

The real note to self: How would you want to be treated in this situation? Do that.

I'm Little Ms. Notetaker, and I approve this message.


A single gal's Saturday night

I've been running around for the past month. I'm completely over-programmed, and while I appear to be an outgoing person, it really takes a lot of energy to get dialed into that and I'm just tired (three cheers for the fact that it's daylight savings tonight and we get an extra hour to sleep. I remember when daylight savings meant we got an extra hour to drink at the bar... oh, how quickly times change).

This weekend is the first weekend I've had any time at home for longer than I can remember. I intentionally did not make plans with anyone tonight just so I could hang out with myself.

Note to self: I didn't say hang out by myself. But with myself.

Ah, yes. Tonight I'm on a date with myself. And guess what that means? I don't have to split the bill and I can easily project a second date--yahoo!

Here's what a date with myself entails:
  • Candles--not to set the mood, but to kill the smell of the garbage I forgot to take out before I left town earlier this week. Oops.
  • A fancy tarte (who are they kidding, it's a pizza) from Trader Joe's--serves four people. Hmmm. It certainly served the one of us on this date just fine.
  • Moose Drool--nothing says this relationship is going somewhere like slobber from a woodsy beast. In actuality, it's one of my favorite dark beers. I'm limiting myself to two--I need to keep my wits about me, lest I get myself drunk and try to take advantage of myself.
  • A two-alarm fire--okay, it wasn't a real fire. But, two alarms were blaring. Anytime I cook anything in my monstrosity of a kitchen, it sets off my smoke detector in the extra room just outside the kitchen. It would set off the smoke detector in the kitchen, but I got tired of that one blaring every time I boiled water for pasta, so I took it off the wall and put it in my baking tools drawer. Safety first. Well, my pizza, er tarte, not only set off the alarm in the space, but also the one in the dining room. I spent the better part of five minutes frantically opening windows and doors, and whipping dishtowels around my head in an effort to diffuse the steam, or smoke, or hot air, or whatever was setting off the alarms. Needless to say, I was making quite the first impression on myself.
  • Porn--that got your attention, didn't it. Okay, it's my porn equivalent. Domino magazine. I poured over the newest issue to get creative decorating ideas for my place (oh, my eyes just rolled back into my head in overwhelming delight).

Who wouldn't want to date this? Maybe for my second date, I'll take myself to a kitchen supply store to begin pricing oven hoods and fans. Did I really just type that? Let me reiterate: oh how quickly times change.

Just who I am

Yesterday, I was sitting in a conference with one of the country's preeminent scholars on leadership--oh, talk about feeding my 0h-so-nerdy side--and he posited this thought: "What will be your legacy?"

This actually brought some things I've been thinking about for the past couple weeks (and a post that's been bouncing around my brain) to the surface. He concluded his presentation by saying the legacy we leave is the life we lead. Simple, yet strong.

Note to self: The legacy I leave will be the life I lead--so keep leading it!

Two weekends ago, I took an impromptu trip down to San Francisco. Over the summer, I mentored for Team in Training (a non-profit endurance training program that raises funds to cure Leukemia, Lymphoma and other blood-related cancers--on so many levels this is a fantastic organization).

Going into the weekend, I had an idea of what I would do (run, run, run). While I was not officially entered into the race, I was going to run with the people I had mentored and befriended, to give them support and encouragement. Having completed three marathons, I cannot put into words the elation you feel when you see someone you know, even if just for a minute, on the side of the road. No matter what anyone says, marathons are grueling; they are a true physical and mental test, but the feeling of accomplishment when you reach that finish line is (compared to anything in my life thus far) unparalleled.

I ran out with a few of my coach friends to a point on the course and we began "ferrying" people up a nice sized hill. We eventually made our way over to catch runners hitting mile 25 to take them that last little distance in (it's amazing just how LONG that last 1.2 miles of the race can seem).

Our first teammate to reach the 25 mile spot was hurting, but she was on a mission to qualify for Boston. When we found her she had just under 12 minutes to make it. Her feet were killing her and she just wanted to be done--if we would have let her slow down or stop, she would have, but she would have regretted missing her goal for years to come.

So my friend and I just started running and telling her stories to distract her. And when she got to the point where she didn't want to hear us talk anymore (which reminds me of a time in college when my friend told me the sound of my voice wanted to make her throw-up, granted we had just done her 21-run and she was nearly asleep with her cheek on the rim of a garbage can... I think the sound of anything would have tossed her cookies), we just ran. I knew the pace we needed to keep to get her qualified, so I just kept running at that speed. She started to pull back and I just turned my head and said, "Come on with me, we're going to do this right now!" She asked if there was still a chance to qualify and I told her as long as she stayed with us, she'd be there in time.

When the finish line was finally visible, I turned to her and saw the pain and the exhaustion written all over her face. I just said to her, "Look, that's the finish line, right there, you're going to do this!" The pain melted away, the exhaustion faded, her eyes softened and she realized, she had done it. She started to run a little faster. She crossed that finish line with 2 minutes to spare.

When all was said and done, I spent 3 hours running people between miles 25 and 26, and would say I helped at least 20 of my teammates reach their goal. Afterward, I was thanked by many--but really, I was the one that was thankful. Running hand in hand with some of them, seeing their relief when they reached that last big milestone, letting me be there by their side for those impactful moments, I am forever grateful for that experience. It was exactly how I pictured my weekend to be--only I didn't know I'd feel so fulfilled after it. People were so surprised that I was out there running and helping like that, but that's just who I am.

On my college athletics team, we had the dreaded "100s," a miserable team sprint test that kicked-off our preseason. As a team, we had to run the length of the football field multiple times, under a certain time limit, with minimal rest. It was definitely a physical test, but the team aspect came into play because if any person did not make any of the sprints in time, we all would have to go back the next day and do it all over again.

I trained my butt off for that test, and each year, I could have just all-out sprinted each leg in my sleep. But for me, that wasn't the point. It was a matter of getting the whole team across on the first try. So each leg I would set my pace so that I finished a few seconds ahead of the cutoff and would rally the rest of the team to stick with me to the finish. And every year, we would do it.

That's just who I am. And I like to think that's the core of the legacy I will leave.


Serial first dater

I've been called out. Oh, the blogger's shame.

So the other night (when I had JIT on the brain), I had gone on a date. One of my loyal readers--and honest friends--chastised me the next morning when my post made no mention of said date. Perhaps the fact that I did not come home and blog on that is indication of just how that date went? I think her exact words were, "Great, so you have clean underwear, now pack already."

I find myself in a bit of a pattern. In the past two to three months, I've been talking with several guys and have been on many dates. The only thing is, I've only gone on first dates. I am a serial first dater.

That's not to say I've been going on bad dates, because honestly they have all been good dates. They just haven't been great dates. The conversation has been good and we've usually shared some common interests. There are not too many lulls in the conversation--unlike some of my dating escapades of the past, I think I'm a better screener this time around and am finding people that have connection potential... but for some reason, a connection hasn't been made there.

It gets me wondering about two things: 1.) how am I being perceived? and 2.) are they waiting for some sort of sign from me?

The first dates I've been on are all inanely formulaic. Meet for drinks or coffee... I rattle off my story, he rattles off his, witty clever banter, blah, blah, blah, bill comes, we pay (usually split it... I always offer to pay or split), we leave, we hug, and here's the most important part, we always say, "that was fun. It was nice meeting you."

If they are waiting for a sign from me, I know that I'm not giving one. Partly because I haven't felt any initial chemistry that makes me want to devote more energy to this burgeoning relationship, and partly because I'm waiting for a sign from him. If he'd add on and say, "that was fun, let's do it again sometime," I'm sure we would. But seriously, every date is ending with the it-was-nice-meeting-you-and-I'm-not-leaving-anything-out-there-that-I-may-be-interested-in-you-and-that-we-should-meet-up-again. So we don't. In fact, I haven't even so much as had e-mail correspondence (let's not forget that each of these dates has had at least 2 or 3 e-mails prior to us meeting up) with anyone of these potential suitors.

It seems weird to me that out of all of these guys--we'll say it's 5 right now--not one has been even remotely interested in a second date. Okay, now when I reread that sentence I sound really egotistical. And a little bit I am. I think I'm a catch, and it's a hard pill for my ego to swallow to think that none of these guys think the same? Which leads me to think my first thought: how am I being perceived? What am I doing that is getting in my own way? Or maybe what am I not doing that I could or should be doing? True, I haven't really been interested in any of these guys--but come on, even if I'm not interested can't at least one of you be interested in me? Oh my poor poor ego.

But before I give in to the bitterness of singledom, there is a ray of hope. I have a date with a non-match.com person and I have a good feeling about it. And no matter how I've been perceived on my most recent dates, and whether or not he's waiting for a sign--he's going to get authentic me. I'm tired of the formulas and I'm bored of the first date routine. The real me is going to shine through--and if he perceives that as something he likes, great, if not, then onto the next one--and if I'm feeling something he'll be getting a sign.

Note to self: Be yourself and good things will follow.

Maybe even a second date?