In case you were wondering

When you go to your spa/night club/Nordstrom's Brass Plum/sorority chapter meeting of a dentist office on a Friday, to get a crown (or as I joked to Mr. McMichael, a tooth tiara--seriously, with that many rhinestone-ioed hygienists clickity-clacking around the joint in their stilettos, this little diva's gettin' herself a tiara), everyone is sporting a jersey from the local NFL team. Because after all, you are in the office of the official dentist for the blankity blankhawks.


Little Ms. Notetaker's Holiday Gift Giving Guide

So that post title might cause a little bit of a stir. I'm, dare we say, a wee bit finicky, fickle, and freaking impossible to shop for. Case in point, the Karl Mecklenberg jersey birthday debacle. Believe me, I can appreciate just how difficult it is to shop for me, and I know it inspires a little bit of dread for the people who find me on their "To Shop For" list (hi, family! And welcome to the illustrious club, Mr. McMichael!).

Ugh. Gifts.

Here's why I'm so difficult, I don't ever feel like I need anything. And anything I do need I feel like I can buy. But in the spirit of maintaining a "wish list," I may put some of the things I need that I can buy for myself on my list. But then I end up taking a lot of flack for having a lame list (windshield wipers... you have windshield wipers on your list?!). As my crazy has proven, I don't want what I don't want, so it's a safer bet to get me what I need--no matter how lame. Or get me something that you know that I want, but that I maybe don't need and that I wouldn't buy for myself. Or make me something. Or better yet, make it an experience. Or don't get me anything, that's fine too.

Double standard alert: however, when I give gifts, I'm in it to win it. You're probably thinking, "competitive gift giving?" And I'm all, "yes." Well, it's not that I'm competitive against you and the gift you're giving me, I'm competitive against your list. I create incredible pressure to find THE perfect gift for you and everyone for whom I'm shopping. Yeah, I could get you what's on your list, or I can challenge myself to get you something so good that you didn't even know you wanted it, but if you had known you wanted it you would have put it at the top of your list, but too late, I already got it. Booyah! That just happened. I schooled your list.

I do need to warn you that competitive gift giving is exhausting. You're shopping for THE perfect gift (for multiple people) it takes exponentially more time to imagine what it could be and then, if you're really lucky, that gift actually exists and you find it, or if you can't find it you make it. And that is definitely pressure I don't need to put on myself, but I just can't bring myself to give someone a blah gift, just for the sake of giving a gift.

So here we are, seven shopping days until Christmas. I only have one more gift to go. For those of you keeping score at home, Little Ms. Notetaker a lot, your list zero. Bring. It. On.


Spare change

Part of my duties at work include facilitating workshops. I love this part of my job, well, actually love and hate this part of my job--I get myself anxious as all get out leading up to the workshop and I usually freak out about all of the details, the agenda, and being absolutely perfect. Usually.

There's one workshop in particular that I absolutely love to faciliate, but dread the lead up to it. The thing about this workshop is that it is very meticulous and methodical. This is of course something I love and appreciate, but when you are learning the material and delivering the content, it can be a painstaking preparation process. There are a lot of details and in my desire to have everything be just so, it causes me much stress to prepare.

I've gotten a little better about it as I've delivered it several times, but my understanding of what's needed in preparation came at the hands of a very important lesson.

Note to self: A strip club and its single dollar bills are not soon parted on Sunday evenings.

The workshop includes a business simulation in which actual money is involved. And as I was preparing for my first facilitation (thankfully with one of my most favorite and most sarcastic friends), I was responsible for the simulation materials--including getting the money. Only, I forgot about getting the money for our Monday presentation and realized it at 7:00 PM on Sunday night. Panic.

Problem solving skills kicked in. First, I called the local grocery store to see if they had cash on hand that I could collect. I believe them when they said they didn't have change all in singles for my $400, but a little bit of me wondered just what they thought when a young woman calls them with an urgent tone (sheer panic) in her voice saying that she needed to get a hold of $400 in ones by 8:00 AM the next morning.

With Plan A shot, I moved onto Plan B: calling local casinos. Turns out the casinos don't want to give up their ones (at least not 400 of them) on a Sunday night, because then they'll be out of them to start their business week on Monday morning.

Crud. It was time to call in the big guns. I resorted to my most desperate option: I called a strip club. Oh, yes I did, the most flashy one in down town, the Deja Vu. And when I did this, my first thought was, "Oh, this is going to make a great blog post!" And I actually gave a hint that this post was forthcoming well over a year ago, I just didn't tell you that you'd have to wait this long for it. And that first thought was followed very closely by my second thought, "Am I breaking any rules or agreements with work by calling the Vu and trying to exchange $400 with them." Turns out singles are precious to strip clubs on Sunday nights as well.

I'm delivering the workshop on Tuesday and on the top of tomorrow's "to do list" at work you'll see this item: GO TO THE BANK BEFORE IT CLOSES!!! And, Internets, just in case you were wondering, yes, it is underlined and in bold with superfluous exclamation points to emphasize the very important point. I will NOT be having deja-vu with the Deja Vu this time.


Open wide and buckle up

After over a year of procrastinating to find a new dentist, I finally found one.

Let me just start by saying that typically, I love going to the dentist, and that typically I go every six months. But if things become atypical, and say I get tired of going to my old dentist and having to pay a lot because she is not in my network, and say I have to find a new dentist, and say I get lazy about it, and say I don't find a dentist in time to make my next six month appointment, then seven months becomes, eight months, and eight months becomes well over a year since my last cleaning. Such is the way I run my life, everything is nice and orderly, until something becomes un-nice and disorderly, and then I let it all unravel because in my little brain it becomes easier to let chaos take over than to handle the one little thing and get back to nice and orderly. And this is why, Internets, my e-mail inbox is hovering around 1,000 messages.

But why am I talking about that, when I could be talking about my new dentist. My new dentist, who is the official dentist of the local NFL team (and just because I have the fear that the official dentist of the local NFL team may have some crazy search bot that goes out and combs through the Internets, including tiny insignificant little blogs, for the phrase "official dentist of the blankity blankhawks," I'm going to keep her title cryptic. Because THAT'S WHAT I DO! But seriously, she might have an evil search bot, she's pretty freaking high tech. I guess that's what happens, not when you're the official dentist of the local NFL team, but when your dentist office is located across the street from the galaxy's largest software company).

And now that I've yet again sufficiently proven that I am crazy with my self-inflicted overflowing inbox and fear of search bots, I have a little more crazy to share. But first a little more about the official dentist of the local NFL team. Mr. McMichael has been going to her for over 10 years (and boy howdy does the official dentist of the local NFL team sure luh-uh-uh-uve Mr. McMichael, but something tells me that she luh-uh-uh-uves all of her patients. I seriously had to out-gush her as we were talking about MY boyfriend. I'm not worried or anything, but it was everything I had not to crack up and say to her, um, isn't this the part where we talk about ME and what's going on in MY mouth?), so when I mentioned that I was looking for a dentist he highly recommended her. And I can't complain; it was a good experience. Very unlike any other dental experience I've ever had, it was essentially a mash-up of a spa/night club/Nordstrom's Brass Plum/sorority chapter meeting. All things that of course would make a local NFL team, get down on one knee and pop the question every dentist dreams about hearing ever since they were a precious little dentist, "will you be ours, officially?"

And let's stay there for a moment. When I first heard that she was the official dentist of the local NFL team I was actually listening to the broadcast of the local NFL team on the radio, and I thought, "Hey, that's my new dentist." And then I thought, "Better an NFL team than an NHL team." But then I thought more about it and I thought that having the official dentist of the local NHL team would probably be kind of good, I mean they have a lot of experience with very drastic dental needs. But, we don't have a local NHL team, so I guess I'll have to settle for what can be done to improve the pearly grins of the blankity blankhawks.

So, I'm sitting in the chair, with a high tech camera in my mouth taking several pictures of my teeth, rocking out to Beyonce, when the hygienist comments on my low root to gum ratio. My what to what whatio? And then she's all surprised that no body's ever mentioned it before, and I wanted to say, no body's had a camera in my mouth at that angle before, but I didn't because I had a camera in my mouth. She let me know that because of this low ratio, Doctor (that's what they all call her, no surname, it's just Doctor--maybe they don't use her surname because it's emblazoned on all of their chests with rhinestones? Not joking) will want to see me for cleanings every four months.

Hold up. Every four months?

Now let's go back to the beginning. The part where I said I love going to the dentist. I do. There's something so reassuring about getting everything scraped out and deeply cleaned, but every four months? This is where I channeled my 90-year-old grandpa. My grandpa who believes that the entire medical field is out to gauge the heck out of all of us. My grandpa, who a few Christmases ago, had a tooth die, fall out of his mouth, and then SUPER GLUED IT BACK INTO PLACE all between opening presents and the big family dinner. And the thing is, my grandpa is a self-made multi-millionaire, so it's not that he can't afford it. Internets, Krazy Glue is NOT his only option here, it's that he distrusts the medical profession. He chooses the glue.

But I have a low root to gum ratio, and while cleanings every four months will not improve my ratio (because I asked), it will allow the official dentist of the local NFL team to keep a closer eye on that ratio. And were I my grandpa, I would think that is also what allows them to get paid more. But that certainly couldn't be the motivation. Certainly not when you know that your patient works for said software company with incredible insurance coverage. Only, when I asked Mr. McMichael how often he goes in, he said every four months, but they told him he needed to do that because his gums were recessed and the regular cleaning might help counteract that.

All I know is that I have some work that I need to get done that insurance will mostly cover. And it took me a year to settle on a new dentist. So I'll stick with the official dentist of the local NFL team, but I will not be huffing any of her nitrous oxide lest I get coerced to get myself a nice new set of veneers.

Note to self: Just to be safe, start stocking up on Krazy Glue.


Recurring dreams and rubber sheets

Why am I about to tell you this, Internets? I think it may be because my posting has been light and my Catholic guilt is getting the best of me. My penance? To give you a post that might be a little embarrassing. Okay, or a lot embarrassing.

Note to self: Do not chug a full water bottle before you go to bed.

The very sad truth about this note is it's a lesson I seem bound to keep learning and relearning.

Last weekend I did something I never thought I would do. I learned to knit. And, in typical LMNT fashion, I became absolutely obsessed with knitting that day. My friend AP came over at 8:00 AM. Yes, 8:00 AM. And after we inhaled my signature dark chocolate chip, walnut, banana pancakes, she taught me to knit. Three hours and one bloody mary each later, I was on my way to creating the world's widest scarf. Six hours after that, I called her in a panic because I had a fear I didn't have enough yarn, or a giraffe around whose neck I could wrap this scarf--seriously it was almost a foot wide. So with her coaching, I unraveled the whole thing and started over. Nine hours after that (for those of you less-than-advanced time-telling folks out there, that means it was 2:00 AM. Yes, 2:00 AM.), I stopped knitting.

I knitted the entire time, except for an hour when I scrounged together a meager meal and updated Facebook with a status about my inability to STOP KNITTING. With singular focus on not dropping stitches, I pretty much didn't do anything I should have that day--especially the really important stuff, like drink any water. So what did I do? That's right, I chugged a full water bottle and then went directly to bed.

About six years ago, when I was training for my first marathon, I did a similar thing. I was all anxious for a long run the next morning, I think it may have been the first time I was running 16 miles, and was especially worried that I had not drunk enough water that day. So what did I do? That's right, I chugged a full water bottle and then went directly to bed.

And just like that night oh so long ago, with a bladder so full it's a wonder my abdomen didn't explode, I had a dream that I was actually in the bathroom. So there I am, sleeping, in my not-the-bathroom bed, thinking I'm in the bathroom and thinking it's time to relieve my bursting bladder.

As a kid, I wasn't one to wet the bed, so I'm not sure what that's like, but I can tell you that when you're a grown up, and you have a dream that makes you think you're sitting on a toilet, and you start to make use of that toilet, you don't stay asleep for very long. In fact, I think I even tried to wake myself up from my dream thinking, "LMNT, NO! You're in bed sleeping, you're not in your bathroom. DO NOT DO WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO--oh geez, too late!"

And let me set the record straight--I did NOT wet the bed. I was able to wake up and stop myself before anything got anywhere near the bed. But as a girl in her 30s that is just way too close a call.

Yep, I was right. That's a lot embarrassing.

Stocking up on hard candy

This week I became Little Aunt Notetaker. My little brother and my sister-in-law--who interestingly enough also happens to be a somewhat distant cousin which is something they randomly found out after they had already been married... ooh, I just let our crazy family skeleton out of the closet, sorry guys--welcomed their first child into the world. And because that last revelation may have just caused a panicked frenzy, not to worry, Internets, the cousinship we share is by marriage, so my little nephew Notetaker did not come out with two heads or sixteen toes. Phew!
More than a few people have asked me how I'm handling the fact that my little brother has a baby, and how I don't. Well, I have houseplants. And really, this is not surprising to me as little brother has been married since he was like 14. Okay not really 14, he may have married a cousin, but we didn't grow up in the back woods and he waited until he graduated from college. So I think that makes it seven seven years which is essentially a lifetime, so it was pretty much a given that he'd have a kid at some point, and that point would likely be way before I had one.
I'm so thrilled for them and I can't wait to meet the little guy. And admittedly, when I got the call from little brother from the hospital just after they welcomed their son into the world, I cried a little. They were partly tears of happiness, but mostly tears because I'm so far away and I miss little brother, and I'm likely going to miss a lot of this little guy's life--holiday concerts, sporting events, and the time he takes up the electric guitar in elementary school and has a "recital" sitting in with his teacher's band in a dive bar.
But I'm going to do my best to be his long-distance Little Aunt Notetaker. I'll start by sending the kajillion onesies I've been collecting since I heard the news there was a bun in the oven. Next up, Christmas.


Down for the count

Internets. I have returned from Ireland, my favorite place, and have brought back plenty of woolen products, half of the Guinness storehouse, Paddy's Whiskey (that one's for you ChrisPiss), and best of all, the flu.

Note to self: You are not superhuman. Get the flu shot.

I've never gotten the flu shot because I never believed I needed it. Funny how you realize you need it after you get the flu. I very rarely get sick, but when I do get sick it knocks me out. I'm on day four of the flu and am finally able to sit-up, eat, and use my brain. Hooray for small victories.

Five years ago, I went for a lunchtime run with a friend and halfway through I had to stop because I had suddenly developed the chills and started coughing up phlegm, out of nowhere. Turns out it was a spontaneous case of pneumonia. That was the most miserable I have ever been in my entire life--this flu episode is a close second. I was out of work for ten days. TEN DAYS! At the time I was living in a 425 square foot studio apartment. TEN DAYS. I was a little stir crazy to say the least. I remember near the end of my sickness, I wanted to walk to Blockbuster to return some movies I rented and it took me 45 minutes to walk five blocks. Me. A healthy 27-year-old marathon runner was taking a breather after each block. I think I was even shuffling my feet as I labored down the street.

As a kid I got sick with the same intensity. Usually I'd end up with strep throat, but when most kids have strep throat, they get a sore throat. Not me. I'd end up violently throwing up for 16-18 hours. Anything that went in, would come right back out. I remember waking up one time after I had sleep walked into the bathroom and missed the toilet, sorry mom. And to this day, the thought of Pepto Bismol induces my gag reflex. Unable to stomach even water, my mom would corner me with a spoonful of the pink ooze hoping it would settle my stomach and work some magic. I would clench my teeth so tightly knowing that the only magic it was going to work was setting a record for time from stomach back to toilet--it was usually instantaneous.

My super intense sicknesses were a point of pride for me as a kid. A declaration of sorts: People, I have been to the edge and back averaging 1.4 trips to the bathroom per hour along the way.

So here I am, sick as a dog. But at least I'm on the mend. And with my mom and her Pepto Bismol thousands of miles away, Mr. McMichael has been an excellent stand-in. He's put up with my moaning and whining and my crazy anal-retention about cleaning bathtubs which apparently is heightened when my temperature soars. In thinking about what I could do to express my thanks and gratitude for the TLC, it turns out I've already given him a gift. Ah, yes, the flu. The gift that keeps on giving.


About last night

Note to self: If you make the ending of your post mushy enough, the Internets will totally not even care that you used some form of the word "poop" five times in that same post.

Aw, Internets, I can't believe how forgiving you are. I mean when I was typing that last post, I had no idea where it was going to go and when I spent the good first half only talking about my digestive issues I really did think, "oh dear lord, they aren't gonna like this." But when I gushed about Mr. McMichael, you turned into a pile of lovestruck goo and forgot all about my previous references--there's a joke in there somewhere about piles of goo, but this is NOT going to be another post about poop! However, I can make it a post extolling the greatness that is Mr. McMichael. Sort of.

Ah, Mr. McMichael: an excellent cartographer, puddle jumper, corn maze solver, and boy howdy can the man scream. He sure is great, except when he leaves me behind to fend for myself against the psycho butcher with a bloody meat cleaver.

I love fall. Love the crisp weather, love the vibrant Pacific Northwest colors, love the cozy sweaters, the warm drinks, and comfort food galore. And I love that it's haunted house season, and I really love that Mr. McMichael is totally game for a good, cheesy, manufactured scare.

Last night he and I trekked outside the city to a local corn farm turned massive corn maze and haunted field.

Note to self: Even though you know the man with the chainsaw is going to chase you out of your haunted experience, and even though you're expecting it and you know it's not scary, it will still always scare the pants right off of you and cause you to trample a group of high school kids to get the hell out of that demon's way.

I will pay good money for people to scare the crap out of me. And sure, I know all the gimmicks, but there's something about getting myself lost in that environment that causes my adrenaline to go into hyper-flight, thus making all the pedestrian things that a logical person would expect (oh, of course someone is hiding behind that wall and is going to jump out at me) to cause me to let go of the hand I'm holding and run straight into a wall, oh and pee a little.

It's not Mr. McMichael's fault that I narrowly escaped peril at the hands of a demented butcher, he was just trying to run us to safety, but somehow I became disconnected from him (which is hard to imagine as we had been clinging to each other the entire time through that fright fest). Somehow he made it through a wall of curtains, and I was just a few inches too far to the right. So he's gone, and I've literally hit the wall and am screaughing (simultaneously screaming and laughing) as a man--who I know is a hired actor making minimum wage for his effort, but is nonetheless FREAKING ME OUT--is bearing down on me. All I could think was, "you can't touch me, you can't touch me, you can't touch me," and may have even blurted that out at him in the event he forgot the number one rule in his employee handbook. I manage to stumble through the curtains and proceed to scale Mr. McMichael's back as we high-tail it out of there. Through my laughter, I manage to let him, and everyone else around us, know that indeed I did just pee a little bit, and oh yeah, that butcher dude is STILL FOLLOWING US!

We got to the final segment and the man with the chainsaw, who we knew was there, popped out and chased us. And yes, we both screamed like little girls, and I think Mr. McMichael even pranced a little bit as we ran as fast as we could. Chainsaw dude was relentless, he kept following us and was chasing us toward the parking lot until I pulled Mr. McMichael to a grinding halt and buried my head in his back, because if I can't see the chainsaw dude, then he certainly can't see me, right? You'll all be happy to know that my tactic worked and we were spared chainsaw massacre, or maybe he had to go back for the little 12-year-old girls (actual little girls that have every right to scream in the pitch and tone Mr. M and I eked out) we passed in one of the early scenes of monster gore and zombie carnage.


In precisely that order

I pooped, then I qualified for the Boston Marathon, then my life got crazy.

Oh, Internets, it's been a week, and I've not meant to be away this long. I have a lot of posts brewing in my head, but ever since I got back from the race last weekend, I've been hard at work. I think I may be allergic to it as evidenced by the oh-so-nice pubescent breakout I have invading my highly sensitive T-zone.

But let's talk about the fun stuff.

Okay, first things first: the pooping. Let's say all my obsessing over if I'd be able to have a pre-race victory paid off. And when I say obsessing, I think that may be an understatement of the fact. Poor Mr. McMichael. All day Saturday was spent with me either a) talking about how I needed to poop first thing in the morning, b) eating anything I could that would increase my odds of pooping first thing in the morning, or c) me talking about the things I could eat that would lead to said pooping. So it could have been the giant Chipotle burrito bowl,the extra helpings of vegetables and salad, the beer (yes, I did allow myself one beer just because I was so paranoid of constipation), or the basket of tater tots (oops), or it could of been the visualizations, or the dozens of blog readers who were sending me their best thoughts for a smooth morning, but something got me started off on the right foot.

Then it was off to the races. I could not have asked for a better day or better race. It was all-in-all fantastic. From the friends I was surprised to see out on the course--some running and some cheering on the sidelines--to the fact that I have never felt so good during and after a marathon ever. My second favorite part of the race came at mile 17.5, after the longest hill climb to the highest point on the course--the St. John's Bridge. Running across the apex of the bridge overlooking the Columbia River, with downtown Portland a few miles in the distance, "Don't Stop Believin" came on the ipod.

I felt a surge of energy that was indescribable. First of all, that song is one of my favorites. Love me some Journey--I even have an unbreakable jukebox rule about Journey. If I'm putting money into a jukebox to play music, Journey MUST be played. On top of that, the song became even more important to me this summer--it was the song AP and I belted out with the band at her wedding when I assumed the role of obnoxious wedding singer, and was also the theme to 1980s Prom. So, I'm running across the bridge thinking of all of the memories and friends I have wrapped up in that song, and I realized then and there, I was going to qualify--something I had been fighting really hard to believe all summer.

Definitely an awesome moment.

But my favorite part of the race was Mr. McMichael. He was the one-man Little Ms. Notetaker chase team. We had determined the best places for him to meet me out on the course to give me gus and any other little pick-me-ups I needed to get through that beast. When I neared the mile markers where I knew he'd be, I would perk up and start scanning the crowd for that comforting face that I know and love--and the whole world would melt away when I laid my eyes on him.

During my training, I was talking with the Commish and Monster about how I was excited that Mr. McMichael was going to be going to the race with me. One of my tests for guys I've dated in the past has been envisioning myself in this exact scenario, running a grueling race, trying to qualify for Boston, and if I could picture them there with me at the finish line, then I knew they were a good match. Mr. McMichael is the only person that has ever fit into those pictures in my mind.

And as that imaginary scenario played itself out in real life, the face I scanned the crowd for after crossing the finish line was his and as soon as I saw it, I experienced a tremendous emotional release. With a great sob, I was in his arms--crying because of what I had just put my body through, because I had finally accomplished the goal I set out to reach 2.5 years ago, and because he was there and it felt even better than how I had been picturing it all that time.

Mr. McMichael, thank you. You are awesome.


Call for Notes

Dear Internets,

In three short weeks I will be on my way to the Emerald Isle for a much needed vacation--oh, and to run another marathon. Yes, yes, I know. I'm crazy.

Well, while I'm away consuming mass quantities of Guinness, I don't believe you should have to be without your Notes to Self (and I know at least one of you is thinking that sometimes I'm not even away vacationing and you have to go without your Notes, but I'm trying to think proactively here, a more conscientious LMNT). I was also having an exchange with a friend about a story she has to share that is hilarious and certainly ranks as a very important Note to Self, and it got me thinking. Whilst I'm away, maybe the mice can play.

So here it is, my call for notes!

Have you been taking your own Notes to Self? Have you ever wanted to share that note with one or two or a kajillion readers (really, I have no idea how many people read this)? Have you ever wanted to have your own blog, but just don't think you have the time to post consistently (oh, wait, that's me)? Well, if you've answered yes to any of those questions, then have I got a deal for you.

Calling all lurkers and regular commenters alike, here is the opportunity of a lifetime: a guest blog spot on my little bloggy blog blog. I know, I know, but please, try to contain yourself. If indeed you are interested in your own post, shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

Here's the deal, my editorial disclaimer if you will:
  1. I reserve the right to deny posting for any reason whatsoever. Whatsoever are those reasons? I've got 'em and if you want to push that envelope, I'll definitely let you know when you've crossed that line.
  2. I will edit out people's full names--part of the joy of Notes to Self is the anonymity... the people herein could be anyone you know, average things happening to average people.
  3. I also may do minimal editing for formatting, so the post is compatible with the blogger software.
  4. You can make your post as long or as short as you like, though if you do have a short post, beware the wrath of FCA. She don't take too kindly to short posts.
  5. All potential posts need to be sent to me by October 19. I will then format them and provide a small intro, and schedule it to be posted whilst I'm binging on all things Irish (I will let you know when you can expect your post to go live, so you can tell everyone you know to come and check out your brilliance).
  6. Anything else I think of, I'll tell guest bloggers directly.

So, that's that. What fun.

Your friend,
Little Ms. Notetaker


Perhaps my second greatest fear

My greatest fear? Definitely live fish. But, my second greatest fear? It's something that's been haunting me all week. Wait, check that, all summer.

I can tell when things are weighing heavy on my mind because I start to have absurdly stressful dreams. My generic stress dream is that it's present day, but I somehow still have some eligibility left on my college volleyball scholarship and I need to play in a volleyball match. In today's volleyball match. Today's volleyball match that is starting in ten minutes. Today's volleyball match that is starting in ten minutes and for which I haven't warmed up. Heck, I don't even have shoes or a uniform. And I forgot the team ribbons for my hair. OH NO! NOT THE RIBBONS! And then my coach yells at me in that voice that will forever echo in my head "Little Ms. Notetaker!" Only she doesn't say that because, guess what? That's not my real name. But she yells my name with a severe disappointment that resonates with the undertones of "how could you, the team captain, show up so late for the match and forget to practice, for, oh you know, TEN YEARS?!"

I usually wake up sweating and panicked. And then rejoice at the fact that I don't have to worry about those damn ribbons ever again.

Well, this week, I had a new stress dream. This Sunday is the Portland Marathon. The marathon where I'm hoping to finally qualify for the Boston Marathon. And let's just say, I've been thinking about this for a long time. On Tuesday night I dreamed that I showed up two hours late for the race. But the officials told me it was okay, I could still run the course. So I took off running and forgot to start my watch so I had no idea if I was sticking to my qualifying pace, and then halfway through the course they diverted me to a different route where I had to run on the sidewalk and I kept getting stopped at traffic lights. And I kept pleading, but I have to run fast and I can't keep stopping. And the officials just replied, well, guess you gotta run faster.

It took me nearly half the day to fully shake that dream and realize, that didn't happen. I get a do over. Hallelujah!

But that right there? That's not even my second greatest fear. That's just to show you how crazy I am and how much little things can eat away at my mind, like my second greatest fear is doing right now.

My second greatest fear (turn away right now if you are feint of heart, or don't like to talk about things of a biological nature), is pooping in a bathroom that is not my own. And in terms of marathons, the fear that paralyzes me all training season is, "what if I can't poop prerace?"

Those of you that are runners totally get this (well, you get the need to poop prerace, you may not get my unnatural fear of all other bathrooms. And now that I mention it, it's not really a fear at all, but my body's absolute inability to perform it's normal duty--oh there's an obvious pun ripe for the taking there. I need home court advantage. They say everybody poops, well I don't, at least not all that much, and certainly not under pressure). Running tends to jostle your innards around, often gets things moving, and if you haven't moved them out before you start, it can spell trouble. Every race I run, I worry about this prerace ritual more than anything else. More than the distance, more than the weather, more than if I can actually run that long, more than A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Every week as I train, I use different techniques to make sure I have victory before I leave my house. Here are a couple of my tricks:
  1. The night before a big run I drink either two beers, or a glass or two of wine. This always guarantees success in the morning, although it can also lead to dehydration. I've never tried this tactic the night before a race, but it may be one I need to employ.
  2. Visualize success. As the inspirational quote on my JV basketball sweatshirt read: "The body achieves what the mind believes." So I wake up 15 to 30 minutes early and lay in bed visualizing my guts doing what they need to do to achieve the results I so badly want.
  3. When all else fails, pop an Imodium right before the race and plug your body up for a few days. Not recommended for overall body health, but will work in a pinch (insert another obvious pun here).

Worst-case scenario, LMNT gets to the start line of the race nursing a hangover, mentally exhausted and constipated. It also bears noting that against my better judgment, I am contemplating chugging a giant glass of milk as my "pseudo lactose intolerance" will create an immediate reaction that will likely produce the results I desire. But I fear the long-term side effects may be as dire as all those that are listed on drug commercials (yes, leaky discharge, I'm talking about you). Oh, I'm sorry if that offended anyone, but they do say that on TV.

So here I sit, 60 hours before race day and instead of thinking about being number one, I am singularly focused on doing number two (quit your groaning, you totally had to see that one coming).


Wiener dogging

Or dachshunding. Bet you didn't know that either of those were verbs, did you?

I got to thinking about my good friend Hot Sauce this morning as I was getting ready for work. I wore boots today and the pair of socks I pulled out of my drawer was one she gave me a few years ago before she moved to Michigan and they were covered in wiener dogs (the socks, not my friend or Michigan).

Hot Sauce and I used to be the two single girls that worked in our division at the University, and because of that, there was a certain standard we had to live up to every weekend. More often than not, our weekends consisted of haunting an Irish pub in downtown Seattle and seeing what adventures would magically appear. There was the one time that we walked into a pajama party full of Irish and English soccer players, or the time we thought we had made a new friend with a guy only to find out he wanted to be more than friends, with both of us, at the same time. Wow, I guess whenever I think I'm at a loss for stories, I have some real "gems" I can fall back on. But one of my favorite memories of Hot Sauce is from a different night entirely.

She and I left the bar, and being the smart urban--and poorly University-employed--girls that we were, decided to forgo the cost of a cab and take the bus back to my apartment. As we stood on the bustling downtown street waiting for the number 15, carloads of guys kept driving by us honking and catcalling. At first it was flattering, but by the time the bus got there it grown quite tiresome.

After an uneventful ride, we reached our stop and had a few blocks to walk to my place. Stopped by a red light, we chatted about the night as we waited to cross the street. There was an old Cadillac in the intersection with a Rock-a-billy couple waiting to turn left. They got the arrow before we were able to cross and as they came driving by, they started to honk at us. Incredulous, both Hot Sauce and I start yapping about how people should give it a rest, we were tired of being honked at and ogled, when we realize the honking was in tune to "Shave and a Haircut." And at precisely the perfect moment, the moment when the driver should have finished his honk with two beeps, the woman in the passenger seat pulls a wiener dog out from nowhere, holds him to the window, and right on cue (and in tune) he barks out, "Two Bits."

It was so unexpected, perfect, surreal, and hilarious, that Hot Sauce and I literally fell down on the curb in laughter. The driver, the passenger, and even that wiener dog, had the biggest grins on their faces as they passed us, it was truly one of the most fantastic things ever.

We determined right then and there that we had been wiener dogged, and since that day I have been legitimately wiener dogged several more times. Granted none of those times did the dog bark on cue the response to a musical couplet, that is perhaps the penultimate wiener dogging. No, Hot Sauce and I determined that anytime you are given reason to pause and give thought to a wiener dog, you have in fact been wiener dogged. Now that I've pointed this fact out to you, you're going to be surprised how common wiener doggings are.

If you ever have the good fortune to experience an exceptional wiener dogging, cherish it. Those memories are priceless, or, well, at least worth two bits.


The perfectly good reason why we were all going to second base in public

To celebrate my birthday, I had a small number of phenomenal women over to my place for a potluck brunch for the bold and the beautiful. It was absolutely fabulous--a smattering of friends from various activities and points in my life, all coming together in a giant melting pot of magnificence. I knew I had the recipe just right when a small group of them who had just been introduced got into a very serious and detailed conversation in my kitchen about bras whilst I flipped pancakes. Ah, girlfriends. I must admit, even though I'm very liberal about collecting friends on Facebook, I'm extremely choosy about the women that I'd genuinely consider my tribe, and damn if I haven't chosen well.

After we'd sufficiently gorged ourselves, a smaller group of us brunchers headed to a local sports bar to catch some of the day's football games. Ah, girlfriends. We strolled in, skirts and all, and claimed a table giving us access to the wall o' big screen TVs. There we sat, chatting, cheering, cocktailing, and eventually having another conversation about bras. And, if the men around us weren't completely entranced by one of the 37 games flickering away, then I'm sure they were a little caught off guard when each of us at different points grabbed our own boobs and started talking about cup sizes. We were in our own little world, resurfacing every now and then to cheer and yell at the TVs. All I can say to explain it all is: ah, girlfriends.

Thank goodness for them.



I often use company-sponsored transportation to get to and from work. It's good for the environment and good for my stress levels because I don't have to sit in the freeway turned parking lot otherwise known as the floating bridges.

I pick up my ride about a mile from home, and while I could probably walk the distance, most days I'm running late enough that I usually drive and park in the neighborhood near the stop, as was the case earlier this week. When I got to my car, there was a small sticky note folded into the door that read: Please call me about your car. "Jeff", and included his number.

I haven't called yet, but I'm curious about the intent of the note, but what I suspect is that "Jeff" repairs cars and saw mine as a prime target.

Ah, the Jetta.

He's been a great little car. And has been relatively perfect until I moved into the jhetto. While parked out in front of my house, he's been sides-swiped twice, one that left a couple of small dents over the wheel well, and the other that clipped and smashed my driver's side view mirror. I've had that mirror replaced. But just a couple of weeks ago, the passenger side view mirror was cracked, I'm not sure how. My best detectiving skills still haven't figured that one out. There's also a nice crack in the lower part of the windshield that has spread almost all the way across. Perhaps the cherry on the top is actually not a cherry, but remnants of a few over-ripe plums that the feral children across the street threw at my car when they were out just being kids. Oh, feral children, they do the darnedest things.

It's not like I don't have a great job, or that I can't pay for the repairs and a car wash, I just haven't made the time to do anything about them all.

Recently there's been a car parking in front of my house. This one's definitely seen better days, it's obviously been in a few accidents, this I know from a few massive dents, and the fact that the front bumper is very poorly reattached to the car with bungee cords. This car is an eyesore, I wish it wouldn't park there... and as I think those very thoughts I wonder if maybe "Jeff" doesn't repair cars, but he's just a concerned homeowner who doesn't want such a dirty, abused, beater parked in front of his house. Oh my gosh. I drive that car.

Note to self: Wash car, immediately.


Thirty 2 good 2 be true

Internets, I am here to report that I have one hour of my birthday left, and I have yet to receive a bacon bed. But this is a good thing because I didn't really want a bacon bed.

Here is what I did get:
  • Beatles Rockband--I did want this and asked for it specifically, big w00t to Mr. McMichael
  • New pillows--yay! I really needed this and mentioned that I needed them and now I don't have to go out and get them myself (if you weren't able to tell, love me the practical gift, so these are perfect and make me very happy). Mr. McMichael shoots, he scores.
  • Flowers--a couple of beautiful bouquets, thanks Mom and Coach A.
  • 6,452,918 birthday wishes on Facebook--okay, I exaggerate.
  • A dozen mini donuts--dear Lord, I did not ask for these, but seemed to have no problem whatsoever putting away six of them. Yes, six.
  • Multiple chocolate cupcakes

And I'm getting myself a few things too:

  • New perfume
  • Cashmere cardigan from J. Crew
  • Courage

Courage? That's actually my favorite of all the gifts. I'm giving myself the courage and permission to being genuinely open to loving someone else. Openly admitting that to myself and to that person is huge for me, let's just say that being vulnerable is not something at which I excel. And in unwrapping this gift, I've realized that being open to loving someone else is not a one-sided thing, it actually means I need to be open to the possibility of someone loving me back. This is a great thing, but it is new territory--it's a whole new reality for me. And I'm terrified and ecstatic and cynical and gushy all at the same time.

More thoughts on this later, right now, my perfect pillows are calling my name, so I am off to sleep on my not bacon bed.


The trademarked crazy upon which you've come to depend

Note to self: Do not ask for a Karl Mecklenberg jersey for your birthday.

I'm sitting at a Mariner's game with the Commish a few months ago, and in the course of the conversation I blurt out, "Ooooh, you know what I really want for my birthday? I want a Karl Mecklenberg jersey." At the time it made complete sense. We were talking about some sort of football or other sports-related topic, and my stream of consciousness brain went on a little thought pattern voyage that went something like this:
  • September is coming soon.
  • Football season starts in September.
  • I love September mostly because my birthday's in September.
  • I really can't wait for football season. Oh how I love football Sunday.
  • But my true, true love? The Denver Broncos (at which point I could feel the orange and blue blood pumping through my veins).
  • La, la, la... I was born in 1977.
  • I really miss the Broncos' uniforms of my childhood.
  • It would be really cool to have a vintage Broncos jersey, but as much as I love Elway, that's too cliche.
  • Karl Mecklenberg used to wear #77; I wonder what Karl's up to these days?
  • Ooooh, kettle korn.

And it is at that point that I blurted out my birthday wish of wanting a Mecklenberg jersey. See how I did that? Yes, it was a random, and specific request, and if you were the Commish and weren't in my brain at the time, it probably seemed to come out of left field, and may appear to some as a, dare we say it, request from a crazy person. But, Internets, you see my train of thought, so it makes sense and is not the least bit crazy, right? Okay, well the Commish knows me pretty well, so this should not have been unexpected (and I think I may have even explained to him in great detail my thought process on this one, because that's what crazy people like me do). Plus, the random request was not a real request for a present. Well, okay it was, but it wasn't.

Although the words that fell out of my mouth were, "Karl Mecklenberg jersey," the vision in my brain was a women's cut jersey in the old orange mesh-like material (not the new fancy wicking moisture away kind). And do you know what, Internets? That jersey can be found in one place only: my brain. Okay maybe two places, because my brother was in Korea and could get anything he wanted made there, so I bet I could walk into some shop and describe what was in my head and in an hour or less come back and have it in my hands (thanks to several overworked abused children), but I don't want any kids harmed in the making of my happy birthday. So when I said I wanted the jersey, I meant I wanted the imaginary jersey in my brain. Kind of like you want a bed made out of bacon, or you want to sit in a hot tub of hot fudge, or whatever crazy thing you want, Internets. But here's the problem, unlike a bacon bed, you can get a Mecklenberg jersey, it's just a Mecklenberg jersey that I don't want.

Time passes, and I'm at work one day and I'm struck with the realization that the Commish may actually think that I want a Mecklenberg jersey, which I do, but not the one he's thinking of, the one I'm thinking of, that, you know, only exists in my head. And also that he may actually get me that jersey, the one he's thinking of, but not the one I want. Let me also point out that my request at the baseball game was not my attempt at dropping an obvious hint of what I expect the Commish and Monster to get me for my birthday, because I don't expect or want anything (well, except I do want the imaginary Mecklenberg jersey, but I certainly don't expect them to try and get that, what I really want is just for it to exist out there. If I knew that was a reality, then I may really want it, but first things first), it was genuinely me thinking out loud in my random way and hoping with nerdy childlike innocence that my dream Mecklenberg jersey actually exists and if it did, wow, it would be what I would want for my birthday. It was kind of like wishing for world peace, it sure would be nice, but ha ha ha, who's really going to make that happen?

So there I am, as I so often am, caught between a rock and a hard place. What if the Commish and Monster actually do get me that jersey, the one that they are thinking of, but not the one I'm thinking of that doesn't exist? Because I don't want the jersey they are thinking of, I want the one that I'm thinking of, and I would absolutely hate for them to go to the trouble and the expense for something that I don't want--I don't want a man's ginormous jersey. But then I think, how daft are you to think they are actually going to get you a jersey in the first place? So do you let your friends go down a path buying you a gift you do not want, or do you tell your friends not to get you a gift that they weren't planning on getting you anyway? Either way I come out a total arse. Can't win 'em all, I guess. So, I casually text the Commish something to the effect of please don't buy me a Mecklenberg jersey for my birthday. I try to explain that it's a silly request, but it's hard to sufficiently explain, "I don't want the jersey that you can buy, but I do want the jersey that only exists in my head" in 160 characters or less.

More time passes and the three of us are having brunch yesterday. We get into a conversation all about the jersey that I don't want, but that I really do want, and every sentence begins with, "but you know what I really want?" The Commish just keeps laughing more and more, and with every sentence tells me I'm that much more crazy. And I can't really deny the fact that to some it may appear crazy, but I like to think of it as creative, imaginative, inspired. And then he says, "does Mr. McMichael know that you're this crazy?" And I'm all, "of course he does--YOU CAN'T HIDE THIS. But I'm not crazy, this is just how I normally am." And as his claims on my craziness escalated, all I could think was, but you keep coming back for more! I mean, come on. This is why you love me, people. Okay, so I may think my little German sedan can hop railroad tracks, and so I steal the pop cans of famous people. Does that make me crazy? I can't not do those things, and if I stopped, then you'd be forced to read posts about google spellchecking, and nobody wants that.

So my birthday is tomorrow, and I'm not expecting anything, especially not the jersey that only exists in my brain, but how cool would it be if I did get that? And, Commish, that is not me acting crazy saying that I want that, but that I would be so floored if what I don't think exists anywhere--my "world peace," if you will--was actually all wrapped up with a pretty little bow on it. But you know what I'll probably end up with? A bacon bed. And if you're thinking of getting me a bacon bed, please stop, because I really do not want a bacon bed.


Holding me accountable

Duly noted, FCA, duly noted.

In case you missed that, FCA, my most loyal and dare we say demanding reader, apparently saw through my last "post" for what it really was, a thinly veiled impostor post pretending to be a real post.

Okay, okay, fine. Let's call it like it is, that last post, while very important and valuable information, was crap. And in honor of that, I was writing a doozy of a post that was all about crap. Literally. Well, literally it was about my need to find secret bathrooms for, well, crapping whenever I'm away from home. Yeah, about halfway into writing it I realized that post was just really crap, too.

Then I stressed myself out, because the well was dry and I just didn't have anything to post. I knew that would disappoint FCA more than a crap posting. With all that pressure weighing heavy on my soul, I went to bed. And I'm not even kidding that I dreamed up a post.

There I was, walking out in the middle of a field when all of the sudden cars started driving by, and then the wind picked up, and then a big construction truck drove up carrying dozens of traffic cones in the bed, and a strong gust came along and threw the cones hundreds of feet into the air--it really was an impressive sight. And then the cones began to fall back down to earth. So, I opened up the newspaper I was suddenly carrying and covered my head with it (because yeah, that will deflect a pylon), and then I thought, "Well, this is something you don't see every day, but at least I have something to blog about."

I know, I know, it's still crap, but it is true.



Note to self: According to the Blogger spellcheck feature, "heckuva" is incorrect, but "helluva?" That's correct.

Just thought you ought to know.


26.2 in 3:40:59

In three weeks I'll be running the Portland Marathon. And then three weeks after that, I'll be running the Dublin Marathon. If that means nothing to you, let's just say that's a heckuva lot of running.

My freshman year in high school I played volleyball and basketball, and while I had played basketball competitively starting at the age of 10, and although I was a starter on the JV team, I decided to specialize and play volleyball year-round. Mostly this was because I loved volleyball and I saw a great chance to get a scholarship to play in college, and a little bit because there was too much running in basketball. Do you hear that? Too. Much. Running.

I guess I like running now. Sort of. I guess. Really, I don't know how much of it is that I like running--I like a challenge.

I ran my first marathon in 2004, and since then I've run two more. It's not easy, and it's not necessarily all that much fun, in fact, it's often downright torture. And as I head into races 4 and 5 next month, I've reached my favorite part of training--the part where we don't run as much. We had our longest run of the training period on Saturday, and we taper off until race day.

I'm hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon at Portland, and truth be told I've been trying to qualify at every race after that first one. I've even tried in Portland before. And every time I've tried to qualify, I've not been successful. As I headed into training for these upcoming races, I took the same approach I've taken before. One of the coaches for our team suggested an alternate option. And while I was quite reticent to adopt that mentality (I mean, how I could I run slower than the pace I need to run during the race?) I realized that I was poo-pooing advice from someone who consistently qualifies for Boston and also, holding onto the approach which had never yielded me the result I was chasing.

Note to self: Trust the process.

I have to admit heading into the race I feel more confident and prepared than ever. And it could be because I know the course, or because the third time's a charm. Or maybe it could be that I didn't know best and that trusting the process and the coach's advice is something I should have done a long time ago. And when I think that, I really wish I would have done this years ago. Think of all the running I wouldn't have had to do.


Stay tuned

When meeting your boyfriend's 16 year-old son for the first time, what's the appropriate greeting? Do you shake hands? Hug? Give the perfunctory adolescent upward head jerk followed by a little "hey, 'sup?" Oh dear, I just don't know.

At least I can narrow it down. There will be no hug; seeing as I'm the world's worst hugger and there's a very short list of people in my life that I actually will make a genuine attempt at hugging, I just threw that one in for a laugh. Ha. Ha. But I could replace it with a high five; I'm a really good high-fiver.

What to do, what to do?


Out for a Sunday drive

If it's true what they say, that patience is a virtue, then, Internets, I am a virtueless woman.

I come by it honestly; my dad is renowned among dozens (especially his sisters) for his severe lack of patience. Case in point, Little 15-year-old Ms. Notetaker is learning to drive and she's learning on manual transmission vehicles. Boy howdy did I struggle to find that sweet spot between idling in gear and stalling. My father, God bless and love him, really tried his hardest to let me get the feeling right. Well, it took me a long time to get that feeling and one time I was driving the family out to dinner or something like that, and I sat through a series of lights at a stoplight because I couldn't stop stalling. So there I am sobbing because I'm not perfect and I can't do this and I can't handle the "advice" I'm being given from my dad over the honking of the cars behind me, and there's my dad in the passenger seat, clenching his teeth with a death grip on my leg to hold it in place trying to prevent me from releasing the clutch too fast and stalling out again. He was, in fact doing everything he could short of yanking me out of the driver's seat and doing it himself (which, I know I asked him to do multiple times between sobs throughout this entire ordeal).

That "just-let-me-do-it" impatience is something I have certainly inherited and it played itself out in my very own car this morning.

While visiting my oh-so-wonderful hair stylist this morning, the heavens opened up and poured buckets and buckets of rain down on the city. I had to park in the back lot of the salon, which backs up onto a gravel road and railroad tracks, a somewhat industrial part of the neighborhood. I brave the sheets of rain, hop in my car and begin to drive down the one-wayish gravel road. I'm following an older couple and attempting to avoid the large pot-holes turned wading pools throughout the road. We get near the end of the road where we are almost on pavement and the car in front of me stops. Turns out the last ten yards of the road are under 2 feet of water from this surprise shower. Grandpa flips his car in reverse, and I start to get really annoyed, mostly because I'm not sure what he's doing and also because I'm not going reverse all the way back down this road. Although that may have been the smartest thing to do at the time, I didn't like that idea and I wasn't going to do what this old man had decided was prudent for me to do, so Little Ms. Just-Let-Me-Do-It took the wheel.

It seemed to me the most logical thing to do, would be to just cross the tracks, as not five feet on the other side of them was a puddle-free paved way to freedom. So in a move that certainly surprised the car in front of me--maybe because I don't drive an SUV, but a little VW Jetta--I attempt to hop the tracks. This all starts out great, I get over the first track no problem as I had found a place where the gravel raised up just enough that it wasn't such a big ledge to climb, and with minimal scrapeage to the undercarriage of my car, my driver side wheels had cleared the second track. It was here, however, that my ingenious plan went awry. I had not maintained enough speed and had also moved forward just enough to where my other two wheels couldn't get up and over the other track. I made several attempts, but the more I kept trying the worse I was making it.

All the while, the car in front of me stayed put. Sitting there with his reverse lights still on, not moving. As if he and his companion were just watching me and my little show. And this aggravated me even more. All I could think was, "listen, buddy, I'm out of your way now, so just reverse and get out of here." It took him awhile to do that. He just stayed sitting there. At least three times he rolled his window up and down, I think to make an effort to talk to me. But stubborn pride kept me from rolling mine down to engage him. I mean, if it weren't for the way his driving was annoying me, I wouldn't be stranded in the middle of train tracks in the first place. So no, I'm not going to talk to you. He finally decides to save himself and backs out of there.

And so there I am. All attempts of getting unstuck are futile, so I call Mr. McMichael.

Mr. McMichael: Hello!

LMNT: Hola.

MM: What's going on?

LMNT: Um, it turns out I made an extremely bad decision.

At this point, if Mr. McMichael is anything like me, he starts playing out worst-case scenarios in his brain.

LMNT: I'm stuck. In my car. In the middle of a railroad track.

And it is at this point that I think, oh dear God, do trains actually use this track? And, isn't there some public service announcement about not doing exactly what I just did?

I do my best to describe for him the situation, and the possible ways I see of getting out of it, most of which involve the phrase, "if I can just build up enough speed and momentum...". He very valiantly says that he will drive out with rope to try and save me, and I tell him I'm going to try a couple of other options before that will be necessary, and that I'll call him back if none of them work. I am, by the way, very doubtful that any of them will work.

So there I sit, in the middle of a railroad track hoping that a train is not heading for me, when a Jeep drives beside me on the gravel road and turns right in front of me and crosses the track without any difficulty whatsoever. Oh, yeah. Well eff you, Jeep, for rubbing it in. What I wouldn't give for your clearance and suspension.

Deflated I start to back up. Remember when I was defiant against the old man who wanted me to back all the way up down the gravel road? Yes? Well my current plan was to back up all the way down the distance of that gravel road, only with two of my wheels running down the middle of a train track. In the process of backing up a couple of yards, I realized I actually could probably get enough speed and momentum to coax my car up and over the tracks where the Jeep had crossed. It was worth a shot. So I got the little Jetta moving (at least 5 miles an hour), and it somehow worked. I was free.

And in thinking about how the heck I close this post, I've realized that I've stumbled upon my own twisted version of the age-old melodrama: poor helpless damsel is stuck on the railroad tracks and the virtuous hero in the white hat could come and save her, but she'll have to wait, and really, who has the time for that, so she'll just do it herself (and keep her fingers crossed that she didn't jack up her car too much). Yep, patience is definitely no virtue of mine.


I reed gud.

I haven't forgotten. I've been reading. Granted I haven't been providing my book reports like I said I would, and I don't know if I'm going to hit my 10 book goal in the next three weeks, but I have read five books already this summer. This is huge considering I don't think before "Little Ms. Notetaker's Extreme Book-it Reading Challenge for Grown-Ups" I had completed a single book in the previous year.

And in lieu of the book reports I promised, I'll give you the cliff notes, or really a sentence, about each book I've read thus far:

1. Water, Stone, Heart--Will North
This book made me want to quit everything I'm doing and move to a small town in England (I'd actually prefer Ireland, as you all know), and make walls and stuff.

2. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven--Fannie Flagg
I love Fannie Flagg, mainly because I love southern literature, mainly because my favorite professor in college specialized in Literature of the American South. I recommend this one, especially if you've read some of Flagg's more recent works as it builds off of them in a very genuine, touching, and humorous way.

3. The Secret Life of Bees--Sue Monk Kidd
Another piece of Southern lit. Very poignant, very descriptive, very good.

4. The Color of Water--James McBride

A good non-fiction memoir of a black son and his white mother. Very cool approach to the memoir and a biography.

5. The Time Traveler's Wife--Audrey Niffenegger
This one came highly recommended from Coach A, and I agree; it was a great story of true, unconditional love, and you have to be kind of smart to keep up with the twists and turns (either that or avoid reading it when you're half asleep in bed).

Because there are a few weeks left until the official start of fall, I'm hoping to get one or two more in, and I'm going to call that good.

And hey, Internets, how's your own extreme book-it challenge going?


Oh, hi.

So, I woke up this morning and it's the last day of August. What the what? I blinked and July and August were gone.

And you woke up this morning and it's the last day of August; yet another day and no post from Little Ms. Notetaker. What the what? Is she actually posting?

All summer has been building to this past weekend. I'm training for the Dublin marathon with Team in Training. And sure, the running has kept me busy, but not enough to keep me away from the Internets. No, what kept me away, was the fact that I'm fundraising for the Team and I didn't want to rely on direct appeals to my friends and family, so what do you do? Yeah, you throw an 80s Prom.

Oh. My. Gracious. Planning a prom is a lot of work. A LOT. And when you're the world's biggest control freak it makes for even more work. But despite my short-comings as a delegator, I had a great committee and cast of characters to make it fantastic.

There's so much I could say about it, and in fact I have a few half-written posts filled with all the drama one would expect from planning a prom. But now that the best night of our lives has passed, and I've put my inner-Promzilla to rest, I think the only thing that needs to be shared is that it was ridiculously fun, my hair was incredibly big, we made some money for a good cause, and now it's done.

Oh, and this:


My virtual magic elixir

I got in to work this morning insanely early. That's something I love to do. I love getting to the office before anyone else is there; I think it's because it's so quiet and I can calmly start my day. When I get there and walk into the din of productivity in the hallways I feel rushed and frantic, like I'm late and I've missed my chance to get a jump start on the day, may as well give up now and resign myself to a day of surfin' the web. Just kidding, Internets (especially work colleagues), I don't do that. I swear. Only if I'm helping you buy 80s prom dresses.

At any rate, I've been riding the work-sponsored transportation in and this morning as we pulled into campus I noticed something funny with my vision. It was a strange blinking and river rippling sensation that seemed prominent in the outer periphery of my right eye, but when I focused on it, I realized it was also happening in the inner corner of my left eye.

At the time, I assumed it was just something tweaky probably because I had been reading (hello! I'm on book 5 of LMNT's Extreme Book-it Reading Challenge for Grown-ups... more on that in an upcoming post) while the vehicle was in motion. I decided to ignore it as I walked to my office. But when I finally got settled in and booted up my computer, the psychedelic strobe light river ripples appeared to be getting worse. I tried not to panic. I closed my eyes to see if that made a difference. Yep, even in the dark my eyeballs were tripping out.

So I did the most rational things anyone would do, I consulted the Internets. Turns out if you type in "psychedelic strobe light river ripples and eye" into the symptoms in WebMD, you don't really get anywhere. But, if you search by body part and then filter by symptoms, yeah, you are probably knocking on death's door.

Note to self: No matter how dire the health care industry gets, always know that WebMD is there for you, just like your good old trusted family physician.

I meandered through the symptom list until I found things that seemed remotely like I was experiencing. "Flickering light in vision" is a symptom of an ocular migraine, or plain old migraine. Nope, had those before and I knew that's not what it was. "Blinking eyes," epilepsy or Tourette syndrome. WHAT THE WHAT?! It was at this moment worst-case scenario LMNT surfaced, you know, the worrywort, and thought, "Oh, no. I may have Tourette's. I'm going to have to leave work today to get that checked out. But shoot, I didn't drive, and I can't catch the bus until 4:00. Plus I have so much work to do. Guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get officially diagnosed with that big scary disease." And then I swore and had the desire to touch an oven burner. Not completely satisfied, or sufficiently worried about the depressing future I would most certainly be facing, I decided to click on one more symptom. I really didn't want to be epileptic or have Tourette's. Heed this warning, Internets, be ye very careful when you click on "Shadow over part of vision," because the screen goes dark and a warning box pops up and tells you if you are experiencing shadows over part of your vision you should seek emergency medical attention... RIGHT NOW. YOU IDIOT. YOU ARE HAVING A STROKE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIAGNOSING YOURSELF ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB? GET TO A HOSPITAL.

And oddly enough, the moment I read those words, the acid trip my eyeballs were having ceased. Thanks, WebMD. Best part? No co-pay.


Pass the Heinz

It's time for ketchup. Or catching up.

Sweet potato pie, where has the time gone? I have certainly let the cobwebs grow thick and heavy here. And as I am wont to do, I'd like to apologize and make the promise that you'll start hearing from me regularly. And as much as I'm going to try and make good on that promise, I'm not committing to anything these days. I'd say that life is hectic, only I don't think it's that crazy, or at least not any crazier than normal. I've just been tired. Tired and apathetic. Not wanting to do much of anything, and I'm afraid to say that my apathy is manifesting itself in the form of me not blogging. I have several half-finished posts, but my heart's only been in it halfway, so instead of buckling down and posting, I've just taken naps instead.

I'm sincerely hoping that my muse returns soon, and muse, if you can hear me, please bring cooler temperatures with you. This heat is making me miserable, and is forcing me to do things that I don't really want to do, like sleep in my basement alongside other things.

I actually believe that Nutty, his ghost, or any of his progeny are not in residence in the basement, but something even worse is, or was, living down there last week when I moved into the extra bedroom. Mothra.

I have an abnormal fear of two things, 1) fish, and 2) miller moths. I think the fish fear is the product of spending summers with my grandparents either in the Mississippi River or a reservoir in Colorado, and an overactive imagination of unseen water creatures wanting to nibble on my feet. And millers (that's what we always called them growing up), well I've been afraid of them since I can remember. Growing up in Colorado we always seemed to have an abundance of the pests. And if they got in the house, nothing would really set me off more. Those creepy flappy moths with furry larva-like bodies, blindly flying into light bulbs dive b0mbing your head in the process. Blech.

I do know that these pests are only that. Essentially they are wayward migrators without any intention (or true capability) to nibble on my feet or any other appendage really, but they still creep me out. One summer back in junior high, Colorado had a miller epidemic (in my mind that's what it was). We were overtaken by swarms upon swarms of millers. Gross. It was the most terrifying few weeks of my life. Constantly on the look out for things flapping your way, getting stuck in your hair. I remember one day my VBFF and I were walking down the street and passing by a shrub we awakened hundreds, no, maybe thousands of the things. The dusty cloud of evilness took to the air, and we took to running, and screaming, and flailing away.

So last week, when I took up nightly residence in my scary basement, and I creaked my way down the stairs, I was beyond delighted to hear a familiar flap flap flap. And even better it fluttered on my face. Yippee! I eked out a scream that can only be described as that of a man-child (I've never had a real good shrill girlie scream, this one was no exception. It ended up sounding like a cross between a distraught Quasimodo in the bell tower and me being kicked in the gut). I ran to the little bedroom in the corner of the basement, slammed the door shut, and turned out the light, lest the little creeper follow me in there.

And you know what? There's no real point to this story. Nope. So now we've caught up. Sort of. At least you can all rest assured that Little Ms. Notetaker was not eaten alive by Mothra and that maybe, just maybe I'll post more soon.


LMNT's Extreme Book-it Reading Challenge for Grown Ups: Volume #1

It's on, Internets! Little Ms. Notetaker's Extreme Book-it Reading Challenge for Grown-Ups (which kind of reminds me of "The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want To Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too" but not), is on.

Joining me in this challenge are dedicated readers (ooh, double entendre): FCA and Reagan. I wasn't sure if others were joining, because this is your chance, you may want to do it. There are fabulous prizes for those that complete the challenge.

So here are the rules, okay, the rule: Ten books of your choosing, completed by 11:59 PM on September 21, 2009. Hey, that's the day before my birthday, so we can all rejoice in the fact that we'll be celebrating with the gift of literacy.

I'm going to add my list of books to the site, to keep me accountable. Additionally, I'll provide a post on each book as I finish it (think fifth grade book report). For those of you participating in the challenge, let us know what your reading and how the challenge is coming along.

Here's where my reading list stands (subject to change based upon the fact that some of these may be really long and if I procrastinate like I typically do, I may not be able to finish nine books in one week):
  1. Water, Stone, Heart--Will North
  2. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven--Fannie Flagg
  3. The Secret Life of Bees--Sue Monk Kidd
  4. The Color of Water--James McBride
  5. Daughter of Fortune--Isabel Allende
  6. The Other Boleyn Girl--Philippa Gregory
  7. The Glass Castle--Jeannette Walls
  8. Water for Elephants--Sara Gruen
  9. American Wife--Curtis Sittenfeld
  10. A Fine Balance--Rohinton Mistry

On your mark. Get set. Read!


Just a small town girl

Remember how I am the Wedding Dancer? Well, last weekend, at a friend's wedding, I entered into new territory; not only was I the wedding dancer, but, Internets, I became the wedding singer. That friend didn't even know what a bargain she was getting with me (well, she did know about the dancing part, but the singing? Well, that was even a surprise to me), two parties for the price of one buffet dinner and a champagne toast.

The wedding was an adorable affair, so simple, fun, and refreshing--just like the bride herself. Then we got to the dancing. She hired a band, and even consulted me on them before signing the contract (she had heard my rant about wedding band must haves). I gave her my approval after she forwarded me their multi-paged document of all the songs they could cover--on paper it exceeded my highest standards for wedding dance party protocol.

As the band took the stage it became quite apparent they were skilled musicians, however they had some limitations in what the lead singer could do, and he readily admitted that. Good for him for not trying to sing outside of his range, but bad for the wedding dancer who really wanted to hear the songs outside of his range. What's a wedding dancer to do?

Join the band and sing the songs you want to hear.

Oh no, I didn't?Oh yes, I did. As Mr. McMichael as my witness (and co-conspirator) I hijacked that wedding party and brought the funk--not once, but three times.

After the first time, I went directly up to the bride and apologized for what I had started. I told her I had absolutely no intention of singing at her reception, it just all happened so fast, and the next thing I knew I was up on stage, and just when it hit me, somebody turned around and shouted, "Play that funky music, white girl." Thank god she is so good-natured and too laid back to have been upset. She just laughed it off.

And when I jumped up on stage to sing a little Gloria Gaynor, she came running up to the stage wagging her finger at me calling me out, "What are you doing? You had every intent of signing at my wedding!" I'm not sure how, but I survived.

Note to self: When life cracks the door for you, push that puppy open and jump in!

And as the night was winding down, Mr. McMichael requested some Journey (definitely my guiltiest musical pleasure), and when the lead singer said it was out of his range, that's when we began plotting. Our read on the band left us with the hunch that if we could get to the keyboardist, Journey would be played. We were right. With time left for only a few more songs, the leader put his hand to his brow and peered out into the crowd. Jokingly he asked, "are there any other budding musicians out there that want to come up and join us." Our cue! Mr. McMichael yelled directly at the keyboardist, "Play some Journey!" The band all chuckled, because seriously, 80s cheese? But the keyboardist played the first chord, and reflexively I set a land-speed record as I bolted to the stage. Bounding up the stairs I think the entire band was surprised that this wasn't a joke. What started out as a couple of bars played to appease a rowdy crowd (think of that guy at every concert you've ever been to who yells, "FREEBIRD!"), had turned into a melee of band members scrambling to keep up--and even learn the accompaniment as they went along.

In no time flat, the bride was up there with me, and we were bringing the Steve Perry like nobody's business. Mr. McMichael grabbed the candle centerpiece off of one of the tables and slowly swayed with it over his head, a few others followed his lead, and before we knew it, we had a legitimate rock anthem in the making.

I'm now strongly considering turning my wedding talents into a profit-making venture. And you'll notice below that I have moved to amend my initial wedding dancer stance on music providers with the bolded text:
"if you have a band, make sure that you love that band and—depending upon the type of dance party you want—that the band understands the importance of wedding reception mainstay (i.e., this band should be so fantastic that they can cover many types of music and songs from all eras… if it’s a wedding that I’m going to be at, make sure they are prepped to play plenty of 70s and 80s, or surrender the microphone and play back-up as I belt out the hits).