Either he knows me well, or I'm an easy read

In preparation for my foray into the gaming world, I created a gamertag and avatar for myself so I can enjoy the "live" aspects of singing for points. New Friend was there as I was creating my virtual self, and this is what transpired:

LMNT: Time to pick out my outfit... oooh, tops! You know what would be really funny? If they had a sweater over a button down shirt. I love them and practically wear them every--

NF: Yes. Yes you do.

LMNT: [self-conscious chuckle as I scroll to a box on the screen that seems all too familiar] Well, what do you know, they do have a sweater over a button down. That's funny.

Oooh, accessories! Gloves? You know what would be really cool? If they had arm warmers. Oh my gosh, they do! I'm putting those on. I know you haven't seen me wear them, but for my Halloween costume I got a pair of arm warmers and I just love them--

NF: That does not even surprise me one bit.

LMNT: [chuckling, not knowing if that predictability is a good or bad thing] Oooh, bottoms! Hmmm, what should I wear? [Before I can scroll to anything, the cursor defaults to a pair of legs in a short denim skirt with a pair of black leggings underneath. It's something I've worn before around New Friend, and admittedly, I love them--]

NF: It's almost as if Xbox knew you were coming tonight.


Will probably have it directly inserted into my bloodstream by the end of the four day weekend

Interntets, I have found my gateway drug and it is Xbox.

I first started experimenting with Rock Band, but just as a casual weekend user. New Friend introduced me to it, and then it became a social thing. I'd play on-and-off again throughout the run of the musical; you know, to blow off steam with fellow cast mates.

Maybe it was Metallica, or the fact that I seem to have a lot more time on my hands these days, but my usage is about to increase drastically--I just got my own console.

So now it has the potential to become a daily habit, though I'm far from becoming a chronic gamer. I really only got it for a couple of reasons, yes, Rock Band being one of them and secondly a new game called Lips (essentially a karaoke contest--a game that had to have been created for me). Oh, and it can be used as a DVD player and I can stream Netflix through it, too.

But okay really, I got it to sing for points.



Note to self: Beware those hasty judgments you like to cast.

There have recently been a couple episodes in my life where what I imagined to be eternally distinct worlds have careened right for each other. These collisions have completely taken me off guard and have to be the universe forcing me to learn some important life lessons.

In both situations, I've been called to reconcile my perceptions, judgments, and feelings of the past with reality. And wow, was I wrong. LMNT stands corrected, and the Catholic guilt is in overdrive. I could go on and on for you, but I don't have the time for that--I have a whole lot of crow I need to go eat.


Pavement pounding

Next weekend, after Thanksgiving, I'm registered to run the Seattle Half Marathon.

Note to self: When you register for a physical endurance event, train for said physical endurance event.

After finishing my career as a college athlete, I came to the realization that I needed external stimuli to do any physical activity. Up to that point, I had been through eight really intense years of volleyball where I was constantly told what do do and where to be, and I had become pretty reliant on that. So when my days on a competitive team ended, and I no longer had a coach or a team to which I was accountable, I didn't do jack crap. And it felt good. I'd wake up in the morning thinking, "Oh, I should get up and work out." Then I would just chuckle to myself, think, "Ha. Why?" and roll over and fall back asleep.

It took me a couple years before I grew restless and started working out again. And when I finally did, it took me being accountable to someone else. So I started working out with friends, and that was great. And then I took up running and trained with Team in Training through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Yes, a team with teammates and a coach. I've subsequently trained with the team three times.

I also know myself well enough that I really need some sort of goal to actually put any energy into working out. So, when I registered for the Seattle Half Marathon, I thought that was goal enough.


The race is nine days away, and I've run four times in the past month. For better or worse, one of those runs was 10 miles, so at least I know that I'll be able to finish the race. And luckily for me, I don't really ever fall too far out of shape. So in that sense, all is well.

However, I also don't really ever fall out of my competitiveness. And while I need a goal toward which I can train, that goal is usually one of iterative improvement. Every race I've run has been faster than the one before--until next weekend. In fact, I already know that next weekend's race will be the slowest I've ever run. There's just no way that I can even try to run the pace I ran last year or that I've ever run.

I haven't quite come to terms with that, yet. I know that is what happens when you don't train for your event and now I'm trying to know what happens when you run a race just for running's sake.


Dance moves I didn't learn from Tiffany

Note to self: When heading to the head banger's ball, learn how to bang your head.

Growing up as an innocent little teeny-bopper, I was never quite able to pull off the metal role convincingly. However, there were multiple times I tried. And although some of those monster jams and ballads have been permanently ingrained in my head, so much so that I can whistle along with the Scorpions at Safeway, I still have difficulty pretending I'm a banger.

At junior high dances, it was a requisite that the DJ would play Metallica's "Enter Sandman," followed by Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It's just how it was done and you don't mess with a good thing at the junior high dance--or you may be faced with awkward tweener rage, and let's face it, even the most brave DJ doesn't want to deal with that.

So, if you were like me, loving all things that appeared on "Rick Dees and the Weekly Top 40"--especially slow songs by Bryan Adams or Boyz 2 Men--then you loved that little crazy streak you had when they'd suddenly move into the grunge and metal phase of the dance. It was time to HEAD BANG! Yes, head bang like the cool kids.

And, if you were like me, you would totally pull the scrunchy that was holding the side pony-tail on your head out of your hair, slide it on your wrist, and begin to thrash your whole upper torso up and down, violently whipping your hair back and forth. HEAD BANG!

And, if you were like me, you would think you looked really cool. And also, you would have a stiff neck two days later. Never the day after (why is that?), but two days after, you would have decreased range in motion of the neck and upper back.

And, if you are like me, and you have the opportunity to resurrect your dorky youth, and sing Metallica on Rock Band (which of course means you have to HEAD BANG! through all of the guitar solos), you know that the neck issue you faced 18 years ago is still an issue... two days later. But this time you know for a fact that you do look really cool.


Yes! And...

I'm halfway through two crazy weeks. I'm definitely not firing on all cylinders, but am making do with what I've got.

Last week I had two days of workshops, had a quick trip to LA for a conference at which I was presenting, had my brother and sister-in-law in town for the weekend, had the final show of Into the Woods, and had to strike the stage and had an insane cast party that had me heading to bed on the side of morning that I usually only see when I'm waking up.

Now I'm preparing for four days out of the office for workshops this week, with a glimmer of a normalcy sprinkled in there. I laugh as I type that though, what is normalcy?

At any rate, I'm drawing on the lessons I've learned from Improv these days and am "Yes! And-ing" the hell out of my life. I'm taking what I'm getting as a gift and trying to run it as far as I can--sometimes even farther.

Note to self: When you are frozen and have no idea what to do, pick something bold and commit yourself wholly to it.

In our closing performance I was doing one of my bits, one where I have to sing a small solo, only I completely locked up. My mind went blank when I got my cue (I almost started singing someone else's line from a previous part, that's the curse of having every other person's lines memorized), panic set in. Instinctively, I made a crazy face (that I think fit with the character and the frustration she was feeling in the moment, "why won't this damn shoe fit?"), and made some horrible frustrated, grunty noise that was actually somewhat in-time. I was thinking, "I have absolutely no clue what I'm supposed to be singing right now, but I know what comes next..." and then just jumped back into my song. The cast mates on stage with me were all dying trying to keep from cracking up at my response and when we got back stage we all broke out into hysterics.

I'm not sure if this is progress on my over-perfectionismness, or if it was just a function of me being so ridiculously worn down that I just didn't have the energy to "beat myself up" over it, but I like to think I've grown after going into the woods. There was a time, not too long ago, where this minor blip would have sent me over the edge, replaying the gaffe over and over and over in my head wondering how I could have ever done such a thing. But last night, I committed to the moment and went with it. Then I just laughed my tail off (almost on stage) and moved right along. I do keep replaying it over and over and over in my head, only this time I'm laughing more and more each time. I have to admit, it feels really good.


My dirty little secret

And it has absolutely nothing to do with sweaters.

My dirty little secret is something I love so much--again, not the sweaters. It's this blog.

Those of you reading it are probably thinking it's not so secret, I mean you know about it, right? And the truth is, I don't know how many people do know about it. Out of my close friends and my family, I know who reads it regularly (or semi-regularly), but I don't know who randomly stumbles upon it--and there's something simultaneously exciting and paralyzing about that.

I do my best to maintain relative anonymity speaking in generalities and code names both to protect friends and family, and to keep this a place where I can divulge information without it being too discoverable or identifiable to those random stumblers. That being said there are certain people that I assume have absolutely no idea about this blog and it makes me wonder, should they?

Primarily, it has me thinking about New Friend. Ah-ha! I can hear some of your wheels turning. New Friend? New Friend is still in the picture? We haven't heard about New Friend since we celebrated the blog's b-day. Well, yes, New Friend is still in the picture.

And the thing is I really like New Friend a lot, still. And I feel like there's going to come a time when I have to tell New Friend about my note taking. And that makes me nervous. And vulnerable. Partly because letting him know about my notes, is letting him know about all of my crazy (how about we say endearing idiosyncrasies?). And I know that is something that is really important and that he should know about and that I actually do want him to know about, but outside of the blogosphere I can control the amount of crazy I dole out in each sitting. Here, he has a veritable library of my neurosis at his disposal. We seriously could catalogue them with the Dewey decimal system. Granted, I think a lot of it is highly entertaining and is a genuine glimpse into my brain, but overdosing on that without the context of my whole being to balance it out, would it be too much?

Then there's the thought of what I have said about him and about us. I believe I live my life with integrity, and think that any mention of New Friend has only been what I've been feeling in my heart. Some things that he already knows, and other things that I would want to share with him in person before I give him his LMNT library card. And I wonder if the longer it takes, the harder it will be? But I won't know for awhile, I'm not quite ready yet. So the secret stays, mine and yours.


The uniform assigned to scary hoarding monsters

Here are the sweaters that started my downward spiral into complete and total crazy...

And the others.
If I ever am committed for my mild obsessive compulsive hoarding tendencies, I can only hope that they let me layer my cute little v-necks over the straight jacket--especially the chartreuse one.


Someone, quick, call Oprah!

Oh. My. Gosh. I might be a hoarder. Here's what the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, has to say about hoarding:

What is compulsive hoarding?
Compulsive hoarding has been defined as the acquisition of and failure to discard items that appear to be useless or of little value. It is manifested in excessive possessions in the home interfering with the normal use of living space and furniture, and is accompanied by significant interference or distress.

Okay, that's not me. In fact, I saw that driving around the city streets the other day. Station wagon filled to the brim (passenger seat, back seat, and even the way back) with junk mail and newspapers. I know that my office has been a disaster of late, but at least it has not made me a threat to myself or others. However, I'm not in the clear, yet. The site continues:

What kinds of things do people hoard?
Most often, people with compulsive hoarding hoard common possessions, such as paper (e.g., mail, newspapers), books [LMNT: books?! But I love books. I can't ever bear to get rid of my books. No self-respecting nerd/English major can. Who's with me?], clothing [LMNT: Ack! Does that mean sweaters? Or worse yet, does that mean the full wardrobe worth of clothes I've had upstairs as my "to be donated" pile for six months now. It just hasn't been donated yet... it's laziness not compulsive hoarding! I swear!], and containers [LMNT: Containers? That's absurd. Who would ever hoard containers? Total nut jobs, that's who...] (e.g., boxes, paper and plastic bags [LMNT: Noooooooooooo! No. No. No. No. No!] ). Some individuals hoard garbage or rotten food. More rarely, people hoard animals, such as cats, and human waste [LMNT: Okay, that's just gross].

Note to self: This weekend is committed to ridding yourself of all useless mail, clothing, and containers.

Hmm, I was cleaning out my office today and actually considered keeping a small little box that an individual tea bag came out of, because it was pretty and fancy. The thought of me being a scary hoarding monster made me jettison that piece of trash, albeit pretty, out of my hand and into the recycling bin. I'm thinking I need to keep an image of that hoarding monster burned into the front of my mind.


Sweater Weather

Since I raved about my Target sweater collection, I realized what my dear friend Angie commented... I may very well be a hoarder.

I pulled out the four sweaters from Target to photograph them for you, and realized that although those are the only four from Target, those are not the only four sweaters I have in that style (read: light weight cotton or merino wool with a crew or v-neck). I have at least four more (okay five... I have two in black). Which makes nine. Nine sweaters that are all similar.

And here is where I will begin my defense of the sweater. Five reasons why it makes perfect sense to have nine of (essentially) the same sweater:
1. All but the black ones are different colors.
2. They are part of my favorite outfit, my fool-proof-when-all-else-fails-turn-to-your-closet-and-throw-this-on outfit. My uniform if you will: layered over a button down blouse with jeans, khakis, or cords.
3. With nine of them, I can wear my favorite outfit every workday for two weeks without repeating sweaters.
4. In my mind they are a classic staple and will never ever go out of style--not that I have or do, but I could.
5. I'm the boss of me and I can buy as many sweaters in the same style as I want. And I can even buy more black ones if I want, too. So there.

But seriously, this thought of hoarding (or rather this hypochondriac's self-diagnosis of chronic hoarding) has me a little worried. Are there warning signs I'm missing? The bags? The straws that lived in my office for a year because I may need them someday. The coffee can filled with my life savings in cash buried in my backyard--put your shovel down, the only thing buried back there are fresh peanuts from Nutty's progeny. Although, with the economy the way it is, that depression-era "bank account" might not be such a bad idea.

No. Get a hold of yourself. You are not a hoarder.

I know a few personally. No. I don't keep things because I can't part with them, I keep them because I'm too lazy to do anything at all with them.


Probable Cause

Note to self: Replace the burned out headlight in your car. I-m-m-e-d-i-a-t-e-l-y.

Okay, I have to come clean. I've been driving around as a padiddle, or popeye, or whatever you may call a car with one headlight, for a while. Okay, for a few months. And here's the thing, I've had the replacement bulb sitting in my passenger seat for at least two and a half of those months. I know, I know.

I've been a sitting duck. Quack.

On my way to a cast party on Saturday night, I got pulled over. And I knew it was going to happen as soon as the cop changed lanes and got behind me. Only, I didn't know why he was pulling me over, I was only going two miles over the speed limit, had used my signal for everything, and wasn't on the phone or writing checques.

Not only did he pull me over, but he shined that really big spotlight on me. I freaked. And my first instinct was to take my seat belt off? What? Why would I do that? I don't know, but I did. And then I freaked out that he was going to walk up to my car and then slap me with a ticket for not clicking it. I had a fleeting thought of sneakily refastening the belt. But with that tractor beam illuminating my every tic, I kept my fingers crossed that he wouldn't notice.

He approached my window and asked me if I knew why he had pulled me over. Play it cool, I thought.

LMNT: Maybe I was speeding? Even though I knew that wasn't true.

Officer: Because you have a headlight out.

LMNT: Oh yeah, that little thing.

Officer: Oh, you knew about that.

LMNT: Um, yes. I actually have the replacement bulb here.

Officer: Let me see it.

LMNT: Ta-da.

Officer: And how long have you known the headlight has been out?

LMNT: I'd say, about a week. It's not a lie if I have my fingers crossed really tightly, right? They were crossed, remember?

Officer: And where are you coming from, ma'am?

I proceeded to tell him that I am in a musical and had just come from a performance. He then asked me what musical, so I asked quite excitedly, "Into the Woods, do you know it?" Well, he didn't but then he asked me where the performance was, and I told him in the cafeteria where I work, he half chuckled, but it opened a door. I got to joke about how where I work is sometimes like college and there's a club for everything, and here I am in a musical. I think he was using the headlight to see if there was anything else he could get me on, crazy maybe, I was serving him that on a platter. That and it's suburbia, he was bored. I mean for at least three months I've been passing the cops in my neighborhood without a second glance--burned out headlights are small potatoes on my block.

But there wasn't anything else, so he gave me a warning. And I gave him more information about the show and our troupe than he ever wanted to know. Everything short of an invite to this week's performances.


Boo Humbug

Halloween is pure insanity at work. Not because people are all costumed out, but because the entire company (and it's a REALLY big company) opens its doors up for the children of the world to come and trick-or-treat down the hallways.

Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not anti-kid. And some day I want some of my own; I do, I really do. But Halloween at work is painful. I used to think it was because it made traffic insanely horrible (essentially increasing the number of cars on campus and then on the roads and highway by a few thousand). But that's not the piece of straw that broke my back this year. Sure, the kids were cute, generally. And it breaks up the work day having them sprint down the hall from office to office (and it's even funnier when they trip over their costumes, and that doesn't make me anti-kid, that just makes me the person that thinks people tripping is funny--and Cheerleader, I know that is upsetting to you on many levels, but it's true). However not every office has candy. Busted.

Note to self: Stock up on candy now so you can fill a bowl for next year's craziness.

It was the stink eyes I was getting from parents; that's what made the day so painful. Even though I had my office door closed, which in my mind is equivalent to a house not having its porch light on, an obvious sign to not go a knocking, that didn't stop people from walking by, and looking into my office with crusty glances that spoke volumes. "You should be ashamed of yourself. No candy? Think of my poor child. And you call yourself a team player..."

At one point a girl about 10 or 11, plastered herself up against my office window. Just staring at me. I tried to give her the typical office brushoff: avoid eye contact at all cost and focus on your computer with laser precision. But she wouldn't budge. So I had to look at her and mouth, "Sorry, Phantom of the Opera (someone had clearly been to the theatre lately), I don't have any candy." I shrugged, gave her a forced frowny face and carried on with my work. Moments later when her mom walked by, I swear to you I heard an audible "tsk, tsk" through my closed door.

Oh, yeah? Well, lady, you'll love the fact that earlier in the day, I walked up and down the hall and "tested" the candy from most of the bowls. Yeah. That just happened. And in some eyes that means I was stealing candy from children, and may relegate me to the lowest position on the socially acceptable people totem pole (the position just below people that think people tripping is funny), but someone had to check and make sure those Kit-Kats didn't contain needles. I was doing your little one a favor. So please take your scornful glance down some other hallway, I have a VERY important Facebook emergency that I'm working on.